The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Archive for October, 2018

Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians Chapter 3

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 28, 2018


A Summary of 1 Corinthians 3:1-4
After having explained the Apostolic method of preaching in general St Paul now defends in particular his preaching at Corinth.  He abstained from giving them the higher wisdom because they were not yet fitted for it; they were like infants as regards high spiritual doctrines.  Even yet they are not sufficiently advanced to receive deep knowledge, as is proved by their factions.
1 Cor 3:1  An I, brethren, could not speak to you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal.  As unto little ones in Christ.
As unto spiritual, i.e., as unto perfect Christians, who have arrived at spiritual maturity.
But as unto carnal, i.e., as unto those who were yet weak in the faith, and not entirely free from the domination of the flesh, although members of Christ through Baptism.
As unto little ones, etc., i.e., as unto those who were still in their infancy as Christians.
1 Cor 3:2  I gave you milk to drink, not meat; for you were not able as yet.  But neither indeed are you now able; for you are yet carnal.
Since, therefore, the Corinthians were not matured as Christians St Paul, when he came to them first, explained only the elements of faith.  And even when he wrote this Epistle, some few years later, they were not able to receive the higher wisdom which consisted in a knowledge of the loftier doctrines of the Christian religion, as expounded in the Epistle to the Romans.
In the Vulgate there should be a period after Christo and a comma after carnalibus of the preceding verse.  Hence this present verse would better be separated from the preceding one by a full stop, as in our English version, in order to agree with the best Greek reading.
1 Cor 3:3  For whereas there is among you envying and contention, are you not carnal, and walk according to man?
That the Corinthians were still carnal to a certain extent was clear from their actions; for among them there was envying and contention over their various leaders.  These vices St Paul elsewhere (Rom 13:13; Gal 5:20) classed among the works of darkness and the products of the flesh.
To walk according to man is to live according to human nature, destitute of the Spirit of God (St Thomas).  In so far as they were given to jealousies and contentions the Corinthians were living according to man.
1 Cor 3:4  For while one saith, I indeed am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollo; are you not men?  What then is Apollo, and what is Paul?
St Paul now designates the contentions of which the faithful of Corinth were guilty.  Some were proclaiming him as their leader, others were adhering to Apollo.  Did this not show that they were men, i.e., carnal, judging things after human standards, uninfluenced by the Spirit and grace of God?  the Received Text and the Peshitto have “Are you not carnal (σαρκικός = Sarkikos)”; but this is likely due to a copyist, who omitted (ἀνθρωπος = Anthropoi = “men”) as unusual in St Paul in the sense in which it is here employed.  The fact that we have ἀνθρωπος (anthropoi, men), therefore, where we might expect σαρκικός (sarkikos, carnal) as in the preceding verse, shows that “men,” and not “carnal,” must be the correct reading here.
Inquiring into these factions the Apostle asks: What is Apollo, and what is Paul, i.e., what office do they hold, what ministry do the exercise?  The answer is given in the following verse.
A Summary of 1 Corinthians 3:5-9

So far St Paul has given two arguments against the factions in the Corinthian Church.  In the first (1 Cor 1:13-17a) he showed such divisions to be injurious to the unity of the Church of which Christ is the head; in the second (1 Cor 1:17b-3:4) he established, against the followers of Apollo, that his own method of using simple, unadorned speech when preaching to them was in conformity with the character of the Gospel and accommodated to the capacity of his hearers, and consequently afforded no reason for their factions.  Now he comes to his third argument and proves the absurdity of Corinthian divisions from the fact that all their religious teachers were only ministers and servants of the one and the same God.

1 Cor 3:5  The ministers of him whom you have believed; and to every one as the Lord hath given.

It is plain then who Paul and Apollo are; they are only ministers of God “through whom” the Corinthians have received their faith.  The term διάκονος (Diakonos) is used here in the sense of servants.  Instead of the phrase of him whom, etc., the Greek MSS. have: “through whom” (διά ων).  The Apostles are, therefore, not the authors of the faith they have preached, but only instruments of God who has called them all to His service, and has given to each the particular part of the ministry he is to perform.  In the Vulgate eius, cui should be per quos, to agree with the Greek.

1 Cor 3:6  I have planted, Apollo watered, but God gave the increase.

I have planted, etc.  The Apostle explains the different ministries exercised in the vineyard of the Lord.  He it was who first preached the Gospel, who sowed the seed of faith at Corinth.  Then came Apollo who by his preaching nourished that seed (Acts 18:27 ff.).  But both Paul and Apollo were only exterior agencies to the growth of the faith among the Corinthians; for it was God that made their labors fruitful in the hearts of their hearers

1 Cor 3:7  Therefore, neither he that planteth is anything, nor he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
1 Cor 3:8  Now he that planteth, and he that watereth, are one.  And every man shall receive his own reward, according to his own labor.

The first conclusion that follows from what has been said in the two preceding verses is that, without the grace of God in the hearts and souls of the faithful, the work of the preacher is vain and useless.  Secondly, it follows that, while compared with God the preachers of the Gospel are on no account, when compared with one another they are all on the same level and all equal, inasmuch as all are servants of the one God, working in the same vineyard and for the same end.

The faithful, therefore, should not make distinctions between the preachers of the Gospel, preferring one to another.  But from this we must not conclude that God will treat all alike, for every man shall receive his own reward, according to his own labor, i.e., each one shall re rewarded, not according to the office he has held, nor according to the success of his efforts, but in proportion to his labors performed in the state of grace.

The Greek term μισθός (misthos), reward, used here means wages paid for work performed.  Hence this verse affords proof that good works do of themselves merit before God, as the Council of Trent teaches (Sess. VI De Justificatione, can. 32).  The same doctrine is declared more clearly in 2 Cor 4:17: “For that which is at present momentary…worketh for us above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory.”

1 Cor 3:9  For we are God’s coadjutors: you are God’s husbandry; you are God’s building.

This verse is to be connected with the second part of the preceding verse, and shows who will reward the laborers in the Lord’s service.  The evangelical workers are not slaves who have no right to reward, but God coadjutors, i.e., free workers, who earn a wage for their labors; they are co-workers with God.

Note:  The canon from the Council of Trent cited above reads: CANON XXXII.-If any one saith, that the good works of one that is justified are in such manner the gifts of God, as that they are not also the good merits of him that is justified; or, that the said justified, by the good works which he performs through the grace of God and the merit of Jesus Christ, whose living member he is, does not truly merit increase of grace, eternal life, and the attainment of that eternal life,-if so be, however, that he depart in grace,-and also an increase of glory; let him be anathema. (source).
For more on the subject of merit see here and read sections 1 thru 3. See also the Joint Declaration On The Doctrine of  Justification By The World Lutheran Federation And The Catholic Church.

Since God Will Judge The Labors Of His Preachers, These Should Take Care How They Work
A Summary of 1 Corinthians 3:10-17

Although the various preachers of the Gospel are the same, as being servants of the one God and as working for the one end, yet God will Distinguish between them when He judges their labors and confers their respective rewards.  This reflection moves St Paul to call attention to the grave responsibility that rests upon the ministers of the Gospel.

1 Cor 3:10  According to the grace of God that is given to me, as a wise architect, I have laid the foundation: and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

According to the grace, etc., i.e., the grace of Apostolate among the Gentiles,  That is given to me.  Better, “That was given me.”

I have laid, etc.  St Paul laid the foundation of the faith of the Corinthian Church, since he was the first to preach the Gospel at Corinth.  Afterwards another, i.e.,  Apollo, came to continue the work begun by Paul.  Perhaps “another” does not mean any one in particular, but only the teachers who were to come after St Paul.

Let every man take heed, etc., i.e., let every preacher of the Gospel be careful of the doctrine he delivers, lest he add something which is out of harmony with the true foundation of the faith as laid by St Paul.

1 Cor 3:11 For other foundation no man can lay, but that which is laid: which is Christ Jesus.

There is only one question of how preachers subsequent to St Paul should build on the foundation already laid; for the Church and the faith have but one foundation, and that is Christ Jesus, as preached by Paul.

1 Cor 3:12  Now, if any man build upon this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble:

All must build on the one foundation, which is Christ; but all do not build with the same material.  Some add solid enduring materials, i.e., solid, useful doctrine, represented by gold, silver, precious stones; others, whole unlike heretics, they do not try to lay a different foundation, contribute only useless material, i.e., needless, unsubstantial or passing doctrines typified by wood, hay, stubble.

The poor materials here do not signify heresies, because (a) they are supposed to be added to the one true foundation; and (b) those who build with them are said to be saved (vs. 15).  The Apostle likely had in mind those, like certain followers of James, who were extolling the Jewish Privileges and obligations and trying to impose them on the Corinthians.  At any rate, it is the doctrine of teachers, and not the conduct of the faithful, that is directly referred to here.

1 Cor 3:13  Every man’s work shall be manifest. For the day of the Lord shall declare it, because it shall be revealed in fire. And the fire shall try every man’s work, of what sort it is.

At the present time it may not be easy to determine just what material each builder adds to the one foundation; but the day of the Lord, i.e., the General Judgment at the end of the world shall lay open each one’s life, and shall manifest every man’s work, whether good or bad.  “Of the Lord” is not represented in the Greek, but “the day” can only refer to the General Judgment, since neither during this life, nor at the Particular Judgment can every man’s work be said to be made manifest (cf. 4:3, 5).

Because it shall be revealed in fire.  Literally, “It is revealed” (ἀποκαλύπτω=apokalupto), i.e., the day of the Lord, or the General Judgment, is to be disclosed in fire.  The use of the present tense for the future indicates the certainty of the even.  That the world is to be destroyed by fire at the General Judgment we know from various parts of Scripture (cf. 2 Thess 1:8; 2 Pet 3:7), and hence “fire” here must be taken in its literal sense; real fire and real burning will bring about the end and renovation of this world, and so will usher in the General Judgment.

Fire shall try every man’s work, etc.  The action here attributed to fire can be more easily understood figuratively; for fire cannot really burn one’s preaching or other actions.  The reference then would seem to be to God’s judgment, represented by fire.  However, many of the Fathers have understood that “fire,” i.e., the final conflagration that shall consume the world, will, in its literal sense, as an instrument of divine justice, test each man’s works, leaving unscathed those that are good and consuming those that are bad.  That there is question here only of the final conflagration, and not of the fire of hell or of purgatory, is clear from the words το πυρ αυτο δοκιμασει, “that fire shall try,” namely, the fire of the day of the Lord mentioned in the beginning of the verse.  “That fire” is read by MSS. B A C and Peshitto against the fire of D E, Old Latin, and Vulgate.

The Domini of the Vulgate should be omitted, to agree with the Greek.

1 Cor 3:14  If any man’s work abide, which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

If any man’s work abide, etc., i.e., if the fruits of any preacher’s doctrines to the Corinthians shall stand the test of the final conflagration and thus be found good, such a preacher shall receive a special reward.  There is not here a question of the essential reward which all the saved shall receive, otherwise it would follow, contrary to what is said in the next verse, that he who contributed poor material to the one foundation is lost.
It is uncertain whether “abide” should be present or future.

1 Cor 3:15  If any mans work burn, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire.

Those who added poor material, i.e., poor and useless doctrines, to the common foundation shall receive the ordinary reward given to all the saved, but nothing more; hence their labors will be without the special merit and the special recompense promised to the Apostles.  Different workers may contribute different materials to the same building.  Some may add enduring things, such as gold, silver and precious stones; while others furnish only perishable materials, like wood, hay and stubble.  When fire comes, both classes of workers will escape and be saved; and the works of the one will endure, but those of the other will be destroyed.

Yet so as by fire.  The meaning is that the preacher who is alive at the time of the final conflagration, and who has mingled useless words and human teachings with his sacred preaching, shall, while suffering the loss of the special reward of the perfect preachers, save his own soul, but only by passing through the fires of that dreadful time, which for him will have a purging and purifying effect, constituting his purgatory on earth.  Or, if we take διά πῦρ (by fire) in a proverbial sense, the reference is more clearly and directly to purgatory in the strict sense.  The meaning, then, would be that those preachers who, at their death or at the end of the world, are found to have been negligent in their teaching shall be saved, but only with difficulty, namely, after passing through the purifying fires of purgatory.

The Apostle is speaking here of what will take place at the end of the world, and not directly of purgatory;  and yet his teaching clearly is that, for venial offenses unsatisfied for at the close of life, there must needs be a purging and a purifying before the soul can enter heaven.  Hence the doctrine of purgatory naturally follows from this verse.  That there is fire in purgatory is made probable by this passage, but nothing more; neither has it ever been defined by the Church.

Some have concluded from the present verse that St Paul expected the end of the world during the lifetime of those to whom he was writing.  He speaks in a similar way elsewhere (1 Cor 15; Phil 3:20, 4:5; 1 Thess 4:14-17, 5:23; Titus 2:13).  But he certainly never meant to teach any such a doctrine, since he knew that the Gospel must first be preached in the whole world and the Jews converted.  In Eph 2:7 and in 1 Tim 4:15 the opposite of such a conclusion seems clearly taught by St Paul.

1 Cor 3:16  Know you not that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

The severity of God’s dealings with imperfect preachers and teachers arises from the fact that they contribute unworthy material to a sacred structure.  Hence the Apostle reminds the Corinthians that they are the temple of God, i.e., God dwells in them through faith and charity, and hence it is of real moment that they should not be defiled in any way.  The Corinthians, like all good Christians, are the dwelling place of God, because the Spirit of God, i.e., the Holy Ghost, abides in them.  It is to be noted that the Apostle is here identifying the Holy Spirit and God.

1 Cor 3:17  But if any man violate the temple of God, him shall God destroy. For the temple of God is holy, which you are.

So far there has been a question of those who build on the one true foundation, some using good, some poor material.  Now the Apostle speaks of those who, by false doctrines and erroneous teachings, destroy the foundation, which is Jesus Christ.

If any man violate.  Better, “If any man destroyeth” the temple of God, i.e., by preaching false doctrines and leading the faithful away from Christ.  The Corinthian Church was the temple of God, the special dwelling place of God, and therefore it was holy.  In other words, the faithful are the temple of God; but the temple is holy; therefore the faithful are holy.  If any man, by his false teachings, should destroy this sacred temple, God shall destroy him, i.e., will deprive him of eternal salvation.

The Faithful Should Be Careful Not To Prefer One Teacher To Another
A Summary of 
1 Corinthians 3:18-23

From the doctrine so far explained against the Corinthian factions St Paul now deduces some practical conclusions.  By preferring one master to another the faithful have laid claim to the right and power of judging their teachers; but the Apostle warns them that this is exercising mere human wisdom, which goes for nothing before God.  It is wrong for them to glory in men, especially since all the good they enjoy, whether from this or that human agent, has been bestowed by God: in God and Christ only should they glory

1 Cor 3:18.  Let no man deceive himself: if any man among you seem to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.

It is disputed whether the admonition of this verse is addressed to the teachers of the faithful, or their followers.  If any man among you, etc., i.e., if any of you Christians thinks himself to be wise and shrewd, or is so regarded by others, judging by the standards of this world, let him renounce this false wisdom, which God despises, and learn from the Gospel to be truly wise.  The admonition seems to be against those who thought themselves capable of judging the respective qualities of their different teachers,-Apollos, Paul and Cephas.

