Chrysostom on John and Hebrews

Chrysostom on John and Hebrews February 23, 2024

After several years of effort, I’ve finally wrapped up the final volume of the First Series of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, John Chrysostom’s Homilies on the Gospel of St. John and Hebrews. As with the other books in this series, this one is excellent. While I don’t always agree with Chrysostom’s exegesis, his pastoral concerns and crisply aimed at the lives and hearts of his congregation.

“I may without knowing it be treating you for one disease while you are ill of others. So that if this congregation were but one person, I should not have judged it so absolutely necessary to make my discourse varied; but since in such a multitude there are probably also many maladies, I not unreasonably diversify my teaching, since my discourse will be sure to attain its object when it is made to embrace you all. For this cause also Scripture is something multiform, and speaks on ten thousand matters, because it addresses itself to the nature of mankind in common, and in such a multitude all the passions of the soul must needs be; though all be not in each. Let us then cleanse ourselves of these and so listen to the divine oracles, and with contrite heart hear what has been this day read to us.” (Homily on John, 23)

And of course, Chrysostom has his cranky moments as well, which just makes him all the more delightful as far as I’m concerned. He specifically tells his congregation that he’s going to start quizzing them randomly on his sermons:

“For that I SHALL question you, I have forewarned you; but WHEN I shall question you I do not as yet make evident. For perhaps it may be to-day; perhaps to-morrow, perhaps after twenty or thirty days, perhaps after fewer, perhaps after more.
Thus has God also made uncertain the day of our death… That we shall indeed depart, He hath said–but when He hath not yet said. Thus too I have said I shall question you, but I have not added when, wishing you always to be thoughtful.” (Homily on Hebrews, 4)

So take up this book and read. The whole Augustine/Chrysostom series is worthwhile, and you should have this under your belt.

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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