We continue our series on the apostolic fathers as look into 1 Clement 62-65.
Our series uses for its text Michael Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers.
1 Clement is from a leader in Rome to the leaders and people of Corinth, and in chps 62-65 he turns to the factions and fractions in Corinth with some corruption in leadership. He wants the Corinthians to finish reading this letter well by humbly receiving its contents.
Here’s how Clement summarizes his own intention for his letter: he’s concerned with behavior. Theology comes into play for him as a way of clarifying what specific behaviors are inconsistent or consistent with the way of Christ.
1Clem. 62:1 We have written enough to you, brothers, about the things that pertain to our religion and are particularly helpful for a virtuous life, at least for those who wish to guide their steps in holiness and righteousness. 2 For we have touched upon every subject—faith, repentance, genuine love, self-control, sobriety, and patience—and have reminded you that you must reverently please Almighty God in righteousness and truth and steadfastness, living in harmony without bearing malice, in love and peace with constant gentleness, just as our ancestors, of whom we spoke earlier, pleased him, by being humble toward the Father and God and Creator and toward all people. 3 And we have reminded you of these things all the more gladly, since we knew quite well that we were writing to people who are faithful and distinguished and have diligently studied the oracles of the teaching of God.
Clement’s approach was to provide examples of the Christian way of life, and they exhibit an orderly life when it comes to how to listen to and relate to leaders. The problem in Corinth was rebellion against the leaders.
Along with this letter Clement sent sagacious examples, Sages who embodied the peace and harmony he was urging upon them. The issue is peace.
1Clem. 63:1 Therefore it is right for us, having studied so many and such great examples, to bow the neck and, adopting the attitude of obedience, to submit to those who are the leaders of our souls, so that by ceasing from this futile dissension we may attain the goal that is truly set before us, free from all blame. 2 For you will give us great joy and gladness if you obey what we have written through the Holy Spirit and root out the unlawful anger of your jealousy, in accordance with the appeal for peace and harmony that we have made in this letter. 3 We have also sent trustworthy and prudent men who from youth to old age have lived blameless lives among us, who will be witnesses between you and us. 4 This we have done in order that you may know that our only concern has been, and still is, that you should attain peace without delay.
1Clem. 64:1 Finally, may the all-seeing God and Master of spirits and Lord of all flesh, who chose the Lord Jesus Christ, and us through him to be his own special people, grant to every soul that has called upon his magnificent and holy name faith, fear, peace, patience, steadfastness, self-control, purity, and sobriety, so that they may be pleasing to his name through our high priest and benefactor, Jesus Christ, through whom be glory and majesty, might and honor to him, both now and for ever and ever. Amen.
Those sent — the Sages — appear to be named here.
1Clem. 65:1 Now send back to us without delay our messengers, Claudius Ephebus and Valerius Bito, together with Fortunatus, in peace and with joy, so that they may report as soon as possible the peace and concord that we have prayed for and desire, so that we too may all the more quickly rejoice over your good order. 2 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you and with all people everywhere who have been called by God through him, through whom be glory, honor, power, majesty, and eternal dominion to God, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen.
The letter of the Romans to the Corinthians.