1 Cor 3:19.  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.  For it is written: I will catch the wise in their own craftiness.
1 Cor 3:20.  And again: The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.

That mere human wisdom is foolishness in the sight of God the Apostle now proves from two passages of the Old Testament.  The first is from Job 5:13, agreeing almost perfectly with the Hebrew, and substantially with the Septuagint.  From the words, It is written, we can see that St Paul regarded the quotation as having divine authority. 

I will catch, etc.  Better, “He catches,” etc.  (δράσσομαι = drassomai = dras’-som-ahee), i.e., God turns against the worldly-wise their own craftiness, in which they are caught as in a snare.  For example, Joseph was sold by his brothers into slavery, but their action resulted in his becoming ruler of Egypt (St Thomas Aquinas).

The second quotation is from Psalm 94:11, taken substantially from the LXX.  The Psalmist is speaking of the enemies of Israel, who in their folly thought God did not know their secret designs against the chosen people.

The comprehendam of the Vulgate does not exactly express the Greek or Hebrew of Job 5:13, which literally would be “He who catcheth.”

1 Cor 3:21.  Let no man therefore glory in men.

Since, therefore, the wisdom of the world, separated from God and His grace, is vain and leads its patrons to their own confusion, the Corinthians ought diligently to keep from it, not glorifying in men, i.e., in this or that human leader.

1 Cor 3:22.  For all things are yours, whether it be Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; for all are yours;
1 Cor 3:23.  And you are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.

All the teachers sent to the Corinthians were sent by God for the spiritual benefit of the faithful.  The Christians did not belong to Paul, or to Apollos, or to Cephas, as subjects to a leader, as servants to a master; but on the contrary, all those teachers were but instruments in the hands of God for the sake of the Corinthians.  On account of their dignity as Christians all things-teachers, the visible world around, life and death, things present and things to come-were theirs, to be made use of for their spiritual benefit and advancement.

But neither in these, their own privileges and dignity, should the Corinthians glory, for they were not for themselves; they were for Christ’s; they were the possession and property of Christ who created them (Jn 1:8), who redeemed them with His own blood (1 Cor 6:20; 7:23), and who, therefore, was their only head and only master.  If then they would glory, let them glory in Christ and in God. 

Christ is God’s, i.e., Christ, according to His divine nature, is one in essence with God (Jn 10:30), and, as the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, He proceeds eternally from the Father (Jn 11:3).  Christ’s human nature was created by God, and was ever and in all things subject to the will of God (Jn 15:28).

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians Chapter 2

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 28, 2018


A Summary of  1 Corinthians 2:1-5

After having shown (1 Cor 1:17-31) that the Gospel is both preached and received by the humble and the simple, St Paul now tells the Corinthians that when announcing to them the glad tidings he observed the characteristic method of evangelical preaching.  This he did in order to conform to the divine plane, as already explained, and also in order that the Corinthians might derive the greatest profit from hearing the Gospel.

1 Cor 2:1.  And I, Brethren, when I came to you, came not in loftiness of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of Christ.

And I, etc, i.e., in conformity with the nature of the Gospel ministry, when I came to you the first time my preaching was simple in style and contents; I simply declared unto you the Gospel, avoiding all loftiness either in form or in matter.  The Apostle came to Corinth from Athens, where he had engaged in high dispute with the Stoics and Epicurians (Acts 17:18 ff.).  Perhaps his failure there induced him to employ at Corinth a method more in harmony with the requirements of the Gospel. 

Testimony of Christ should be “testimony of God,” according to the Greek; and the meaning is that the Gospel, which Paul announced, was God’s witness to Christ.  Some MSS read “mystery” in place of “testimony.”

1 Cor 2:2.  For I judged not myself to know anything among you, but Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

For I judged not, etc.  If the negative οὐ, not, is to be connected with κρίνω, judged, the sense is: “I did not pretend to know,” etc.; if connected with ειδεναι, to know, we have: “I judged it better, or I decided, not to know,” etc.  The meaning is that, while at Athens just before coming to Corinth, St Paul had argued learnedly with philosophers, he made up his mind upon arriving in Corinth that it was better to keep to simple doctrines about Christ, especially the mystery of the Redemption.  Hence among you is in contrast with the Athenians.

1 Cor 2:3.  And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.

In weakness, and in fear, etc.  The weakness referred to was perhaps bodily infirmity (Gal 4:13; 2 Cor 10:10; 12:10), or the natural spiritual infirmity which he felt aside from the help of God (Acts 18:9-10).  the fear and trembling were probably caused by poor results he had just experienced at Athens (Acts 17:33), by prospect of stripes (i.e., being whipped) and persecutions (St Chrysostom), and by the greatness of the task that confronted him in Corinth (Acts 18:9).

1 Cor 2:4.  And my speech and my preaching was not in the persuasive words of human wisdom, but in shewing of the spirit and powers;

My speech, i.e., my private instructions given to individuals, and my preaching, i.e. my public discourse to the multitude (St Thomas), were not in persuasive words, etc., i.e., not after the manner in which the philosophers and rhetoricians were accustomed to address their hearers.

But in the shewing of the Spirit, etc., i.e., his preaching was directed by the Holy Ghost, who enlightened his mind to know and moved his will to say what was most useful and instructive; and who, at the same time, by his grace disposed the hearts of his hearers to receive his words with faith (Rom 1:16; 2 Cor 4:7).  Some authors understand the word powers to refer to the miracles that were worked in confirmation of the Apostle’s preaching. 

Human (Vulgate, humanae) is found only in MSS A C; it is omitted by all the best MSS., Old Latin, Peshitto, and some copies of the Vulgate 

1 Cor 2:5.  that your faith might not stand on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.

St Paul had a special reason in avoiding a display of human wisdom and lofty language at Corinth, namely, that the faith of the Christians there might not be based on anything so vain and subject to error, but might have as its foundation the power of God, working through grace and miraculous gifts, which cannot err or be led into error.

Why St Paul Did Not Teach Loftier Doctrines To The Corinthians
A Summary of 1 Corinthians 2:6-3:4.

In the previous section (1 Cor 1:17b-2:5) St Paul explained why he used simple language among the Corinthians, and not the loftiness of speech which they so much admired in Apollo; it was because simple diction was proper to the preaching of the Gospel.  In the present section he will explain his reason for avoiding also loftiness of doctrine in  his discourse to them.  It would be a serious error, however, on their part to conclude that the Gospel contains only simple teachings.  On the contrary, it embodies a wisdom that is above human powers to grasp (1 Cor 2:6-12), and which, having been revealed to the Apostles by the Holy Ghost, is announced only to the perfect (1 Cor 2:13-16).  If these sublime doctrines have been withheld from the faithful of Corinth, it is because the faithful are not yet sufficiently developed to receive them (1 Cor 3:1-4).

1 Cor 2:6 How be it we speak wisdom among the perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, neither of the princes of this world that come to nought;

This verse shows that St Paul did not preach to all Christians as he did to the Corinthians.  The Faithful, in fact, were divided into two classes: (a) those who were yet “sensual,” “carnal,” who were in “need of milk, and not of strong meat” (1 Cor 2:14; 3:1-2; Heb 5:12); and (b) those who were “perfect,” i.e., they “who by custom have their senses exercised to the discerning of good and evil” (Heb 5:14), who are not deceived by “cunning craftiness” (Eph 4:14), but who have arrived at the age of maturity in the Christian life, and, being spiritual, are capable of strong food (1 Cor 1:13; 3:2).  The latter are able to receive a profound knowledge of Christian mysteries, while the former cannot bear more than an elementary instruction.  The distinction is the same as the difference between a class in theology and a catechism class. 

Wisdom means the higher teaching of Christian mysteries, such as is found in the Epistle to the Romans and to the Hebrews.  This wisdom is not of this world, i.e., it is not the product of human reason, its object is not the things of this world, neither is it sought after or possessed by the princes of this world, i.e., by the philosophers, by the worldly Jewish scribes, or the like.  The wisdom of this world is perishable like its authors; it comes to nought.

Other authorities interpret “princes of this world” as meaning the devils, who are “the spirits of wickedness, the rulers of the world of this darkness” (Eph 6:12; Jn 12:31; 14:30; 2 Cor 4:4).  Doubtless the two explanations come to the same thing, since mere human teachers were devoid of spiritual insight into Christian mysteries, and were often in their false doctrines only instruments of evil spirits.  Hence “princes of this world” embraces both the devils and their wicked human agents.

1 Cor 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in mystery, a wisdom which is hidden, which God ordained before the world, unto our glory.

The Apostle now considers the positive character of the Gospel message.

We speak, i.e., the Apostles preached the perfect divine doctrines-a wisdom that came not from this world, but from God.  It is the wisdom of God because it proceeds from God and treats of God; and in a mystery, i.e., it consists of doctrines so exalted that the human mind, unaided by divine revelation, could never attain the knowledge of them.  It is hidden, i.e., even after revelation the mysteries of this divine wisdom remain abscure to us, and can be held only by faith.

Which God ordained, etc.  The mysteries revealed in the Gospel and preached by the Apostles, such as the fall of man, the Trinity, the Incarnation, the mystery of the Redemption through the cross of Christ, man’s eternal destiny, and the like, were decreed from everlasting in the counsels of God, and intended for the eternal glory of all the faithful (Cornely).  This glory the faithful, through the practice of virtue, experience to some extent even in this world; but it will be fully revealed only in the world to come when we shall see God as He is, face to face.

1 Cor 2:8 Which (Vulg. quam)none of the princes of this world knew; for if they had known it, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory.

Which (Vulg., quam) must be referred to the “wisdom” which the Apostles explained to the perfect (vs 6).  We must understand princes of this world here also as we did in verse 6.  The wicked Jewish and Roman rulers and leaders who instigated and procured the crucifixion of Christ were the human instruments and agents of the evil spirits; the death of our Lord can rightly be ascribed to both.  While the demons could have known that Christ was the Messiah and the Son of God, yet they were not aware of the fact that His death would mean the end of their own despotic rule over men, and the exaltation of the human race to the highest glory (Cornely).  Had the devils, like the vicious human agents, been at all well disposed, they would have known that Christ was God.  The numerous miracles performed by our Lord throughout His public life, of which the demons were witnesses, were of themselves sufficient to convince any well disposed mind.  In fact it would seem from many passages of the Gospels that the devils did recognize, or at least strongly suspected Christ to be the Son of God (Mtt 8:29; Mk 5:7; Mt 2:11; 3:17; Jn 1:29ff).  “The evil one did not persuade the Jews to crucify Christ because he thought He was not the Son of God, but because he did not forsee that His death would mean his ruin” (St Thomas).  However, if for want of proper disposition or other cause the devils were ignorant of the high mysteries or purpose of our Lord’s life and death, how much more so were their human agents!

Christ is called the Lord of glory because, as God, He is the author and source of the glory prepared for us hereafter (Col 3:4; Heb 2:10).  This phrase is a proof of the Divinity of our Lord.

1 Cor 2:9 But, as it si written: That eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love him.

The Apostle now proves by a quotation from the ancient Scriptures that the exalted wisdom preached by him and the Apostles had before never been known to men, devils, or angels.

The words, as it is written, show that the passage is cited as a proof of what has been said.

Because this quotation, which St Jerome proves is here freely cited by the Apostle from Isaiah 64:4, is not found in the same identical words in any extant book of Scripture, some Protestants, after Origen, have thought that St Paul was quoting from an apocryphal work, the Apocalypse of Elias; others, like St Chrysostom and Theodoret, believe the reference is to some lost book of Holy Writ.  There can be little doubt, however, that we have here a free rendering of Isaiah 64:4; the Apostle is putting into clearer words the sense of the Prophet.  The meaning is that a supernatural knowledge of God which through the Gospel preaching, was revealed to the “perfect” (verse 6) was before revelation unknown to all created beings.  Even yet a clearer and satisfying grasp of the mysteries of faith is reserved for heaven, for the beatific vision.

For them that love him, i.e., for those who hear the teachings of the Gospel and practice them.  God gives the first grace gratuitously, and we thereafter, by cooperating with the graces we receive, can attain to eternal delights.

1 Cor 2:10 But to us God hath revealed them, by his Spirit.  For the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

Although this deep wisdom of the Gospel was hidden from the great and wise ones of earth and from all men, nevertheless the Apostles can make it known, because to them God has manifested it through His Holy Spirit.

But to us, i.e., to the Apostles, the preachers of the Gospel.

God hath revealed them, i.e., the high mysteries of faith.

By his Spirit, i.e., through the Holy Ghost, by whom the Apostles were inspired.

The Spirit could make known these truths because He searcheth all things, etc., i.e., He understands all mysteries.  Since the Holy Ghost knows the deep secrets of God, it follows that He must be God Himself.  This verse, therefore, and the following verse afford a proof of the Divinity of the Holy Ghost, and also of His distinction from the Father.  If He were in every way identical with the Father, He could not be said to search out the deep things of God.

1 Cor 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, but the spirit of a man that is in him?  So the things also that are of God now man knoweth, but the Spirit of God.

By an illustration it is shown that only the Holy Spirit could know the deep mysteries and secret counsels of God, and that consequently He alone could reveal them to the Apostles.

There is no question of excluding the Father and the Son from this perfect knowledge; the comparison is solely between the Holy Ghost and creatures, as in Matt 11:27 and Luke 10:22 there is comparison between the knowledge of the Son and that of Creatures.  As no one from the outside world can know with certainty what is going on in a man’s mind and heart, but only the spirit of the man himself; so no creature, but only the Spirit of God, can known the mind and counsels of the Most High.

1 Cor 2:12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is of God; that we may know the things that are given us from God.

We, i.e., the Apostles, as contrasted with the wise ones of this world.

The spirit of this world.  The definite pronoun, “this,” is not in the best MSS.  These words are understood by St Thomas and others to mean the wisdom of the world; but by Calmet and Cornely, to refer to the devil, considered as the author of false human wisdom (2 Cor 4:4; Eph 2:2).

The things that are given us, etc., i.e., the gratuitous gifts bestowed upon us by God through Christ for our eternal salvation.

The huius of the Vulgate should be omitted, according to the best MSS.

1 Cor 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the learned words of human wisdom; but in the doctrine of the Spirit, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

The Apostles have received a knowledge of high spiritual truths in order that they may communicate them.

Not in the learned words, etc.  Better, “Not in the words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit,” i.e., the Apostles are to explain to the perfect (verse 6) in the manner dictated by the Holy Ghost the doctrines revealed to them by the same Holy Spirit.

Comparing spiritual things, etc., i.e., (a) comparing the doctrines of the New Testament with those of the Old, and illustrating them by means of figures and types drawn from the latter (St Chrysostom); or (b) explaining spiritual things to spiritual men; or (c) explaining spiritual things in a spiritual way; or (d) adapting spiritual language to spiritual subjects.

1 Cor 2:14 But the sensual man perceiveth not these things that are of the Spirit of God; for it is foolishness to him, and he cannot understand, because it is spiritually examined.

