Bible Study on 1st Corinthians Session 41

Saint Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians

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

Study Guide – May 21, 2024 – 1st Corinthians 15.29-34  Session 41 – Homily 40

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 uses our actions to prove our underlying beliefs SJC He takes in hand again another topic, establishing what he said at one time from what God does , and at another from the very things which they practice. And this also is no small plea for the defense of any cause when a man brings forward the gainsayers themselves as witnessing by their own actions what he affirms.
  2. One practice of the Marcionite Heresy was to baptize ‘for’ the dead – SJC Or will you that I should first mention how they who are infected with the Marcionite heresy pervert this expression? And I know indeed that I shall excite much laughter; nevertheless, even on this account most of all I will mention it that you may the more completely avoid this disease: viz., when any Catechumen departs among them, having concealed the living man under the couch of the dead, they approach the corpse and talk with him, and ask him if he wishes to receive baptism.

Section [2]

  1. Uninitiated were not told all details until later – SJC And I desire indeed expressly to utter it, but I dare not on account of the uninitiated; for these add a difficulty to our exposition, compelling us either not to speak clearly or to declare unto them the ineffable mysteries. Nevertheless, as I may be able, I will speak as through a veil.
  2. Baptism follows confession of faith – SJC For after we have confessed this together with the rest, then at last are we let down into the fountain of those sacred streams.
  3. Baptism is death and rebirthSJC How and in what manner? By the water. For the being baptized and immersed and then emerging, is a symbol of the descent into Hades and return thence. Wherefore also Paul calls baptism a burial, saying, Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death.”
  4. Baptism purifies the soul – SJC For it is blessed with a Spirit, on every side enkindling it and making its holiness intense. And as when you are recasting iron or gold you make it pure and new once more, just so the Holy Ghost also, recasting the soul in baptism as in a furnace and consuming its sins, causes it to glisten with more purity than all purest gold.

Section [3]

  1. The Apostles taught their faith through their actions. They lived what the believed – SJC Therefore, you see, he does not say simply, we are persuaded, for this alone was not sufficient to persuade them, but he also furnishes the proof by facts; as if he should say, in words to confess these things haply seems to you no marvel; but if we should also produce unto you the voice which deeds send forth, what can you have to say against that?
  2. Only a believer would risk his life for ChristSJC “For who would choose, says he, to undergo so many deaths, if there be no resurrection nor life after this? Yea, if they who believe in the resurrection would scarcely put themselves in jeopardy for it except they were very noble of heart: much more would not the unbeliever (so he speaks) choose to undergo so many deaths and so terrible.”
  3. The real reward is to please Christ – SJC Since in truth, the great reward is to please Christ at all times: and apart from the recompense, it is a very great requital to be in jeopardy for His sake.

Section [4]

  1. To deny the bodily resurrection is to deny the power of God – SJC Because disbelieving the resurrection is the temper of one not fully aware that the power of God is irresistable and sufficient for all things. For if out of the things which are not He made the things that are, much more will He be able to raise again those which have been dissolved.

LIFE APPLICATION: Focusing on this life leads to sin and death

Section [5]

  1. Sin leads to corrupt doctrine – SJC Since in truth not they who hold corrupt doctrines only, but they too who are holden of grievous sins, are both drunken and frantic. Wherefore also to them may it be justly said, Awake, and especially to those who are weighed down by the lethargy of avarice; who rob wickedly.
  2. God reverses human logic – SJC And although in respect of money it is impossible for one to become rich, unless another first become poor: yet in spiritual things this is not so, but wholly the reverse: it is impossible that any should become rich without making another’s store plentiful. For if you help no one, you will not be able to grow wealthy. Thus, whereas in temporal things imparting causes diminution: in spiritual things, on the contrary, imparting works increase, and the not imparting, this produces great poverty and brings on extreme punishment.
  3. The more people we bring to Christ, the more we are blessed – SJC Thus also in the Kingdom, he that makes many partakers with himself of the Kingdom will hereby the more completely have the fruits of it in return.
  4. The more we bless others, the more we are blessed – SJC For so, if there were a place which had a fountain of gold gushing forth with continual flood, and flowing the more as more was drawn from it; and there were another place which had a treasure buried in the earth; from which would you desire to be enriched? Would it not be from the first? Plainly.
  5. The more we horde, the more corruption we receive – SJC For the measure of the food is the same for all; we having but one stomach to fill; only you who eat luxuriously have more to get rid of. And as in that case they who in their houses gathered more than the lawful quantity, gathered not manna, but more worms and rottenness; just so both in luxury and in covetousness, the gluttonous and drunken gather not more dainties but more corruption.

Section [6]

  1. It is much worse having been corrected, to remain the same in sin – SJC Nevertheless, so much worse than they are the men of our time, in that they experienced this once for all and received correction; but these every day bringing into their own houses this worm much more grievous than that, neither perceive it nor are satiated.
  2. The only advantage to wealth is more corruption – SJC Wherein, I ask, differs the rich man from the poor? Has he not one body to clothe? One belly to feed? In what then has he the advantage? In cares, in spending himself, in disobeying God, in corrupting the flesh, in wasting the soul.

SEND OFF! Chase pride away instead of people

Nay, if you must drive and clear away, let it not be them that come near you, but your own pride which you drive away; not by your servant, but by yourself: not with this scourge, but with that which is spiritual.