Chrysostom on Corinthians

Chrysostom on Corinthians February 17, 2023

Continuing to do a slow read through the church fathers, John Chrysostom continues to be a fun read. At least, as fun as reading 19th century stilted translations of the church fathers can be, anyway. Granted, Chrysostom’s expositions of 1st and 2nd Corinthians aren’t the best of his works that I’ve read so far. But they’re solid enough entries that they’re worth picking up.

For example, the highlights of these commentaries certainly have some careful thoughts on sin:

“…if anyone revile thee, wax not fierce, but groan, not for the insult, but for that sin which cast thee into disgrace. Groan when thou hast sinned, not because thou art to be punished, (for this is nothing), but because thou hast offended thy Master, one so gentle, one so kind, one that so loveth thee and longeth for thy salvation as to have given even his Son for thee. For this groan, and do this continually: for this is confession.” (2 Corinthians, Homily 4)

And what is the church to do about sin? This is where the largely now-defunct practice of church discipline comes into play–a topic which 1 Corinthians says much about. Consequently, Chrysostom has much to say as well. for example:

“For which, tell me, pities the man in a fever and laboring under delirium, he that lays him on his bed, and binds him down, and keeps him from meats and drinks that are not fit for him; or he that allows him to glut himself with strong drink, and orders him to have his liberty, and to act in every respect as one that is in health? Does not this person even aggravate the distemper, the man that seems to act humanely, whereas the other amends it? Such truly ought our decision to be in this case also. For it is the part of humanity, not to humor the sick in every thing nor to flatter their unseasonable desires. No one so loved him that committed fornication among the Corinthians, as Paul who commands to deliver him to Satan; no one so hated him as they that applaud and court him; and the event showed it.” (Homily on 2 Corinthians 7:6-7)

Overall, this is a good book to have under your belt–even if it’s not the place to start with Chrysostom.

Dr. Coyle Neal is co-host of the City of Man Podcast an Amazon Associate (which is linked in this blog), and an Associate Professor of Political Science at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, MO

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