From the class of the perfect, to whom the Apostles explain the high mysteries of faith, certain others are excluded by their very unfitness.  These are now described (2:14-3:4).

The sensual man, i.e., not necessarily the man who is given up to concupiscence and sensual indulgences, but the merely natural man, guided by his own natural lights and contend with his own reasonings.

Perceiveth not, i.e., does not accept (οὐ δέχομαι = ou dechetai) these things that are of the Spirit of God, i.e., the great mysteries which God, through the Holy Ghost, has revealed to the apostles.  The reason is because prior to taking the trouble to examine into them he regards them as foolishness (1:18).  And even if he would seriously consider them, he cannot understand, because he is without supernatural light of faith.  Just as the senses cannot judge about things of the intellect, and as the blind are unable to perceive color, so the natural man, without the gift of faith and the Spirit of God, cannot pass judgment upon the mysteries revealed by the Spirit of God; these truths are spiritually examined, i.e., they are subject only to spiritual tests by spiritual minds.

In the Vulgate est and examinatur should be plural to agree with their antecedents ea and quae sunt.

1 Cor 2:15 But the spiritual man judgeth all things; and he himself is judged of no man.

But the spiritual man, i.e., the man who has faith and grace, and is guided by the Spirit of God, is able to judge all things pertaining to his salvation and perfection, things of the higher as well as the lower order (Cornely).

But he himself is judged of no man, i.e., the spiritual man is judged by no one who is without the Spirit of God.  The natural man is deprived of the criterion by which to judge the spiritual man; they are not in the same category.

Certain Protestant sects appeal to this text to prove their doctrine of private interpretation of Scripture.  but it is clear, from the context, that St Paul is speaking of those who are able to grasp doctrines taught them by authorized teachers; hence he is teaching just the opposite of private individual interpretation in the Protestant sense.

1 Cor 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him?  But we have the mind of Christ.

The statement of the previous verse is proved by a free quotation from the Septuagint of Isaiah 40:13.  Trying to fire the Israelites with confidence in the promise of God to deliver them from servitude the Prophet asks: Who hath known the mind of the Lord, etc., i.e., who has known the thoughts and counsels of the Most High so as to be able to instruct Him?  Obviously the answer is: So great is the wisdom of God, that no one can presume to act as His instructor.  This proposition the Apostle lays down as a major of a syllogism.

The minor is: But we have the mind of Christ, who is God.  Therefore the conclusion follows that the Apostles are judged by no man; for to judge or condemn them would be to judge or condemn God Himself.  The argument simply means that the believer has the mind of Christ, and  therefore of God, and that the workings of such a mind, enlightened as it is by a higher power, are altogether inscrutable to those who are destitute of spiritual vision.

It is to be noted here that the Apostle makes identical the wisdom of God and the wisdom of Christ; and the wisdom of Christ in this verse is the same as the wisdom of the Holy Ghost in verses 13-14.  Thus is furnished a clear argument for the Divinity of Christ and of the Holy Ghost.

Posted in Bible, Notes on 1 Corinthians | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians Chapter 1

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 28, 2018


Summary of 1:1-9~In his own name and in that of Sosthenes St Paul, while asserting his Apostolic authority, greets the faithful of Corinth and of all Achaia with the wish that they may enjoy all heavenly grace and peace.  He gives thanks to God for the many divine favors conferred upon them, and expresses the hope that, through the goodness of the Eternal Father and their union with Christ, these blessings may abide with them throughout life.

1 Cor 1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God, and Sosthenes a brother.

Paul, called to be an apostle, etc. See on Romans 1:1.  Although St Paul was called immediately by Christ to be an Apostle (Acts 11:3 ff; 20:7 ff; 26:13 ff), the reference here is perhaps not so much to the manner as to the fact of his divine vocation.

Jesus Christ.  There is about equal authority in the MSS. for the reading, “Christ Jesus.”

By the will of God, i.e., not by his own, or by any other human choice did St Paul become an Apostle, but only by the call of God.  He was therefore not free to refuse the Apostolate.  See on Gal 1:15-16.

Sosthenes a brother. Literally, the brother, i.e., a fellow-Christian.  All we know of this person is that he must have been an intimate associate of St Paul’s and well known to the Corinthians.  Le Camus and others identify him with the ruler of the synagogue spoken of in Acts 18:17, who, by this time, had become a fervent Christian and follower of St Paul.  Eusebius (Hist. Eccl. 1. 12) says he was one of the seventy-two disciples of out Lord (see Luke 10:1-12) [and therefore not the synagogue ruler].

Sosthenes was not a joint-composer of this letter (Findlay), but a witness of it.  Some think he was the Apostle’s secretary, who wrote it down; but it is not St Paul’s custom to mention the name of his secretary (cf. Rom 16:22).

1 Cor 1:2 To the church of God that is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that invoke the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, in every place theirs and ours.

Church.  See on Gal 1:2.  Of God. This is added by St Paul to show both the divine origin and the unity of the true Church; “the name of the Church is not one of separation, but of unity and concord” (St John Chrysostom). Here is what Fr. Callan wrote in his comments on Galatians 1:2~The word “church” (ἐκκλησία) literally means “an assembly called out” for some special purpose. The Jews applied it to their religious assemblies (Deut 31:30; Micah 2:5; Acts 7:38). Likewise the Christians used the term sometimes to designate an assembly gathered for worship (1 Cor 14:28, 1 Cor 14:34); sometimes a group of the faithful that met in a particular house (Col 4:15; Philemon 2), or that belonged to one town or district (1 Cor 1:2; 1 Cor 16:1, 1 Cor 16:19; Acts 9:31; etc.); sometimes the whole body of the faithful (Matt 16:18; Col 1:18, Col 1:24).

The Catechism on “Church”~751 The word “Church” (Latin ecclesia, from the Greek ek-kalein, to “call out of”) means a convocation or an assembly. It designates the assemblies of the people, usually for a religious purpose.Ekklesia is used frequently in the Greek Old Testament for the assembly of the Chosen People before God, above all for their assembly on Mount Sinai where Israel received the Law and was established by God as his holy people.By calling itself “Church,” the first community of Christian believers recognized itself as heir to that assembly. In the Church, God is “calling together” his people from all the ends of the earth. The equivalent Greek term Kyriake, from which the English word Church and the German Kirche are derived, means “what belongs to the Lord.”

752 In Christian usage, the word “church” designates the liturgical assembly,but also the local community or the whole universal community of believers. These three meanings are inseparable. “The Church” is the People that God gathers in the whole world. She exists in local communities and is made real as a liturgical, above all a Eucharistic, assembly. She draws her life from the word and the Body of Christ and so herself becomes Christ’s Body. (1140, 832; 830).

To them that are sanctified, i.e., to those who, through Baptism, have been cleansed from sin and consecrated in Christ Jesus to God.  The words  in Christ Jesus indicate the meritorious cause of our sanctification.  The use of the perfect participle, ηγιασμενοις, have been sanctified, shows that the holy state of the regenerated is supposed to continue.

Called to be saints.  Literally, “called saints,” i.e., saints through their call.  The Corinthians, like all Christians, are called to sanctify; and this call is due, not to themselves or their own merits, but solely to the gratuitous grace of God.  We are not to infer from the phrase here that the faithful of Corinth were called directly and immediately by God; their vocation was through the preaching and labors of St Paul and his co-workers.

With all that invoke, etc. These words are not addressed to all the Churches of the whole world.  They may be connected with the beginning of the verse; or, less probably, with the phrase “called to be saints.”  In the first case the meaning is that the Apostle salutes not only the Corinthians, but all the faithful of the Roman Province of Achaia.  In this interpretation the following words of the verse, in every place, etc., refer to all the places that have Corinth for their capital, and that have been evangelized by Paul and his companions.

If we connect the above passage with “called to be saints,” the sense is that the Apostle salutes only the faithful of Corinth, whose call to sanctity is the same as that of all who invoke the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place.  According to this interpretation the final words, of theirs and ours, are connected with name of our Lord, etc., and mean, “of their Lord and ours.”

1 Cor 1:3 Grace to you, and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

See on Rom. 1:7.  Cf. 1 Thess 1:1 and 3:11, where the Father and the Son stand together as subjects of a verb in the singular, showing the perfect unity of their nature.

1 Cor 1:4 I give thanks to my God always for you, for the grace of God that is given you in Christ Jesus,

See on Rom 1:8.  The Apostle here speaks in the singular, in his own name, as sole author of this Epistle.  He thanks God for the graces given to the Corinthians at the time of their conversion, without saying whether that happy condition has persisted.

Always, i.e., as often as he prayed he actually thanked God for them.

In Christ Jesus, i.e., through Christ, as the medium of their graces, or as united to Christ.

1 Cor 1:5 that in all things you are made rich in him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;

That in all things, etc.  Better, “Because in all things (εν  παντι, in a distributive sense) you have been,” etc., i.e., in all things conducive to salvation.  Two of the graces received by the Corinthians at their Baptism are now mentioned.

In all utterance, and in all knowledge, i.e., in the Gospel truths that had been preached to them, and in their understanding of those truths (St Thomas, Cornely, etc).  Since knowledge is prior to expression, “utterance” does not seem the proper word for λογω here; neither is the reference to the gift of tongues, but rather, as we have said, to the teaching the Corinthians had heard preached by St Paul and his companions.

knowledge means such an understanding of the doctrine they had received as would enable them to explain it and give their reasons for holding it (St Thomas).  The Corinthian Church as a body had heard and understood all the teachings that were necessary for salvation.

1 Cor 1:6 as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you,

The abundance of doctrine and understanding which the Corinthians enjoyed is explained by the way in which the Gospel was preached among them; for the testimony of Christ, i.e., the preaching of the Apostles (Acts 1:8; 26:16; 2 Tim 1:8) was confirmed, i.e., was firmly established by means both of the external miracles which the Corinthians witnessed, and of the internal gifts and graces that they experienced.

1 Cor 1:7. So that nothing is wanting to you in any grace, waiting for the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The greatness of the divine gifts enjoyed by the faithful of Corinth is seen in this, that nothing is wanting to you, etc., i.e., they are not inferior in grace to any other Churches or any other Christians.  That the term χαρισματι (translated above as “grace”) here does not mean only gratiae gratis datae = grace freely given (1 Cor 12, see definition), but also gratia sanctificans = sanctifying grace [definition] is evident from the fact that it enabled the soul to look forward with faith and confidence to the manifestation, i.e., to the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ as judge.

Here again the Apostle is speaking of the Corinthians as a body.  We shall see later (1 Cor 3:1 ff) that there were among them some who were far from perfect.

1 Cor 1:8. Who also will confirm you unto the end without crime, in the day of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

After thanking God for the gifts already conferred on the Corinthians the Apostle proceeds to give thanks for those benefits which he trusts the heavenly Father is yet to grant them; or, according to others, he passes from an act of thanksgiving for gifts received to an act of petition for new benefits (cf. Cornely, h. 1).  God who has given the first blessings (verse 4) will also confirm you, etc., i.e., He will continue to keep you firm in faith and in the practice of Christian virtue.  Who, therefore, refers more probably to God (verse 4) than to Jesus Christ of verse 7, otherwise the rest of this verse should read: “in the day of his coming” (Estius).

Unto the end, i.e., to the end of your life, or to the end of the world, so that you may be found without crime, i.e., free from sin, when Christ comes to judge you.  In the Last Judgment the just will be free from all sin, venial as well as mortal.

Of the coming (Vulgate, adventus) is not represented in the Greek.

1 Cor 1:9. God is faithful: by whom you are called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

The fidelity of God is the ground of the Apostle’s confidence and hope.  He who began the good work of calling the Corinthians to the faith will also by His gace continue to help them to complete their salvation and to arrive at the judgment free from offence.  He will give them the helps necessary to work out their salvation, and to perfect their adoption through grace as His sons and as brothers of Christ.

By whom you are called, etc.  Better, “Through whom you have been called,” etc.

Fellowship of Christ is the natural consequence of the Christian’s adoption, through grace, as the son of God (Gal 4:5-6).

The First Part Of The Body Of The Letter

Although in his introduction the Apostle lauds the Corinthian Church for its spiritual progress and perfection, he is not unmindful that there are those in it who are guilty of serious disorders.  In fact, the unity of the Church is not a little imperiled by the existence among the faithful of a number of disturbing factions; these, which have already led to serious moral disorders, he forthwith condemns and endeavours to correct.  Beginning, therefore, with a general exhortation to unity, he introduces the subject he is about to treat (1 Cor 1:10-12); then comes a stern condemnation of the existing factions (1 Cor 1:13-3:17); following upon this he gives certain practical results and a concluding exhortation (1 Cor 3:18-4:21, before taking up the evil consequences among the Christians of the relaxed state of their discipline (1 Cor 5:1-6:20).

A Summary of 1 Corinthians 1:10-12

In view of the many and special graces which the faithful of Corinth have received, one would suppose that the greatest unity and concord should be reigning among them; they ought to have one mind and one voice.  But St Paul has learned, on the contrary, that there are contentions and minor divisions among them which disturb their peace and hinder their progress.

1 Cor 1:10  Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no schisms among you; but that you be perfect in the same mind, and in the same judgment.

The Apostle exhorts the Corinthians, by the name of Christ which they invoke in common, first to external unity, that they all speak the same thing, and that there be no schism among them.  “Schism” means literally a fissure or rent; metaphorically, a division, a dissension.  In theology it means a complete separation from the authority of the Church.  Here is is taken in the sense of dissension.

But external unity is not sufficient; neither will it continue without internal unity.  Hence the Apostle requires that they be perfect in mind, i.e., that they profess the same principles, and that they draw the same conclusions, whether theoretical or practical, from their common principles.  In other words, St Paul wishes the faithful of Corinth to be one in thought and in word when there is a question of Christian doctrine,-a teaching somewhat opposed to the principles of Protestantism.

1 Cor 1:11 For it hath been signified unto me, my brethren, of you, by them that are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.

The reason for the preceding exhortation to unity is now indicated.  The Apostle has learned through reliable witnesses that there are dissensions at Corinth.

Signified unto me, i.e., made clear (εδηλωΘη) by certain information.

My brethren, a conciliating term, so that they will accept in good part his reproof.

By them that are of the house of Chloe. This Chloe was probably a pious woman who had lived at Corinth and was well known to the Corinthians, but who now had either moved to Ephesus, or had sent to St Paul at Ephesus one of her children or domestics for the purpose of informing him of the conditions among the Corinthians Christians.

1 Cor 1:12  Now this I say, that every one of you saith: I indeed am of Paul; and I am of Apollo; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.

What the divisions at Corinth were this verse makes plain.  Every one of you, etc.  This must not be taken too literally; not every Christian at Corinth was involved in dissension (MacEvilly, Bisping), otherwise the preceding commendatory words in the Introduction to this Epistle would be false.  Many of them, however, must have belonged to one or the other of the factions mentioned.

