Bible Study on 1st Corinthians Session 11

Saint Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians;

A Bible Study Based upon the Homilies of St John Chrysostom (SJC)

Study Guide – October 19, 2021 – 1st Corinthians 3.18-4.3  Session 11 – Homily 10

Prayer before reading of the Holy Scriptures: Shine within our hearts, loving Master, the pure light of Your divine knowledge, and open the eyes of our minds that we may comprehend the message of Your Gospel. Instill in us also reverence for Your blessed commandments so that, having conquered sinful desires, we may pursue a spiritual life, thinking and doing all those things which are pleasing to You. For You, Christ our God, are the light of our souls and bodies, and to You we give glory, together with Your Father who is without beginning and Your all holy, good and life giving Spirit, always now and forever and to the ages of ages.


Section [1]

  1. St Paul is urgently trying to turn us from sin SJC “For these two things are most apt to withdraw us from sin; when we have in mind the punishment appointed for the sin; and when we reckon up the amount of our true dignity.”

Section [2]

  1. The Cross proves to us that we are blessed by things the world thinks are foolishness – SJC “Wherefore, as the Cross, though counted ignominious, became the author of innumerable blessings, and the foundation and root of glory unspeakable; so also that which was accounted to be foolishness became unto us the cause of wisdom.”
  2. We must totally separate our heart from the world in order to receive the blessings of God – SJC “Unless thou turn out the whole and sweep your mind clear, and like one that is ignorant yield up yourself unto the faith, you will know accurately nothing excellent.”

Section [3]

  1. The wisdom of the world not only doesn’t help us, it hurts us – SJC “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For not only it contributes nothing, but it even hinders. We must then withdraw ourselves from it, as doing harm.”
  2. Human judgment fails, God’s judgment never fails – SJC “For men’s judgments, it is true, in many instances fail; but the decree of God is unexceptionable and uncorrupt in every case.”

Section [4]

  1. We should never boast in blessings – SJC “He comes again to the former topic, pointing out that not even for their spiritual things ought they to be high minded, as having nothing of themselves.”
  2. We belong to God because He created us and because He saved us – SJC “And you are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s. In one sense we are Christ’s, and in another sense Christ is God’s, and in a third sense is the world ours. For we indeed are Christ’s, as his work: Christ is God’s, as a genuine Offspring, not as a work: in which sense neither is the world ours. So that though the saying is the same, yet the meaning is different. For the world is ours, as being a thing made for our sakes: but Christ is God’s, as having Him the Author of his being, in that He is Father. And we are Christ’s, as having been formed by Him.”

Section [5]

  1. Everything we have is from God to use according to His purpose – SJC “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful: that is, that he do not appropriate to himself his master’s goods, that he do not as a master lay claim for himself but administer as a steward. For a steward’s part is to administer well the things committed to his charge: not to say that his master’s things are his own; but, on the contrary, that his own are his master’s.”
  2. God blesses us through of free will – SJC “For instance, He can take away life without your consent; but His will is to do so with your consent, that you may say with Paul, I die daily, 1 Corinthians 15:31 He can take away your glory without your consent, and bring you low: but He will have it from you with your own goodwill, that you may have a recompense. He can make you poor, though unwilling, but He will have you willingly become such, that He may weave crowns for you.”

LIFE APPLICATION: We Should Live Strict Lives

Secion [6]

  1. There are two advantages to strict spiritual life – SJC “For first, we shall be thankful both when we have and when we are bereaved; and we shall not be enslaved to things which are fleeting by, and things not our own.”
  2. Be thankful that God entrusted you with what you have – SJC “Let us give thanks therefore that we have been counted worthy to be His ministers in this matter.”
  3. We will be judged by how we are stewards of God (not just about money) – SJC “How is it then that you spend on what is unnecessary the things which are not yours? Do you not know that for this we are soon to be put on our trial, that is, if we have used them badly? But seeing that they are not our’s but our Master’s, it were right to expend them upon our fellow-servants. It is worth considering that the omission of this was the charge brought against that rich man: and against those also who had not given food to the Lord.”

Section [7]

  1. Resources are to be shared with others to receive the blessing – SJC “So also in regard of wealth. If you enjoy it alone, you too have lost it: for you will not reap its reward. But if you possess it jointly with the rest, then will it be more your own, and then will you reap the benefit of it.”
  2. Even talents should be shared or they are wasted – SJC “For it is not its nature to keep it to itself, so long as it is an eye. Again, the nostrils are sensible of perfume; but they do not keep it all to themselves, but transmit it to the brain, and affect the stomach with a sweet savor, and by their means refresh the entire man. The feet alone walk; but they move not away themselves only, but transfer also the whole body. In like manner do thou, whatsoever you have been entrusted withal, keep it not to yourself alone, since you are doing harm to the whole and to yourself more than all. And not in the case of the limbs only may one see this occuring: for the smith also, if he chose to impart of his craft to no one, ruins both himself and all other crafts. Likewise the cordwainer, the husbandman, the baker, and everyone of those who pursue any necessary calling; if he chose not to communicate to anyone of the results of his art, will ruin not the others only but himself also with them.”

Section [8]

  1. All the wealth in the world is of less value than using it to help others – SJC “so let your possession be, many to whom you have done good. And let all say, such an one he freed from poverty, such an one from dangers. Such an one would have perished, had he not, next to the grace of God, enjoyed your patronage. This man’s disease you cured, another you rid of false accusation, another being a stranger you took in, another being naked you clothed. Wealth inexhaustible and many treasures are not so good as such sayings.”

SEND OFF! Be Known for your generosity

Section [8]Better than golden crowns are words such as these, that a man should have in his city innumerable persons to proclaim his beneficence. Voices such as these are pleasanter far, and sweeter than the voices of the heralds marching before the archons; to be called saviour, benefactor, defender, (the very names of God😉 and not, covetous, proud, insatiate, and mean. Let us not, I beseech you, let us not have a fancy for any of these titles, but the contrary. For if these, spoken on earth, make one so splendid and illustrious; when they are written in heaven, and God proclaims them on the day that shall come, think what renown, what splendor you shall enjoy!