Bible Study on 1st Corinthians Session 24

Saint Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians;

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

Study Guide – May 23, 2023 – 1st Corinthians 9.24-10.12  Session 24 – Homily 23

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. Belief is not enough. It must be followed up by action SJC For as there, though many descend into the course not many are crowned, but this befalls one only; and it is not enough to descend into the contest, nor to anoint one’s self and wrestle: so likewise here it is not sufficient to believe, and to contend in any way; but unless we have so run as unto the end to show ourselves unblameable, and to come near the prize, it will profit us nothing.
  2. Since we are running a spiritual race, we must work even harder – SJC Now if there these things be so where the crown falls to one, much more here, where the incitement in emulation is more abundant. For here neither is one to be crowned alone, and the rewards also far surpass the labors.

Section [2]

  1. Our body is the source of our sin – SJC Here he implies that they are subject to the lust of the belly and give up the reins to it, and under a pretense of perfection fulfill their own greediness; a thought which before also he was travailing to express, when he said, meats for the belly, and the belly for meats. (1 Corinthians 6:13) For since both fornication is caused by luxury, and it also brought forth idolatry, he naturally oftentimes inveighs against this disease.
  2. We should subdue our body, not hate our body – SJC Wherefore he says, I buffet and bring into bondage. He said not, I kill: nor, I punish for the flesh is not to be hated, but, I buffet and bring into bondage; which is the part of a master not of an enemy, of a teacher not of a foe, of a gymnastic master not of an adversary.
  3. If the holy ones like St Paul are worried, we should be worried – SJC Now if Paul feared this who had taught so many, and feared it after his preaching and becoming an angel and undertaking the leadership of the whole world; what can we say?

Section [3]

  1. St Paul speaks in general terms about sin to include everyone and everything – SJC And because what he has to say will be somewhat unpleasing he makes his exhortation general, and discourses not only concerning the subject before him, but also generally concerning all the evils among the Corinthians.
  2. If the people of the OT didn’t succeed even after the great blessings they received, Baptism and Holy Communion will mean nothing if not followed by life – SJC And wherefore says he these things? To point out that as they were nothing profited by the enjoyment of so great a gift, so neither these by obtaining Baptism and partaking of spiritual Mysteries, except they go on and show forth a life worthy of this grace.
  3. The OT images were Types of the NT reality – SJC Further: this was a symbol of the Font, and that which follows, of the Holy Table. For as you eat the Lord’s Body, so they the manna: and as you drink the Blood, so they water from a rock.

Section [4]

  1. St Paul uses OT punishment as proof of future hell – SJC Thus, since most men disbelieve the things said of hell, as not being present nor in sight; he alleges the things heretofore done as a proof that God does punish all who sin, even though He have bestowed innumerable benefits upon them.
  2. Future punishment and rewards are worse than past punishment and rewards – SJC Do you see how he signifies not only the fact that these shall be punished, but also the degree, more severely than those ancients? For if the one be type, and the other substance, it must needs be that the punishments should as far exceed as the gifts.
  3. The parent of all sins is luxury and gluttony – SJC This then Paul also does here, at the same time both reminding them of that sin, and teaching that the parent of this evil also was luxury and gluttony.
  4. We should endure all suffering with gladness – SJC For what is required is not only to suffer for Christ, but also nobly to bear the things that come on us, and with all gladness: since this is the nature of every crown.

Section [5]

  1. Our punishment will be eternal, unlike the OT – SJC For this cause he both called them types, and said that they were written for us and made mention of an end that he might remind them of the consummation of all things. For not such will be the penalties then as to admit of a termination and be done away, but the punishment will be eternal; for even as the punishments in this world are ended with the present life, so those in the next continually remain.
  2. Don’t be fooled. You can still fall up the very end – SJC Wherefore even though thou stand, yet take heed lest you fall. For our standing here is not secure standing, no not until we be delivered out of the waves of this present life and have sailed into the tranquil haven. Be not therefore high-minded at your standing, but guard against your falling; for if Paul feared who was firmer than all, much more ought we to fear.

LIFE APPLICATION: Help Each Other Stand Up!

Section [6]

  1. We have all fallen already. STAND UP! – SJC For all are fallen, and to rise again they have no mind. So that our exhortation is not concerning the not falling, but concerning the ability of them that are fallen to arise. Let us rise again then, late though it be, beloved, let us rise again, and let us stand nobly.
  2. We need to help each other stand up – SJC Wherefore I beseech and implore you, let us stretch out a hand to each other and thoroughly raise ourselves up. For I myself am of them that are smitten, and require one to apply some remedies.
  3. Do not despair no matter how far you have fallen. God can heal you. – SJC Do not however despair on this account. For what if the wounds be severe? Yet are they not incurable; such is our physician: only let us feel our wounds. Although we be arrived at the very extreme of wickedness, many are the ways of safety which He strikes out for us.
  4. No matter how far we fall, we will be saved when we repent – SJC Yea, and though we be come to that depth of misery into which he fell, who devoured his father’s substance and fed upon husks, and should repent, we are undoubtedly saved.

Section [7]

  1. The time for repentance is now! It will be too late after death – SJC For if in the present life we exhibit even an ordinary diligence, we shall gain the greatest rewards: but if we depart having become nothing better here, even though we repent ever so earnestly there it will do us no good.
  2. We will not see mercy so long as we desire wealth and luxury – SJC Let us not then trifle, beloved, let us not trifle nor delude ourselves, beseeching God to have mercy upon us, while we ourselves prefer both money and luxury, and, in fact, all things to this mercy.
  3. Covetousness is a condition of the heart – SJC But if you grieve because you enjoy them in common with others, and dost not possess them alone like money; it is not money, but mere covetousness, which you seem to me to be in love with: nor would even the money be an object of your desire, if it had been placed within reach of all in common.

Section [8]

  1. Covetousness brings total destruction – SJC Whence then are we to obtain this knowledge? From the highways, from the wars, from the sea, from the courts of justice. For she has both filled the sea with blood, and the swords of the judges she often reddens contrary to law, and arms those who on the highway lie in wait day and night, and persuades men to forget nature, and makes parricides and matricides, and introduces all sorts of evils into man’s life.  Which is the reason why Paul entitles her a root of these things.”
  2. Covetousness brings eternal suffering – SJC Such are their circumstances in this world; but those in the next, what discourse shall exhibit? The intolerable furnaces, the rivers burning with fire, the gnashing of teeth, the chains never to be loosed, the envenomed worm, the rayless gloom, the never-ending miseries. Let us fear them, beloved, let us fear the fountain of so great punishments, the insatiate madness, the destroyer of our salvation.

SEND OFF! It is the heart that determines if we suffer

For riches and poverty are determined not by the measure of the substance, but by the disposition of the mind: and he rather is the poorest of all, who is always hangering after more and is never able to stay this wicked lust. On all these accounts then let us flee covetousness, the maker of beggars, the destroyer of souls, the friend of hell, the enemy of the kingdom of heaven, the mother of all evils together; and let us despise wealth that we may enjoy wealth, and with wealth may enjoy also the good things laid up for us; unto which may we all attain, etc