I am of Paul.  The divisions among the Corinthians consisted in adhering to one rather than another of the preachers who had announced the Gospel to them.  As St Paul was the founder of the Church (Acts 18:1 ff), all the faithful at first clung to him as their father.  But when he had left Corinth and had gone to Asia, Apollo, sent by Aquila and Priscilla, came to take his place.  Being remarkable for his eloquence, his allegorical interpretation of the Scriptures, and his physical bearing, Apollo soon so won the admiration of many of the Corinthians that they began to make unfavorable comparisons between him and St Paul, turning away from the latter and adhering to the former as their patron and leader.  There was a group, however, that remained steadfast to the Apostle and proclaimed him as their head.  Thus some were boasting that they were “of Paul,” and others that they were “of Apollo.”

Of Cephas.  Those who claimed St Peter as their leader were doubtless Judaizers, as would appear from their use of the Apostle’s Aramaic name, Cephas.  The organizers of this faction had likely come to Corinth from Palestine, where they had heard St Peter preach, and perhaps had been received into the Church by him.  Cf. Introduction, 3.

Of Christ. It is more probable that this was not a dissenting group like the others, but that it either represented those Christians who refrained from all dissension and division, or that the phrase was added by St Paul himself in opposition to the three parties he was condemning (Cornely, h. 1).  Cf. Introd., 3.

It is the common teaching that the parties here mentioned and condemned by St Paul were not guilty of any erroneous doctrines or formal differences in faith.  Their disagreement regarded rather the personality of their respective patrons than any real differences in teaching; and yet these divisions were injurious to unity and could easily lead in a short time to very serious consequences.

First Argument Against The Divisions Among The Corinthians: Factions Are Detrimental To The Unity Of The Church 
A Summary of 1 Corinthians 1:13-17a

As Christ is the head of the Church and of all Christians there should be no divisions among the faithful.  It was Christ who died for all, and in His name all have been baptized.  St Paul thanks God that he has not been the occasion of any of the Corinthian factions.

1 Cor 1:13  Is Christ divided?  Was Paul then crucified for you?  Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

The contending parties are rebuked.

Is Christ divided? Christ founded on Church, of which He is the sole head.  As the head is one, so the body should be one.  But if there are in the body of the Church, among its members, different groups, disagreeing one with another, it is clear that the body is divided, and consequently also the head.  Christ would then be divided against Himself.  Such a condition would be, not only absurd, but destructive of all unity in the Church.

Was Paul crucified for you? Since the faithful have been redeemed by Christ alone, who died for them on the cross, and since, through Baptism, they have been consecrated to Him (Rom 6:3), becoming members of a mystical body of which He is the head, it follows that they owe allegiance only to Him, and not to Paul or any other earthly leader.

Were you baptized in the name of Paul? Literally, “Were you baptized into the name of Paul,” so as to become his followers?

1 Cor 1:14  I give God thanks, that I baptized none of you but Crispus and Caius;

Some of the Christians who were less instructed might have thought that they were in a sense bound to and dependent upon the one who had baptized them.  But the Apostle shows that is not so; and he thanks God that, while he was the founder of the Corinthian Church, he gave no occasion for any of their divisions arising from such a misunderstanding, for he did not baptize any of them, except two.

Crispus was a Jew who had been the ruler of the synagogue in Corinth at the time of St Paul’s first visit (Acts 18:8), and Caius, or Gaius, was the Apostle’s host during his third visit, when he wrote the Epistle to the Romans (Acts 20:2-3; Rom 16:23).

1 Cor 1:15  lest any should say that you were baptized in my name.

Baptized in my name, i.e., into (unto) my name (εις το εμον ονομα), so as to become my followers.  A better reading has: “Lest any should say that I baptized into (unto) my name.”

1 Cor 1:16  And I baptized also the household of Stephanus; besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.

The Apostle remembers a few whom he baptized, namely, the family and domestics of Stephanus.  Later on (16:15-17) St Paul speaks of Stephanus as among the first converts of Achaia, and as one of the legates who came from Corinth to Ephesus before this letter was written.

I know not, etc.  This shows what little importance St Paul attached to the fact of his having baptized anyone, so far as making followers was concerned.

1 Cor 1:17a  For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel….

The reason why St Paul did not baptize many, or why he paid so little attention to the number on whom he conferred the Sacrament of Baptism, was that baptizing did not strictly pertain to his mission; he was sent principally to preach the gospel.  This does not mean that the command given to the twelve (Matt 28:19) was not also for him, since he was a true Apostle, but only that his chief work, like that of the other Apostles, was to preach.  Baptizing, for the most part, they all left to their assistants, after the example of Christ Himself (John 4:2) and that of St Peter after he had instructed Cornelius and his household (Acts 10:48).


A Summary of 1 Corinthians 1:17b-2:5~Human wisdom and loftiness of speech are not to be made use of in preaching the Gospel, lest the cross of Christ be deprived of its real power and efficacy.  This is clear, first from prophecy (1:19); secondly from experience, which shows that the wise of this world have not been chosen to preach the Gospel (1:20-25), nor are many of them to be found among those who have embraced its teaching (1:26-2:5)

Having just written: For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel, St Paul continues:

1 Cor 1:17b. not in wisdom of speech, lest the cross of Christ should be made void.

The Wisdom of speech, etc.  There is no article in Greek.  The meaning is that it was not the will of Christ that St Paul, in preaching the Gospel, should have recourse to such human wisdom and such elegance of expression as the Greeks admired and cultivated.  This would have deprived the Gospel of the real source of its power, namely, the death of Christ on the cross, and would have made its success depend, or at least appear to depend, on human means.

Later preachers of the Gospel are not forbidden to  make use of the arguments of philosophy or of the powers of rhetoric in their sermons, first because the eficacy and preaching of the cross have been thoroughly established now; and secondly because, not having the inspiration and the marvelous powers of St Paul, they need those human aids.

1 Cor 1:18. For the word of the cross, to them indeed that perish, is foolishness; but to them that are saved, that is, to us, it is the power of God.

The word of the cross, i.e., the preaching of a crucified God, to them that perish, i.e., to those, whether Jew or Gentile, who by their infidelity are on the way to perdition, is foolishness; because to such worldly minds it was absurd to think of God becoming man and then dying the death of a malefactor in order to save the world.

But to them that are saved, i.e., to those who, through faith, are working out their salvation, the cross of Christ is the power of God, i.e., the source of the efficacy of the Gospel which, unlike Greek philosophy and rhetoric, is able to transform and perfect the life of all who sincerely believe it and put into practice it teachings.  The term for power here is δύναμις (dunamis), which means internal capability as opposed to ενεργεια, the exercise of power.

The cross, then, has the power to save men from sin, if they will make use of its teaching.  Saving power is also attributed by St Paul to the Gospel (Rom 1:16; 1 Thess 1:5), to God (2 Cor 4:7; 13:4), to the Holy Spirit (Eph 3:16, 20), to the Resurrection (Phil 3:10), and to Christ (Col 1:28-29).

1 Cor 1:19. For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the prudence of the prudent I will reject

That the preaching of the Gospel ought not to be according to human wisdom the Apostle now proves by appealing to the Prophet Isaiah (29:14) through whom God announced that He would confound the wisdom of those who confided in human rather than in divine help.  Literally the Prophet’s words, here cited almost exactly according to the Septuagint, refer to those Jews who, when God had promised to deliver them from the terrors of the Assyrian King Sennacherib (705-681 BC), relied on their own prudence and trusted in the help they hoped to recieve from Egypt, rather than in the divine promise.  It was not, says the Prophet, by such worldly wisdom that God would save His people from the coming invasion.  Now, what literally referred to these Jews had reference spiritually to the worldly-wise at the time of the preaching of the Gospel; these, like the jews of old, were not to be saved by means of human wisdom, but by the preaching of what seemed foolish to merely carnal and earthly minds.

The clause, I will reject, is put by St Paul in the place of “I will hide,” of the LXX.

1 Cor 1:20 Where is the wise?  Where is the scribe?  Where is the disputer of this world?  Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

Whether the Apostle is quoting here from Isaiah 33:18, or speaking his own words, is not quite clear.  Perhaps he is not quoting, but only referring to facts commonly known.  As the Jews triumphed over the Assyrians, so the preaching of the cross has won the victory over human learning.  For among the preachers of the Gospel where, asks the Apostle, is the wise? i.e., the doctor of the Jewish Law?  Where is the disputer? etc., i.e., the philosopher and the sophist, who dispute every question that arises?

The words, of this world, better “of the world” (with manuscripts B A C D), mean the sinful, faithless world, and are more probably to be connected with each of the preceding substantives,-”wise,” “scribe” and “disputer.”

Since God has not chosen the wise and the learned of this world to propagate His Gospel among the nations, is it not evident that he has made foolish the wisdom of this world?

In the Vulgate, huius mundi should be simply mundi.

1 Cor 1:21. For seeing that in the wisdom of God the world, by wisdom, knew not God, it pleased God, by the foolishness of our preaching, to save them that believe.

There was a very good reason why God did not choose the wise of this world for the propagation of His Gospel, namely, because they could not grasp so great a mystery.  The wordly-wise and the carnal-minded failed to recognize God when He revealed Himself, both in the works of nature and in the revelation of the Old Testament; hence God chose to save, through the preaching of Christ crucified, those that believe.

Wisdom of God more probably means that divine wisdom that was manifested in the book of nature for the pagans, and also in the Old Testament Scriptures for the Jews.

The world, i.e., by the use of only natural learning, embracing the philosophical systems of the pagans as well as the doctrines of the unbelieving Jews (Cornely).

Knew not God, i.e., had not that correct knowledge of the one true God which was necessary and able to lead them to salvation.

In view of this failure on the part of the pagan philosophers and the carnal Jews to arrive at anything like an adequate notion of the Deity it pleased God, i.e., God in His wisdom, justice and mercy thought it well (Tertullian), or decreed (Hilary) to open a new way to divine knowledge and salvation, namely, the preaching of a crucified Savior, which would save all who would accept it with faith.

1 Cor 1:22. For both the Jews require signs, and the Greeks seek after wisdom.

This verse continues to explain how the preaching of the cross, or of Christ crucified, was a stumbling block to the jews and foolishness to the pagans.  The former were expecting signs, i.e., miracles of their own choosing to be performed by the Messiah; that is, they expected Him to be a glorious and powerful King who would subjugate the temporal rulers of the world and place the Jews in triumph over their enemies; while the Greeks always required something that whold appeal to their reason and human intelligence.  To the latter “it seemed opposed to human wisdom that God should die, and that a just and wise man should willingly give himself over to a most shameful death” (St Thomas).

1 Cor 1:23. But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews indeed a stumbling block, and unto the Gentiles foolishness:
 1 Cor 1:24. for unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

But we, etc.  Contrary to the expectations of both Jews and Gentiles the Gospel is the preaching of a crucified Messiah.  It was, therefore, a stumbling block, i.e., a scandal, an offence, to the Jews, giving them a pretext to reject the Christ; and to the Gentiles, foolishness, because it seemed to them the height of folly that God should die and that human salvation should be obtained through the death of a man on an infamous gibbet.

But the reason why the Gospel is an offence to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles is because both these classes of infidels do not receive it with faith (vs 21).  For unto them that are called (δύναμις κλητοις), i.e., to those that hear and obey the call, whether Jews or pagans, the Gospel of Jesus Christ crucified is the power of God, i.e., the divine force that has manifested itself, not only in the whole series of miracles performed by Christ and narrated in the preaching of the Apostles, but which, through the Apostolic preaching, was constantly operating, making all things new.  It was furthermore the wisdon of God, because it unfolded a plan of salvation which God alone could have formulated and executed (Cornely).

1 Cor 1:25. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

The reason why the results of a thing apparently weak and foolish are so extraordinary is because they are the effects of divine wisdom and divine operation; for the foolishness of God, i.e., that which to merely human minds appears to be foolish, is wiser than all the wisdom of men; and likewise, that which men call the weakness of God is stronger than all the strength of men.  This, indeed, has been verified in the preaching of the cross, which has effected what all the wisdom and power of earth could not effect, namely, the destruction of sin and the renovation of the world.

1 Cor 1:26. For see your vocation, brethren, that there are not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble:

Not only did God cast aside the wisdom of tis world in choosing the preachers of the Gospel, but He did likewise in the choice of those whom He first called to embrace the teachings of the Gospel.  This is illustrated among the Corinthians themselves.  Hence the Apostle bids them to consider their own vocation.  Among those who had become Christian there were not many distinguished for their human learning, not many who enjoyed great wealth and influence, not many of noble birth; the vast majority of the faithful of Corinth, as of all the early Christians, were from the humbler walks of life and society.  The pagans in fact reproached the Church for being made up of low classes,of slaves, artisans and the like (Tacitus, AnnXV. 44; Justin, Apol. ii. 9; Origen, Contra Celsum, ii. 79); and yet all this was in conformity with the prediction of Isaiah and with what our Lord Himself said of His Kingdom (Isa 61:1; Matt 11:5; Luke 4:17; etc.).

1 Cor 1:27. for the foolish things of the world hath God chosen, that he may confound the wise; and the weak things of the world hath God chosen, that he may confound the strong.

The reason of the foregoing actions on the part of God is now given.  Man, in his pride and self-sufficiency, had misused the gifts of God, thinking that all the blessings he enjoyed were due to himself, and despising those who were less favored than he.  Thus, earthly wisdom and power had been made by man a means of sin and disorder.  To counteract this state of things God called, as preachers of His Gospel and as members of His Church, those who were considered ignorant and weak, while He left to their own confusion those who considered themselves wise and powerful.

Although foolish things and weak things are in the neuter gender, they are understood for the masculine (cf. John 6:37; Gal 3:22; Heb 7:7).

1 Cor 1:28. And the base things of the world, and the things that are contemptible, hath God chosen, and things that are not, that he might bring to nought things that are:

Here again we find the neuter plural used for the masculine to heighten the paradox between the ways of God and the ways of men.  The Apostle cites three classes of persons, called by God to the faith, who were in striking contrast to those of noble birth (vs 26) that were not called: the base, i.e., those who have not sprung from noble ancestry; the contemptible, i.e., those that are despised and regarded as nothing; things that are not, i.e., those who are considered as not existing.  All these kinds of persons God has brought to the faith of the Crucified, in order to confound and prove to be useless in the work of saving the world those who were considered great according to earthly standards.

If, with A C D F G and Old Latin, we omit και (“and”) before ταμη οντα (“things that are not”), these words form only a clause in apposition to the preceding clauses of the verse, and are not the climax of the sentence.  Manuscripts B E, The Received Text, Vulgate and Peshitto are in favor of retaining και.

1 Cor 1:29.  That no flesh should glory in his sight.

The purpose of God’s action in choosing the rude, the weak and the “things that are not” to confound the wise and the strong and to bring to naught the “things that are,” was that no flesh should glory in his sight, i.e., that no one might be able to attribute his justification and salvation to his own wisdom, or power, or noble birth, but only to the goodness and mercy of God, and that thus all should recognize God as the sole author of human sanctification and salvation.  Supernatural things are from us only through the operation of God’s grace. 

In his sight (Vulg., in conspectu eius) should be “in God’s sight,” to agree with the best Greek reading.

1 Cor 1:30. But of him are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and justice, and sanctification, and redemption.

