Bible Study on 1st Corinthians Session 35

Saint Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians

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

Study Guide – March 26, 2024 – 1st Corinthians 13.8-13  Session 35 – Homily 34

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. We all have the power to love SJC it is in their power to have the chief of all signs, and that they will be no worse off than the possessors of the gifts, if they have this, but rather much better.
  2. Since we all have the power to love, we have no reason to boast or feel lacking – SJC Now all this he said doubly to bind them to each other, both by their not considering themselves disparaged while they had this; and because, after pursuit and attainment of it, they henceforth would not feel human infirmity; both as having the root of all gifts, and as no longer capable of contentiousness even though they had nothing.
  3. Love is enough to heal all relationships – SJC And this is why, pointing out to them how great advantages they shall thence reap, he sketched out its fruits; by his praises of it repressing their disorders: inasmuch as each one of the things mentioned by him was a sufficient medicine to heal their wounds.

Section [2]

  1. Love is the only things that outlasts the earthly struggle – SJC But the loving one another shall not cease, rather it shall even advance further, both here and hereafter, and then more than now. For here there are many things that weaken our love; wealth, business, passions of the body, disorders of the soul; but there none of these.
  2. Knowledge grows more perfect after death – SJC It is not therefore knowledge that is done away, but the circumstance that our knowledge is in part. For we shall not only know as much but even a great deal more.
  3. To be known by God means we are ‘let in’ to His knowledge – SJC This then is the meaning of the expression, even as also I have been known. Not that we shall so know him as He is, but that even as He hastened toward us now, so also shall we cleave unto Him then, and shall know many of the things which are now secret, and shall enjoy that most blessed society and wisdom.

Section [3]

  1. As an example of ‘more perfect knowledge’ Saint Paul gives us the difference between the Old Passover and the New Passover – SJC They saw a lamb slain, and the blood of a beast, and door-posts sprinkled with it; but that the Son of God incarnate shall be slain, and shall set free the whole world, and shall grant both to Greeks and Barbarians to taste of this Blood, and shall open heaven to all, and shall offer what is there to the whole human race, and having taken His blood-stained flesh shall exalt it above the heaven, and the heaven of heavens, and, in a word, above all the hosts on high, of the angels and archangels and all the other powers, and shall cause it shining in unspeakable glory — to sit down upon the throne itself of the King, on the right hand of the Father these things, I say, no one, either of them or of the rest of mankind, either foreknew or was able ever to conceive.

Section [4]

  1. No matter how much we know about God, there is that much more to know later in Heaven – SJC That He is, we know, but what He is, as regards His Essence, we know not yet. And that you may understand that not concerning the dispensations did he speak the words, now I know in part, hear what follows. He adds then, but then shall I know, even as also I have been known.

Section [5]

  1. God provides natural reasons for us to love each other (ALL OF Section 5) – SJC If now so great is the virtue of love, with good reason does he add and say, Follow after love. For there is surely need of following, and a kind of vehement running after her: in such sort does she fly from us, and so many are the things which trip us up in that direction. Wherefore we have ever need of great earnestness in order to overtake her. And to point out this, Paul said not, follow love, but, pursue  her; stirring us up, and inflaming us to lay hold on her.

LIFE APPLICATION: God gives wealth and poverty as He determines

Section [7]

  1. We love each other because we need each other. – SJC He likewise made us to stand in need of one another, that thus also He might bring us together, because necessities above all create friendships.

Section [8]

  1. Rich and Poor need each other – SJC And so strong is the compulsion of this need that though one be richer than all men, not even thus is he rid of this close conjunction, and of his want of that which is inferior to himself. For it is not, we see, the poor only who need the rich, but the rich also the poor; and these require those more than the others them.

Section [9]

  1. The Scriptures are not for open interpretation – SJC Here, if I were not doing an unseemly thing, I could at this moment laugh loudly, in derision of those who say these things: because as little children admitted to a King’s table, together with that food they thrust into their mouth everything that comes to hand; so also do these together with the divine Scriptures privily bring in their own notions.
  2. The Scriptures never lie – SJC Does then the Scripture speak falsely? God forbid! But they do foolishly, who neglect to examine with due exactness all things written. For if this on the one hand be acknowledged, that the Scriptures cannot lie; and this on the other hand proved, that not all wealth is from God; the weakness of inconsiderate readers is the cause of the difficulty.

Section [10]

  1. Just because God ‘can’ do something doesn’t mean He ‘does’ it – SJC Not as though it were a doing always, but as a thing that was possible for Him to do.
  2. Wealth is for doing good – SJC Thus they on the one hand who make just acquisitions, as having received from God, spend on the commands of God: but they who in act of acquiring offend God, in the expending also do the same: consuming it on harlots and parasites, or burying and shutting it up, but laying out nothing upon the poor.

SEND OFF! God allows wealth for repentance

Whereas did He use at once to punish them that are rich and not virtuously, Zacchæus would not have had an appointed time for repentance, so as even to restore fourfold whatever he had unjustly taken, and to add half of his goods; nor Matthew, to be converted and become an Apostle, taken off as he would have been before the due season; nor yet many other such. Therefore does He bear with them, calling all to repentance.