Bible Study on 1st Corinthians Session 42

Saint Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians

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

Study Guide – May 28, 2024 – 1st Corinthians 15.35-46  Session 42 – Homily 41

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. Sometimes the absurd is needed to make a point SJC Then, to point out that the objects of their enquiry are not questionable but admitted points, he at once meets them more sharply, saying, Thou foolish one, that which you yourself sowest is not quickened, except it die. Which we also are wont to do in the case of those who gainsay things acknowledged.

Section [2]

  1. St Paul uses logic appropriate to those he is speaking to – SJC But here he also urges reasons. That is, having established it from the Scriptures, he adds also in what comes after, these things over and above, with an eye to them who do not obey the Scriptures; and he says, O foolish one, that which You sow: i.e., from yourself you have the proof of these things, by what you do every day, and do you doubt yet? Therefore do I call you foolish because of the things daily done by your own self you are ignorant, and being yourself an artificer of a resurrection, you doubt concerning God.
  2. St Paul turns their logic upside down – SJC Do you see, what I am always observing, that he continually gives their argument the contrary turn? Thus what they made a sure sign of our not rising again, the same he makes a demonstration of our rising. For they said, the body rises not again, because it is dead. What then does he, retorting their argument, say? Nay, but unless it died, it could not rise again: and therefore it rises again, because it died.

Section [3]

  1. Our bodies will be resurrected not replaced – SJC For the resurrection is of that which was fallen. But where is that wonderful and surprising trophy over death, if one body fall and another rise again? For he will no longer appear to have given back that which he took captive.
  2. Our resurrected bodies will be improved – SJC For it is the same, and not the same; the same, because the substance is the same; but not the same, because this is more excellent, the substance remaining the same but its beauty becoming greater, and the same body rising up new. Since if this were not so, there were no need of a resurrection, I mean if it were not to rise again improved. For why did He at all pull down His house, except He were about to build it more glorious?

Section [4]

  1. All will be resurrected but not all will share the same glory – SJC What do we learn from hence? That although they be all in God’s kingdom, all shall not enjoy the same reward; and though all sinners be in hell, all shall not endure the same punishment.

Section [5]

  1. Our bodies totally decompose but by God’s power are resurrected – SJC For before thirty days the whole is gone, and the flesh cannot keep itself together nor hold out for one day. It is raised in power. For there shall nothing prevail against it for all the future.
  2. ‘Spiritual bodies’ does not mean without form – SJC Is not this body spiritual? It is indeed spiritual, but that will be much more so. For now oftentimes both the abundant grace of the Holy Ghost flies away on men’s committing great sins; and again, the Spirit continuing present, the life of the flesh depends on the soul: and the result in such a case is a void, without the Spirit. But in that day not so: rather he abides continually in the flesh of the righteous, and the victory shall be His, the natural soul also being present.

Section [6]

  1. The resurrection has already been put into motion by God – SJC And these things he said that you may learn that the signs and pledges both of the present life and of that which is to come have already come upon us; to wit, of the present life, Adam, and of the life to come, Christ. For since he sets down the better things as matters of hope, he signifies that their beginning has already come to pass, and their root and their fountain been brought to light.

LIFE APPLICATION: Keep Grief in its proper place

Section [7]

  1. We should not grieve death – SJC For so the husbandman, when he sees the grain dissolving, does not mourn; rather, as long as he beholds it continuing solid in the ground he is in fear and trembling, but when he sees it dissolved rejoices. For the beginning of the future crop is its dissolving. So let us also then rejoice when the corruptible house falls, when the man is sown.
  2. We are resurrected to a life free of pain and suffering – SJC And he that rises again is no more led to a life full of toil, but to a place where anguish and sorrow and sighing are fled away.

Section [8]

  1. Our grief at death is selfish and not for the dead – SJC For if this were the reason of your mourning for the departed, you ought to have formed and corrected him, when he was alive. The fact is thou dost every where look to what concerns yourself, not him.
  2. Our prayers for the dead comfort the dead – SJC Let us then give them aid and perform commemoration for them. For if the children of Job were purged by the sacrifice of their father, why do you doubt that when we too offer for the departed, some consolation arises to them? Since God is wont to grant the petitions of those who ask for others.
  3. Since are all united, we all benefit from prayer – SJC For in truth one body are we all, though some members are more glorious than others; and it is possible from every source to gather pardon for them, from our prayers, from our gifts in their behalf, from those whose names are named with theirs.

Section [9]

  1. God will always be with us – SJC For you have not surely lost your God. And so, as long as you have Him, He will be better to you than husband and father and child and kinsman: since even when they were alive, He it was who did all things.

SEND OFF! God knows best!

This also do thou, and consider with yourself that man has not taken him, but God who made him, who more than yourself cares for him and knows what is good for him: who is no enemy nor lier-in-wait.