Although the Corinthians have nothing of themselves whereof to glory before God, they may, nevertheless, glory in this, that of him, i.e., from God, as form the source of their supernatural life, they are in Christ Jesus, i.e., they have, through Baptism, been incorporated in the mystical body of Christ, being made members of Christ’s Church.  To be “in Christ Jesus” means in St Paul to be a member of the Church of Christ (cf. 9:1; Rom 16:7; Gal 1:22; etc.). 

Who of God, etc.  Since Christians are His members, Crhist communicates to them the gifts he possesses from God, namely, His wisdom, by which the darkenss of error and ignorance are expelled from the mind; His justice and sanctification, by which they are made truly holy and pleasing in the sight of God; His  redemption, by which they are liberated from the serive of sin and the devil.

Justice and sanctification are closely connected by τε και to show they are really the same; for man is not first justified and then sanctified, but both at one and the same time through the infusion of sanctifying grace (Cornely).

It is evident that the Apostle here is not speaking about imputed justice in the Protestant sense, because just as Christ, through faith, has commuincated to us real wisdom, so has He imparted to us real sanctity and justification. 

1 Cor 1:31.  That, as it is written: He that glorieth , may glory in the Lord.

Therefore, since the Christian has received all from God, if he wishes to glroy, he must do so in god, as is clear from Jeremiah 9:23-24. 

He that glorieth, etc.  The citation here is only a summary of the Prophet’s word.

After that in the beginning of the verse the verb is understood (γενηται, it may come to pass). 

May glory should be imperative, “let him glory” (Vulg. glorietur).

Lord (κύριος, Lord, in the LXX) really means Yahweh, God.

After having shown (1 Cor 1:17 ff) that the Gospel is both preached and received by the humble and the simple, St Paul now tells the Corinthians that when announcing to them the glad tidings he observed the characteristic method of evangelical preaching.  This he did in order to conform to the divine plane, as already explained, and also in order that the Corinthians might derive the greatest profit from hearing the Gospel.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Father Callan’s Introduction to First Corinthians

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 28, 2018

1.  Corinth.  The city to which the Corinthian letters were addressed, and which St Paul first visited and evangelized on his second missionary journey, was not the ancient metropolis by the same name.  The old city, which Cicero called the “light of all Greece” (PRo Lege Manil. 5), was destroyed by the Romans under the generalship of Lucius Mummius in 146 B.C., and lay in complete ruins for an entire century.  In 146 B.C. Julius Caesar laid on the anceint site the foundations of the new metropolis and called it Colonia Julia Corinthus.

In a comparatively short time the new city became nearly as populous and flourishing as the old one had been.  This was due to its remarkable location.  Lying at the southern extremity of the isthmus, about four miles in breadth, that connects the Peloponnesus or lower portion of the Grecian peninsula with the mainland, and fed by the two famous seaport towns, Lechaeum on the west and Cenchrae on the east of the isthmus, Corinth was bound to be, as it had been in the past, a commercial center of highest importance.  Its position was conspicuous on the highway of commerce between the Orient and the Occident, and it was not without reason that the great business thoroughfare of the then-known world passed this way; for all trading between the East and Rome took this route in order to avoid the perilous and more or less continual storms that swept the seas about the southern coast of Greece.  Although inferior to Athens as an intellectual center Corinth was very eminent in this respect also.  It was proud of its many schools of philosophy and rhetoric, as well as the excellence of its architecture.

As might be expected, Corinth was unrivaled in its wealth, in the variety of its population, and in its profligacy.  Being the capital of the Roman Province of Achaia it was the residence of the proconsul, and its political and civil influence was mainly Roman.  Asiatics were also there from Ephesus, and Jews in sufficient numbers to have their synagogues.  And yet, having been Greek in its origin, the city never lost the spirit and customs of its ancestors; its language, its literature and its laws remained Greek.

St Chrysostom pronounced Corinth “the most licentious city of all that are or ever have been.”  During the daytime its streets were packed with peddlers, sodliers and sailors; with foreign and domestic traders, boxers and wrestlers; with idlers, slaves, gamblers and the like.  At night the great metropolis was a scene of drunken revelry and of every kind of vice.  “To live like a Corinthian” was to lead a dissolute and lawless life.  Far from correcting or restraining the shameless immorality of its inhabitants the religion of Corinth only added to it.  Aphrodite Pandemos, the goddess of lust and sinful love, was the guardian deity of the city.  In her temple, professional prostitutes who gave lascivious dances at public festivals, and carnal intercourse with whom was looked upon as a religious consecration.  Little wonder that a city of such gross sensuality should have been filled with defrauders, fornicators, idolators, adulterers, effeminate, liars, thieves, covetous, drunkards, railers and extortioners (1 Cor 6:8-10).  St Paul, from his long residence there, had personal knowledge of conditions as they existed, and hence the vividness and force of the letters he addressed to the faithful of that wicked city.

The ancient site of Corinth possesses now only a miserable town of five churches and a few thousand inhabitants.  Aside from some Doric dolumns, still defying in their massive grandeur the wastes of time, no relic remains of the glories and powers that once were gathered there.  The site of the old city is no so desolate because, not only has it been repeatedly plundered since ancient days, but in the year 1858, after a destructive earthquake, it was largely abandoned, and a new city by the same name was built on the west of the isthmus on the Corinthian gulf.

2. The Foundation of the Church in Corinth. Leaving Athens on his second missionary journey St Paul came to Corinth, perhaps around the year 52.  He found lodging and means of support with Aquila and Priscilla (also called “Prisca”), a Jewish man and wife who with other Christians and Jews had recently been expelled from Rome by the edict of Claudius (Suetonius, Claud. XXV; Acts 18:2).  Like Paul himself this couple were tent-makers.  The Apostle worked at his trade in their home during the week, and every Sabbath they were hearers of his preaching in the synagogue, being converts and devote Christians.  Silas and Timothy arrived without delay from Macedonia (Acts 17:14); and, encouraged by their presence, St Paul redoubled his efforts in declaring to the Jews that Christ was the Messiah (Acts 18:5).  This preaching, however, was shortly resented in the synagogue, and the Apostle in disgust turned from the Jews saying, “Your blood be upon your own heads: I am clean; from henceforth I will go to the Gentiles” (Acts 18:6).  Departing from the synagogue he enetered into the near-by house of a pagan convert named Titus Justus.  With him went also Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, and all his family, besides Aquila and Priscilla.  Soon they were joined by such influential persons as Chloe, Stephanus, Gaius and Erastus, the treasurer of the city.  Many more, doubtless, especially from the poorer classes, formed a part of this group of the first faithful of Corinth.  St Paul remained there for eighteen months.  So successful was his preaching and so great was the progress of the new Christian community that the Jews, being enraged, stirred up a great persecution against the Apostle and forcefully brought him before the judgment-seat of the Roman proconsul Gallio, who was the brother of Seneca, the famous philosopher.  Being little concerned about their religious controversies and disputes Gallio dismissed the Jews almost with contempt.  St Paul then continued his work in Corinth for some time, until he was ready to return to the Orient.  Aquila and Priscilla accompanied him from Greece to Ephesus, where they remained, while he went up to Jerusalem.  From Ephesus Apollo, a new convert to Christianity, was sent to Corinth to continue Paul’s work there (Acts 18:26 ff.).  Later on the Apostle himself returned to Greece and certainly must have visited Corinth (Acts 20: 2-3), but on this occasion he was probably engaged chiefly in collecting alms for the poor of Jerusalem.  It seems very likely that he also paid a visit to the Corinthians during his long stay at Ephesus on his third misionary journey (2 Cor 12:14; 13:1).  Some, with Cornely, think that after his arraignment before Gallio St Paul made the journey to Illyricum, and upon his return to Corinth tarried the “many days” spoken of in Acts 18:18.

St Peter also perhaps preached in Corinth; at least he had many followers there (1 Cor 1:12; cf. Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. ii. 24).

While it is clear that the Church of Corinth included among its members some Jews, such as Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, Aquila and Priscilla and others, it is also certain that the majority of Christians there were of Gentile origin.  Many of these were Romans, as we gather from their Latin names (1 Cor 1:14, 16; 16:15, 17; Rom 16:21-23; Acts 18:8, 17), but a number were also of Greek descent.  Among the various converts soem were of noble birth, wealthy and learned; but by far the greater number were poor and unlettered (1 Cor 1:26).  Slaves also there were (1 Cor 7:21), and those who aforetime had been addicted to hateful crimes (1 Cor 6:9-11).  It was a mixed community of Jews and Gentiles, learned and ignorant, slave and free; but the majority were of pagan origin and belonged to the poorer classes.

St Paul wrote at least three letters to the Corinthians, the first of which (1 Cor 5:9) has not come down to us.  The other two give us a pretty thorough insight into the moral and religious condition of the Corinthian Church.

3. Occasion and Purpose of this Letter. After St Paul had left Ephesus on his way to Jerusalem at the close of his second missionary journey, an Alexandrian Jew of great eloquence by the name of Apollo came to Ephesus and began to teach “diligently the things that are of Jesus” (Acts 18:25).  But Aquila and Priscilla, seeing that Apollo was not well instructed in the faith, knowing only the baptism of John, “took him to them, and expounded to him the way of the Lord more diligently” (Acts 18:26).  When they had thus imparted sufficient instruction and had doubtless baptized him, they wrote to the faithful of Corinth, whither he desired to go, to receive him.  Arrived in Corinth, Apollo preached the Gospel with his usual power, convincing the Jews that Jesus was the Christ (Acts 18:27-28).  So extraordinary was his eloquence and his knowledge of the Scripture that he made a much more striking appeal to certain of the educated classes among the Corinthians, who loved philosophy and rhetoric, than St Paul, the founder of the Church, had made.  These pursuers of earthly wisdom and lovers of the Old Testament Scriptures soon began to institute odious comparisons between Paul and Apollo.  The latter, unlike the former, they said, was a man of eloquence (1 Cor 1:17; 2:4-5, 13), he was practiced in the rules and art of rhetoric (2 Cor 11:6), he had the physique and appearance of an orator (2 Cor 10:10).  As for St Paul, besides lacking all these qualities, his very Apostolate was questionable, since he had not been among the original disciples of Jesus (1 Cor 9:1), his authority was inferior to the twelve (1 Cor 9:5-6), and his doctrine different from theirs (Gal 2:7-13).

About the same time there came to Corinth Judaizers, perhaps from Antioch, who had heard St Peter preach, or had been converted by him, and who therefore, as belonging to the Prince of the Apostles, considered themselves superior to the Corinthians.  They regarded Paul and Apollo, with their respective followers, as of inferior rank in the Church, and accused them of believing and preaching doctrines offensive to the Jews which had not the approbation of St peter and the other primitive Apostles.  Those among the faithful of Corinth who were of Jewish origin were naturally influenced by these teachings of their fellow-countrymen, and it was only a short time when a Judaizing party was formed that declared Cephas to be their patron.  We need not suppose that St Peter preached at Corinth, as did Apollo; and yet it is indeed possible that, passing through there on his journeys east or west, he did so.

It would seem there was still another faction in Corinth whose adherents pretended to belong not to Paul, nor to Apollo, nor to Peter, but only to Christ (1 Cor 1:12).  On what the superior boast of these Christians was based it is difficult to say.  Had they seen Christ here on earth in the flesh, and received their call to the faith directly from Him?  Were they Judaizers who, in their love for the obedience to the Law of Moses, claimed to imitate our Lord more strictly than others?  Or had they some special gifts of the Spirit which put them in more intimate communication with the Savior?  These are some of the conjectures which scholars have made to determine the character of those who protested that they were of the party of Christ (cf. Jacquier, Hist. des Livres du N. T., tom I, p. 115; Fillion, h. 1.; Lemonnyer, h. 1.).  Nevertheless Cornely, Le Camus and others hold that there were only three factions at Corinth, and consequently that the words, “I of Christ” (1 Cor 1:12), do not represent a distinct faction, but rather those right-minded Christians who kept aloof from all divisions and dissensions.  This opinion is now considered more probable, especially in view of the fact that St Paul nowhere condemns a fourth party, but on the contrary (1 Cor 3:22-25), when speaking of the three factions mentioned above, declares that all the faithful belong to Christ.

With reference to the various factions at Corinth, it is to be observed that there was no essential difference between them, as seems clear from 1 Cor 4:6, and as commentators admit.  Moreover, the Apostle’s words in this Epistle show that the several groups there was not a question of Doctrine, but only of preference for the different teachers of one and the same faith.  It was the relation which exists between every disciple and his master.  In the second letter, however, we see the division between Pauline and Judaizing Christians later became so marked as to threaten a real schism (2 Cor 10-13).  Still, even in the beginning these minor disputes and dissensions could not escape producing a general relaxation of authority and discipline.  (a) In consequence a grave social scandal had taken place, and the Corinthians had passed over it without notice (5:1-2).  Their difference of opinion on various subjects had led to open quarrels, and these in turn to lawsuits, even before heathen tribunals (6: 1 ff.; 7:1 ff.; 8:1 ff).  They thus gave the impression to the outside world of mistrusting and hating, rather than of loving one another.  (b) At the public assemblies of the faithful women appeared with uncovered heads, and insisted on the right to speak and to teach (11:3 ff.).  (c) The celebration of the Eucharistic mysteries had become an occasion of disgraceful disorders and shameful conduct (11:17 ff.).  (d) The special endowments of the Holy Spirit, so plentifully distributed in those early times, were often abused and made a pretext for pride and uncharitableness towards those who had not been favored with them.  And even among those who possessed these divine gifts there was often manifested such a spirit of rivalry in exercising them that the Christian assembly frequently became an exhibition of fanatical frenzy and irreligious antagonism (12:1 ff.; 14:1 ff.).  (c) Besides these disorders there were other difficulties and disputes demanding solution, such as the resurrection of the dead, the condition of the risen body, ect. (15:1 ff.).

A knowledge of Corinthian conditions came to St. Paul during his three years’ sojourn at Ephesus on his third missionary journey. Corinth and Ephesus were only some 250 miles apart, and the distance could be covered under ordinary conditions in less than a week. Travelers were constantly going from the one city
to the other, except perhaps in the winter time. Accordingly, from the household of a lady named Chloe (1 Cor 1:11) the Apostle learned of the divisions and dissensions among the Corinthians. Apollo, who visited him at Ephesus (1 Cor 16:12), as well as the three legates of the Corinthian Church who came to him there
(1 Cor 16:17) must have informed him very thoroughly regarding conditions among the faithful of Corinth. Moreover, the Apostle had written a letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 5:9) which has been lost to us, but which at the time caused a number of misunderstandings and provoked not a few questions relative to marriage and celibacy, the eating of meats offered to idols, ect. (1 Cor 7:1 ff.; 8:1 ff.), that were submitted to him in reply.  The purpose of this present letter was therefore (a) to denounce and correct the existing abuses among the Corinthians; (b) to answer the questions and difficulties that had been referred to St Paul by letter.

