Bible Study on 1st Corinthians Session 43

Saint Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians

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

Study Guide – June 4, 2024 – 1st Corinthians 15.47-58  Session 43 – Homily 42

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. Earthly and Heavenly here refer to ‘before’ grace and ‘after’ grace SJC For the first difference was between the present life and that which is to come: but this between that before grace and that after grace.
  2. Before grace we all die. After grace we will all live – SJC As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: so shall they perish and have an end. As is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly: so shall they abide immortal and glorious.

Section [2]

  1. Earthly and heavenly refer to manner of life, not nature – SJC But Paul’s meaning is such as this: as we have borne the image of the earthy, i.e., evil deeds, let us also bear the image of the heavenly, the manner of life which is in the heavens.
  2. Sin is a choice, not a nature – SJC For it is not simply the being born of earth that makes a man earthy, (since the Lord also was of this mass and lump ,) but the doing earthly things, even as also he is made heavenly by performing things meet for heaven.

Section [3]

  1. Everyone will be changed at the same time – SJC He means as follows: we shall not all die, ‘but we shall all be changed,’ even those who die not. For they too are mortal.
  2. The amazing miracle is that ALL will change at once, in a split second! INSTANTLY! – SJC As thus: not this only, says he, is wonderful that our bodies first turn to corruption, and then are raised; nor that the bodies which rise again after their corruption are better than these present ones; nor that they pass on to a much better state, nor that each receives back his own and none that of another; but that things so many and so great, and surpassing all man’s reason and conception, are done in a moment, i.e., in an instant of time: and to show this more clearly, in the twinkling of an eye, says he, while one can wink an eyelid.
  3. We will keep our bodies but they will be changed – SJC Now the body is corruptible, the body is mortal: so that the body indeed remains, for it is the body which is put on; but its mortality and corruption vanish away, when immortality and incorruption come upon it.

Section [4]

  1. Death is totally obliterated. That is something to celebrate! – SJC he leaps and tramples upon death fallen at his feet, and shouts a cry of triumph over its head where it lies, exclaiming mightily and saying, O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory? It is clean gone, it is perished, it is utterly vanished away, and in vain have you done all those former things. For He not only disarmed death and vanquished it, but even destroyed it, and made it quite cease from being.
  2. The power of sin was enough for us to ignore the Law in the face of punishment – SJC Because without the law sin was weak, being practiced indeed, but not able so entirely to condemn: since although the evil took place, it was not so clearly pointed out. So that it was no small change which the law brought in, first causing us to know sin better, and then enhancing the punishment.

LIFE APPLICATION: Never Stop Working on Your Salvation

Section [5]

  1. Just because God has accomplished our salvation doesn’t mean our work is done – SJC What do you say? Labor again? But followed by crowns, and those above the heavens. For that former labor on man’s expulsion from paradise, was the punishment of his transgressions; but this is the ground of the rewards to come. So that it cannot in fact be labor, both on this account and by reason of the great help which it receives from above: which is the cause of his adding also, in the Lord. For the purpose of the former was that we might suffer punishment; but of this, that we might obtain the good things to come.
  2. It is a waste of time to focus on material things – SJC But if one ought not to be anxious for necessary food and clothing, nor for tomorrow; they who bring on so great a mass of rubbish and bury themselves under it, when shall they shall have power to emerge? Have you not heard Paul saying, No soldier on service entangles himself in the affairs of this life? 2 Timothy 2:4 But we even live luxuriously and eat and drink to excess and endure buffeting for external things, but in the things of heaven behave ourselves unmanly.
  3. Judgment is coming. It cannot be avoided. Don’t be fooled! – SJC Do you not know before what a tribunal we are to stand? Do ye not consider that both for our words and thoughts an account is demanded of us, and we take no heed even to our actions. For whosoever looks on a woman, says He, to lust after her has already committed adultery with her. Matthew 5:28 And yet they who must be accountable for a mere idle look, refuse not even to lie rotting in the sin itself.

SEND OFF! Don’t Waste Another Moment!

Wherefore I entreat and beseech, and lay hold of your very knees, that while we have this scant viaticum of life, you would be pricked in your hearts by what has been said, that you would be converted, that you would become better men; that we may not, like that rich man, lament to no purpose in that world after our departure, and continue thenceforth in incurable wailings.