Bible Study on 1st Corinthians Session 10

Saint Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians;

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

Study Guide – October 5, 2021 – 1st Corinthians 3.12-18  Session 10 – Homily 9

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. BEWARE! Tonight’s topic is about hell and it is very important SJC “This is no small subject of enquiry which we propose, but rather about things which are of the first necessity and which all men enquire about; namely, whether hell fire have any end.”
  2. Hell will be eternal – SJC “As I said then; that it has no end, Christ has declared. Paul also says, in pointing out the eternity of the punishment, that the sinners shall pay the penalty of destruction, and that for ever.”

Section [2]

  1. Eternal hell is fair because it is from God – SJC “And say not unto me, where is the rule of justice preserved entire, if the punishment has no end? Rather, when God does anything, obey His decisions and submit not what is said to human reasonings.”
  2. If Adam deserved punishment we deserve punishment – SJC “As for Adam, he committed but one sin and brought on himself certain death; whereas we commit ten thousand transgressions daily. Now if he by that one act brought on himself so great an evil and introduced death; what shall not we suffer who continually live in sins, and instead of Paradise, have the expectation of heaven?”
  3. We are worse than Adam because we already have been blessed with multiple warnings and examples, but we still sin – SJC “We cannot even say that Adam had heard prophets, that he had seen others punished for sins, and it was meet that he should have been terrified thereby and corrected, were it only by the example. For he was at that time first, and alone; but nevertheless he was punished. But you can not have anything of this sort to advance, who after so many examples art become worse.”

Section [3]

  1. Our punishment is greater because we have it easier – SJC “If He had imposed any burdensome or impossible things, one might perhaps have been able to urge difficulty of the laws: but if they be extremely easy, what can we say for our not regarding even these?”
  2. Our ability establishes our punishment – SJC “Nevertheless, you are able to be chaste in marriage; and you are able to abstain from drunkenness. Are you unable to empty yourself of all your goods? Nay surely you are able; and they who have done so prove it.”

Section [4]

  1. Our actions establish the quality of our building on the foundation – SJC “From this it is plain that the discourse is about actions. For since he means next in course to put out his strength against the man who had committed fornication, he begins high up and long beforehand to lay down the preliminaries.”

Section [5]

  1. Our effort produces the result. If we put forth golden effort, we achieve greater results – SJC “But in life there is room for some to be more diligent, others more slothful; some stricter, and others more ordinary; that some should have done well in greater things, others in less; that the errors of sedome should have been more grievous, of others less notable. On this account he says, Gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, stubble — every man’s work shall be made manifest: — his conduct; that is what he speaks of here.”

Section [6]

  1. Saved in fire means the punishment doesn’t end = saved from death but not from punishment – SCJ “And so here in saying, he shall be saved, he has but darkly hinted at the intensity of the penalty: as if he had said, But himself shall remain forever in punishment.”

Section [7]

  1. God has made us the Temple of God. We should live like it – SJC “Then also he puts all the rest to shame, arguing from these very blessings which they had already: for this is what he is ever doing, either from the future or from the past, whether grievous or encouraging.”

Section [8]

  1. Don’t get caught off guard by sin – SJC “For what if a man be rich, what if he be noble; he is viler than all the vile, when made captive by sin.”

LIFE APPLICATION: Sin is a wild beast

Section [9]

  1. Sin destroys everything in it path – SJC For nothing is so inconsiderate as sin: nothing so senseless, so utterly foolish and outrageous. All is overturned and confounded and destroyed by it, wheresoever it may alight.”
  2. Greed exceeds all other sins – SJC “Whom then will you that we should portray first? The covetous and rapacious? And what more shameless than those eyes? What more immodest, more like a greedy dog? For no dog keeps his ground with such shameless impudence as he when he is grasping at all men’s goods. What more polluted than those hands? What more audacious than that mouth, swallowing all down and not satisfied? Nay, look not on the countenance and the eyes as being a man’s. For such looks belong not to the eyes of men. He sees not men as men; he sees not the heaven as heaven. He does not even lift up his head unto the Lord; but all is money in his account.”
  3. Greed is insatiable – SJC “Insomuch that one might say that their hands are not wild beasts’ only, but even far more savage and cruel than these. For bears and wolves when they are satiated leave off their kind of eating: but these know not any satiety.”
  4. Cruelty to others is not human – SJC “But when a man does anything cruel or savage, inhuman is the title we give to such a one. You see then that the stamp of man as we portray him is his showing mercy; of a beast the contrary; according to constant saying, Why, is a man a wild beast, or a dog? see 2 Kings 8:13 For men relieve poverty; they do not aggravate it. Again these men’s mouths are the mouths of wild beasts; yea rather these are the fiercer of the two. For the words also, which they utter, emit poison, more than the wild beasts’ teeth, working slaughter. And if one were to go through all particulars, one should then see clearly how inhumanity turns those who practise it from men into beasts.”
  5. The mind of greedy people is demonic – SJC “But were he to search out the mind also of that sort of people, he would no longer call them beasts only, but demons. For first, they are full of great cruelty and of hatred against their fellow-servant: Matthew 18:33 and neither is love of the kingdom there, nor fear of hell; no reverence for men, no pity, no sympathy: but shamelessness and audacity, and contempt of all things to come. And unto them the words of God concerning punishment seem to be a fable, and His threats mirth. For such is the mind of the covetous man. Since then within they are demons, and without, wild beasts; yea, worse than wild beasts; where are we to place such as they are?”
  6. By nature we are not beasts, so fight temptation – SJC “For that they are worse even than wild beasts, is plain from this. The beasts are such as they are by nature: but these, endowed by nature with gentleness, forcibly strive against nature to train themselves to that which is savage. The demons too have the plotters among men to help them, to such an extent that if they had no such aid, the greater part of their wiles against us would be done away: but these, when such as they have spitefully entreated are vying with them, still try to be more spiteful then they. Again, the devil wages war with man, not with the demons of his own kind: but he of whom we speak is urgent in all ways to do harm to his own kindred and family, and does not even reverence nature.”

SEND OFF! Become human

Section [10]“Let us then become men at last, and let us look up unto heaven; and that which is according to His image, Colossians 3:10 let us receive and recover: that we may obtain also the blessings to come through the grace and loving-kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