It may be asked if there were not local superiors, a Bishop and some priests in the Corinthian Church?  And if so, why they did not attend to the matters treated in this letter?  In reply we may say first that St Paul had doubtless provided local superiors for Corinth, just as years before he had appointed “presbyters” in all the Churches he had founded in Asia Minor (Acts 14:22; 20:17; Phil 1:1; 1 Thess 5:12; Tit 1:5).  As to the other question we must remember that the local superiors at Corinth, like the Church itself, were very young and inexperienced and perhaps found it difficult to deal with so many and such grave matters as were demanding solution.  They felt the need of appealing to the infallible authority of the Apostle, and in all probability it was these local superiors themselves who replied to the lost Corinthian letter of St Paul (1 Cor 5:9), and who, consequently, were the immediate occasion and the first recipients of this present Epistle.  This letter was sent to the Church through the local superiors at Corinth, and hence the existence and authority of those superiors is not mentioned, but taken for granted.

4. Date and Place of Writing. From 1 Cor 16:8 it is clear that this letter was written at Ephesus; and from 1 Cor 16:5, where there is a question of a proximate visit to Macedonia, it is also clear that it was written toward the end of the Apostle’s sojourn in Ephesus on his third missionary journey, very probably in the spring of the year 57; for it was about this time that Timothy and Erastus were sent to Macedonia (Acts 19:22), just shortly before the tumult stirred up by Demetrius (Acts 19:23 ff.), following which St Paul left Asia.  That the Epistle was written around Paschal time also seems very probable from the allusions in it to the Pasch, to unleavened bread (5:6-7; 15:20, 23; 16:15), and to the Resurrection of Christ (15:4, 12).  Cornely thinks it was written in 58.  The exact time depends on the date assigned to the close of St Paul’s stay in Ephesus on his third missionary journey, and since this cannot be fixed with entire certainty and precision, the date given for the writing of the Epistle can be only approximate.

The Epistle was probably carried to Corinth by the delegates who had come from there to Ephesus, namely Stephanus, Fortanatus and Achaicus.  This is according to the note attached to the end of the letter in the Received Text.  That Timothy could not have delivered the letter to the Corinthians, as some have said, seems evident from the fact that he had departed for Macedonia before it was completed.

5. Authenticity and Canonicity. The authenticity of this Epistle has been so universally accepted by critics of practically every school that it seems hardly necessary to cite arguments in proof of it.  Even the German Rationalists of the Tubingen School admitted as genuine the Epistles to the Corinthians, the Romans and the Galatians.  A few minor objections to 1 Corinthians have in recent times been raised by such Rationalists as Bruno Baur, Nabor, Pierson and Loman; but they are too insignificant to merit any serious attention.  It will be sufficient, therefore, to give some of the principle proofs for its genuineness and canonicity.

(a) External proofs.  This Epistle was certainly known to the earliest ecclesiastical writers.  Clement of Rome, who was the friend and companion of St Paul (Phil 4:3), and later Bishop of Rome (Euseb., Hist. Eccl. 111. 4), in his first letter to the Corinthians (47:1-3) wrote about the year 98 as follows: “Take up the Epistle of the blessed Apostle Paul.  What did he write to you at the time when the Gospel first began to be preached?  Truly, under the inspiration of the Spirit, he wrote to you concerning himself and Cephas, and Apollo, because even the parties had been formed among you,” etc.  Polycarp, the disciple of St John the Evangelist, in his letter to the Philippians (11:2) cites 1 Cor 6:2, attributing it directly to St Paul: “Do we not know that the saints shall judge the world, as Paul teaches.”  The enumeration of the vices of the Philippians given by Polycarp in the same letter is exactly parallel with 1 Cor 6:9-10, and terminates with the very words of the Apostle: “They shall not possess the Kingdom of God.”  In the Greek edition of the letters of St Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch (circa 98-117), there are many quotations from this Epistle.  St Irenæus, Bishop of Lyons and a disciple of Polycarp, cites (Adv. Haer. 111. 11, 9; 18, 2) the Epistle over sixty times, often observing that it is the work of St Paul and was written to the Corinthians.  Clement of Alexandria (Pædag. 1. 6) and Tertullian (De rusur. mort. 18) also cites 1 Corinthians a great number of times, and frequently by name.  Many other authorities might be given in proof of the authorship of this Epistle, but it will be sufficient to add that it was also admitted as authentic by Basilides, Marcion and other heretics of the first centuries.

(b) Internal proofs.  Even a casual examination of the nature and contents of the present Epistle shows beyond question that it was written by St Paul.  Its historical facts and dogmatic teaching, its peculiarity of language and style, the manner in which it refers to the Old Testament, the characteristic way in which arguments are developed, beginning with general principles and coming to particular conclusions, the personal touches which it bears on every page,-all prove conclusively that it could not have been written by anybody except the Apostle Paul.  Moreover, all that we otherwise known of St Paul and of Corinth we find to be in perfect agreement with the information furnished by this Epistle.  As Charles Baur has said (Der Apostel Paulus, Stuttgart, 1845, vil. I, p. 260), “this letter is tis own guarantee of authenticity; for more than any other writing of the New Testament, it carries us to the living midst of the a Church in formation and gives us an inner view of the development of the new life called forth by Christianity.”

6.  Style and Language. Of all the Epistles of St Paul this one is perhaps the most distinguished for its simplicity and clarity, and for the beauty and variety of its figures of speech.  The kind and number of subjects with which the apostle deals in this lettter surely accounts in great part for the pleasing qualities of his language, but doubtless therre was also a desire to prove to the Corinthians that he was not by any means so rude and ungifted in the use of speech as they may have concluded from his presence among them.  Of course this letter, although much more logical than some other Pauline Epistles, is far inferior to Romans in argumentative force.  In the latter Epistle there was question of establishing a great thesis and of unfolding the essence of his preaching.  The present letter, on the whole, also comes far short of Second Corinthians in impassioned and sustained e, in anxiety for the spiritual welfare of his imperiled converts, in sterness and vehemence of feeling, in biting sarcasm, and in the general roll of his thunder peals against the enemies who would destroy his Apostolic authority and the fruits of his heroic life and labors; and yet the grace and polish of the diction here is far superior to theat of 2 Corinthians, and to many authoriteis this Epistle excels the other in the uniform loftiness of its eloquence (see Introd. to 2 Corinthians, 4-5).

This letter contains over 100 words not found in any other of the Pauline letters, and about the same number which occur nowhere else in the New Testament.  There is a general regard for the rules of syntax, anc comparatively few of the sudden digressions and unfinished phrases so frequent in Second Corinthians.  If certain words are employed too frequently for good taste, we can only say that this is a consequence of St Paul’s principle never to hesitate to repat the same word so long as it expressed his meaning. 

7.  Doctrinal Importance. In point of doctrine the First Epistle to the Corinthians is unexcelled by any other of St Paul’s letters.  The unusual variety of the subjects treated mainly accounts for this.  Practically every verse conveys some dogmatic or moral truth, as will appear in the exegetical treatment that follows.  It will be enough here to point out the principle doctrines to which the Epistle refers, or which it discusses: (a) Baptism (1:13-14); (b)excommunication (5:3-5); (c) ecclesiastical tribunals (6:2-5); (d) the states of matrimony and celibacy (7:1-40); (e) the signification of Holy Communion (10:16-17); (f) the institution and celebration of the Eucharist (11:23-34);  (g) the unity of the Church of which Christ is the head and the faithful the members (12:4-27); (h) the various ministries in the Church (12: 28-29); (i) the virtue of charity (13); (j) public worship, prayer, preaching, prophecy (14); (k) the Resurrection of Christ (15:4-7); (l) the general resurrection, the glorified bodies, the future life (15:25-58).

8. Division and Analysis. In this Epistle we distinguish three main parts: an Introduction (1 Cor 1:1-9), a Body (1 Cor 1:10-15:58), and a Conclusion (1 Cor 16).

1.  The introduction contains: [a] the salutation of St Paul and his “brother” Sosthenes to the Church at Corinth and to all those who call upon the name of the Jesus Christ (1 Cor 1:1-3); [b] and expression of thanksgiving to God for the gifts of speech and knowledge accorded the Corinthians, and a hope of their final perseverance, founded on the faithfulness of God and their communion with Jesus Christ (1 Cor 1:4-9).

2.  The Body of the Epistle falls naturally into two divisions, of which the first (1 Cor 1:10-6:20) reprehends the vices of the Corinthians, and the second, (1 Cor 7:1-15:58) replies to their letter and questions. 

A. The First Part of the Body of the letter, also composed of two parts, condemns first the divisions in the Corinthian Church (1 Cor 1:10-4:21), and secondly the moral disorders among the faithful at Corinth.

There ought to be unity in the Church, but it is a fact that there are divisions among the faithful (1 Cor 1:10-12).  These factions are most injurious to the Church of which Christ is the center and head (1 Cor 1:13-17a).  The fact that the Gospel was preached in simplicity to the Corinthians should not be a cause of dissension or disagreement, because God’s message is not after the manner of human conceptions, but according to divine wisdom (1 Cor 1:17b-3:4).  Preachers of the Gospel are simply ministers and instruments of God and must render an account of their stewardship (1 Cor 3:5-17).  The faithful, therefore, ought not to glory in this or that preacher, but in God alone: He only is the judge of His ministers (1 Cor 3:18-4:6).  Humility is necessary in preachers of the Gospel (1 Cor 4:7-13).  St Paul has suffered much for the faithful, and they should imitate him (1 Cor 4:14-16).  The Apostle is sending Timothy to visit the Corinthians and he himself will come shortly (1 Cor 4:17-21).

Following upon their lack of unity, moral disorders and relaxation of religious discipline set in among the Corinthians,  The faithful should have put out of their number the incestuous man, whom St Paul now excommunicates (1 Cor 5:1-5).  That case was a cause of grave scandal; the Corinthians should remember the warning contained in the Apostle’s first letter, to avoid sinners (1 Cor 5:6-13).  Disputes among Christians should not be carried to heathen courts; those who are the cause of such lawsuits shall receive a severe judgment (1 Cor 6:1-11).  All things lawful are not expedient; the faithful must fly from the sin of fornication. 

B. The Second Part of the Body of the letter (1 Cor 7:1-15:58) replies to the questions and the doubts raised by the Corinthians.

Matrimony and its use are perfectly lawful (1 Cor 7:1-9).  Marriage is indissoluble (1 Cor 7:10-24).  The state of celibacy is more excellent than that of matrimony (1 Cor 7:25-40).

With regard to meats offered to idols it is to be noted that such meats are not bad in themselves, although it may necessary to avoid them on account of scandal (1 Cor 8:1-13).  On account of the danger of scandal, the apostle says it is sometimes necessary to forego one’s rights, as he himself did in refusing support from the faithful (1 Cor 9:1-18).  He suffered countless privations and made many sacrifices for the salvation of souls (1 Cor 9:19-23).  Thus also should the Corinthians be willing to make sacrifices in order to save their souls (1 Cor 9:24-27).  Many benefits received from God are no guarantee that we shall be saved (1 Cor 10:1-13).  Therefore, all things being considered, the faithful should take no part in sacrifices offered to idols; we cannot be on the side of God and of His enemies at the same time (1 Cor 10:14-22).

At the public services of the Church women should have their heads covered, as is evident from various considerations (1 Cor 11:2-16).  All disorders and unseemly conduct are especially out of place at the Eucharistic celebration (1 Cor 11:17-22).  The institution of the Lord’s Supper, and the manner in which it should be observed (1 Cor 11:23-34).

The Corinthians have abused their spiritual gifts, allowing them to become an occasion of pride and envy.  The extraordinary gifts which the faithful enjoy come from God.  They should not be a source of discord, since they all come from the same Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:1-11).  The faithful are all members of the same spiritual body; and hence they who possess lesser gifts should not envy those who are blessed with greater ones; and, on the other hand, those who are more highly favored should not despise their more humble brethren (1 Cor 12:12-30).  While each one ought to be content with the gifts he has, it is not forbidden to desire the better ones (1 Cor 12:31).  The most excellent of all the gifts and virtues is charity, without which everything else is as nothing (1 Cor 13:1-3).  The nature of charity; it endures forever (1 Cor 13:4-13).  Of the gifts of tongues and prophecy the latter is more excellent, because more useful to the faithful and to unbelievers as well (1 Cor 14:1-26).  Some practical directions are necessary with regard to the use of the various spiritual gifts (1 Cor 14:27-36).  St Paul observes that he is speaking with divine authority (1 Cor 14:37-40).

Regarding the resurrection of the dead St Paul affirms its truth and reality, proving it first from the Resurrection of Christ (1 Cor 15:1-28), and then from a practice of some of the faithful and from his own life and sufferings (1 Cor 15:29-34).  Next the manner of the resurrection and the qualities of the glorified bodies are explained (15:35-50).  The just shall be transformed at the coming of Christ (1 Cor 15:51-53).  The victory of Christ over death (1 Cor 15:54-58).

3.  The Conclusion of the Epistle (1 Cor 1:16) treats [a] of the collection to be made for the poor in Jerusalem (1 Cor 16:1-4); [b] of the Apostle’s forthcoming visit (1 Cor 16:5-9); [c] of the welcome that should be extended to Timothy and Apollo (1 Cor 16:10-12); [d] of the necessity of earnestness and love (1 Cor 16:13-14); [e] of the charity and gratitude the Corinthians ought to show towards their delegates Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus (1 Cor 16:15-18).  The Epistle closes with a greeting, a warning and a blessing (1 Cor 16:19-24).

Posted in Catholic, Notes on 1 Corinthians | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Philippians 1:1-11

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 23, 2018

Text in purple indicates his paraphrasing of the scripture he is commenting on.


The Apostle commences this Epistle with the usual form of salutation (1, 2). He next declares his affection for the Philippians, which he shows, by thanking God for the gift of beneficent generosity, conferred on them, towards the ministry of the Gospel (3–8); and by fervently begging of Him to grant them an increase of knowledge and charity, and also to enable them to persevere in the performance of good works (8–12). And as the Philippians sent Epaphroditus for the purpose of knowing how matters fared with the Apostle in prison, and also the effect of his imprisonment on the cause of the Gospel, he informs them, that his imprisonment rather served the cause of the Gospel than otherwise; since it had the effect of making the Gospel more extensively known (13), and of inspiring others with greater courage in preaching it (14). And although, in the preaching of it, some might be actuated by unworthy motives, still, he is delighted to find that, be their motives what they may, the truth of the Gospel is preached (12–20).

He is indifferent about what may befall himself, provided in every contingency the glory of Christ be promoted. He cares not whether he die or live; as, in either case Christ will be glorified (20, 21). He is perplexed which course to adopt, whether to die, and enjoy Christ, or remain longer in life, to promote the good of others. As, however, his continuance in life is useful to the Philippians and all Christians, he resolves his doubt, and determines to continue in life, and to visit the Philippians (20–26). He exhorts them to steadfast co-operation in the cause of the Gospel, and to patience under the persecutions they may have to endure (26–28). He tells them it is a great gift from God to be accounted worthy of suffering for Christ’s sake.

Php 1:1 Paul and Timothy, the servants of Jesus Christ: to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons.

Paul and Timothy, servants of Jesus Christ, (salute) all the faithful of Philippi, who are sanctified through the merits of Jesus Christ, and incorporated, with him in baptism, as also the Bishops and Deacons.

“Paul and Timothy.” He adds “Timothy” in the salutation, because he was greatly beloved by the Philippians. “Servants of Jesus Christ.” He refers to the special engagement in the duties of preaching the Gospel. And he uses “servants” in preference to Apostles, because the former was a title common to himself with Timothy; and, moreover, his Apostleship was never questioned by the Philippians, so that there was no necessity for asserting it.

“To the Bishops and Deacons.” It may be asked, what is become of the “Priests” Some Interpreters join the words “Bishops and Deacons” with the words “Paul and Timothy”—thus, “Paul and Timothy with the Bishops and Deacons” (who are at Rome) “salute all the saints who are at Philippi.” This, however, is commonly rejected as a very forced and unnatural construction. Hence, others reply to the question thus:—They say the word “Bishops” includes the clergy of the second order, and means both Priests and Bishops; for the same office of watching over the spiritual interests of their flocks (which the word, επισκοπος, or “bishop,” implies) was exercised by Priests of the second, as well as by those of the first order. And they have many duties in common, such as absolving from sin, offering sacrifice, &c. In the infancy of the Church, Bishops and Priests observed no distinction in the discharge of ecclesiastical functions—(those of course, excepted, that exclusively belong to Bishops)—until, in consequence of the insolent demands of some of the Priests, the Bishops, “in order,” as we are told by St. Jerome (Commentar. in Titum, and Ep. ad Evagrium), “to remedy schism,” were forced to assert the superiority which, faith tells us (Council. Trid. SS. 23, Can. vii.) they possess over the clergy of the second order. According, then, to these Expositors of SS. Scripture, under the word “Bishops” are included Priests, as under “Deacons” are included, Subdeacons.

Some Expositors of Scriptures understand the word “Bishops,” of the Priests of the second order exclusively.—(See Beelen in hunc locum, and Acts, 20:17–29). These maintain that in the New Testament, the words episcopus and presbyter were indiscriminately employed to designate the clergy of the second order, while in the Apostolic age, they were called Apostoli, not only who were proximately sent by God, as in the case of the twelve, but those also who were proximately instituted by man, and vested with the Episcopal character.

Others, taking the word “Bishops” in its ordinary ecclesiastical acceptation, understand it of the clergy of the first order only; and, although in conformity with the discipline of the Church, and the Apostolical canons, there could be only one Bishop at Philippi; still, as this Epistle was intended as a circular for the neighbouring Churches, it is most likely, the Apostle includes the Bishops of these places. The omission of the Priests may be easily accounted for on the ground, that the Bishop alone, aided by the Deacons, in consequence of the paucity of the faithful in these Churches, performed all the requisite priestly functions. St. Gregory Thaumaturgus had only seventeen souls under his charge when he entered on his Episcopal office—(See 1 Tim. 3:8, 9; Titus, 1:6). The Apostle places Bishops and Deacons last among those whom he salutes. Although included in the entire Church, which he addressed in the first instance, he now, by way of special honour, addresses them in particular—(See 1 Tim. 3:8).

Php 1:2 Grace be unto you and peace, from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

May you enjoy the abundance of all spiritual gifts, together with their undisturbed enjoyment, from their efficient cause, God the Father, and their meritorious cause, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Php 1:3 I give thanks to my God in every remembrance of you:
I always return thanks to God, whenever the remembrance of you occurs to my mind.
Php 1:4 Always in all my prayers making supplication for you all with joy:
And in all my prayers I always pray to God for you with joy.

The Apostle thanks God for the graces they received and the good works they performed from the very beginning of their conversion, and prays for their perseverance unto the end; for, “he that shall persevere unto the end, the same shall be saved.” Some Interpreters include verse, 4, in a parenthesis, and connect verse, 3, with the following verse, 5. Others give the passage a continuous meaning, thus:—I give thanks to God as often as the recollection of you occurs to my mind, and that happens always in my prayers. “Making supplication for you all with joy.” These latter words, which form a portion of verse 4, are, according to them, nothing more than a repetition of the former verse, as if he said, with thanksgiving praying to God; for the subject of his joy and thanksgiving was the same—viz., their charity and generosity, referred to in next verse.

Php 1:5 For your communication in the gospel of Christ, from the first day unto now.

On account of the pecuniary aid which you have generously furnished towards the propagation of the gospel of Christ, and that, not on one occasion merely, but constantly, from the very first day of your conversion to the faith.

“Communication” refers to the pecuniary aid which they sent him. This is the usual meaning of the corresponding Greek word, κοινωνιᾳ, in the Epistles of St. Paul—viz., 4:14, of this Epistle; Rom. 12:13; Hebrews, 13:16; Gal. 6:6. Again, if we compare this phrase with chapter 4 verse 15, where this signification of the word is more clearly expressed, the same will appear. Moreover, one of the objects of this Epistle was to thank the Philippians for their generosity. “In the gospel of Christ.” The Greek reading omits, Christ.

Php 1:6  Being confident of this very thing: that he who hath begun a good work in you will perfect it unto the day of Christ Jesus.

Firmly trusting and feeling a moral persuasion that God will perfect the good work which he hath begun in you unto the day of judgment, when the Judge, JESUS CHRIST, will reward you according to your works.

“Being confident;” πεποἰθὼς, expresses only a hope and moral certainty. The word does not by any means imply, that St. Paul believed, as a matter of faith, that all the faithful at Philippi would persevere. He says, “who hath begun a good work in you, will perfect it,” rather than, you who began will perfect it, to commend the efficacy of divine grace, to which our salvation from beginning to end is principally to be ascribed. The “good work” refers to the good work of contributing to the support of the ministers of the gospel; or, it may refer to a good life in general. “The day of Christ Jesus,” refers to the Day of Judgment, whether particular, when every one will be rewarded according to his works; or general, when the sentence passed at the particular will be solemnly ratified; the Apostle wishes us to keep this continually in mind, the better to prepare for it.

Php 1:7  As it is meet for me to think this for you all, for that I have you in my heart; and that, in my bands and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of my joy.

It is but just for me to entertain this firm hope and confidence that you will receive from God the gift of perseverance; because I love you most tenderly, and you are always present to my mind, as sharers in the joy which I feel and the grace which I possess in my chains, and in the defence of myself and confirmation of the truth of the gospel.

He states the grounds of his confident hope of their receiving the gift of perseverance. He ardently wishes for it on account of his great affection for them. “He has them in his heart,” and constantly before his mind, and he keeps always in mind, that they are partners of his joy, &c. “In the defence,” may also refer to the defence of the gospel. The sense amounts to the same, since the reasons adducible by him in his own defence and apology, would serve to defend and confirm the gospel.

“Of my joy.” The Greek is, of my grace. The similarity of both words in the Greek, χάριτος and χαρας, would account for the mistake; both come, however, to the same; since, it was a source of “joy” for them to suffer for Christ, and “a grace” to be able to do so (verse 29). (Both meanings are united in the Paraphrase). Some Interpreters join the words, “in my bands,” with the preceding. It is better, however, place the words, “partakers of my joy,” between them (as in Paraphrase).

Php 1:8  For God is my witness how I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.

For, I call God to witness the tender and deep love which I entertain for you, a love similar to that with which Jesus Christ has loved you.

He explains the word, “I have you in my heart.” “In the bowels of Jesus Christ,” may also mean that his love for them is not a carnal, but a pure Christian love. They express the excess of the Apostle’s love for his spiritual children. His own heart being incapable of loving them with the fulness and intensity he would wish, he recurs to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, and enters it. In the tepidity of our love for God and our neighbour, let us unite our love to that of Jesus Christ, and offer it to God in union with the ardent, pure love of JESUS.

Php 1:9  And this I pray: That your charity may more and more abound in knowledge and in all understanding:

And this I beg of God—viz., that your charity may daily more and more increase, according to the rules of Christian knowledge and discernment.

“In knowledge and all understanding.” These qualities are requisite, lest, through the indiscriminate exercise of charity towards the teachers of error, as well as towards the Apostles of truth, their charity would be injurious, and cease to be virtuous.

Php 1:10  That you may approve the better things: that you may be sincere and without offence unto the day of Christ:

That you may be able to choose and discern what is better and more useful, and may be free from the admixture of false doctrines, and persevere in a blameless course until the coming of Christ to judgment;

“That you may approve,” &c. So as to be able to discern the true gospel from false teaching, and promote the former, and thus be preserved from the leaven of the latter. “Sincere,” may also mean, free from all sin in the sight of God, and “without offence” before men. “The day of Christ,” virtually commences at death, when the particular judgment takes place, of which the general will only be a solemn and public ratification.

Php 1:11  Filled with the fruit of justice, through Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

Abounding in good works, which both confer and preserve justice and sanctification, through Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

“Fruit.” In Greek, fruits. The Vulgate reading is, however, supported by the best Manuscripts and Versions. “Justice” may also mean, eleemosynary good works, as in the gospel of St. Matthew (c. 5).

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Catholic lectionary, Notes on Philippians, Notes on the Lectionary, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

St Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on Psalm 27

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 23, 2018

David’s faith and hope in God

Explanation of the Psalm

1 Tribulation brings on darkness, prosperity brings light and serenity; for tribulation confuses and confounds the soul, so that it cannot easily see how it ought to act, and thence is provoked to impatience, or to some other sin. But should God, by his divine light, dispel the darkness, the soul at once sees that the tribulation, which in the darkness of the night brought such horrors with it, was temporary and trifling; and sees, at the same time, that tribulation, when God protects us, can not only do us no harm, but even tends marvelously to our good. David, having learned this by experience, exclaims, therefore, for himself, and in the person of all the elect, “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?” In other words, ignorance and infirmity made me timid in my tribulation, but once the Lord “enlightened” my mind, he made me clearly see that no temporal calamity can be grievous or continuous, and healed my soul with the ointment of divine love. “I fear no one,” for truth expels darkness, and “perfect charity casteth out fear,” 1 John 4. “The Lord is the protector of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?” another reason why he should no longer fear. The Lord not only is “my light and my salvation,” he will not desert me when enlightened and saved, but will constantly protect me with the shield of his providence and benevolence. “Of whom shall I be afraid,” then? “If God be for us, who is against us?” If a king, with a powerful armed escort, has no reason to fear, why should a servant of God, protected by his powerful and immortal master, have any fear about him? “Protected by the sign of the cross, instead of shield and helmet, I will securely penetrate the ranks of the enemy,” says St. Martin; for he was one of those who could confidently say, “The Lord is the protector of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?”

2 He describes the effects of God’s protection, and, as is usual with the prophets, makes use of the past for the future tense, to show the certainty of the matter. The meaning is, God will so protect me, that when they who wish me harm, “shall draw near against me,” like dogs or lions, “seeking to eat my flesh,” “these enemies that so trouble me” will become “so weak” and “so fallen” by their efforts, that, instead of harming me, they will only damage themselves. That such is the case is clear from the example, not only of David himself, but of Christ, and the martyrs, and of all the saints.

3 To show what unbounded confidence he has in God, he now says that he not only despises his enemies individually, but that he even fears not “armies in camp” of his enemies, and not only so encamped but even in actual battle.

4 This “one thing,” so asked, is thought by some to mean the house where the ark of the covenant lay; who will have it that he asks to return from exile, that he may be near the ark. I prefer the opinion of St. Augustine, who understands it of heaven, which seems to be not only the true, but even the literal meaning. For David does not ask to dwell near “the house of the Lord,” but “in the house of the Lord;” and it is well known that David never lived in the house of the Lord, but in his own palace, which was a good distance from the tabernacle, more so before the tabernacle was brought to Mount Sion; and he could, had he so chosen it, when he was king, have lived as near as he pleased to the tabernacle. Along with that, this verse is a counterpart of one in Psalm 83, “Blessed are they that dwell in thy house, O Lord; they shall praise thee forever and ever;” a phrase that can only be applied to those that dwell in God’s house in heaven. Finally, David, holy and perfect as he was, would never have so ardently desired or asked for any temporal favor in such terms as, “one thing I have asked of the Lord,” as if nothing else was to be asked. The prophet then, in this passage, tells us what is the real foundation of his confidence in God, and why he fears no temporal calamity. The foundation is a fervent love of God, for he that fervently loves the supreme and everlasting good, sets no value whatever on the things of this world. “One thing I have asked of the Lord; this I will seek after.” I ask for nothing temporal; I care not for the loss of the whole world, provided I be found worthy of possessing one thing; for that one thing alone do I care; that one thing alone have I asked; that one thing alone will I ask; namely, “to dwell in the house of the Lord;” not for a while, but, “For all the days of my life;” that is, during the life of the saints with God, which will certainly have no termination. Observe the point in the words, “That I may dwell in the house of the Lord;” for while here on earth we are the children, as well as the friends of God; however, we do not dwell with, but rather walk with God; nor do we rest in his house, but in his tent. “That I may see the delight of the Lord, and may visit his temple.” He tells us why he longs to dwell in the house of the Lord, because there perfect happiness reigns. For there is to be seen the beauty of God’s house and of the heavenly host; where nothing profane can enter, but where there is a daily sacrifice of jubilation and praise.

5 He assigns a reason for having so boldly asked for a place in the house of the Lord, and a sight of his beauty; because he had already got a taste of his sweetness, and a pledge of his love: as if he briefly said, Having received the grace, I dare to ask for the glory. The whole is metaphorical; for, correctly speaking, David was not “hid in the tabernacle” of the Lord, when Saul was in pursuit of him; but the whole passage means, in the evil days of the present time, God has defended and protected me as effectually as if he had placed and hidden me in the inmost recesses of his tabernacle, and from such condescension on God’s part, I confidently hope that I will one day arrive at his house, “The one thing I have asked;” the one thing “I will seek after.” The second part of the verse is, in other words, a repetition of the first.

6 By another metaphor he conveys the same idea; namely, that he was so defended and protected by God’s providence as if he were in a lofty and well fortified tower. Isaias uses the same metaphor when he says, 33:16, “He shall dwell on high; the fortifications of rocks shall be his highness.” The meaning then is, “He hath exalted me upon a rock;” placed me in an elevated, fortified position, and hence, “My head is lifted up above my enemies;” I have subdued and vanquished them all. Thus is described not only the protection and defense of the just, who cannot possibly be injured by any machinations of the enemy, according to 1 Peter 3, “And who is he that can hurt you, if you be zealous of good?” but even we are told how the just arrived at such security; namely, by elevating the mind in contemplation to God and to eternity. For he that seriously meditates on eternity, and has an ardent love for God, is placed on a very lofty and well fortified tower, so that nothing can harm him, all earthly things having now become so vile in his sight. “I have gone round.” The prophet having spoken of contemplation, is himself now wrapped in it; is raised up above everything earthly, and breaks out in admiration of God’s works, and of the Almighty producer of them. “I have gone round.” I have taken a mental survey of God’s works in heaven and on earth; “And have offered up in his tabernacle a sacrifice of jubilation;” in this great tabernacle of God, the heavens, which I have ascended in spirit; in a loud voice, proceeding from intense admiration, I have offered my tribute of praise to God, the most agreeable sacrifice I could possibly offer him, as we read in another Psalm, “Offer to God the sacrifice of praise;” and, in the same Psalm, “The sacrifice of praise shall glorify me,” a thing I have not only already done, but will do daily, for “I will sing and recite a psalm to the Lord.”

7 He reverts to “One thing I have asked of the Lord,” which one petition he asks may be granted, burning as he is with a vehement desire of beholding his beloved. “Hear, O Lord, my voice with which I have cried to thee;” namely, when I asked for the “One thing.” “Have mercy on me,” suffering as I am in my exile, “and hear me.”

8–9 These verses require more to be reflected on and put into practice than to be explained. “My heart hath said to thee.” My desires have spoken to thee. “My face hath sought thee.” My interior eyes, fixed in the face of my soul, look for thy beauty—despise everything else. “Thy face, O Lord, will I still seek.” It shall be always my study to look for a sight of thee, in the hope not only of seeing thee face to face in the world to come; but that also, in this world, too, I may study one thing only, to catch your looks, and through them to be enlightened and inflamed. “Turn not away thy face from me.” Keep your eyes constantly on me, for fear my light may grow dark, and my charity grow cold. “Decline not in thy wrath from thy servant.” Allow me not to fall into sin, for fear you may desert me in your anger. St. Augustine justly observes that the fear alluded to here is not servile, but holy fear. Servile fear wishes for the master’s absence, to be able to offend with impunity, and, therefore, would not make use of the expression, “Decline not,” but would rather say, Go away, and decline; but holy fear, that truly loves the beloved, fears nothing more than his departure. “Be thou my helper.” Having asked God “not to decline in his wrath from his servant,” and that, from a consideration of the impossibility of his avoiding, by his own strength, the sins that provoke the anger of God, he cries out to him to continue helping him. The just man, then, asks God’s help to avoid sin; but should he unfortunately fall, he begs he may not be discarded entirely, but that he may, in mercy, be pardoned and cured; and he, therefore, adds, “O God, any Savior;” for a Savior’s duty is to heal and to cure, instead of rejecting and despising the unfortunate.

10 A very urgent reason assigned for God’s assisting him, there being none that loves us so ardently. Observe the third person used for the second in the end of the verse; instead of saying, Thou hast taken me up, he says, “The Lord hath taken me up,” and that through reverence for God. A similar change of person occurs in Genesis, where Rachel says to her father, “Let not my Lord be angry at my not being able to rise before you;” and, in Kings, Nathan says to David, “Has this word gone out from my Lord the king?” The expression, then, “The Lord hath taken me up,” is the same as, You, O Lord, have taken me up. These words beautifully express the goodness of God, for David was then no child, to feel the want of parents; nor could it have been any great loss to him to be without his parents, who then would rather have been a burden than a loss to him; the meaning then is, I am like a new born babe, deserted, abandoned by its natural parents, and thus exposed to all manner of danger; but when so cast away and deserted, you, O Lord, have, in the excess of your goodness, taken me up, fostered, nourished, and cherished me. And, in fact, any one that will only reflect on the frailty of human nature, the power of our invisible enemies, and how much we need the grace of God in all our actions, will not deny that we are, with the greatest justice, compared to infants exposed and abandoned by their parents. So convinced was Ezechias, the prophet, of his infirmity in this respect, that it was not to an exposed infant, but to a swallow’s young, unfledged, that he compared himself, Isaias 58, “Like the young of a swallow, so will I cry.”

11 Having compared himself to an exposed, deserted infant, adopted by God, he anon fairly asks to be shown how to walk. He asks the grace of being able to observe all his holy commandments, which he never loses sight of through the whole one hundred and fifty Psalms. What else could he do? when it was the only path to that heavenly house of God, which he had just declared to be the only wish and desire of his heart. “And guide me in the right path, because of my enemies;” that is, direct me in the way of your commandments, which is truly “the right path;” the most just, however narrow it may be. Others will have it that, “Teach me thy way” is a request for internal inspiration; and “Direct me in the right path,” means a petition for a loving desire of observing the commandments. The Words, “Because of my enemies,” imply the necessity of the grace of God in this pilgrimage here below, to protect us from our visible, as well as from our invisible enemies, who are in daily ambush, watching us, seeking to divert us from the straight road of virtue to the rugged and difficult passes of vice.

12 The same petition continued. He asks to be saved from being delivered up to “the will” of his enemies, especially his invisible ones. A similar expression occurs in Luke 23, “He gave Jesus up to their will.” “For unjust witnesses have risen up,” is by many referred to the false witnesses that so calumniated David; not an improbable explanation; but I consider that the sentence will be more in accordance with what preceded, as well as with what follows, and also with the subject of the whole Psalm, if we interpret these words as applying to the temptations, whether of demons or of men, who, by false promises, or by threats, seek to bring the just to impatience, or to any other sin, as we have in Psalm 118, “The wicked have told me fables, but not as thy law.”

13 He tells us why “iniquity hath lied to itself.” For I, in spite of all my enemies, “believe,” have the strongest confidence, that “I will see the good things of the Lord;” that is, those good things which, before God, are good; which make man happy, which alone are really good; and that, “in the land of the living,” in that land where death hath no place, no dominion.

14 He concludes by an apostrophe to himself, to have patience and confidence in God, saying, My soul, as you desire to dwell in the house of God, as you have so many pledges of his love, as you “believe to see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living,” do not be disheartened in your trouble, do not look for any earthly consolation, but “wait patiently,” take courage in the Lord, act the part of a man, until the evil days shall have passed away, and the good ones shall have arrived.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Catholic lectionary, Notes on the Lectionary, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, Scripture, St Robert Bellarmine | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Commentaries for Weekdays (Years I and II) and Sundays (Years A, B and C) and Solemnities

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 22, 2018

NOTE: Solemnities and feasts are listed at the end of this post. This part is not yet complete. If you are looking for commentaries on the Sunday readings in the Extraordinary Form go here.



First Week of Advent.
Second Week of Advent.
Third Week of Advent.
Fourth Week of Advent.

Note: Traditionally Epiphany is celebrated on January 6. In the USA it is celebrated on the Sunday following January 6.

Dec. 25. Vigil Mass for the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Dec 24).
Dec. 25. Mass During the Night: The Nativity of the Lord (Midnight Mass).
Dec. 25. Mass at Dawn: The Nativity of the Lord.
Dec. 25. Mass During the Day: The Nativity of the Lord.

Sunday Within the Octave of Christmas (Feast of the Holy Family). If a Sunday does not fall between Dec. 26 and Dec 31 then the Feast of the Holy Family is celebrated on Dec. 30.

Dec. 26. The Feast of St Stephen, the Church’s First Martyr.
Dec. 27. The Feast of St John, Apostle and Evangelist.
Dec 28. Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs.
Dec. 29. Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas.
Dec. 30. Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas. See next note.
!!! Dec 30. Feast of the Holy Family (Non-Sunday). If a Sunday does not fall between Dec 26-31 then the Feast of the Holy Family is celebrated on this date.
Jan 1. Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God.
Jan. 2. Memorial of St Basil the Great and St Gregory Nanzianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church.
Jan. 3. Christmas Weekday.
Jan . 4. Memorial St Elizabeth Ann Seton, Religious.
Jan. 5. Memorial of St John Nuemann, Bishop.
Jan. 6. Christmas Weekday. Traditionally this is Epiphany. In the USA the Epiphany is celebrated on the first Sunday after Jan 6. For commentary on the Epiphany readings see below, following Jan 8.
Jan. 7. Christmas Weekday. NOTE: in 2018 this date falls on the Sunday after Jan 6. IN the USA this Sunday is celebrated as the Epiphany. See the link for the Epiphany below, following Jan 8.
Jan 8.

!!! The Epiphany of the Lord.
Epiphany to the Baptism of the Lord.

Each week contains the beginning and ending Sundays (e.g., the 4th week contains Sundays 4 and 5). We are currently in daily cycle 1 and Sunday cycle C. The new Sunday cycle always begins on the First Sunday of Advent; and the daily cycle on the next day.

1st WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
2nd WEEK: Year 1Year 2.
3rd WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
4th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
5th WEEK: Year 1Year 2.
6th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
7th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
8th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
9th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
10th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
11th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
12th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
13th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
14th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
15th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
16th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
17th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
18th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
19th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
20th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
21st WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
22nd WEEK:  Year1Year 2.
23rd WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
24th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
25th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
26th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
27th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
28th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
29th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
30th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
31st WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
32nd WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
33rd WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
34th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.


Ash Wednesday Through Second Sunday of Lent.
Second Week of Lent.
Third Week of Lent.
Fourth Week of Lent.
Fifth Week of Lent.
!!! Holy Week.


Easter Sunday to Divine Mercy Sunday (Second Sunday of Easter).
Second Week of Easter.
Third Week of Easter.
Fourth Week of Easter.
Fifth Week of Easter.
Sixth Week of Easter. Includes Ascension Thursday.
Seventh Week of Easter. Includes Pentecost.

Some of these are also listed above (e.g., during the Christmas season).

December 8. Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Dec 12. Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Dec 24-25. Christmas: Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord. 4 Masses below.

Dec 26. Feast of St Stephen the Proto-Martyr.

Dec 27. Feast of St John the Evangelist.

Dec 28. Feast of the Holy Innocents.

Jan 1. Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, The Mother of God (Octave of Christmas).

Jan 6. Solemnity of the Epiphany.

Jan 25. Feast of the Conversion of St Paul.

Feb 2. Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.

Feb 22. Feast of the Chair of St Peter.

Mar 19. Feast of St Joseph, Husband of Mary.

Mar 25. Feast of the Annunciation.

Apr. 25. Feast of St Mark the Evangelist.

May 1. Feast of St Joseph the Worker.

May 3. Feast of Saints Philip and James, Apostles.

May 14. Feast of St Matthias, Apostle.

May 31. Feast of the Visitation.

Second Friday After Pentecost: Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Year A.  Year B.  Year C.

Jun 24. Vigil and Mass of the Day. Feast of the Birth of St John the Baptist.

Jun 29. Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles.

Jul 3. Feast of St Thomas the Apostle.

Jul 22. Feast of St Mary Magdalene.

Jul 25. Feast of St James the Elder, Apostle.

Aug 6. Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, Year A.

Aug 10. Feast of St Lawrence the Deacon.

Aug 15. Vigil and Mass of the Day. Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Aug 24. Feast of St Bartholomew, Apostle.

Sept 8. Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Sept 14. Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

Sept 21. Feast of St Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist.

Sept 29. Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, Archangels.

Oct 18. Feast of St Luke the Evangelist.

Oct 28. Feast of Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles.

Nov 1. Solemnity of All Saints.

Nov 2. The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed.

Nov 9. Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica.

Nov 30. The Feast of St Andrew, Apostle.

Last Sunday of the Year: Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. Always falls on last Sunday of the Year.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Year A: Commentaries for the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 22, 2018

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Hosea 11:1, 3-4, 8-9.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Isaiah 12:2-3, 4, 5-6.

Father Bertrand’s Commentary on Ephesians 3:8-12, 14-19. Pdf document. Commentary is on verses 1-21.

Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on Ephesians 3:8-12, 14-19.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Ephesians 3:8-12, 14-19.

St Cyril of Alexandria’s Commentary on John 19:31-37.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on John 19:31-37.

Navarre Bible Commentary on John 19:31-37.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Commentaries for the Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 21, 2018



NABRE. Used in the USA. Since the ninth Sunday is rarely celebrated the daily Mass reading feature is unavailable. I’ve linked to the individual chapters.

1 Kings 8:41-43. Psalm 117. Galatians 1:1-2, 6-10. Luke 7:1-10.

Divine Office.


None Currently Available.

My Notes on 1 Kings 8:41-43.


Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 117.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 117.

Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 117.

St Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on Psalm 117.


Father Callan’s Commentary on Galatians 1:1-2, 6-10. On 1-10.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Galatians 1:1-2, 6-10.

Father Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Galatians 1:1-2, 6-10.


Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 7:1-10.

St Cyril of Alexandria’s Homiletic Commentary on Luke 7:1-10.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Luke 7:1-10.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Catholic lectionary, Catholic Sunday Lectionary, Notes on the Lectionary, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Day of the Lord: Some Homily and Study Aids

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 20, 2018


The “Day of the Lord” often refer to the occasion of God’s final intervention in human affairs to punish sin, restore the faithful of his people and establish his rule over the nations. It is linked with the Messianic hope and will be fulfilled at Jesus Christ’s return. Although its time is unknown, it will be heralded and accompanied by signs and by great upheavals in nature. This future consummation is anticipated in historical acts of judgment. These events anticipating the final “Day of the Lord” can also be designated by this phrase.


The day of the Lord as a day of judgment:

Of universal judgmen tIs 24:21–22 See also Zeph 1:14–18


The day of the Lord as a day of hope

A day of restoration for God’s people Jer 30:7–8. See also Joe 2:23–28

God will gather his people Is 11:11; Is 27:12–13; Mic 4:6–7; Mt 24:30–31

God will save his people Zeph 3:14–20. See also Is 4:5–6; Is 26:1; Joe 2:32; 3:16–18; Obad 17; Zech 9:16–17

God will purify his people Is 4:3–4; Zeph 3:11–13; Zech 14:20–21; Mal 4:1–2

God will exalt his people Obad 21; Mic 4:8; 5:8–9; Rev 22:5

God will complete his saving work Php 1:6 The “day of Christ Jesus” is the NT equivalent to the “day of the Lord” which refers to Jesus Christ’s second coming. See also Dan 12:1–2; Jn 6:40; Jn 11:24; 1 Cor 1:8; 2 Tim 1:12; 2 Tim 4:8

The establishment of God’s kingdom on the day of the Lord:

God’s kingdom will be universal and everlasting Zech 14:9. See also Dan 2:44; Dan 7:13–14; Rev 11:15

God will be the object of universal worship Is 19:19–24; Zeph 3:9–10; Zech 14:16

God’s rule will be centred on a restored Jerusalem Is 2:2–4; Zech 2:10–12; Rev 22:3

The fulfilment of Messianic hope on the day of the Lord Is 4:2. See also Is 11:10; Jer 30:9; Hos 3:5; Am 9:11; Zech 9:9; Zech 12:10

Being prepared for the day of the Lord:

The day will come unexpectedly 1 Th 5:2–3. See also Mt 24:43–44; Mk 13:32; 2 Pet 3:10

The need to be ready for the day 1 Th 5:4–8. See also Ezek 13:5; Zeph 2:1–3; Mal 4:5; 2 Pet 3:11–12

Signs heralding the day may be discernedMt 24:33; 2 Th 2:3

The day of the Lord will be accompanied by signs and great upheavals in nature Acts 2:19–20 See also Joel 2:30–31; Is 13:9–10; Joel 2:10; Lk 21:11; Lk 21:25–26

Historical events anticipate the day of the Lord:

Disaster foreshadows final judgment:
Is 5:29–30 Judah invaded by Assyria;
Ezek 30:10 Egypt defeated by Nebuchadnezzar;
Joel 2:2–4 Israel devastated by a locust swarm;
Am 5:27 Israel defeated and exiled by Assyria;
Mt 24:21 Jerusalem destroyed by the Romans
 Return from exile foreshadows final restoration Is 11:12–14; Hag 2:23; Zec 3:8

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

%d bloggers like this: