It is Paul Who Writes

Citation preview

Father Ronald Cox's The Gospel Story contained

whole

the

story

the

of

Life of Christ told in the words of

the Evangelists, printed on the

hand pages;

his

left-

Commentary on

the

right-hand pages, directly opposite the Scripture text. Students immediately

saw the advantage ment: one book in

to

of this arrange-

work from, open

one place, no searching for

refer-

ences, etc.

This book

Story. It takes

ture

where

of the

a sequel to

is

up

The Gospel

at the point in Scrip-

that left

off,

at the

Descent

Holy Ghost. The arrangement

of the books

hand pages

is

the same: on the

of It Is Paul

Who

left-

Writes,

the text of the Acts of the Apostles and the Pauline Letters runs continuously; directly opposite

Again

the

is

Scripture

Msgr. Ronald Knox alterations

A

the Commentary.

is

translation

used, with a

few

which he approved.

chronology of

St.

table of the Epistles for

Feast-days,

of

Paul's

life,

a

Sundays and

and three maps of

St.

Paul's journeys are provided.

$4.50

Rome

A \+\\ -7

Three

Toverris

V Br

nd^,

r

J/

* r

...

/V V//

%1

^


i—i 1 >

V_>

V/

i

>

V

q6

kJ

SECOND MISSIONARY JOURNEY FTRST

T

FTTFR TO THF TTTFS^AT

100 ONTTANT^

SECOND LETTER TO THE THESSALONIANS SFPOTNin IVTTSSiTWARY

1

116 128

TOTTRMFY Continued

THIRD MISSIONARY JOURNEY

126 J

FIRST LETTER TO THE CORINTHIANS

1/|.0

third X XXX XXX/ missionary J.VXliJUlv/li 11\ X TOiiRNFY L11I IX XX V7 x/ XXX XJ X continued

202

SECOND LETTER TO THE CORINTHIANS

204

third missionary journey continued

1AA TT

LETTER TO THE ROMANS

244

third missionary journey continued

308

ARREST AND IMPRISONMENT

316

LETTER TO THE HEBREWS

344

THE VOYAGE TO ROME

388

LETTER TO THE EPHESIANS

400

i

1

>

1

Xv

Contents

vi

LETTER TO THE COLOSSIANS LETTER TO PHILEMON

LETTER TO THE PHILIPPIANS

LETTER TO TITUS FIRST LETTER TO

TIMOTHY

SECOND LETTER TO TIMOTHY

CHRONOLOGY OF PAULAS LIFE

Maps PAGE paul's first and second journeys

FRONT ENDPAPER

paul's third journey and voyage

TO ROME paul's last journey

BACK ENDPAPER FRONTISPIECE

Introduction

This book

a sequel to

is

The GospeJ

point in Scripture where that

The

the Holy Ghost.

left

Stoiy; off,

it

takes

at the

layout of both books

is

up

at the

Descent of

the same: on

the left-hand page the text of the Acts of the Apostles and the

Pauline Letters runs continuously; on the opposite page there a

commentary, paragraph

attempt to explain

for paragraph.

difficult passages

on supplying the atmosphere

on following

his

main

they are

Paul wrote, and

I

have rearranged them so that

read in the order in which they were written;

the Letter to the first as

St.

arranges these letters according to

and importance.

now

which

in

have made almost no

but have concentrated

line of thought.

The New Testament their length

I

is

Romans

New

in the

is

in sixth place in this

Testament. Seven of these

book, not

letters

were

written during the course of St. Paul's missionary journeys as

recorded in the Acts;

Acts in order to

fit

I

have interrupted the narrative of the

in these letters

where they belong. The

remaining seven are grouped together at the end of the book; they were

written after the conclusion of the Acts.

all

For reasons of convenience rather than conviction located the Letter to the

date of writing ing

it

where

message.

I

The

is

Hebrews

uncertain, so

I

at Caesarea in

I

60 A.D.

have

The

have taken the liberty of plac-

think the reader will most easily appreciate events leading

up

to St. Paul's arrest

its

and im-

prisonment give the authentic background for the Letter to the Hebrews.

Monsignor Knox's version was made from the Latin Vulgate.

Introduction

X

The

slight variations in

my

from the

text arise

fact that

I

have

corrected his text in accordance with the original Greek; practically all of these corrections

Knox

meaning

Mgr. Knox's

Ward) most ;

St. Paul's

A New

thoughts

I

alter the

chronology of

am

greatly indebted

Testament Commentary (Sheed &

and many

of the paragraph headings

my commentary

in

do not

of the passage.

In interpreting to

were made by Monsignor

himself; in the majority of cases they

have come from

St. Paul's life I

source.

this

have followed

of the ideas

A

For the

Comreaders who

Catholic

mentary on Holy Scripture (Nelson). For those

wish to look up individual verses this book can be highly

recommended. But the two classic works on St. Paul are The Theology of St. Paul by Fernand Prat (Newman), and Paul of Tarsus by Joseph Holzner (Herder).

most profound study of more popular presentation

The two

large

Paul yet published.

of Prat are the

St.

Holzner

of the Life

is

a

of St. Paul against the

The theme cal

Body

background of

of St. Paul's Letters

his time.

the doctrine of the Mysti-

is

He never forgot his dramatic introducOn his way to Damascus, a bright light

blinded him, and a voice called to are

and Letters

of Christ.

tion to this truth.

why

volumes

him from above:

you persecuting me?' That

last

word

is

'Saul, Saul,

the important

one. Jesus Christ, seated in glory at the Father's right hand,

was complaining of personal persecution by Paul. The only conclusion Paul could reach was that Jesus identified himself

with each individual Christian. with Christ remained of his

The

identity of the Christian

St. Paul's central

doctrine for the rest

life.

r. j. cox HOLY CROSS COLLEGE

MOSGIEL iS

AUGUST 1956

N.Z.

SUNDAY AND FEAST-DAY EPISTLES Advent Second Advent Third Advent Fourth Advent First

Christmas Day I Christmas Day II Christmas Day III After Christmas

New

Year's

Day

294 300

Pentecost Sunday Trinity Sunday

448

Corpus Christi

150

Sacred Heart

454 456

Peter and Paul

344 84

Sixth Pentecost

454

Holy Name Holy Family Second Epiphany Third Epiphany Fourth Epiphany Fifth Epiphany Sixth Epiphany

294 428 116

Septuagesima Sexagesima

170 236

Quinquagesima First Lent Second Lent Third Lent Fourth Lent Passion Sunday Palm Sunday Easter Sunday

184 220

12

428 292

292

Fourth Pentecost Seventh Pentecost Eighth Pentecost

2

290 178 408 58

274 264 266

274

Ninth Pentecost Tenth Pentecost

172 180

Eleventh Pentecost Twelfth Pentecost Thirteenth Pentecost Fourteenth Pentecost

190 212 82

92

Fifteenth Pentecost

92

Sixteenth Pentecost

408 408

Seventeenth Pentecost Eighteenth Pentecost Nineteenth Pentecost

122

Twentieth Pentecost

412 88

Twenty-first Pentecost

Twenty-second Pentecost

366

Twenty-third Pentecost

440 *54

Twenty-fourth Pentecost Christ the King

142

412

414 418 436 446 420 422

IT IS

PAUL

WHO WRITES

'Cor Pauli cor Christi est**



ST.

JOHN CHRYSOSTOM

Text of Scripture on Left-Hand Pages.

Commentary on Right-Hand

Pages.

The Conversion When

of Paul

came round, while they were all all at once a sound came from heaven like that of a strong wind blowing, and filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then appeared to them what seemed to be tongues of fire, which parted and came to rest on each of them; and they were all filled with the Holy the day of Pentecost

gathered together in unity of purpose,

and began to speak

Spirit,

in strange languages, as the Spirit

gave utterance to each.

Among

those

who were

dwelling in Jerusalem at this time

were devout Jews from every country under heaven;

when

so,

the noise of this went abroad, the crowd which gathered was in bewilderment; each

own

language.

And

man

astonishment: 'Are they not

'How

is it

severally heard

they were all

that each of us hears

tongue? There are Parthians ites;

them speak

in his

beside themselves with

all

Galileans speaking?' they asked.

them

among

talking in his

us,

own

native

and Medes, and Elam-

our homes are in Mesopotamia, or Judea, or Cappadocia;

Pontus or Asia, Phrygia or Pamphylia, Egypt or the parts of

in

Libya round Cyrene; some of us are of us are Jews

and others

visitors

from Rome, some

proselytes; there are Cretans

and Arabians; and each has been hearing them

us too,

God's wonders in

So they were

his all

among tell

of

own language/ beside themselves with perplexity, and

asked one another, 'What can this mean?'

There were others who fill

said,

mockingly,

They have had their

of sweet wine.'

But and 'and

Peter, with the eleven apostles at his side, stood there

raised his voice to speak to all

you who are dwelling

them: 'Men of Judea,' he

in Jerusalem,

I

must

tell

you

said, this;

Palestine and Syria 30-44 A.D.

Descent of the Holy Ghost. his

On

this

promise made at the Last Supper:

and he

will give

fulfilled

will ask the Father,

you another to befriend you, one who

dwell continually with you for ever. It

day our Lord 'I

is

to

7

was a spring morning in Jerusalem; great crowds of Jews

were making their way to the temple for the Pentecostal ceremonies. Above the noise of talking and the sound of marching feet

came a mighty

sound

like a

roar in the sky above;

storm of wind; but the

Buttered, not a leaf

moved on

was a loud, rushing

it

was

air

still;

not a tunic

a tree. All eyes looked up; they

saw nothing but blue sky and bright sunlight. It

sounded perhaps

but

like a jet aircraft;

it

was to have

an incomparably more important effect on humanity. a

sound

in the sky, heralding the

coming

It

was

of the Third Person

of the Blessed Trinity.

When the Second Person had his birthday as man, there had been angels singing in the sky over Bethlehem. Today was a

new

birthday, the

coming of the Holy

dwelling in the 120 people in the upper

Supper.

Not one body

lehem, but a union of

only, like that of the

God

with

all

Spirit to

room

make

God-Man

at Beth-

the descendants of

scattered over the face of the earth.

his

of the Last

The 120 people

Adam in the

Cenacle were the beginnings of the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ in

its

infancy: a new, divine organism destined to

bring the fruits of redemption to

Peter's First

Sermon.

all

The crowds

nations.

surging into the temple

did not have to wait long for an explanation of the noise in the sky.

A

compact, united group of a

little

men and women were making their way

more than

a

hundred

through the west door,

Acts of the Apostles

4 listen to

what

suppose;

it is

I

have to

say.

These

2,

15-29

men

you

are not drunk, as

only nine in the morning. This

is

what was

fore-

God says, I will my spirit upon all mankind, and your sons and daughters will be prophets. Your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; and I will pour out my spirit in those days upon my servants and handmaids, so that they told by the prophet Joel: "In the last times,

pour out

show wonders in heaven above, and signs on the earth beneath, blood and fire and whirling smoke; the

will prophesy. I will

sun

moon

be turned into darkness and the

will

into blood,

before the day of the Lord comes, great and glorious.

everyone

'Men

who

calls

on the name of the Lord

shall

And

then

be saved."

man

of Israel, listen to this. Jesus of Nazareth was a

duly accredited to you from God; such were the miracles and

God

wonders and signs which as

did through

him

in

your midst,

you yourselves well know. This man you have put to death;

by God's

fixed design

and foreknowledge, he was betrayed to

you, and you, through the hands of sinful men, have cruelly

murdered him. But

God

from the pangs of death;

raised it

have the mastery over him.

"Always

I

and

It

make me stand

rejoicing

on

him

again, releasing

is

in his person that

David

can keep the Lord within sight; always he

right hand, to heart,

him up

was impossible that death should

firm.

So there

is

says:

at

gladness in

is

my my

my lips; my body, too, shall rest in conmy soul in the place of death,

fidence that you will not leave

or allow your faithful servant to see corruption.

shown me the way in

of

life;

you

will

make me

You have

full of

gladness

your presence."

'My brethren,

I

can say this to you about the patriarch David

without fear of contradiction, that he did

and

his

tomb

is

among us

to this day.

die,

and was buried,

But he was

a prophet,

and

The Temple chanting the praises of psalms).

in Jerusalem

God

30 A.D.

(probably in words from the

But they were not speaking in Aramaic or Hebrew;

each person spoke in a different language, and tongues.

people,

5

They

many of

were most

all

were foreign

were surrounded hy an ever-growing crowd of these from lands outside Palestine. These

men

excited, as they recognized a voice in the apostolic

group chanting aloud in the dialect of their adopted country.

Many

crowd had often seen Jesus walking into this same temple, and had often listened to him speaking in the of the

covered porches. Today they were witnessing a of that

same Lord and Master: he had come hack

of his followers.

He no longer spoke with

his

spoke through their

now

lips.

He is

in the persons

own human

he used Peter and James and John instead; hut could

new approach

it

voice;

was he who

the head, they are his organs.

love with the hearts of

all

He

his followers, all 120 of

them (and soon many thousands more); the Ere of divine love, Holy Spirit himself, was the force and power making their lips move in praise of the Lord God. So Peter stood up to address the excited crowd milling round the apostolic band; he spoke with the authority that our Lord had conferred upon him, when he said to him: 'Feed my lambs, shepherd my sheep.' And like his Lord and Master, whom he now represented, he used the same technique that Jesus had so often used here in this same temple during his public life on

the

earth.

First of all

he took up what was

amazing

topical,

what they were

all

In practical commonsense fashion he disposed of an explanation that he had heard given by several voices in the crowd the charge of

interested in: this

gift of tongues.



drunkenness.

No Jew would

day before the morning nine o'clock.

dream

sacrifice,

of taking a drink

on

a feast

which was not celebrated

until

6

Acts of the Apostles

God had

he knew

30-42

promised him on oath that he would

upon

sons of his body

2,

his throne;

it

was

of the Christ

set the

he

said,

foreseeing his resurrection, that he was not left in the place of

and that

death,

body did not

his

see corruption.

we

has raised up this man, Jesus, from the dead; of

God, then,

are witnesses

it.

'And now, exalted his

at

God's right hand, he has claimed from

Father his promise to bestow the Holy

poured out that

Spirit, as

Spirit;

you can see and hear

and he has

for yourselves.

David never went up to heaven, and yet David has told us: "The Lord said to my Master, 'Sit on my right hand, while I

make your enemies 'Let

it

be known, then, beyond doubt, to

Israel, that

whom

a footstool under your feet.'

God

has

made him Master and

"

all

the house of

Christ, this Jesus

you have crucified/

When

they heard

this, their

consciences were stung; and

they asked Peter and his fellow apostles, 'Brethren, what must

we

do?'

'Repent/ Peter said to them, 'and be baptized, every one of you, in the

then you is

for

far

name

will receive the gift of the

you and

away,

of Jesus Christ, to have your sins forgiven;

whom

And he

used

for your children,

the Lord our

God

many more words

Holy

and

Spirit.

This promise

for all those,

calls to

however

himself/

besides, urgently appealing

to them: 'Save yourselves/ he said, 'from this false-minded

generation/

So

all

those

who had

taken his words to heart were baptized,

and about three thousand day.

souls

were won for the Lord that

These occupied themselves continually with the

apostles'

teaching and fellowship, and the breaking of bread, and

The Temple

Now

that Peter

in Jerusalem 30

had struck

a note of

ceeded to give the true explanation of 120 people

talking at once,

all

guage. Peter announced

Old Testament had foretold. Peter

s

it

A.D.

commonsense, he pro-

this

amazing spectacle of

and every one

in a different lan-

as the fulfilment of

prophecies;

it

was exactly

third point was to prove that Jesus

heaven.

He quotes psalm

first

name; he

certainly did die (his

and there

in Jerusalem),

is

But it is just the opposite with his tomb by Golgotha is empty.

First Converts.

and

15 in proof. David,

It

was only

Jesus: everyone

fifty

Even on Good Friday many

the crucifixion 'went

showed the

alive,

is still

comes from him,

first

own

home

this very city

of those present at

beating their breasts.'

signs of sorrow;

knows

days (Pentecost in

Greek) since our Lord had died on the cross in of Jerusalem.

Joel

body still lies in his tomb here no claim that he ever rose from the

dead.

The

pwphet

person, could not have been speaking in his

using the

that

one of the many

as the

that this Pentecostal outpouring of his Spirit

now enthroned in

7

Then they

on hearing Peters sermon

they gave themselves completely to God. It was the beginning of a steady stream of converts to the

Church which has never

ceased.

Nicodemus must have been

a

happy man

as

he watched the

Erst baptismal ceremony, the rite of initiation into the Mystical

Body of Christ. Now he would understand our Lords words to him that night at Bethany: 'Believe me, no man can enter into the kingdom of God unless birth comes to him from water, and from the Spirit' Christianity

The

life

is

not merely a

of the early

set of beliefs; it is a

Church was based on the

way

earthly

of

life.

life

of

Acts of the Apostles

8 prayers;

2,

43-3, 10

and every soul was struck with awe, so many were the

wonders and

signs

performed by the apostles in Jerusalem. All

the faithful held together, and shared

and

all

they had, selling their

means of livelihood, so as to distribute to all, as each had need. They persevered with one accord, day by day, in the Temple worship, and as they broke bread in this house or that, took their share of food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God, and winning favour with all the possessions

people.

their

And each

day the Lord added to their fellowship others

that were to be saved.

Peter and John were going up to the temple at three o'clock in the afternoon,

which

is

an hour of prayer, when a

was carried by who had been lame from was put down at what

is

birth.

Every day he

called the Beautiful

Gate of the

temple, so that he could beg alms from the temple

And he

man

visitors.

asked Peter and John, as he saw them on their way

into the temple,

if

he might have alms from them.

Peter fastened his eyes on him, as John did too, and said,

Turn

and he looked at them attentively, hoping would be given him. Then Peter said to him, 'Silver and gold are not mine to towards

us';

that something

give, I give

you what

I

name of Jesus Christ of taking him by his right hand, strength came to his feet and

can. In the

up and walk/ So, he him up; and with that ankles; he sprang up, and began walking, and went into the temple with them, walking, and leaping, and giving praise to God. All the people, as they saw him walking and praising God, Nazareth,

rise

lifted

recognized

him

for the

man who

used to

sit

begging at the

Beautiful Gate of the temple, and were full of

bewilderment at what had befallen him.

wonder and

And he would

not

The Temple

in Jerusalem 30

A.D.

9

our Lord: the close unity of a family with Peter and the apostles as leaders,

and the sharing of goods

common.

in

All

the time they were studying the living tradition of our Lord's

own example as handed down by the apostles. Our Lord had told his followers in the Sermon on the Mount: 'Do not think that I have come to set aside the law and the prophets; I have not come to set them aside, hut to them

bring

7

to perfection.

And

so the early Christians did not

break with Judaism; they continued to frequent divine worship in the temple.

A Lame Man Healed.

Peter and John were together because

when he

the Master himself had paired them that way, sent the apostles out to preach 'two living at the Cenacle, city,

which

and

two.' If they

Erst

were

in the southwest section of the

is

they should not have been entering the temple by the

eastern gate, called the Beautiful Gate.

Were

they doing so be-

cause that was the gate most used by the Master into the temple courts?

Or had

garden of Gethsemani, which

More

likely they

is

when he went

they been paying a

visit to

the

just outside the eastern gate?

were living at Bethany, where Jesus himself

used to stay with Lazarus and his two famous

sisters;

the

Cenacle would be a place of meeting, but not

all

would be living there. As they climbed up the marble

from the Court

of the Gentiles into the

steps leading

Women's

the footsteps of the Master;

the disciples

Court, they were walking in

more than

now would now

that, they

were

hands and feet of that Head of the Body; Jesus work his wonders of healing only through these limbs of his Mystical Body. that

The same compassion

had moved him

a year before,

for misery

and

suffering

to heal a cripple, just north of the temple

was now the force and power that made Peter

Acts of the Apostles

io let

go of Peter and John, so that

about them in what selves

called

11-23

all

the crowd gathered

Solomon's Porch, beside them-

with wonder.

when he saw

Peter,

'Men

is

3,

of Israel/

he

it,

addressed himself to the people:

'why does

said,

do you fasten your eyes on

us, as if

this astonish

Why

you?

we had enabled him

walk through some power or virtue of our own?

It

is

the

to

God

Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, the God of our forefathers, who has thus brought honour to his Son Jesus. You gave him up, and disowned him in the presence of Pilate, when Pilate's voice was for setting him free. You disowned the holy, the of

just,

and asked

the author of dead, and

we

for the

life.

But

pardon of a murderer, while you

God

has raised

him up

are here to bear witness of

man you

killed

again from the

it.

know by sight, who has put his faith in that name, and that name has brought him strength; it is the faith which comes through Jesus that has restored him 'Here

is

a

all

to full health in the sight of you

'Come

then, brethren,

acted in ignorance; but

was foretold by

all

I

know

God

that you, like your rulers,

has fulfilled in this way what

the prophets about the sufferings of his

Christ. Repent, then,

and turn back to him,

sins effaced; so shall the

refresh our hearts.

all.

to have your

day come when the Lord sees

Then he

will

send out Jesus Christ,

fit

who

to is

yours by promise, but must have his dwelling-place in heaven until the time

when

all is

restored anew, the time which

God

has spoken of by his holy prophets from the beginning.

"The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like myself, from among your brethren; to him, to every word of his, you must listen. It is ordained that every'Thus, Moses said:

The Temple

in Jerusalem 30

A.D.

11

turn at the sound of the beggars voice. All the wealth of

heaven was at Peters disposal; he was the vicar of Christ.

Peter Explains the Miracle.

The Master

always appealed to

reason and facts; he respected the gift of reason in ings,

and

so explained his conduct in such a

rational adherence to his

methods

way

human

be-

win a

as to

claims. Peter, ever mindful of the

same reasonable approach. In sight, and towering above the temple colonnades and porches, was the Fortress Antonia. Within its wails, hardly a hundred yards to the north, only a few months before, the of his Master, follows the

Jewish people had disowned Jesus, their only hope of salvation; so

it

now

was

The

Peter

this incident of Jesus' trial before Pilate that

spoke

of.

scene comes alive once more, as Peter recounts the

re-

action of the Passover crowd to Pilate's proposal that he release Jesus their king:

'We want

Barabbas released, not

this

man



Barabbasl Barabbasl*

When

PiJate tried a last time to have the Jews accept Jesus,

they completely disowned their king: 'Away with him, away

with him; crucify him, crucify him!

'What/

'We

PiJate said to them, 'shall I crucify your king?

7

have no king/ the chief priests answered, 'except 9

Caesar.

But Peter knows, as necessary to

With

win

as his

Master

their hearts

did, that to convert

by love

as their

men

minds by

it is

truth.

the same charity as that of Jesus nailed to the cross, he

excuses their guilt through ignorance: 'Father, forgive them;

know what it is they are doing.* The Jews were looking for a military leader to drive out the Romans; Jesus had come in the way of suffering to drive out they do not

Acts of the Apostles

12

one who

not

will

3,

24-4, 11

And

all

who

the prophets

from Samuel onwards, have foretold those heirs of the prophets,

with our fathers,

prophet

listen to the voice of that

lost to his people."

and

when he

You

days.

of the covenant

which

are the

race

earth shall receive a blessing through your posterity." It

you

God

of all that

first

whom

has sent his Son,

from the dead to bring you

a blessing, to turn

be

God made

Abraham, "Every

said to

shall

spoke to you,

he

is

on to

raised

away every one

of you from his sins/

Before they had finished speaking to the crowd, they were interrupted by the priests, the temple superintendent, and

the Sadducees. These, indignant at their teaching the people

and proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, laid in prison (for it was already

hands on them, and put them

many

evening) until the next day. (Meanwhile,

had

listened to their preaching

that their

On

numbers had now

had joined the

risen to five

of those

who

believers, so

thousand men.)

the next day, there was a gathering of the rulers and

Annas was

elders

and

there,

and Caiphas, and John, and Alexander, and

scribes in Jerusalem; the high priest

who belonged

to the high-priestly family.

And

all

those

they had Peter

and John brought into their presence, and asked them, 'By what power, in whose name, have such men as you done this?'

Then

Peter was

filled

with the Holy

them: 'Rulers of the people, elders of If it is

is

and

said to

me.

over kindness done to a cripple, and the means by

which he has been here

Spirit,

Israel, listen to

news

for

restored, that

you and

for the

we

whole people

crucified Jesus Christ, the Nazarene,

the dead;

it is

through his

restored.

He

is

are called in question,

and God

name that this man

of Israel.

raised

You

him from

stands before you

that stone, rejected by you, the builders, that

The Temple

in Jerusalem 30

A.D.

13

That the Jews should have Mien into such an consequence of their explaining away, or ignoring, error was the

Satan and

sin.

what the prophets had

foretold.

Peter probably uses the prophecy of Isaias 53, and Psalm 21, to show that a suffering Messiah was foretold by God in the scriptures.

He

also quotes

come only through

that salvation can Jesus.

now

The time

from Moses and Abraham

to

show

the promised Messiah,

of blessing promised in the

Old Testament

is

a reality.

Peter and John in Prison.

The shadows lengthened

the sun set behind the west wall of the

temple courts; at

last

temple, and

Peter talked on.

still

across the

He must

have continued

speaking and answering questions for three hours or more. (This shows

how summary

are the records of discourses in the

Acts; only the highlights are given.)

The temple

could ignore him no longer; the evening

sacrifice

authorities

was ended,

and instead of going home the crowds increased around

The temple

Peter.

police were ordered to arrest the two apostles

and imprison them

for the night in

temple

and John must have

area. Peter

one of the rooms inside the recalled, in the long

night that followed, another night only a few months before,

when

they had waited in the courts of Caiphas' house while

Jesus was locked

up

inside.

Our Lord

in his

own human body

could no longer be imprisoned; but he could undergo, and was undergoing, the same treatment in the

members

of his Mystical

Body.

Next morning they were brought before the Jewish rulers, in the council chamber of the temple, just as the Master had been arraigned and tried in the house of the high priest: 'A disciple is no better than his master, a servant than his lord; enough that the disciple should fare like his master. This was 7

Acts of the Apostles

14

has

become the

12-24

chief stone at the corner. Salvation

be found elsewhere;

is

not to

names under heaven the one by which we must needs

this alone of all the

has been appointed to

be

4,

men

as

saved.'

Seeing the boldness of Peter and John, and discovering that

they were simple men, without learning, they were astonished,

and recognized them now

They could

find

as

no answer

having been in Jesus' company.

to make, with the

man who had

been healed standing there beside them; so they ordered

them out of the council-chamber, and conferred together. 'What are we to do with these men?' they asked. 'It is commonly known among all the people of Jerusalem that a notable miracle has been done by their means, and we are powerless to deny it. But the news must not spread any further; we must deter them by threats from preaching to anybody in this man's name again.' So they called them in, and warned them not to utter a word or give any teaching in the name of Jesus. At this, Peter and John answered them, 7 u ^§e f° r yourselves whether it would be right for us, in the sight of God, to listen to your voice instead of God's. It

we have

us to refrain from speaking of what

And

they, after threatening

them

is

impossible for

seen and heard.'

further, let

could find no means of punishing them, because

were praising

God

over what had befallen; the

this miracle of healing

them all

go; they

the people

man

in

whom

had taken place was more than

forty

years old.

Now

went back to their comthem all the chief priests and elders had said. And they, when they heard it, uttered prayer to God with one accord: 'Ruler of all, you who are the maker of heaven that they were set free, they

pany, and told

The Temple not a formal seventy;

trial like

was only

it

in Jerusalem 30

A.D.

out Lord's before the

15 full

council of

a preliminary enquiry into the incident

leading to their arrest the previous day. Peter again shows that

he

is

the accepted leader

The Council Warns

and spokesman.

Peter and John.

In the courts of the

temple in Jerusalem there was a school for the training of teachers in Israel. It was a course of studies similar to those in

our seminaries for the training of tested in

priests.

Each candidate was

knowledge of the law of Moses and the prophets he-

fore he was permitted to preach to the people in the syna-

gogues. Those officially approved were

Paul was one of the most

He may even

Jerusalem.

brilliant of

When

as rahhis. St.

such students trained in

have been present on

Our Lord was never trained in ment in these teachers when he of twelve.

known

this school;

this occasion.

he caused amaze-

visited the holy city as a

he began teaching in Jerusalem,

less

boy

than a

year before the incident recorded here, the Jews were astonished,

and asked: 'How does

He has never studied. would

a

man know how

to read?

and John caused as much amazement member of the Sunday congregation standing up

Such laymen as

this

7

as Peter

after the gospel at

Mass, and mounting the pulpit to deliver

the accustomed sermon to the people.

The Council probably remembered the difficulties they had caused themselves when they denied a similar miracle worked by our Lord on the blind

man

(Jn. 9);

this situation

more

The Church

Offers Public Prayer.

they decided to handle

adroitly.

It

was probably back in

the Cenacle that this gathering of Christians took place.

Church had emerged triumphant from hands of the Jews.

It

its

The

Erst testing at the

was not through any power of

its

own;

Acts of the Apostles

16

4,

25-37

and earth and the sea, and all that is in them. You have said through your Holy Spirit, by the lips of your servant David,

"What means

our father,

why do

of the earth stand in array,

against the

Lord and

how

people of Israel

rulers

its

his Christ."

Herod and Pontius

of ours,

Pilate,

True enough,

wisdom had

as of old; enable

cause against your

that your

all

Look down upon

decreed.

in this city

with the Gentiles and the

common

to aid them, made

holy servant Jesus, so accomplishing

now

among the nations; how the kings make common cause,

this turmoil

the people cherish vain dreams? See

power and

their threats, Lord,

your servants to preach your word con-

fidently, by stretching out your hand to heal; and let signs and miracles be performed in the name of Jesus, your holy

Son/

When

they had finished praying, the place in which they

had gathered rocked

to

and

fro,

and they were

all filled

with

God

with

the Holy Spirit, and began to preach the word of confidence.

There was one heart and soul lievers;

none of them

everything was shared in

which the apostles Jesus Christ,

None

of

them was to lay

sell it

have what share of

destitute; all

those

sold,

of be-

own,

the power with the Lord

man

who owned

at the apostles' feet, so that each could it

he needed. called Joseph, a Cypriot

name

of encouragement; he

by

birth, to

of Barnabas,

had an

and brought the purchase-money to

apostles' feet.

all.

farms or

them, and bring the price of what they

the apostles gave the fresh

means, the

he

common. Great was

testified to the resurrection of

There was a Levite,

whom

company

and great was the grace that rested on them

houses used to

had sold

in all the

called any of his possessions his

which

estate,

which

lay

at the

it

The Cenacle it

in Jerusalem 30

God on

was through divine help from

A.D. high that this

persecution was turned back. So the Mystical as their

earthly

Master and Head

17

Body

prayed,

had prayed so often during his

looking to and acknowledging the Father as

life,

only source of strength in times of

The prayer is based on Psalm

2, a

Messianic psalm, narrating

the victory of Christ over his enemies. It

attack on his Mystical scriptural basis with

Body on

is

applied to present

earth.

now

form

in the

the

This type of prayer

an application to present needs) has

classic prayer

its

trial.

circumstances: Erst the attack on Jesus himself, and

mained the

first

Church

(as in

(a re-

the collects

at Mass).

A

miracle similar to that of Pentecost Sunday then took

place;

it

was an obvious manifestation of divine power. Instead

of a rushing wind, there was an earthquake: his

power

in a great variety of ways.

power were meant primarily

These

God

can show

signs of

God's

to strengthen the faith of the

early Christians.

The Cenacle had been a he and his cousin John Mark

Death of Ananias and Sapphira. second

home

had become

to Barnabas; there

close friends, during the years that

he was a

student in the rabbinical school in the temple. In such close contact with the early Church, he was soon converted to the faith.

With no

loss of

time he returned to Cyprus (only 100

miles off the Syrian coast), and sold his property there.

mindful of the advice of the Master:

'Sell all that

He

was

belongs to

you, and give to the poor; so the treasure you have shall be in

heaven; then

Barnabas

is

come back and

follow me.

1

our Erst real link with St Paul, the hero of the

Church. They were probably students together at Jerusalem. Later, Barnabas would take the new convert Paul under

early

his care

and introduce him

to the Christian

community. To-

Acts of the Apostles

18

But there was a man

5,

1-15

who, with

called Ananias,

some

Sapphira, sold an estate, and kept back

of the

his wife

money,

with his wife's knowledge, only bringing a part of lay at the feet of the apostles.

how is

it

to

Peter said, 'Ananias,

that Satan has taken possession of your heart, bidding

you defraud the Holy

money

Whereupon

it

by keeping back some of the

Spirit

that was paid you for the land? Unsold, the property

was yours;

after the sale, the

what has put

it

money was

into your heart so to act? It

at your disposal; is

God, not man,

you have defrauded/ these words Ananias fell down and died; and a great came upon all those who heard it. So the young men rose up, wrapped him up and carried him out to burial. It was about three hours later that his wife came in, knowing nothing of what had happened; and Peter said to her,

At

fear

Tell me, was

it

'Yes/ she said, 'for

Then

much that you so much/

for so

'What

Peter said to her,

is

sold the estate?'

this conspiracy

between

Even now I who have been bury-

you, to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test?

hear at the door the footsteps of those

ing your husband; they will carry you out too/

And

all at

the young

once she

men came

fell

at his feet

in they

and

died; so that

when

found her a corpse, and carried

her out to bury her with her husband. Great fear came upon the

church and upon

And

all

there were

who heard

many

signs

apostles before the people.

accord in Solomon's Porch.

the story.

and miracles done by the

They used

No

one

else

to gather with one

dared to join them,

although the people held them in high honour, and the number of those still

who

believed in the Lord, both

men and women,

increased; they even used to bring sick folk into the

streets,

and

lay

them down

there on beds and pallets, in the

Jerusalem 30 A.D.

gether they would start

on the

off,

with John

19

Mark

The Mystical Body

of Christ

is

and

a continuation

Christians, consciously imitated his earthly life as

remembered by the possessions,

apostles.

was one of the

twelve. In leading this

Community

life,

life

it

was

a sharing of all

characteristics of Jesus

common

projec-

His members, the

tion in time of our Lord's earthly existence. first

company,

in their

missionary journey to Barnabas' homeland, Cyprus.

first

and

his

they acted freely, and

from the motive of complete dedication to God's

service.

The conamong the

In contrast to Barnabas are Ananias and Sapphira. tinuance of good and bad

the net, of weeds

fish in

The

wheat, was foretold by the Master himself. risy

was

by our Lord;

especially reprobated

Pharisees he

denounced again and

Peter by inspiration

detected in the

hypoc-

this vice of the

And

again.

sin of

this it

was that

of Ananias

lies

and

Sapphira.

The Holy

Spirit

is

the soul of the Church; that

is

why

Peter

used such strong language of condemnation. Punishment in such spectacular fashion was meant as a warning to others and a proof of

Gods

presses the view of

were not

moral law.

interest in the

most

authorities

when he

him

all

Augustine ex-

says that the

two

lost eternally.

Second Attempt to Silence the Apostles. to

St.

those

who were

'And they brought

in affliction, distressed with pain

and

sickness of every sort, the possessed, the lunatics, the paralytics;

and he healed

all

their diseases.'

That

of our Lord's ministry in Galilee.

he showed while on earth

still

stration through his Mystical

is

how

the gospels speak

That same loving care which

continues

its

Body; and he

charitable minialso

bequeathed

20

Acts of the Apostles

hope that even the shadow of fall

upon one

of

the

cities, too,

16-28

Peter, as

them here and

common

5,

he passed by, might

From neighbouring

there.

people flocked to Jerusalem, bring-

them the sick and those who were troubled by unclean spirits; and all of them were cured. This roused the high priest and those who thought with ing with

him, that

the party of the Sadducees. Full of indignation,

is

they arrested the apostles and shut them up in the gaol. But, in the night,

an angel of the Lord came and opened

the prison doors, and led

them

'Go/ he

out:

your stand in the temple; preach

message of true

said,

'and take

people the

fully to the

life/

So, at his word, they

went into the temple

began preaching. Meanwhile the high met, and

common

summoned

priest

the Council, with

dawn, and

at

and

his followers

the elders of the

all

Jewish people; and they sent to the prison-house to have them

brought

in.

When

they came to look in the prison, the

officers

could not find them there; so they went back and reported,

'We found

the prison-house locked

up with

the guards at their posts before the door; but it

there was

no one

At hearing priests

until

this,

were at a

to

all

due

care,

and

when we opened

be found within/

the temple superintendent and the chief loss to

an eye-witness told

know what had become them, 'The men you put

of them; in prison

are standing in the temple, teaching the people there/

So the superintendent and

his officers

went and fetched

them, using no violence, because they were afraid of being stoned by the people; and they brought them in and bade

them stand before the Council, where the high tioned them.

'We warned you

in set terms/

preach in this man's name, and you have

he

priest quessaid, 'not to

filled all

Jerusalem

Jerusalem 30 A.D.

21

the same power of miracles to Peter and

many

other

members

of the early Church.

The Jewish from the

start;

leaders

hut

it

him and he began

showed opposition

to our

Lord

right

was only when the crowds gathered round

to collect disciples that the Jewish leaders

understood that he was a threat to their people , and must be destroyed

if

own

leadership of the

they themselves were to

survive.

Exactly the same situation had

now

arisen for his Mystical

Body: the Jewish authorities came up with the same solution

had found

that they

The

for disposing of our Lord.

apostles

had been warned by the Master to expect such treatment:

'Men

will be laying

will give

hands on you and persecuting you; they

you up to the synagogues, and to prison, and drag

my

you into the presence of kings and governors on that will be your opportunity for

account;

making the truth known.'

7

So Peter took up Jesus task of proclaiming the truth. Instead of one trouble-maker to deal with, the high priest now tongue and

had to

silence five thousand: Jesus'

tiplied

by the number of his followers, by

his Mystical

all

lips are

the

mul-

members

of

Body.

made familiar from our Lord's own discourses: T have not come on my own errand; I was sent by one who has a right to send. I consult the will of him who sent me, not my own.' It is this acting with a Peter follows the same line of thought

mission to is

fulfil

that

makes Peter

indifferent to opposition;

not seeking to establish a personal reputation, he

for

and on behalf of

divine assistance, final victory

When

his

Master

in heaven.

and the truth of

He

his cause;

is

is

he

acting

conscious of

he knows that

aJways belongs to God.

our Lord was tempted by the devil in the desert,

Acts of the Apostles

22

5,

29-41

with your preaching; you are determined to lay this man's death at our door.' Peter and the other apostles answered, 'God has more right

men.

to be obeyed than

up

raised

God

God

was the

man you hung on a him up to his own who is to bring Israel

of our fathers that

Jesus, the

gibbet to die. It

mission of Spirit

On

God

Of

sins.

repentance, and

we are witnesses; we and those who obey him/

re-

the Holy

this,

gives to all

is

right hand, as the

that has raised

prince and Saviour

kill

It

hearing this they were cut to the quick, and designed to

them. But

named

lawyer

now one Gamaliel,

of the Pharisees in the Council, a

who was

them send the

people, rose and bade

then he said to them, 'Men of

mean

to

held in esteem by

all

apostles out for a

Israel,

the

little;

think well what you

do with these men. There was Theodas, who ap-

peared in days gone by and claimed to be someone of importance, and was supported by about four hundred

he was

killed,

to nothing.

and

And

all his

followers were dispersed,

him Judas the Galilean appeared

after

men;

and came in the

days of the registration; he persuaded the people to rebel

under

his leadership,

were scattered. to

but he too perished, and

And my

do with these men,

man's undertaking, will

it

advice

let

will

is still

them

be. If this

be overthrown;

have no power to overthrow

it.

all

his followers

the same: have nothing is

man's design or

if it is

God's, you

You would not

willingly

be found fighting against God.'

And

they

fell

in

with his opinion; so they sent for the

apostles and, after scourging them, let

them go with

a warning

that they were not on any account to preach in the Jesus.

And

they

left

name

of

the presence of the Council, rejoicing

that they had been found worthy to suffer indignity for the sake of Jesus' name.

And

every day, both in the temple

and

Jerusalem 30 A.D. 'angels

came and ministered

23

When he was in an agony

to him.'

Gethsemani, 'he had sight of an angel horn heaven t en-

in

couraging him.'

And

so

it is

with his followers; the angels of

heaven are at the service of his sorely tried members; they give to

them the help they need; help which an angel is quite com'What are they/ St. Paul asks about angels,

petent to give. 'all

of them, but spirits apt for service,

when

whom God

sends out

the destined heirs of eternal salvation have need of

them?'

God

Gamaliel Pleads for the Apostles.

and the most unlikely people, In

this

same Council of

spoken up for Jesus:

Israel, a

'Is it

the

without giving him a hearing is

about?'

He

So now Gamaliel

rabbi called

way

the liberal party

among

Erst,

rose to

means,

he

loves.

Nicodemus had

and Ending out what he defend Christ's members. Hillel, the

He

is

founder of

our second contact with

was trained, under Gamaliel,

of our ancestral law.' His

in exact

knowledge

was the most famous name in the

professorial faculty of the rabbinical school in Jerusalem,

he

is

remembered

His advice tian cause.

is

in Jewish history as

one of

that of prudence, not

In effect

it is:

sarily good advice on would be allowed to

man

the Pharisees; and was himself noted

knowledge of the law.

St. Paul: 'I

all

whom

of our law to judge a

was a grandson of the famous

for his

can use

to assist those

all

wait and

see.

sympathy

And

that

to the Chrisis

not neces-

occasions; otherwise error

flourish

and

their best lawyers.

unopposed. But

it

and

evil

gave some

short breathing space to the infant Church, before persecution

came

in real earnest

In the same unemphatic manner as that in which the gospels record our Lord's scourging ('Then Pilate took Jesus and

scourged him'),

St.

Luke mentions the punishment

of the

Acts of the Apostles

24

from house to house,

5,

their teaching

42-6, 12

and

their preaching

was

continually of Jesus Christ.

At

this

time, as the

number

of the disciples increased,

complaints were brought against those

by those who spoke Greek;

neglected in the daily administration of called together the general is

much

too

that

body of the

we should have

spoke Hebrew

you must find among you seven

relief.

were

So the twelve

disciples,

and

said, 'It

to forgo preaching God's

word, and bestow our care upon tables.

full of

who

their widows, they said,

Come

men who

then, brethren,

are well spoken of,

the Spirit and of wisdom, for us to put in charge of this

business, while

we devote

ourselves to prayer,

and to the

ministry of preaching/

This advice found favour with

man who was

all

the assembly; and they

and of the Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, who was a proselyte from Antioch. These they presented to the apostles, who laid their hands on them chose Stephen, a

Holy

Spirit,

Philip,

full

of faith

Prochorus, Nicanor,

with prayer.

By now the word of God was gaining influence, and the number of disciples in Jerusalem was greatly increasing; many of the priests had given their allegiance to the faith.

And

Stephen,

and power, performed great among the people. There were those who

full

miracles and signs

of grace

came forward to debate with him, some of the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it is called), and of the Cyreneans and Alexandrians, and of those who came from Cilicia and Asia; but they were no match for Stephen's wisdom, and for the Spirit with which he spoke. Thereupon they employed agents to say they had heard him speaking blasphemously of Moses, and of God. Having thus roused the feelings of the people,

Jerusalem 30 A.D.

25

apostles. It was 39 strokes of the rod, a Jewish punishment, not the appalling Roman torture inflicted on Jesus.

The Seven Deacons.

There

is

not yet question of Gentile

is between those native and those horn other lands (the Dispersion, as

converts; aJi are Jews. This distinction to Palestine

come

they are called). These latter had

to Jerusalem for the

feast of Pentecost.

This

how

the Erst apostolic ordination ceremony. It shows

is

the apostles adapted themselves to the circumstances of

the times.

The Mystical Body was growing fast;

needs to he met. There

own

ber with his

pressed

it

a hierarchy in the body;

special function to perform. St. Paul ex-

in this way: 'Are all of us apostles, all prophets, all

The body,

teachers?

is

new each mem-

there were

after

all,

consists

not of one organ but

of many.'

There

human

is

a divine side to the Mystical

side too

(remember the

The Hebrew

phira).

more attention

speakers,

to their

Body; but there

story of Ananias

who were

own than

is

a

and Sap-

in the majority, gave

to foreigners.

The Deacon Stephen on Trial. With the grace of the sacrament of Holy Orders still fresh upon him, Stephen emerged as an articulate champion of the Christian cause. Jesus now had a new mouth to speak the truth for him; and Stephen did it

with a

There

is

and power that resembled that of Jesus himself. that same deftness in turning an argument, that same skill

sureness in dealing with objections

and

difficulties

from ques-

tioners.

'Aiter this the Pharisees withdrew,

make him lowed

betray himself in his talk!

in the

and plotted together

The same

is fol-

came mostly from mentioned) who had their

attempt to entangle Stephen;

groups of foreign Jews (Eve are

pattern

to

it

26

Acts of the Apostles

and of the

him

put forward

8

they set upon him and carried him before the Council. There they witnesses, who declared, This man is never

and

elders

and

off,

6, 13-7,

scribes,

so brought false

tired of uttering insults against the holy place,

and the law.

We have heard him say that the Nazarene, Jesus, will destroy and

this place,

down

all

those

who

on him, and saw

Then

When

sat there in the

his face looking like the face of

the

God

still

in

Mesopotamia, before he took

Haran. "Leave your country," he

his dwelling in

was that he

Haran;

it

gave

space;

after his father's death that

him no

And

inheritance,

not so

this

is

said,

"and

direct you."

So

him, although at

what God

this

he was bidden

now dwell. There, much as a foot's

he only promised the possession of

his posterity after

I

the country of the Chaldeans, and lived in

left

was only

to remove thence into this land where you

God

Abraham,

of glory appeared to our father

your kindred, and come to the land to which it

an angel.

answered, 'Brethren and fathers, listen to me.

was while he was

up

Council fastened their

the high priest asked, 'Are these charges true?'

And he it

which Moses handed

to us/

And eyes

will alter the traditions

it

to

him and

time he had no

told him, that his descendants

live as strangers in a foreign land,

slaved and ill-used for four

to

child.

would

where they would be en-

hundred

years.

"But

I

will pass

judgment," the Lord said, "on the nation which enslaves

them; and at

me

here."

last

they will escape, and settle

Then he made

a covenant with

covenant that ordained circumcision. So the father of Isaac,

whom

down

it

to worship

Abraham, the

was that he became

he circumcised seven days

after-

wards, and Isaac of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs.

The

patriarchs, out of jealousy, sold Joseph as a slave,

The Temple

in Jerusalem

30 A.D.

27

synagogues in Jerusalem.

When

Christianity fall back

They show

on

their familiar 'frame-up' technique.

the same charge

little originality;

as that against

him

did with our Lord, the opponents of

this fails, as it

our Lord at his

say, "I will destroy this

trial

before Caiphas:

temple that

hands, and I will build another with no

me."

'

To

this

put forward

is

is

We heard

made with mens

hand

of

man

to help

they added the crime of opposing the law of

Moses; a familiar charge against our Lord during his public ministry.

Stephen's Speech: a spacious

Does God Live

in Palestine?

There was

room, to the south of the Holy Place in the temple

courts, called the council

chamber;

it

was there that special

business of the Council (Sanhedrin) was conducted. Stephen

was probably talking in one of the porches inside the temple area

when he was

arrested

and brought before the Council

The Council was

the nearby council chamber. to try this

The Owing

new

previous

in

ready, waiting

disturber of the established order in Israel. trial

before the Council was that of Jesus.

to special circumstances, notably the

need for

haste,

our Lord had been tried in the house of the high priest Caiphas. cil

at

And it was

Caiphas

still

who

presided over the Coun-

of seventy (at least twenty-three were required for a trial)

Stephens

trial.

Our Lord had been

silent at his trial.

because the charge brought against

He

him had

did not speak failed to secure

agreement of two witnesses: 'but even so their accusations did not

agree.'

Jewish law.

on the

Consequently the charge was null and void in

At Stephen's

specific

trial

at least

two witnesses did agree

terms of the charge; the Jewish leaders were

better prepared this time,

mistake that they had

and

made

so did not

fall

into the

at the trial of Christ.

same

Acts of the Apostles

28

to be taken to Egypt. In Egypt,

God

7,

9-25

was with him; he rescued

him from all his afflictions, and won him favour and a name for wisdom with Pharao, king of Egypt, who made him ruler over Egypt and over

famine came upon them,

till

all

the royal household.

Egypt and Canaan,

all

And now

a

cruelly afflicting

our fathers could procure no food. So Jacob, hearing

that there was corn in Egypt, sent out our fathers on their first

journey;

and on

their second journey Joseph

made him-

known to them, and Pharao learned about Joseph's Then Joseph sent for his father Jacob, and for his family, seventy-five souls in all; and Jacob went down into Egypt, where he and our fathers died. They were removed afterwards to Sichem; and it was in the grave which Abraham had bought for a sum of money from the sons of Hemor, the self

kindred.

man

of Sichem, that they were buried.

'And when the time drew near

God had made

promise which

to

for the fulfilment of the

Abraham, the people had

and multiplied in Egypt. And now a new king one who knew nothing of Joseph; this king treacherously with our race, using them so ill that they

increased

arose in Egypt, dealt

exposed their children, instead of rearing them.

It

was at

this

time that Moses was born, and, finding favour with God, was

brought up in his father's house for three months; then, when

he had been exposed, he was rescued by Pharao's daughter,

who adopted him

as her son.

Thus Moses was

in all the learning of the Egyptians;

speech and in of age,

it

of Israel.

came

act.

When

he was vigorous,

And now, when he had

into his

mind

too, in

reached forty years

to visit his brethren, the children

he saw one of them being unjustly used,

he came to the rescue and avenged the

by

well trained

killing the Egyptian.

He

man who was

wronged,

expected them to understand, but

they could not understand, that he was the means by which

The Temple

in Jerusalem

30 A.D.

In contrast to the silence of our Lord

29

the almost inter-

is

minable defence speech of Stephen. His purpose

He

the validity of the charge brought against him. historical approach: a

begins with the

uses an

resume of the history of the chosen

people from the time of their founder

He

to disprove

is

Book

Abraham

to king David.

of Genesis , chapter 12.

his discourse, as in Genesis, the careers of

great-grandson Joseph are highlighted.

And

Abraham and

in his

But the account of these

two individuals occupies only one-third of

point of

this first

Stephen's speech in defence of his teaching.

The is

third

found

and most important person

in the

Moses. His story

second book of the Bible, Exodus. Stephen

gives two-thirds of his it

is

words to the career of Moses, because

was part of the charge against him that he never

uttering insults against the law

and the

traditions

tired of

which Moses

had handed down. All the facts listed by Stephen in his resume of

Old

Testa-

ment history were familiar to his hearers; what he does is to give them a Christian interpretation instead of a Jewish one. A crisis had arisen in Jerusalem: was this new organization, the Christian Church, to remain a national Jewish institution, or was

it

to rise above national barriers

and become Catholic?

The Samaritan woman converted by our Lord the Jewish outlook that Stephen to our Lord: to worship

'You Jews

7

is

in Jerusalem.

woman, the time

is

is

arguing against She said

us that the place where

tell

To

expressed

men ought

her Jesus replied: 'Believe me,

coming when you

will

not go to Jerusalem

to worship the Father; the time has already

come when

true

worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth.'

That

God was

Palestine,

and

worshipped only in the small

particularly in the temple,

is

territory of

the Jewish thesis

Acts of the Apostles

30

God was

26-38

7,

them deliverance. Next day, he came in sight them were quarrelling, and tried to restore peace

to bring

when two

of

7

between them; "Sirs/ he inflict injury

"you are brethren; why do you

said,

on one another?"

'Whereupon the man who was doing his neighbour a wrong thrust him aside, asking, "Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? Are you ready to kill me, as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?"

'And of

Moses

at that

Madian;

and

fled,

lived as an exile in the land

was there that two sons were born to him.

it

came

'Forty years later, a vision

him

to

in the wilderness

mount Sinai; a bush had caught fire; and an among the flames. Moses saw it, and was

of

standing

and

at the sight;

ham, and

Isaac,

close; fear

is

holy ground.

The

you

God of your fathers, of AbraAnd Moses did not dare to look Then

tremble.

your

off

feet;

the Lord said to him,

the place on which you stand

affliction of I

to look, the voice of the

the

and Jacob."

eyes continually;

come down for

am

"I

made him

'Take the shoes

my

he drew near

as

Lord came to him,

angel was

astonished

my

people in Egypt

is

before

have heard their lamenting, and have

to deliver them.

Come

now,

I

have an errand

in Egypt."

same Moses, the man whom they had dis"Who made you a ruler and a judge over us?" that God sent to be their ruler and their deliverer, helped by the angel whom he saw there at the bush. He it was who led them out, performing wonders and signs in Egypt, and at the Red Sea, and in the wilderness, over a 'It

was

this

owned, and asked him,

space of forty years. 'It

was

this

Lord your

Moses who

God

will raise

said to the children of Israel,

up

for

you a prophet

from among your own brethren."

He

with the angel that spoke to him on

it

"The

like myself,

was who took part

mount

Sinai,

and with

The Temple

in Jerusalem

history does not substantiate that view.

own

details of his

funda-

its

not concerned with his personal

is

Erst phase of the history of

fate;

God's chosen people.

spoke to Abraham, called him out of his

new

begin a

happen in

Israel's

does not argue the

out to win converts to the Christian way of thought

Take the

God

He

he takes the matter back to

case;

mentals. Actually he is

31

by Stephen; he proposes to show that

as outlined

he

30 A.D.

life

Mesopotamia.

Did

of service to the Lord.

in Palestine?

Not

God

at

all,

says Stephen;

can talk to

own

country to

this revelation

was way out

it

men anywhere

in the

wide

world.

Take the case of the great hero of the Joseph the saviour of his people. favoured him with his

own

but in Egypt. Surely

men

worshippers of God;

all his

patriarchal period,

Where was it that God Not in Palestine,

divine revelation?

like

Abraham and Joseph were

true

promises and divine favours came

to Israel through them.

And

Moses, that

man whose name

why, he never set foot in Palestine. lived in the wilderness finally

He

an

exile

He

ever on your

was born

even from his

lips;

in Egypt;

own

people;

he accompanied them on the wanderings of the Exodus.

was the

first

to be told the divine

Yahweh. This happened, not

famous

desert, at the

three

is

men show

name

of

God, the name

in Palestine, but in the Sinai

vision of the burning bush.

clearly that

shipped outside Palestine?

God

can be

The whole

Do

not these

known and wor-

history of the race

one of migration, not of settled occupancy of

is

this small section

of the world. Particularly with regard to Moses,

and

to

some extent with

regard to Joseph and Abraham, Stephen emphasizes the rejection by their

that the

own

same

people. It seems as though he himself

fate awaits

him;

how could he hope

knows

to fare better

Acts of the Apostles

32

7,

39-50

our fathers, at the meeting in the desert. There he received

words of

life

to

hand on

to you;

and yet our

fathers

would

not give him obedience. They disowned him; they turned their thoughts towards Egypt,

and

gods, to lead our march; as for this Moses,

out of the land of Egypt, there of him." to

an

So they fashioned

"Make

us

who brought

us

said to Aaron,

no saying what has become at this time, making offerings

is

a calf

and keeping holiday over the works

idol,

of their

own

Whereupon God turned away from them, and gave

hands.

them over

to the worship of all the host of heaven; so

written in the

brought

me

it is

book of the prophets, "Is it true that you and sacrifices, you sons of Israel, for forty

victims

You carried about the tent of Moloch, Rempham, and worshipped them, your own fashioning. And now I will send you into

years in the wilderness?

and

the star of

images of exile

'In

your god

on the further

side of Babylon."

the wilderness, our fathers had the tabernacle with

them, to remind them of God's covenant; he

who spoke

to

Moses bade him fashion it after the model which had been shown him. And when God dispossessed the Gentiles, to make room for our fathers' coming, our fathers under Joshua brought this tabernacle, as an heirloom, into the land which they conquered. So

it

was

until the time of David. David,

who had won

favour in God's sight, longed to devise a resting-

place for the

God

of Israel, but in the

end

it

was Solomon

we are not to think that temples made by men's hands;

that built the house for him. Yet

the

most High dwells

the

in

my throne, and earth is the footstool under my feet. What home will you build for me, says the Lord, what place can be my resting-place? Was it not my hands that made all this?" prophet

says:

"Heaven

is

The Temple

in Jerusalem 30

A.D.

33

than the Master, before this same tribunal?

Stephen had

little

be wondered at

if

time to prepare his defence;

memory

his

fails

not to

it is

him here and there in The two notable dis-

tracing such a long period of history.

crepancies with the

Old Testament account

are (1) the burial

of the patriarchs at Sichem, (2) the quotation

'And now

I will

send you into

from Amos:

on the further

exile

side of

Babylon: (1) It is clear

from the Book of Genesis that the patriarchs

were buried in Hebron, not Sichem; the only exception being Joseph,

Amos

who was

ieads

buried at Sichem. (2)

Damascus

The

original text of

in place of Babylon; there

is

no

evi-

dence for Stephen's change of place name. Stephen was not inspired;

he could make mistakes,

like

any other man. Lukes

inspiration, in writing the Acts, consists in recording correctly

what Stephen

said,

even the errors in his discourse.

Stephen's Speech: Does holiest place

in Jerusalem; there, day

worship was offered to the Lord. But

a nation for a

The

Live in the Temple?

on earth was the temple

after day, true

had been

God

Israel

thousand years before the temple was

Did they not worship God in a manner pleasing to him during all that time? The tabernacle in the wilderness was made at Gods express command, as a place to offer sacrifice

built.

to

him.

when

And how

Israel

about the long period of Babylonian

worshipped

God

not in the temple

(it

exile,

had been

destroyed) but in a foreign land?

This should show them that God's presence cannot be stricted to a small building in a single city.

that which

comes from perfect love

'The greatest of them

all is charity.'

in a

True worship

man's heart and

reis

will:

Acts of the Apostles

34

7,

51-8, 4

and ears Holy Spirit,

'Stiff-necked race, your heart

you are did.

for ever resisting the

still

uncircumcised,

just as

your fathers

There was not one of the prophets they did not

cute;

it

whom

was death to

you

foretell the

in these times

coming

of that just

perse-

man,

have betrayed and murdered; you,

who received the law dictated by angels, and did not keep it/ At hearing this, they were cut to the heart, and began But he, on heaven, and saw

the Holy Spirit,

to gnash their teeth at him.

full of

fastened his eyes

there the glory of

and Jesus standing at God's right hand: ing/ he said, 'and the Son of of

God/ Then they

Man

'I

God,

see heaven open-

standing at the right hand

and put their fingers into their ears; with one accord they fell upon him, thrust him out of the city, and stoned him. And the witnesses put down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. Thus they stoned Stephen; he, meanwhile, was praying: cried aloud,

'Lord Jesus/ he said, 'receive

And count

my

spirit/

then, kneeling down, he cried aloud: 'Lord, do not this sin against

them/ And with that he

fell

asleep

in the Lord.

Saul was one of those

The church time,

and

all

in

who

gave their voices for his murder.

Jerusalem was

much

persecuted at this

except the apostles were scattered over the

countryside of Judea and Samaria. Stephen was buried by

who mourned greatly over him. Saul, meanmaking havoc of the church; he made his way into house after house, carrying men and women off and committing them to prison. Those who had been driven away spread the gospel as devout men,

while, was

Kedron Valley 30 A.D.

Martyrdom

He

of Stephen.

35

probably interrupted at this

is

point by shouts of abuse horn the onlookers. It

him

that a reasoned defence will

crowd with hatred

is

obvious to

make no impression on

in their eyes, intent only

on

this

his death.

So

he uses hard words of condemnation, reminiscent of the

lan-

guage used by Jesus himself of the hypocritical leaders

who

had failed their people and were leading them to ruin. Stephen would make it clear why he was dying: in defence of truth, and for the sake of Jesus Christ

At

this

climax of his

life,

he

Jesus standing (not sitting, as

come

to his aid,

and

ates the consolation

is

is

rewarded with a vision of

usual in scripture), ready to

in an attitude of

welcome. His face

he received from

radi-

this gracious gesture: 7

They saw his face looking like the face of an angel. Moved by rage at such blasphemy, the mob gave no thought to getting Roman permission to carry out the death sentence. They rushed Stephen out the east gate down into the Kedron, and there stoned him at a place not far from Gethsemani. A young rabbi with a genius for sizing up a situation, and with ability to lead and organize, took charge of the execution; his name in Hebrew was Saul. This is our third contact with the

man we know

as St. Paul;

soon he will take Stephen's place

in the Christian ranks.

Simon the

Sorcerer of Samaria.

The murder

of Stephen

was

the beginning of a general persecution of the Church. It was directed at the 5,000 Christian Jews living in Jerusalem; the

reason for excepting the twelve apostles was their high stand-

ing

among

had already

the ordinary people; the authorities in Jerusalem tried to silence the twelve with threats,

but with-

out success. It would be just as effective to destroy their lowers,

and so leave the apostolic

leaders without subjects.

fol-

Acts of the Apostles

36

8,

5-20

who had gone down to one of the cities of Samaria, preached Christ there. The people listened with general accord to what Philip said, as their own eyes and ears witnessed the miracles he did. There were many possessed by unclean spirits, and these came out, crying aloud; many, too, were healed of paralysis, they went from place to place; and Philip,

and

of lameness,

And city

and there was great

there was a

before

Philip

man

rejoicing in that city.

called Simon,

came

there,

who had been

in the

misleading the people of

Samaria with sorcery, and pretending to have great powers,

and low hung upon

so that high 'is

an angel called the great angel of

his sorceries, they continued to

This/ they said, God/ Long misled by

his words;

pay attention to him, until

came and preached to them about God's kingdom and the name of Jesus Christ. Then they found faith and were baptized, men and women alike; and Simon, who had found faith and been baptized with the rest, kept close to Philip

Philip's side;

signs

he was astonished by the great miracles and

he saw happening.

And now

the apostles at Jerusalem, hearing that Samaria

had received the word of God, sent Peter and John to visit them. So these two came down and prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit, who had not, as yet, come down on any of them; they had received nothing tism in the

Then

name

of the

Lord

so far except bap-

Jesus.

the apostles began to lay their hands on them, so

that the Holy Spirit was given them, and Simon, seeing that

the Holy Spirit was granted through the imposition of the apostles' hands, offered

'have such powers that will receive the

Whereupon

Holy

them money; 'Let me too,' he said, when I lay my hands on anyone he

Spirit.'

Peter said to him,

Take your

wealth with

you to perdition, you who have told yourself that God's

free

Samaria 30 A. D.

37

Our Lord had shown by his own conduct and his followers

should act in time of persecution:

cute you in one city f take refuge in another.'

teaching

how

they perse-

'If

Within one

day's

walk of Jerusalem, to the north, lay the Samaritan country; there the high priest and his fellow persecutors thority.

Those who were so fortunate

au-

as to get out of Jerusalem

made

before Saul called at their house

had no

way

their

to Samaria,

delaying only to collect a few personal belongings.

The Church and make

of

its

very nature must grow: 'You must go out

disciples of all nations.

produce a group of

7

This persecution did not

immediately

idle settlers in Samaria; they

Among

began to preach the gospel there.

the most successful

preachers was another deacon, like Stephen. His Philip,

and he operated probably

most ancient

when he

city of

arrived in the promised land),

Samaritan

Christianity.

of

woman

But

it

and the

real centre of

Sichem were not completely ignorant of

At the beginning

had spent two days that city

settled there

first

life.

The people

the

Sichem, the

in the city of

Samaria (Abraham had

name was

there,

at Jacob's well;

came

of his public ministry Jesus

on the occasion of

his

meeting with

and 'many of the Samaritans from

to believe in him.

7

was the presence of a dealer

in black

magic that gave

a dramatic touch to Philip's preaching in Sichem.

He watched

Philip with professional interest; he soon saw such wonders as

he could not match

—making the blind

to the deaf, casting out devils. It

see, giving

hearing

would seem that he became

a

Christian because of the miracles he saw, rather than to gain eternal

life.

Peter and John is

restricted to the

came

to administer confirmation (a deacon

sacrament of baptism); in those early days

of Christianity, the Pentecostal gift of tongues, the sound of

Acts of the Apostles

38

8,

can be bought with money. There

gift

you

in these doings;

God. Repent of

your heart

is

21-33 is

no

share,

no part

for

not true in the sight of

this baseness of yours,

and pray

to

God, in

the hope of finding pardon for the thought which your heart has conceived.

see plainly that a bitter poison has taken hold

I

you are the bondsman of iniquity/

of you;

answered, Tray for me to the Lord, that none harm you have spoken of may fall upon me/

And Simon of this

when they had borne

So,

and preached

their full witness

the word of the Lord, they began their journey back to Jerusalem, carrying the gospel into

commanded by an

while, Philip was

up,

and go south

to Gaza; this

is

many Samaritan

to

villages.

Mean-

angel of the Lord, 'Rise

meet the road which

leads

from Jerusalem

desert country/

So he rose up and went; and found there an Ethiopian. This

man was

a eunuch, a courtier of Candace, queen of

had charge of all her wealth; he had been up and was now on his way home, driving along in his chariot and reading the prophet Isaias. The Spirit said to Philip, 'Go up to that chariot and keep Ethiopia, and

to worship at Jerusalem,

close

by

And

it/

he ran up, heard him reading the prophet Isaias, and asked, 'Can you understand what you are reading?' r 'How could 1/ said he, 'without someone to guide me? Philip, as

And he The

entreated Philip to

'He was led away that

is

dumb

He was tell

come up and

like a

before

its

beside him.

sheep to be slaughtered; like a lamb

shearer,

brought low, and

he would not open his mouth.

all his rights

the story of his age? His

earth/

sit

passage of scripture which he was reading was this:

life is

taken away;

being cut

off

who

shall

from the

Bethlehem-Hebron Road 30 A.D. a loud rushing wind, in

39

and often the rocking of the building

an earthquake accompanied the conferring of the

When

ment.

Simon saw

as

sacra-

these amazing effects, he could not

conceal his eagerness to possess such power. Imagine what a

would have, could he produce such a spectacle/ this spiritual power with money has im-

success he

His attempt to buy mortalized his

known

is still

Philip

name

as

(like that of

Pontius Pilate); his crime

simony.

and the Ethiopian.

It is

probably

still

the same year,

30 A.D., as that of the Grst Pentecost, possibly the feast of Tabernacles in September.

A

rich

Sudanese (Ethiopia stands

for the headwaters of the Nile in Southern Egypt), the finance

minister of Candace (a royal

black skin, is

is

title like

Pharao), probably of

driving along the road south from Jerusalem; he

reading aloud in Greek the prophecy of

the jolting of the chariot, his

mind

is

Isaias.

Distracted by

unable to cope with the

deep mysteries of the book.

Had he

only

place of the

been

far

known

Man

it,

he had

just passed

through the birth-

he was reading about; he could not have

beyond Bethlehem when a running

figure overtook

the slow-moving chariot and jogged along beside

it,

obviously

its passenger. He kept on with his task of reading and then on a sudden Philip bent his head towards the

interested in Isaias;

open door and asked him

The

if

he needed

a skilled interpreter.

chapter of the prophet Isaias the Sudanese was reading

was the

classic text in the

Old Testament on the

suffering

Messiah. It was undoubtedly one of the texts interpreted by

our Lord in similar circumstances on the road to

on the

first

carrying

Easter afternoon. Philip

on the same teaching.

He

is

now

Emmaus,

the voice of Jesus,

probably quotes the words

Acts of the Apostles

40

And

whom

8,

34-9, 8

the eunuch turned to Philip, and said, Tell me, about

does the prophet say this? Himself, or some other man?'

Then

Philip began speaking,

and preached

to

him about

Jesus, taking this passage as his theme.

As they went on and the eunuch

came

their way, they

said, 'See, there

is

to a piece of water,

water here;

why may

I

not

be baptized?'

So he had the chariot stopped, and both of them, Philip

and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip bap-

him

But when they came up from the water, and the eunuch did not see him any longer; he went on his way rejoicing. As for Philip, he was next heard of at Azotus; and from there he went preaching all round the villages, until he reached tized

there.

Philip was carried off by the spirit of the Lord,

Caesarea.

Saul, with every breath ciples of the

he drew,

threatened the

still

Lord with massacre; and now he went to the

high priest and asked him for

letters of

commendation

synagogues at Damascus, so that he could arrest

men and women, who

found

there,

bring

them back

to Jerusalem.

he was nearly at Damascus, denly about him.

He

fell

saying to him, 'Saul, Saul,

Who

are you, Lord?'

And he

said,

and go into the work

dis-

'I

am

city,

those he

Way, and journey, when

belonged to the

Then, on

a light

his

from heaven shone sud-

to the ground,

why

all

to the

and heard a voice

do you persecute me?'

he asked.

Jesus,

whom

and there you

Saul persecutes; shall

rise

up,

be told what your

is.'

His companions stood in bewilderment, hearing the voice speak, but not seeing anyone.

he could

When

he rose from the ground

see nothing, although his eyes

were open, and they

The Road

when

of John the Baptist

out to his

away the

to

Damascus 30 A.D.

that herald of Christ pointed

disciples: 'Look, this is the

sin of the

41

Lamb

of

God, who

him takes

world/

After the baptism of the Sudanese, Philip was miraculously

removed from further finally

his presence.

His work finished, he was taken

Gaza to Azotus; he him again thirty years

up the Mediterranean coast from

came

to Caesarea,

where we find

later.

There are

at least three roads

have presumed to

from Jerusalem to Gaza.

that the chariot followed the

I

main south road

Hebron, and then west to Gaza. The point of the angel's

remark,

seems to be that he was

'this is desert country,'

re-

assuring Philip on the safety of his person in such territory;

was uninhabited country, and

far

it

from the danger zone of

persecution in Jerusalem.

The Conversion

of Paul.

The

small group of persecutors

under the leadership of SauJ was camped for the night on the hills to

the north of the lake of Galilee. Further north

the massive bulk of

mount Hermon,

south the lake lay smooth as

glass.

loomed

9,000 feet high; to the

The white houses

of

Capharnaum caught the last rays of the sun. But Saul had no eye for the beauty and grandeur of the view; his thoughts were on the Christians who had escaped from Galilee and taken refuge in Syria. Tomorrow he would be in Damascus, and he would hunt them out from their hiding places. In Saul's mind there was only one solution of the Christian problem plete extermination: the treatment that Stephen

As they approached the south

gate of

Damascus

a light brighter than the sun, as bright as that

from

Jesus' face at the Transfiguration

had at

—com-

received.

midday,

which had shone

on nearby Hermon,

Acts of the Apostles

42

9,

9-21

had to lead him by the hand, to take him into Damascus. Here for three days he remained without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

There was,

in

Damascus, a

disciple

named

him

Ananias; to

the Lord called in a vision, 'Ananias/

'Here

And

I

am, Lord/ he answered.

the Lord said to him, 'Rise up and go to the road

called Straight Street;

a

man

of Tarsus,

and enquire

named

Saul.

at the

house of Judas for

Even now he

is

at his prayers;,

and he has had a vision of a man called Ananias coming in and laying hands on him, to cure him of blindness/ At this, Ananias answered, 'Lord, many have told me about this man, and all the hurt he has done to your saints at Jerusalem; and he has priests to

imprison

But the Lord

man name

come here with authority from the all those who call upon your name/ 'Go on your errand;

said to him,

this

is

have chosen to be the instrument for bringing

I

a

my

before the heathen and their rulers, and before the

people of Israel too.

I

have yet to

ing he will have to undergo for

So Ananias he

chief

laid his

set out;

and

as

tell

my

him,

how much

suffer-

name's sake/

soon as he came into the house

hands upon him, and

said, 'Brother Saul, I

have

been sent by that Lord Jesus who appeared to you on your way as you came here; you are to recover your sight, and be filled

with the Holy Spirit/

And

with that, a kind of film

his sight

was recovered.

He

rose

now, when he had taken food,

away from his eyes, and up, and was baptized; and

fell

his strength returned to

For some days he lived with the

disciples at

him.

Damascus, and

he preached that Jesus was the Son of God. All those who heard it were amazed; 'Why/

from the

they said,

first,

'is

in the synagogues,

not

this

the

man who

brought ruin on

all

those-

Damascus 30 A.D.

43

enveloped the persecution party. As suddenly

as that, Saul

was changed horn a persecutor to an apostle. The face of Stephen, so persistently before SauYs eyes, suddenly became the face of Jesus; the compassionate, compelling eyes of the

Master looked deep into those of Saul, and claimed him for his own chosen instrument for the winning of the heathen world; from It

now on he

dedicated to the Christian cause.

is

was not Christians he was persecuting;

The basic him right at

self.

doctrine of the Mystical

to

the

words: 'Believe me,

when you did to

it

lesson in Christian living; his letters: 'All

you who

me.

it

7

will

.

.

There

There

is

is

Body was presented

one of the

Jesus'

least of

come up

again

and again

.

.

You

in

name

have been baptized in Christ's .

my

will never forget this Erst

are Christ's

body

nothing but Christ in any of us/ another aspect of the doctrine of the Mystical

Body: not only

is

the Christian, the other man, identified with

Christ, but Paul himself

He must

to

it

He

have put on the person of Christ .

was Christ him-

he had learned the meaning of

start;

brethren here, you did

it

must put on the person of

permit Christ to take

full possession of his

being; his mind, his will, his voice,

all his

Christ.

whole

actions are the in-

struments through which the Lord will influence the world

around him. The more perfect the instrument, the more Jesus can use this

new

disciple in the conversion of the world.

Our Lord summed up his own life, and the way of life for members of his Mystical Body, in the words: Tf any man has a mind to come my way, let him renounce self, and take up his cross and follow me!

all

All

meant

the

matters;

complicated procedure surrounding Ananias

is

show Saul that from now on it is only God's will that he must trample on self, his own plans and ambitions;

to

Acts of the Apostles

44

9,

22-33

who invoked this name, when he was in Jerusalem; the man who came here for the very purpose of arresting such people and presenting them

to the chief priests?'

But Saul was inspired with ever

who

lenced the Jews clearly that this

greater strength,

and

si-

Damascus by showing them

lived at

was the Christ.

So many days passed, and then the Jews plotted against his life. Saul was aware of the plot; and since they kept watch

make an end of him, his disciples contrived to let him down by night along the face of the wall, lowering him to the ground in a hamper. So he over the gates, day and night, to

reached Jerusalem, where he tried to attach himself to the disciples;

and

all

but they could not believe he was a true

avoided his company.

by the hand and brought him how, on

name

how

Whereupon Barnabas took him in to the apostles, telling them

he had seen the Lord and had speech

his journey,

with him, and

Damascus he had spoken boldly in the So he came and went in their company at

of Jesus.

at

name

Jerusalem, and spoke boldly in the

preached, besides, to the Jews

with them, as they

who

of the Lord.

talked Greek,

heard of

and put him on

this,

his

all

the brethren took

way

He

and disputed

they set about trying to take his

till

Meanwhile,

disciple,

him down

life.

As soon

to Caesarea,

to Tarsus.

through Judea and Galilee and Samaria,

the church enjoyed peace and became firmly established,

guided by the fear of the Lord; and the encouragement of the Holy

And now down

Peter, as

he

it

grew

numbers through

visited the saints everywhere,

came

who dwelt at Lydda. There he found a man who had not left his bed for eight years, being

to see those

called Aeneas,

in

Spirit.

SISTERS OF

mWi

10 MQNTCftES'i ftvft

TORONiO

0NTARI8

Jerusalem 33 A.D. his

food must be to do the

And his

the Lord's

members

is

own

will of

of his followers:

life.

special technique for the perfection of

must be equally prominent in the 'With Christ I hang upon the cross.'

It

was

30 A.D., the year of the crucibaptized at Damascus. But it was

when

not

three years later that he

St.

Paul

as a Christian. This first

was.

he

lives

still

fixion,

'My

rules his

life; it

Paul in Jerusalem.

16-18:

him who now

the cross. Calvary occupied the supreme place

in Jesus' mortal

till

45

tells

made

his first visit to Jerusalem

us in his letter to the Galatians

1,

thought was not to hold any consultations

human creature; I did not go up to Jerusalem to see who had been apostles longer than myself; no, I went off into Arabia, and when I came back it was to Damascus. Then, when three years had passed, I did go up to Jerusalem,

with any those

to visit Kephas,

This a

is

and

I

stayed a fortnight there in his company.

Luke

the visit here recorded by St.

in the Acts;

it

7

was

busy two weeks given to preaching the gospel mainly in

Greek

St bia')

to the Jews of the Dispersion.

Paul's three years in the desert east of

Damascus

('Ara-

served the same purpose as our Lord's forty days in the

desert: it

was a time of preparation for

his public ministry of

healing and teaching.

Peter Visits Aeneas and Dorcas. stop a persecution

is

The most

effective

way

to

to convert the persecutor. It began sud-

denly with the murder of Stephen, and died just as suddenly

and dramatically; with Saul

a Christian all enthusiasm de-

parted from the Jewish leaders. There could be no better

mony

to the

dynamic personality of Paul than

position he held both in Jewish

and

this

testi-

dominant

in Christian circles.

Acts of the Apostles

46 paralysed.

And

Peter said

sends you healing;

up came to

rose

rise

up,

and

34-10, 4

him,

'Aeneas,

and make your

at once. All those

see him,

to

9,

who

bed';

Jesus

Christ

whereupon he

dwelt at Lydda and Sharon

their hearts turned to the Lord.

And there was a disciple at Joppa called Tabitha, which means the same as Dorcas, a gazelle. She abounded in acts of charity and in almsdeeds; and it so happened that at this time she fell sick, and died, and they washed the body and laid it in an upper room. Since Lydda was close to Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to find him; 'Come to us/ they urged him, 'without delay/ So Peter rose and went with them; and when he came there they took him into the upper room, where all the widows stood round him in tears, showing him the coats and cloaks which Dorcas used to make while she was among them. Peter sent them all out, and went on his knees to pray; then, turning to the body, he said, Tabitha, rise up'; and she opened her eyes and looked at Peter, and sat up on the bed. So he gave her his hand, and raised her to her feet; and then, calling in the saints and the widows, he showed her to them alive. This became known all over Joppa, and many learned to believe in the Lord. He stayed in Joppa a number of days after this, lodging with a tanner whose

name was Simon.

There was,

at Caesarea, a centurion

longing to what

is

named

Cornelius, be-

called the Italian cohort, a pious

man who

God, like all his household, gave alms freely to the people, and prayed to God continually. He, about three o'clock in the afternoon, had a vision, in which he clearly saw an angel of God come in and address him by name.

worshipped the true

'What

And he

is it,

Lord?' he asked, gazing at

him

in terror.

answered, 'Your prayers and almsdeeds are recorded

Lydda Christianity

had not been

31 A.D.

at a standstill during the persecu-

made throughout

tion period; converts were being It is

47

Palestine.

not surprising to End converts in Galilee, seeing that our

Lord spent almost two years of

his public life preaching to

them. The Acts record no detail of their conversion, and only

mention of converts in Judea and Samaria (which

a passing

shows how fragmentary Peter

is

is

the record in Acts).

the shepherd, the vicar of Christ, the rock on which

the Church

only Etting that he should

is built; it is

visit

strengthen his Rock. But the real source of Christian

not

human

Holy

agencies; the

of the Church. St. Paul fashion:

but

it,

'It

it

was for

was

and

body; so

for

later

to put

it

in his

gave the increase.'

number of different organs goes to make up one

one, though

multitude of

it

has a

with ChristJ These words of

St.

Paul are well

by Dorcas, the Erst Sister of Charity. There

members

ity, as

and

all this

it is

illustrated

is all

was

power memorable

Spirit himself is the vital

to plant the seed, for Apollo to water

God who

'A man's body organs;

me

work

to

well as for the

raising the

is

need

menial and unnoticed duties of char-

at

more

dead to

and

life is

spectacular works of healing cripples

life.

An

Angel Appears to Cornelius. This Italian soldier knew nothing of Jewish religion until one day he came across a copy of their Sacred Writings, written in Greek.

contact with the

God

of the Hebrews,

According to the Jews he was the only

He made

whose name real

God;

all

is

his Erst

Yahweh.

the others,

so familiar to Cornelius, such as Jupiter, Mars, Venus, were

only invented by the imagination of men; in the world of reality they

did not exist

Yahweh

reigned alone.

Acts of the Apostles 10, 5-20

48

God's

in

And now he would have you send men to who is surnamed Peter; he

sight.

Joppa, to bring here one Simon,

lodges with a tanner, called Simon, whose house

close to

is

the sea/

So the angel visitor left him, and thereupon he summoned two of his servants, and one of the soldiers who were in at-

man

tendance on him, a

of piety; he told

and sent them on

passed,

Next

their

day, while these were

drawing near the

city,

noon, to pray there.

saw heaven opening, and

had

that

all

and were

their journey,

was hungry, and waiting it,

he

fell

for a meal;

it

He

into a trance.

a bundle, like a great sheet, let

four corners on to the earth; in

its

were

down

kinds of

all

and things that creep on the

four-footed beasts, all

on

them

to Joppa.

Peter went up to the housetop about

He

and while they were preparing by

way

earth,

and

the birds of heaven.

And

a voice

came

you and

to him, 'Rise up, Peter, lay about

eat/ 'It I

cannot be, Lord/ answered Peter; 'never in

my

life

have

eaten anything profane, anything unclean/

Then you to

the voice

call

came

to

him

a second time,

anything profane, which

God

has

'It is

made

not for

clean/

Three times this happened, and then the bundle was drawn up again into heaven. Peter was still puzzling in his mind over the meaning of his vision, when Cornelius' messengers, who had now found their way to Simon's house, were seen standing at the gate; where they called out and asked if Simon,

To

who was

Peter, as

the Spirit

said,

also called Peter, lodged there.

he was turning over the vision in his mind, 'Here are some men asking for you; rise and

go down, and accompany them without misgiving;

have sent them.'

it is I

who

Joppa

Yahweh

A.D.

49

all nations, not Jews only, with justice and was not capricious and unpredictable like the

ruled

He

charity.

31

Roman gods. He took a personal and loving interest in all men; man could return his affection by living according to the laws Yahweh had revealed; God had even told man the manner in

which he wished true worship to he offered to

come

Cornelius had

to

and submit

believe in

his

name.

his life

to

Yahweh.

Has

Peter

a Vision.

The

Noah's ark two by two

is

picture of animals marching into

not quite correct. There were two

camels and two donkeys, but fourteen sheep and a

like

num-

ber of cattle. Here are God's words to Noah: 'Take seven pairs of

the clean animals with you f male and female, and one

all

7

pair of all the animals that are unclean (Gen. y, 2).

This distinction of clean (kosher

is

the

Hebrew word) and

unclean animals was a continual reminder to the Jews that they were a people set apart, as the Lord apart

and above

all

God

heathen gods; they must not

himself was

let

themselves

be contaminated by eating food that was abominable for either sanitary or religious reasons. It

was

a call to perfection, just as

our Lord toJd his followers in the Sermon on the Mount:

Tou

are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father

The found

list

of kosher foods,

and the

is

perfect/

basis for the distinction,

is

in Leviticus 11. Five groups of living things are con-

sidered;

though only three of them are

listed in

Peters vision

in the Acts.

Quadrupeds that chew the cud and have cloven hoofs are kosher. This excludes the camel, which has an undivided hoof, and the pig, which does not chew the cud. Fish must have hns and

scales.

The distinction among

are clean; doves

and pigeons

birds

is

that non-carrion

are the principal kosher birds.

Acts of the Apostles 10, 21-33

50

So Peter went down to the men; 'Here

man you

The

are looking for;

what

is

centurion Cornelius/ they said,

God and

the true

I

am/ he

said, 'the

your errand?'

keeps his law, as

all

'a

man who

worships

the Jewish people will

has received a revelation from one of the holy angels;

testify,

he was to have you brought to you would say/

his house,

and

listen to

what

Thereupon Peter bade them come in, and made them welcome; and next day he set out with them, accompanied by some of the brethren from Joppa.

The day

after that, they reached Caesarea,

was awaiting them; he had gathered closest friends

about him.

And

he was met by Cornelius, who to him;

man

where Cornelius

kinsmen and

at his feet

and did reverence

but Peter raised him up; 'Stand up/ he

So he went

in, still

Jew

'that a

is

'I

am

a

conversing with him, and found a great

contaminated him; but

race, or visits

ought not to speak of

if

well

enough/ he told them,

he consorts with one of another

God has been showing me that we any man as profane or unclean; and

when I was sent for, I came without demur. why you have sent for me/ so,

And saw

Tell

me then,

Cornelius said, 'Three days ago, at this very time,

was making to

said,

like yourself/

company assembled. 'You know

I

his

soon as Peter had entered,

as

fell

his

a

my

man

afternoon prayer in

my

house,

I

when suddenly who said

standing before me, in white clothes,

me, "Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, your almsdeeds

have won remembrance in God's Joppa, and

he

Peter; sea."

I

is

lost

have done

summon

thence that

You are Simon who is sight.

to send to also called

lodging with a tanner called Simon, close to the

no time,

me

therefore, in sending for you,

a favour in coming.

Now you

and you

see us assembled

Caesarea 31 A.D.

The

51

only winged insects that were clean were those 'which

have the hinder legs longer, and leap from one spot to another.'

These are grasshoppers, the food of John the Baptist

on the

All 'things that creep

members

the main

The kosher on Friday

is

earth*

were unclean; snakes are

of this classification.

legislation

was familiar to every Jew,

to a Catholic.

He

was reminded of

he went to the market to buy food or reclined

just as fish

every time

it

at table for his

daily meals.

Peter Visits Cornelius.

Peter should have been used to work-

ing out the hidden meanings of visions and parables; he

been trained in

it

by Jesus himself. Actually,

of kosher regulations

Capharnaum,

had been

treated

this very

for the special benefit of the apostles: its

not into his heart, but into his belly? Whereas

makes

a

man

author of all

meat

The

St.

unclean.'

St.

all

it is

into a

it travels,

that

comes

that which

Peter (who was the original

Mark's Gospel) comments: 'Thus he declared

to be clean

ten

And

the heart, and

'Do you

way

man's mouth has no means of defiling him, because

mouth comes from

matter

by our Lord at

not observe that any uncleanness which Ends

out of his

had

men

(Mk.

y, 19).

walking the thirty miles up the plain of Sharon

from Joppa to Caesarea were making history. For the Erst time in the history of the Church, the faith was being brought directly to the Gentiles.

Caesarea was the headquarters of the still

Roman

procurator,

Pontius Pilate (presuming that this incident took place

before Pilate's recall in 36 A.D.). It was a

50 years

old,

soldiers,

and

with

Roman

in all its

buildings, a

ways and culture

Ene

modern port,

Roman

city,

only

about 5,000

to the core.

By

Acts of the Apostles

52 in

God's presence, ready to

listen to

io,

34-47

whatever charge the Lord

has given you/

Thereupon Peter began speaking; 'I see clearly enough/ he said, 'that God makes no distinction between man and man; he welcomes anybody, whatever his race, who fears him and does what piety demands.

them news

of Israel, giving is

Lord

of

all.

He

has sent his word to the sons

of peace through Jesus Christ,

You have heard

who

the story, a story which ran

through the whole of Judea, though

it

began

in Galilee, after

the baptism which John proclaimed; about Jesus of Nazareth,

how God

anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power,

he went about doing good, and curing

so that

were under the witnesses of

Jerusalem.

on the

devil's tyranny,

he did

all

And

God

God

those

at his side.

in the country of the Jews,

they killed him, hanging

third day

clear sight of

with

all

raised

him up

him, not to the people at

him on

who

We are and

a gibbet;

in

but

again,

and granted the

large,

but to us the wit-

whom God

had appointed beforehand; we ate and drank in his company after his rising from the dead. And he gave us a commission to preach to the people, and to bear witness that he, and none other, has been chosen by God to

nesses

judge the living and the dead. All the prophets bear him this testimony, that everyone

who

mission of sins through his

has faith in

him

is

to find re-

name/

Before Peter had finished speaking to them thus, the Holy Spirit fell

faithful

on

all

those

who were

who had come

listening to his message.

The

over with Peter, holding to the tradi-

tion of circumcision as they did, were astonished to find that

the free gift of the Holy Spirit could be lavished upon the Gentiles,

whom

they heard speaking with tongues, and pro-

claiming the greatness of God. will

Then

Peter said openly,

'Who

grudge us the water for baptizing these men, that have

Caesar ea 31 A. D.

53

invading this Gentile stronghold, Peter was preparing for the capture of

The

Rome

itself.

Amidst the sound of marching feet on the cobblestones outside Cornelius' house, and the pounding of surf on the breakwater of the port of Caesarea, First Gentile Converts.

Peter began his

first

instruction class for the reception of

heathen converts. The family of Cornelius was made up of his wife

and

children, the domestic servants

and

his

batman.

The scene surely recalled to Peter the famous Domine, non sum dignus centurion of Capharnaum, whose servant Jesus had healed. Cornelius was of a similar type, and was worthy of the same praise which the Master gave to that other one: 'Believe

me,

I

have not found

1 am

said:

story of Jesus'

the way; I

am

and

truth

he was the Lord

life;

even in

life.'

So Peter told the

God (Yahweh)

Cornelius had only to believe in him, and eternal

As he searched on became the

earth,

Jesus' life later

Memoirs It did

was

his.

memory

he

began that selection of incidents which

for the outstanding facts of

basis of all Christian narrative

Gospel of

St.

down

about the

in the four gospels; par-

Mark, which

is

often called the

of Peter.

not include the Infancy Story, but began with John

the Baptist (the baptism of our of his public

life),

and

Lord was the

true beginning

finished with the Resurrection.

out what Peter said to Cornelius, St.

incarnate.

life

his

Master, and which was written ticularly the

Israel.'

was simple. The Master himself

Peter's plan of instruction

had

faith like this,

it is

To End

only necessary to read

Mark.

Peter was dramatically interrupted before he could conclude his instructions. Suddenly, unexpectedly, Cornelius

members

of his household were

on

their feet,

and the

ecstatically

Acts of the Apostles 10, 48-11, 13

54

received the Holy Spirit just as

we

And he gave orders name of Jesus Christ.

did?'

that they should be baptized in the

And

him

after this, they asked

on some days with

to stay

them.

And now the word of Peter

God had been

came up

given to the Gentiles.

to Jerusalem, those

who

of circumcision found fault with him; visit/

how And when

the apostles and brethren in Judea were told

they asked,

'to

men who

held to the tradition

'Why

did you pay a

and

are uncircumcised,

eat

with them?'

Whereupon

Peter told

the beginning; prayers,

when

I fell

like a great sheet,

four corners,

till

them the

was in the

'I

it

story point

city of

into a trance

by point from

Joppa/ he

and saw a

said, 'at

vision.

A

my

bundle,

came down from heaven, lowered by the reached me.

I

looked closely to find out

what it was, and there I saw four-footed creatures of earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and the birds that fly in heaven.

And

lay about

'So

I

I

heard a voice saying to me, "Rise up, Peter,

you and

eat."

answered, "It cannot be, Lord; nothing profane or

unclean has ever crossed

my

lips."

'And a second utterance came from heaven is

not for you to

call

anything profane, which

in answer, "It

God

has

made

clean."

'Three times this happened, and then again into heaven.

And

at that very

all

moment

peared at the door of the house where

we

was drawn up three

men

ap-

were, with a mes-

sage to me from Caesarea. The Spirit bade me accompany them without misgiving; so these six brethren came with me, and together we entered the man's home. There he told us how he had had a vision of an angel in his house; this angel

stood before him, and said, "Send to Joppa, and bid Simon,

Jerusalem 31 A.D. praising

God

in foreign tongues. It

festation all over again; the

55

was the Pentecostal mani-

Holy Ghost had come down upon

them, and that even hefoie they were baptized Christians.

Peter Justifies His Action.

Jewish way of

life

The

first

Christians kept up their

by frequenting the temple and assisting at

They had the Masters own example and express words to follow: 'Do not think that I have come to set aside the law and the prophets; I have not come to set them aside, but to bring them to perfection. Believe me, heaven and earth must disappear sooner than one jot, one flourish disappear from the law; it must all be accomplished.' But our Lord himself had observed that the new vitality of the Church could not be contained in the ancient observances the synagogue services.

of Israel; he hinted at this in his reference to patching

old garment with a piece from a

new wine

into old skins.

And

new

cloak,

and

up an

to putting

in the parable of the Prodigal

Son, Jesus pointed out the true solution of the Jew-Gentile

problem: both the older brother (Jewry) and the younger prodigal (Gentiles) were to live in amity in

the Fathers

house.

The Holy

Spirit

performed his part in

this

deeper under-

standing of Jesus' words, and their application to the

new

problems that confronted the infant Church. At the Last Spirit's function:

T

beyond your reach

as

Supper our Lord had outlined the Holy have

still

much

yet. It will

into

all

to say to you, but

it is

be for him, the truth-giving Spirit, to guide you

truth;

and he

will

make

plain to

you what

is still

to

come.'

The

vision at Caesarea left

definite guidance

no doubt

from the Holy

Spirit.

in Peter's

As head

mind;

of the

it

was

Church,

Acts of the Apostles

56

who

come

also called Peter,

is

message for you as

And

household."

to you.

He

will

have such a

you and to

will bring salvation to

fell

Then

I

I had set about speaking to upon them, just as it was with us was reminded of what the Lord

said to us: "John's baptism

was with water, but there

baptism with the Holy Spirit which you are to receive."

now,

when

to us

was

God has made them

if

At

the same free

gift,

then,' they said,

a

And

it,

who

I,

these words they were content, and gave glory to

Why

is

which he made

Lord Jesus had gone before to stay God's hand?'

faith in the

what power had

I,

your

all

when

then,

them, the Holy Spirit at the beginning.

14-26

11,

'it

seems

God

God;

has granted life-giving

repentance of heart to the Gentiles too/

Meanwhile, those who had been dispersed owing to the persecution that was raised over Stephen had travelled as far

away

ing the

word

of them, their

and Cyprus and Antioch, without preachanyone except the Jews. But there were some

as Phoenicia

way

to

men

of

Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they found

to Antioch, spoke to the Greeks as well, preaching

the Lord Jesus to them.

And

the Lord's power went with

them, so that a great number learned to believe, and turned to the Lord.

The

story of this

came

to the ears of the

Church

at Jeru-

salem, and they sent Barnabas on a mission to Antioch.

he came there and saw what grace them, he was

God

was bestowing on

and encouraged them

all

to

remain

heart, like the

good

was, full of the Holy Spirit, full of faith; a great

num-

true to the

man he

full of joy,

When

Lord with steady purpose of

ber of people were thus

won

over to the Lord.

Tarsus, to look for Saul, and

He went on

to

when he found him, brought

him back to Antioch. For a whole year after this they were made welcome in the Church there, teaching a great multi-

Antioch 43 A.D. it

was

now Peters

office to see

understood and accepted

57

that the hierarchy of the Church decision, which had come from

this

God himself. It

was Peter who

laid

down

the principle; hut

it

was Paul

who played the dominant role in putting it into practice. This how he speaks of it to the Ephesians: 'It was never made known to any human being in past ages, as it has now been is

revealed by the Spirit to his holy apostles it is this:

and prophets, and

that through the gospel preaching the Gentiles are

win the same inheritance, to be made part of the same

to

body, to share the same divine promise, in Christ Jesus.

he has bestowed

this privilege of publishing to the

plan of this mystery' (Ephes.

3, 5-9).

Paul and Barnabas at Antioch. ten years for a

more

man who

at

home

Three years in the

in Tarsus,

kingdom. Yet that

Paul: a period of preparation that life

is

is

what

and

surely based

and he must prepare

for his public life

prayer; because that

what Jesus

burning with

is

God

of our Lord. Paul was to be the greatest of

is

desert,

a long time of inactivity

is

has seen Jesus face to face and

zeal to spread his

On me

world the

planned for

on the earthly

all

missionaries,

by a long period of

did.

Antioch, the capital of the province of Syria, was the fourth city of the

Queen

Roman

empire; a city that has been rightly

of the East. It was the ambition of every

named

Roman

to

be posted to Antioch. Built on the river Orontes, surrounded by

wooded mountains, having a climate that would satisfy a modern Californian, it was as fashionable and pleasure-loving as Hollywood. The main street ran for over four miles, paved with marble and Rood-lit at night. There were race courses, theatres, night clubs,

swimming

pools, central heating,

and

plumbing.

The open-door

policy adopted at the conversion of Cor-

Acts of the Apostles

58 tude.

And Antioch was

the

first

11,

27-12, 9

place in which the disciples

were called Christians.

At this time, some prophets from Jerusalem visited Antioch; and one of these, Agabus by name, stood up and prophesied through the Spirit that a great famine was to come upon the

whole world,

Thereupon

it

as

it

did in the reign of the emperor Claudius.

was decided that each of the

disciples

should

contribute according to his means, to send relief to the breth-

who

ren

And

lived in Judea.

so they did;

the presbyters they entrusted

and

and

in sending

it

to

to the hands of Barnabas

it

Saul.

same time that Herod exerted his authority to persecute some of those who belonged to the Church. James, the brother of John, he beheaded, and then, finding that this was acceptable to the Jews, he went further, and laid hands on Peter too. It was the time of unleavened bread; and he imprisoned Peter, after arresting him, with a guard of It

was at

this

four soldiers, relieved four times a day; over,

he would bring him out

Peter, then,

when

in the presence of the people.

was well guarded

his behalf.

to bring

And now

him

but there was a

in prison,

continual stream of prayer going up to

on

paschal-time was

God from

the day was coming

out; that night, Peter

the church

when Herod was

was sleeping with two

chains on him, between two soldiers, and there were warders at the door guarding his prison.

Lord stood over him, and a

light

Suddenly an angel of the shone in his

cell.

Peter on the side, to rouse him; 'Quick/ he said,

thereupon the chains

Then on your

fell

from

He smote

'rise up';

and

his hands.

the angel said to him, 'Gird yourself up, and put shoes';

and when he had done

over you, and follow

this,

Throw your

cloak

me/

So he followed him

out,

unaware that what the angel had

Jerusalem 44 A.D. nelius

had

its first

59

great success at Antioch; the

Church there

It was the people of Antioch who new religion; the name that has lasted day. The Jews used the word Nazarenes,

was almost entirely Gentile. coined a

down

name

for this

to the present

the Christians themselves usually referred to each other

as-

saints, or brethren.

Paul's second visit to Jerusalem was a mission of relief; the

new

church at Antioch began

its

the key Christian virtue

charity.



with an expression of

life

At Rome in 41 A.D. the emperor Caligula fell dead with more than thirty dagger wounds in his body. In the confusion that followed, a young prince of the house of Herod was the person responsible for Peter Delivered from Prison.

placing on the throne the

was Agrippa

Herod ship

1,

Claudius. This prince

a grandson of the slayer of the

the Great.

of

new emperor

He

Palestine.

Holy Innocents?

was rewarded by Claudius with the king-

The

procurators

were withdrawn, and

Agrippa arrived at Caesarea to restore the splendours of his grandfather's kingdom.

no longer immune from persecution. The policy of permitting free access to their ranks on the part of the Gentiles had alienated Jewish popular opinion. And

The

apostles were

Agrippa, with the shrewdness that characterized the Herodian house, saw an opportunity of winning favour with his Jewish subjects.

The

first

martyr from the ranks of the twelve was James,

the brother of John. In the week before our Lord's death, the mother of these two apostles had made this request: 'Grant that in your kingdom one may take his place on your hand and the other on your left.' Our Lord granted

right

their

60

Acts of the Apostles

done

for

him was

true;

Thus they passed one

10-20

12,

he thought he was seeing a

reached the iron gate which leads out into the

opened

them

for

of

its

own

accord.

soon as they passed on up one

At he

this,

Peter

said, 'that

came

hoped

They came

street,

to himself.

the angel

'Now

I

can

and from

all

this

city;

and

out,

as

him.

left

certain/

tell for

the Lord has sent his angel, to deliver

of Herod's hands,

vision.

party of guards, then a second, and

me

out

that the people of the Jews

to see/

some thought, he made for the house belonging to Mary the mother of John, also called Mark. Here many had gathered for prayer; a girl named Rhoda came to answer, when he knocked at the porch door, and she, recognizing After

Peter's voice,

she ran

in,

was too overjoyed to open the gate

and told them that Peter was standing

'You are mad/ they told so;

and then they

her,

said, 'It

but she

must be

still

for

him;

at the gate.

insisted that

it

was

his guardian angel/

Meanwhile, Peter went on knocking; so they opened, and

found him

and stood astonished. Calling for silence them how the Lord had delivered him from prison; 'Give news of this/ he said, 'to James and the rest of the brethren/ And so he left them, and there,

by a gesture of his hand, he told

went elsewhere.

When day broke, there was a great to-do among the soldiers, know what had become of Peter. Herod, after searching for him without avail, questioned the warders and had them punished. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea, and spent his time there. He was much out of humour with the to

people of Tyre and Sidon; and these, since their country de-

pended on the by

common

king's country for supplies, waited

upon him

consent, and tried (by winning over Blastus, the

Jerusalem 44 A.D. request, in symbolic language that

61

was beyond

their under-

standing at that time: 'You shall indeed drink of the cup I

am

and be baptized with the baptism

to drink,

The martyrdom

baptized with.'

of James

Much

fulfilment of our Lord's prophecy.

would come, when he was thrown into

Rome; but he was

oil in

was probably

It

to be

later

Johns turn

a cauldron of boiling a miracle.

and had

in gaol before

it.

The Church knew where her power to rescue Peter

members

am

Antonia that Peter was locked

up and securely guarded; he had been escaped from

I

regarded as the

unharmed by

delivered

in fortress

is

by breaking into the

lay.

There was no plan

fortress, instead, all the

community went down on

of the Christian

their

knees in prayer. Paul's metaphor of the body expresses this perfectly: 'If

one part

is

suffering, all the rest suffer

There was to be no want of unity parts of

it

with it

in the body; all the different

common

were to make each others welfare their

care!

Peter

St.

of the

made

Church

hiding or had

directly for the Cenacle, the headquarters

in Jerusalem. All the apostles left

was bishop of Jerusalem. Peter and,

it is

most

were either in

Jerusalem. James, the cousin of our Lord,

likely,

word

him

at the

Cenacle

to the security of the

Antioch

left

went north

for

community.

Death of Herod Agrippa

1.

The

big celebration at Caesarea

was probably to honour Claudius' conquest of Britain. The historian Josephus adds a as the

morning

macabre

rays of the

detail to Luke's account:

summer sun shone on

the silver

robes of Agrippa, suddenly an owl hooted in a nearby tree; this

was an omen of death.

After a reign of only three years, Agrippa died; he was the last

king of the Jews; procurators ruled again in Judea. Agrippa

62

Acts of the Apostles 12, 21-13, 8

make

on an appointed and sat down on a raised dais to harangue them; whereupon the people cried out in applause, 'It is no man, it is a god that speaks/ And immediroyal chamberlain), to

day,

Herod put on

their peace. So,

his royal finery

Lord smote him,

ately the angel of the

for not referring the

God; and he was eaten up by worms, and so died. the word of God grew strong and spread wide. Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, their mission of

glory to

And

still

relief fulfilled,

and took John,

also called

Mark,

in their

com-

pany.

First Missionary The Church

Antioch had

at

as its prophets

who was

Barnabas, and Simon

Journey

called Niger,

and teachers

and Lucius of

Cyrene, and Manahen, foster-brother of Herod the tetrarch,

and

These were

Saul.

when the Holy

offering worship to

Spirit said,

God and

fasting,

1 must have Barnabas and Saul I have called them/ There-

dedicated to the work to which

upon they

fasted

and prayed and

so took leave of them.

Holy

Spirit,

for Cyprus.

went down

And

laid

hands on them, and

on their travels by the and from there took ship

they, sent

to Seleucia,

So they reached Salamis, where they preached

had John, too, to help them. And when they had been through the whole island up to Paphos, they encountered there a magician who claimed God's word

in the Jewish synagogues; they

to be a prophet, a Jew named Bar-Jesus. pany of the governor, Sergius Paulus, a

who had

sent for Barnabas

hear the word of God. his

And

name means when

He was in the comman of good sense,

and Saul and asked

if

he might

Elymas, the magician (that

is

what

translated), opposed them, trying to

turn the governor away from the faith.

Cyprus 45 A.D. left a

63

son of the same name, a boy of seventeen, and two

younger daughters, Bernice and DrusiJia. All three to the story sixteen years later,

when Paul

will return

a prisoner at

is

Caesarea.

The sudden and unexpected dramatic as the removal of the of the

Lord was

lifting of

first

persecution was as

persecutor, Saul.

The hand

certainly stretched out to protect the Mystical

Body. With the joy of gratitude in their hearts, Paul, Barnabas,

and John Mark, the future author

and the son

of

Mary of

of the

Second Gospel

the Cenacle, followed Peter to Antioch.

Cyprus and Galatia 45-47 A.D. Peter had just Rnished Mass when one of the congregation rose to his feet and spoke; it was the Holy Spirit manifesting the divine will through a

Paul and the Magician in Cyprus.

member

of the Mystical Body.

The message was

to inaugurate

the foreign missions of the Church; Barnabas and Paul were

new

selected to pioneer this

activity

which was

to convert the

world. Just visible

on the horizon, 100 miles out to

sea, are

the

mountains of the copper-mining island of Cyprus (the name is

Latin for copper). It was Barnabas' homeland; he was the

leader of the expedition.

They

arrived at the eastern port of

Salamis and covered the whole island from east to west, a distance of 60 miles along a paved road. Salamis was the

mercial capital; Paphos the centre of

At Paphos, Paul worked strated that Christianity it

has power to Jay

aJi

its spell.

his first miracle.

com-

administration.

By

it

he demon-

not a mere pale system of thought;

dust. Elymas represented and black magic which held the pagan

magic in the

that Oriental mysticism

world in

is

Roman

The man

to deal with

it

was Paul, not Barna-

Acts of the Apostles 13, 9-21

64

Then Spirit,

Saul,

whose other name

is

Paul, filled with the

versed in

all trickery

and cunning, enemy

of all honest dealing,

you never have done with trying to twist the

will

Holy

fastened his eyes on him, and said: 'Child of the devil,

straight

if the hand of the Lord does upon you now. You shall become blind, and see the sun no more for a while/ At this, a dark mist fell upon him, and he had to go about looking for someone to lead him by the hand. And now the governor, seeing what had happened, and overcome with awe

paths of the Lord? See, then,

not

fall

at the Lord's teaching, learned to believe.

After this Paul and his companions took ship from Paphos

and made

for Perge in Pamphylia; here

went back

to Jerusalem.

John

left

They passed on from

them, and

and

Perge,

reached Pisidian Antioch, where they went and took their seats in the

synagogue on the sabbath day.

of the law

and the prophets was

When

the reading

finished, the rulers of the

synagogue sent a message to them to

say, 'Brethren, if

you

have in your hearts any word of encouragement for the people, let us

hear

Then Paul

it/

stood up, and

made

a gesture with his

claim audience. 'Listen/ he said, 'men of

who

The God of this people made his people great at

when they were strangers in the land arm to deliver them from it. For

his

hand

and

worship the true God.

chose out our fathers, and

their

Israel,

all

to

you

of Israel

the time

of Egypt, stretching out forty years

he bore with

hard hearts in the wilderness; then he overthrew seven

nations in the land of Canaan, whose lands he gave

them

an inheritance. By now, some four hundred and

years

for

had passed; and

after this

to the time of the prophet Samuel. king,

fifty

he appointed judges over them, up

and God gave them

Then

they asked for a

Saul, son of Kish, a

man

of the

Pisidian Antioch 45 A. D. bas;

and that

him; from

For the

is

why we

now on time

first

from now on

it is

it is

St.

65

find the role of leader taken over by

always Paul

who

leads the way.

Luke abandons the Jewish name

always the

Roman

Saul;

civic name, Paul, that he

came spontaneously to PauYs lips when the governor asked him his name. It best expresses his position as apostle of the Gentiles. He is no longer a Hebrew, an alien in the uses. It

Roman

world; he belongs to

of the

Catholic Church; above

as a citizen;

it

all

he

divisions

is

a herald

of race

and

speech.

As the ship crossed the 60 miles of water between Cyprus and the mainland of Asia Minor (now Turkey), Paul could see the vast bulk of the Taurus Mountains lost in the clouds to the north. This range ran 500 miles from east to west, and rose up as high as 12,000 Paul Preaches at Pisidian Antioch.

feet It was familiar scenery to Paul; Tarsus it,

at

its

eastern end. Paul

he was now

to

make

rugged canyons, in the

Roman

With

lies

had often crossed

it

to the south of in imagination;

the hazardous 100-mile journey through

peril

from robbers, cold and hunger, to

capital of Galatia.

and main highways, Paul came to Pisidian Antioch on the main trade route from Ephesus to Syrian Antioch. Had not the Master said: 'What his instinct for big cities

has been whispered in your ears in secret chambers, you are to proclaim

was

off the

really

He

on the housetops'? Paul had sensed that Cyprus

map; here

Roman

in Pisidian

Antioch he was in

his Erst

city

opens his sermon in the same fashion

as

Stephen did

before the Council in Jerusalem; an apt beginning by one

has

now

to speak for

Stephen

as well as Jesus.

the history of the chosen people

till

He

who

summarizes

the time of David, listing

€6

Acts of the Apostles

tribe of

who

Benjamin,

13,

22-35

reigned forty years; but afterwards

dis-

To him, he son of Jesse, a man

possessed him, and raised up David to be their king.

gave this testimony, "I have found in David, after

my own heart, who will accomplish all that is my will."

'It is

made

out of this man's posterity, according to the promise

to him, that

tism in which

John

himself,

God way

liad prepared the all

by proclaiming a bap-

the people of Israel were to repent; but

when he was coming

am

course, told them, "I

rather for one

has brought us a Saviour, Jesus. John

for his coming,

end

to the

not what you suspect

who comes

me;

after

I

am

of his life's

me

to be; look

not worthy to untie

the shoes on his feet." 'Brethren, you

who

God,

fear

who

this

people at Jerusalem, like their for

Abraham, and you others

are sons of

message of salvation rulers,

sent to us.

is

The

did not recognize Jesus

what he was; unwittingly they fulfilled, by condemning him,

those utterances of the prophets which they had heard read,

sabbath after sabbath.

And

although they could find no capital

charge against him, they petitioned Pilate for his death. So,

when

had been written about him, they took him down from the cross and laid him in a tomb. 'And God raised him from the dead. He was seen, over they had

fulfilled all that

by the men who had come up with

a space of

many

him from

Galilee to Jerusalem;

witness of

him

days,

before the people.

it

is

they

And this is made to

preach to you: there was a promise

and

this

promise

raising Jesus to

"You

how

are

my

God

life.

son;

he describes

I

has redeemed for

Thus,

it is

bear

the message

we

our forefathers,

us, their children,

by

written in the second Psalm,

have begotten you

raising

who now

him from the

to corruption again, "I will grant

this day."

And

this

is

dead, never to return

you the

privileges I

promised to David"; to which purpose he says

have

in another

Pisidian Antioch 45 A.D.

67

the four main periods, that of the Exodus, the Judges, Saul,

and David. His point seems

new

to be that

God

is

always making

departures in his care of his chosen people, thus preparing

them

for the

Jesus

is

new

Christian message.

There was a thousand years of history

the Messiah.

between David and Christ; hut Paul

not interested in

is

David represented the climax of the Old Testament; he at Israel's

this great king.

after David, the

them;

his

Even though

Messiah

is

there were

at him; his

many

kings

never referred to as son of any of

always Son of David. That

it is

lived

kingdom was the domithe Messiah would he the true

most prosperous period;

nant power in the Near East; son of

it.

name immediately

is

why Paul stopped

suggested that of the Mes-

siah.

Like Peter in his speech on Pentecost Sunday, Paul spoke

And

mainly of our Lord's crucifixion and resurrection.

the

words he used were almost identical with those of Peter, showing that at this early stage the story of our Lord's a set pattern, in

the gospels

(it is

was taking

it

have been written already; his Greek text came

The

life

would eventually he written down in possible that Matthew's Aramaic Gospel may

which

facts of Jesus'

later).

condemnation and death had already

spread throughout the Jewish world; but the details and vividness of Paul's narrative held his audience spellbound. Writing

same Galatians, Paul told them: 'With Christ hang upon the cross.' His daily meditation on the cruciEed

later to these

I

Lord, the hardships and sufferings of his missionary a vitality

and unction

to his words;

it

was

as

life,

gave

though the audi-

ence themselves were actually present at the death of Jesus.

To

prove that Jesus was not

still

lying in his grave, Paul

appealed to the witness of those apostles

who had

seen him,

68

Acts of the Apostles 13, 36-49

psalm,

"You

not allow your faithful servant to see corrup-

will

David saw corruption; he served God's purpose in his own generation, and then fell asleep, and rested with his fathers; but he whom God raised to life saw no corruption at tion."

all.

'Here sins

is

news

for you, then, brethren; remission of your

you through him. There are claims from

offered to

is

which you could not be acquitted by the law of Moses, and whoever believes

in Jesus

is

quit of

"Look upon

of incurring the prophet's rebuke: ful souls, I

am

and

lose yourselves in astonishment.

doing in your days, that

you would not believe him."

As they

all these.

left,

a

if

man

Beware, then,

you scorn-

this,

Such wonders

told you the story

'

they were implored to preach the same mes-

And when the synagogue broke many Jews and many who worshipped the true God as

sage there on the next sabbath. up,

proselytes followed Paul

and Barnabas; and they preached to

them, urging them to be true to the grace of God.

On

the following sabbath almost

all

the city had assembled

God's word. The Jews, when they saw these crowds, were full of indignation, and began to argue blasphemously to hear

against

all

them roundly, first;

Whereupon Paul and Barnabas told were bound to preach God's word to you

that Paul said.

We

but now, since you

reject

be

it so;

the Gentiles. This, after

all, is

unfit for eternal

life,

it,

we

you declare yourselves

will turn

our thoughts to

the charge the Lord has given

have appointed you to be a

us, "I

since

light for the Gentiles, that

you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth."

The word

Gentiles were rejoiced to hear

of the Lord;

who were

and they found

destined to eternal

spread far and wide

all

life.

this,

and praised the

faith, all

And

'

those of

them

the word of the Lord

through the country. But the Jews used

Pisidian Antioch 46 A.D.

69

spoken with him, and eaten with him. But for Jews,

it

was

primarily the witness of God's inspired word, the Holy Scriptures, that

then

so,

15

must be

it

(just as

had the strongest appeal true.

as proof. If

God

said

So, Paul argues mainly from Psalm

Tou will not allow your faithful servant When David wrote those words he could

Peter did): 7

to see corruption.

f

not have been speaking of himself; he was speaking of Jesus

who now reigns with the Father. The approach to God is now solely through

the Messiah,

only way of salvation. This

Jesus;

he

the theme of Galatians:

is

is

the

'It is

through faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law, that a

man

is justified.'

Apostle of the Gentiles.

found lodging with

Paul was a tentmaker by trade; he

a family of this occupation

the crowds of converts

who came

to

and instructed

him while he worked, and

often long into the night; he followed this procedure for the

remainder of his missionary the time

The this

We toiled and laboured,

we were preaching Gods

and night so

Roman

life:

as

gospel to you, working day

not to burden you with expense.

7

majority of his converts were descendants soldiery

who had been

all

of the

settled here fifty years before;

was Rome's practical solution of the bandit problem on

the main highways of the empire.

To

used to dealing with cold

Paul's presentation of the

facts,

these levelheaded

men,

Lord Jesus appealed strongly. This Saviour, unlike the vague, shadowy gods they were used to, had lived in a part of the empire, only sixteen years before. Paul gave place and time for every incident of his crucifixion,

life.

And

had been acted out

the climax of his

in the presence of the

life,

his

Roman

governor of Palestine, Pontius Pilate.

The

reaction of the Jewish leaders of the synagogue was

Acts of the Apostles 13, 50-14, 12

70

women

influence with such

of fashion as worshipped the

God, and with the leading men

true

of their territory; so they shook off the dust

their feet as they left disciples,

Holy

on

and Barnabas and driving from

foot a persecution against Paul

them out

in the city, setting

them, and went on to Iconium.

meanwhile, were

filled

The

with rejoicing, and with the

Spirit.

While they were

at Iconium, they

went into the Jewish

synagogue together, and preached in such a way that a great

number both

of Jews

Jews who would not

and of Greeks found believe stirred

faith,

although the

up trouble among the

Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brethren. For a long time, then, they remained there, speaking boldly in

the Lord's name, while he attested the preaching of his grace

by allowing the

signs

common

and wonders

to be performed

by

their

means;

some

folk of the city were divided in opinion,

taking part with the Jews, and

some with the

Then,

apostles.

when both Gentiles and Jews, in concert with their rulers, made a movement to assault and stone them, they thought it best to take refuge in the Lycaonian

cities,

Lystra and Derbe,

and the country round them; and they preached the gospel there.

There was a lame so that he

man

sitting at Lystra, crippled

had never walked, who

and Paul, looking

closely at him,

on your

upon he sprang up, and began to walk. The crowds, seeing what Paul had done, in

human

dialect, 'It

shape.'

is

the gods,

They

birth,

and seeing there was saving

faith in him, said aloud, 'Stand upright

Lycaonian

from

listened to Paul's preaching;

feet';

where-

cried out in the

who have come down

called Barnabas Jupiter,

to us

and Paul

Mercury, because he was the chief speaker; and the priest of Jupiter,

Defender of the City, brought out bulls and wreaths

Iconium and Lystra 46 A.D.

71

the same as that shown to the preaching of Jesus himself: they

had rejected his Master. Under the guiding influence of the Holy Spirit, Paul spoke strong words in his second sermon at Pisidian An tioch: 'We will turn our rejected Paul, just as they

thoughts to the Gentiles.' It was a dramatic and momentous decision that

would influence the

A Lame Man

Healed

rest of his life.

Iconium, the commercial

at Lystra.

centre of this region of Galatia r lay 65 miles south-east of Pisidian Antioch. It visited

hy Paul that

the only one of these Galatian cities

is

still exists.

Iconium was a

free

Greek

city y

Roman colonies. Roman city whom were probably

whereas Pisidian Antioch and Lystra were

The Jews

at Pisidian

Antioch had worked on the

fathers through their wives, a

Here

number

of

Iconium the Jews again opposed Paul; but this time they stirred up a genuine popular riot, in accordance with the democratic atmosphere of Iconium. of Jewish origin.

in

According to a very early tradition, Paul converted

woman

called Thecla

on

his Erst visit to

turesque and dramatic story of this

attempts to

make

girl saint,

a martyr of her, has

a

young

Iconium. The

pic-

and the various

come down

to us in

'The Acts of Paul and Thecla,' an historical novel of the second century.

It

is

of special interest because

earliest description of St. Paul:

'A

man

of

it

contains the

little stature, thin-

haired upon the head, crooked in the legs, of good state of

body, with eyebrows joining, and nose somewhat hooked, of grace; sometimes he appeared like a

had the

At

face of an

full

man, and sometimes he

angeV

25 miles from Iconium, Paul made a convert of a young man whose name far overshadowed that of Lystra, only

Thecla.

He

was Timothy, destined to be Paul's most intimate

Acts of the Apostles 14, 13-25

72

do

to the gates, eager, like the crowd, to

The

and both Barnabas and Paul ran aloud:

men

sacrifice.

when they heard of it; out among the crowd crying

apostles tore their garments

'Sirs,

why

are

you doing

We

all this?

too are mortal

whole burden of our preaching

like yourselves: the

is

must turn away from follies like this to the worship of the living God, who made sky and earth and sea and all that is in them. In the ages that are past, he has allowed

that you

Gentile folk everywhere to follow their so he has not left his

own

devices; yet even

you without some proof of what he

is: it is

bounty that grants you rain from heaven, and the seasons

which give birth to your

and comfort

crops, so that

to your heart's desire/

persuaded the people, not

you have nourishment

With words

easily, to refrain

like this they

from offering

sacri-

them.

fice to

But some of the Jews from Antioch and Iconium had followed them; these won over the crowd to their side, and they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, leaving him there for dead. But the disciples formed a ring about him, and soon he rose up and went back into the city; next day he left,

with Barnabas, for Derbe. In that city too they preached,

and made many

disciples;

then they returned to Lystra, Icon-

ium and Antioch, where they fortified the spirits of the disciples, encouraging them to be true to the faith, and telling them that we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven without

many

trials.

Then, with

presbyters for

them

them

fasting

and

prayer, they appointed

in each of the churches,

to the care of the

Lord

in

whom

and commended

they had learned to

and reached Pamand went down to Attalia, taking ship there for Antioch, where they had been committed to God's grace for the work they had now achieved. believe.

phylia.

So they passed through

They preached the word

Pisidia,

in Perge,

From Derbe

to Antioch 47 A.D.

His conversion was

disciple.

turbance in the

The

man which

and Mercury coming down

and being refused

by an old couple that

swamped

caused such a

dis-

city.

story of Jupiter

incognito,

more important than the mi-

far

raculous healing of the lame

73

who

alone were saved by them from a Rood

the country,

prompted the people

to earth

shelter until they were taken in

to

is

told in Ovid. This story

make such

is

what

a demonstration for Paul

and Barnabas. crowd takes up

Paul's speech to this pagan

gods are mere

fictional beings.

This does not

wanting in care for his children;

his divine

men, through the laws of nature

care of

this error: the

mean

God

that

is

Providence does take

—the

rain that

makes

their crops grow, the renewal of life in spring, the heat of

summer. Paul Returns to Antioch.

According to an early tradition,

Barnabas, Timothy, his mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois,

went out

at night to carry

back the body of Paul; but the

Lord had more work, and more found him

sufferings too, for

him; they

still alive.

Thirty miles from Lystra, on the eastern border of Galatia,

was another

Roman

colony. There, to Derbe, the

Paul was taken, probably to the house of Gaius, of Paul

on

his missionary tours.

wounded

later a disciple

This seems to have been the

only place where he did not meet with trouble and opposition

from the Jews. Almost three years had passed since Paul had

left

on

this

Galatian journey; Tarsus was only 125 miles further on, and

Antioch not

far

beyond. But instead of taking this easy way

home, Paul decided ritory,

to return through the recently

won

ter-

over the wild, stony plain that stood almost 4,000 feet

above sea level

Galatians 1,1-10

74

On

Church

their arrival, they called the

the story of

he had

faith,

God had done

all

left a

and told

together,

and how, through

to aid them,

door open for the Gentiles.

And

they

stayed there for a considerable time with the disciples.

Letter to the Galatians Paul, an apostle not holding his commission

from men, not

God

appointed by man's means, but by Jesus Christ, and

who

Father

him from the

raised

greeting from

the brethren

all

the

dead, sends his greeting, and

who

are with him, to the

churches of Galatia. Grace and peace be yours from God, the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

himself up for our

surrounds to

us,

him be I

sins, to

He

and

am astounded that you

who

has given

rescue us from the evil world that

according to the will of God,

glory for ever

it is

ever,

who

is

our Father;

Amen.

should have been so quick to desert

one who called you by the grace of Christ, and go over to another gospel; this can only mean, that certain people are causing disquiet

among

you, in their eagerness to pervert the

gospel of Christ. Friends, though it

it

were we ourselves, though

were an angel from heaven that should preach to you a

we preached to you, a curse upon warning we gave you before it hap-

gospel other than the gospel

him!

repeat

I

pened: dition

if

now

the

anyone preaches to you what

you received, a curse upon him!

man's favour, or God's, that

be all

is

told,

now, that

these years,

I

am

I

I

am

Do

trying to

you think

still

it

win now? Shall

courting the good will of

were

should not be what

I

contrary to the tra-

men?

If,

I

after

courting the favour of men,

am, the slave of Christ.

is

I

From Antioch 49 A.D. His main reason for

this

was

75

to appoint priests

and bishops

to govern the province conquered for Christ, to consolidate his

hard-won

victory.

Paul was not only a genius at winning con-

he was a master organizer as well; he was the perfect

verts,

missionary.

On

Christian

Freedom

Within twelve months of the mission to the Galatians, trouble had come upon these churches. Paul's anxiety mounted as traveller after traveller reported the turmoil in Pisidian AnIconium, Lystra, and Derbe. Paul was up to his eyes in

tioch,

work

at Antioch;

the near future.

he could not possibly

Under

inspiration

visit

these churches in

from the Holy Ghost, he

decided to solve their problems by means of a circular

So he began the

first

of fourteen letters that have

letter.

come down

to us.

Defection of the Galatians. days,

and a

dignation

People dictated

letters in those

scribe wrote as they spoke. Paul's anxiety

made him go

and

in-

straight to the point without spending

much

time on greetings; his thoughts came tumbling out one on top of the other. There was a Jewish element in the Church which did not

approve of Paul's free welcome of Gentiles as converts; these people thought that the heathen should go through a preparatory course of instruction in Judaism; that they should be

circumcised before they were baptized. These Christian missionaries,

Paul declares in strong terms, are perverting Christ's

true gospel. is

Judaizers.

He

coins a

One

new name

for them,

of their chief objectives

his apostolic office

and

his motives.

which has stuck;

it

was to discredit Paul,

Galatians

76

me

Let

you

is

that

I

you

tell

this,

1,

11-2, 2

brethren: the gospel

not a thing of man's dictation:

it

came

to

inherited or learned

it,

it

me

from Jesus Christ. You have been told how

my

Jewish days,

measure and

he who had

then,

and in

called

me

me, so that

My

my own

of

first

by I

man

I

by a revelation bore myself in

going further in

it,

my

zeal as a

age and race, so fierce a champion

handed down by my forefathers. And me apart from the day of my birth,

of the traditions

I

preached to

persecuted God's Church beyond

I

tried to destroy

Jew than many was

how

I

was not from

set

his grace,

saw

fit

to

make his Son known among the Gentiles.

could preach his gospel

thought was not to hold any consultations with any

human creature; I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who had been apostles longer than myself; no, I went off into Arabia, and when I came back, it was to Damascus. Then, when but

three years

Kephas, and

visit I

had passed,

I

did go up to Jerusalem, to

stayed a fortnight there in his company;

I

did not see any of the other apostles, except James, the

Lord's brother. Such

is

my

God

history; as

ing you the plain truth. Afterwards, parts of the world, Syria

not even they only us

is

Cilicia;

I

me,

I

am

tell-

travelled into other

and

all

the time

known by sight to the Christian churches knew by hearsay, The man who used to

now

I

was

of Judea;

persecute

preaching the faith he once tried to destroy/ and

they praised

Then,

and

sees

God

after

for

what he had done

an interval of fourteen

in

years,

me.

once again

I

went

up to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and Titus also accompanied me. I went up in obedience to a revelation, and there I communicated to them (only gospel

I

I

men

of repute) the

among the Gentiles; was it possible had taken and was taking was useless? And

always preach

that the course

in private, to

From Antioch 49 A.D. Paul's Apostolate

from Christ.

77

Paul, said the Judaizers, does

not rank with Peter, John, James the Less, and the

rest of the

Twelve; he did not get his knowledge of Christ at

first

mere

hand,

up from others. And so he is unreliable, a of apostles; one has to go to the immediate fol-

he only picked discipJe

it

lowers of Jesus, to drink from the spring of knowledge at

its

source.

To

this

Paul replies that he

ing as Peter and the his letter.

earth;

is

rest: 'Paul

an apostle of the same stand-

an apostle'

how he

is

But he had not known our Lord during

how, then, could he make

starts oil

his life

on

this claim to apostleship?

To

prove his claim he narrates the story of his conversion; he saw Jesus Christ

have

I

on the Damascus Road: 'Am

not an apostle,

I

not seen our Lord Jesus?' Paul had fallen in the dust, not

only a convert hut an apostle with ferred there

powers, con-

full apostolic

and then by the risen Master; the same powers that

our Lord had given to the twelve when he called them by the

Lake of

Galilee.

To show

that his knowledge of the Christian revelation

came from Christ in Jerusalem,

directly,

and not through any

Paul explains that his

first visit

not to End out the truths of Christianity; courtesy lent,

visit to Peter.

among

it

was

was merely a

him by the Aramaic equivaformer persecutor, was not a welcome

(Paul calls

Kephas.) Paul, the

visitor

of the leaders

to Jerusalem

Christians.

Approval of the Apostles.

Paul did go a second time to Jeru-

salem; but this was not a journey of his

own

choosing.

prophet Agabus had received a revelation from

God

The

that a

famine was coming soon. (Agabus was

living at Antioch,

where

Paul was residing after his ten years at

home

A col-

lection

in Tarsus.)

was taken up for the mother church at Jerusalem; Paul

Galatians

78 it is

3-14

2,

my companion

not even true to say that they insisted on

Titus,

who was

a Greek, being circumcised;

we were

only

who had insinuated themcompany so as to spy on the liberty which we enjoy in Jesus Christ, meaning to make slaves of us. To these we did not give ground for a moment by way of obedience: thinking of those false brethren selves into our

we were

resolved that the true principles of the gospel should

remain undisturbed

your possession. But as for what

in

I



who were of some repute it matters little to what they were, God makes no distinction between man and man these men of repute, I say, had nothing to communicate to me. On the contrary, those who were reowe

to those

me who

or



puted to be the main support of the Church, James and

Kephas and John, saw

plainly that

I

was commissioned to

preach to the uncircumcised, as Peter was to the circumcised;

he whose power had enabled Peter to become the apostle of the circumcised, had enabled the Gentiles.

And

me, they joined

so,

me

to

become the

God had

recognizing the grace

their right

hands

apostle of

in fellowship with

given

Barnabas

and myself; the Gentiles were

to be our province, the cirOnly we were to remember the poor; which was the very thing I had set myself to do.

cumcised

theirs.

Afterwards,

when Kephas came

to Antioch,

openly; he stood self-condemned.

the Gentiles, until

we were

visited

I

opposed him

He had been

eating with

by certain delegates from

James; but when these came, he began to draw back and

hold himself aloof, overawed by the supporters of circumcision.

The

ciples;

Barnabas himself was carried away by their

So,

when

I

rest of

the Jews were no

less false to their prin-

insincerity.

found that they were not following the true path

of the gospel,

I

said to

Kephas

in front of

them

all,

'Since

From Antioch 49 A.D.

79

and Barnabas were chosen to cairy this gift. At that time, about 44 A.D., Agiippa's persecution was raging in Jerusalem; this persecution was directed mainly at

the apostles,

who went

handed over

to the presbyters (Acts 11, 27-30); this

into hiding.

So the monetary

gift

was

group of

non-apostolic rulers are here referred to by Paul as 'men of repute.' Paul did see three of the apostles briefly,

and they gave

their approval to his policy of receiving Gentiles

without oblig-

ing them to observe the Jewish law.

The

case of Titus

versaries as proof that

had been quoted

freely

by Paul's ad-

he was inconsistent, and so could not

be trusted: one day he preached that there was no need for circumcision,

and the next he had Titus circumcised. To

this

Paul replied that no one compelled him to circumcise Titus.

While

still

uncircumcised, this Gentile Christian had eaten

with the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem, and not one of them had objected. It this

was true that Titus had been circumcised since then. But was done

agitators, verts;

freely

by Paul for the sake of the Judaizing

without prejudice to the liberty of the Galatian con-

soon he would do the same to Timothy.

Peter and Paul at Antioch.

This incident probably took place

between Paul's return from the Galatian mission and the

writ-

ing of his letter to them. It was the most recent proof that Paul

had not altered his views about circumcision as a result of pressure from headquarters. Although conscious of his audacity in openly rebuking the prince of the apostles and the acknowl-

edged vicar of Christ, Paul

is

forced to bring the incident for-

ward because of the charge of inconsistency by the Judaizing agitators (Judaizer is the Greek word translated in the last Eve

80

Galatians

you,

who

way

of

15-3, 5

2,

are a born Jew, follow the Gentile, not the Jewish

by what

life,

right

do you bind the Gentiles to

live

like the Jews?'

We

are Jews

by right of nature, we do not come from the

we found out

guilty stock of the Gentiles; yet

We,

justified.

anyone

like

Jesus Christ, so that

that

through

it is

by obeying the law, that a

faith in Jesus Christ, not

had

else,

we might be

man

is

to learn to believe in

justified

by

faith in Christ,

not by observance of the law. Observance of the law cannot

win acceptance

By

human

for a single

rank as guilty creatures like the

That

Christ brings us guilt?

Through the

may

I

and yet

I

me. True,

my

we took our Does that mean that

live to

am I

real life

am

living,

the faith

me, and gave himself

God.

If

do

I

put

we can be

destroy

I

old self has

not

alive; or rather,

is

of;

and then rebuild? become dead to the law, so God; with Christ I hang upon the cross,

my

law,

rest.

not to be thought

is

when

myself in the wrong,

that

creature.

putting our hopes of justification in Christ,

I; it is

Christ that lives in

here and now, this mortal I

have

for

in the

me.

justified

I

Son

of

life;

but

God, who loved

do not spurn the grace of

through the law, then Christ's

death was needless.

Senseless Galatians,

before cross? it

whom Let me

is it

that has cast a spell on you,

be content with asking you one question:

from observance of the law that the

from obeying the

call of faith?

You and can you now right senses?

Was it

who

Jesus Christ has been exposed to view on his

it

seems

to it

dedicated your

Spirit

Are you so first

far

no purpose that you went through

out of your spirit;

outward things? so

much? Since

When God lavishes his

you and enables you to perform miracles, what

Was

to you, or

beginnings to the

find your completion in

was to no purpose.

came

is

Spirit

on

the reason for

From Antioch 49 A.D. words of Paul's speech,

To

Jive JiJce

81

the Jews').

During the past four years since Peter had come to Antioch from Jerusalem, he had been pleaching the gospel

in this

centre of Gentile converts. His vision and the reception of the

Gentile Cornelius into the Church had convinced

him

that the

Jewish observances were no longer part of the Christian way of life;

hut the Church was

still

and

in a transition stage,

it

was

part of Peters office as head to keep unity and peace. Paul, with his GaJatian experience still fresh,

part of the Christian leaders

saw that such

would endanger the

acts

on the

faith of the

Gentile converts.

The dogma

in danger

was basic to the Christian cause: the

our Lord's redemptive death.

efficacy of

Not

only the GentiJes,

but the Jews as well, including Peter and Paul, were

justified

by Christ on Calvary, not by observing the Mosaic law. The Jews outlawed the crucified Jesus; and since the Christians, as

members

of the Mystical Body, are united with their Head, the

Jewish law had no more claim on them: 'Well, brethren, you too have undergone death, as far as the Jaw

is

concerned, in

the person of Christ crucified/

Comes from Faith. A deadening gloom down on the Galatian churches with the arrival

Justification

has set-

tled

of

new

men had difmust follow precisely Moses; the kosher food regulations, the hand wash-

missionaries after the departure of Paul. These ferent ideas: even the Gentile converts

the law of

ings, the strict sabbath, isolation all

from

their

imposed as part of the Christian way of

pagan

friends,

were

life.

How Timothy longed to hear once more PauYs words about the crucified and risen Jesus; persecution and hardships had seemed of no account when undergone for love of the cruci-

82

Galatians

it?

Your observance

6-17

of the law, or your obedience to the call

Remember how Abraham put

of faith? it

3,

was reckoned virtue

You must

in

him.

Abraham's

recognize, then, that

are the children of his faith.

There

which, long beforehand, brings to

Through you

all

God, and

his faith in

real children

a passage in Scripture

is

Abraham

the good news,

the nations shall be blessed'; and that pass-

age looks forward to God's justification of the Gentiles by faith. It

those, then,

is

who

take their stand on faith that share

the blessing Abraham's faithfulness won. Those

on observance

their stand

'Cursed be everyone,' ing out

all

we

take

of the law are all under a curse;

'who does not

read,

book of the law

that this

who

persist in carry-

And

prescribes.'

indeed,

make a man acceptable to God is clear enough; 'It is faith,' we are told, 'that brings life to the just man'; whereas the law does not depend on faith; no, we are told 'it is the man who carries out the commandments that will find life in them.' From this curse invoked by the law that the law cannot

Christ has ransomed us, by himself becoming, for our sakes,

an accursed thing; we read

that, 'There

is

a curse

on the

man

who hangs on Abraham was

a gibbet.' Thus, in Christ Jesus, the blessing of

through

might receive the promised

faith,

to be imparted to the Gentiles, so that we,

Brethren, let

me

cannot afterwards be

ham and

it.

The

is

my

made by an

set aside;

common life. A ordinary human being

promises you

no one can make

know

his offspring; (it does not,

descendants,' as

your

the Spirit.

take an argument from

valid legal disposition

visions in

gift of

if it

meant

a

of were

made

by the way,

number

fresh pro-

say,

of people;

to Abra-

'To your

it says,

'To

meaning Christ). And this contention: The law, coming into being four hundred

offspring,' in the singular,

From Antioch 49 A.D. Eed Master. The supernatural

life

83

had come

them thiough

to

the redeeming death of Christ; the miracles of Paul and his converts, the Christians standing

ing

God

in foreign tongues,

had

up

and

in the assembly

all

come from

prais-

baptism, not

from carrying out the burdensome prescriptions of the law.

The

authentic words of Paul read out in the Christian meet-

ing places brought hope and joy once All could follow his Erst argument:

ence of each one of them.

argument

Paul's second

was directed

it

more

to the Galatians.

was based on the experi-

-

is

from the story of Abraham. This

at the Jewish section of the

community; Jews

looked to Abraham as the founder of their race;

all

prided

themselves on following closely in the footsteps of their father.

Our Lord made

reference to this same

Abraham's true children,

it is

for

filial

you

quality:

to follow

Tf you are

Abraham's

example.'

Instead of being the support of the Judaizing party, Paul

shows that Abraham

is

the classic example of his

own

teaching:

justiEcation by faith, not by the works of the law. This

from Genesis: 'Abraham put reckoned virtue in him.'

And

his faith in

in this,

he

is

God, and

it

clear

was

not only father to

the Jews but to the Gentiles too: 'Through you shall

is

all

the nations

be blessed.'

The Law

is

two persons

Inferior to the Promises. crystallize the

In the Old Testament

Jew-Gentile controversy; they are

Abraham and Moses (referred to in this paragraph as 'spokesman'). Abraham is the champion of the Gentiles; the promise made by God to him was that the Gentiles would be blessed, and so End salvation in the Messiah, the offspring of Abraham. Their way of entering into this promised blessing is through faith.

Galatians

84

3,

18-4, 1

and thirty years afterwards, cannot unmake the disposition which God made so long ago, and cancel the promise. If our inheritance depends on observing the law, then

it is

not the

inheritance secured to us by promise; that was promised to

Abraham as a free gift. What, then, is the purpose of the law? It was brought in to make room for transgression, while we waited for the coming of that posterity, to whom the promise had been made. Its terms were dictated by angels, acting through a spokesman; (a spokesman represents more than one, and there is only one God). Is the law an infringement, then, of God's promises? That is

not to be thought

of.

Doubtless,

that was capable of imparting for the

law to bring us

represents us as

all

life

if

it

had been given would have been

But

in fact Scripture

a law

to us,

justification.

under the bondage of

sin; it

was

faith in

Jesus Christ that was to impart the promised blessing to all

those

who

believe in him.

Until faith came,

we were

being kept in bondage to

all

the law, waiting for the faith that was one day to be vealed.

So that the law was our

tutor, bringing us to Christ,

to find in faith our justification.

we

re-

When

faith comes, then

no longer under the rule of a tutor; through faith in you are all now God's sons. All you who have been baptized in Christ's name have put on the person of Christ; no more Jew or Gentile, no more slave and freeman, no more male and female; you are all one person in Jesus Christ. And if you belong to Christ, then you are indeed Abraham's children; the promised inheritance is yours. Consider this: One who comes into his property while he is still a child has no more liberty than one of the servants, are

Jesus Christ

though

all

the estate

is

his;

he

is

under the control of guard-

From Antioch 49 A.D.

85

In contrasting Abraham and Moses, or faith and the law,

makes a point of chronology: the time lag between the two is a long period of 430 years. God would be going back on his promise to Abraham if, centuries later, he Paul

first

of all

demanded observance of a newly instituted law, of which Abraham knew nothing. The second point of contrast is the manner in which God made his promise to Abraham: it was direct and personal. In giving the law to Moses he did not intervene personally; he used his angels, and they, being numerous, could not all speak at once; so they used Moses as spokesman to promulgate the law to the chosen people.

The law was

only a secondary thought on God's part;

a temporary expedient until

Jesus Christ.

men

could End

life

by

it

The ten commandments, the essential part make men conscious that they were

of the

law, served to

transgressors of a positive law; they did not give

men

was

faith in

sinful

grace to

observe the law.

Galatians are God's Sons.

the

human

For

race before Christ

is

child undergoing the discipline

St.

Paul the entire history of

man's minority;

man

is

but a

and acquiring the knowledge

imparted in the schoolroom. The Messianic promises will one day belong to him; they are his inheritance held in trust until

he comes of

age.

Jew and Gentile

are alike in this, with

one

exception: the Jews have the law to prepare them. St. Paul looks

on the law

as a

combination of nurse, servant, and tutor;

can feed him, lead him by the hand to school, and impart some of the elementary lessons of a primary school. It cannot give him access to the Father s wealth; that can come from

it

Christ alone.

A

child's

change from boyhood to manhood was

when he put on grown-up

clothes (toga

virilis

was the

official

Roman

86

Galatians

and

ians

So

toiled

away

it

his

those childish days of ours

we

schoolroom tasks which the world gave

us,

was with

at the

2-16

he reaches the age prescribed by

trustees, until

father.

4,

us; in

Then God sent out his Son on a mission to us. He took birth from a woman, took birth as a subject of the law, so as to ransom those who were subject to the law, and make us sons by adoption. To prove that till

the appointed time came.

you are

sons,

God

has sent out the Spirit of his Son into our

hearts, crying out in us, 'Abba, Father.'

you a

slave,

No

longer, then, are

you are a son; and because you are a son, you

have a son's right of inheritance.

Formerly you had no knowledge of God; you lived of deities

who were

in truth

no

deities at

all.

recognized the true God, or rather, the true nized you.

How

it

is

Now God

as slaves

you have

has recog-

that you are going back to those old

schoolroom tasks of yours, so abject, so ineffectual, eager to begin your drudgery serve special days

am

over again?

and months,

anxious over you; has

been

all

You have begun

special seasons

the labour

I

and

to ob-

years.

I

have spent on you

useless?

Stand by me; you, brethren. I

all

I

have taken

You have

my

stand with you.

never treated

preached the gospel to you in the

me

first

amiss.

instance,

I

appeal to

Why, when it

was, you

remember, because of outward circumstances which were humiliating to me. Those outward circumstances of mine

were

a test for you,

which you did not meet with contempt

welcomed me as God's angel, as Christ Jesus. become now of the blessing that once was yours? In those days, I assure you, you would have plucked out your eyes, if you had had the chance, and given them to me. Have I made enemies of you, then, by telling you the truth? Oh, or dislike; you

What

has

From Antioch 49 A.D. name). Mankind attained

its spiritual

Christian clothes hut by putting

on

man

is

incorporated into the Mystical

ing organ. Christ

is

the Son

God;

of

87

majority not by putting

on

Christ.

Body

By baptism

of Christ as a

so the Christian

liv-

becomes

God too, with all the rights of inheritance that belong to a son. To go bade again to the observance of the Mosaic law would be the same as for a grown-up man to abandon his freedom and return to school and start at his sums again.

a son of

Until the coming of Christ the world was divided; there

were

racial

distinctions

(slave-freeman), is

no room

for

(Jew-Gentile),

and family

social

distinctions

distinctions (male-female).

There

any distinctions in a Christian world; by build-

men into his own body, the Church, Christ raised them to a new plane, a sharing in his own life of the Blessed Trinity. This is why men should no longer have the outlook of servants and slaves; they are sons of the divine family who address God the Father with the warm intimacy and spontane-

ing

all

ous affection of sons;

moved by

the indwelling Spirit, they

speak the words Tater Noster.'

Paul's

Motherly Anxiety.

affection

Paul here speaks with that tender

which our Lord himself expressed

Jewish people: 'Jerusalem, Jerusalem,

how

for the

misguided

often have I been

ready to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings.' It shows the gentleness and maternal affection of this fearless apostle; he attacks his opponents

and rebukes

his Rock,

but

it is

love

which moves him

to act so.

Paul contrasts the present coolness of his beloved Galatians with their affectionate reception

when he

Erst

came

to

them;

the opposition and persecution of the Jews in Pisidian Antioch,

Iconium, and Lystra did not deter them from listening to him

88

Galatians

4,

17-30

they are jealous over you, but for a dishonourable purpose;

aim

their

may be

is

when

Your

you see

gifts

am

I

travail over

you

in you! I wish I

you

you out from

jealous of them.

honourable only

to shut

I

little

who

am

You

Abraham had two

sons;

free

of God's promise. All that

is

its

in Arabia).

that

we

is

city,

child,

never

known

for the old dispensa-

(after

all,

Sinai

is

a

exists

here and

are slaves.

Whereas

which

whose children

the heavenly Jerusalem, a city of freedom. So

you barren

woman

that have never

break out into song and cry aloud, you that have travail;

she whose husband

the deserted one has is

It is you, brethren,

Isaac was.

stand

Agar has the same meaning in the

read, 'Rejoice,

borne

women

children to bondage, the dispensation

allegory as Jesrusalem, the Jerusalem

now; an enslaved

was

woman's, by the power

an allegory; the two

which comes to us from mount Sinai

it is

in

for his

child of the slave

two dispensations. Agar stands

which brings up

our mother

am

will find it written

one had a slave

born in the course of nature; the

mountain

I

are so eager to have the law for your

The

tion,

children,

bewildered at you.

mother, and one a free woman.

for the

for the

can see Christ's image formed

master, have you never read the law? there, that

be

of honour; always, not

were at your side now, and could speak to

in a different tone; I

Tell me, you

My

at your side.

afresh, until

jealousy should

man

in a

company, so that you

their

Now,

more children than

with her/ that are children of the promise, as

who was born in the course whose birth is a spiritual birth.

as then, the son

of nature persecutes the son

But what does our passage in scripture say? 'Rid yourself of the slave and her son; it cannot be that the son of a slave should divide the inheritance with the son of a free

woman/

From Antioch 49 A.D.

89

and being baptized into the Christian community. He now appeals to the Galatian Church not to listen

new

teaching of the Judaizers. Their purpose

is

to the

dishonourable:

they wish to exclude the Gentiles from the Church unless they agree to observe

The when he was

the prescriptions of the Mosaic law.

all

Galatians must be firm in Paul's absence, just as

present

Jewish Slavery and Christian Freedom.

It is hardly likely that

the Gentile converts of Galatia were familiar enough with the story of

and

21

lem. It

Abraham

to appreciate the details

from Genesis 16

which Paul here applies to the Jewish-Christian probrather

is

meant

as

ammunition

for his disciples in their

who would squirm in their seats own scriptural texts being turned

arguments with the Judaizers, as they listened to their

against them. It was not for nothing that Paul

had

sat at the

feet of Gamaliel in Jerusalem.

An

allegory

is

a story with a deeper,

hidden meaning, after

the style of our Lord's parables. Paul sees in the story of Abra-

ham's two wives, Sara and Agar, and

their sons, Isaac

and

Ishmael, a providential foretelling of the present relations be-

tween the slavery of Jewish observance and the freedom which Christianity brings. Ishmael represents the Jewish agitators in

bondage

to the law; Isaac the

sation, the true heir of the

freedom of the Christian dispen-

promise made to Abraham:

'All

the

races of the world shall find a blessing through your posterity.

7

Paul complicates the historical parallel by introducing two geographical details.

He links Ishmael with mount Sinai,

the law was given to Moses; Arabia

Ishmaelite slaves to law.

And

live,

because

it

is

where

the right place for the

was the cradle of the Mosaic

the present city of Jerusalem, the

home

of Jewish

Galatians

90

You

see, then,

Stand

let yourselves

of Paul

is

your warrant for

being circumcised, Christ

is

no value

of

would warn anyone who

I

is

in the

You who

to

you

at

for

Once

all.

all

the precepts of the

look to the law for your justification have can-

bond with

celled your

you are

this; if

accepting circumcision that

he thereby engages himself to keep law.

be caught again

slavery.

The word again

woman, won for us.

are sons of the free

the freedom Christ has

is

and do not

fast,

31-5, 14

we

brethren, that

not of the slave; such

yoke of

4,

our hope of justification

Christ, lies in

you have forfeited the

grace. All

on our

spirit; it rests

faith;

once we are in Christ, circumcision means nothing, and the

want of in love

Till it

means nothing; the

it

is all

now, you had been shaping your course

that has

come between you and your

Not he who It

faith that finds its expression

that matters.

called you; this pressure

takes but a

well;

who

comes from elsewhere.

leaven to leaven the whole batch.

little

fully confident in the

Lord that you

is

loyalty to the truth?

will

I

am

be of the same mind

with me, leaving the disturbers of your peace, be they

who

As

true

they may, to answer for

it.

for myself, brethren,

preach the need of circumcision,

that

I

If

did, the preaching of the cross

I

offence.

I

would rather they should

why am

I

if it is

persecuted?

would no longer give

lose their

own manhood,

these authors of your unrest.

Yes, brethren, freedom claimed you

Only, do not nature; you

let this

must be

spirit of charity.

in

After

one phrase, 'You

when you were

called.

freedom give a foothold to corrupt

servants all,

still,

serving one another in a

the whole of the law

shall love

your neighbour

is

summed up

as yourself; if

From Antioch 49 A.D. observance, an earthly true,

must not be confused with the

city,

heavenJy Jerusalem, 'that holy

Circumcision Repudiates Grace. cision of his disciple Titus

plea for circumcision.

was

It

clothed in readi-

city, all

who has adorned herself

ness, like a bride

91

to

meet her husband.'

seems that Paul's circum-

at the back of this Judaizing

They made

a distinction

between the

Mosaic law and circumcision, which originated with Abraham

and was the mark of ingly cised.

a

member

when he had Titus circumcompromise solution of the Jewof the Christian community: surely the mere

had admitted

this distinction

They now proposed

Gentile division

removal of

of the chosen race. Paul seem-

a

a small collar of skin

tion (circumcision)

was

from the male organ of genera-

a triviality

which ought not

to be

an

obstacle to Christian unity.

But Paul saw the

and danger of

subtlety

leaven working in the dough, tian doctrine of justification

and

finally

was

through faith in Christ; he knew

that such a

compromise only obscured the

—Moses or

Jesus.

eration leaving a

this error; it

changing the Chris-

real

point at issue

Circumcision was more than a surgical op-

mark on the body;

it

was an act by which a

person bound himself to observe the Mosaic law; for a Christian this

meant

denial of the efficacy of the grace of Christ.

pity such people did not use the knife further

A

and make them-

selves incapable of reproducing their kind.

Live by the Spirit in Charity.

As

this letter

the Galatian churches in city after

city,

was read aloud to

the reaction of the

Gentiles was one of elation; Paul had defended the cause of

freedom in masterly fashion; he was devastating in the way he exposed the errors of the Jewish agitators. They now had a

Galatians

92

15-6, 5

5,

you are always backbiting and worrying each other,

be feared you

me

Let there

is

wear each other out

will

say this: learn to live

no danger

and move in the spirit; then way to the impulses of cor-

The

spirit are at

war with one another; either

impulses of nature and the impulses of the

the other, and that is

by

is

is

why you cannot do

clean contrary to that your will

all

you that you

letting the spirit lead

yourselves from the yoke of the law. It effects

to

of your giving

rupt nature.

approves. It

it is

in the end.

is

easy to see

free

what

proceed from corrupt nature; they are such things as

adultery, impurity, incontinence, idolatry, witchcraft, feuds, quarrels, jealousies, outbursts of anger, rivalries, dissensions,

and debauchery.

factions, spite, drunkenness, I

have warned you before, that those who

will

I

warn you,

live in

not inherit God's kingdom. Whereas the

as

such a way

spirit yields

a

harvest of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faith,

No

gentleness, temperateness. these; those

who belong

law can touch

lives

such as

to Jesus Christ have crucified nature,

we live by the must spirit, let the not indulge be our rule of we in vain ambitions, envying one another and provoking one

with

all its

passions, all

its

impulses. Since

spirit

life;

another to envy. Brethren,

if

a

man

is

found guilty of some

fault, you,

show a spirit Have an eye upon yourself;

who

are spiritually minded, ought to

of gentleness

in correcting him.

you, too, will

perhaps encounter temptation. Bear the burden of one another's failings; then

The man who is

thinks he

worth nothing at

will is

all, is

of

be

fulfilling

the law of Christ.

some worth, when

in truth

he

merely deluding himself. Everyone

own conduct; then he will be able to take own worth; no need to compare himself Each of us, then, will have his own load to carry.

should examine his the measure of his

with others.

you

From Antioch 49 A.D. document

93

which would silence any further

in their possession

arguments that might he brought against their right to Christian Hie without

all

live the

those wearisome, burdensome obliga-

Mosaic law.

tions of the

But even

cannot look at the errors and faults of

a Christian

others without danger of complacency. Jesus had given a warn-

ing in his parable of the Pharisee and the Publican:

mon human

failing to see the sins of others

it is

a

com-

and be blind

to

one's own. It

is

an opponent

easier to defeat

complete Christian

life.

The

combat than

in

to live a

Galatians, both those of Gentile

and those of Jewish origin, must now take a look at themselves. They will End a twofold principle at work within their own souls;

what Paul

nature a

calls 'nature'

wounded by

weakened

will,

and

original sin:

and

'spirit.'

man

The

first is

with a darkened

a tendency to evil.

intellect,

The second

kind redeemed by Christ, raised to the supernatural grace, living a life of holiness, directed Spirit.

This

is

to live

by the

man

can

tell

cording to the

by their Paul

whether he spirit:

fruit that

you

is

'The will

lists fifteen fruits

man-

life

of

by the indwelling Holy

test

by which

living according to nature or ac-

test of the tree is in its fruit; it is

know

them.'

which proceed from nature, and nine

(of the twelve in the Vulgate, three are

which come from the

is

spirit.

In his Sermon on the Mount, our Lord gave a a

human

spirit;

double translations)

eight of the fifteen vices are

breaches of charity, six of the nine virtues are different aspects of charity.

Such emphasis

is

in accord with the Master's teach-

men will know you

ing:

'The mark by which

will

be the love you bear one another.'

all

for

my disciples

In his priestly prayer after the Last Supper, our Lord asked his Father: 'That they should all be one, as

we

are one.' This

Galatians

94

Your

A man

Make no

the

is

all

mistake about

what he sows;

will reap

ground, nature will give

ground

6-18

teachers are to have a share in

have to bestow.

God.

6,

him

spirit, it will

that their disciples

it;

you cannot cheat

nature

if

a perishable harvest,

him

give

his seed-

is if

his seed-

a harvest of eternal

life.

Let us not be discouraged, then, over our acts of charity; we shall reap

when

the time comes,

us practise generosity to

and above

all,

all,

who

to those

if

we

persevere in them. Let

while the opportunity

are of

is

one family with us

ours;

in the

faith.

Here hand.

is

some bold

Who

lettering for you, written in

are they, these people

circumcised?

They

are

men,

all

who

of them,

who

my own

on your being

insist

are determined

to keep up outward appearances, so that the cross of Christ

may not

bring persecution on them.

Why,

they do not even

observe the law, although they adopt circumcision; they are

you circumcised, so

for having

outward conformity.

God

as to

forbid that

make I

a display of your

should

make

a display

of anything, except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through

which the world stands

crucified to

me, and

Circumcision means nothing, the want of there has been a

who

creation. Peace

I

to the world.

means nothing;

and pardon to

follow this rule, to God's true Israel. Spare me,

any further

on

new

it

my

anxieties; already

I

all

all

those

of you,

bear the scars of Jesus printed

body. Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be

with your

spirit.

Amen.

From Antioch 49 A.D. divine unity of the

owing

Church was

95

in grave danger in Galatia

to the recent Jew-Gentile controversy.

ill-will,

Argument

led to

pride, and contentiousness; breaches of charity were a

too frequent result of the animated disputes that were raging in every

meeting of the Christian community. The only way

to peace

and harmony

in Galatia

was for each Christian to he-

have with kindness, consideration, and meekness: 'Order your lives in charity,

showed

of that charity

Agitators.

on peaceful terms with

their

This teaching on

he

is

it

perfectly understood Paul takes the

writes this last paragraph with his

more emphatic, he

how

to

opponents should not blind

the Gentiles to the errors of the Judaizers.

and

which Christ

you/

Warning Against

Last live

to

upon the model

To make

pen from

own

sure that

his secretary

hand.

To make

writes in large, block letters: under

no

circumstances must the cause of Christian freedom be com-

promised.

Paul was born a Jew, just as these agitators were. But he no longer prided himself on his Jewish blood and the circumcision

mark on his body. In the brief course of his missionary life he had acquired other marks, the scars of scourging and stoning; they were the brand on his body demonstrating that he now belonged to Jesus. If he wanted to boast of anything, it was this conformity to Christ crucified; for him the cross had ceased to be a symbol of shame;

it

was

his standard of victory.

The Decree on But now some

visitors

Tou

the brethren,

tell

Gentile Converts

came down from Judea, who began

to

cannot be saved without being circum-

cised according to the tradition of Moses.' Paul

and Barnabas

were drawn into a great controversy with them; and

it

was

decided that Paul and Barnabas and certain of the rest should

go up to see the apostles and presbyters in Jerusalem about this question.

So the church saw them on

their way,

and they

how

the Gen-

passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, relating

were turning to God, and so brought great rejoicing to

tiles all

When

the brethren.

they reached Jerusalem, they were

welcomed by the church, and by the apostles and presbyters; and they told them of all that God had done to aid them. But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees came forward and declared, 'They must be circumcised; we must call upon them to keep the law of Moses/

When about rose

and

from

the apostles and presbyters assembled to decide

this

matter there was

much

said to them, 'Brethren,

early days

it

disputing over

it,

until Peter

you know well enough how

has been God's choice that the Gentiles

should hear the message of the gospel from

my

lips,

and so

God, who can read men's hearts, has assured them of his favour by giving the Holy Spirit to them as to us. He would not make any difference between us and them; he had removed all the uncleanness from their hearts when he gave them faith. How is it, then, that you would now call God in question, by putting a yoke on the necks of the disciples, such as we and our fathers have been too weak to bear? It is by the grace of the Lord Jesus that we hope to be saved,

learn to believe.

and they no

less/

Jerusalem 49 A.D.

Visitors were tians

all

welcome

at Antioch.

The

from Jerusalem was treated with

small party of Chris-

warmth and

special

came from the very city where Jesus had died for all mankind and opened the door of salvation to the Gentiles. In contrast to the openhearted welcome at affection; after

all,

they

Antioch was the cold, disturbing message from Judea;

it

was

delivered with the definiteness of a dogmatic statement

Fortunately Paul, the hero of the Antioch community, was at

home

ments

to defend his beloved Gentiles.

at his finger tips;

he had

just set

ing in his Letter to the Galatians.

question settled once for Peter, the vicar of Christ,

all

He had

them

all

Now it was

all

the argu-

down

in writ-

time to have the

by the leaders of the Church.

was at the

moment

in Jerusalem;

both sides agreed to submit the matter to his judgment.

There were two

Peter Asserts the Liberty of the Gentiles.

sources of information from which Peter could draw in

mak-

ing a decision on the questions submitted to him: the words

and deeds of Jesus and the revelation of the Holy

Spirit since

Pentecost Sunday.

He chose

to base his

from the Holy

meant

Spirit

argument on the

some

vision

he had received

fifteen years before; it

expressly for such a crisis as this. It

had been

was that vision of

the unclean animals lowered from heaven in a sheet;

been followed by the conversion of the

first

it

had

Gentile, the cen-

turion Cornelius.

Peter was content with this one illustration:

came from faith in The only uncleanness

it

showed

clearly

that salvation

Christ, independent of the

Mosaic

that

law.

man

has to worry about

Acts of the Apostles 15, 12-24

98

Then

company kept

the whole

Barnabas and Paul describing

all

had performed among the Gentiles by

And when

and

silence,

listened to

God

the signs and wonders

means.

their

they had finished speaking, James answered thus:

'Listen, brethren, to

what

I

have to

say.

Simon has

told us,

the first time God has looked with favour on the Genand chosen from among them a people dedicated to his name. This is an agreement with the words of the prophets,

how for tiles,

where

it is

written: "Afterwards,

I

will

come

back, and build

up again David's tabernacle that has fallen; I will build up its ruins, and raise it afresh; so that all the rest of mankind

may is

says the Lord,

among whom my name who makes this known from all eter-

my

voice for sparing the consciences of

find the Lord, all those Gentiles

named,

And

nity."

so

those Gentiles to bid

them

I

give

who have found

abstain from

their

what

is

way

to

God; only writing

contaminated by

idolatry,

from fornication, and from meat which has been strangled has the blood in

he has been

it.

for

Moses, ever since the

earliest

or

times

read, sabbath after sabbath, in the synagogues,

and has preachers

Thereupon

As

it

in every city to

expound him/

was resolved by the apostles and presbyters,

with the agreement of the whole church, to choose out some of their

own number and

despatch them to Antioch with Paul

and Barnabas; namely, Judas who was Silas,

sent,

who were by

leading

men among

their hands, this

called Barsabbas,

the brethren.

message in writing:

To

And

and they

the Gentile

brethren in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia, their brethren the apostles

and presbyters send

our number

who

visited

greeting.

We

hear that some of

you have disquieted you by what

they said, unsettling your consciences, although

them no such commission; and

therefore,

we had

given

meeting together

Jerusalem 49 A.D.

99

not that uncleanness defined by the multitudinous prescriptions of the law; it is the grace of Christ that removes sin,

is sin,

and nothing

else matters.

Jerusalem was worlds apart from

James Proposes a Decree. Antioch; and

bishop, James the cousin of our Lord, was a

its

observer of the Mosaic Jaw, as were

strict

bers of his Rock. It

Judaizing party as their

what

a

aJJ

the other

mem-

he had been cited by the patron and as the shining example of

h'JceJy

is

good Christian should

that

be.

sition in the controversy; while

He

realized his delicate po-

defending the freedom of the

smooth the way to a better understanding and a more harmonious way of life between Jew and Gentile. To prove the truth of Gentile freedom, James quotes from the scriptures; the text he uses is from Amos, but he could have Gentiles, he tried to

chosen dozens in similar unity,

strain.

he suggests certain

Gentiles. There

is

But, for the cause of Christian

restrictions to

no need,

be observed by the

suggests James, to

remind Jewish

Christians of these obligations; they will not be likely to forget

them, seeing that they

Wording

listen to the

of the Decree.

After discussion this decree was

framed, under guidance of the Holy

Church

Spirit.

The

clearly stated that the Judaizing party

from them. They activity,

and

Though

Galatia

is

Mosaic law every week.

leaders of the

had no support

also gave full approval to Paul, his missionary

his doctrine is

not

sufficiently indicated

on the

specifically

liberty of Gentile converts.

mentioned

in the decree,

it

under the name

ditions prevailed in these

Cilicia. The same contwo provinces, which were alongside

each other; they were separated only by the Taurus Mountains.

The

Erst

two prescriptions of the decree deal with kosher

ioo

Acts of the Apostles 15, 25-38

common

with

purpose of heart,

we have

resolved to send you

chosen messengers, in company with our well-beloved Barnabas and Paul,

men who

have staked their

lives for

the

name

Lord Jesus Christ. We have given this commission to Judas and Silas, who will confirm the message by word of mouth. It is the Holy Spirit's pleasure and ours that no burden of our

should be laid upon you beyond these, which cannot be

what is sacrificed to idols, from blood-meat and meat which has been strangled, and from fornication. If you keep away from such things, you will have done your part. Farewell/ So they took their leave and went down to Antioch, where they called the people together and delivered the letter to them; and they, upon reading it, were rejoiced at this encouragement. Judas and Silas, for they were prophets too, said much to encourage the brethren and establish their faith; they stayed there for some time before the brethren let them go home, in peace, to those who had sent them. avoided; you are to abstain from

Second Missionary Journey

Paul and Barnabas waited at Antioch, teaching and preaching God's word, with

some

after visit

the brethren in

word was said,

many

others to help them;

days, Paul said to Barnabas, 'Let us all

the

of the Lord, to see

cities

how

here was a

man who

Pamphylia, and took no part

not right to admit such a

where we have preached the

they are doing/

for taking John, also called

and then,

go back and

And

Barnabas

Mark, with them. But Paul

them when they reached with them in the work; it was

left

man

to their

company. So sharp

101

Jerusalem 49 A.D.

food regulations. They die meant to preserve unity and charity, to save

embarrassment when the mixed communities of Jews

and Gentiles

sit

down

to their

common

meal. It would he

adopt the Jewish methods of prepar-

easier for the Gentiles to

ing and eating food than for the Jews to change such venerable

customs.

The

third prescription, 'fornication/ seems completely out

of place alongside the other two. tion

is

that the

Greek

refers to

The most probable

explana-

an entirely different matter, to

marriage within the forbidden degrees of affinity and consanguinity, as set live

down

you must keep.

their observances. It

And it is

to betake himself to a

mate with

I,

the Lord,

woman who

her' (Lev. 18). It

local custom, that

are

Mosaic law: Tt

is

not for you to

by the customs of the Egyptians, or to imitate the

Canaan, and follow

is

in the

and what

is

is

who is

men

of

my laws, my decrees tell

you that no

man

near of kin to him, and

Jewish law, not

must guide Christians

Roman

law or

in determining

what

are not irregular relations in their marriage cases.

From Antioch

to Corinth

50-51 A.D.

As soon as the snow began to melt on the Taurus Mountains and the passes were open to traffic after the winter, Paul was anxious to be on his way into Galatia; he wanted them to know the contents of the Jeru-

Paul and Barnabas Separate.

salem Decree.

Seemingly Paul objected to taking Mark, as one who had abandoned the missionary expedition at the sight of the rugged mountains and unexplored tracks into Galatia on the first journey; he

had no time

for such weaklings.

Mark

eventually

Acts of the Apostles 15, 39-16, 12

102

was

their disagreement, that they separated

Barnabas took Mark with him, and sailed Paul chose

Cyprus, while

companion and went on

Silas for his

commended by

from each other;

off to

the brethren to the Lord's grace.

elled all through Syria

and

his journey,

And he

trav-

churches

Cilicia, establishing the

in the faith.

So he reached Derbe, and Lystra. Here he met a

named Timothy, son Gentile father.

of a believer

He was

who was

disciple,

a Jewess

and

a

well spoken of by the brethren at

Lystra and Iconium, and Paul resolved to take

him

as a

com-

panion on his journey. But he was careful to circumcise him;

he was thinking of the Jews living in those parts, who all knew that Timothy's father was a Gentile. As they passed

from

city to city,

they recommended to their observance the

decree laid down by the apostles and presbyters at Jerusalem. They found the churches firmly established in the faith, and their numbers daily increasing. Thus they passed through the Phrygian region of Galatia; the Holy Spirit prevented

them from preaching the word in Asia. Then, when they had come as far as Mysia on their journey, they planned to enter Bithynia; but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow it. So they crossed Mysia, and went down to the sea at Troas. Here Paul saw a stood by donia, sail

him

in entreaty,

and help us/ That

for

Macedonian 'Come over into Mace-

vision in the night; a certain

and

said,

vision

once seen, we were eager to

Macedonia; we concluded that

there to preach to them. So

straight course to Samothrace,

Thence we reached

Philippi,

God had

we put out from

and next day

which

is

a

called us

Troas,

made

to Neapolis.

Roman

colony and

the chief city in that part of Macedonia; in this city

mained

for

some

days, passing the time.

On

a

we

re-

the sabbath day

From Antioch

won back

Paul's esteem;

to Philippi 50

A.D.

103

Roman

he was with him during both

imprisonments Finally he became bishop of Alexandria in .

Egypt Barnabas spent the

rest of his life

preaching the gospel in

Cyprus, his homeland; his work there has earned him the

title

of apostle of that island.

Timothy minds us

The

Joins Paul.

They

disciple St. John.

out eleven of

St. Paul's

my thoughts as

Lord and

re-

his beloved

are closely associated during the next

seventeen years. Timothy

shares

two

friendship between these

of the friendship between our

is

mentioned eighteen times through-

fourteen

letters:

T have no one

he does; he has shared

my

else

who

task of preach-

ing the gospel like a son helping his father.'

Although Timothy had been baptized only a couple of years earlier,

by Paul on his

first

journey to GaJatia, he was probably

ordained a priest at Lystra before setting out with Paul and Silas (see 1

and

2

Timothy).

'With the Jews

I lived like a Jew, to

win the

Jews.'

That

is

the basic reason for the circumcision of Timothy. It wouJd win the good will of the Jews everywhere and

make Timothy

ac-

ceptable in their synagogues; otherwise his assistance to Paul

would have been

Luke

Paul had not planned to

Joins the Expedition.

to Troas;

nally

restricted.

it

was the Holy

Spirit

who

directed

him

come

there. Origi-

he intended to follow the highroad through GaJatia west

to Ephesus;

when God

told

him

to take the road north

from

Pisidian Antioch, Paul thought of going into the rich province of Bithynia; but at

Dorylaeum

his steps

were directed west to

Troas.

This beautiful city was the port for Europe: only a few miles inland across the

flat

plains were the ruins of Troy, im-

Acts of the Apostles 16, 13-24

104

we went out beyond the city gates, by the riverside, a meetingwe were told, for prayer; and we sat down and preached to the women who had assembled there. One of those who place,

were listening was a

woman

from

called Lydia, a purple-seller

the city of Thyatira, and a worshipper of the true God; and the Lord opened her heart, so that she was attentive to Paul's preaching. She was baptized, with

was urgent with in the

us;

Lord/ she as

'come to

said,

and she would take no

And now,

all

her household; and she

'Now you have decided

my

that

I

have faith

house and lodge

there';

denial.

we were on our way to the place of prayer, we girl who was possessed by a divining spirit;

chanced to meet a

her predictions brought in large profits to her masters. This girl

used to follow behind Paul and the rest of

These men

are the servants of the

most high God; they are

And when

proclaiming to us the way of salvation/

done

number

this for a

there

of her, in the

and then

Her

it

she had

by

it;

command you

to

of days, Paul was distressed

he turned round and said to the

come out

us, crying out,

name

came out

who saw

spirit:

of our

'I

Lord Jesus

Christ';

and

of her.

had them off to justice in the market-place. When they brought them before the magistrates, they said, These men, Jews by origin, are disturbing the peace of our city; they are recommending masters,

that

all

their

hopes of

profit

vanished, took hold of Paul and Silas and dragged

customs which

admit or to

it is

impossible for us, as

observe.'

The crowd

Roman

citizens, to

gathered round, to join in

the accusation; and the magistrates, tearing their clothes off

them, gave orders that they should be beaten; then, when they had inflicted

many

lashes

on them, put them

and bade the gaoler keep them structed,

he put them

in safe custody.

in the inner ward,

in prison,

Thus

and secured

in-

their

Philippi 50 A.D.

105

moitalized by the poet Homer. Paul was about to

make an

on Europe: he was leaving the oriental atmosphere of Asia and Jewry for the home of Graeco-Roman culture. The

assault

God's guidance had been preparing him for this and finally a vision settled any doubts left in his mind. details of

Luke, the author of the Acts and the Third Gospel,

step;

tells his

story in the third person; but here, for the Erst of three times,

he breaks into the are called);

it

announces

Tradition has disciple of

first

that

it

to

his arrival

on the scene.

he was a brother of

Paul but not with him at

natives of Antioch;

known

person plural (the 'we-sections' they

Luke was

Titus, already a

this time.

Both were and well

already a Christian,

Paul (possibly he even studied at Tarsus).

He may

have been practising his profession of doctor in Troas when Paul arrived there. tion with Paul,

He

who

Greek seamen

sailed

Timothy in close associahim 'my beloved Luke, the physician!

ranks next to

calls

by landmarks and travelled only by day.

would take two days to Philippi, with the island mountain peak of Samothrace as a guide.

It

Freed By district

through a like

An Earthquake. When

of Samaria, his

first

woman who came

our Lord entered the pagan

contact with the people was

to

draw water

manner, Paul made contact with

verts

at Jacob's well. In

his first

European con-

through a wealthy widow by the riverside at Philippi. She

was not a Jewess but observed the Jewish law like the

centurion Cornelius.

Two

other

as a proselyte,

women, Evodia and

Syntyche, are Jcnown to us from Paul's Letter to the Philippians; they

were probably members of the same prayer group

as Lydia.

When

Paul drove the

evil spirit

out of the possessed

he hit the representatives of paganism where in their pockets.

They fought back

fiercely.

it

girl,

hurt most



Their technique

106

Acts of the Apostles 16, 25-37

At midnight, Paul and Silas were at their God, while the prisoners listened to them.

feet in the stocks.

prayers, praising

And

once there was a violent earthquake, so that the

at

all

foundations of the prison rocked; whereupon every door

opened, and every man's chains were undone.

who had been awakened, saw sword

his

The

as if to kill himself,

thinking the prisoners had

escaped; but Paul cried with a loud voice, 'Do

we are all here/ when he had

yourself;

And in

and

so,

as

called for a light,

the feet of Paul and

fell at

he asked,

he led them out, 'what

'Have faith/ they said to him, salvation for you,

Then

and

for your

Silas, all

am

'in

no hurt

them away

night, took

delay he and

he came running trembling; 'Sirs/

to do, to save myself?'

I

the Lord Jesus; there

lies

household/

all his

to

and

he, there

wash

their

and then,

at

dead of

wounds, and without

were baptized. So he led them to his

home, where he put food before them, and he and all household made rejoicing at having found faith in God.

When

day came, the magistrates sent their

men

'Those

to

they preached the word of the Lord to him, and to

that were in his house;

all

gaoler,

the prison doors open, and drew

are to be discharged/

And

his

officers to say,

the gaoler reported

the message to Paul: 'The magistrates have sent ordering

your discharge;

it is

time you should come out, and go on

your way in peace/

But Paul lic,

without

prison,

them, 'What, have they beaten us in pub-

said to trial,

Roman

citizens as

and now would they

serve; they

person/

let us

we

are,

and sent us to

out secretly? That will not

must come here themselves, and fetch us out

in

Philippi 50 A.D.

was the same

employed

as that

107

at Pisidian Antioch,

and

for

new Roman colony with an the emperor. They saw Chris-

the same reason: Philippi was a

exaggerated show of loyalty to

tianity as a threat to established order.

Paul and

Silas, as

Roman

were exempt from the

citizens ,

Maybe

jurisdiction of local magistrates.

the confusion of a

crowd gave them no chance to make this fact known; possibly Paul made no attempt, knowing that he had to endure much suffering in order to establish the kingdom of noisy, shouting

God. Scourging and imprisonment only made him more

like

the Master himself.

The earthquake was

Locks in those days were mere wooden bars

let into sockets

good shake would swing the doors wide open.

in the doors; a

The

God.

a providential intervention of

chains would

faJJ

from the gaping holes

in the walls.

The

gaoler preferred suicide to execution; he was responsible for prisoners with his

own

life,

Paul, the zealous missionary, wasted

no time

the gaoler and his family. In the early

summer

in instructing

around

light,

the fountain in the courtyard, he baptized them. Full instruction

would be given

later

by Luke,

who was

left

here as bishop

of Philippi.

Paul

Demands An Apology.

Roman

rule.

he insisted on of his

trial

Justice

was the symbol of

Paul was not acting in an unchristian his rights.

The Master

the soldiers struck Jesus, he said: Tf there was

strike

what was harmful

in

when

before him, on the night

When

before Caiphas, had done the same.

I said, tell us

spirit

it;

if

harm

not,

one of

in

what

why do you

me?'

Lydias house became the Erst church in Philippi. Luke was left in

charge as

years, rejoining

its

Erst bishop;

he remained there for seven

Paul towards the end of his third missionary

Acts of the Apostles 16, 38-ij, 9

108

When

the officers gave this message to the magistrates, they

Roman

came and pleaded with them, urging them, as they brought them out, to leave the city. On leaving the prison, they went to Lydia's house, where they saw the brethren and gave them were alarmed by

this talk of

encouragement; then they

They continued

set

citizenship; so they

out on their journey.

their journey through

Amphipolis and

Apollonia, and so reached Thessalonica. Here the Jews had a

synagogue, and Paul, as his custom was, paid there.

them

a visit

Over a space of three sabbaths he reasoned with them

out of the scriptures, expounding these and bringing proofs

from them that the

and his rising from the Christ/ he said, 'is none other

sufferings of Christ

The am preaching

dead were foreordained; than the Jesus

whom

I

were convinced, and threw in their a great

number

lot

Some

of

them

with Paul and

Silas;

to you/

who worshipped

too, of those Gentiles

the

God, and not a few of the leading women. The Jews were indignant at this, and they found confederates among the riff-raff of the market-place, to make a disturbance and throw true

the city into an uproar. Jason's house, in the

Then

hope

they

made

a

of bringing Paul

sudden descent on

and

Silas

out into

the presence of the people; but, as they could not find them,

they dragged Jason and some of the brethren before the city council, crying out, 'Here they are, the

the world upside down; they have has given

them

are turning

too;

and Jason

hospitality. All these folk defy the edicts of

Caesar; they say there

and the

men who

come here

city council

manded bail from them go.

is

another king, Jesus/ Both the crowd

took alarm at hearing

this,

and they

Jason and the others before they would

delet

Thessalonica 50 A.D. journey. pians;

Clement

is

mentioned

109

in the Letter to the Philip-

he was piobably Luke's chief

assistant in establishing

the Church; scholars dispute whether this was the Clement

who became

Philippi was his favourite;

and

it

Rome. Of

fourth pope of it

all

Paul's foundations,

never caused him the least worry,

alone contributed to his material needs.

The Jews

Stir

Up

to Thessalonica

a Riot.

-

The 100

miles west from Philippi

was easy going along the most famous road

yet trodden by Paul. It was called the Egnatian

the main artery linking Greece with lippi to

Dyrrachium;

brought the to

a short journey

traveller to Brindisi 7

Rome, with

a

still

Rome.

Way and

It ran

was

from Phi-

by ship across the Adriatic

and there the road continued

more famous name, the Appian Way.

Thessalonica was an important commercial port; and so

had

a large colony of Jewish traders

population had increased by a large

earlier its

expelled from

was

Rome

lighted to

is

meet and

number

by the emperor Claudius.

a Christian, Jason.

There

and merchants.

As

a convert of Peter

s,

A

it

year

of Jews

Among them Jason was de-

give hospitality to the apostle Paul.

always noise in any busy

city;

but the convert

class

assembled in Jason's house was alarmed at the shouting and yelling outside in the street this

Paul's

name

summer

afternoon. It was

they picked up Erst, then the dangerous word,

As Paul was directed to a hiding place upstairs, he must have recalled how the pattern of Jesus' life was taking treason.

his. His mind went back to the trial scene before on Good Friday morning, and the shouts of another crowd: 'We have no king ... no king, except Caesar.'

shape in Pilate

no

Acts of the Apostles 17, 10-21

Thereupon the brethren sent Paul and

Silas

away by night

to Beroea; where, as soon as they arrived, they

way

to the Jewish synagogue.

made

These were a better breed than

the Thessalonians; they welcomed the word with ness,

and examined the

whether

all this

was

believe, as certain

men

their

all

eager-

Scriptures, day after day, to find out

many

true; so that

of

them learned

Greek women of fashion

did,

to

and not a

But now some of the Thessalonian word of God had been preached by Paul at Beroea too, came on there, to upset and disturb the minds of the people; whereupon the brethren sent Paul away, few of the

as well.

Jews, hearing that the

to continue his journey

mained there

up

to the coast; Silas

and Timothy

re-

still.

Those who were escorting Paul on his journey saw him as far as Athens, and then left him, with instructions for Silas and Timothy to rejoin him as soon as possible. And while Paul was waiting for them in Athens, his heart was

moved within him idolatry,

to find the city so

and he reasoned, not only

much

given over to

in the synagogue with

Jews and worshippers of the true God, but in the marketplace, with all he met. He encountered philosophers, Stoics

and Epicureans, some of be,

this

whom

asked,

'What can

his drift

would appear to because he had preached to

dabbler?' while others said, 'He

be proclaiming strange

gods';

and Resurrection. So they took him by the sleeve and led him up to the Areopagus. 'May we ask/ they said, 'what this new teaching is you are delivering? You intro-

them about

Jesus

duce terms which are strange what may be the meaning of or stranger visiting

it,

to our ears; pray let us it/

(No townsmen

know

of Athens,

has time for anything else than saying

something new, or hearing

it

said.)

Athens 51 A.D.

111

That night the three missionaries moved out under cover of darkness, escorted by two converts, Aristarchus and Secundus. They left the Egnatian Way and went southwest to an out-of-the-way town, Beroea, a distance of

fifty miles. It

was

some weeks before the malevolent Thessalonian Jews found out their hiding place.

presumed that Paul went by ship

It is usually

Knox

Athens. But Mgr. itinerary; it is

directly to

has put a brilliant case for a different

based mainly, on Paul's two Letters to the Thes-

salonians. Paul

doubled back to the Egnatian Way, journeying

'up to the coast' at Dyrrachium; that

not the Aegean Sea.

He

is,

he went to the Adriatic

intended to go back to Thessalonica

but was prevented. It was several months before he arrived at Athens.

Paul At Athens.

Athens was the second

surpassed only by

Rome

itself.

It

beautiful city in

which Paul had yet

lectual,

and

artistic,

Though no equal self

its

glory

city of the

Empire,

was the richest and most set foot. It

religious centre of the

was the

Roman

intel-

world.

had faded when Paul

in intellectual leadership;

visited it, it still had no Roman considered him-

educated unless he had studied at Athens.

The

city

was dominated by the Acropolis, a vast bulk of

rock which rose up hundreds of feet above the buildings in the centre of the

city.

And on

top of the Acropolis stood the

cream-coloured Parthenon, a temple in the sky, poised lightly as a bird after Bight.

And

rising high

above the Parthenon

was the great wooden statue of Athena, the goddess of wisdom. It

was seventy feet high and covered with ivory and gold plates

that shone

and flashed

Athena's spear was the

in the sunlight; the gilded point of

first

thing sailors saw, coming into port.

112

Acts of the Apostles 17, 22-34

So Paul stood up

'Men

of Athens, wherever

religious.

them, tion,

view of the Areopagus, and

in full

I

Why,

in

look

I

I

you scrupulously

examining your monuments

found among others an

altar

"To the unknown God." And

of your devotion that

made

find

the world and

I

all

am

as I passed

which bore the

it is

said,

by

inscrip-

unknown object The God who God who is Lord

this

revealing to you.

that

is

in

it,

that

and earth, does not dwell in temples that our hands have made; no human handicraft can do him service, as if he stood in need of anything, he, who gives to all of us life and breath and all we have. It is he who has made, of one single stock, all the nations that were to dwell over the whole face of the earth. And he has given to each the cycles it of heaven

was to pass through and the

fixed limits of

its

habitation, leav-

them to search for God; would they somehow grope their way towards him? Would they find him? And yet, after all, he is not far from any one of us; it is in him that we live, and move, and have our being; thus, some of your own poets ing

have told if

we

us,

"For indeed, we are

are the children of

his children."

the divine nature can be represented in gold, or

carved by man's art and thought.

God

these passing follies of ours; now,

just

he

silver,

he has appointed

of us,

by

When

raising

for that

him up from

resurrection

that

or stone,

calls

upon

all

men,

when he

judgment on the whole world. And the

whom

then,

has shut his eyes to

everywhere, to repent, because he has fixed a day

pronounce

Why

God, we must not imagine

will

man

end he has accredited to

all

the dead/

from the dead was mentioned, some

We

must hear more from you about this/ So Paul went away from among them. But there were men who attached themselves to him and learned

mocked, while others

said,

Athens 51 A.D.

113

There were many temples and buildings on the Aciopolis; an open-air auditorium on the Paul's Speech to the Philosophers.

western slope not far from the Parthenon was

Areopagus;

it

known

as the

was the meeting pJace for the university educa-

tion board. It was before this ruling body,

and many under-

graduates, that Paul delivered his speech.

The

Christian attitude to idols

to the Corinthians: 'A false

of things; there

ever gods

all

is

in the order

of as existing in heaven or

only one God, the Father

who

is

on

earth,

the origin of

and the end of our being; only one Lord, Jesus

things,

Christ, the creator of

The

given in Paul's First Letter

one God, .and there can be no other. What-

is

may be spoken

for us there

is

god has no existence

all

things,

who

is

greater part of Paul's speech

our way to him.'

is

concerned with the

nature of God, particularly his qualities of creator and father.

Both these

with his or her aloof

and

Paul spirit,

were absent from the pagan picture of

qualities

the supreme being.

They had

own

restricted Held of activity; these

up

skilfully builds

seen by

human

men, since

all

eyes.

all are

The

a different picture:

God

made

God

all

earth.

a pure

is

the matter which makes up the world is

interested in

to his

descended from one man. of that

were

what happened among men on

indifferent to

the creator of

a vast collection of gods, each

God

image and is

and

cares for all

likeness,

and

are all

the only true father worthy

name. great vice of the Athenians

was

intellectual pride. This

audience expressed the reaction of the city to the Christian message. Athens was almost the last city in the to accept Christ;

and

it

Roman Empire

took almost 500 years for

it

to

become

Christian.

According to an early legend, Dionysius became bishop of

Acts of the Apostles 17, 35-18,

114

among them Dionysius

to believe, a

woman

called Damaris,

Athens

11

the Areopagite; and so did

and others with them.

and went to Corinth. Here he met a Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who, with his wife Priscilla, had lately come from Italy, when Claudius Paul

left

decreed that a visit:

all

after this,

Jews should leave Rome.

He

then, since they were brothers of the

paid them

same

craft

(both were tent-makers), he stayed and worked with them.

Every sabbath he held a disputation in the synagogue, trying to convince Silas

both Jews and Greeks. Just at the time when

and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was much

occupied with preaching, while he bore witness to the Jews

But they set their faces against it and talked blasphemy, until he shook the dust out of his garments, and said to them, Tour blood be upon your own that Jesus was the Christ.

heads;

So he

I

am

left

clear of

it; I

will

go to the Gentiles henceforward.'

them, and went to the house of one Titius Justus,

a worshipper of the true

God, who

lived next door to the

synagogue. But Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, learned to believe in the Lord,

now many

were baptized.

'Do not be

and so did

all his

of the Corinthians listened

And

afraid,

household; and by

and found

faith,

the Lord said to Paul in a vision at night,

speak out, and refuse to be silenced;

with you, and none shall come near to do you harm; great following in this

and

six

and

I

I

am

have a

city/ So he remained there a year

months, preaching the word of

God among

them.

Corinth 51 A.D. Paris

and

115

martyrdom

the patron of that city, having suffered

is

there for the faith.

Paul At Corinth.

Forty miles to the west of ancient,

phisticated Athens was

Corinth. For Paul

the

modern cosmopolitan port

was a journey into another world

it

leaving Oxford one day

and being

so-

of

(like

in Port Said the next).

Corinth had been built a hundred years before on a narrow

neck of Jand extending between the Adriatic and the Aegean seas; the

vessels

bulk of east-west trade passed through this port. Light

were dragged the few miles overland to the eastern port

of Cenchrae; or else the cargo was unloaded

and transported

by waggon from one port to the other. This saved vessels the dangerous two hundred mile detour around the dreaded Cape

Malea.

Among

the refugees from

Rome

was a Christian couple,

Aquiia, an Asiatic Jew, and his Gentile wife, the Priscilla

We

shall

finally

back

friends outside the intimate group of his disciples.

them

find

Roman

(Paul calls her Prisca); they became Paul's closest

later at

Ephesus, then at Rome, and

at Ephesus. It

work

took a vision to convince Paul that in this corrupt city of Corinth;

back to his Macedonian converts, to

him

— back

at Troas.

Corinth; from these

God wanted him

whom God

Later, Paul will write

we know

a

dozen of the

by name and can learn more of their way of

any other early document.

to

he was anxious to get

two

had

called

letters

to

first

Christians

life

than from

First Letter to the Thessalonians

Paul and Silvanus and Timothy, to the church assembled at Thessalonica in

God

the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,

grace and peace be yours.

We

give thanks to

God

always

making mention of you continually in our prayers; such memories we have of your active faith, your unwearied love, and that hope in our Lord Jesus Christ which gives you endurance, in the sight of him who is our God and Father. Brethren, God loves you, and we are sure that he has made choice of you. Our preaching to you did not depend upon mere argument; power was there, and the influence of the Holy Spirit, and an effect of full conviction; you can testify what we were to you and what we did for you. And on your side, you followed our example, the Lord's example. There was great persecution, and yet you welcomed our message, rejoicing in the Holy Spirit; and now you have become a model to all the believers throughout Macedonia and Achaia. Yes, the Lord's message has echoed out from you, and not only in Macedonia and Achaia; your faith in God has overflowed everywhere, so that we do not need to for all of you,

speak a word; our friends themselves journey,

and how we

how you have God, so

first

tell

came among

the story of our

you.

They

describe

turned away from idolatry to the worship of

God, a God who really exists, and the appearing of his Son from heaven, Jesus, whom

as to serve a living

to wait for

he raised from the dead, our Saviour from the vengeance that

is

to

come.

Yes, brethren, you yourselves can testify that arrived

among

had been

ill

you,

treated

it

proved to be no

and

insulted, as

when we

fruitless visit.

you know,

We

at Philippi,

Persevere under Persecution

A

Model

othy and

Roman

to All Believers. Silas

It

afternoon

late

(Paul always refers to

equivalent of Silas)

of AquiJa. Six

was

made

their

months had passed

him way

when Tim-

as Silvanus, the

to the

since Paul

had

workshop last

seen

these two disciples of his; that had been a hurried fareweJJ at night in Beioea as Paul escaped

much

from the Jews. So they had

to talk of, mostly the state of the church in ThessaJonica.

The ThessaJonian

converts had undergone a savage perse-

cution from the Jews there; they had hoped day after day for

and champion Paul,

to return to their aid. Paul

a visit in the near future

was impracticable; the con-

their father

saw that verts

f

were crowding round him in great numbers.

stay at Corinth; but as

he had done

he would write a

Timothy and

owed

Silas as to himself t

its

existence as

much

to

Paul includes them not only

opening salutation but throughout the

'we' occurs

other

letter of consolation,

in similar circumstances to his GaJatians.

Seeing that this church

in the

He must

letter;

the plural

65 times in the course of the letter. In all his except the two to the Thessalonians, Paul uses

letters,

the Erst person singular as his normal

mode

It is a tender, intimate letter of a father

these children of his. charity, their

He

thanks

God

of address.

who

is

proud of

for their faith, hope,

and

endurance under persecution, and their zeal for

the conversion of others.

Paul's

Memories of His

underlies this

Visit.

A

note of defence clearly

whole paragraph. Paul's enemies,

in this instance

the Thessalonian Jews, had spread an insidious slander about

n8

1

but our to

God

Thessalonians 2,2-15

gave us courage to preach the divine gospel

you amid much opposition. Our appeal to you was not

based on any false or degraded notions, was not backed by cajolery. fit

We

have passed God's scrutiny, and he has seen

work of preaching; when we speak, we would earn God's good opinion, not God who scrutinizes our hearts. We never

to entrust us with the

it is

with this in view;

man's, since

it is

used the language of

nor was

it,

God

you

flattery,

out in that,

will bear us

knows, an excuse for enriching ourselves;

have never asked for

human

praise, yours or another's,

we al-

we might have made heavy demands on you. No, you found us gentle in your midst; no nursing mother ever cherished her children more; in our great longing for you, we desired nothing better than to offer you our own lives, as well as God's gospel, so greatly had we learned to love you. Brethren, you can remember how we toiled and laboured, all the time we were preaching God's gospel to you, working day and night so as not to burden you with expense. Both you and God can witness how upright and honest and faultless was our conduct towards you believers; it is within your knowledge that we treated every though, as apostles of Christ,

one of you

as a father treats his children,

encouraging you,

comforting you, imploring you to lead a the

God who now

This

why we

is

invites

life

you to the glory of

give thanks to

God

worthy of

his

kingdom.

unceasingly that,

when we

delivered the divine message to you, you recognized

what

who lieve.

of

it

is,

God's message, not man's;

it

God,

is

it

for

after

all,

manifests his power in you that have learned to be-

You took

God which

Christ.

for

your model, brethren,

are assembled in Judea in the

You were

treated

the

churches

name

of Jesus

by your fellow countrymen

those churches were treated by the Jews, the

men who

the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and persecuted

us;

as

killed

the

men

From Corinth

51 A.D.

119

the reason for Paul's not returning to his ThessaJonian foundation. Paul, so the

Jews

said,

was a

man who

Joved to be

made

he sought only praise and adulation. Consequently

a fuss of;

treatment by the converts at Thessalonica had displeased

his

him; they had not played up to his love of

flattery.

Paul was intent only on making money.

He had come

the rich port of Thessalonica only for the sake of gain.

to

When

he found that no substantial payments were being made him, he soon

left

them and went elsewhere

to

more

profitable fields.

That was the substance of the Jewish accusation: Paul had not come back to a place where he had received neither praise nor pay.

To of

his

life,

them

six

conduct and his motives, when he

months

before. Like his

man's/

He had

will,

acted toward

'to

staff that is

them with the tender

one

his

a father:

'He

love of a

not

will

already crushed, or put out the wick that

smoulders/ as the prophet

On

came among

earn God's opinion, not

mother and the firm guiding hand of snap the

first

Master before him,

r

God s

concern was to do

still

way

disprove this slander, Paul recalls to his converts his

Isaias foretold of Jesus.

the question of support, Paul was most sensitive.

insisted

on working

at his trade of

tentmaker

(as

He

he was doing

moment in Corinth), so as not to be a burden on his converts. He wiJJ later recall to the Corinthians his touchiness on this same point The only exception he made was to accept money from Philippi (probably at the insistence of the

at the

dominant Lydia), during but twice, when

I

his stay at Thessalonica: 'not

once

was at Thessalonica, you contributed to

my

needs.'

Paul was acutely aware of the animosity of the Jews. personal knowledge of Christians; he

had

it

from

his

own

He had

days of persecuting

just experienced it again here in Corinth.

120

who

i

displease

kind,

God and show

when they

to the Gentiles. of their sins, fallen

Thessalonians

try to

2, 16-3,

themselves the enemies of man-

hinder us from preaching salvation

They must always be

and now

9

it is

God's

filling

final

up the measure

vengeance that has

upon them.

Finding ourselves separated from you, brethren, even for a

while, though only in person, not in spirit,

little

we

con-

ceived an overwhelming desire to

was our longing

for you;

visit you in person, such and we planned a journey to you,

more than once; but Satan has put obstacles or delight have we, what prize to boast of before our Lord Jesus when he comes, if not you? All our pride, all our delight is in you. At last we could not bear it any longer, and decided to remain at Athens by ourI

myself, Paul,

What hope

in our way.

while

selves,

we

sent our brother Timothy,

who

exercises

God's ministry in preaching the gospel of Christ, to confirm your resolutions, and give you the encouragement your faith needed. There must be no wavering amidst these

trials;

you

know well enough that this is our appointed lot. Indeed, when we visited you we told you that trials were to befall us; now you can see for yourselves that it was true. That was my reason for sending him, when I could bear it no longer, to make sure of your faith; it might be that the tempter had been tempting you, and that all our labour would go for nothing. Now that Timothy has come back to us from seeing you, and told us about your faith and love, and the kind remembrance you have of us all the while, longing for our company as we long for yours, your faith has brought us comfort, brethren, amidst all our difficulties and trials. If of souls

only you stand firm in the Lord,

What

thanks can

the joy

we

we

return to

feel in rejoicing over

it

brings fresh

life

to us.

God

for you, to express all

you

in the presence of our

From Corinth It

was an implacable hatred

51

A.D.

121

at the sight of Gentiles being ac-

cepted as the true heirs of Abraham; in punishment

God had

allowed them to become hardened in their unbelief; that

'Gods

final

is

vengeance that has fallen upon them.'

The Mission

of Timothy.

Contrary to the Jewish picture of

an indifferent Paul, unconcerned with what was happening to the Thessalonian foundation,

we

see

him here

herd anxious and worried over the

as a loving shep-

fierce persecution of his

flock at ThessaJonica. In this section

he gives an account of

the difficulties that he encountered every time he planned to return to Thessalonica. It covers a period of about six months,

which Luke has passed over in silence

in his record in the Acts.

When Paul left Beroea, he was uncertain of his future movements. as

soon

He would come as

back and collect

he could. As

obstacles put in his

it

way by

Silas

and Timothy

turned out, he was prevented by Satan; this was

most probably the

opposition of his Jewish enemies from Thessalonica; they did

not relax their watch over his movements even for a single day.

While

Silas

and Timothy remained

PauYs return any day, he continued gospel along the Egnatian

his

in Beroea, expecting

work of preaching the

Way to Dyrrachium. From

there he

went north into Illyricum (he mentions this in Rom. 15, 19); then, Ending the Thessalonian Jews still keeping an eye on him, he doubled back south to Apollonia and Nicopolis. On his arrival at Athens,

more, he sent

where the Acts take over the story once

off his

Macedonian

guides, Aiistarchus

and

Secundus of Thessalonica and Sopater of Beroea. They were to tell

Timothy

salonica; as

soon

them from Beroea to ThesTimothy found out the state of the church

to return with as

122

i

God,

Thessalonians

we pray more than

10-4, 11

3,

and day, for the opporand making good whatever your faith still lacks? May he himself, our God and our Father, may our Lord Jesus speed us on our journey to you; and as for you, may the Lord give you a rich and an ever richer love for one another and for all men, like ours for you. So, when our Lord Jesus comes with all his saints, may you stand boldly as

ever, night

tunity of seeing you face to face,

before the presence of God, our Father, in holiness unreproved.

And now, to

you

brethren, this

in the

name

how you ought

tern of

that pattern,

what we

Lord

and make more of

of the

Lord

ask, this

Jesus.

We

we have handed on Jesus.

What God

you should sanctify yourselves, and keep

Each

of

God;

you must learn to control

his

live

by

You have not

than ever.

it

our appeal

is

gave you a pat-

to live so as to please

forgotten the warnings

command

is

of the

you by the

to

asks of

you

is

that

clear of fornication.

own

body, as some-

thing holy and held in honour, not yielding to the promptings of passion, as the heathen

None

of you

is

to

commit

brother in this matter. For

do

all

such wrong-doing

punishment; we have told you so already,

The it

is

life

a

to

life

which

God has called

us

is

God

exacts

solemn warning.

in

not one of incontinence,

and to despise

of holiness,

God. and defraud his

in their ignorance of

transgression,

it

is

to despise, not

man, but God, the God who has implanted his Holy Spirit in you. As for love of the brethren, there is no need to send you any message; you have learned

for yourselves

God's lesson

about the charity we ought to show to one another, or you could not practise

it

as

you do towards

We

all

the brethren

would only ask you, brethren, to make more of it than ever. Let it be a point of honour with you to keep calm and to go on looking after your

throughout Macedonia.

From Corinth at Thessalonica,

Athens. But

51 A.D.

he was to pick up

when

123

Silas

and

rejoin Paul at

these two did arrive at Athens, Paul

already gone oft to Corinth;

had

there that the meeting takes

it is

place.

Timothy

s

report brought comfort to Paul: they were stand-

As

ing up courageously under persecution.

a true disciple of

Paul had warned them that they must expect such

Jesus,

trials:

when men revile you, and persecute you, and manner of evil against you falsely, because of me/

'Blessed are you

speak

On

all

Purity, Charity,

and Honest Work.

sion to the heathen world around

them

The is

Christian mis-

clearly defined

by

our Lord himself: 'Your light must shine so brightly before

men

good works, and glorify your Timothy brought back to Paul a

that they can see your

Father

who

is

in heaven.'

report on some aspects of Christian showed that they were not giving

Jife

in Thessalonica

a good example to

which their

pagan neighbours. Sexual morals were low in

all

pagan communities; but in

and Corinth the standards were the Empire. Paul had need to remind

seaports like Thessalonica

notoriously the worst in

both communities

(1

Cor. 6) of the gravity of sins of sexual

indulgence; there was always the danger of poorly instructed converts returning to pagan ways. Possibly the earthquake at Philippi

many

in that region; in

had been only one

tunity for practical charity to people in poverty Paul's

of

any case there was plenty of oppor-

and

distress.

mention of the extent of the charity practised by the

Thessalonians

shows that a considerable time must have

elapsed since their conversion.

The earthquake and near panic social upset: a

in

disasters

had

left

an atmosphere of anxiety

Macedonia. This had led to one very serious

number

of Christians considered

it

frivolous to

124

i

affairs,

Thessalonians

4, 12-5,

working with your hands

life will

as

7

we bade

you; thus your

win respect from the world around you, and you

will

not need to depend on others.

Make no

mistake, brethren, about those

to their rest;

who have gone

you are not

to lament over them, as the rest no hope to live by. We believe, after

of the world does, with

when

that Jesus underwent death and rose again; just so,

all,

comes back,

Jesus

God

back those who have found

will bring

through him. This we can tell you as a message from the Lord himself: those of us who are still left alive to greet the Lord's coming will not reach the goal before those who rest

have gone to their

from heaven to

rest.

No, the Lord himself

summon

us,

will

come down

with an archangel crying aloud

and the trumpet of God sounding; and first of all the dead will rise up, those who died in Christ. Only after that shall we,

who

are

still left alive,

away

to

meet the Lord

pany.

And

so

we

be taken up into the clouds, be swept in the air,

and they

will bear us

be with the Lord for

shall

ever. Tell

comone

another this for your consolation.

There

is

no need, brethren,

times and the seasons of in

mind, without being

come

all this;

like the

doom

pangs that come to a

be no escape from

it.

day;

you are

we do not belong

not sleep on, then,

and keep

you are keeping

is

all

will fall

woman

in travail,

born to the

to the night

is

clearly

Lord

will

and there

brethren, are not

day to take you by surprise,

and

its

light,

born to the

darkness.

like the rest of the world,

sober; night

it

when men are saying, upon them suddenly,

just

Whereas you,

living in the darkness, for the like a thief; no,

you about the

told, that the day of the

like a thief in the night. It

'All quiet, all safe/ that

will

to write to

We must

we must watch

the sleeper's time for sleeping, the

drunkard's time for drinking;

we must keep

sober, like

men

of

From Corinth

51 A.D.

125

be working, when the end of the world might come at any moment. Far better to look to the good of their souls, to be engaged in prayer when the Lord Jesus came in judgment.

The Dead Will of

what

will

meagre; God's revelation on this point

deed: 'He

Our knowledge

Rise At Christ's Coming.

happen when the woild comes

shall

come

to

very

is

contained in the

is

to judge the living

an end

and the

The

dead.'

extent to which the detail provided in Matthew 24, 2 Peter and Thessalonians is meant to be a description of things

3,

as

they will actually happen

is not agreed on by the experts. would seem that the trumpet, archangel, and clouds are only scenic properties meant to provide an atmosphere of awe

It

in the presence of divine intervention in

probably at

come from God's

human

they

affairs;

manifestation of power and majesty

Mt Sinai, as recorded in the Book of Exodus; our Lord used

the same terminology in describing the

fall

of Jerusalem

(Mt

24, 29-31).

The Thessalonians probably

pictured the return of Christ

at the end of the world as similar to the triumphal procession

of the emperor on a state

worrying them:

Would

visit to their city.

not those

One

who had

matter was

died miss the

pageant of Christ's triumphal return? It would

all

be over

before they rose again from the grave. This was the question sent back by Timothy.

In answer, Paul quotes words of Jesus unrecorded elsewhere in Scripture:

This

The

resurrection will precede the last judgment.

satisfied the Thessalonians,

but

it

has raised two more

problems for modern readers.

Did Paul mean

that those

who would

be alive on the

last

day would be glorified without Erst undergoing death? Yes. In 1

Corinthians 15, 51 he states it explicitly: but we shall all be changed.'

fall asleep,

'We

shall

not

all

JL26

i

and

God

5,

8-28

We must put on our breastplate, the breastplate

the daylight. of faith

Thessalonians

love,

our helmet, which

is

the hope of salvation.

has not destined us for vengeance; he means us to win

Lord Jesus Christ, who has died

salvation through our

waking or

sakes, that we,

on, then, encouraging

sleeping,

may

for our

find life with him.

Go

one another and building up one an-

other's faith.

we would ask you to pay deference to those who work among you, those who have charge of you in the Lord, and give you directions; make it a rule of charity to hold them in special esteem, in honour of the duty they perform. Maintain unity among yourselves. And, brethren, let us make this appeal to you: warn the vagabonds, encourage Brethren,

the faint-hearted, support the waverers, be patient towards

all.

nobody repays injury with injury; you must aim always at what is best, for one another and for all around you. Joy be with you always. Never cease praying. Give thanks upon all occasions; this is what God expects of you all in See to

it

that

Christ Jesus.

Do

not

stifle

the utterances of the Spirit, do

not hold prophecy in low esteem; and yet you must scrutinize it all

carefully, retaining only

that has a look of evil about sanctify

you wholly, keep

to greet the

coming

The God who fail

spirit

of our

called

you

what

is

good, and rejecting

it. So may the God of peace and soul and body unimpaired,

Lord Jesus Christ without reproach. is true to his promise; he will not

you. Brethren, pray for us. Greet

the kiss of saints. that this letter of our

is

I

all

all

the brethren with

name to see brethren. The grace

adjure you in the Lord's

read out to

all

our

Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

From Corinth

51 A.D.

127

Did Paul think he would Jive until judgment day? No. He knew no more of the time of Christ's coming than any other human being: Tt is known to none, not even to the angeJs in heaven' (ML 24, 36). But with his Mystical Body outlook he couJd identify himself with those Christians

who would

he

the Master had identified himself with those

ah've, just as

had been persecuting:

Christians Paul

'Saul, Saul,

why do you

persecute me?'

Directions

To Church

Authorities.

leader of the Thessalonian

Jason was probably the

community; together with the other

and deacons he would be the recipient of PauYs letter, delivered by some Christian making the journey from Corinth.

priests

It

was

flock

duty to see that

his

and

to

make

this letter

provision for

its

was read publicly to

his

advice to be carried out.

There is no close sequence moves from one point to another, giving

in this final paragraph. Paul

conduct.

Most

practical counsels of

of these are concerned with the

two main

lines

of thought already treated: the persecution raging against the

Christians

and

their anxiety over the return of the Lord.

Paul

warns them against the danger of despondency; they must be strong not faint-hearted in face of persecution.

They must

not be vindictive against their persecutors.

His reference to 'utterances of the

Spirit' indicates that

Thessalonian church enjoyed these special

Ghost, such

as

gifts of

the

the Holy

speaking in foreign tongues, reading

mens

and miraculous powers of healing, which we find recounted in great detail later in the Corinthian church (1 Cor.,

hearts,

12-14).

^ au

^

warns them that Satan can disguise himself as an

angeJ of light

Second Letter to the Thessalonians Paul and Silvanus and Timothy, to the church assembled at Thessalonica in

God

our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ;

from God, our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, grace be yours and peace.

We

owe

God, brethren, on your

a constant debt of thanksgiving to

faith thrives so well,

exceeds

measure; our

of

all

God,

is

own

trials

proof of the just award

God, the is

suffer.

for the

visit

the churches

faith

amidst

all

the

It will

you worthy

makes,

rest

when he

kingdom

Or do you doubt

with that

it,

one another

God

which

for

finds

who

will

be a

which you are

that there

to repay with affliction those

afflicted,

we

and your

reason for

for

which you have to endure.

of a place in his kingdom, the

pared to

and your love

boasting, as

of your perseverance

persecutions and

we have good

behalf;

when your

justice

is

afflict

pre-

with

you, and you,

be ours too? But that

day when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven, with

angels to proclaim his power; with

fire

flaming about him, as

he pours out vengeance on those who do not acknowledge

God, on those who Jesus.

The

refuse obedience to the gospel of our

Lord

presence of the Lord, and the majesty of his power,

condemn them to eternal punishment, when he comes show how glorious he is in his saints, how marvellously

will

to

he has dealt with

all

the faithful, that our witness should have

reached you Gentiles, and found tice

when

that day comes. It

is

belief! Yes, there will

with

always praying for you, praying that of your vocation,

doing,

all

and ripen by

this in

be

jus-

view that we are

God may

find

you worthy

his influence all your love of well-

the activity of your faith. So

may

the

name

of our

Lord Jesus be glorified in you, and you glorified in him, through the grace given by our God and by the Lord Jesus Christ.

as

But there is one entreaty we would make of you, brethren, you look forward to the time when our Lord Jesus Christ

The Second Coming God's Justice

On

of Christ

Paul had not remained in

Judgment Day.

Coiinth after writing the First Letter to the Thessalonians.

He set off to

the north to

and Dyrrachium.

lonia y

visit

It

the churches of Nicopolis, Apol-

was probably about three months

He had kept away from Thesmore violent outburst from the

before he returned to Corinth. salonica, so as

not to

He

Jews there.

stir

up

a

surely did not expect to find such perturbing

news of that church awaiting him at Corinth. Communication between Corinth and Thessalonica was quent both by land and

sea.

Some

back from Thessalonica and

just

fre-

Corinthian merchants were

lost

no time

in

informing Paul

of the disturbing picture there: Christians were sitting

round

expecting the end of the world at any moment. They had become so despondent over the persecution that they had almost lost faith in a just judge who would redress their wrongs. It is this last point that Paul takes up Erst: he describes what idle,

will take place at the last Jesus: 'Will

not

God

crying out to him, day

with their wrongs? I

judgment. His teaching

give redress to his eJect,

is

that of

when they

are

and night? Will he not be impatient

tell

you, he will give

them

redress with

7

speed.

all

A

modern audience would expect

ticular eral

judgment

a reference to the par-

more remote gen-

at death, rather than the

judgment. PauYs line of thought shows

how

preoccupied

the world was with expectancy of the end of the world;

the

mood

of the

lived;

Why

was

moment. The emphasis was on the corporate

existence of the Mystical Body, not vidual. It

it

on the

fate of the indi-

was the atmosphere in which people of those times

with us the emphasis has shifted to personal retribution.

the Second

champion

Coming

of wickedness/

is

is

Delayed.

better

known

Paul's

rebel,

'the

as Antichrist (a title

2 Thessalonians

130

1-12

come, and gather us in to himself.

will

out of your senses

by any to

2,

close at hand. astray.

us,

the rebel

is

any message or

not

let

name, above

all

terrified

letter

purporting

who that

is

first,

to

men

is

anyone find the means of leading

come

apostasy must

wickedness must appear

This

not be

which suggests that the day of the Lord

Do

The

Do

and thrown into confusion,

at once,

spiritual utterance,

come from

you

all

lift

first;

the champion of

destined to inherit perdition.

up

his

head above every divine

hold in reverence,

till

he en-

at last

thrones himself in God's temple, and proclaims himself as

Do

God. left

not you remember

my

telling

this,

before

I

is

what I mean) which holds him in show himself before the time appointed the conspiracy of revolt

checks

it

now

will

is

be able to check

and the Lord Jesus

himself;

to him; meanwhile,

already at work; only, he

from the enemy's path. Then

it is

it,

until

he

is

removed

that the rebel will

will destroy

who show

him with the breath

mouth, overwhelming him with the brightness of

of his

presence.

He

will

come, when he comes, with

fluence to aid him; there will be feit signs

and wonders; and

no

ship in

all

is

letting loose

his

Satan's in-

lack of power, of counter-

his wickedness will deceive the

doomed, to punish them for refusing that the truth which would have saved them. That

souls that are

God

you of

a power (you know check, so that he may not

your company? At present there

among them

fellowis

why

a deceiving influence, so

that they give credit to falsehood; he will single out for judg-

ment

all

those

who

refused credence to the truth, and took

their pleasure in wrong-doing.

We must always give thanks in your name, brethren whom the Lord has so favoured. fruits in

God

has picked you out as the

first-

the harvest of salvation, by sanctifying your spirits

and convincing you

of his truth;

he has called you, through

From Corinth found only ber

world; here

'Many

and John's Apocalypse, present hut out Lord, and Johns Epistles, have appeared in the

false teachers

the deceiver you were warned against, here

is

Antichrist' (2 Jn. 7;

think Paul

is

he personifies Sin in Romans

The all its

But

Bible

personifying a thing

evil perpetually at

the imagery of war runs through

pages; the victory of Christ over sin

imagery

this biblical

So

Church.

his

full of battles,

is

13, 22).

is

6), that Antichrist is

merely the personification of the forces of

war with Christ and

ML

Jn. 2, 18-22; 4, 3;

1

many commentators

(just as

whose num-

13). Paul,

Antichrist as an individual, as a collectivity:

that

131

in John's Epistles), the beast of the sea

666 (Apoc.

is

51 A.D.

is

is

not to be taken

pictured as a battle. literally;

That

victory will be spiritual not material.

our Lords

this final battle is

not imminent, Paul proves by a reference to some obstacle

which was well known to the Thessalonians; but we today are uncertain,

and can only guess

at its identity.

Holzner takes the obstacle to be

Roman

law and order

checking the rebel and his revolt. Prat thinks that the archangel Michael of Satan.

is

Knox

the power in the path of Antichrist, the tool

holds that the obstacle in the way of Christ's

Coming is

the unbelief of the Jews. In favour of this

ii f 25-26,

where Paul

before Christ returns. It

is

far the

now

Faith.

end of the world,

all

by the

raging there shows

Jews are from conversion to the

The Grace Of

Romans

a condition easily verifiable

Thessalonians: the Jewish persecution

how

is

Jews must be converted

states that the

faith.

This rather frightening picture of the

the discussion about the proximity of the

day of judgment, has given a wrong emphasis to the Thessalonians' spiritual

life.

So Paul here

recalls

them

to the mes-

2 Thessalonians 2, 13-3, 14

132

our preaching, to attain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Stand firm, then, brethren, and hold by the traditions you have learned, in word or in writing, from

us.

So may our

Lord Jesus Christ himself, so may God, our Father, who has shown such love to us, giving us unfailing comfort and wel-

come hope through

his grace, encourage your hearts,

and

confirm you in every right habit of action and speech.

And now,

brethren, let us have your prayers, that the

Lord may run

word

of the

as

does with you; and that

it

its

course trimphantly with us,

we may be

preserved from

malicious interference; the faith does not reach

all

hearts.

But the Lord keeps faith with us; he will strengthen you, and keep you from all harm. We are sure of you in the Lord, sure that you are doing and will do as we bid you; may the Lord direct you where the love of God and the patience of Christ

show you the way.

Only, brethren,

we

charge you in the

Jesus Christ to have nothing to

name

of our

Lord

do with any brother who

a vagabond life, contrary to the tradition which we handed on; you do not need to be reminded how, on our visit, we set you an example to be imitated; we were no vagabonds ourselves. We would not even be indebted to you for our daily bread, we earned it in weariness and toil, working with our hands, night and day, so as not to be a burden to any of you; not that we are obliged to do so, but as a model lives

own behaviour; you were to follow our example. The charge we gave you on our visit was that the man who refuses to work must be left to starve. And now we are told that there are those among you who live in idleness, neglecting their own business to mind other people's. We charge all such, we for your

appeal to them in the Lord Jesus Christ, to earn their bread

by going on calmly with

their work.

For yourselves, brethren,

From Corinth

51 A.D.

133

sage he originally preached to them; he puts things in their right proportion again.

Christian picture of

The

reaiJy

life is their belief

has chosen them out, the Erst of the world;

supply

God's divine

And

it is

it is

in a loving Father

among

all

pagans in

the gifts of faith, hope,

and motivation

to their souls,

life

important element in the

and

who

this part

charity that

to act according to

will.

not a healthy sign for them to he always thinking

of themselves to stand firm

and the

trials

they are undergoing.

The power

under assault comes from Christ, who was patient

when insulted; it does not depend on their own strength. As members of the Mystical Body they should have the welfare of other churches in their prayers. By this appeal for prayers, Paul takes their minds off their own trials and encourages them to assist the Corinthians, now under assault from the Jews.

Go On

Calmly With Daily Work.

This strike

Christian dockworkers of Thessalonica usual in history. that

it

The

space given

among

the

must be the most un-

by Paul seems to indicate

it

was widespread: workmen in every trade were

idle,

waiting for the day of judgment to dawn; they were a drain

on the community. taught his followers tion,

but there

is

Spiritually

how

was worse

it

to endure

no Christian way

and

profit

just as

is

own

he took the labouring Carpenter of Nazareth

as

own

their

conduct on

also a realist;

eat; let the

saner view of things.

his

life.

and he

gives

two

of restoring these idlers to their right senses.

anything to

persistent toil

of

the pattern of his

Paul

from persecu-

way

in their midst; they are to life,

our Lord

of sanctifying idleness.

Paul reminds these stop-workers of his

model

still:

practical

Do

means

not give them

pinch of hunger bring them back to a

Show

displeasure at their conduct by

Acts of the Apostles

134

never weary of doing good.

If

18,

12-18

anybody

refuses to listen to

what we have said avoid his company

in

him

not treating him as an enemy.

our

till

like a brother,

letter,

he

is

he

ashamed

the Lord of peace grant you peace at

the Lord be with you

Here which

The

to be

found

marked man;

to be a

of himself, correcting

all

And may

times and in

all

ways;

all.

Paul's greeting in his

is

is

is

in all

my

own hand;

letters; this is

the signature

my

grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you

handwriting. all.

Second Missionary Journey continued

Then, when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a concerted attack on Paul, and dragged him before the judg-

ment

This fellow/ they said, worship God in a manner the law seat.

'is

persuading

men

to

forbids/ Paul was just

opening his mouth to speak, when Gallio said to the Jews,

would be only

'It

patience,

right for

me

to listen to

we had here some wrong

if

you Jews with

done, or some malicious

contrivance; but the questions you raise are a matter of words

and names,

You must

of the law

see to

it;

I

which holds good among yourselves.

have no mind to

try

such cases/

And

he drove them away from the judgment seat. Thereupon there was a general onslaught upon Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue,

but

all this

who was

beaten before the judgment

seat;

caused Gallio no concern.

Paul stayed on

many

days yet, then took leave of the

brethren and sailed off to Syria; before he

left

Cenchrae he

shaved his head, since he was under a vow.

He

took

Priscilla

From Corinth cutting

them

of social

life

wake them

off

own

135

and contact with normal Christian

may

living

up to the folly of their present line of conduct Silas

and added the

last

few

lines

handwriting; this was his usual custom at the end

more necessary in this the spurious documents being circulated in

of his letters. It was

cause of

A.D.

from the Christian community; the absence

Paul took the pen from in his

to Jerusalem 52

the

all

From Corinth

eyes the growing Christian it

from

his

name.

to Jerusalem 52 A.D.

The Jews watched with

Paul Dragged Before Gallic.

Rowing into

letter, be-

Church

all classes

hostile

at Corinth; converts

were

of society, but especially from

the dockworkers. Paul's enemies waited patiently for the op-

portune

moment The

right time to close in

arrival of a

new governor seemed

on Paul and present him

as

the

an opponent

of religion.

Gallio was a cultured

Roman

gentleman, a brother of the

famous Seneca, then tutor to Nero, the next emperor. the Jews did not

know was

dislike for the Jewish race.

The

extra

of Jews at Corinth since their expulsion from

The

had caused tension

number

Rome

two

in the Jew-Gentile situation.

Gentiles took this opportunity to

by beating up the leader of the Jews.

we End him

s

So the attack on Paul misfired and

turned into an anti-Semitic demonstration.

years before

What

that Gallio shared his brother

show

their

It did

a disciple of Paul before long.

resentment

him good

too;

136

Acts of the Apostles

18, 19-19, 1

them behind when he reached Ephesus. He himself went to the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews, who asked him to make a longer stay. But he would not consent; he said, as he took leave of them, 'I will come back to you again, if it is God's will/ and departed and Aquila with him, but

from Ephesus by

left

sea.

Third Missionary Journey On

landing at Caesarea, he went up from there to greet

the church, then went

spent some time; he

down

left

it

again to Antioch, where he to

make an

orderly progress

through the Phrygian region of Galatia, where he established the disciples in the faith.

Meanwhile a Jewish visitor came to Ephesus, Apollo by name; he was born in Alexandria, and was an eloquent man, well grounded in the scriptures. He had had instruction in the way of the Lord; and, with a spirit full of zeal, used to preach and teach about the life of Jesus accurately enough, although he knew of no baptism except that of John. So he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue, whereupon Priscilla and Aquila, who had been listening, made friends with him, and explained the way of God to him more particularly. He was meaning to continue his journey into Achaia; in this the brethren encouraged him, and wrote asking the disciples there to welcome him who had had the grace to believe. His visit was a welcome reinforcement to the believers; he spared no pains to refute the Jews publicly, proving from the scriptures that Jesus was the Christ. It

was while Apollo was away

at

Corinth that Paul finished

From Antioch Paul

left for

to

Ephesus 53-54 A.D.

1

37

Jerusalem by ship from the eastern port of

We

Corinth, called Cenchrae.

know

name

the

one

of only

person there, a devout church worker, Phoehe. Paul would carry part of the hair of his shaven

burnt on the

vow (Num.

altar there; it

head up

to Jerusalem to he

was the fulfilment of a Nazirite

6).

From Antioch

Ephesus 53-57 A.D.

to

Apollo Instructed About Baptism.

Although the name of

no Caesarea. De-

Jerusalem does not occur here in the narrative, there

doubt that Paul went there from the seaport of

spite flourishing Christian foundations in Galatia,

and Achaia, Paul

still

is

Macedonia,

venerated the mother church of the

Cenacle; not only the place but the Jewish community

who

worshipped the Lord there ranked high in Paul's esteem.

WhiJe waiting out

the winter in Antioch, Paul

made some

rearrangements in the group of disciples to accompany him

on

his third missionary journey. Silas, a

former disciple of

Peter, rejoined the prince of the apostles; ten years later he is still

with Peter at

Rome

(1 Pet. 5, 12).

by Titus, a brother of Luke

Luke never mentions

Philippi.

Acts;

it

whom

was bad

literary

form

his

His place was taken

Paul had

own name

left in

charge at

or Titus in the

for a writer of those times to

speak of himself or his family. Timothy stayed with Paul as his right

Gaius It

He

at

hand and closest disciple. The group was joined by Derbe, on the road to Ephesus.

was probably not could not have

till

Jeft

54 A.D. that Paul arrived at Ephesus. Antioch till about June (the passes

over the Taurus Mountains were closed until early summer);

Acts of the Apostles

138 his journey

disciples there

and asked them, 'Was the Holy

when you

Spirit given to you,

learned to believe?'

they said, 'nobody even mentioned to us the ex-

istence of a

Holy

Spirit/

'What baptism,

And

2-13

through the inland country, and came to Ephesus.

He met some

Why/

19,

then, did you receive?' Paul asked.

they said, 'John's baptism/

So Paul told them, 'John baptized to bring

men

to re-

pentance; but he bade the people have faith in one

was to come

On

after

hearing

him, that

is,

in Jesus.'

they received baptism in the

this,

who

name

of

when Paul laid his hands upon them, came down on them, and they spoke with

the Lord Jesus; and the Holy Spirit

tongues, and prophesied. In in

all,

these

men

were about twelve

number.

And now he went

into the synagogue,

and

for three

months

spoke boldly there, reasoning with them and trying to convince

them about the kingdom

some who hardened

Way

ing the

withdrew

since there were

their hearts

and refused

belief, discredit-

in the eyes of the people,

own

his

God; but

of

disciples,

he

left

them, and

holding disputations daily in the

school of Tyrannus. This lasted for two years, so that the Lord's word

came

to the ears of

all

those

who

lived in Asia,

both Jews and Greeks. And God did miracles through Paul's hands that were beyond all wont; so much so, that when handkerchiefs or aprons which had touched his body were

taken to the spirits

they got rid of their diseases, and evil

sick,

were driven out.

Some

of the wandering Jewish exorcists took

selves to invoke the

were possessed by in the

name

name

of the

evil spirits,

of Jesus, the

it

upon them-

Lord Jesus over those who 'I conjure you

with the words,

name

that

is

preached by Paul.'

Ephesus 54-56 A.D. it

would take the

He had

1

39

rest of the year to visit his GaJatian churches.

not to search for lodgings in Ephesus; Aquiia and

him a warm welcome. him of a most unusual and who had come in one day on a ship from

Piiscilh were waiting, ready to give

They couJd hardly wait distinguished visitor

to tell

Alexandria in Egypt, and had

name was

ApoiJo.

A pity Paui

now gone on

to Corinth. His

had missed him; he was

a

most

learned gentleman.

Paul soon came across some results of Apollo's work in

Ephesus

—twelve poorly instructed converts.

The

incident

is

given at length because of the Apollo-Paul factions in Corinth.

Luke wished

to

show

that Paul was justified in rehaptizing 7

Apollo's converts; 'Johns baptism was not the Christian sacra-

ment

at all

PauPs Victory Over Black Magic.

Paul's

Ephesus

his missionary centres.

his longest stay at

is

any of

three

years

at

It corresponds in Paul's life to the Galilean ministry of

our

Lord: large crowds, miracles, continual preaching, and a

stra-

even more than the lake of Galilee,

tegic location. Ephesus,

was on the crossroads of the world.

It

was the capital of Asia,

Roman

the most populous province in the

branched out from

this

Empire; roads

busy port to more than 500

cities

and

towns of Asia.

For the

homes

Erst time in his career, Paul

of his converts were inadequate to hold the crowds that

were streaming in for instruction. His enetus, 'the

first

offering Asia

he was the herald of the

found that the private

kingdom

a

made

first

convert was Epa-

to Christ

7

(Rom.

mighty army that forced

at Ephesus.

To cope

with

this,

its

16, 5);

way

into

Paul gave public

classes of instruction in the hall of a philosopher convert,

Tyrannus.

An

early tradition says

he lectured daily from

just

Acts of the Apostles 19, 14-22

140

Among

these were the seven sons of Skeva, one of the Jewish

And

chief priests.

Paul

I

know

the evil spirit answered, 'Jesus

well enough; but you,

man who was

that, the

them and got the

what

I

are you?'

recognize,

And

with

possessed by the evil spirit ran at

better of them, defying the

power of both;

from the house naked and wounded.

so that they fled

This came to the ears of every Jew and Greek living at Ephesus; fear Jesus

fell

upon them

all,

was held in great honour.

and the name of the Lord

Many

believers

came forward,

confessing their evil practices and giving a full account of

them; and a number of those their

who

followed magic arts

made

books into a heap and burned them in public; the value

of these

was reckoned up, and proved to be

silver pieces. So, irresistibly,

fifty

thousand

the word of the Lord spread and

prevailed.

When

all this

was

to go to Jerusalem,

over, the

first

thought in Paul's heart was

travelling through

Macedonia and

'When I have been there/ he said, 'I must go on and Rome/ And he sent on two of those who ministered to

Achaia: see

him, Timothy and Erastus, into Macedonia, but waited for a while himself in Asia.

First Letter to the Corinthians

whom

God has called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ, and Sosthenes, who is their brother, send greetings to the church of God at Corinth, to those who have been Paul,

the will of

sanctified in Jesus Christ,

who

invoke the

pendency of

name

theirs,

from God, who

is

and

of our

and so

called to

be holy; with

all

those

Lord Jesus Christ, in every deGrace and peace be yours

of ours.

our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesus 57 A.D. before

midday

worked

all

until mid-afternoon;

through the daily

Ephesus was It

was the

which means that he

siesta period.

also a holy city y like

home

141

and

of Asiatic magic,

Athens and Jerusalem. all

the vice and mystery

went with the magic of the Orient

that

Jesus

and Paul became

An

incident

is

re-

how

powerful the names of both

in the

war with demons and black

corded by Luke to show

magic. It eventually led to a public burning of

much

of the

occult literature of Ephesus.

In writing to the Corinthians from Ephesus Paul

tells

them

and of the fierce opand promising opportunity

of both his amazing success for Christ

position he encountered:

4

A

great

lies

open to me, and strong

my

side/ His flourishing congregation in Asia will

into the picture of his

life

forces oppose

in

represent

home ters

him

he

will

is

1

daily at

come back

Eve of his remaining

Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon,

Roman imprisonment

me; death

letters

and 2 Timothy. After



his

send his favourite disciple to

at Ephesus. This city

is

also

famous

as the

of St. John the apostle, in his later days; his three Let-

and the Fourth Gospel were written

here.

Problems of Christian Living There was no convert PrisciJJa

a table,

Holy

Spirit

that he

class

tonight at the

home

of Aquila

and

on the Ephesian waterfront. Sosthenes was seated at pen in hand, as Paul paced up and down the room; the was there

would

dictate

mind only what God wanted him too, enlightening the

of Paul so to tell the

church at Corinth. This was not the Erst

letter to

Corinth; Paul had sent off a

142 I

Corinthians

i

1,

3-18

my God continually in your name God which has been bestowed upon you

give thanks to

grace of

Christ; that

you have become

rich,

through him, in every

way, in eloquence and in knowledge of every the message of Christ established there

is

no

which you are

gift in

for that in Jesus

sort; so fully

among

itself

lacking;

still

to look forward to the revealing of our

has

And now

you.

you have only

Lord Jesus Christ. He so that no charge

will strengthen

your resolution to the

will lie against

you on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ has called you into the fellowship of his

last,

The God, who

comes.

Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,

faithful to his promise.

is

Only I entreat you, brethren, as you love the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, use, all of you, the same language. There must be no divisions among you; you must be restored

mind and

to unity of

my

brethren, from Chloe's household,

among

sions 'I

The account

purpose.

am

for Paul, I

Christ/

was

you; each of you,

am

What, has

that there are dissen-

mean, has a cry of

I

for Apollo, I

am

for Kephas,

Christ been divided up?

crucified for you?

Thank God

baptized?

is

Was I

it

in Paul's

name

Crispus and Gaius; so that no one can say

I

do not know that

Christ did not send

Was

it

his I

own,

am

for

Paul that

that you were

did not baptize any of you except

you were baptized. (Yes, and Stephanas;

have of you,

I

me

it

was

in

my name

did baptize the household of

I I

baptized anyone

to baptize;

he sent

else.)

me

to preach

the gospel; not with an orator's cleverness, for so the cross of Christ their

who

own are

might be robbed of ruin, the

its

force.

To

message of the cross

on the way to

salvation,

it is

is

those

but

who

court

folly; to us,

the evidence of God's

From Ephesus previous note

(1

Cor.

but

5, 9),

57 A.D.

it

143

come down

has not

to us.

Actually he wrote four letters to Coiinth; a second Jost letter

seems to be referred to in 2 Corinthians

two surviving

Jetters are

4 and

2,

7, 8.

The

reahy the Second and Fourth Letters

to the Corinthians.

Sosthenes

is

probably the same

man who

persecuted Paul

most likely he is a convert of ApoJJo, at this moment also in Ephesus. Paul associates Sosthenes with himself to show that there is no real rivalry between himself and Apollo. The reason why he does not use ApoJJo's name is

in Corinth;

probably that ApoJJo was unco-operative; he would not sub-

mit to Paul's authority. Rival Parties of Paul and Apollo.

Our

Lord's final prayer at

the Last Supper was that his Church should manifest the same unity as that possessed by Father, Son, and Holy Ghost: 'That

they should life

all

be one, as

we

are

one/

of the Corinthian church as

it

It

was

as essential to the

was to the

of the

life

Blessed Trinity.

The

seamless robe of Christ was split right

in Corinth; there

down

the middle

were the converts of Paul and the converts

of ApoJJo, and they were Jike two parties at war with each

other instead of brothers living in peace and unity.

The

Pauli-

nes had a second champion in PauJ's brother apostle, Peter (Paul refers to of

ApoJJo,

him by

not

to

his

be

Aramaic name, Kephas); the party

outdone,

claimed

Christ

as

their

champion.

With his not mention ApoJJo by name

Preaching of Paul and Apollo Contrasted. like charity

Paul does

paragraph; but there seems

little

doubt that

sentation of Christianity that he opposes

human wisdom and

philosophy. There

is

it is

Christin this

ApoJJo's pre-

when he

speaks of

only one gospel, and

144

Corinthians

1

we

power. So

'I

19-2, 2 will

confound the wisdom

men, disappoint the calculations of the prudent/ become of the wise men, the scribes, the philos-

of wise

What

read in scripture,

i9

has

ophers of this age

we

Must we not

live in?

has turned our worldly wisdom to folly? us his wisdom, the world, with

way

its

all its

our preaching, to save those

who

God

showed

wisdom, could not find

God; and now God would use a

to

say that

When God

foolish thing,

will believe in

it.

Here are

the Jews asking for signs and wonders, here are the Greeks intent

on

their philosophy;

but what we preach

but to us

who have been

Christ cruci-

men

Jew and Gentile alike, Christ wisdom of God. So much wiser

God's foolishness; so

is

folly;

called,

the power of God, Christ the

than

is

the Jews, a discouragement, to the Gentiles, mere

fied; to

much

stronger than

men

is

God's weakness. Consider, brethren, the circumstances of your

not

many

you are

of

powerful, not

world holds

many

own

calling;

wise, in the world's fashion, not

well born.

foolish, so as to

many

No, God has chosen what the

abash the wise,

God

has chosen

what the world holds weak, so as to abash the strong. God has chosen what the world holds base and contemptible, nay, has chosen what is nothing, so as to bring to nothing what is now in being; no human creature was to have any ground for boasting, in the presence of God. It is from him that you take your origin, through Christ Jesus,

be

all

our wisdom, our

justification,

whom God

our atonement; so that the scripture might be

anyone So

it

gave us to

our sanctification, and fulfilled,

'If

him make his boast in the Lord/ brethren, that when I came to you and preached

boasts, let

was,

God's message to you,

I

did so without any high pretensions

to eloquence, or to philosophy.

I

had no thought of bringing

you any other knowledge than that of Jesus Christ, and of him as crucified. It was with distrust of myself, full of anxious

From Ephesus 57 A.D. it is

145

centred on the historical fact of the crucifixion. If any-

one tampered with

this essential

no uncertain terms: 'Though

it

message, Paul spoke out in

were we ourselves, though

it

were an angel from heaven that should preach to you a gospel other than the gospel

we preached

to you, a curse

upon him!'

Apollo was not a heretic, but his language and ideas were

borrowed from the Jewish scriptures and Greek philosophy. His picture of Christ was coloured by the Old Testament

and Jerusalem;

rather than the happenings in Galilee

was presented

as a victorious king,

not a crucified redeemer.

The atmosphere

of his sermons

Pilate's palace, it

was that of Psalm 109:

your empire spring up

like a

was not the shouting

son, born like the

dew

he

down

will pass sentence

For Paul, the living:

crucified

'With Christ

I

and

glorious;

before the day-star

hand, the Lord will beat ance:

The Lord

branch out of Sion.

princely state shall be yours, holy

Jesus

rises.

mob

in

will

make

From

birth

you are

At your

my

right

kings in the day of his venge-

on the nations/

Master was the model of Christian

hang upon the

cross.'

ApoJIo was

in-

clined to neglect the cross and present Christianity as an easy

way

of

life.

Take the problem

of food offered to idols, in

ApoJIo would solve the problem by saying that an

chapter

8.

idol has

no

real existence; the

food offered to

it is

no

different

from any other food. Where ApoJIo made an ingenious tion,

distinc-

Paul saw the person of Christ in the scrupulous Christian:

When

you

sin against

ful consciences,

you

The Corinthians

your brethren, by injuring their doubt-

sin against Christ'

were, for the

most

part, slaves

and dock-

workers; such people were hardly the right material to be into philosophers by Professor Apollo.

Not

made

that this should

bother them, seeing that our Lord's followers were simple

146

i

Corinthians

my

approached you;

fear, that I

2,

3-16

preaching,

my

message de-

pended on no persuasive language, devised by human wisdom, but rather on the proof I gave you of spiritual power. God's power, not man's wisdom, was to be the foundation of your faith.

wisdom which we make known it is not the wisdom of this world, or of this world's rulers, whose power is to be abrogated. What we make known is the wisdom of God, his secret, kept hidden till now; so, before the ages, God had decreed, reserving glory for us. (None of the rulers of this world could read his secret, or they would not have crucified him to whom all glory belongs.) So we read of, Things no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no human heart conceived, the welcome God has prepared for those who love him/ To us, There

among

then,

there

to be sure, a

is,

those

God is

not find

who

made

has

no depth it

the man's

are fully grounded; but

in

a revelation of

out.

Who

own

spirit that

know God's

through the

else

can is

know

is

no

spirit of

that comes from God, to

Spirit;

Spirit can-

a man's thoughts, except

within him? So no one else can

And what we

thoughts, but the Spirit of God.

have received

us; gifts

it

God's nature so deep that the

worldly wisdom;

make

it is

the Spirit

us understand God's gifts to

which we make known, not

in such

words

as

human

wisdom teaches, but in words taught us by the Spirit, matching what is spiritual with what is spiritual. Mere man with his natural gifts

cannot take in the thoughts of God's

Spirit;

they seem mere folly to him, and he cannot grasp them, because they

man who

demand

a scrutiny which

has spiritual

gifts

is

spiritual.

Whereas the

can scrutinize everything, without

being subject, himself, to any other man's scrutiny. entered into the

him?'

And

mind of the Lord, mind is ours.

Christ's

Who has

so as to be able to instruct

From Ephesus 57 A.D.

men and women,

147

human wisdom.

with no pretensions to

Christian greatness does not

come from

with Christ crucified; he

himself the source of

is

union

learning, hut by

and knowledge, surpassing and reducing

all

wisdom

all

human

learning

to nothing.

True Divine Wisdom. philosophers, defined

and

first

causes. It yielded

its

as the

knowledge of principles

who engaged

secrets only to those

arduous process of reasoning;

in a long,

gave an imperfect

it

knowledge of the Deity through the study of created

But

did not bring

it

Greek

Aristotle, the greatest of all

wisdom

man

to

union with God, that

result of intellectual activity; that

things.

is

not the

comes only through

charity,

the unifying love that springs from

mans

wisdom, a Christian philosophy of

life

This

will.

is

true

surpassing the

far

worldly wisdom of the Greeks.

A man wisdom;

does not have to he learned to acquire this Christian it is

accessible to slaves

and

stevedores,

of the Corinthians were. Understanding of

from the indwelling of the Holy sanctifying grace.

the

Holy

inspires

But the

great secret of divine

that

man

Trinity,

and

and

principles.

wisdom, not revealed to any-

shares in the

life

God

of

him-

by membership in the Mystical Body of Christ. Our

Lord's still

is

gift of

to the Christian,

in the expression of divine truths

one in past times, self

wisdom

comes

secrets

through the

As the Third Person of the Blessed

Spirit reveals divine

him

Spirit,

its

which most

life

on

this earth

did not end with his Ascension; he

speaks with the tongues of his followers, heals with the

touch of their hands, and sees the things of their eyes. lect alone;

imitation;

The

Christian

he has the use of Christ's mind it is

this

no longer thinks with

a real living of Christ's

own

too. It life.

world with

his

own

is

intel-

not mere

148

Corinthians

i

3,

1-15

And when I preached to you, I had to approach you as men with natural, not with spiritual thoughts. You were little

children in Christ's nursery, and

meat; you were not strong enough for

enough

for

rivalries,

alive,

of

it

even now; nature

these dissensions

gave you milk, not

I it.

still lives

You

are not strong

in you.

Do

not these

among you show that nature is still human standards? When one

that you are guided by

you

says,

'I

am

and another,

for Paul/

human

'I

am

for

Apollo/

Why, what is Apollo, what is who have brought you faith, brought it to each of you in the measure God granted. It was for me to plant the seed, for Apollo to water it, but it was God who gave the increase. And if so, the man who plants, the man who waters, count for nothing; God is everything, since it is he who gives the increase. This man plants, that man waters; it is all one. And yet either will receive his own wages, in proportion to his own work. You are a field of God's tilling, a structure of God's design; and we are only his assistants. With what grace God has bestowed on me, I have laid are not these

thoughts?

Paul? Only serving-men,

a foundation as a careful architect should; else to build

careful is

upon

how he

it.

it is left

Only, whoever builds on

for

someone

it

must be

The foundation which has been laid lay; I mean Jesus Christ. foundation different men will build in gold, silver, builds.

the only one which anybody can

But on

this

precious stones, wood, grass, or straw, and each man's work-

manship

will

will disclose fire will test

be plainly seen. it,

since that day

is

the day of the Lord that

to reveal itself in

the quality of each man's workmanship.

receive a reward, if it is

It is

if

burnt up, he

fire,

and

He

will

the building he has added on stands firm; will

be saved, though only

as

and yet he himself

will

are saved by passing through

fire.

be the

men

loser;

From Ephesus Teachers Only Lay

judgment

The

57 A.D.

Foundations.

are abJe to profit

149

Only men

ophical presentation of Christian truths. Paul

how

strates

now demon-

unsuitable such an approach would be to the

Corinthians, seeing that they of children.

of mature

by a highly intellectual and philos-

The importance

still

have the immature outlook

they have assigned to himself and

Apollo shows that they do not possess a true sense of proportion; they have

way of

jumbled up and distorted the true Christian

life.

What makes Apollo;

it is

the Christian live

a vital

is

not the teaching of Paul or

power communicated

a sharing in the life of the Trinity.

to

him from God,

Paul vividly presents the

doctrine under the metaphor of a growing plant:

on the part of teachers

is

only secondary;

it is

effort

all

God who makes

the plant grow.

To

illustrate

two other aspects of Christian

life,

changes his metaphor from agriculture to building. sential to the

permanence of any structure that

foundation; and Paul has clearly

shown

Paul

It is es-

have solid

it

in his preaching to

the Corinthians that the Christian ediEce, the Church, has

no foundation but Christ. Any attempt

to build

on worldly

wisdom could only raise a tottering structure that would fall when 'the rain feJJ and the floods came and the winds blew.' And finally, the Christian himself must make his contribution; man must use the grace put at his disposal by God. This he does by good works, by building up his own personal life in the society

well each

man

where divine providence has placed him. builds will be tested

on judgment day:

How

just as

Ere tests the materials of a house, so God's scrutiny will test

mans

deeds. If his spiritual

rewarded with heaven;

if it

life

stands the

does not, he

test,

may

he

will

be

escape hell by

passing through the purifying flames of purgatory.

150

i

Do

Corinthians

3,

16-4, 7

you not understand that you are God's temple, and

that God's Spirit has his dwelling in you?

temple of God,

crates the is

God will bring him to ruin. It God which is nothing other

a holy thing, this temple of

You must not

than yourselves.

deceive yourselves, any of

you, about this. If any of you thinks he

so as to be folly.

own

truly wise.

So we read

is

wise, after the

must turn himself

fashion of his fellow-men, he

into a fool,

This world's wisdom, with God,

in scripture,

'I

will entrap the wise

is

but

with their

And again, The Lord knows the thoughts of how empty they are.' Nobody, therefore, should

cunning.'

the wise, and

repose his confidence in men. Everything it

anybody dese-

If

is

for you,

be Paul, or Apollo, or Kephas, or the world, or

or the present, or the future; Christ,

and Christ

for

it

is

all for

life,

whether or death,

you, and you for

God.

That is how we ought to be regarded, as Christ's servants, and stewards of God's mysteries. And this is what we look for in choosing a steward; we must find one who is trustworthy. Yet for myself, I make little account of your scrutiny, or of

any

my own

human

audit-day;

conduct.

me; but that

is

My

I

am not even

at pains to scrutinize

conscience does not, in

not where

my

justification lies;

fact, it is

reproach

the Lord's

scrutiny I must undergo. You do ill, therefore, to pass judgment prematurely, before the Lord's coming; he will bring to light what is hidden in darkness, and reveal the secrets of men's hearts; then each of us will receive his

due award

from God. All this, brethren,

but

it

is

meant

our example

is,

I

have applied to myself and to Apollo,

for you.

The

not to go beyond what

one slighting another out of all,

friend,

who

lesson

is it

you must learn from is

partiality for

laid

down

someone

for you,

else.

that gives you this pre-eminence?

After

What

From Ephesus 57 A.D.

151

A temple is not a private

Dissension Destroys Church Unity.

house but a community building where

the people assemble

all

its members and their come horn the divine Being whose dwelling temple is. By theii disputes over Paul and Apollo the

God. Both the holiness of

to woiship

unity as a society place the

human

Corinthians have so concentrated on the

Church that they have

the

elements in

lost sight of its divine nature. In-

stead of a society united by the bonds of divine charity, they

have made

it

into

two factions on Christ

Paul's sermons

at enmity.

courses on Christian living, are only to lead

them through Christ

tian temple, the

when

it is

To God.

its

true function only

Paul has not come to the people

own name; he

is

merely a servant of Christ;

Christ's voice preaching divine truths. All his gifts

from God, the source of it is

means put at their disposal life of God. The Chris-

into the

Church, can carry out

of Corinth in his is

God

to

dis-

centred on God.

Leave Judgment he

eloquent

crucified, Apollo's

all

his

power

to

win

come

their souls;

and

alone that he must give an account of his steward-

ship.

In correcting the division that has sprung up at Corinth,

he has been forced to compare his own preaching of the gospel with that of Apollo. This does not ing to win really

them away from Apollo

wants

source of

is

mean

that

to follow himself;

that they shall learn to look to

all their

natural

and supernatural

gifts.

day they will appear before the divine judge; to

him

that

is

he has been

it is

what he

God

On

try-

as the

judgment

their relation

important, not their adherence to the party of

either Paul or Apollo. It

is

time the Corinthians examined their consciences and

saw the error of their ways. Their partisanship over Paul and

152

i

Corinthians

4,

8-19

And

if

boast of them, as

if

powers have you, that did not come to you by they came to you by there was

no

gift in

why do you

gift,

gift?

question?

Well, you are already

you have grown

fully content; already

you have come into your kingdom, without wait-

rich; already

ing for help from us. Would that you had come into your kingdom indeed; then we should be sharing it with you. As it is, it seems as if God had destined us, his apostles, to be in

the lowest place of

We

angels alike.

we are

so helpless,

while

we

we

Still,

are

still

himself well rid of

my

speak

ill

of us,

in Jesus Christ,

am

when

example, then,

why

I

Some

I

not writing

and

I

to

shame you;

this to

would bring you

I

to

I

it

was

I

that begot

preached the gospel to you. Fol-

entreat you.

mine

in the Lord;

tread in Christ, the lessons of

fall

have sent Timothy to you, a faithful and

dearly loved son of of the path

and we

you may have ten thousand school-masters

my

alike.

it,

blessing, persecute us,

but not more than one father;

low

is

it,

the world's refuse; everybody thinks

us. I

you

That

in honour,

write,

I

dearly loved children,

a better mind. Yes, in Christ,

you are so wise;

we go hungry and we have no home to working with our own hands.

as

and we answer with a

and we make the best of

We

men and

creation,

are mishandled,

are hard put to

revile us,

you are

sentence of death; such

you so stout of heart; you are held

are despised.

entreaty.

men under

are fools for Christ's sake,

and naked; we

settle in,

Men

like

do we present to the whole

a spectacle

thirsty

all,

he I

will

give to

remind you all

churches

you have grown contemptuous, thinking that

would never come to visit you. But I shall be coming to see you soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will test, not the I

fine

words of those who hold

me

in

contempt, but the powers

From Ephesus 57 A.D.

153

Apollo has Jed them into pride and uncharitable criticism: a true Christian should he concerned only with

how he

stands

with God.

A

Father Corrects His Children.

had

The

Christians at Corinth

a high opinion of the healthy spiritual condition of their

young and

had made

flourishing church. According to the report they

in a letter to Paul, they

were

'rich in

eloquence and

7

in

knowledge of every sort This

specifically the gift of

is

a reference to spiritual gifts,

tongues and wisdom; some spoke foreign

tongues in spiritual ecstasy, others stood up and translated these words into Greek, others

had an amazing

stand and expound the deepest mysteries

they considered these

gifts a sign of

(1

ability to under-

And

Cor. 12-14).

the spiritual well-being of

the church.

To

correct this error, Paul goes back to his favourite theme,

Body of Christ. There must be unity in the body: members must live the same life as that of their head, and they must not be at variance among themselves. The self-satisfied picture of a rich, highly honoured and esteemed community the Mystical

painted by the Corinthians suffering, humiliation,

just the opposite to the life of

is

and danger

of death that

Paul and most of the Christian world. predict comfort a

mind

to

and honours

come my way,

his cross daily,

for his followers: Tf

let

and follow me.

is

the lot of

The Master

him renounce

self,

any

did not

man

has

and take up

7

These words come from the paternal heart of Paul; the Corinthians are his wayward children; his one concern

win them back to the imitation of is

is

to

their father in Christ;

he

not a harsh schoolmaster; his words are inspired by his love

for them.

But

his love does

not blind him to their

faults;

and

154

1

they can show. It

is

Corinthians

4,

20-5, 11

power that builds up the kingdom

not words. Choose, then;

am

I

to

come

to

you rod

of

God,

in hand, or

lovingly, in a spirit of forbearance?

Why,

man

among you, and such among the heathen; a

there are reports of incontinence

incontinence as

is

not practised even

taking to himself his father's wife.

have been contumacious over expelling the

man who

it,

I

am

with you in

spirit;

it

seems, it,

and

Call an assembly, at which

I

will

the power of our Lord Jesus, and

am

I

not with you in

and, so present with you,

have already passed sentence on the

Jesus,

you,

has been guilty of such a deed from

your company. For myself, though person,

And

instead of deploring

man who

be present so, in

hand over the person named

the

I

has acted thus.

in spirit, with all

name

of our

Lord

to Satan, for the overthrow

of his corrupt nature, so that his spirit

may

find salvation in

the day of the Lord. This good conceit of yourselves

is

ill

grounded. Have you never been told that a little leaven is enough to leaven the whole batch? Rid yourselves of the leaven which remains over, so that you may be a new mixture, still uncontaminated as you are. Has not Christ been sacrificed for us, our paschal victim? Let us

keep the

not with the leaven of yesterday, that was chief,

all

feast, then,

vice

and mis-

but with unleavened bread, with purity and honesty

of intent. I told you to avoid the company meaning everyone in the world around you who is debauched, or a miser and an extortioner, or an idolater; to do that, you would have to cut yourselves off from the world altogether. No, my letter meant that if anyone

In the letter

I

wrote to you,

of fornicators; not

who

is

counted among the brethren

is

debauched, or a miser,

or an idolater, or bitter of speech, or a drunkard, or an ex-

From Ephesus 57 A.D. he would be unfaithful to if

his trust

155

and paternal obligations

he did not threaten to use the stick on those

who

hold

still

out against his apostolic authority.

A Public bers

Sinner Excommunicated.

and

to preserve

its

For the good of

Loid gave

unity, our

the authority to exclude unworthy members: listen to the church,

then count him

and the publican.'

is

the

name

of

this

all

he

will

not

one with the heathen

formal act of excommunication in

and with the power of Christ that Paul now pro-

nounces with

As well

It

Church

to his 'If

mem-

its

the weight of his apostolic authority.

all

as a

punishment

for his crime against the marriage

laws of the Church, the sentence was also meant as a cor-

by exclusion from the graces of the Mystical Body,

rective;

the sinner would learn by experience the need his soul has for

union with Christ, the head, and that Satan cannot

And

his spiritual needs.

return to his true

The crime

for

home,

so

he would be moved to repent and

just as the Prodigal

Son

did.

which he was being punished was an offence

against the marriage laws of affinity: he

mother

satisfy

had married

was probably dead). In the

(his father

lax

his step-

moral atmos-

phere of Corinth, Paul saw danger to the young Christian com-

munity

in tolerating this scandal.

from the current

feast of Easter,

He

took a topical illustration

when

all

leaven (yeast) was

put out of the houses; leaven was a symbol of corruption.

There

is

a link with the preceding chapters in Paul's

to the church authorities in Corinth; they

apostolic authority

when he had

rebuke

had disregarded

his

written, in a previous letter,

ordering the expulsion of the public sinner from the church.

He

also corrects a

wrong

interpretation of his words;

some

156

i

tortioner,

Corinthians

you must avoid

who

those

his

Why

at table with him.

sit

are without?

12-6, 11

company; you must not even

should

No,

own number,

within your

5,

it is

leaving

claim jurisdiction over

I

you to pass judgment

for

God

to judge those

who

from your company.

are without. Banish, then, the offender

Are you prepared to go to law before a profane court, when one of you has a quarrel with another, instead of bringing it

before the saints?

who

will pass

You know

well

enough that

judgment on the world; and

if

it is

the saints

a world

is

to

abide your judgment, are you unfit to take cognizance of

You have been told that we will sit in judgment on angels; how much more, then, over the things of common life? What, when you have these common quarrels to decide, would you appoint as judges men who go for nothtrifling

matters?

ing in the Church?

you

really

That

not a single

own

brother?

you.

it,

a defect in

you

wise enough to decide

Must two brethren go

at the best of times, that

among you

at

up with wrong,

you commit wrong, you

all.

How

is it

God's kingdom.

it is

you should have

that you do not prefer

prefer to suffer loss? Instead of that inflict loss,

and

at a brother's expense.

Yet you know well enough that wrong-doers bauched, the

What, have

and before a profane court? And indeed,

to law over

to put

humble

man among you

a claim brought by his

quarrels

say to

I

Make no

mistake about

idolaters, the adulterous, it

it;

is

will it is

not inherit not the de-

not the sinners

against nature, the misers, the drunkards, the bitter of speech,

the extortioners that will inherit the kingdom of God. That is

what some

you once were; but now you have been washed

now you have been sanctified, now you have been justiname of our Lord Jesus Christ, by the Spirit of God we serve.

clean,

fied in the

the

of

From Ephesus 57 A.D.

157

thought he meant that they should avoid the company of sinners,

whether Christian or pagan. But such

and function of the Church; to

is

not the nature

must mix with pagans

it

influence and convert them: T have come

all

in order

to save the world,

not to pass sentence on the world.'

The

Lawsuits Before Pagan Courts.

reference to judging, at

the end of the previous paragraph, leads Paul to mention here

another scandal in Corinth.

Body: a Christian his activities.

lives

He

he dies with him, sits

finds the solution of this prob-

litigation in the doctrine of the Mystical

lem of Christian

all

He

with the

of Christ

life

and shares

not only hangs with Christ on the

rises

again with him, ascends with

in

cross;

him and

enthroned with him above the heavens. At his Second

Coming, our Lord living

will

demonstrate his authority to judge the

and the dead, both men and

member

duty to exercise

and not submit Christian

it,

judgment of heathen

But Paul

is

Christian as a

as 'saints'

among

and 'brethren).

and want

it

is

his

cases to the

courts.

not content to leave

cause of these quarrels

interest

The

angels.

of Christ also enjoys this judicial power;

He

there;

it

Christians traces

(whom he

it all

of the virtue of charity.

he goes to the refers to

back to their

self-

They have forgotten

the teaching of their head and master: 'Blessed are the patient; blessed are the merciful; blessed are the peace-makers, they shall

be counted the children of God.

.

.

If a

man

strikes

you

on your right cheek, turn the other cheek also towards him;

he

is

ready to go to law with you over your coat,

have

it

and your cloak with

if

who

hate you; bless those treat

you

7

insultingly.

it.

.

.

Do

good

let

to those

curse you, and pray for those

him

who who

158

Corinthians

i

6, 12-7,

5

'I am free to do what I will'; yes, but not everything can be done without harm. 'I am free to do what I will/ but I must not abdicate my own liberty. 'Food is meant for our

animal nature, and our animal nature claims enough, but then,

God

will bring

its

food'; true

both one and the other to

an end. But your bodies are not meant for debauchery, they are

meant

for the Lord,

God,

just as

great

power

and the Lord claims your bodies. And

he has raised our Lord from the dead, by will raise us

up

too.

Have you never been

And am

that your bodies belong to the body of Christ?

take what belongs to Christ and

God

forbid.

Or

make

it

his

told I

to

one with a harlot?

did you never hear that the

man who

unites

himself to a harlot becomes one body with her? 'The two/

we

are told, 'will

become one

own

gift to you,

A

body. Surely you

Holy

are the shrines of the

God's

other sin a

body untouched, but the fornicator

crime against his

is

Any

then, of debauchery.

leaves the

masters.

Whereas the man who spirit with him. Keep

Lord becomes one

unites himself to the clear,

flesh/

Spirit,

so that

price was paid to

who

know

man is

commits,

committing a

that your bodies

dwells in you.

And he

you are no longer your own

ransom you;

glorify

God

in

your

bodies.

As

man

does well

commerce with women. But,

to avoid

for the questions raised in your letter; a

to abstain

from

all

the danger of fornication,

let

every

man

keep his own wife,

and every woman her own husband. Let every man give his wife what is her due, and every woman do the same by her husband; he, not she, claims the right over her body, as she, not he, claims the right over his.

Do

not starve one another, unless

perhaps you do so for a time, by mutual consent, to have more

freedom

for prayer;

come

together again, or Satan will tempt

From Ephesus 57 A.D.

Not Mean

Liberty Does

pion of Christian

Paul was the great cham-

Licence.

liberty.

159

In the Letter to the Galatians, he

defended the freedom of his Gentile converts horn the

monial prescriptions of the Mosaic Jaw, particularly the

cere-

rite of

Tou see, then, brethren, that we are sons of woman, not of the slave; such is the freedom Christ has won for us.' But some of his converts in Corinth pushed circumcision:

the free

his teaching too far; they considered that they

moral

all

law at

restraint, that

they were no longer

They even quoted

all.

In correcting

this error,

human

free

from

hound by any

Paul's words to prove

it.

Paul does not appeal to the sanctity

and permanence of the moral of the

were

law;

he argues from the sanctity

body. At the Incarnation, 'the

Word

was made

UesK; the Second Person of the Trinity was not united to a

human

soul only,

he took a human body

needed human organs, such

and heal with, so out

whom

it

as well. Just as

he

as a tongue and hands, to preach

his Mystical

Body

made up

is

of

men, with-

could not come into contact with and convert

mankind, and these

men

have bodies

whole physical and emotional

life

as well as souls.

of a Christian

to Christ; all his actions are Christ's

own

now

The

belongs

actions:

he must not

this point,

Paul begins

profane the body of Christ.

Marriage

Is

Right and Natural.

his reply to the Corinthian letter

At

brought to him at Ephesus

by Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus. The a

number

letter

contained

of problems, mostly to do with Christian Irving,

which are answered in the

rest of this First Letter to the

Corinthians (probably carried back to Corinth by the same three).

The

Erst question was: Is marriage part of the Christian

scheme?

A

rather unexpected question from the lax mora]

i6o

Corinthians

1

weak

you,

you

as

are. I say this

not imposing a rule on you.

I

6-17

7,

by way of concession;

wish you were

all in

I

am

the same

but each of us has his own endowment from God, one to live in this way, another in that. To the unmarried, and to the widows, I would say that they will do well to remain in the same state as myself, but if they have not the gift of continence, let them marry; better to marry than to state as myself;

feel the

heat of passion. For those

the precept holds which is

must

either

If

(if

she has left him, she

remain unmarried, or go back to her own husband

again), and the husband

those others,

give

I

is

not to put away his wife.

my own

instructions, not the Lord's.

any of the brethren has a wife, not a

content to

married already,

the Lord's precept, not mine; the

not to leave her husband

wife

To

is

who have

live

with him, there

put her away, nor

is

is

believer,

there any reason for a

her husband, not a believer,

if

who

is

well

no reason why he should

he

is

woman

to part with

content to live with

The

unbelieving husband has shared his wife's conseand the unbelieving wife has shared in the consecraof one who is a brother. Were it otherwise, their offspring

her.

cration,

tion

would be born under the other hand,

them

if

the unbelieving partner

is

has

come

to you.

wife, will save your

holy.

On

for separating, let

It is in a spirit of

There

is

peace that God's

husband, whether you, the husband, will

No, the part which God has

vocation which

God

That

churches.

is

is

no knowing whether you, the

save your wife.

case.

it is

separate; in such a case, the brother or the sister

under no compulsion. call

a stain, whereas in fact

has bestowed,

the direction which

I

is

am

assigned, the

to be the rule in each

giving

all

through the

From Ephesus 57 A.D. atmosphere of Corinth; hut

well

it is

161

known

and

that laxity

rigorism can flourish side by side.

on Christian marriage

Paul's sublime teaching

as a sacra-

mental union based on that of Christ and the Chuich in

Ephesians

Tou who

5:

are husbands

must show

is

given

love to

7

youi wives, as Christ showed love to the Church. But here,

he

to the Corinthians,

two vocations

Both

in the

is

content to point out that there are

Church: the married

and each has

are good,

activities of the

body of

its

Christ.

life

and the

celibate.

function to perform in the

The

state in life

chosen by

each individual depends on the graces given him by God; the fact that Paul himself state of marriage

Social Status

is

and

not a Christian institution.

new

lived.

Christianity.

world; he became a

practices that set

which he had

unmarried does not mean that the

Unchanged By

convert entered a liefs

is

him

By baptism new man with

the be-

apart from the pagan world in

Paul himself expressed the decisiveness

Tou must not consent to be yokefellows with unbelievers. What has innocence to do with lawlessness? What is there in common between light and of the break with heathenism:

darkness?'

Applying

this general principle to the family,

some Corin-

thians thought that a convert should leave his heathen wife

and

family. In reply, Paul points out that both wife

and

chil-

dren are in close contact with the supernatural graces enjoyed

by the believing husband: there

is

usually a

good chance of

their conversion.

Starting from this marriage case, Paul proceeds to lay a general principle:

The primary

objective of the

to save souls, not to change their social condition.

and

social distinctions,

such as slavery, which

down

Church

The

men

is

racial

think so

162

man

If a

already circumcised

is

to disguise

if

it;

he

is

circumcision. There

the want of

called; let

Do

slave?

is

no

become

not

own

his

him keep

to

let it trouble

free,

make

18-32

when he

all

A

is

it.

of

God

that

Have you been

called as a

you have the means

you; and

if

more use

of your opportunity. If

the

he

is

called,

is

Christ's freed-

becomes the

slave

was paid to redeem you; do not enslave

price

human

yourselves to

not to undergo

vocation, in which he has

man, when he

just as the free

of Christ.

not

called,

commandments

a slave is called to enter Christ's service,

man;

he

is is

virtue either in circumcision or in

keeping the

it; it is

7,

uncircumcised, he

Everyone has

signifies.

been to

Corinthians

1

Each

masters.

you

of

is

to remain,

brethren, in the condition in which he was called.

About give

virgins, I

my

you

command from the Lord; but I one who is, under the Lord's mercy,

have no

opinion, as

a true counsellor. This, then,

such times of to be in.

that this

stress,

hold to be the best counsel in is

the best condition for

Are you

free yourself.

Not

free of

that you

wedlock? Then do not go about

commit

sin

she marries, has the virgin committed

who do

if

is

so will

you marry; nor, only that

sin. It is

meet with outward you your freedom. Only, brethren, I would those

men

Are you yoked to a wife? Then, do not go about to

to find a wife. if

I

distress.

But

I

leave

say this; the time

who have who weep

drawing to an end; nothing remains, but for those

wives to behave as though they had none; those

must forget their tears, and those who rejoice their rejoicing, and those who buy must renounce possession; and those who take advantage of what the world offers must not take full advantage of

And

I

married

it;

the fashion of this world

would have you is

free

is

soon to pass away.

from concern.

He who is unhow he is

concerned with the Lord's claim, asking

From Ephesus 57 A.D. important in daily the

life

life,

163

are only of secondary importance in

A

of the Chuich.

slave can he united to Christ

hy

membership in his Mystical Body, just as easily as a free man; the Jewish mark of circumcision, of which he is so proud, does not help him at all in putting on the person of Christ. Paul's statement, ating, let it is

'If

the unbelieving partner 7

them

separate,

known

is

is

for separ-

as the Pauline Privilege;

canon 1120 of the Code of Canon Law. In virtue of between pagans can he dissolved

privilege, a marriage

if

this

one

them is converted and the other party refuses to live peaceably. The privilege hears Paul's name, because he promulgated it by act of apostolic authority, and not as originating from our Lord during his life on earth. of

Virginity Better

Than

Marriage.

When God

chose a virgin

mother of his Son he did so with a purpose: he was making known to the world that the state of virginity is to be the

superior to that of marriage.

the accepted standards of

known

a Jewish sect

By

all

this preference

as the Essenes); for the pre-Christian

world, marriage was the superior state of perfect

life

he went against

antiquity (with the exception of

life.

Through the

Mother and Son, God wished to rebetween soul and body; fallen manhe reminded that union with God, the perfect

of a virgin

store the right proportion

kind was to act of love,

The

is

in

mans

state of virginity

ity of spiritual

soul,

not in his body.

not only reminds

over material things,

set of conditions in

it

men

of the superior-

also provides a better

which the Christian can devote himself

entirely to the service of

God. By freeing him from the

of wife and family, he has opportunity for a

more

meditation; he

is

home, and can

give himself

suited to missionary

more

life

of prayer

ties

and

work away from

fully in charitable

and edu-

164

i

Corinthians

7,

33-8, 2

man

to please the Lord; whereas the married

with the world's claim, asking

and thus he

is

is

intent on holiness, bodily

is

am

I

is

concerned

to please his wife;

woman who

is

free

concerned with the Lord's claim,

and

spiritual;

whereas the married

how she own interest

concerned with the world's claim, asking

to please her husband.

when I

is

is

So a

at issue with himself.

of wedlock, or a virgin,

woman

how he

I

am

not that

say this. It is

thinking of what

is

thinking of your I

would hold you

suitable for you,

in a leash;

and how you may

best attend on the Lord without distraction.

And

if

anyone considers that he

towards the is

now

girl

who

is

on the ground that she

in his charge,

is

past her prime,

and there

behaving unsuitably

no way of avoiding

is

it,

let him please himself; there is nothing sinful in it; let them marry. Whereas, if a man remains fixed in his resolution, and makes up his mind to keep the girl who is in his charge unwed, although there is no necessity for it, and he is free

why,

to choose for himself, such a

man

is

man

well advised to give his

well advised. Thus, a

is

ward

in marriage,

and

still

better advised not to give her in marriage.

As if

for a wife, she

her husband

is

is

yoked to her husband

dead, she

have

the Spirit of

And now ship.

We

all

in

is,

marry anyone she will, But more blessed is she, if

judgment; and

I,

too, claim to

about meat that has been used in idolatrous wor-

know, to be

building together. it

lives;

God.

knowledge only breeds edge,

my

he

free to

is

so long as she marries in the Lord.

she remains as she

as long as

If

sure,

what

is

self-conceit, it

the truth about

is

it:

but

charity that binds the

anyone claims to have superior knowl-

means that he has not

yet attained the

knowledge

From Ephesns 57 A.D. good of the community. In

cational woiks for the

and

celibate life can he selfish

dedication to the Loid

is

what

in the life of the Mystical

Out Loid

made

himself

special vocation: 'It

only by those to

some

to adopt a celibate

raises it to

itself

a

motive of

ill-spent; a religious

such a high position

Body. it

clear that a life of virginity

is

a

cannot he taken in by everybody, but

who have

trouble to

165

make

the

gift'

(Mt.

19, 11).

his teaching clear:

life; it is

Paul also goes

no one

forced

is

a matter of counsel, not of obli-

gation.

There ity;

is

a

background of

he writes

as

peril to Paul's advice

though there were

difficult

about

virgin-

times ahead for

the Christians of Corinth; and the dangers he visualizes seem to be

beyond the normal problems of Christians

society.

He

in a

pagan

seems to share that sense of expectancy of the

closeness of the

Second Coming that was so prominent

Christian circles; a

man

unfettered by family

ties

in early

would be

better able to cope with the trying days soon to come. It

would seem that many of the Corinthian

unmarried for

community

this very reason.

They were

fast

remained

becoming a

of old maids. Since husbands were chosen for girls

by their parents in ancient times, these parents

what they should do about

to act as they wish; but virginity

Meat

Sacrificed to Idols.

This

is

is

preferable.

it

was a daily worry

went about her shopping. The joints and pork on display in the butchers' shops up to one of the various heathen gods in the

to the housewife as she

offered

enquired

the second moral problem

submitted to Paul by the Corinthians; of mutton, beef,

now

their aging daughters. Paul allows

them

had been

girls

166

Corinthians

i

which

God

true knowledge;

is

it is

8,

3-9, 2

when

only

man loves God

a

that

acknowledges him. About meat, then, used in idolatrous

we can be

worship,

no

sure of this, that a false god has

istence in the order of things; there

is

ex-

one God, and there can

be no other. Whatever gods may be spoken of

as existing in

heaven or on earth (and there are many such gods, many such lords), for us there origin of

is

only one God, the Father

and the end

things,

all

Jesus Christ, the creator of

But

it

those

who

not everybody

is

who

still

all

who

of our being; only

who

things,

is

the

is

one Lord,

our way to him.

has this knowledge; there are

think of such meat, while they eat

it,

as

some-

thing belonging to idolatrous worship, through being ac-

customed to

false gods; their

incurs guilt.

And

it

not what

is

standing in God's sight;

we

ing by abstaining;

for

it

conscience

is

we

is

not

easy,

and so

eat that gives us our

gain nothing by eating, lose noth-

you to see that the

liberty

you

allow yourselves does not prove a snare to doubtful con-

any of them

sciences. If

down

sitting

conscience,

sees you,

all

uneasy as

eating idolatrously?

thus, through your enlightenment,

When

you

your brother, for whose sake

lost;

thus sin against

you

juring their doubtful consciences,

then, I

if

a

mouthful of food

will abstain

occasion of

Am I

I

are better instructed,

be emboldened to approve of

it is,

And

the doubting soul will be Christ died.

who

to eat in the temple of a false god, will not his

from

flesh

my brother's

is

an

meat

your brethren, by

sin against Christ.

occasion of sin to

to

sin.

not free to do as

in the

you

I

will?

Am

I

not an apostle, have

I

To

may not be an

my

achieve-

apostle,

but

am; why, you are the sign-manual of

my

Lord?

at least

Why

my brother,

perpetually, rather than be the

not seen our Lord Jesus? Are not you yourselves

ment

in-

others

I

From Ephesus 57 A.D. local temples before being

put up for

167

food.

Only

a small portion of the

and then

in the

all

meat used

meat was burnt

the rest of the carcass was either eaten at a there

market; this

sale in the

was the general custom of the pagans with

for

in sacrifice;

sacrificial

banquet

temple of the god or sold to one of the

butchers for the public market

Apollo had probably been asked about

With idol

his philosophical approach,

was not a

wood

real being;

meat

offered to a piece of painted

or carved marble was not changed by such an act;

was exactly the same piece of beef as it

same matter.

this

he had pointed out that an

was before.

A

different position better:

after the

heathen

it

sacrifice

Christian with such knowledge was in a

from the ignorant heathen who knew no

and so he could eat the

sacrificial

meat with

a clear

conscience.

While admitting approve of charity,

it

the truth of this argument, Paul does not

as a guide to Christian conduct; for

not reason alone, that decides

how he

him

acts.

it is

Among

the slaves and dockers of Corinth there would surely be some

who would not

follow Apollo's reasoning on the non-existence

of heathen gods.

conscience is

enough

is

to

Even

if

there

is

only one Christian whose

troubled by eating such

make Paul

give

up

sacrificial

food, that one

his liberty to eat,

and even

become a vegetarian for the rest of his life. Paul always remembered his first instruction in the mystery of the Mystical Body on the road to Damascus: any hurt done to a Christian to

is

an attack on Christ himself.

Paul's Right to Maintenance.

Paul has not Enished with

the subject of meat sacrificed to idols.

no mention of

some other

it

in this

subject.

He

is

Even though he makes paragraph, he has not gone on to illustrating a principle of

conduct

i68

1

Corinthians

apostleship in the Lord. This

who

call

me

woman who

is

a

3-17

the answer

is

I

make

to those

Have we not a right to be provided have we not the right to travel about

in question.

with food and drink; nay, with a

9,

sister, as

the other apostles do, as the

Must I and Barnabas, alone among them, be forbidden to do as much? Why, what soldier ever fought at his own expense? Who would plant a vineyard, Lord's brethren do, and Kephas?

and not

live

on

its fruits,

or tend a flock,

milk which the flock yields? This vention; the law declares

Moses, 'You

shall

live

on the

not a plea of man's

is

When we

it.

and not

in-

read in the law of

not muzzle the ox that treads out the corn/

must we suppose that God is making provision for oxen? Is it not clear that he says it for our sakes? For our sakes it was laid down that the ploughman has a right to plough, and the thrasher to thrash, with the expectation of sharing in the crop. it

Here

much

are we,

who have sown we should

to ask, that

harvest in return?

If

in

you a

spiritual harvest;

is

reap from you a temporal

others claim a share of such rights over

And yet we have never availed ourselves of those rights; we bear every hardship, sooner than hinder the preaching of Christ's gospel. You know, surely, that those who do the temple's work live on the temple's revenues; that those who preside at the altar share the altar's offerings. And so it is that the Lord has bidden the you, have not

we

a better claim

still?

heralds of the gospel live by preaching the gospel. Yet

not availed myself of any such I

am

wise;

I

When

have

I

right.

not writing thus in the hope of being treated other-

would rather die than have I

preach the gospel,

under constraint;

it

choice; but

take

no

I

taken from me.

credit for that;

would go hard with

not preach the gospel.

my own

I

this boast

me

indeed

if

can claim a reward for what

when

I

act under constraint,

I

I

I

act

I

did

do of

am

only

From Ephesus 57 A.D. set

down

to give

169

in the last paragraph: a Christian

up some of

In this illustration, from his

own

life,

Paul gets

of idolatrous meat; but his digression instruction

on the need

must he prepared

good of

his rights for the

is

his neighbour.

the subject

off

part of the general

for charity in Christian conduct.

Paul never deviated from his policy of working for his keep.

At

Thessalonica, Corinth, and Ephesus he worked daily at

weaving goat hair for to

you for our

tents:

daily bread,

'We would

we earned

it

not even be indebted in weariness

working with our own hands, night and day, so a

as

and

toil,

not to be

burden to any of you/ But some Corinthians put a different

interpretation

on Paul's

policy; they said

he had to work be-

cause he was not an apostle, and so did not share in the apostolic privilege of being supported by the churches. is

why Paul shows

so

much

tions; the opposition at

That

indignation at these false accusa-

Corinth touched him on a tender spot.

The preachers of the gospel had the example of our Lord's own conduct and his express words as well in support of their right to receive

women

maintenance from

A

their converts.

group

and 'min-

and them with the means they had.' Our Lord handed on the same right to his disciples when he told the twelve: of

travelled with Jesus

his followers,

istered to

'The labourer has the right to his maintenance' (Mt. 10,

10).

Paul elaborates this main argument by seven additional proofs of his thesis.

He

soldier, vinedresser,

shepherd, ploughman, harvester, priest

covers a wide range of ways of

life

— —

and adds the example of the ox, quoting from the Mosaic law which prohibited the muzzling of the beasts trampling the ears of

wheat on the threshing

from taking a mouthful

floor that

as they

worked.

would prevent them

God

is

much more

concerned with the welfare of his children than with the of his creation, as our

Lord

told his followers: Tf

rest

God

so

170

i

Corinthians

What

executing a commission.

Why,

when

that

9,

18-10, 4

title

have

preach the gospel

I

then, to a reward?

I,

should preach the

I

gospel free of charge, not making full use of the rights which

Thus nobody has any claim on me, have made myself everybody's slave, to win more

gospel preaching gives me.

and yet souls.

I

With

the Jews

who keep

with those

win the Jews; one who keeps the law

lived like a Jew, to

I

the law, as

(though the law had no claim on me), to win those

who

the law; with those of the law (not that

one who

bound me),

With

the scrupulous,

it

I

behaved myself I

all

I

do,

I

do

win myself a share

when men run is

some

for the sake of the gospel promises, in

them. You know well enough that

in a race, the race

is

for

but the prize

all,

for one; run, then, for victory. Every athlete

all his

like

and every means.

All that to

was

have been

everything by turns to everybody, to bring salvation to

by

free

win those who were

to

scrupulous, to win the scrupulous.

is

one

recognized no divine law, but

I

the law of Christ that free of the law.

are free of the law, like

who kept

appetites under control;

that fades, whereas ours

is

and he does

it

imperishable. So

I

to

must keep

win a crown

do not run

my

man in doubt of his goal; I do not fight my battle like a man who wastes his blows on the air. I buffet my own body, and make it my slave; or I, who have preached to others, may myself be rejected as worthless. course like a

Let

me

hidden,

all

remind you, brethren, of

this.

of them, under the cloud,

of them, through the

sea; all alike, in

Our

and found a path,

all

all

the cloud and in the sea,

were baptized into Moses' fellowship. They prophetic food, and

fathers were

all

ate the

same

drank the same prophetic drink,

watered by the same prophetic rock which bore them com-

From Ephesus 57 A.D.

171

clothes the glasses of the field, will he not he

men

to clothe you,

of

much more ready

JittJe faith?'

In giving up this light to maintenance, Paul

good of

of the

souls; his

motive

is

ing closely in the footsteps of his Master

did not others,

come

and

good

is

he

ransom

follow-

is

'The Son of

:

Man

to serve

for the Jives of

many/

of Jesus going about through Palestine doing

the pattern of Paul's

life

among

Ephesians, Galatians, and Thessalonians. himself to the people with

way of Jew and

whom

he

erate of their

life,

how

Gentile, and he

to treat

thinking only

done him; he came

to have service

to give his life as a

The example

is

chaiity. In this

their ideas

is

the Corinthians,

He accommodates

dealing;

he

is

consid-

and outlook: he knows is

tender and gentle in

adapting himself to the scruples of his latest convert.

The Danger still

The

of Apostasy.

food sacrificed to

subject under discussion

Paul

idols.

is

engaged

is

in the task of

forming a Christian conscience in his converts at Corinth. In the previous paragraph, he emphasized the part played by charity in determining treats of the virtue of

own

welfare.

there

is

When

how

a Christian

should

act;

here he

prudence, of the need to look to one's

dealing with things used in pagan worship,

danger of a Christian falling back into pagan ways, of

being contaminated by the heathenism he has renounced.

He

takes an illustration

first

from

athletics

—running and

boxing, sports familiar to the Greeks (the people

inated the Olympic Games). athlete to

make

his

appetites so that

it

body

A

orig-

Christian can learn from an

his slave, to mortify

will carry

who

him

to victory;

and control

its

he must avoid

anything that stands in the way of his objective, the imperishable crown that does not fade.

172

Corinthians 10, 5-19

i

pany, the rock that was Christ. pleased with most of them; see wilderness. It

We

we

is

were not to

hearts,

And for all that, God was ill how they were laid low in the

that were foreshadowed in these events.

our hearts, as some of them set their

set

on forbidden

You were not

things.

to turn idolatrous,

them did; so we read, The people sat down to drink, and rose up to take their pleasure/ We were not to commit fornication, as some of them committed fornication, when twenty-three thousand of them were killed some eat and as

of

in

one day.

some

of

We

them

were not to

tried

it,

the

were you to complain,

as

men who some

destroying angel slew them. it

try the patience of the Lord, as

When

was a symbol; the record of

whom

to us, in

means of a

that he

So

fall.

far,

of

it

were

slain

by serpents; nor

them complained, till the all this happened to them, was written

history has reached

its

as a

and

it

who thinks he stands firmly should beware no temptation has befallen you that is beyond

man's strength. Not that

God

will play

you

he

false;

allow you to be tempted beyond your powers.

temptation

warning

fulfilment;

he

itself,

will ordain the issue of

it,

will

With

not the

and enable

you to hold your own.

Keep

far

speaking to you as

We

yourselves.

my well beloved, from idolatry. I am men of good sense; weigh my words for

away, then,

have a cup that we

bless;

is

not

this

cup we

we The one bread makes

bless a participation in Christ's blood? Is not the bread

break a participation in Christ's body? us one body, though is

shared by

all.

Or

do not those who eat the altar of sacrifice? really

be

existence;

we

are

many

look at

in

Israel,

number; the same bread God's people by nature;

their sacrifices associate themselves with I

am

not suggesting that anything can

sacrificed to a false god, or that a false I

mean

that

when

god has any

the heathen offer sacrifice they

,

From Ephesus 57 A.D.

The second lesson

illustration is

horn the Exodus

from a

173

different world;

it

is

a

Old Testament. Paul presumes

in the

that his Corinthians are familiar with this scripture story. It

was probably *a

man

a scene well

known from

the preaching of Apollo,

well grounded in the scriptures.

7

This was the type

of instruction favoured by that eloquent Alexandrian; Paul

demonstrates his

skill in

the same

medium

of

Old Testament

typology.

The Exodus is a lesson in Christian living. The Jews on the way out of Egypt received unusual divine favours that foreshadowed the two great sacraments of Baptism and the Blessed Eucharist; the water of the

manna and water from food and

drink.

But

Red

Sea symbolized Baptism, the

the rock symbolized the Eucharistic

men and women

these favoured

down

fell

in worship to the golden calf at Sinai; they incurred the divine

anger and failed to reach the Promised Land.

can happen to baptized communicants;

if

The same

thing

the Corinthians

presume on divine grace and consider themselves secure from all

danger of contamination from pagan

fall

from divine

but a prudent

Practical Rules his

grace.

man

will

About

Thank God

has not happened yet;

heed the warning of Sacrificial

Food.

tical

instructions

when

occasions

problem of at the

says Paul,

on conduct.

now

He

a Christian could

all,

banquet following the actual is

a

prudent estima-

proceeds to give prac-

a formal act of idolatry,

face to face with the in the

temple of the

sacrifice.

To

eat there

and so forbidden.

not right for a Christian, united to Christ by Holy

munion,

to share in a sacrificial

a heathen sacrifice really

is



down

considers three different

come

sacriEcial food. First of

history.

After laying

two principles of charity to others and

tion of the dangers to oneself, Paul

god

it

they can

sacrifices,

meal with

devils; that is

devil worship.

It is

Comwhat

Corinthians 10, 20-11, 2

174

1

are really offering

it

I

and not to a God

to evil spirits

at

have no mind to see you associating yourselves with

To drink the Lord's

spirits.

cup, and yet to drink the cup of evil

and

to share the Lord's feast,

spirits,

evil spirits, is

all.

evil

to share the feast of

impossible for you. Are we, then, to provoke

Have we powers greater than his? 'I am free to do what I will'; yes, but not everything can be done without harm. 'I am free to do what I will,' but some things disedify. Each of you ought to study the wellthe Lord to jealousy?

being of others, not his own. market, then you

may

When

things are sold in the

eat them, without

open

making any enquiries

This world and all that is in it some unbeliever invites you to his

to satisfy your consciences:

belongs to the Lord.'

and you consent

table,

If

to go, then

to satisfy your consciences,

you.

But

someone

if

you need not ask questions

you may eat whatever

says to you, 'This has

is

put before

been used in

idolatrous worship,' then, for the sake of your informant,

you must refuse to eat conscience,

should

let

my

conscience.

should

I

I

I

it;

it

is

freedom be called

in

incur reproach for that over which

glory.

I

it;

why

say grace? In

you do, do everything

as for

Give no offence to Jew, or to Greek, or to God's

church. That

my own

is

rule, to satisfy all alike,

the general welfare rather than salvation.

no reason why I question by another man's is

can eat such food and be grateful for

eating, in drinking, in all that

God's

a matter of conscience; his

mean, not yours. There

Follow

my

my

own, so

example, then, as

I

as to

studying

win

their

follow the example of

Christ.

I

must needs

praise

you

for your constant

for upholding your traditions just as

I

memory

handed them on

of

me,

to you.

From Ephesns 57 A.D.

175

In contrasting the Blessed Eucharist to pagan and Jewish sacrifices,

Paul quite clearly assumes that the Mass

He

sacrifice.

a true

is

Communion means union with common union with Christ; it is the

also teaches that

each othei through our

sacrament of unity in the Mystical Body. Christians at Corinth

and

at

Ephesus

all

eat of the

changed into the body of Christ

unless the bread has been are all

one

Much

in Christ because

of the

meat

one same biead; an impossibility

we

by his

all live

sacrificed to the

We

life.

gods eventually finished

at the butchers' to be sold to the general public. Christians

may buy and

eat this without scruple of conscience;

away from the

The

idol,

and

is

third case considered by Paul

dine with pagan friends. served, unless the food

is

offering; in this case alone charity.

A

is

earlier, at

taken

Christian

that of invitations to

may

eat whatever

is

specified as having been an idol-

he must abstain on the principle of

To eat would be to give scandal

Eight years

it is

once more the property of the Lord.

to his unbelieving

host

the Council of Jerusalem, the apostles

had decided against Gentiles eating sacrificial food: Tou are to abstain from what is sacrificed to idols' (Acts 15, 29). Paul was present on that occasion, and actually promulgated the decree at Antioch; yet he does not even mention Corinthians.

The

reason he acts so

is

it

to the

that the conditions in

Corinth were completely different from those visualized in the decree.

The

Jerusalem decree was only temporary and dealt

with the Jew-Gentile problem in Syria and GaJatia.

Women Must Not ters,

Pray Unveiled.

In the next four chap-

Paul corrects some abuses that have crept into the

Jitur-

176

And

here

a wife

man

is

united

is

11,

y-ij

something you must know. The head to which

united

is

united

is

Corinthians

i

is

is

her husband, just as the head to which every

head to which Christ

Christ; so, too, the

God. And whereas any

is

man who

keeps his

head covered when he prays or

utters prophecy brings shame shame upon her head if she uncovers it to pray or prophesy; she is no better than the woman who has her head shaved. If a woman would go without a veil,

upon

why

his head, a

woman

brings

does she not cut her hair short too?

woman

is

disgraced

when her

A man

hair

is

she admits that a

If

cut short or shaved,

has no need to veil his head;

then

let

he

God's image, the pride of his creation, whereas the wife

is

is

her go veiled.

the pride of her husband. (The

woman

takes her origin

man from the woman; and indeed, it man that was created for woman's sake, but woman man's.) And for that reason the woman ought to have

from the man, not the was not for

(Not that, in the Lord's service, woman has her place apart from man, or man his apart from woman; if woman takes her origin from man, authority over her head, for the angels' sake.

man

equally comes to birth through

woman. And indeed

things have their origin in God.) Judge for yourselves; fitting that a

woman

Does not nature to a

man

long,

it is

to

wear

itself

should offer prayer to teach you that, whereas

his hair long,

when

a

an added grace to her? That

been given her to take the place of a

woman is

And

is

found among

here

is

us, or in

a warning

I

all it

God

unveiled?

it is

a disgrace

grows her hair

because her hair has

And if anyone is know that no such

veil.

prepared to argue the matter, he must

custom

is

any of God's churches.

have for you.

praise for holding your assemblies in a

way

I

can give you no

that does harm, not

From Ephesus 57 A.D. gical life of the

the status of

Corinthian church.

women

sweeping prohibition: utterance

is

first

of these concerns

in public worship. In 14,

34 he makes a

Women are to be silent in the churches;

not permitted to them.

paragraph, but in a

The

177

more

he

is

He

does the same in this

manner. By forbidding

tactful

to cast aside their veils,

7

women

them from yashmak still worn by

in fact preventing

speaking; the heavy oriental veil (the

Moslem women) hanging down

over the face was an efficient

barrier to clear speech in public.

In his diplomatic approach to this explosive problem of lencing

women, Paul

Eve

tries

thought in

lines of

to demonstrate the secondary status of rative of Genesis

makes

it

woman.

man was

clear that

attempt

his

(1)

si-

The

nar-

created Erst;

Eve was not an independent creation of God; she was made from Adam to help and complete him in founding the human race. Man is the head and primary being of God's created universe. (2) ship,

The

angels,

who

are the guardians of divine wor-

woman

were the only witnesses of the creation of

in her subordinate status; reverence for

women

them should make

retain the veil as a sign of subordination to their hus-

bands. (3) St. Paul sees a mystic parallel between the creation of Adam and Eve and the Incarnation: Christ came from God,

but his divinity

is

veiled or hidden in our Lord; so too

came from man, but the humanity is veiled wear veils to honour the Incarnation of their natural symbolism of hair: the veil

is

in her.

woman

Women

Saviour. (4)

natural to

The

woman

as

the extension of her long hair (only slaves and courtesans

The custom

wore

their hair short). (5)

dom

prohibits this novelty.

Charity and the Blessed Eucharist. less

of the rest of Christen-

This

letter

was written

than thirty years after the death of our Lord Jesus Christ

178

i

Corinthians n, 18-34

From the first, when you meet in church, there are diamong you; so I hear, and in some measure believe it. Parties there must needs be among you, so that those who are true metal may be distinguished from the rest. And when you

good.

visions

assemble together, there

is

no opportunity

to eat a supper of

the Lord; each comer hastens to eat the supper he has brought for himself, so that

one

man

goes hungry, while another has

drunk deep. Have you no homes to eat and drink

in,

that you

should show contempt to God's church, and shame the poor? Praise you?

The on

There

tradition

to you,

is

no room

which

I

for praise here.

received from the Lord, and

that the Lord Jesus, on the night

is

handed

when he was

being betrayed, took bread, and gave thanks, and broke

it,

and said: This is my body, given up for you. Do this for a commemoration of me/ And so with the cup, when supper was ended: This cup/ he said, 'is the new testament, in my blood.

Do So

this, it is

whenever you drink

eat this bread fore, if

it,

for a

commemoration

of

me/

the Lord's death that you are heralding, whenever you

and drink

anyone

this cup, until

he comes; and there-

eats the bread or drinks the

cup of the Lord

unworthily, he will be held to account for the Lord's body and

A man

must examine himself first, and then eat of the bread and drink of the cup; he is eating and drinking damnation to himself if he eats and drinks, not recognizing the Lord's body for what it is. That is why many of your number want strength and health, and not a few have died. If we recognized blood.

our

own

fault,

we should not

incur these judgments; as

the Lord judges us and chastises us, so that as this

we may not

it is,

incur,

world incurs, damnation.

when you assemble to eat together, wait those who are hungry had best eat at home,

So, brethren,

one another;

for for

From Ephesus 57 A.D.

179

Mass had become a familiar and essenEach Saturday night at Corinth the faithful assembled in the house of one of their number (there were no dedicated buildings at this early date) for the celebration of Mass. It had not yet taken its present form but was based closely on the Last Supper; essentially this was a Within tial

that period, the

pait of Christian worship.

banquet, which culminated in the consecration of the bread and wine. The banquet was usually protracted till midnight,

because that was the accepted time for the sacrifice of the

Mass

to

The

commence.

followers of Paul

no community

factions, the

and the followers of Apollo, showed two

at this sacred ceremony; the

between rich and

was the

community manifested This state of

itself

was

affairs

itself

parties kept apart; there

no sharing of food. And

spirit,

the division

teries.

two

division of the church at Corinth into

was

a worse abuse

poor; that social division in

even at the Christian mys-

directly

opposed to the nature

of the Blessed Eucharist, the sacrament of fraternal charity

and unity

in the Mystical

Body

of Christ.

Paul reminds them of the sacredness of the act they per-

form

at

Mass by

the Crucifixion. as that used

identifying

It

is

and wine into

different in

of Christ

with both the Last Supper and

of celebrating

Mass

by our Lord at the Last Supper (that

cration of bread

Though

it

The manner

on the

manner,

cross that

is

his

it is

is

is,

the same the conse-

own body and

blood).

really the sacrificial

commemorated

at each

death

Mass.

fitting that the Corinthians prepare for the coming Lord and Master by mere bodily eating and drinking;

not

of their

they should see that they have right dispositions of soul, particularly

charity.

The

abuses here corrected by Paul were

eventually responsible for the abolition of the banquet in the

i8o fear that your

meeting should bring you condemnation. The

other questions

And now you

Corinthians 12, 1-13

1

I

when

I

spiritual gifts;

I

will settle

about

doubt about

in

these.

come.

would not

While you were

you can remember well enough, you wherever

men would

willingly leave

still

let yourselves

heathen, as

be led away

lead you, to worship false gods that gave

no utterance. That is why I am telling you of this. Just as no one can be speaking through God's Spirit if he calls Jesus accursed, so it is only through the Holy Spirit that anyone can say, 7 esu s is the Lord'; and yet there are different kinds of gifts, though it is the same Spirit who gives them, just as there are different kinds of service, though it is the same Lord we serve, and different manifestations of power, though it is the same God who manifests his power everywhere in all of us.

The

revelation of the Spirit

the best advantage of

the power of the

it.

One

is

imparted to each, to make

learns to speak with

wisdom, by

another to speak with knowledge,

Spirit,

with the same Spirit for his

rule; one,

through the same

Spirit, is

given faith; another, through the same Spirit, powers of healing;

one can perform miracles, one can prophesy, another can one can speak in different

test the spirit of the prophets;

tongues, another can interpret the tongues; but

work of one and the same will to

Spirit,

who

all this is

the

distributes his gifts as

he

each severally.

A man's body organs;

and

body; so

is all

all this

it is

one, though

it

has a

number

of different

multitude of organs goes to make up one

with Christ.

We too, all of us, have been baptized

body by the power of a single Spirit, Jews and Greeks, slaves and free men alike; we have all been given

into a single

drink at a single source, the one Spirit.

The

body, after

all,

con-

From Ephesus 57 A.D.

181

fourth century; they also played a part in introducing the fast before

Communion.

Holy

Spirit

tion,

our Loid promised his apostles: 'Where believers go,

Author of All

Spiritual Gifts.

After his resurrec-

these signs shall go with them; they will cast out devils in

name, they will

will

speak in tongues that are strange to them; they

up serpents

take

and drink poisonous their hands upon the

in their hands,

draughts without harm; they will lay sick

and make them

gifts

came

recover.'

to the infant

These spectacular, miraculous

Church

at Pentecost; they flourished

newly founded Christian communities.

in all

To

my

the heathen, for the most part illiterate and unacquainted

with the Jewish scriptures, they were a powerful apologetic;

any pagan could see for himself the divine power that worked in the Christian

Church. The pagan

deities,

Paul reminds his

Corinthian converts from paganism, were separate and divided gods; they contradicted and opposed each other in their teach-

ing and objectives. In Christianity there that

is

because the Holy Spirit

The Church

is

is

is

unity and harmony;

the origin of

all

these

gifts.

one precisely because the three persons of the

Blessed Trinity are one God; the different manifestations of divine power,

come from if it

now

appearing in the Corinthian assemblies,

the same source.

None

of these gifts

is

all

authentic

denies the divinity of Christ.

Harmony Among Members were a passing phase of the

of the Body. life

These strange

gifts

of the early Church; they were

Church in new and they did not help the individual become holier.

special spiritual helps given to establish the territory,

For the sanctity of each Christian, grace

and the

virtues that

God

accompany

it;

provides sanctifying for building

up the

182

i

not of one organ but of many;

sists

am it

Corinthians i2 7 14-30

not the hand, and therefore

say,

the body/

am

'I

it

less for that. If

not the eye, and therefore

the power of hearing be,

eye?

Or

God

has given each one of them

the power of smell,

he would.

own

less for that.

the body were

if

the body were its

the ear

all ear?

As

all

it is,

position in the body,

the whole were one single organ, what

If

would become

if

*l

do not belong to

I

does not belong to the body any the

Where would

we have

of the body? Instead of that,

tude of organs, and one body. 'I

the foot should say,

if

do not belong to the body/

does not belong to the body any the

should

as

I

The

a multi-

eye cannot say to the hand,

have no need of you/ or the head to the

feet,

have no

'I

need of you/

On

the contrary,

those parts of our body which seem

it is

most contemptible that

we surround with

in our bodies,

which

special seemliness that

which

is

harmony

which needed the body;

all

welfare their

with

it

first,

care. If

one part

Are

all

es-

honour to that

is

it

were to make each other's

one part

suffering, all the rest

is

treated with honour,

all

the rest

of

it

depending upon each

positions in the church;

then prophets, and thirdly teachers; then come

of affairs,

of us apostles,

miraculous powers, or tongues, can

Thus God has

it.

it.

miraculous powers, then

management

whereas that

most. There was to be no want of unity in

And you are Christ's body, organs other. God has given us different apostles

in us,

in the body, giving special

common

find pleasure in

what seems base

special honour, treating with

the different parts of

it; if

it;

unseemly

seemly in us has no need of

is

tablished a

suffer

are necessary to

all

gifts of healing,

works of mercy, the

and speaking with all

prophets,

gifts of

interpret?

all

healing?

different tongues.

teachers?

Can

all

Have

all

speak with

From Ephesus

57 A.D.

183

Christian community, he provided an extra help through these

They

spiritual gifts.

natural

and

are defined by Prat as: 'Gratuitous, super-

transitory giits, conferred for the general

for the building up of the Mystical

In the previous paragraph, Paul the end of this paragraph he

lists

Body lists

good and

of Christ.'

nine of these

eight; four

from the

at

gifts;

Erst

list

are repeated in the second, leaving a total of thirteen. This just half of the total

Pauline

letters.

The

number thirteen

(twenty-seven) found in

all

is

the

mentioned here may be divided

into three groups. (1) Graces for those holding office: apostles,

prophets, teachers.

Strikingly miraculous

(2)

powers: faith

move mountains), healing, miracles, tongues. (3) Powers to enable ordinary duties to be carried out in a more (that can

perfect way: wisdom, knowledge, works of mercy,

management

of affairs, testing prophets, interpreting tongues.

The second

group, particularly the gift of tongues, was rated

highest in Corinthian circles. So party system of Paul

champions; they despised else at their assemblies

unity and pride

harmony

much

and ApoJJo took all

other

so that the familiar

sides for their respective

gifts;

they wanted nothing

but the spectacular gift of tongues.

The

of the Corinthian church was endangered;

and jealousy were dominating

their spiritual

life.

Paul recalled them to their senses by comparing the Church to a

human

welfare

body; the various organs are

and harmony of the body, hands

as well as hearing.

gans of treats

ered.

So

member all

sex,

it

necessary to the

as well as feet, sight

Far from despising the inferior organs

which Paul

them with

all

special

calls

base and contemptible),

(or-

man

honour by always keeping them cov-

should be with the Mystical Body of Christ: every

has

its

own

are necessary for

special function in the its

completeness.

harmonious whole;

184

Corinthians 12, 31-14,

i

1

Prize the best gifts of heaven. Meanwhile,

a

way which

tongue that

is

better than any other.

men and

angels use; yet,

may

I

if I

can show you

I

speak with every

lack charity,

I

better than echoing bronze, or the clash of cymbals.

am no may

I

have powers of prophecy, no secret hidden from me, no knowledge too deep for me;

move mountains; yet if may give away all that

I

may have

utter faith, so that

count for nothing.

I

lack charity,

I

have, to feed the poor;

myself up to be burnt at the stake;

if I

can

I

I

may

I

lack charity,

it

I

give

goes for

nothing.

Charity

is

patient,

is

kind; charity feels

no envy;

charity

never boastful or proud, never insolent; does not claim

cannot be provoked, does not brood over an

rights,

takes

no pleasure

is

its

injury;

wrongdoing, but rejoices at the victory of

in

truth; sustains, believes, hopes, endures, to the last.

The time

come when we shall outgrow prophecy, when come to an end, when knowledge be swept away; we shall never have finished with charity. will

speaking with tongues will will

Our knowledge, our and these glimpses

prophecy, are only glimpses of the truth;

will

filment comes. (Just child,

I

became

we

when

I

was a

child,

I

are looking at a confused reflection in a mirror; then,

then,

I

Make

now,

shall recognize

while, faith,

them

ful-

talked like a

had the intelligence, the thoughts of a child; since I a man, I have outgrown childish ways.) At present,

shall see face to face;

of

be swept away when the time of

so,

hope and

I

God

we

have only glimpses of knowledge; as

he has recognized me. Mean-

charity persist, all three;

but the greatest

all is charity.

charity your aim, the spiritual gifts your aspiration,

and, by preference, the gift of prophecy.

The man who

talks

From Ephesus 57 A.D.

The

Charity the Greatest of All Gifts.

summed up

in

one phrase:

Tou

.

.

the Head,

it

must

of Christ

as

same estimation

that

various activities; to live the

its

is

God

and your neighbour

.

The MysticaJ Body must keep

of the importance of

life

shah Jove the Lord your

with the Jove of your whoJe heart yourseJf.'

185

see things with the eyes of Christ.

life

The

of

spirit-

uaJ gifts, so vaJued by the Corinthians, are aJJ vaJueJess without

the theological virtue of charity. PauJ iJJustrates his thesis by taking five of the most important

tongues, prophecy,

gifts:

knowledge, faith and works of meicy.

Next he

qualities of charity.

lists fifteen

particuJar aspects of the virtue,

community

he has

final section,

them

the love of

spiritual gifts pletely,

into loss of temper,

is

God

evils

Paul no longer

of the neighbour; he passes ity,

on the Christian

and jealousy over the

angry words, feelings of revenge. If charity domi-

nated their assemblies, none of these In the

his eye

at Corinth; theii disputes

possession of spirituaJ gifts have led ill-feeling,

In choosing these

on

himself.

evident:

it

and permanently;

wouJd be

present.

concerned with love

to the primary objective of char-

The supremacy

unites

all

is

man

to

of charity over

God

directly,

com-

other gifts yield only indirect, in-

complete, and transitory contacts with God. In the fulfilment of his destiny in the beatific vision, gift



man

shall possess

charity; aJJ the rest wiJJ cease at death.

glimpses of God's

own

inner

of knowledge, prophecy,

and

life

only one

The obscure

obtained through the

gifts

faith are like dull reflections in

a piece of polished metal.

When

the HoJy

followers of Jesus

on Pente-

Tongues Less Valuable Than Prophecy. Spirit

came down upon the 120

186

Corinthians

i

in a strange tongue

is

understands him, he

own

spirit;

is

God, not to men; nobody

talking to

holding mysterious converse with his

whereas the prophet speaks to

to comfort his fellow

man may

2-14

14,

men. By talking

strengthen his

own

faith;

strengthen the faith of the church.

speaking with strange tongues, but

I

I

edify, to encourage,

in a strange tongue, a

by prophesying he can would gladly see you all would rather you should

man who

prophesy, because the prophet ranks higher than the speaks with strange tongues.

It

would be

different

if

he could

translate them, to strengthen the faith of the church;

things are, brethren, talking to

you

what good can

I

but

as

do you by coming and

in strange languages, instead of addressing

you

with a revelation, or a manifestation of inner knowledge, or a prophecy, or words of instruction? Senseless things vocal, a flute, for example, or a harp;

must be

there

how If a

distinctions

may be

but even with these,

between the sounds they

can we recognize what melody flute or harp

is

give, or

playing?

trumpet, for that matter, gives out an uncertain note,

who

arm himself for battle? So it is with you, how can it be known what your message is, if you speak in a language whose accents cannot be understood? Your words will fall on empty air. No doubt all these different languages exist somewhere in the world, and each of them has its significance; but if I cannot understand what the language means, the effect is that I am a foreigner to the man who is speaking, and he is a will

foreigner to me. So the case stands with you. Since you have set

your hearts on spiritual

gifts,

ask for

them

in

abundant

measure, but only so as to strengthen the faith of the church; the

man who

can speak in a strange tongue should pray for

the power to interpret them. If I

use a strange tongue

when

I

offer prayer,

my

spirit is

From Ephesus 57 A.D. cost Sunday, 'they

187

began to speak in strange languages, as

all

the Spirit gave utterance to each.' This was the same gift of tongues,

now

so popular

here attempts to restrain.

among the Corinthians, which Paul The speakers did not understand the

language in which they spoke. They were not preaching to the

people either; they were proclaiming God's wonders in a form of ecstatic prayer.

For preaching the

inspired Peter to stand

up and

their native tongue, Aramaic.

talk to

He

Holy Spirit the assembled crowd in

gospel, the

proved the divinity of Christ

from the Resurrection, and so converted 3,000 people. And that is the real distinction between tongues and prophecy: in tongues the inspired utterance

prophecy

it is

addressed to men. This

Tongues: The supernatural

is

addressed to God, in

how Prat defines

them.

ability to pray or to praise

an enthusiasm bordering on

in a strange language with

Prophecy: Any

is

God

ecstasy.

unpremeditated utterance in the

inspired,

language of the congregation for their supernatural guidance.

To prove

the superiority of prophecy over tongues, Paul con-

siders their value to

each of four divisions of the Corinthian

and the unbelievers. (1) The faithful are the Mystical Body at Corinth; the value of any gift one of their members possesses must be decided in terms of its usefulness to the whole body.

assemblies: the faithful, the speakers, the catechumens,

Prophecy certainly gifts; it

builds

fulfils

up the

the essential purpose of

faith of the church:

to edify, to encourage, to

'The prophet speaks

comfort his fellow

on the other hand, unless they are

all spiritual

men/ Tongues,

translated, are

mere empty

sounds; the faithful cannot receive spiritual help from words

they cannot understand; a foreign language serves in the country

spoken

all

where

it is

over Corinth.

A

spoken, but Greek foreign tongue

is

its

purpose

is

the tongue

no

better than

188

I

If

my

drift?

14,

15-26

my mind reaps no advantage from it. What,

then,

Why,

when

praying, but is

Corinthians

i

offer prayer, use

mean to use mind as well mind as well as spirit when I

you pronounce a blessing

one who takes

his place

He

your thanksgiving?

as spirit I

sing psalms.

in this spiritual fashion,

among

the uninstructed say

cannot

tell

what you

how

can

Amen

to

saying.

are

You, true enough, are duly giving thanks, but the other's faith

not strengthened. Thank God,

is

I

can speak with

tongues more than any of you; but in the church, rather speak five words which struction, than ten

my mind

utters, for

I

would

your

in-

thousand in a strange tongue. Brethren,

do not be content to think childish thoughts; keep the innocence of children, with the thoughts of grown men. in the law,

will

'I

speak to this people with an

We read unknown

tongue, with the lips of strangers, and even so they will not

me,

listen to

tongue

is

says the

Lord/ Thus, talking with a strange

a sign given to unbelievers, not to the faithful;

meant for the faithful, not for unbelievers. And now, what will happen if the uninstructed or the unbelievers come in when the whole church has met together, and find everyone speaking with strange tongues at once? Will they not say you are mad? Whereas, if some unbeliever or some uninstructed person comes in when all alike are prophewhereas prophecy

is

sying, everyone will read his thoughts, everyone will scrutinize

him,

all

that

so he will

is

fall

fessing that

What am

kept hidden in his heart will be revealed; and

on

God I

is

his face

indeed

and worship God, publicly con-

among

you.

urging, then, brethren?

Why, when you meet

together, each with a psalm to sing, or

some doctrine

part, or a revelation to give, or ready to

tongues, or to interpret them, see that

all

to im-

speak in strange is

done to your

From Ephesus 57 A.D.

189

random notes without melody played on

a flute, harp, or

trumpet.

The

(2)

speaker sometimes spoke his prayer to God, some-

times chanted

it

after the Christian

custom of singing the

psalms; in either case he was raised to a state of ecstasy.

He

did not understand a word of what he was saying; the divine

impulse

('spirit')

utter his praise of

be

far better if

was working within him, moving him to

God, but

mind was

his

inactive. It

would

he could interpret what he was saying; then

both his mind and his spirit would (3) The catechumens are called

God.

join in worshipping 'the uninstructed.'

These

the prayer coming from

people were unable to participate in

the hps of the speaker in strange tongues; instead of voicing

by saying Amen, they had to

their approval

lated

—hardly

a satisfactory preparation for

sit Jost

and

membership

iso-

in the

Mystical Body!

The

(4)

seem

to be

unbeh'evers are pagan enquirers.

more important

to

Tongues would

them than prophecy; but even on

here, Paul contends, they are inferior to prophecy. Just as

Pentecost Sunday, tongues excite the curiosity of the unbelievers

but do not convert them; they lead the pagans to the

Christian meeting-place;

and wins them

it is

for Christ.

that prophecy was sometimes it

then that prophecy takes over

From

Paul's

argument

more than an

it is

ciear

inspired utterance;

took on a miraculous quality by manifesting knowledge of

secret thoughts

Rules

for

Stephanas,

hidden away in the conscience of unbelievers.

Orderly

Procedure

Fortunatus,

Achaicus,

at

Meetings.

Crispus,

Sosthenes f

Gaius,

Lucian,

Jason, Sosipater, Tertius, Quartus, Erastus, Chloe: those are thirteen Corinthians

mentioned

in

PauYs

letters. Just

imagine

190

Corinthians 14, 2j-i$ y 2

i

spiritual advantage. If there

is

speaking with strange tongues,

more than two speak, or three at the most; let each take his turn, with someone to interpret for him, and if he can find nobody to interpret, let him be silent in the church, conversing with his own spirit and with God. As for the prophets, let two or three of them speak, while the rest sit in judgment on their prophecies. If some revelation comes to another who is sitting by, let him who spoke first keep silence; there is room for you all to prophesy one by one, so that the whole company may receive instruction and comfort; and it do not

is

let

for the prophets to exercise control over their

God

gifts.

And women tells

them:

their

husbands

if

the

all

it.

are to be silent in the churches; utterance

not permitted to them;

let

them keep

their rank, as the

they have any question to at

home. That

heard in the church Tell me, was

it

is

a

woman

raise, let

should

it

has reached?

If

voice

anybody claims

him prove

recognizing that this message of mine to you If

them ask

make her

not seemly.

to be a prophet, or to have spiritual gifts, let

commandment.

is

law

from you that God's word was sent out?

Are you the only people

he does not recognize

it,

is

it

by

the Lord's

he himself

shall

no recognition.

Set your hearts, then,

my

brethren, on prophesying;

for speaking with strange tongues,

Only

spiritual

the author of peace, not of disorder;

is

churches of the saints give proof of

receive

own

let us

do not

and

interfere with

as it.

have everything done suitably, and with right

order.

Here, brethren,

is

an account of the gospel

I

preached to

you. It was this that was handed on to you; upon this your faith rests; through this (if

you keep

in

mind the

tenor of

its

From Ephesus 57 A.D. the confusion

Chloes house; is

them spoke would he a babel

if all

it

of

191

at

once in the assembly at

of

competing

voices.

the situation Paul has to deal with here. His solution

That

is

that

the spiritual advantage of the whole church must be their

primary concern, and not a demonstration of each individual s personal eminence in the possession of spiritual

Two new facts about spiritual gifts come graph. First,

some

gifts.

to light in this para-

of the gifts were not genuine; there were

bogus speakers in tongues, and prophets too. Second, these gifts

were subject to the control of the speaker; he could stop

at will, or even resist the impulse to speak in the Erst place.

Paul gives

conducting their meetings

five practical rules for

in an orderly fashion. (1)

Only one person

to speak at

is

one

time; they are to take turns in addressing the congregation.

Not more than half a dozen are to speak at each meeting. The gift of tongues is not to be exercised unless there is

(2) (3)

someone present was

to translate the

message into Greek; there

a special gift of interpreting tongues. (4)

to be allowed to speak without

Prophets are not

some control on the genuine-

ness of their utterances; there was also a special gift for testing

the authenticity of prophets. (5) Women are not to speak at all; this is a more direct prohibition than that contained in their veiling (11, 5-6).

The

Corinthians, so rich in spiritual

gifts,

should be able

to recognize these prescriptions as coming from the Lord himself

through his minister Paul.

Evidence for Christ's Resurrection. trated

on three events of our Lord's

and second coming. Just

Paul's preaching concenlife,

his death, resurrection,

as Peter based his first

sermon on

192

i

Corinthians 15, 3-19

preaching) you are in the way of salvation; unless indeed

your belief was to you, as

and then,

The

chief message

I

handed on

was handed on to me, was that Christ,

it

had

scriptures

founded.

ill

as the

foretold, died for our sins; that he was buried,

as the scriptures

had

foretold, rose again

on the

That he was seen by Kephas, then by the twelve and afterwards by more than five hundred of the

third day. apostles,

brethren at once, most of

some have gone then by

whom

are alive at this day,

Then he was

to their rest.

the apostles; and last of

all

all,

I

too saw him, like

the last child, that comes to birth unexpectedly. apostles,

I

am

the least; nay,

apostle, since there

of

God;

by God's

only,

he has shown harder than of

God

theirs as

was

me

all

grace,

am

I

I

that

is

it is

fit

to

Of

all

the

be called an

persecuted the church

am what

of them, or rather,

will;

I

has not been without

working with me. That

you

not

when

a time

though

seen by James,

I

am, and the grace

fruit; I

was not

I,

have worked

but the grace

our preaching, mine or

the faith which has

come

to you.

what we preach about Christ, then, is that he rose from the dead, how is it that some of you say the dead do not rise If

If the dead do not rise, then Christ has not risen either; and if Christ has not risen, then our preaching is groundless, and your faith, too, is groundless. Worse still, we are con-

again?

God; we bore God witness that he had raised Christ up from the dead, and he has not raised him up, if it is true that the dead do not rise again. If the dead, I say, do not rise, then Christ has not risen either; and if Christ has not risen, all your faith is a delusion; you victed of giving false testimony about

are back in your sins. It follows, too, that those to their rest in Christ have

been

lost.

If

who have gone we have

the hope

From Ephesus 57 A.D.

193

Pentecost Sunday on the resurrection of Christ, so Paul began his instructions to

new

converts by proving that Christ had

risen from the dead; it was the main apologetic and the foundation of the Christian faith.

The

of the apostles,

evidence for our Lord's resurrection was factual;

given hy

men who had

it

was

actually seen the risen Master, talked

and eaten with him. All four gospels follow the same pattern of proof. Paul here presents six witnesses; only three of these

mentioned

are

in the gospels, Peter (Kephas)

The 500

appearances to the apostles.

and the two

brethren incident prob-

it may be the scene menMatthew 28, 16. Paul selects these witnessses, rather than Mary Magdalen and the two disciples of Emmaus, be-

ably took place by the lake of Galilee;

tioned in

cause they were people he had personally All these saw our sion;

Paul saw him

Lord between

much

later

met

his resurrection

and ascen-

on the road to Damascus

(Acts 9, 3-6); it gave him the right to add his voice to the witness of the other apostles.

Our

Resurrection Depends on Christ's.

For converts from 7

paganism, the hardest doctrine in the Apostles Creed was the

T believe in the resurrection of the body.' Theoretically they knew that man has an immortal soul which survives death;

article:

but for most of the ordinary people this was a vague, shadowy sort of existence,

man would hands was it

somewhat

after the

see again with his eyes,

a fact so

hard to take

new and

manner

of a ghost.

That

and touch things with

startling that their

his

minds found

it in.

PauVs audience of intellectuals at Athens had openly laughed at

him when he mentioned

this doctrine; so

he was used to

Gentile reaction to the resurrection, and he had developed a

1

194

Corinthians

15,

20-34

learned to repose in Christ belongs to this world only, then

we

unhappy beyond all other men. But no, Christ has from the dead, the firstfruits of all those who have fallen

are

risen

man had

asleep; a

brought us death, and a

us resurrection from the dead; just as so with Christ

all will

all

be brought to

man

should bring

have died with Adam,

But each must rise and after him follow

life.

own rank; Christ is the firstfruits, who belong to him, when he comes. Full completion comes after that, when he places his kingship in the hands in his

those

of God, his Father, having

first

dispossessed every other sort

of rule, authority, and power; his reign must continue until 'he has put all his enemies

under his feet/ and the

enemies to be dispossessed in subjection

made them

under his

death.

is

feet';

that

is,

all

subject to him, except indeed that

And when

his subjects.

last of

'God has put

all

things have been

power which made

that subjection

is

complete, then

the Son himself will become subject to the power which all

things his subjects so that

God may

those

things

be

made

all in all.

what can be the use of being baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise again? Why should anyone be baptized for them? Why do we, for that matter, face peril hour after hour? I swear to you, brethren, by all the pride I take in you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that death Tell me,

is

my side. When I fought against beasts at Ephesus my strength, of what use was it, if the dead do not

daily at

with rise

all

again? 'Let us eat and drink, since

row/

Do

not be led into such

corrupt noble minds/

Come

minded men, and

no

your shame,

who

sin

errors:

we must die tomor'Bad company can

back to your

senses, like right-

longer; there are some,

lack the knowledge of

God.

I

say

it

to

From Ephesns 57 A.D. line of

why

argument best suited

first

of

all

from the dead;

deny the

is

is

a denial

the very basis of the Christian

But the fact of Christ's resurrection proves only that from the dead. How about us?

faith.

is

Jesus' resurrection

possibility of resurrection

of an historical event that

That

to convince the sceptics.

he established the fact of

to

195

he,

Christ, rose

Paul here introduces his favourite doctrine, the Mystical

Body of Christ. Just as resurrection was the completion of our Lords historical existence, so it must be the final perfection of his

how

members.

We

are organs belonging to a glorified head;

could such a body be perfect

if

the organs did not share

that glory?

To what

clinch the argument, Paul compares

Adam

lost for the

human

Adam and

Christ:

death

race, Christ regained;

from Adam's transgression; so our Lord mankind bodily immortality as well as sanctifying grace. This right to glorification of the body will not be realized for mankind until the Second Coming of Christ; when that day comes, the Mystical Body will have grown to full perfection; there will be no longer a Church militant on earth, only the Church triumphant of gloriEed humanity in heaven.

as well as sin resulted

won back

for

Paul's final appeal

one from

is

to

two concrete

their experience, the other

realities of daily life,

from

his.

The

first is

the

Corinthian practice of a friend's receiving baptism on behalf of

an unbaptized catechumen; the second to death amidst the perils of Ephesus.

is

Paul's indifference

These two

facts

do not

prove a belief in resurrection, only a belief in survival after death. Paul

is

probably thinking

now

thought that only those living at the

of a second error:

last

some

day would be gloriEed;

those already dead would miss the resurrection.

196

Corinthians 15, 35-51

i

But perhaps someone will ask, 'How can the dead rise up? kind of body will they be wearing when they appear?' Poor fool, when you sow seed in the ground, it must die

What

before full it

can be brought to

it

body that

may

cording to his

Nature

not

is

one day to be,

is

some other

be, or

life;

is

not the

it is

only bare grain, of wheat,

it is

for

God

to

embody

ac-

it

each grain in the body that belongs to

will,

one;

all

crop;

and what you sow

men have one nature,

the birds another, and fishes another;

it.

the beasts another,

so, too,

there are bodies

that belong to earth and bodies that belong to heaven; and

heavenly bodies have one kind of beauty, earthly bodies an-

The sun

other. stars

have

beauty. So

sown

has

one

theirs, it is

own

its

even

star

moon

beauty, the

has hers, the

from another

differs

with the resurrection of the dead.

corruptible, rises incorruptible;

what

is

in its

What

is

sown unhonoured,

rises in glory;

what

what

a natural body, rises a spiritual body. If there

is

sown

is

is

sown

in weakness,

raised in power;

is

such a thing as a natural body, there must be a spiritual

body

too.

Mankind

scripture tells us,

who

has

'a

become

begins with the living soul';

it

Adam who

is

a life-giving spirit. It

of spiritual life that

came

first;

fulfilled in

became, the

as

Adam

was not the principle

natural

life

came

first,

then

man who came first came from the earth, fashioned of dust, the man who came afterwards came from heaven. The nature of that earth-born man is shared by his spiritual life; the

earthly sons, the nature of the heaven-born

enly sons; and

it

remains for

earth, to bear the is

this;

us,

who once

stamp of heaven.

the kingdom of

God

What

man, by

I

mean, brethren,

cannot be enjoyed by

blood; the principle of corruption cannot share a is

his heav-

bore the stamp of

flesh

life

and

which

incorruptible.

Here

is

a secret

I

will

make known

to you:

we

shall

not

From Ephesus 57 A.D. Bodily Resurrection Jesus' death,

23). is

A

Against Reason.

few days before

some Sadducees confronted him with

soluble case of the

They

Not

197

woman

their in-

(ML

with seven husbands

22,

visualized life in the resurrected state exactly as life

here on earth: a resurrected body exactly the same as that of

Lazarus come back from the tomb.

Our Lord

corrects this mis-

representation of glorified bodies by pointing out they are

immortal; marriage will be unnecessary once death has been destroyed.

Paul here demonstrates the reasonableness of Christian ceaching on the resurrection. First he illustrates from the world of nature. In vegetable

life

there

is

a close parallel with

body: the vast difference between a grain of wheat and

development into

stalk, leaf,

must undergo the corruption perfection.

The

and

ear;

mans

its final

man

both wheat and

of death before rising to a

new

variety of bodies in the animal world, the shin-

moon and

ing brilliance of the sun by day, of the

prepare man's imagination for a

new kind

by night,

stars

of body, the glorified

beauty of a resurrected body.

In addition to immortality, Paul

lists

four other qualities

of a resurrected body: incorruptibility, glory, power, uality. Just

how

resurrection

our Lords

and

all

they will affect the way of

on the life

last

life

of

men

after his resurrection.

He

was

free

he ate with his apostles to convince them of the

him

at first sight;

after the

it difficult

from pain

and

sleep;

reality of his

body, not to satisfy his hunger. In his face there was a

nize

spirit-

day can best be seen by examining

physical needs, such as the need for food

and beauty, which made

and

new glory

for his followers to recog-

he possessed the power to move from

place to place just by willing to be wherever he wanted to go;

and he could pass through miraculous manner.

solid objects, such as doors, in a

198 all fall asleep,

a

Corinthians

i

moment,

but we

15,

$2-16, 7

be changed.

shall all

It will

an eye, when the

in the twinkling of

happen

sounds; the trumpet will sound, and the dead will free

from corruption, and we

life,

this corruptible nature

come death,

is

wears

incorruptible garment, this

its

is

swallowed up in victory.

your victory; where, death,

that gives death

its sting, just

as

power; thanks be to God, then,

is

your

Where

sting?' It

is

sin

the law that gives sin

who

gives us victory through

my beloved

immovable

full

in

then,

it is

our Lord Jesus Christ. Stand firm, then,

in the task the

when

immortality, the saying of scripture will

its

'Death

true,

changed;

mortal nature with immortality. Then,

this

mortal nature

rise again,

shall find ourselves

nature of ours must be clothed with incor-

this corruptible

ruptible

in

trumpet

last

your resolve, doing your

its

brethren,

share continually

Lord has given you, since you know that your

labour in the Lord's service cannot be spent in vain.

And now

about the collection which

saints; follow the

plan which

I

is

being

made

for the

have prescribed for the Gala-

Each of you should put aside, on the first day of the week, what he can afford to spare, and save it up, so that there may be no need for a collection at the time of my visit; and when I am with you I will despatch your envoys, with letters of recommendation from you, to convey your tian churches.

charity to Jerusalem. If

I

find

it

worthwhile to make the

journey myself, they shall travel with me. to

you

mean

as

soon as

to go

I

on

my way

shall

be coming (I

round Macedonia), and perhaps stay with you or

even pass the winter with you;

sion for a

I

have made the round of Macedonia

to

my

it

be for you to put

will

next stage, whatever

mere passing

visit to

you;

I

it

be. This

hope

to

is

me

no occa-

spend some

From Ephesus 57 A.D.

Adam,

199

and head of the human race. The first Adam was made of nothing from the dust of the earth; the second Adam, incarnate in time, had Christ

is

the Second

the representative

To the memown life: 'He

existed eternally in the glory of his divine nature.

bers of his Mystical Body, he

communicates

his

humbled body

of ours anew,

moulding

will

form

this

it

into

the image of his glorified body/

In his treatment of resurrected bodies, Paul of the good, not of the

damned.

consoling those Christians

is

thinking only

seems at times that he

It

who thought

is

that only the living

would share in Christ's triumph on the last day, and that the dead would not rise from the tomb. He had reassured the Thessahnians on this same matter (Thess. 4, 12-17).

He

leaves

no doubt,

15, that death has

in this final section of 1

Corinthians

been conquered: 'He leaps and tramples

on the prostrate form of death, singing aloud the song of triumph.

7

Final Directions and Future Plans.

Paul has Enished the

body

to conclude with

of his letter; his usual practice

is

practical advice, personal information,

paragraph

Paul to

is

and

greetings.

in the nature of a postscript. It

come down from

on the resurrected body

is

some So this

no trouble

for

the heights of mystical speculation

to the routine matters of finance.

Twelve years before, he and Barnabas had brought a monetary contribution from the Christians at Antioch to the

mother church

at Jerusalem (Acts 11, 27-30).

start of his first

from the Gentile churches and sending

to Jerusalem. It

mother church,

Body and

the

missionary journey to Galatia he began the

practice of collecting

money

And from

was an act of charity to the poorer

a sign of unity of the

a standing proof that his

members

of the Mystical

championing of the Gen-

200

i

time with you,

if

Corinthians 16, 8-24

the Lord will let me. Till Pentecost,

I shall

be staying at Ephesus; a great and promising opportunity

open to me, and strong

forces

oppose me.

If

Timothy comes,

be sure to make him free of your company; he Lord's work as

I

am.

He

is

me

safely; I

him here with the brethren. As for our brother have urged him strongly to accompany the brethren

awaiting

Apollo,

on

doing the

not to be treated with disrespect;

is

put him on his way in peace so that he reaches

am

lies

I

their journey to you;

but no, he

will

not consent to

visit

yet, he will come when he has leisure. Be on the watch, stand firm in the faith, play the man, be

you

full of

courage.

And

let

everything you do be done in a spirit

of charity.

This appeal, brethren,

must make

I

the household of Stephanas was the

to you.

first

You know

that

Achaia gave;

offering

you know how they have devoted themselves to supplying the needs of the saints; you persons, to everyone I

am

to such

shares in the labours of our ministry.

glad that Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus are

made up

for your absence, bringing relief to

as well as yours.

Such men deserve your recognition.

here; they have

my mind

A

who

must show deference

greeting to you from

greetings, in the Lord's

all

the churches of Asia, and

name, from Aquila and

many

Priscilla, as

well as the church in their household. All the brethren greet

you; greet one another with the kiss of saints. greetings in

who Lord

my

my own

handwriting,

has no love for the Lord, is

coming.

The

love be with you

let

PAUL.

If

I

send you

there

him be held

is

my

anyone

accursed; the

grace of the Lord Jesus be with you; and all in

Christ Jesus.

From Ephesus 57 A.D. tiles

him

did not cut

velops

this

Corinthians

off

from

201

Paul de-

his Jewish heritage.

thought in his moving charity sermon in

2

8-9.

Paul had been three years at Ephesus, the longest time he ever stayed in the one

city.

Corinth was only three hundred

miles west across the Aegean Sea; boats were going and com-

ing daily. Seemingly he had thought of a quick voyage to

Corinth several times, but was prevented by the demands of his apostolic ministry at Ephesus.

that he will

make

a longer stay

through Macedonia,

So now he makes

a

when he does come

later in the year. Actually

promise overland

he did eventu-

spend the winter of 57-58 A.D. at Corinth, where he wrote the Letter to the Romans. In the meantime he tells them of ally

Timothy

s

expected arrival in the near future (he and a Co-

were on their way through Macedonia, Acts Timothy had been only a boy when he was at Corinth with Paul five years before; they must remember that he is now a mature missionary and is to be treated with due reverrinthian, Erastus, 19, 22).

ence.

Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus had probably brought the Corinthian letter to Paul; with Sosthenes,

PauYs secretary for Paul's reply. Paul loyal

followers

distressing

party

1

who

had high hopes that the influence would help solve the problem spirit

served as

Corinthians, they would carry back

in

Corinth.

It

of these

of

the

would seem that

Paul wanted Apollo to accompany them; he, however, had not yet acquired full Christian perfection

and would not co-operate

with Paul in putting an end to the divisions in the Corinthian

community. AquiJa and for

some time

Priscilla are

at

mentioned because they had

Corinth (Acts 18,

2).

lived

Third Missionary Journey continued

It

was

just at this

time that the

Way

was the cause of a

notable disturbance. There was a silversmith called

who

Deme-

make silver models of Diana's temple, and employment to the craftsmen. And now he called a meeting of these, and of the workmen who were in the same trade, and spoke thus: 'Friends, you all know that our prosperity depends upon this business of ours. And you can see and hear for yourselves that this Paul has persuaded trius,

used to

so gave plentiful

a whole multitude to change their allegiance, not only at

Ephesus but over most of Asia, by

temple of the great goddess Diana will

them

telling

made by men's hands are no gods at all. It we are in danger of finding this work of ours will

is

that gods

not only that

discredited.

The

count for nothing, she

be shorn of her greatness, the goddess

whom

Asia and

all

the world reveres/

At

these words, they were

to shout: 'Great

whole

city, as

all

overcome with

rage,

Diana of Ephesus.' The uproar

they ran by

common

and began filled

the

consent to the theatre,

who were comPaul from Macedonia. When Paul had a mind to

carrying with

panions of

is

them Gaius and

Aristarchus,

show himself before the people, his disciples tried to prevent it; and some of the delegates of Asia, who were his friends, sent a message to him, imploring him not to risk his life in the theatre.

Meanwhile some cried this, some that; the meeting was confusion, and most of them could not tell what had brought them together. The Jews thrust Alexander forward, and some of the crowd brought him down with them; so Alexander made a gesture with his hand, and tried to give an all in

account of himself before the people; but as soon

as they

From Ephesus

Every four years the month of

Riot of the Silversmiths.

was a public holiday

to Philippi 57 A.D.

at Ephesus.

There were

May

sacrifices daily in

the temple of Diana, athletics in the amphitheatre, processions

through the

came one

streets,

hig

fair;

and dancing

month. The whole of

for a

at night.

The whole

there was a spirit of celebration Asia, the

city be-

and

revelry

most populous province Games,

of the Empire, sent delegates, particularly to the

which were the biggest

in Asia.

The normal population

of

35,000 increased to at least a million people in the city of

Ephesus for the Diana

festival.

This was the 'great and promising opportunity' that Paul told the Corinthians he was waiting for. Earlier during his stay at Ephesus,

he had won a notable victory over black

magic by having most of the books on licly

burned.

He had

missionary centres.

this occult science

pub-

stayed on, despite urgent calls to other

The

vast concourse of people that

assemble at Ephesus for this big

festival

meant

would

a heaven-sent

opportunity to preach the gospel to the heathen.

Paul knew the

difficulties

and dangers of the

was opposing paganism in one of holiest city.

me/ On

He had told

its

He

situation.

strongest centres

and

its

the Corinthians: 'Strong forces oppose

this occasion it

was one of the wealthy merchants

engaged in the production of statuettes of Diana that caused trouble. His

name was Demetrius, and he spoke

for the thou-

sands of silversmiths engaged in the statue trade. In his speech

he

cleverly

mixed appeals

to the motives of gain, religion,

and

patriotism.

The went

fanatical

crowd that soon gathered

in search of Paul. Fortunately he

Aquila and

Priscilla (he

in

the temple

was not at the home of

was probably instructing converts in

°f the Apostles 19, 34-20,

204

1

found out that he was a Jew, a single cry came from every mouth, and for some two hours they kept on shouting: 'Great is

Diana

of

Then

the town clerk restored quiet

Ephesus/

'Ephesians/ he said,

know

that the city of Ephesus

and of the image that

among the crowd: who does not

there were anyone

'as if

fell

is

the acolyte of the great Diana,

down from

the sky! Since this

is

beyond dispute, you had best be quiet, and do nothing rashly. These men you have brought here have not robbed the temhave not used blasphemous language about your

ples; they

goddess.

And

if

Demetrius and

his fellow craftsmen

charge to bring against them, why,

we have

we have our

settled

court days, If,

on the

raise, it

can be

proconsuls; let the two parties go to law.

other hand, you have any further question to

by lawful assembly.

for today's proceedings,

have any

We may easily be called to account

and there

enable us to account for this riot/

no grievance which

is

With

will

these words he broke

up the meeting.

When

the tumult was over, Paul

to rally their spirits

and bid them

summoned

farewell,

and

his disciples, set

out on his

journey to Macedonia.

Second Letter to the Corinthians From

Paul, by God's will an apostle of Jesus Christ,

Timothy, who is

at

is

their brother, to the

Corinth and to

all

Church

of

and

God which

the saints in the whole of Achaia;

grace and peace be yours from God, our Father, and from

the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the

Lord Jesus

God and Father of our God who gives all

Christ, the merciful Father, the

encouragement.

He

it is

who

comforts us in

all

our

trials;

and

From Ephesus

A.D.

to Philippi 57

the school of Tyrannus). So the

mob

205

picked up two of his

Gaius and Aristaichus, and swept on through the

disciples,

Jewish quarter to the theatre, with

seating capacity of

its

25,000.

The Jews, wishing tians,

to disassociate themselves

from the Chris-

persuaded one of their number, Alexander, to speak to

the crowd; hut they shouted ing, the

him down. After two

crowd was exhausted. The town

city's representative

opportunity and

clerk,

hours' shout-

who was

the

before the imperial authorities, seized the

made

a

common-sense appeal

to reason

and

self-interest.

Sadly Paul decided to leave Ephesus,

visit

some

of the

churches of Asia, continue north to Troas, and cross by sea to Philippi.

With him were

Titus, soon to be sent with an-

other letter to Corinth, Gaius and Aristarchus.

In 431 A.D. a general council of the Church was held at Ephesus. On that occasion the doctrine that Mary is the

Mother

of

God

was defined

an

as

article

of faith. Paul's

gospel at last found acceptance at Ephesus: in the city that

shouted for Diana, Mary was acclaimed.

Conflict Without, Anxiety Comfort

in Suffering with Christ.

Ephesus in

Paul went by land from

a northerly direction, possibly to

ably spent several

months

north to Troas; Sardis,

Within

visiting the

Smyrna; he prob-

churches on the road

Pergamum and Adrumetum all had But again he met with

flourishing Christian communities.

persecution, probably at the hands of the Jews in these cities; this is the

Asian

trial

he

refers to.

Added

to his recent experi-

2 Corinthians

2o6 this

it is

1,

4-15

encouragement we ourselves receive from

God which

enables us to comfort others, whenever they have

own. The sufferings of Christ,

their

our

lives;

but there

it is

of

trials

true, overflow into

overflowing comfort, too, which Christ

is

Have we

makes

for

your

encouragement, for your salvation. Are we comforted?

It is

brings to us.

so that

endure?

trials to

It all

you may be comforted. And the

in your willingness to

effect of this appears

undergo the sufferings we too undergo;

making our hopes of you all the more confident; partners of our sufferings, you will be partners of our encouragement too. Make no mistake, brethren, about the trial which has been befalling us in Asia;

beyond our

strength, so that

for ourselves

we could

would have us learn raises

was something that overburdened us

it

the dead to

we

find

despaired of

life itself.

no outcome but death; so God

It is

he who has preserved

to have confidence that he will preserve us

must help us with your

by many on our behalf, and

God

for the favour

It

is

made

our boast,

behaved

in all

name

in the

has shown to

still.

of

and

is

learned

Only you,

will

be given

many

persons,

So thanks

prayers.

us,

we have

preserving us, from such deadly peril; and

too,

him who

to trust, not in ourselves, but in

life.

Indeed,

us.

good conscience, that we have

and towards you

especially,

with a

holiness that was sincere in God's sight, not using

human

in the world,

wisdom, but the letters

nothing

light of

stand us to mean. us better, as you do chief pride, as

I

And we mean by

our

will come to understand some measure; are we not your

hope that you already in

you are our chief

Lord Jesus comes?

had made up

God's grace.

than what you read in them, and under-

else

It

was with

my mind

pride, in the day

this

when our

confidence in you that

I

to give you a double opportunity of

From

Philippi 57 A.D.

ence at Ephesus, during the

overburdened the

Even

riot of the silversmiths, it

human powers

progresses. It

is

almost

of the strong-willed Paul.

in this first paragraph there

not well at Corinth; the

207

details will

is

he

a hint that all filled in as

was

the letter

the second element that contributed to Paul's

mental anxiety: he not only had to endure opposition in Asia,

he had

also to

cope with the disloyalty of some of the

Corinthian converts. These two sources of worry give the tone

and theme of the Second Letter to the Corinthians. It is the most personal and autobiographical of Paul's letters and has been caJJed the Epistle of Paul's Passion.

With ings,

his Mystical

Body

outlook, Paul sees in these suffer-

both physical and mental, his

own

likeness to the suffer-

ing Head. Like our Lord in the garden of Gethsemani, Paul looks to the Father as the source of strength to endure

conquer.

A

favourite

word

to express this

is

'comfort'

and and

is the Greek word familiar to us as the Holy Ghost, Paraclete the Comforter. It

'encouragement.' It

new name



of the

occurs nine times in this paragraph, and 28 times in Second Corinthians;

it is

not used nearly so frequently in any other

letter. It expresses Paul's

reaction to the situation.

Paul Refutes Charge of Inconsistency. preached the gospel in Corinth,

When

Paul

six years before, his

first

pagan

converts enjoyed the freedom of God's children for the

first

T am free to do what I will' were familiar But when he wrote the First Letter to them from Ephesus, earlier this year, he severely criticized their time in their

words on

lives;

his lips.

abuse of Christian freedom.

man

quoted three examples: the

married to his father's wife, lawsuits before pagans, and

food offered to a

He

man who

said

idols.

Their reaction was:

one thing to your

face,

How

could you trust

then contradicted him-

2 Corinthians

208 spiritual profit,

coming

to

16-2,

1,

you

4

then passing through

first,

Corinth to Macedonia, and so from Macedonia back to you;

and you were

to put

me on my way

made up my mind, do you suppose

me

be said of

human 'No,

I

that the plans

prudence, so that will

delivered to you

No.

It

it

not/ with me? As is

When

to Judea.

did

I

thus

Can

lightly?

it

I

it

form are formed by motives of

I

'Yes,

first,

is

God

will/

I

and then,

message we

faithful, the

is

not one which hesitates between Yes and

was Jesus Christ, the Son of God, that

I,

that Silvanus

and Timothy preached to you; and that preaching did not between Yes and No; in him all is affirmed with cer-

hesitate

him all the promises of God become certain; that why, when we give glory to God, it is through him that we say our Amen. It is God who gives both us and you our certainty. In is

tainty in Christ;

who

it is

he who has anointed

us, just as it is

he

has put his seal on us, and given us the foretaste of his

Spirit in our hearts.

With my if I

soul as the forfeit

did not, after

all, visit

you

I

call this

God

at Corinth,

it

to witness that

was to give you

(Not that we would domineer over your faith; we would help you to achieve happiness. And indeed,

a fresh chance. rather, in

your faith you stand firm enough.)

in

my own

mind, that

a sad errand.

Was

sorrow on those

I

who

I

to are

make you

my own

if

it

meant

this

sorry? It

you happy

and

all, I

knew

too.

When

distress of

was resolved

that I

what made

I

wrote:

I

would not

I

felt

I

might

confidence

me happy would make

wrote to you,

mind, with many

on

meant bringing

finding cause for sorrow where

have expected to find cause for happiness. in

I

a second visit

best source of comfort. Andl

those were the very terms in which

come,

On

would not pay you

I

you

wrote in great anguish

tears. I

did not wish to bring

sorrow on you, only to assure you of the love

I

bear you, so

From self

when he wrote

Philippi 57 A.D.

from

later

209

a safe distance?

Such actions

were signs of inconsistency and even cowardice. His change of travel plans was another

Yes today and

No

come

He had

illustration of this

tomorrow attitude. During Paul's threeyear stay at Ephesus, he had promised to make the short few days' voyage across the Aegean to Corinth; hut he had not to them.

gone hack on

he coming to you as soon as

shall

Macedonia'

Cor. 16

(1

his first

end of

casual notification in writing at the I

promise by a

his First Letter:

*I

have made the round of

5).

,

In reality travel plans are not so important; the person of

our Lord

is

what

When

thoughts.

really matters;

and he

is

Paul preached to them, when he wrote to

them, his teaching was about Jesus

room

never far from Paul's

for changing views

crucified.

There

and opinions about the Son

no God;

is

of

Paul's teaching has always been a constant affirmation of un-

changing truth.

Man

Disciplined

Restored

assumed with Mgr. Knox that Paul letter written

that

Timothy

between arrived

1

and

there;

and

1

some

Deeply

in Corinth

insult

Corinthians

assaulted by this

when

by

after the riot at cities.

Paul's First Letter arrived

and

disciple

he had been

on the part of the man corrected by 5.

Possibly he

man, who belonged

distressed

here referring to a lost

one of the nearby Asian

in

as Paul's closest friend

subjected to

Paul in

is

have

I

2 Corinthians. I have surmised

from Corinth shortly

Ephesus and joined Paul

Timothy had been

Fellowship.

Full

to

physically

to the rival Apollo party.

this incident,

stinging rebuke to the Corinthian

had been

Paul wrote a short but

community; from

his

own

description of this letter

it is

often called the Epistle of Tears.

He

off

this

immediately sent

new

letter

with

Titus

as

210

2 Corinthians 2, 5-17

abundantly. Well,

someone has caused

if

so that

all

of you,

must not be too hard on him. This punishment is punishment enough

I

on him by so many of you

inflicted

for the

not

distress, it is

myself that he has distressed but, in some measure,

man

speak

I

of,

and now you must think rather of

showing him indulgence, and comforting him; you must not let

him be overwhelmed by excess of grief. Let me entreat you, him assurance of your good will. The reason why

then, to give

wrote to you, after

I

all,

whether you would obey to anybody, so

do

I

too;

was to

me I

your loyalty, by seeing

test

in full. If

you show indulgence

myself, wherever

have shown

I

indulgence, have done so in the person of Christ for your sakes, for fear that Satan should get the

we know

well

enough how resourceful he

went to Troas, then, to preach found a great opportunity open to I

advantage over

Christ's gospel there,

me

us;

is.

and

in the Lord's service;

had no peace of mind, because

had not yet seen my brother Titus; so I took leave of them all, and pressed on into Macedonia. I give thanks to God, that he is always exhibiting us as the captives in the triumph of Christ, and but

still I

through us spreading abroad everywhere,

knowledge of himself.

I

like a

perfume, the

We are Christ's incense offered to God,

making manifest both those who are achieving salvation and those who are on the road to ruin; as a deadly fume where it finds death, as a lifegiving perfume where it finds life. Who can prove himself worthy of such a calling? so

many

others, adulterate the

all its purity,

as

God

presence in Christ.

gave

it

word

of

We

do

not, like

God, we preach

to us, standing before

it

in

God's

From messenger

(2

Philippi 57 A.D.

Cor. 7 seems to require

211

this).

He demanded

strong measures to be taken against the offender; they were to carry out the original sentence of

excommunication; he ap-

pealed to their loyalty to him as their apostle to right the

wrong done. Writing later,

from

2 Corinthians

months

Philippi, five

Paul has heard Titus' report on his Corinthian

visit:

the Epistle of Tears had been well received and the sinner disciplined.

He must now

be restored to

full

rejecting

city.

God, and

Jesus

wept because

were

his people

true Saviour; Paul

their only

life.

weeping over Jerusa-

Paul's tears recaJJ the Master himself

lem, his beloved

sacramental

saw the

Corinthian rebellion as a rejection of apostolic authority,

which comes from God. Our Lord

felt

because he loved them so much;

was love not revenge that

moved Paul

to act as

Christ's Apostles

he

it

did.

Are His Heralds Everywhere.

to explain the circumstances of his latter s return

sorrow for his people

Paul begins

meeting with Titus, on the

from Corinth; then suddenly breaks

geographical description.

The

reader will

off his

have to wait until

j,

5 before Paul takes up again the story of his meeting with Titus.

The Corinthians had his

travel

plans

without divine guidance; seeing himself

running into a similar Paul breaks toJate.

already accused Paul of changing

difficulty over his

off the narrative

The image

is

from

and

journey to meet Titus,

gives a

homiJy on the apos-

a triumphal procession; Paul

captive led here, there, everywhere by Jesus.

Then he

is

is

a

in-

cense on the coals of the thurifers in the procession, wafted

about by every wind. The

on

effect

he has on

his hearers

depends

their dispositions; let the Corinthians look into their con-

sciences.

2 Corinthians 3, 1-14

212

You will say, perhaps, recommend ourselves

we

that

are

making

a fresh attempt

What, do we need letters of recommendation to you, or from you, as some others do? Why, you yourselves are the letter we carry about with to

us, written in

open

are an

our hearts, for letter

God, with human through Christ,

God. Not

is

all

to recognize

ink,

but

since

law to men.

law

the confidence in which

know how stone,

we all

he who has enabled us

It

is

Such,

it.

we make our

are able to

appeal

frame any

our ability comes from to promulgate his

new

a spiritual, not a written law; the written

death, whereas the spiritual law brings

inflicts

us; a

in the Spirit of the living

that, left to ourselves,

it is

You

to read.

hearts, instead of stone, to carry

thought as coming from ourselves;

God,

and

from Christ, promulgated through

message written not in

to

to your favour.

life.

that sentence of death, engraved in writing

was promulgated to

men

We

upon

in a dazzling cloud, so that

the people of Israel could not look Moses in the face, for the brightness of

How much which the

it,

although that brightness soon passed away.

more

dazzling, then,

spiritual

law

is

must be the brightness

promulgated to them!

If

there

in is

must be our acquittal; and

a splendour in the proclamation of our guilt, there

more splendour yet in the proclamation of indeed, what once seemed resplendent seems by comparison resplendent no longer, so much does the greater splendour outshine it. What passed away passed in a flash of glory; what remains, remains instead in a blaze of glory.

Such

is

the ground of our confidence, and

boldly enough.

Moses

It

is

veiled his face.

not for us to use veiled language, as

He

might not go on gazing was passing away. But

we speak out

did

it,

so that the people of Israel

at the features of the old order,

which

in spite of that, dullness has crept over

From

Philippi 57 A.D.

Glory of the Christian Ministry.

213

There are three

distinct

and the next paragraph: (1) Moses, the minister of the Old Covenant; this image serves as the theme which unites both paragraphs. (2) Paul's mystic outlook on the lines of

thought in

this

grandeur of the ministry of the

New

Covenant.

(3)

The

Corin-

and accusations against Paul's what these charges were has to be surmised from

thian background of insinuations

conduct; just

Paul's reply. Paul can talk truths,

and

moment

one

of sublime spiritual

in the next descend to practical matters.

Possibly

Apollo returned to Corinth after the iiot at

Ephesus; the comparison of Paul and Moses sounds very like his style of

Old Testament

allegory.

The

much

dazzling cloud,

symbol of the divine presence on mount Sinai when Moses

re-

Ten Commandments, was a scene far surpassing in grandeur Paul's own personal meeting with the Lord on the road to Damascus. The purpose of the comparison was to put Paul in his rightful position of inferiority among Gods minceived the

isters.

Paul's reply trate

is

to neglect the persons

concerned and concen-

on the message preached by them. The glory of

a minister

New

Covenant far surpasses that of the Old for three The New Law is spiritual, the Old was material. That is, the Old was written on stone tablets, the New comes directly from Christ to the hearts of believers. (2) The New brings acquittal from sin, the Old only made men more aware of their guilt. (3) The New lasts forever, the Old has passed

of the

reasons: (1)

away.

Gospel Preachers

Do Not Veil

the Light.

Paul knew his Old

Testament even more thoroughly than did ApoJJo.

He now

proceeds to take up their Mosaic comparison and turn against them.

Moses, the

He

veil

introduces a

worn over

new

detail

it

from the story of

his face (Exod. 34, 29-35).

^or a

2 Corinthians 3, 15-4, 9

214

and

their senses,

to this day the reading of the old law

muffled with the same

no

veil;

To

has been abrogated in Christ.

law of Moses

is

this day, I

read out, a veil hangs over their hearts. There

must be a turning

The

taken away.

is

them that it say, when the

revelation tells

to the

and where the Lord's

Lord

first,

and then the

we have been speaking

Spirit

Spirit

is,

there

is

of

veil will

freedom.

to us, all alike, to catch the glory of the

Lord

be

the Lord;

is

It is

given

as in a mirror,

with faces unveiled; and so we become transfigured into the

same likeness, borrowing from that Lord enables us.

glory, as the Spirit of the

Being entrusted, then, by God's mercy with

we do not

play the coward;

we renounce

all

this ministry,

shamefaced con-

cealment, there must be no crooked ways, no falsifying of

God's word;

it is

we recommend as in

God's

by making the truth publicly known that

ourselves to the honest

Our gospel is those who are on

sight.

a mystery to

judgment of mankind,

a mystery, yes, but

it is

only

the road to perdition; those

whose unbelieving minds have been blinded by the god

this

world worships, so that the glorious gospel of Christ, God's

them with the rays of its illumination. not ourselves we proclaim; we proclaim Christ

image, cannot reach After

all, it is

Jesus as Lord,

and ourselves

The same God who bade

as your servants for Jesus' sake.

light shine out of darkness has

kindled a light in our hearts, whose shining his glory as

We

he has revealed

to

make known

in the features of Jesus Christ.

have a treasure, then, in our keeping, but

in ourselves, that gives

are being

its

shell

is

it

must be God, and not anything

it its

sovereign power. For ourselves,

of perishable earthenware;

we

it

is

hampered everywhere, yet

breathe, are hard put to

it,

still

but never at a

have room to

loss;

persecution

does not leave us unbefriended, nor crushing blows destroy

From

moment Paul

is

veil: it

light of the gospel; the

bandage over their

trast:

from

distracted

symbolism of the

For the

Philippi 57 A.D. his

215

argument

as

he

recalls the

represents Jewish blindness to the

Jews are

walking round with a

still

eyes.

rest of this

paragraph he develops a twofold con-

he compares the veiled features of Moses and the un-

and secondly he

veiled face of Christ at the Transfiguration;

compares the veiled Moses with his own open, unveiled, straightforward language. Paul's basic doctrine of the Mystical rally to

that

think of our Lord.

comes

parallel

mind

is

Body

and

mount

Sinai.

The

members and

of Christ

reflecting it in

in their preaching of the gospel truths.

Paul's preaching

the message from that Paul gave to

must not be considered apart from

Christ;

God, delivered through Christ, is the same the Corinthians. There is no veiling of this

message, no subterfuge, no dishonesty; straightforward as Christ himself.

among

life

Second Person of the Blessed Trinity shone out

are like mirrors catching that divine light

is

natu-

the Transfiguration, because of the

Jesus' face at the Transfiguration; the

their lives

him

leads

incident of Jesus' mortal

with Moses' dazzling features on

glory of the

on

to

The

the listeners; those

and understand; those who

who

The

it

is

open and

all

the trouble

and

sincere see

cause of

are honest

as

are badly disposed are blinded by

Satan ('the god this world worships') and oppose the truth.

Paul Undaunted by Mortal Dangers.

The

opposition party

of ApoJJo at Corinth put forward a plausible explanation of Paul's change in teaching: he

was afraid of the Jews; he was a coward who would not stand up to his principles when pressure was applied. When he Erst preached at Corinth, he proclaimed the gospel of freedom from the burdensome prescrip-

2i6

2 Corinthians 4, 10-5, 6

we

us;

carry about continually in our bodies the dying state

power of Jesus may be manifested

of Jesus, so that the living in our bodies too.

up

Always we,

we

alive as

may be makes

being given

are, are

to death for Jesus' sake, so that the living

power

of Jesus

manifested in this mortal nature of ours. So death

itself felt in us,

the scripture, 'with

minds with

full

ing that he

and

life in

raised the

and summon

sum

spoke

confidence/ and

full

for your sakes, so that grace

increase the

'I

confidence, sharing that

who

raise us, too,

you.

mind,' says

too speak our

faith,

and know-

Lord Jesus from the dead

us, like

you, before him.

made manifold

of gratitude

we

same

my

which

is

in

many

will

It is all

lives

may

offered to God's glory.

No, we do not play the coward; though the outward part of our nature is being worn down, our inner life is refreshed from day to day. This light and momentary affliction brings with

it

a reward multiplied every way, loading us with ever-

lasting glory;

if

only

we

will fix

our eyes on what

is

unseen,

see. What we can see, lasts but for a moment; what is unseen is eternal. Once this earthly tent-dwelling of ours has come to an end, God, we are sure, has a solid building waiting for us, a dwelling not made with hands, that will last eternally in heaven. And indeed, it is for this that we sigh, longing for the shelter of that home which heaven will give us, if death, when it comes,

not on what we can

is

to find us sheltered, not defenceless against the winds. Yes,

if

we

tent-dwellers here go sighing

and heavy-hearted,

it

not because we would be stripped of something; rather,

is

we

would clothe ourselves afresh; our mortal nature must be swallowed up in life. For this, nothing else, God was preparing us,

when he gave

us the foretaste of his Spirit.

then, continually, since

we

We take heart,

recognize that our spirits are exiled

from the Lord's presence so long

as they are at

home

in the

From

He

217

Mosaic Jaw; but when he wrote

tions of the

distant places, he gave

cution.

Philippi 57 A.D.

way cravenly under

and imposed

retracted his doctrine of freedom

restrictions such as Jewish marriage laws

outmoded kosher food

them from

to

fear of Jewish perse-

Cor. 5) and Jewish

(1

regulations (1 Cor. 8-10).

In reply Paul appeals to the constant opposition and persecution of the Jews wherever he set foot. If he were trying to please the Jews by his teaching,

continually? It

is

why

true that Paul

is

treasure of Christ's revelation in his

frame.

But

trials

and

did they persecute

human; he frail,

carries

him the

perishable, mortal

troubles, instead of crushing

and cowing

him, only serve to remind him of his membership in the Mystical Body.

The two

on earth

essential acts of Jesus' life

were his death on the cross and his resurrection; Paul knows that

it is

through suffering that each

relive the Passion of

our Lord;

into the resurrected

life.

life

A

this

member must

dying state

passing

trial is

is

imitate

and

the only entry

rewarded by eternal

with God.

The Feast for a

of Tabernacles

whole week Paul and

Lydia's comfortable

home

was held each year in October; his disciples

had moved out of

to live in tents, just as the chosen

people had done during the Exodus (Lev. 23, 34-44). The contrast between these two standards of living supplied Paul, the tentmalcer, with a picturesque illustration of his sublime

thoughts on

life

and death. For most men there

danger than death. But that death

is

is

not

how

merely giving up the cold, unpleasant

no

is

Paul sees

it;

life

greater

for

him

in a tent

out in the open for the warmth and comfort of a stone house, such as Lydia's. the

life

The temporary

of an eternal, heavenly

When

Paul

is

summoned

exile

on earth

is

exchanged for

home.

before the divine judge, there are

2 Corinthians 5, 7-19

2i 8

body, with

We

I

and have

say,

from the body, and

home

guide our steps.

faith, instead of a clear view, to

take heart,

at

home

mind

a

rather to be exiled

with the Lord; to that end, at

or in exile, our ambition

to

is

win

his favour. All of us

have a scrutiny to undergo before Christ's judgment each to reap what his mortal

seat, for

has earned, good or

life

ill,

ac-

cording to his deeds.

It

we

what we

we

win men over by persuasion; are,

and

so, I

we

are showing

of us, to those

God

recognizes us for

hope, does your better judgment. No,

recommend

are not trying to

afresh;

minds that

then, with the fear of the Lord before our

is,

try to

ourselves to your favour

you how to find material

who have

so

much

for boasting

to boast of outwardly,

and

Then take them as Or sober sense? Then take them as adto yourselves. With us, Christ's love is a compelling and this is the conviction we have reached; as one

nothing inwardly. Are these wild words? addressed to God. dressed

motive,

man

died on behalf of

he died

for us

all,

living with our

then

all,

all

thereby became dead men;

so that being alive should

own

life,

but with

his life

no longer mean

who

died for us

we do not human fashion; even if we used to think of Christ in a human fashion, we do so no longer; it follows, in fact, that when a man becomes a new creature

and has

risen again;

and

therefore, henceforward,

think of anybody in a merely

in Christ, his old life has disappeared, everything has

become

new about him.

he who,

This, as always,

is

God's doing;

it is

through Christ, has reconciled us to himself, and allowed us to minister this reconciliation of his to others. Yes, in Christ, reconciling the

God was

world to himself, establishing in

our hearts his message of reconciliation, instead of holding

men

to account for their sins.

From two

he

possibilities:

Philippi 57 A.D.

may

still

219

be in his tent

Second Coming), or he may be shipped of

The

dead).

already been

at the

were constantly thinking of the

early Christians

likelihood of their survival

(alive

his tent (already

till

mentioned twice

the end of the world;

has

it

in Paul's letters (1 Thess. 4, 15;

Cor. 15, 51). In either case Paul will welcome his homecoming to the vision of God and the glorification of his body. 1

The Ambassador

The thought

of Christ.

ment, about which Paul has

just

been

of death

writing,

and

judg-

the link with

is

the previous paragraph. These considerations should be

suffi-

cient guarantee to the Corinthians that Paul does not act

despotically without thinking of the divine Judge, his

words of correction are uttered

in sincerity,

and that

all

without subter-

fuge.

But

fear

is

not the dominant motive in PauYs

from the highest of

all

life;

he

acts

motives, love; and he cannot speak of

Lords exmake use of

love without speaking of Christ. In quoting our

ample,

some

it is

rather surprising that Paul does not

of the incidents in the Gospels; Jesus correcting his

would have served him admirably in this context. But Paul is interested in only one incident of our Lord's life, and that is his death. By baptism a Christian

disciples, especially Peter,

undergoes a mystical death with Christ; the energy with

which he

lives,

the breath he breathes,

is

the

life

of Christ.

is the power and vitality of this new life that it is called new creation; all distinctions between individuals disappear; no man is superior or inferior to another when all have been

Such a

raised

up with Christ.

Probably Paul

is

thinking of the taunt of the opposition

party in Corinth, that he was not an apostle like the (1

Cor.

9).

So he

replies that

Twelve knowing our Lord personally dur-

2 Corinthians 5, 20-6,

220

We

14

and God appeals to Christ's name, make your

are Christ's ambassadors, then,

you through

us;

we

entreat you in

knew sin, and God made him for us, so that in him we might be turned into the of God. And now, to further that work, we entreat

peace with God. Christ never into sin

holiness

you not to

offer

God's grace an ineffectual welcome.

answered your prayer/ he says, brought you help

in a

('I

a time of pardon,

'in

day of salvation/

of pardon; the day of salvation has

And

come

here

is

I

have

have

the time

already.)

We

are

we should bring God's ministers, we must do acceptable. We have to show

careful not to give offence to anybody, lest

on our ministry;

discredit

everything to

make

as

ourselves

great patience, in times of affliction, of need, of difficulty;

under the

lash, in prison, in the

are tired out, sleepless,

and

midst of tumult; when we

We

fasting.

have to be pure-

minded, enlightened, forgiving and gracious to others; we have to

rely

on unaffected

love,

on the

on the power of God. To

right

and to

on the Holy

truth of our message,

Spirit,

we must be armed with innocence, now honoured, now now traduced, now flattered. They call us deceivers, and we tell the truth; unknown, and we are fully acknowledged; dying men, and see, we live; punished, yes, but not doomed to die; sad men, that rejoice continually; beggars,

left

slighted,

that bring riches to many; disinherited, and the world

We

are speaking freely to you, Corinthians;

hearts wide open to you. It

your

own

affections, that

us back in the

same coin

is

not our

you (I

What

is

fault, it is

the fault of

there

You must not

my

consent

What has innocence to in common between light

be yokefellows with unbelievers.

do with lawlessness?

we throw our

speaking to you as to

children); open your hearts wide too. to

ours.

constraint with us. Pay

feel

am

is

From ing his earthly

life

Philippi 57 A.D.

human

a

('in

superiority; in the Mystical

company; Christ

live in Christ's

It

Body

221

fashion)

no claim

is

a Christian does not merely

lives in

and

acts through

was Christ's death on the cross that won

mankind;

redemption from

this

membership

to

comes

sin

to

him.

this life for

men

through

Body. In God's plan, our Lord

in his Mystical

did not remain on earth to bring the fruits of his redemptive

human

death to the

And

race;

he

that to his ambassadors.

left

in this official capacity Paul

is

appealing to his erring

Corinthians to allow free entry to the grace of ing to

them through

his ministry; this

God now com-

demands immediate

attention. Finally, in a

most moving and eloquent

in the picture of the ideal ambassador. plural, it is quite clear that

he

is

make up

help the Corinthians to

The emphasis

Master

in chapter 11).

(a

it

will

minds whether Paul or

name

is

the true ambassa-

on Paul's humiliations,

is

the most certain sign that he his crucified

uses the

speaking of himself; their

the opposition party under Apollo's

dor of Christ.

passage, Paul Ells

Though he

surely

following in the footsteps of

is

matter he will develop at greater length

His closing

list

of criticisms

is

selected

from the

accusations and charges of the Corinthian opposition; they are the very things that

might have been brought up by the

Jews against Jesus.

Idolatry

wrong

Must Be Shunned.

in the Corinthian

throughout

this letter.

of the subject that

wrong

there.

He

There was something

community; Paul betrays

But he

is

his anxiety

so cautious in his treatment to decide just

what has gone

seems afraid of making the situation worse

by speaking out too openly. In

why he

is

it is difficult

radically

this

paragraph he gives a clue

writing so circumspectly: he was confronted with the

2 Corinthians 6, 15-7, 8

222

What harmony

and darkness?

How

between Christ and

God

the temple of

have any commerce with

Belial?

How

can a believer throw in his lot with an infidel? idols?

can

And we

God; God has told us so: 'I will live and move among them, and be their God, and they shall be my people. Come out, then, from among them, the Lord says, separate yourselves from them, and do not even touch what is unclean; then I will make you welcome. I will be your father, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord, the Almighty/ Such are the promises, beloved, that await us. Why then, let us purge ourselves clean from every are the temple of the living

defilement of flesh and of

spirit,

achieving the work of our

God. Be generous with us; it is not as if any of you could say that we had wronged him, or done him harm, or taken undue advantage of him. I am not

sanctification in the fear of

when

finding fault

I

say this;

I

have told you before now, we

hold you so close in our hearts that nothing in

or in

life

death can part us from you.

With what in you!

I

confidence

am

full of

I

speak to you, what pride

encouragement, nay,

myself for happiness, in the midst of

all

take

I

cannot contain

I

these

trials

of mine.

By the time we had reached Macedonia, our human weakness could find no means of rest; all was conflict without, all was anxiety within. But there is one who never fails to comfort those

who

are brought low;

Titus came.

that courage he

longed for pened,

my

not sorry for I

saw how

gave us comfort, as soon as

had derived from you.

presence;

how you

rejoiced. Yes,

God

was not only that he came; he inspired us with

It

even it.

my

if

how you

my

took I

I

told us

grieved over till

I

how you

what had hap-

was more than ever

caused you pain by

Perhaps

letter

part,

He

was tempted to

my

letter, I

feel sorry,

am

when

had caused you even momentary pain,

From

A.D.

Philippi 57

223

danger of a return of his Corinthians to paganism.

Most of the friends and relatives community were still pagans; they

of the

where problems of adjustment arose

daily.

asked Paul about in

1

young Corinthian

lived in a

One

pagan society that they

Corinthians 8-10 was the question of

eating food offered to idols. It seems quite likely that of the Corinthians

many

had not been impressed by Paul's warn-

ing against the danger of idolatry; they had continued to

quent the temple banquets, and the pagan It

is

way

of

had

life

this

fre-

had led them back into

they had abandoned for Christ.

with the paternal love of a father for his wayward

them of the grave danger of such conduct; there can be no compromise between Christ and Satan ('Belial'). If only they would acknowledge their guilt and repent, the constraint they now feel would immediately disappear, and they would once again be on friendly children that Paul again warns

terms with their apostle.

Paul's Joy at this letter,

Good News Brought by

Titus.

In chapter 2 of

Paul began to discuss the return of Titus to him at

Philippi after delivering the lost Letter of Tears.

matters took his

mind

off this subject,

and

it is

But other

only here

(five

chapters later) that he comes back to Titus. This Letter of

Tears had been sent by Paul shortly after leaving Ephesus;

it

months since Titus had departed with it for Corinth. Paul in the meantime had arrived at Philippi, and there was still no news of Titus. When he did arrive, and brought good news of the Corinthian acceptance of his re-

was almost

buke

six

in the Letter of Tears, all Paul's anxiety vanished;

he was

overjoyed at the success of Titus' mission.

The

satisfaction Paul displays in this paragraph

to the anxious tone of the rest of the letter.

is

The

in contrast

general im-

2 Corinthians 7, 9-8, 3

224

now

but

am

I

but glad of the

glad; not glad of the pain,

repentance the pain brought with

it.

Yours was a supernatural

remorse, so that you were not in any

way the

losers

through

what we had done. Supernatural remorse leads to an abiding and salutary change of heart, whereas the world's remorse what devotion has been bred in you now how you disowned the guilt; the indignation you felt, the fear that overcame you; how you missed me, how you took my part, how you righted the wrong done. You have done everything to prove yourselves leads to death. See

by

this supernatural remorse;

free

from

letter,

guilt in this matter. So, then,

and

it

I

had written you a

was neither the wrongdoer nor the injured party

that was to be the gainer by

it;

it

was to have the

showing you your devotion to our welfare

was

this that

we had felt,

still

in

God's

brought us comfort; and besides

effect of sight. It

this comfort,

greater cause for rejoicing in the joy

which Titus

with his heart refreshed by the welcome you

all

gave

I had boasted to Titus of the confidence I felt in you, and you did not play me false; no, the boast I had made to Titus proved true, as true as the message which I had de-

him.

livered to you.

He

bears a

of the submissiveness you

which you received him. full

most

all I

affectionate

memory

of you,

showed, of the anxious fear with

am

rejoiced that

I

can repose such

confidence in you.

And now, brethren, we must tell you about the grace which God has lavished upon the churches of Macedonia: how well they have stood the test of distress, how abundantly they have rejoiced over it, how abject is their poverty, and how the crown of

them. to

do

I

all

can

all this

has been a rich measure of generosity in

testify that of their

own

accord they undertook

they could, and more than they could; they begged

From

Philippi 57 A.D.

225

pression left on the reader of 2 Corinthians

and that Paul

well at Corinth, at the

is

not

all is

danger signs only too obvious in the community there. this

seeming contiadiction

that Paul goes out of his

way

to praise his eiring converts

one matter, because

it is

the only bright spot in the

in this

whole

picture. In praising their ready obedience,

be able to coax them mind concerning the

Quite

clearly

2, 9:

The

reason

and more repentant frame of

rest of their

wayward conduct.

tells

why

why he waited

failed in

this,

doomed; the of that

into a saner

I

them

wrote to you, after

all,

was to

me

your

for Titus' return with such anxiety;

he

if

then his authority over the Corinthians was

rival

ApoJJo party would take complete control

The spontaneous

as that of

Christ's Mystical

Shepherd

from the

joy manifested by Paul springs

our Lord at the repentance of the

prodigal son, or the return of the lost sheep; as a

that

test

fulV That

in

community.

same source

of the

test case

so explicitly in 2 Corinthians

by seeing whether you would obey

loyalty,

he hopes to

Paul had made the Letter of Tears a

of his authority; he

is

that

most displeased and saddened

Piohahly the true explanation of is

is

member

of

Body, Paul shares the compassionate love

for the strayed sheep:

'He

rejoices

more over

one than over the ninety-nine which never strayed from

him.*

The

Collection for Jerusalem.

Twelve

years before, Paul

had

gone up from Antioch to Jerusalem, in company with Barnabas; they were carrying a gift of to the

mother community

money from

the Gentile churches

in /udea (Acts 11, 27-30).

right at the beginning of Paul's missionary First Journey into Galatia.

made

it

a practice to

He

life,

This was

just before the

never forgot this incident, and

send back monetary assistance during

226

2 Corinthians 8,

most

us,

urgently, to allow

supply the needs of the

meant, as

God

and

own

power of utterance,

by

Christ was;

he was so poverty.) ter;

be reminded

how he

am

he had begun,

already, in faith,

truth, in devotion

in you;

sure that your charity

how

gracious our Lord Jesus

you might become

only giving you

you can claim that

as

my

rich through his

advice, then, in this mat-

your due, since

remains for you

readiness of the will

your means allow.

this

say this, not to lay any

I

make

it

was you who led

the way, not only in acting, but in proposing to as last year. It

may

impoverished himself for your sakes, when

rich, so that I

which

able to ask Titus

you about the eagerness of others. (You

telling

to

much

we have awakened

gracious excellence be yours too.

do not need

we were

excel in so

injunction on you, but only to

went beyond

services to the Lord,

knowledge of the

in

of every kind, in the love

rings true

their gift

finish this gracious task

You

as part of his mission.

privilege of helping to

And

willed, to us; so that

to visit you again,

in

them the

saints.

our hopes; they gave their

4-17

now

to complete your action;

must be completed by

We

act, as early

deeds, as far as

value a man's readiness of will ac-

cording to the means he has, not according to the means he

might have, but has not; and there

is

no intention that others

should be relieved at the price of your

distress.

No,

a balance

and what you can spare now is to make up what they want; so that what they can spare may, in its turn, make up for your want, and thus the balance will be redressed. So we read in scripture, 'He who had gathered much had nothing left over, and he who had gathered little, no lack/

is

to be struck,

for

I

thank

God

for inspiring the heart of Titus, your repre-

sentative, with the vitation;

same

eagerness.

He

has accepted our

but indeed, of his own choice he was eager to

in-

visit

From

Philippi 57 A.D.

227

the whole course of his missionary journeys.

was not merely an act of charity from rich to poor;

it

was

a

matter of great dogmatic importance to Paul. For him

it

was

a

demonstration of the unity of

It

Body;

all

members

showed that the Church was

it

of the Mystical

catholic. This

was of

great importance at this period of the Church's existence,

because there was a widening gap between Jews and Gentiles.

As the apostle

of the Gentiles, Paul was regarded with hostility

by a great number of the Jewish converts. These collections served to tighten the bonds of unity; they were a continual

reminder of the charitable interest the scattered Gentile churches had for the mother church at Jerusalem. It

would seem from

Paul's approach that the Corinthians

were rather slow in taking up the collection. So Paul emphathe generous

sizes

way

was writing from the their collection. It

is

that the

Macedonian churches (he

capital city 7 Philippi)

were undertaking

an appeal to the natural instinct in

not to be outdone by others; emulation can be

motive moving stood

when

to act

men

powerful

otherwise they would have

idle.

But to a

men

a

that

much

himself.

He

is

only a natural motive. Paul raises their minds

— the

higher reason for giving

example of Christ

speaks of the Incarnation as a gracious act by

which the Second Person of the Trinity, possessing the riches of a heavenly existence, yet life.

The

stable at

embraced the poverty of human

picture of the divine baby in the poverty of the

Bethlehem

is

a powerful

inthians to give generously;

Titus Will Take

Up

it is

motive to inspire the Cor-

a sharing in

the Collection.

God's own

There was

charity.

a critical

minority in Corinth eager for any opportunity to discredit Paul.

That

is

why he

takes such care to avoid suspicion of

2 Corinthians 8, 18-9, 5

228

And we

you.

won

has

are sending with

the praise of

the gospel; he, too,

all

is

him

that brother of ours

who

the churches by his proclamation of

man whom

the

the churches have ap-

pointed to be our companion in this gracious ministry of ours, to further the glory of the

They were anxious us,

that

Lord himself and our own

resolve.

no suspicion should be aroused against

with these great sums to handle;

not only in the Lord's

it is

but in the sight of men, that we have to study our

sight,

behaviour. And, to accompany these,

we

are sending a brother

of whose eagerness we have had good proof, in many ways and upon many occasions; now he is more eager than ever, such is the confidence he feels in you. As for Titus, he is my partner and has shared my work among you; as for these

brethren of ours, they are the envoys of the churches, the

them proof, then, of your charity, and the good reason we have to be proud of you, for all the

glory of Christ: give of

churches to

And

see.

indeed, to write and

tell

you about the collection for

the saints would be waste of time;

which has made

ness,

me

Achaia has been ready ever since of yours has stirred

sending the brethren,

made

I

know

last year,

up others besides it

is

well your eager-

boast to the Macedonians that

and

this challenge

yourselves. If

am

I

only for fear that the boast

of you should prove false in this particular; as

I

we

told

would have you quite ready; or else, when some of the Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we,

you,

I

and you too

for that matter, will

confidence of ours. That

is

why

to ask the brethren to visit you offering

Only

be put to the blush over I

have thought

first,

you have already promised

it is

to

be a

free offering,

is

and

it

this

necessary

see that the free

prepared beforehand.

not a grudging tribute.

I

would

From

Philippi 57 A.D.

229

dishonesty in handling the relief fund for Jerusalem; he appoints not one or two, hut three Christians of repute to

money.

collect the Corinthian

According to an early tradition, the

companions of Titus

is

his brother

bishop of Philippi (these verses are the

Mass

for his feast day).

tation of the

word

But

it is

first

of the

unnamed

Luke, at that time the

still

used as the epistle of

based on a faulty interpre-

'gospel'; in the text

the word refers to

preaching the good news, rather than to a written

document

Luke had not yet written his Gospel. Most modern commentators think that Paul did name the

Actually at this time

two companions of Titus (there would be no point

in giving

a character reference to two nameless persons), but that their

names were faith.

stricken out because of later defection

Demas

is

one of Paul's (2

Tim.

The

suggested as one of the names; he

disciples that

we know

from the

is

the only

to have lost the faith

4, 9).

Open-Handed Generosity. The headcommunity at Philippi was the home of Lydia, a rich and generous convert made by Paul seven years before. The Philippian community was the only church that contributed money to PauYs needs during his Blessings

of

quarters for the Christian

missionary journeys (Phil.

4,

15-17).

In such surroundings

Paul couJd not help comparing the generous Philippians with the difficult Corinthians; though there was

members

Corinth, the part with

it.

It is also

Corinth had

made

more wealth

of that church were not so eager to

probable that the opposition party at

insinuations about PauYs

handling of

money; he shows great indignation and touchiness on point

(1

That

is

Cor.

in

this

9).

why he

studiously avoids mentioning

money

in these

2 Corinthians

230

remind you of

he who sows

He who

this:

sows sparingly

he has formed

will reap sparingly;

Each

freely will reap freely too.

carry out the purpose

any painful

6-10, 3

9,

of

you should

in his heart,

God

effort; it is 'the cheerful giver

not with

loves/

God

has the power to supply you abundantly with every kind of blessing, so that, with all your needs well supplied at all times,

you may have something to spare

So we

'He has spent

read,

on

charity lives

for ever/

largely,

He who

hand, and gives us food to multiply will

it,

work of mercy. to the poor; his

puts grain into the sower's

eat, will

and enrich the harvest

supply you with seed and

of your charity; so that

have abundant means of every kind for

which

remember, of

it

yields, besides, a rich harvest

God. This administration makes men

for the spirit of obedience

you

that generosity

does more than

this public service

supply the needs of the saints; of thanksgiving to

all

God. The admini-

gives proof of our gratitude towards

stration,

God

for every

and given

which you show

praise

in confessing

the gospel of Christ, and the generosity which you show in sharing your goods with these and with

on your behalf,

will intercede, too,

all

as the

men; and they

abundant measure

which God bestows on you warms their hearts towards Thanks be to God for his unutterable bounty to us. you. of grace

And now,

here

is

he meets you face to distance,'

man who

Paul, 'the face,

and

making an appeal

to

What

to deal boldly with

you when we meet.

ask

so diffident

when

you at a

you by the gentleness and

courtesy of Christ.

I

is

deals so boldly with

is,

me my own grounds

that you will not force I

have

and with these I may well be counted a match who think we rely on merely human powers. Human indeed we are, but it is in no human strength that we fight for confidence, for those

.

From

Philippi 57 A.D.

must be the most unusual

two chapter

(2

seimon ever

deJivered: fifteen times

Cor.

231

8-9). It

he

charity

refers to the cohection,

but not once does he mention the very thing about which he is

writing

—money. In the Greek

text there are seven different

words used by Paul in referring to the

A

collection.

study of

these seven words reveals four different lines of thought in Paul's appeal for funds for Jerusalem.

The word most gracious ministry

frequently used .

.

is

'grace

.

gracious excellence':

.

.

favour granted by God.

By

.

gracious task

.

.

a privilege, a

it is

contributing to the needy in Jerusa-

lem, the Corinthians are sharers in God's gracious act of taking

our poverty on himself by the Incarnation; they also share in

Gods own

creative act of providing

goods so necessary for

human

life

on

and

distributing material

this earth.

It is a 'public service/ a liturgical act of divine worship,

Mass. It

as in the

mercy

.

.

members

who

lem,

.

is

an act of 'charity

also

.

.

.

work of

sharing'; it contributes to the well-being of other

members

of the Mystical Body, the needy in turn will pray for the donors.

And

in Jerusa-

finally it is a

makes their giving a meritorious way Paul relates the collection to

'free offering': this it is that

act in God's sight. In this

God,

to the neighbour,

and

to the donors themselves.

The next

Paul Threatens the Agitators.

four chapters are

Part Three of 2 Corinthians; this section shows Paul in a most

and

stern

forceful

mood.

It is a stinging attack

core of opposition in Corinth; Paul full

power of

it is

determined to use the

his apostolic authority in order to destroy this

rebellious minority. In this

acted;

is

on the hard

he

is

acting as the Master himself

he has appealed to them with gentleness and persuasion;

only after they have rejected his appeal that he decides

2 Corinthians 10,

232

The weapons we

our battles.

4-15

with are not

fight

human

weapons; they are divinely powerful, ready to pull down

we can

strongholds. Yes, barrier of pride

which

pull

down

sets itself

the conceits of men, every

up against the true knowl-

edge of God; we make every mind surrender to Christ's ice,

and

are prepared to punish rebellion

once your own submission

is

serv-

from any quarter,

complete.

Wait and see what happens when we meet. There may be someone who takes credit to himself for being the champion of Christ; if so, let him reflect further that we belong to Christ's cause

no

of the powers

I

so as to build

up your

and

than himself; and indeed,

try to

I

people

might boast

I

not so as to crush your

overawe you when

say, 'are

I

me

spirits,

must not be thought write. 'His letters/ some It

powerful and carry weight, but his presence

in person lacks dignity,

who

faith,

should not be put in the wrong.

I

that

less

have, powers which the Lord has given

speak thus that,

he

is

but a poor orator/

when we which our

belie the impression

visit

I

warn those

you, our actions will not

letters

make when we

are at

a distance.

It is

not for us to intrude, or challenge comparison with

who

others

take credit to themselves, content to take their

own measure and compare

themselves with their

ard of achievement. As for us,

we may

ing will not be disproportionate;

the province which as far as you.

you

lie

all

orbit;

the

it

will

be

own

stand-

but our boast-

in proportion to

has assigned to us, one which reaches

Nobody can

beyond our

gospel took us

God

boast,

way

say that

we

are encroaching, that

our journeys in preaching Christ's to you. Ours, then,

is

no dispropor-

tionate boasting, founded on other men's labours; on the contrary,

as your faith bears increase,

we hope

to attain

still

From

Philippi 57 A.D.

233

them with the divinely powerful weapon given him by the Lord.

of au-

to threaten thority

This

final

his letter.

outburst of Paul

The

natural place for

is it

unexpected at

this stage of

would have been

in the first

seven chapters. For this reason some authors think that

does

it

not belong to 2 Corinthians, which would Enish more naturally

with the Charity Sermon. They suggest that

lost Letter of Tears, written before 2 Corinthians,

accidentally tacked

on

is

and

fresh information arrived

later

letter at

chapter

9,

when

from Corinth, indicating

ately decided on an all-out attack

on

a de-

moved, Paul immedi-

terioration in the situation there; deeply

his enemies,

and

so wrote

these last four chapters as an appendix to the letter.

more

temperament

likely Paul's mercurial

tion of this last attack

over his

letter,

cided to

make

the

here. Others are of the opinion that

Paul had really finished writing the

some

it

is

But

sufficient explana-

on the rebellious minority; reading

he saw that

it

was not forceful enough; he de-

a stronger attack,

and so bring

his

enemies to

repentance.

Paul Claims to be the Apostle of Corinth.

In the preceding

paragraph, Paul addressed his words directly to the rebellious

element at Corinth; for the to the rank

and

rest of the letter,

hie, the majority in the

he

is

speaking

community who were

wavering in their allegiance to him because of the specious

arguments directed against his authority. Corinth was a of slogans it

and

rival parties, as is clear

from

1

Corinthians

city 1-4;

would seem that the group united round the name of ApoJJo

are the rebels attacking Paul, against

whom

he

is

arguing in

these chapters.

To

appreciate the point of PauYs reply

it is

necessary to

End

2 Corinthians 10, 16-11, 12

234

beyond our

further vantage-points through you, without going

province, and preach the gospel further afield, without boast-

ing of ready-made conquests in a province that belongs to

who boasts, should make his boast in the Lord'; man whom the Lord accredits, not the man who

another. 'He it

the

is

takes credit to himself, that proves himself to be true metal.

my

you would only bear with

If

patient with me; after jealousy of

God

all,

himself;

my

I

vanity for a

jealousy

little!

Pray be

on your behalf

the

is

have betrothed you to Christ, so

that no other but he should claim you, his bride without spot,

and now

I

am

anxious about you.

with his cunning; what

and

spirit

to you; he brings us, a

you would do

so in

my

I

less

is

yours in Christ?

way

spirit

other than the

be patient with me.

in speaking,

truth; everybody

but

I

was penniless when

am

I

them

I

preached

Why,

I

so as to

visited you,

I

not

you think

God's gospel to you at no charge to yourselves? poverished other churches, taking pay from

I

knows what we

to you. Unless perhaps

did wrong to honour you by abasing myself, since

at your service.

re-

than the very greatest of the

may be unexperienced in every

you a

well, then, to

knowledge of the

have been

which

gospel other than the gospel you

claim to have done no

apostles.

Eve

serpent beguiled

preaches to you a different Jesus, not the

you had from

ceived;

The

your minds should be corrupted,

lose that spotless innocence

Some newcomer one we preached

I

if

im-

be

but

I

would not cripple any of you with expenses; the brethren came from Macedonia to relieve my necessities; I would not, and I will not, put any burden on you. As the truth of Christ lives in

me, no one

this boast of

you?

mine.

God knows

I

in all the country of

Why have.

is

Achaia

that? Because

No,

I

I

shall silence

have no love for

shall continue to

done, so as to cut away the ground from those

do

as

I

have

who would

From

Philippi 57 A.D.

out what argument of the adversaries he

Paul

is

is

replying

Since

to.

demonstrating his sole right to he called the apostle of

Corinth,

it

seems that the Apollo party were arguing from

Paul's long absence

of interest in

them?

from Corinth. Did

first

argument

not prove a Jack

this

was hardly the conduct to he expected

It

from one who claimed to he Paul's

235

is

their sole guardian

and

protector.

to go back to his original visit to

Corinth: he came there to an entirely pagan

field,

sent directly

by God to found the Corinthian church. Even though he has moved elsewhere to preach the gospel, no one can take from him the demonstrable historical fact that he founded the church in Corinth. This gives him a right and an authority above

other teachers and preachers; this

all

is

the basis of his

claim to be Corinth's apostle.

What

annoys Paul most of

all

is

that these newcomers,

intruders in the field of his labours, are not preaching the true spirit of Christianity (he

is

probably thinking of their

emphasis on Greek wisdom instead of on the person of Jesus, 1

Cor.

not their want of allegiance to his

1). It is

that worries him;

it is

want of

their

own

person

allegiance to Christ, their

bridegroom. As the bridegroom's friend, he feels anxiety at their consorting with the

enemies of Christ. This image of

marriage between the Lord and his chosen race in the

Old Testament;

it

is

frequent

reminds Paul of another scriptural

incident that had such disastrous effects on the whole race

— the

fall

from grace of our

when tempted

to sin

by the

first

parents,

Adam and

Eve,

devil.

Paul's only interest in Corinth, said the rebels there,

extracting

human

money from them.

Instead of a personal

was in

visit,

he

merely wrote, or sent envoys to coJJect their hard-earned savings. Is that the action of a loving father, of their

apostle? In reply, Paul again reminds

them

own

special

of the details of his

2 Corinthians 11, 13-26

236

no

gladly boast that they are

are false apostles, dishonest Christ.

And no and

of light,

different

men

from myself. Such

workmen, that pass

for apostles of

wonder; Satan himself can pass for an angel

have no

his servants

end

servants of holiness; but their

difficulty in passing for

will

be what their

life

has

deserved.

Once more let

me

confidence,

Lord;

it is

am

me a my

give

so,

boast a I

hearing in spite of

too.

You

it

I

boast with such

not delivering a message to you from the

my

part of

find

When

turn.

little in

vanity

if

you

boast of their natural advantages,

you who are so

me vain; my vanity,

appeal to you, let none of you think

must be

or, if it

and

I

I

will. If so

many

must be allowed

others

to boast

easy to be patient with the vanity of others, full of

good

sense.

Why, you

other people

upon you, take advantage

tyrannize over you, prey

vaunt their power over you, browbeat you! taking credit to myself,

let

say

I

it

as

if

I

of you,

say this without

we had had no power

—here my vanity speaks—

claim

that others claim. Are they Hebrews? So

all

they Israelites? So

am

am

to

I

can

I.

Are

play such a part; yet in fact

Are they descended from Abraham?

I.

am I. Are they Christ's servants? These are wild words; am something more. I have toiled harder, spent longer days

So I

in prison,

been beaten so

face. Five times the

one lash I

cruelly, so often

in the forty; three times

was stoned;

I

I

was beaten with

have undertaken, in danger from

robbers, in danger

Gentiles; danger in

the

sea,

danger

me

rods,

have been shipwrecked three times,

spent a night and a day as a castaway at I

looked death in the

Jews scourged me, and spared

from

my own

cities,

among

sea.

rivers,

What in

but once

I

have

journeys

danger from

people, in danger from the

danger in the wilderness, danger in

false brethren!

I

have met with

toil

From visit to

they

all

Philippi 57 A.D.

them, seven years before (Acts 18, can

verity,

237

1-11).

These are

facts

and which most of them should remember

fiom personal experience.

He

lived with AquiJa

and

Priscilla

and worked at this tentmakers trade together with his hosts. When he needed money, it was Philippi (Macedonia) not Corinth that supplied his needs. ApoJIo was a

Paul Boasts of His Humiliations.

man

imposing appearance, an eloquent orator, learned in the

scrip-

tures, and highly skilled in the philosophy of the Greeks.

party in Corinth

who claimed him

as their

of

The

champion boasted

of these outstanding qualities of his, so superior to those of

the unimpressive Paul: 'His presence in person lacks dignity,

he

is

hut a poor orator'

success was based

(2

Cot. 10, 10). Their estimation of

on merely human standards of excellence;

number

such things as Jewish blood, the

of converts, the

spectacular gift of tongues were the tests they applied to de-

cide

who was

the most authentic apostle of Jesus Christ.

So Paul takes them up on their own ground; he will play the actor on the stage and boast of his own qualifications as an apostle. But for Paul there

is a mans likeness to Christ. The scene mind was Golgotha: 'With Christ I hang (Gal. 2, 19). The Master himself, both by

and that

cellence,

always in Paul's

upon the

cross'

word and example, great: 'If

nounce

only one standard of ex-

is

any

self,

man

left

no doubt what

has a

and take up

mind

to

it is

that

come my way,

his cross,

makes men let

him

and follow me' (Mt.

re-

16,

24).

Paul had

now been

a follower of Christ for 27 years, en-

gaged in preaching the gospel in Cyprus, Galatia, Asia, Macedonia,

and Greece

for the past 12

years.

Here, he briefly

summarizes the sufferings and humiliations he underwent for

2 Corinthians 11, 27-12, 6

238

and weariness,

been

so often

hungry and

sleepless,

often denied myself food, gone cold and naked.

over and above something else which

the burden

my

carry every day,

I

all this,

do not count;

I

I

anxious care for

churches; does anybody feel a scruple?

am

thirsty; so

And

I

share

mean

all

the

anyone's

it; is

must needs boast, I will boast of the things which humiliate me; the God who is Father of the Lord Jesus, blessed be his name for ever, knows that I am telling the truth. When I was at Damascus, the agent of king Aretas was keeping guard over the city of the Damascenes, intent upon seizing me, and to escape from his hands I had to be let down through a winconscience hurt?

dow

If

will

I

ablaze with indignation. If

along the wall, in a hamper.

we

are to boast (although boasting

is

a

man

I

know who was

in Christ, fourteen years since;

cannot

tell.

Was

it

heaven.

I

can only

was

tell

least,

I

which, not

which

whom

I

I

cannot

body?

tell;

I

God

you that

this

man, with

from

his spirit in

his body,

God knows

was carried up into Paradise, and heard myster-

man

is

not allowed to

will boast; I will

you of

mind

I,

his spirit in his

was carried up into the third

his body, or with his spirit apart

a

out of place),

carried out of himself

apart from his body?

knows. This man, at

tell

is

go on to the visions and revelations the Lord has granted

me. There

ies

I

my

utter.

That

is

the

man

about

not boast about myself, except to

humiliations. It

to boast about such a

would not be

man

as that;

I

vanity,

if I

had

should only be

But I will spare you the telling of it; I have no mind that anybody should think of me except as he sees me, as he hears me talking to him. And indeed, for fear that telling the truth.

these surpassing revelations should

given a sting to distress

my

make me proud,

I

was

outward nature, an angel of Satan

From the

name

of Jesus. His

Of

in the Acts.

list

Philippi 57 A.D.

how

shows

239

incomplete

the record

is

the details here narrated by Paul, only three

have been told in the Acts: the stoning at Lystia (Acts 14,

Roman

the beating with iods by the

18),

authority at Philippi

and the escape over the waJJ in a hamper (Acts Luke will teJI of another shipwieck, making four in all; we have no details of any of the three ship(Acts 16, 22),

9, 23-25). In Acts 27,

wrecks Paul mentions here. This paragraph Pauline

the most impassioned outburst in the

is

letters; it gives

of Paul. It shows

what

those days of the

first

close as a

and

man

an insight into the intimate thoughts a strain the life of a missioner

preaching of the

person with

like ourselves, a

was in Paul

faith. It brings

human emotions

feelings.

Paul's Visions

and

held spiritual

gifts in

a

Constant Humiliation.

part of Paul's

rivals.

high esteem

some claim

greatly impressed by

Cor. 12-14); they were

(1

to divine revelations

So Paul was forced

on the

to boast of his visions.

Five such are recorded in the Acts, and the ecstasy mentioned here

The Corinthians

it is

quite likely that

the same as that of Acts 22,

is

17-18. This was probably the occasion of his

recorded in Acts n, 27-30 and GaJatians

visit to

2, 1;

Jerusalem

the date would

be 44 A.D., fourteen years before the writing of 2 Corinthians. Paul does not like having to boast, and he tries to hide his identity in the phrase 'there

doubt that

it is

Paul

who

is

a

man

I

know'; but there

to have been an almost direct contemplation of

most

Jikely

But

it is

accompanied by bodily

no

God, and

ecstasy.

humiliations that are the real badge of Christ.

So Paul mentions

and

is

experienced this revelation. It seems

his

most

trying cross, something

persistent throughout his

ward nature/ The Vulgate

life:

permanent

'A sting to distress

my

out-

translation 'stimulus carnis' en-

2 Corinthians 12, 7-19

240

sent to rebuff me. Three times

me

to rid

my

of

it;

strength finds

ever, then,

made me

it

but he told me, 'My grace

entreat the

is

enough

scope in your weakness/

its full

am

I

I

am

weakest, then

am

I

strongest

all.

have given way to vanity;

you ought to have given them. No,

I

apostleship signs

among

I

as

Forgive me,

have

made

to cripple

if

I

choice,

I

say, that I

trials I

of miracle.

have undergone, by

What

injustice did

there.

make myself This

is

it is

what

I

claim

is

a

I

do not intend

yourselves, not

the parents that should save for

spend and be spent on your

may

me

be;

I

burden?

the third time

not the children for their parents. For

will gladly

but

knave

the

refused to

I

you with expenses:

though you should love

self,

have earned the character of

I

all

preparations for visiting you, and

their children,

Ah, you

it;

than the very greatest of the

wronged you

anything you can give;

I

to

compared with the other churches, except that

my own

to you, of

me

credentials, instead of asking for

am;

you, by

was you that drove

it

less

and wonders and deeds

do you,

part,

me

have done no

apostles, worthless as

I

me.

the persecutions, the times of difficulty

undergo for Christ; when

I

I

itself in

well content with these humiliations of mine, with the

insults, the hardships,

of

More than

delight to boast of the weaknesses that humiliate

I

me, so that the strength of Christ may enshrine I

Lord

for you;

too

little for

my own

souls' behalf,

loving you too well.

did not lay any charge on you my-

preyed upon you by roundabout means, like the

am. What, those envoys

I

sent you, did

I

take advan-

tage of you through any of them? I asked Titus to visit you, and there was the brother I sent with him; did Titus take any advantage of you? Did we not all follow the same course, and in the same spirit? You have been telling one another, all this while, that we

From

Philippi 57 A.D.

couiaged the opinion that

this

this is a false Tendering of the

mentators understand as a

it

as

241

was sensual temptation. But

Greek; and most modern com-

some chronic

physical ailment, such

nervous disorder, malaria, or an eye disease (Gal.

Chrysostom, followed hy Knox, held that

15). St.

continual persecution of Paul hy his Jews. Biblical language

(Num.

own

flesh

it

4,

13-

was the

and blood, the

33, 55) supports this interpreta-

f

l

tion of sting.

Defence of Past Conduct and Coming

money; the prominence given

to the question of in 2

Paul returns

Visit.

to this topic

Corinthians indicates that Paul's enemies at Corinth

were making quite

a noise

about

the three occasions in the past

it.

So Paul here enumerates

when

his

conduct in money

matters aroused annoyance amongst his Corinthian adversaries.

When to take

Paul first came to Corinth in 50 A.D. he refused any monetary assistance from his new converts. This

was not owing to any Jack of affection for or confidence Corinthians;

it

was

a basic principle of

in the

PauYs not to be

a

burden on the churches he founded; children should not have to support their parents.

He

repudiates the charge that his

disinterestedness with regard to

money was

only a pretence,

that he was but preparing the ground for a later grand collection.

The envoys he

sent with First Corinthians,

Titus with the Letter of Tears, did not collect any take back to Paul; they merely

own envoys

Paul

is

to the Jerusalem

are living

money

and

shown

to be sent

by

community.

not looking forward to his coming

2 Corinthians he has

to

reminded the Corinthians of

their expressed intention of collecting

their

and then

money

visit.

Throughout

his anxiety over the

their attitude to himself.

Right

way they

at the beginning

242

2 Corinthians 12, 19-13, 8

are defending our

conduct to you. Rather, we have been

utter-

ing our thoughts as in God's presence, in Christ; yet always,

beloved, so as to build up your faith. perhaps, hosts,

when

reach you,

I

and you

be dissension,

me

in

rivalry,

humour,

gossip, self-conceit, disharmony.

new

visit

my God

meet; that

shall

I

tears to

and unrepentant, with a wanton living. be the third time

will

you. 'Every question/ of

we

my

I

that there will

second

shed over tale of

I

I

backbiting,

factiousness,

have the fear that on

many

me when we

of you, sinners

my way

absent, the

still

have told you before, and

you now, both those who have sinned already and of you, that

will

I

to see

be settled by the voice

give you now,

visit; I

this

impure, adulterous and

have been on

read, 'must

two or three witnesses/

warning of

you unwelcome

visitor;

has humiliation in store for

have

of old

This

have the fear that

shall find in

I

an unwelcome ill

I

show no leniency next time

I

all

tell

the rest

come. Must

it is Christ who speaks through me? In him at least you will find no weakness; he still exerts his power among you. Weakness brought him to the cross, but the power of God brought him life; and though it is in our weakness that we are united to him, you will find us too, as he is, alive with God's power. It is your own selves you should be testing, to make sure you are still true to your faith; it is your own selves you must put to the proof. Surely your own con-

you have proof that

science will

tell

somehow, you

we have not from wrong, desire

seem

is

you that Jesus Christ

fail

at the

test; I

failed at ours. it is

When we

not that we

that you should do

to have failed.

is

alive in you, unless,

think you will recognize that

pray

God

to keep

you

wish to prove successful; our

what

is

right,

even though we

The powers we have are used in support

of the truth, not against

it;

and we

are best pleased

when we

From of

Corinthians

1

factions at

he drew

(1-4),

work

Philippi 57 A.D.

in Corinth;

it

243

their attention to the rival

would seem from

eight vices in this paragraph that the disunity

Corinthians was

the

still

main

evil to

that Jesus prayed for (Jn. 17) was far

The second

the Corinthian church.

both

letters,

was the danger of

his list of

among

from being realized

evil,

who had

5),

Paul's disciple,

Warning

Last

pagan ways. This

a return to

Timothy

(2

Cor.

I

to the Unrepentant.

naturally

have followed

to

make

second

The commentators

Knox

in

Corinthians 1-2

proposed visit

Paul

his base at Philippi

is

visit. is

So

about

really his

took place seven years before). Though he

had twice made preparations forced

this

assuming that the

from

are

Corinth during his

visit to

he did not make

if

to Corinth

(his Erst

(1

2).

three years at Ephesus. His language in 2

more

man

already figured prominently in an attack on

divided as to whether Paul paid a

reads

in

already mentioned in

was emphasized by the conduct of the incestuous Cor.

the

he remedied; the unity

him on both

for a visit, circumstances

had

occasions to change his plans.

Paul's Jong absence has been in great part the consequence of the evils prevailing at Corinth, especially the rebellious ele-

ment opposed self,

to his apostolic authority. Like the

but the time has

he

Master him-

Paul has patiently endured the attacks of his enemies;

will

now come, when,

like the resurrected Christ,

demonstrate his power. Jn his dealings with the Cor-

inthians he has been imitating Christ crucified; but from

on he

will act

with the power of the risen Christ.

for leniency has passed; unless they set their will this;

come but

all

it is

their spiritual

sternness

the only life.

and

severity.

means

left to

Not

now

The time

house in order, he

that he likes doing

destroy evil

and build up

Acts of the Apostles 20, 2

244

have no power against you, and you are powerful yourselves.

what we pray for, your perfection. I write this in absence, in the hope that, when I come, I may not have to deal severely with you, in the exercise of that authority which the Lord has given me to build up your faith, not to crush your

That

is

spirits.

Finally, brethren, listen to

peace

the appeal

among

we wish you all joy. Perfect your lives, we make, think the same thoughts, keep

yourselves;

and the

God

of love

be with you. Greet one another with the send you their greeting.

saints

Christ, Spirit

The

and peace

will

kiss of saints. All the

grace of the Lord Jesus

and the love of God, and the imparting of the Holy

be with you

all.

Third Missionary Journey continued

He

passed through

all

that region, and gave

much

encourage-

ment; then he entered Greece.

Letter to the It

is

Paul

who

his apostle,

gospel,

writes; a servant of Jesus Christ, called to

and

set apart to

be

preach the gospel of God. That

promised long ago by means of his prophets in the

holy scriptures, his

Romans

human

tells

birth,

us of his Son, descended, in respect of

from the

line of David,

but in respect of the

marked out miraculously as the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ. It is through him we have received the grace of apostlesanctified spirit that

was

his,



From

Philippi to Corinth 57 A.D.

245

Paul uses the word 'power' to express the action he will take against the unrepentant. It of

excommunication

(as

is

most probably both

Cor. 5) and a miraculous infliction of

ment, such

a formal act

passed on the incestuous

as the blindness inflicted

man

in 1

some physical punishon EJymas in Cyprus

(Acts 13, 8-11).

In Paul's

final greeting

he wishes them peace: union of mind

and heart amid the dissension and ing the Corinthian church. is

the one

was Jesus'

life

division that

The only

was destroy-

source of such union

Holy Ghost This Church, and it is PauYs last

possessed by Father, Son, and prayer for his

last

wish for Corinth.

From

Philippi to Corinth 57 A.D.

Paul spent the months of October and

November

visiting

Thessalonica and his other nearby foundations.

Salvation to All Paul Salutes the first

Roman

Church.

It

Believe

was early December, the

when Paul came to Corinthians had moved

of the winter months,

Second Letter

to the

brethren to repentance; he found

second (his

Who

visit

to this port.

Priscilla,

had gone back to Rome,

from Ephesus about the same time

for Philippi).

those erring

quiet and peaceful on his

This time he lodged with Caius

former hosts, Aquila and

sailing

all

Corinth. His

as

Paul

left there

While waiting out the winter months, before

Romans

246

ship; all over the world,

name by paying him them, you, who are to

the

i,

5-18

men must be taught to honour his homage of their faith, and you among

called to belong to Jesus Christ.

wish

I

Rome whom God loves and has called to be holy, and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord

those at

all

grace

Jesus Christ.

And

first,

world.

offer

I

for all of you,

The God

to

faith

whom

I

constantly

make mention

am

may be

I

preach the gospel of his Son,

my

at

through Jesus Christ

renowned throughout the

so

is

granted at

to see you, in the

last

my

is

God's Providence,

in

an opportunity of

hope that

I

how when

witness

of you, never failing to ask,

somehow,

prayers, that

my

address the inner worship of

I

heart, while

I

my God

thanks to

you whose

visiting you.

may have some

I

long

I

spiritual gift to

share with you, so as to strengthen your resolve; or rather, so

we

that the faith

brethren, I

if

you and

find in each other,

me

encouragement to you and to you were

left in

as well.

I

I,

may be an

should be

sorry,

doubt that (although hitherto

have always been prevented)

I

have often planned to

visit

some harvest among you, as I I have the same duty to learned and simple; and for my own

you, and to be able to claim

among

can all,

the Gentiles elsewhere.

Greek and barbarian,

part

I

am

eager to preach the gospel to you in

Rome

as

I

have to others. I

am

not ashamed of

this gospel. It

God's power, that brings salvation to

Jew

first

and then Greek.

us, faith first

brings

life

and

last; as

It reveals

is

all

an instrument of

who

believe in

God's way of

the scripture says,

'It is

it,

justifying faith that

to the just man.'

God's anger

is

being revealed from heaven; his anger against

the impiety and wrong-doing of the

men whose

wrong-doing

From Corinth 58 A.D.

247

he could take ship back to Jerusalem, Paul's thoughts turned to

Rome. His work

major

in the East

was

now

completed;

all

the

had nourishing churches. But Christ's kingdom in the West. Paul was thinking

cities

had not yet been established of the cities of this

Gaul and Spain; the obvious headquarters

for

venture was the very capital of the Empire, the city of

Rome. Peter had founded the

and

it

had been

mans

a

Roman

church sixteen years before,

point of honour with Paul never to enter

labour (Rom. 15, 20). Even to write a letter to such a community was a new departure for him.

another

It

field of

would seem then that Paul was asked

himself; that

is

why he

The

do so by Peter

does not bully the Romans, as he did

the Corinthians, but treats

monious formality

to

them with reverence and

cere-

in his letter.

expulsion of the Jews from

Rome

by the emperor

Claudius in 50 A.D. had given the Gentile converts a majority in the

Roman

church.

Even though the Jews had restill uppermost. The friction

turned, the Gentile element was

between Jew and Gentile in the Christian churches was the outstanding internal problem of the time. Paul, as champion of Gentile freedom, ject.

So he

famous

was asked to write

a treatise

called in Tertius, his secretary,

on

this sub-

and dictated

this

letter.

In the

last

Eve

lines of this paragraph,

God's way of salvation for

all

Paul states his

thesis:

men, both Jew and Gentile.

He

develops this in four main divisions. 1-4: the need of Christian faith. 5-8:

the grounds of Christian hope. 9-11: the rejection

of the Jewish people. 12-16: the practice of Christian charity.

Corruption of the Pagan World.

In the

first

four chapters

Paul demonstrates the need of faith in Jesus Christ, because

Romans

248 denies his truth to their minds;

himself has

the foundations of the world invisible nature, his eternal

are

known through

19-32

The knowledge of God is clear made it clear to them; from

scope.

its full

God

1,

men

have caught sight of his

power and

his creatures.

his divineness, as they

Thus

there

is

no excuse

for

them; although they had the knowledge of God, they did not

honour him or give thanks to him

and

tastic in their notions,

nighted; they,

who

as

God; they became

exchanged the glory of the imperishable tions of perishable is

man,

of bird

God

why God abandoned their lustful hearts own bodies among for a

fools,

and

for representa-

and beast and

of dishonouring their

had exchanged God's truth

grew be-

their senseless hearts

claimed to be so wise, turned

fan-

reptile.

That

to filthy practices

themselves.

They

reverencing and wor-

lie,

shipping the creature in preference to the Creator (blessed is

he

for ever,

Amen);

and, in return,

God abandoned them

to passions which brought dishonour to themselves. Their

women exchanged men, on

natural for unnatural intercourse; and the

their side, giving

up natural intercourse with women,

were burnt up with desire for each other; ness with their fellow-men.

men

Thus they have

practising vile-

received a fitting

retribution for their false belief.

And

as they scorned to

keep

God

has abandoned them to a frame of that prompts

them

to disgraceful

in their view, so

God

mind worthy of all scorn, acts. They are versed in

every kind of injustice, knavery, avarice, and

ill-will; spiteful,

murderous, contentious, deceitful, depraved, backbiters, slanderers, tive

in

God's enemies; insolent, haughty, vainglorious; invenwickedness,

disobedient to

their

parents;

without

prudence, without honour, without love, without pity. Yet,

with the just decree of

God before

their

minds that those who

From Corinth of the failure of both Gentile

God. The great it

many

notorious for

him

of

its

its

famous

degrading

Man is

his will,

and inclined

Writing from Corinth,

cities.

vices,

capable of union with

and

race was original sin;

he had only to look around

which pagans had been reduced.

to see the sad fate to

of intellect

human

was no stranger to the pagan world; he had

to evil. Paul

lived in

to attain union with

weakened

intellect,

249

and Jew

disaster for the

mans

darkened

him

58 A.D.

God

through the two faculties

will; his intellect seeks truth, his will seeks

goodness. Paul proceeds to castigate the heathen for their

abuse of these two faculties.

The

intellect is able to reason

from the harmony and beauty of the created universe to the existence of an eternal, powerful,

and divine Being. In theory

they did arrive at this conclusion, but in practice they did not

pay

God

the honour due to him; instead they

made

idolatrous

images of God's creatures and served them.

The consequence wills

of this abuse of their

did not seek goodness but

lost the art of right living.

natural sexual vice which

evil.

minds was that

their

The pagan world had

This was most apparent in the un-

had not only become

a part of their

personal lives but was also practised as a religious act in their temples. It was not merely an act performed in a

moment

of

passion that was in question, but a cold-blooded dedication to

Paganism had

evil practices.

Paul city

lists

21

common

such as Corinth.

in sinfulness.

Two

justly

sins

The

merited God's anger.

obvious to any visitor to a pagan

entire life of a

pagan was submerged

of these particularly characterized paganism,

'without love, without pity.' It was a cold, harsh world in

which the heathen society,

and

slaves

lived;

slavery

were regarded

was an

as so

much

essential part of

merchandise, not

Romans

250

1-13

2,

commit such

so live are deserving of death, they not only

So, friend, is

you,

left

if

you can see your neighbour's

whoever you

are;

faults,

no excuse

blaming him, you own

in

same

yourself guilty, since you, for all your blame, live the

We know that God passes unerring judgment upon

life as he.

such

acts,

who commit them.

but countenance those

and do you,

lives;

friend, think to escape

God's judg-

who blame men for living thus, and are guilty same acts yourself? Or is it that you are presuming on

ment, you of the

that abundant kindness of his, which bears with you and waits for you?

Do

you not know that God's kindness

inviting

is

you to repent? Whereas you, by the stubborn impenitence of your heart, continue to store up retribution for yourself against the day of retribution, tice of his

acts

will reveal the jus-

man what who have striven

judgments. 'He will award to every

have deserved'; eternal

glory,

when God

life to

those

and honour, and immortality, by perseverance

in

his

for

doing

who are conand paying homage to

good; the retribution of his anger to those tumacious, rebelling against truth wickedness.

There

will

be

affliction

then and distress for every

stance,

but the Gentile too; there

and peace first

for everyone

who

regard to the law will be

who have been

doomed without

is

no claim

pref-

sinners without

regard to the law;

sinners with the law for their rule will

be judged with the law for their

obey the law that

There are no human

Those who have been

erences with God.

read out

Jew be glory and honour

has done good, the Jew in the

instance, but the Gentile too.

those

will

human

in the first in-

soul that has practised wickedness, the

rule.

To

those

who

be acquitted, on that day when

God

to acceptance with

will

have heard the law

God;

it is

From Corinth as

58 A.D.

251

human beings with lights like other men. men with each other and with God.

Charity alone can

unite

Impartial

and made

right,

that I

am

commit

not

adultery.

Jew

thank you, God,

and cheat and

That parable of our Lord

gives the exact

to the

pagan world in which he

the Pharisee in the parable, the

lived; like

Jew had nothing but criticism he would only turn his

for the heathen. If

eye on himself he would see that he himself was guilty

many

of the sins he

condemned

Paul's

aim

in this paragraph;

verted

Jew

is

no better

when God

light

who

steal

the rest of men, 7

and condemnation of

Pharisee stood up-

this prayer in his heart: "I

like 77

attitude of a

critical

The

Judgment For All Men.

off

he

in the pagans.

is

And

that

is

proving that the uncon-

than the pagan. This will

come

to

judges mankind.

In this and the next paragraph, Paul changes from the third person to the second; he

He

next paragraph is

is

addressing an imaginary audience.

picks out one person; 'friend it is

7

is

what he

calls

him. In the

quite clearly an unconverted Jew that he

talking to; but at this stage he does not wish to antagonize

such people, so he leaves uncertain the identity of the imagin-

manner of approach has something of the Nathan lulling David into a false security of the ewe lamb (2 Kings 12, i-g), then at the moment pointing the finger at him with the

ary objector. This

dramatic in

it,

with his story psychological

words:

Tou

like

are that man.'

Paul pictures the Jews listening to his condemnation of the

pagan world, nodding their heads in agreement. to focus their eyes

on themselves.

He

takes their

He

proceeds

minds from

7

God s kindness and Exes it

will

it

to Israel throughout the course of their history,

on the judgment scene

at the

not be race that will count but

how

end of time. Then a

man

has observed

)

Romans

252

(according to the gospel

14-28

2,

preach), will pass judgment,

I

through Jesus Christ, on the hidden thoughts of men. (As for the Gentiles,

though they have no law to guide them,

when

there are times

they carry out the precepts of the law

unbidden, finding in their

own

natures a rule to guide them,

and

in default of any other rule;

this

shows that the obliga-

tions of the law are written in their hearts; their conscience utters

its

own

when they

testimony, and

other they find themselves condemning

You

this,

approving that.

claim Jewish blood; you rely on the law; tell what is moment, because the law has taught

your boast; you can are of

dispute with one an-

confidence in yourself as one

who

admonishing the

their darkness;

God

what

his will, discern

is

all

things

You have

you.

leads the blind, a light to

fool, instructing the simple,

because in the law you have the incarnation of

all

knowledge

and all truth. Tell me, then, you who teach others, have you no lesson for yourself? Is it a thief that preaches against stealing,

an adulterer that forbids adultery?

who

you,

Do

shrink from the touch of an idol?

you rob temples,

Your boast

the law; will you break the law, to God's dishonour?

name of God/ says the scripture, 'has become among the Gentiles, because of you/ Circumcision, to be sure,

the law; but its effect.

if

And

is

he,

who

a reproach

of value, so long as

if

you keep

one who has never been circumcised observes it

not follow that he, though

uncircumcised, will be reckoned as one

will

in

you break the law, your circumcision has lost

the conditions of the law, does

That

is

The

who

is

circumcised?

keeps the law, though uncircumcised in body,

be able to pass judgment on you, who break the law,

though circumcised according to the

letter of it?

To

be a Jew

not to be a Jew outwardly; to be circumcised is not to be circumcised outwardly, in the flesh. He is a Jew indeed who is

is

From Corinth 58 A.D. God; Jews

the Jaw of

will

253

be judged according to the Mosaic

law, Gentiles according to the natural law.

God's revelation to guide them; give

them

In actual

less

fact,

The Jews have

this privileged position will

excuse than the Gentiles for their sinful

commandments

the ten

lives.

are their basic moral

code; with the exception of sabbath observance, these com-

mandments are founded on the known to the Gentiles as well as

The Test Of Lord gave

A True Jew.

know them by 7

him

is

in its fruit It

pleasing to

God;

and

so were

In the Sermon on the Mount, our

a simple test to determine

bad: 'You will the tree

natural Jaw,

the Jews.

whether a

how he

it is

is

good or

the fruit they yield; the test of

not what a

is

man

man

lives.

thinks that

makes

His own opinion of

himself does not count; the possession of knowledge and truth,

even the privileged status conferred on him by God, are

valueless

if

his behaviour does

The Jews

of Paul's time, just like those in the Gospels,

an entirely different

test of their friendship with

not to deny their

careful

not conform to them.

privileges;

had

God. Paul

is

but he takes up two of

them, the Mosaic law and circumcision, and shows that the Jews were unfaithful in observing the consequent obligations of both these divine favours.

Paul chooses three the seventh, sixth,

commandments from

and

Erst (in that order).

the Mosaic law,

The Jews prided

themselves on their superiority over the Gentiles in these three

commandments. By robbing idol of silver or gold, they to

God

reality

in that they

pagan tempJe and stealing an

were preventing idolatrous worship; in

they were offending

idol in their possession.

law.

a

thought they were doing a favour

God

by stealing and by having an

They were doubly

transgressing God's

Romans

254

29-3, 13

2,

one inwardly; true circumcision cording to the

spirit,

not the

not

man's approval.

for

Of what

use

is it,

I

sure,

value was there

answer, in every respect; chiefly be-

cause the Jews had the words of

be

What

then, to be a Jew?

Much,

in circumcision?

to

achieved in the heart, ac-

is

letter of the law, for God's,

God entrusted

showed unfaithfulness on

to them.

their side;

Some,

but can we

God

suppose that unfaithfulness on their part will dispense

from

his promise? It

is

not to be thought

true to his word, though

Tour

written,

all

God

on your

God's integrity to

human

side.'

light.

deceitfulness has

it?

if

prove

false; so it is

you are called

Thus our

in

fault only

(Does that mean that Impossible again, even

would mean that God would mean that because

standards; that

has no right to judge the world;

my

and

does wrong in punishing us for

according to our

God must

should play him

dealings were just,

question, you have right serves to bring

men

of;

it

promoted God's glory by giving scope to

on my side do not deserve to be condemned why should we not do evil so that good may That is what we are accused of preaching by some

his truthfulness,

I

as a sinner. If so,

come

of

it?

of our detractors;

Well

and

their

condemnation of

it is just.)

then, has either side the advantage? In

no way. Jews

we have before alleged, are alike convicted of sin. Thus, it is written, There is not an innocent man among them, no, not one. There is nobody who reflects, and searches

and Gentiles,

for

God;

as

all alike

are

on the wrong course,

all

are wasted lives;

not one of them acts honourably, no, not one. Their mouths are gaping tombs, they use their tongues to flatter.

Under

their

From Corinth

58 A.D.

255

Paul has a pJay on the meaning of circumcision. This mark of friendship with is

more

far

God

was made by cutting with a knife;

God

pleasing to

to cut out sin

from one's

it

life,

than merely to cut the body.

Jewish Unfaithfulness

Is

Inexcusable.

Another divine favour

enjoyed exclusively hy the Jews was the promise of a Redeemer to

come, the Messias. The 140 Messianic promises contained

OJd Testament

in the

God

.

.

.

his promise.'

privileges possessed

are here caJJed

He

by Paul, 'the words of

probably intended to

by the Jews

(as

he does in

contents himself with just one, because

it

Jist

a series of

9, 4-6);

served to

but he

show up

dearly the great sinfulness of the Jewish race.

By

rejecting

come a

means the unbelief of the Jews in the Messias (our Lord Jesus Christ) when he did

unfaithfulness he

to

them; their crucifixion of Jesus was the culmination of

whole history of crime: 'There was not one of the prophets

they did not persecute.'

The

fact that

it

had

a

happy sequel (the admission of the

Gentiles to the universal Church) does not excuse them; otherwise

God would

be unable to condemn any sinner, seeing that

he can bring good from conclusion: evil to

evil.

condemn

Common

sense leads to the same

the teaching that

it is

lawful to do

achieve good.

Human hard

all

Sinfulness Is Universal.

realities,

Paul has been arguing from

not from religious speculations. First of

all

he

proved the need of the Gentile world for a redeemer by his devastating picture of pagan sinfulness.

Then he proceeded

with his indictment of the Jewish people; this he did most carefully

by gradually building up his case from the observable

behaviour of the Jews. They are even more guilty than the

Romans

256 lips

venom

the

curses

of asps

is

3,

14-29

hidden. Their talk overflows with

and calumny. They run hot-foot

and ruin follow

in their path; the

way

them. They do not keep the fear of

So the law

meant

says,

to shed blood;

of peace

God

own

subjects;

it is

unknown

to

before their eyes/

and we know that the words

for the law's

is

havoc

of the

law are

determined that no one

shall

have anything to say for himself, that the whole world

shall

own

itself liable to

God's judgments.

No human

creature

can become acceptable in his sight by observing the law; what the law does

is

to give us the full consciousness of sin.

But, in these days, God's way of justification has at last been

brought to

light;

one which was attested by the law and the

prophets, but stands apart from the law; God's

meant

tion through faith in Jesus Christ,

has faith. There alike are

is

no

distinction; all alike

unworthy of God's

praise.

And

way

of justifica-

for everybody that

have sinned,

justification

all

comes to

us as a free gift from his grace, through our redemption in Jesus Christ.

God

him

has offered

conciliation, in virtue of faith,

Thus God has

vindicated his

to us as a

means

ransoming us with

own

holiness,

of re-

his blood.

showing us why

he overlooked our former sins in the days of his forbearance; and he has also vindicated his holiness, here and now, as one who is himself holy, and imparts holiness to those who take their stand

upon

your pride?

No room

faith in Jesus.

The principle which depends on which depends on by

justified

the

God

too?

Of

has become, then, of it.

On

what

principle?

observances? No, the principle

from the observances of

man is the law. Is God

he not the God

of the Gentiles

faith;

faith apart

What

has been left for

our contention

of the Jews only? Is

the Gentiles too, assuredly; there

is

is,

that a

only one God,

who

From Corinth

58 A.D.

257

heathen, in that they possess a revealed code of conduct in

more divine favours they possess, the more answer for when God comes in judgment

the Mosaic law; the will they

have to

For the benefit of the Jewish reader, Paul now brings forward his final and decisive proof: God himself in the inspired

Old Testament convicts all men, especially the Jews, of sin. The scripture quotation is a series of statements from five psalms and Isaias ('the law here stands for the Old Testament in general). Such a testimony horn the mouth of God is the final word on the sinfulness of Jew and

writings of the

1

Gentile alike.

Justification in

Through Faith In

Christ.

Just 28 years before

an eastern province of the Empire, outside the city walls

of Jerusalem, a

detachment of

Roman

soldiers crucified a

Jewish criminal on orders from the governor. In heaven above,

God

down with

the Father looked

satisfaction

on

this scene;

the victim crucified on Golgotha was his only Son, the

Second

Person of the Blessed Trinity, by that very act bringing back

mankind

not been thought up by men; the initiative

God

had had come from

to divine friendship. This plan of reconciliation

himself, a free gift of his divine grace.

This act was the most important ever to happen in the long history of the

more powerfully

human

for

race; the

blood of Christ cried out

pardon than the blood of Abel for venge-

Jew and Gentile alike now had a means of approach to God. But God's friendship did not come automatically from

ance.

Christ's death; sacrifice

by

justification.

man had

faith; that

He

to

was

come

in contact with the atoning

his contribution to

of

could change from his sinful state to God's

friendship by accepting Christ his redeemer, his

Gods way

whole personality to the divine

and surrendering

will in Christ Jesus. Faith

Romans

258

man

will justify the circumcised

30-4, 12

3,

he learns to

if

believe,

and the

Gentile because he believes.

Does that mean that we are using faith to rob the law of its No, we are setting the law on its right footing. What,

force?

for instance, shall

descent?

What

servances that

we

Abraham, our forefather by human If it was by ob-

say of

kind of blessing did he win?

Abraham

attained his justification, he, to be

But it was not so in God's sight; what does the scripture tell us? 'Abraham put his faith in God, and it was reckoned virtue in him/ The reward given sure, has

to

something to be proud

one who works to earn

it is

When

of.

not reckoned as a favour,

man's

reckoned

as his due.

him,

not because of anything he does;

it is

faith, faith in

too,

the

God who makes a

David pronounces

cepts,

a

his blessing

faith

it is

reckoned virtue in

is

it is

because he has

man of the sinner. So, on the man whom God acjust

without any mention of observances: 'Blessed are those

who have all

their faults forgiven, all their transgressions buried

away; blessed

is

the

man who

is

not a sinner

reckoning/ This blessing, then, does

it fall

in the Lord's

only on those

are circumcised, or on the uncircumcised as well?

Abraham's of things

faith

was reckoned virtue

in

was that reckoning made?

And

him.

Was

who

We saw that in

what

state

he circumcised or

uncircumcised at the time? Uncircumcised, not circumcised yet.

Circumcision was only given to him as a token; as the seal

of that justification

he was

still

those who,

which came to him through

uncircumcised. still

And

thus he

is

the father of

who

are circumcised, as long as they

their stand

all

uncircumcised, have the faith that will be

reckoned virtue in them too. Meanwhile, he those

his faith while

on circumcision, but follow

is

the father of

do not merely take

in the steps of that

From Corinth 58 A.D. in Christ

was the

first

Abraham Was

Gods

laws, of

was the

friendship;

doing things first

do

I

7

common it

day in Bethany a Jew

to inherit eternal life?

Jewish outlook on

them

that

down

Gods it

in the

Mosaic

new way

how

to

chosen people.

law. Circumcision

by which a boy

acts

And now

was an interior disposition of

man

not observances, that made a strate that the

That

was entirely a matter of observing

and most important of these

was initiated into telling

set

One

Faith.

must

question represents the gain

of sanctifying grace.

life

By

Justified

What

becoming holy,

step in the process of

of sharing in the divine

asked our Lord:

259

pleasing to

Paul was soul, faith

God. To demon-

of justification was not contrary to the

old revelation, Paul here

tells

the story of

Abraham.

Paul had already quoted the example of Abraham to the Galatians

(3, 16-18).

Every Jew prided himself on being a true

son of Abraham, the father and founder of the chosen race;

To him mark and badge of the him above all other peo-

they could do no better than follow in his footsteps.

was given the

rite of

circumcision, the

Jew distinguishing him and ples.

Paul freely admits

ture (Gen. 17). story; it cised.

But there

comes before

And from

setting

this fact; it is narrated in

another incident in the Genesis

is

(in

Abraham was circumclear that Abraham was

chapter 15)

this incident it

admitted to the friendship of

The

God

is

before he was circumcised.

incident in Genesis that Paul refers to

is this:

peared to Abraham and told him that he would dren as numerous as the stars in the heavens.

promise to a

who had

man who was

as yet

no children

act of faith in the truth of

Sacred Scrip-

make

A

God

ap-

his chil-

tremendous

nearing his century in age, and at

all.

Gods

Abraham's reaction was an promise.

He

accepted

God

Romans

260 faith

4,

13-25

which he, our father Abraham, had before circumcision

began.

was not through obedience to the law, but through faith justifying them, that Abraham and his posterity were promised It

the inheritance of the world.

If it is

who obey

only those

law that receive the inheritance, then his faith was

and the promise has been annulled. (The only to bring God's displeasure upon us; it is

becomes

a law that transgression

then,

must come through

promise

is

made good

posterity of his his faith.

of him,

'I

to

faith

all

is

The

(and so by free

dead to

raise the

no Abraham, then,

became the

is

inheritance,

gift); thus

the

not only that

posterity,

which keeps the law, but that which imitates

have made you the father of

being, as

law

only where there

We are all Abraham's children; and so

his children in the sight of

can

founded,

effect of the

possible. )

Abraham's

ill

the

if it

life,

God,

in

many

it

was written

nations.'

We are

whom he put his faith, who

and send

his call to that

which has

already were. believed,

father of

many

'your posterity shall be.'

hoping against hope; and thus

nations; 'Like these,'

There was no wavering

even though he fully realized the want of

he was

told,

in his faith,

life in his

own body

(he was nearly a hundred years old at the time), and the deadness of Sara's

womb; he showed no

hesitation or

God's promise, but drew strength from his God's power,

fully

convinced that

God

faith,

doubt at

confessing

was able to perform

what he had promised. This, then, was reckoned virtue in him; and the words, 'It was reckoned virtue in him,' were not written of

him

only: they were written of us too. It will

we

believe in

God

be reckoned

having raised our Lord

virtue in us,

if

Jesus Christ

from the dead: handed over to death

sins,

and

as

raised to life for our justification.

for our

From Corinth 58 A.D. at his woid,

when God

and

in return

says a

man

was reckoned virtue in him.'

'it

virtuous,

is

261

he

is

thereby

made

And

holy.

The Jews hid an exclusive claim to Abraham: We have Abraham for our father.' But this was not what God had planned for him: T have made you the father of many nations.' The bJood of Abraham did Abraham Father Of

All Believers.

not run in the veins of the converts horn paganism; in what way, then, could they he called the posterity of Abraham?

There

only one way, says Paul, and that

is

Abraham's friend; it

faith. It

is

by

was by

faith that the Jew,

enters into the divine

To Abraham and of the world'; this this

faith that

life

than the Gentile,

Jess

Church.

was promised

'the inheritance

many

the same as 'father of

come

nations.' If

into existence until 430 years after

(Gal. 3, ly), then not only was

God

thing

is

was going back on unthinkable

was never meant

commands and

is

Abraham's

Abraham

faith ill-founded,

That such

his original promise.

obvious from the role of the law;

to bring life

prohibitions

and grace

to

made men

it

men; by

its

a it

positive

not only of

guilty

but of formal transgression as well.

sin

When Abraham at

no

promise was conditional on the carrying out of a law that

did not

but

by sharing in

Abraham became God's

in the Christian

his posterity

is

is

all;

believed God's promise he had

a posterity as

numerous

not come into being unless he had at his

name. Paul

Isaac's birth; it

sees a

was a

of an eighty-year-old as a

tomb

to

produce

no children

as the stars in the sky least

one son

on

hidden meaning in the manner of

rising to life

woman life.

The

from the dead. The

could be counted birth of Isaac

womb

as powerless

from such

of death foreshadowed the resurrection of Christ

dead on Easter Sunday.

could

to carry

a place

from the

Romans

262

Once

justified,

1-14

on the ground of our

then,

God

peace with

5,

faith,

through him that we have obtained access, by grace in which

we

through our Lord Jesus Christ, as

we

stand.

We are confident in

enjoy

it

was

faith, to that

the hope of

at-

God; nay, we are confident even over our knowing well that affliction gives rise to endurance,

taining the glory of afflictions,

and endurance gives

of

ground

God

Nor does

for hope.

own appointed

we were find

still

it

hope delude

the love

us;

But

will die

may be

here, as

hope

if

on behalf of

vain,

why

did Christ,

a just

is

hard enough to

man, although

per-

who will face death for one so deservGod meant to prove how well he loves us,

those

was while we were

still

sinners that Christ died for us. All

the more surely, then,

now

through his blood,

we be

displeasure.

that

time, undergo death for us sinners, while

powerless to help ourselves? It

anyone who

haps there ing.

this

a proved faith

has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit,

whom we have received. Were in his

and

gives proof of our faith,

shall

that

we have found

saved, through him,

justification

from God's

Enemies of God, we were reconciled

to

him

through his Son's death; reconciled to him, we are surer than ever of finding salvation in his Son's

life.

And, what

is

more,

we

can boast of God's protection; always through our Lord Jesus Christ, since

it

is

through him that we have attained our

reconciliation.

12

man that guilt came into the world; came owing to guilt, death was handed on to 13 all mankind by one man. (All alike were guilty men; there was guilt in the world before ever the law of Moses was given. It

was through one

and, since death

Now,

it is

only where there

is

a law to transgress that guilt

is

14

and yet we see death reigning in the world from Adam's time to the time of Moses, over men who were not imputed,

themselves guilty of transgressing a law, as

Adam

was.

)

In

this,

From Corinth 58 A.D.

263

Our Lord described the purpose Good Samaritan. He himself is the Good Samaritan, mankind the wounded man by the roadside. Jesus not only rescued him fiom his miserable condition of original sin (Rom. 1-4), he also provided a home Our

Life After Justification.

of his coming, in the parable of the

Church) for man, where he could be nursed back to

(the

health; there

him (Rom.

all

the treasures of divine grace are provided for

5-8).

This paragraph

new

begins a

showed how

is

the beginning of chapter 5; here Paul

section of his letter. In the Erst four chapters he

man comes

a

into contact with the redeeming

death of Christ by faith; this

from

sin to grace,

Paul

is

glory with

God

in

calls salvation; it is is

the divine

to

endure a

of hope, by

He

life

In the next four

to

now

of the Blessed Trinity.

Jong way from justiEcation to salvation, and

It is a

life

life,

show man how to live a centred on his Enal goal, heaven for all eternity. This is what Paul a sharing in Christ's life, which ultimately is

His attention

life.

step in the Christian

calls justiEcation.

chapters (5-8), his purpose Christian

first

of afflictions.

which he puts

his

The

man

has

Christian needs the virtue

conEdence

in divine goodness.

has three motives for hope: the love of the Father, the

indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and the redemptive death of the Son.

Grace

Is

inal sin. all,

Ours In Superabundance.

Why did he not deal with it earlier in

original sin

was the basic cause of

both heathen and Jewish. ter

Most

because he wanted to show

that

Adam

of the

Paul here

likely

how

sinned: the grace that

Second

Adam

was out of

treats of orig-

the letter? After

all evil in

he

the world,

left it till this

fortunate

it

chap-

was for

man

came from the atoning death all

proportion to original

sin.

Romans

264

Adam

5

was the type of him who was to come.

which came one man's

more

5, 15-6,

fault

free gift

was out of

Only, the grace

proportion to the fault.

brought death on a whole multitude,

he made us

16

all

If this

the

all

was God's grace, shown to a whole multitude, that

lavish

Christ.

to us

15

The

man's guilty

in the grace

extent of the gift

act;

brought by one man, Jesus is

not as

followed one

if it

the sentence which brought us condemnation

arose out of one man's action, whereas the pardon that brings

began

more

reign through

its

fruitful

bids

men

18

Well

still is

17

And

if

death

one man, owing to one man's

fault,

us acquittal arises out of a multitude of faults.

the grace, the gift of justification, which

enjoy a reign of

life

through one man, Jesus Christ.

man commits a fault, and it demnation upon all; one man makes amends, and then, one

all justification,

ceptable to

God

that

is,

life.

19

A

through one man's obedience,

law intervened, only to amplify our 21

that so, where guilt held

it

brings to

multitude will become ac-

tude, through one man's disobedience,

amplified, grace has been

brings con-

just as a multi-

became

fault; but, as

guilty.

The

our fault was

more amply bestowed than its

20

ever;

reign of death, justifying grace

should reign instead, to bring us eternal

life

through Jesus

Christ our Lord.

Does it follow that we ought to go on sinning, to give still more occasion for grace? God forbid. We have died, once for all, to sin; can we breathe its air again? You know well enough that we who were taken up into Christ Jesus by baptism have been taken up, all of us, into his death. In our baptism, we have been buried with him, died

like

him, that

so, just as

Christ was raised up by his Father's power from the dead,

too might

live

and move

in a

new kind

of existence.

we

We have

to be closely fitted into the pattern of his resurrection, as

we

From Corinth 58 A.D. Paul has three lines of thought

(1)

In verses 13-14 he proves

the existence of original sin (translated

argument between

is

historical:

Adam and

men

265

by Knox). His

'guilt'

died during the thousands of years

Moses; death

God

is

punishment

a

for dis-

2, 17); but until the Mosaic law there were no such Jaws punishing disobedience

obedience to a positive law of

by death; therefoie in the person of 12, 14

is

is

Adam,

died because they were disobedient

the representative man. (Death in

w.

bodily death, in

between

(2) ParaJJeJ

There

men

15, 17, 21

Adam and

a close relation

manhood, the

(Gen.

act each

Christ, verses 12, 18, 19, 21.

Adam and

between

one

did,

and

for

that in their different ways each

upon

is

all.

is

Christ, in their

mankind.

result for

its

One man Adam — disobedience—death Christ— obedience— Adam life

w.

it is spiritual.)

ah:

One man

a type of Christ in

the head of the

human

race.

(3) Difference between Adam and Christ, verses 15, 16, ij, 20. First, the effects of Christ's atoning death far surpass what

man would have tion brought

God down

mate sharing

in the divine

for the

down

one

Adam

possessed had

sin of

Adam

to

men, and

life.

not

fallen; the Incarna-

them

raised

to

an

inti-

Second, Christ atoned not only

but for

all

the actual sins of

mankind

the ages.

We Rise From Sin At Baptism. When John the Baptist baptized our

Lord

in the Jordan,

head; he plunged again.

And

Church

him down

he did not pour water over

into the water

how

baptism was carried out in the early

— by immersion.

This action of baptizing symbolized

that

is

death; the sinner

went down into the water,

as if

descending

into his grave; there he left his old sinful nature,

up

a

his

and drew him up

new

personality, with the

tifying grace.

new

and rose

vital principle of sanc-

Romans

266

6,

6-19

have been into the pattern of his death; we have to be sure of this,

that our former nature has been crucified with him, and

we

the living power of our guilt annihilated, so that

no

slaves of guilt

who

if

we

to believe that

now he

longer. Guilt

And

dead.

is

we have

are the

makes no more claim on a man

we have faith know that Christ,

died with Christ,

shall share his life.

We

has risen from the dead, cannot die any more; death

has no more power over him; the death he died was a death,

once for

towards God. to sin,

and

he now

to sin; the life

all,

And

alive

must think

you, too,

with a

lives is a life that looks

of yourselves as

that looks towards

life

dead

God, through

Christ Jesus.

You must

not, then, allow sin to tyrannize over your perish-

able bodies, to

make your

make you

subject to

bodily powers over to

its

sin, to

God,

to

life

again;

be the instruments of

men who have been

make your

bodily powers over to

be the instruments of right-doing. Sin

therefore to

And fall

will

not be able

you any longer; you serve grace now,

to play the master over

not the law.

You must not

as

harm; make yourselves over to God, dead and come to

appetites.

if it is

into sin?

we serve, are we You know well enough

grace, not the law,

God

forbid.

that wherever you give a slave's consent, you prove yourselves

the slaves of that master; slaves of slaves of obedience,

marked out

sin,

marked out

for death, or

for justification.

And

you,

thanks be to God, although you were the slaves of sin once, accepted obedience with

all

your hearts, true to the pattern of

teaching to which you are

from the bondage of instead.

I

am

cause nature

sin,

now

engaged.

and became the

speaking in the language of

is still

Thus you escaped

slaves of right-doing

common

strong in you. Just as you once

life,

made

be-

over

From Corinth 58 A.D.

By baptism a Body of Christ;

Christian

267

incorporated into the Mystical

is

the very process of receiving the sacrament

symbolizes his sharing in the death and resurrection of his

Our Lord

redeemer.

same

stated the

apostles after the Last Supper:

'I

fact

am

when he

told his

the vine, you are

its

branches.'

Paul pictures Jesus dying on the cross on Calvary, his eyes closing

on

a sin-ridden world;

when he opened them

again

on Easter Sunday morning, he saw only a world redeemed.

And

that

what baptism does

is

world atmos-

for us; the old

phere of sinfulness gives way to a

which

life

is

immersed

the person of Christ; the whole purpose of our lives

is

in

now

turned Godwards.

Serve this

God

paragraph

mans

The theme running through

Whole-Heartedly. is

slavery.

Paul keeps up a close parallel between

before and after justification, without any mention

life

God. At the moment his thoughts on the big decision each Christian has to make serve God or sin. Our Lord put the same clear

of the liberty of the sons of are centred



either to

decision to his followers: 'A

man

cannot be the slave of two

masters at once; either he will hate the one and love the other, or other.

he

will

You must

devote himself to the one and despise the serve

God

or

money; you cannot

Instead of money, Paul speaks of

sin. It is a

serve both.

harsh,

demand-

ing master, a tyrant whose wages are spiritual death. nature, corrupted by the Fall, serves sin with

and

faculties; it has totally

dedicated

its

all its

whole

7

life

Human powers to sin;

wickedness has become a second nature to unredeemed man.

Paul has already given, in the

Romans,

a

coming of

first

gloomy picture of the Christ. It

was based on

life

three chapters of the of

mankind before the

his personal observance of

Romans

268

6,

20-7, 7

your natural powers as slaves to impurity and wickedness, all

till

was wickedness, you must now make over your natural

At the time had no claim upon you. And what harvest were you then reaping, from acts which now make you blush? Their reward is death. Now that you are free from the claims of sin, and have become God's slaves inpowers

as slaves to right-doing,

when you were

you have a harvest

stead,

ward

the slaves of

eternal

is

eternal

life as

right-doing

gift,

and your

in your sanctification,

Sin offers death, for wages;

life.

a free

sanctified.

till all is

sin,

God

re-

offers us

through Christ Jesus our Lord.

You must surely be aware, brethren I am speaking to men who have some knowledge of law), that legal claims are only binding on a man so long as he is alive. A married woman, for (

instance, is

is

bound by law

widowed, she

is

to her

husband while he

quit of her husband's claim

be held an adulteress

if

tery.

and can give

is

dead she

herself to another

man

lives; if

is

man

is

during

quit of the

without adul-

Well, brethren, you too have undergone death,

the law

she

her; she will

she gives herself to another

her husband's lifetime, but once he law's claim,

on

as far as

concerned, in the person of Christ crucified, so that

you now belong to another, to him who rose from the dead.

We yield increase to God, whereas, when we were merely our natural selves, the sinful passions to which the law

worked on our natural powers, so death. to that in a

Now we

bound

are quit of the law's claim, since

we have died

which hitherto held us bound, so that we can do

new manner,

according to the

us

as to yield increase only to

spirit,

service

not according to the

letter as of old.

Does

God

this

forbid

mean that the law and guilt are the same thing? we should say that. But it was only the law that

From Corinth

among whom he

people

horn the

city in

When

269

and took on

lived,

which he wrote the

letter,

special vividness

Corinth the corrupt.

the Christian died to sin in baptism, he pledged him-

new

self to a

58 A.D.

a dedicated

him, just as

life

of service to

God; from that moment he was

man. Holiness must become evil

had been

before.

To do

a second nature to

this

he must give over

his entire nature to the guidance of Christ; his

mind must be

supernaturally enlightened by the teachings of our Lord. Obe-

dience to this benign Master

proportion to his services; this

is

rewarded by

a gift

out of

all

gift is eternal life.

We Are Quit Of The Law's Claim.

The

previous paragraph

was directed mainly to the converts from paganism; in

this

paragraph Paul directs his words chiefly to the converts from

He

what he has already told the Galatians (3-4), that a Christian is freed from the Mosaic observances. But to the Romans he proves the fact of their freedom from Judaism.

repeats

the legal principle that death cancels

Rome

was famous

appeals to the legal-minded

He

previous engagements.

Romans

in their

own

Paul

terminology.

has already stated that a Christian dies with Christ at

baptism; this frees of the

all

as a centre for the study of law; so

Mosaic law

him not only from as well.

sin

but from the claims

In illustrating this truth, Paul takes

the example of marriage legislation; a wife's obligations to her

husband cease on

The

wife

second

is

whoever

is

his death; she

a convert; the

first

husband or

free to

husband

Christ. In actual fact dies,

is

it is

Romans, Paul

the Mosaic law, the

the wife

who

dies;

but

wife, death cancels the bond.

The Law Only Gave Knowledge Of in

is

marry another man.

writes in the

first

Sin.

For the

person singular.

first

time

The most

Romans

270

me my

gave

knowledge of

concupiscence for what shall

me

I

was

sense of sin found

new

life,

which was meant to bring ban

of sin, with the law's

and by that means holy; the

it

was

make

ban

is

holy,

sin that

for

and

we know,

as

thing which

I

hate.

have no wish to do,

I

self;

I

my will

me, using

is

good

this

unawares,

something

and No,

thing,

say that.

good thing to

made more

sinful

than

spiritual; I

not what then,

my of

a thing of

actions

wish to do, but some-

I

what

if

am

My own

slavery of sin.

I

do

is

action does not

good dwells

in

something

I

worthy of

is

come from me,

me. Of

this

me, that

is,

I

in

am my

my way to the performance of them; it is not but the evil my will disapproves, that

prefers,

find myself doing. it

And

if

cannot be

what I

about the law, that is

I

do

something

is

that bring

sinful principle that dwells in

what

ban,

praiseworthy intentions are always ready to hand,

the will to do,

to do

in

A

we should

sinful principle that dwells in

cannot find

the good

and good.

forbid

sure,

thereby admit that the law

no principle

certain, that

natural

is

Why I

honour; meanwhile,

but from the

but

do

I

me

foothold, caught

something

is

The

died.

I

it.

and blood, sold into the

bewilder me; what

that,

proved death to me; the sense

right,

produced death

its

With-

At first, without came with its ban, the

the law

appear as sin indeed, sin

itself

The law,

all

its

God

ever by the ban imposed on

flesh

with the law's ban for

me. The law, to be

killed

prove death to me?

it

sin,

and with

life,

Tou

a dead thing.

is

when

alive; then,

known

the law had not told me,

every sort of concupiscence.

out the law, the sense of sin the law,

8-22

should not even have

sin; I

it is, if

not covet.' But the sense of

foothold, produced in

did

7,

it

about,

me. This, then,

evil is close at

my

praiseworthy. Inwardly,

I

side,

it is

I

have not

must be the what I find

when my

will

is

applaud God's disposi-

From Corinth

common

interpretation of this

is

58 A.D.

271

up

that he takes

his

own

life

before conversion as typical of the Jewish race before Chris-

he speaks of

tianity. First

sin was;

instruction in the

Mosaic

his first introduction to

do.

his infancy, before

he knew what

then he came to the use of reason and began his

The Jaw and

The

Jaw.

commandments were

ten

what he was bound

the sense of sin

first

came

to do,

him

to

and not

to

same

at the

time.

For a Jew every

detaiJ of life

scriptions of the Jaw;

was regulated by the 613 preof waking tiJJ the end

moment

from the

By

of the day not an action escaped the Jaw. duties without giving the grace to carry

teJJing

them

men

their

out, the Jaw

made its sub/ects more conscious of sin and brought them aJmost to despair. The Jaw is hoJy because it comes from God; but it was never meant to bring man to union with God.

onJy

The Law

Is

that he

make

now

some

against the pull of his Jower nature.

his case

more

something

veal

authorities to hoJd the opinion

speaks of the inner struggle every Christian must

Testament Judaism that he as

Paul's change from past

Powerless Against Sin.

to present tense has Jed

till

vivid still

is

visualizing.

But

He

is

it is stiJJ

OJd

merely making

and dramatic by presenting the

struggJe

happening, whose outcome he does not

re-

the very last words of this paragraph.

It is autobiographical

only in that Paul himself, before his

conversion, was a typicaJ

member

a Jew, a citizen of Tarsus; I r

our ancestral law (Acts 22,

of the chosen race:

was trained 3).

The

in exact

T am

knowledge of

case presented by Paul

is

that of an individual

Jew subject to temptation. Enlightened by the teachings of the Mosaic law his conscience tells him what is right and what is wrong; but such knowJedge does not give him the power to do what

Jie

knows

to be right.

The

Romans

272

but

tion,

I

7,

23-8, 11

my

observe another disposition in

war against the disposition of

raises

my

lower

self,

which

and

conscience,

so

I

am handed over as captive to that disposition towards sin which my lower self contains. Pitiable creature that I am, who is to set me free from a nature thus doomed to death? Nothing than the grace of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

else

am my

my

left to myself,

conscience

at

is

If I

God's disposition, but

natural powers are at the disposition of sin.

Well

then,

no judgment stands now against those who

in Christ Jesus.

The

in Jesus Christ,

from the principle of

spiritual principle of life has set

sin

something the law could not do, because not lend

own

it

the power; and this

God has

for our guilt.

He

who

flesh

and blood could

done, by sending us his

To

live

make amends

has signed the death-warrant of sin in our

we should be

follow the ways of the

blood.

free,

and death. There was

Son, in the fashion of our guilty nature, to

nature, so that

me

live

the

life

fully quit of the law's claim,

we,

not the ways of

and

spirit,

of nature

nature; to live the life of the spirit

flesh

to think the thoughts of

is is

to think the thoughts of

and natural wisdom brings only death, whereas the wisdom of the spirit brings life and peace. That is because natural wisdom is at enmity with God, not submitting itself the

spirit;

to his law;

it is

impossible that

it

Those who God; but you

should.

life

of nature cannot be acceptable to

life

of the spirit, not the life of nature; that

God

dwells in you.

he has the

A man

Spirit of Christ.

is, if

spirit of

you, he

him who

who

raised

the

the

the Spirit of

cannot belong to Christ unless

But

if

Christ lives in you, then,

although the body be a dead thing in virtue of our spirit is a living thing,

live live

by virtue of our

justification.

guilt,

And

if

the the

up Jesus from the dead dwells in up Jesus Christ from the dead will give life raised

From Corinth 58 A.D. law

something external to him, whereas

is

to only is

one conclusion, the victory of

this law-abiding soul, seeking

struggle can lead

sin.

good and doing

asks the final rhetorical question. It

him

sin is within

Adam. This inner

as a result of the fall of

It

273

that

evil,

shows the longing and

need of Judaism for the coming of Christ. Through him alone

comes the power

to

win the

law through Moses,

victory: the

grace through Jesus Christ

Living is

The

Life

Of The

not smooth and easy;

embarked on

since Paul

The path that leads to God blocked by many obstacles. Ever

Spirit.

it is

his description of the

way

of salvation

(chapter 5), he has been concentrating his attention on these obstacles.

He has

Now that he

given most space to sin and Jaw.

has disposed of the obstacles impeding the march of the Chris-

union with God, he turns his thoughts to the positive

tian to

aspect

—on

living the Christian

He begins Jesus.' It

this

life.

paragraph with the familiar phrase, 'In Christ

occurs on almost every page of his letters (actually

164 times in

It expresses his doctrine of the incorporation

all).

of the Christian into the Mystical vital

union

(like that of

Body

of Christ. This

branches with a vine), giving

is

man

a

ac-

cess to the source of all supernatural life (sanctifying grace),

God

Man

the

life

and

acts with Christ; all his principles of

of

this organic

This

new

contrasts

it

himself.

so vivified thinks, wills, feels,

union with Jesus Christ his Head. Christian personality Paul calls 'the

with 'nature

.

.

man descended from Adam;

flesh

.

and

Christ and the life,

life

which

of the

is

one.

Holy

To

blood.'

the former

the indwelling power of God, the

divine

conduct stem from

Spirit

Holy is

is

The

man

Spirit.

He

7

spirit.

latter is

vitalized

by

The

of

life

the same, because

it is

help distinguish the functions of

Romans

274

8,

12-25

who

to your perishable bodies too, through his Spirit

dwells

in you.

Thus, brethren, nature has no longer any claims upon that

we should

you

live a life of nature. If

you are marked out

for death;

live a life of nature,

you mortify the

if

us,

activities of

the body through the power of the Spirit, you will have life. Those who follow the leading of God's Spirit are all God's sons; the spirit

you have now received

of slavery, to govern you by fear;

which makes us cry thus assures our

not, as of old, a spirit

the

out, 'Abba, Father/

spirit,

are his children, then

that

we

we

spirit of

The

are children of

are his heirs too; heirs

the inheritance of Christ; only

we

is

it is

we must

Spirit himself

God; and if we of God, sharing

share his sufferings,

if

are to share his glory.

Not

that

I

count these present sufferings as the measure of

that glory which

is

to be revealed in us. If creation

expectancy, that

is

because

to

adoption,

it is

is

full of

waiting for the sons of

God

be made known. Created nature has been condemned to

frustration; not for

the sake of

forward

to;

some

him who

so

deliberate fault of

condemned

namely, that nature in

its

it,

its

own, but

for

with a hope to look

turn will be set free from

the tyranny of corruption, to share in the glorious freedom of

The whole

we know, groans in a common travail all the while. And not only do we see that, but we ourselves do the same; we ourselves, although we have already

God's

sons.

begun

to reap our spiritual harvest, groan in our hearts, waiting

for that adoption slavery. It

hope he

which

must be

of something.

were in view; sees?

And

of nature, as

is

so, since

the ransoming of our bodies from

our salvation

is

founded upon the

Hope would not be hope

at all

if its

object

how could a man still hope for something which we are hoping for something still unseen, then

if

From Corinth 58 A.D. Chiist and the Holy Spirit in the is

customary to

(Christ

is

call

life

of the Mystical Body,

it

the Third Person of the Trinity the Soul

the Head) of the Body.

In addition to as a secondary

corrupt nature,

this vital

metaphor, Paul has a legal metaphor

theme. Redeemed man, once at the mercy of is

freed

now from

the claim of sin and the

law, because Christ has paid our debt.

us debtors,

God

But instead the

is

making

of

When we

has conferred sonship on us.

the Pater Noster (of which. 'Abba' original

275

first

word

say

in the

Aramaic) we join our voices with the only true Son

God; by adoption we acquire that sonship which enables on God not as slaves but as beloved children.

of

us to call

Our Bodies Long For The deprived

man

The redemption

death as well.

that he lost in

all

fall.

only on the

it

last day, at Christ's

that he lost

With End

when Adam

a poetic

not only

won back

for

mans

soul,

man

will

have received

fell.

and mystical outlook such

as that

which we

so highly developed in St. Francis of Assisi, Paul sees in

the material world around

him

a longing for better times.

this

comes from the

fact that all creation

been dragged down with fallen man.

ground Paul

and

new

not his body. It

Second Coming, that he

Plants and animals are subject to decay and death just as is;

man

just discussed the

receive bodily immortality; only then will all

sin

brought suffering and

of Christ

Paul has

in Christ; but this only affects

life is

Adams

Adam's

Resurrection.

of sanctifying grace,

listens to their

With

man

somehow has his ear to the

complaints of frustrated existence

interprets their expectancy as a yearning for the resur-

rection.

Romans

276

we need endurance comes

26-39

8,

to wait for

we

prayer to offer, to pray as

cedes for us,

Only, as before, the Spirit

it.

to the aid of our weakness;

when we do not know what

ought, the Spirit himself inter-

with groans beyond

all

can read our hearts, knows well what the indeed

according to the

it is

mind

of

and God, who

utterance:

Spirit's intent

God

that he

is;

makes

for

inter-

cession for the saints.

Meanwhile, we are well assured that everything helps to secure the good of those

who

love

God, those

fulfilment of his design. All those

known

whom

who from

to him, he has destined from the

into the image of his Son,

who

is

he has called

first

thus to

the

were

first

to be

in

moulded

become the

eldest-

born among many brethren. So predestined, he called them; so called,

When if

he

that

God

is

is

side?

for us

them; so

what follows?

said,

on our

him up

gave

justified

all;

He

justified,

Who

he

glorified

them.

can be our adversary,

did not even spare his

and must not that

gift

own

Son, but

be accompanied

gift of all else? Who will come forward to accuse God's when God acquits us? Who will pass sentence against when Jesus Christ, who died, nay, has risen again, and sits

by the elect, us,

at the right

hand

of

God

is

pleading for us?

Who will separate

us from the love of Christ? Will affliction, or distress, or per-

Tor moment,

secution, or hunger, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?

your

sake/ says the scripture, 'we face death at every

reckoned no better than sheep marked down for slaughter/

Yet

life,

we are conquerors, through him who has granted Of this I am fully persuaded; neither death nor

in all this

us his love.

no angels

what

is

or principalities, neither

to come,

no

what

is

present nor

force whatever, neither the height above

us nor the depth beneath us, nor any other created thing, will

From Corinth Just

how

58 A.D.

the created universe will be integrated with

his resurrected glory is uncertain. will share

277

with

man

in his restoration; hut the

and new earth of the Apocalypse to be a JiteraJ description. valley of tears

is

In some way

The

(21, 1) is

in

creation

new heaven

probably not meant

Jesson Paul has for

man

in this

patience under sufferings, and hope for bodily

resurrection; this

must he our constant

God's Love For Us In Christ.

On

prayer.

Easter Sunday afternoon

our Lord joined two disciples on the road to plained to

aJI

man

them the reason

Emmaus; he

for his crucifixion:

'Was

it

ex-

not to

be expected that the Christ should undergo these sufferings,

and enter so into

his glory?'

Paul has the same lesson for the

Rome; Gods plan

Christians of

member of the the Head; we must

for each

Body is the same as his plan for moulded into the image of his Son. Narrow and tortuous is the road that leads to life; it is a hard and stony path that the Christian must walk, just as the Master did. The Christian will have nothing to fear at the final judg-

Mystical

7

all 'be

ment,

if

he

Jives in

has lived his whole

accordance with God's plan for him. If he life

in the

shadow

of the cross, the divine

judge will have already acquitted him; and Jesus himself will

be standing there to plead for him before the judgment seat of

God. Paul has enumerated four obstacles

man's

own

After

all,

corrupt nature.

Maybe he



sin,

death, the law,

has forgotten something?

he has not mentioned the angelic forces of

('angels or principalities

and evil

7

);

possibly the Christians are thinking

some unknown danger, such as Men from Mars ('any other created thing ). So Paul will remove all such doubts in the minds of redeemed men; nothing can break the bond of love which was forged on Calvary and which unites each member

of

7

Romans

278

1-12

9,

be able to separate us from the love of God, which comes to us in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I

am

not deceiving you,

name, with the

when

tinual anguish

feel in

if

I

I

I tell

Israelites,

in Christ's

you of the great sorrow, the con-

my heart,

myself might be

my

that would benefit

They are

am telling you the truth

assurance of a conscience enlightened by

full

the Holy Spirit,

wish that

I

and how

doomed

it

my own

brethren,

has ever been

to separation

kinsmen by

adopted as God's sons; the

my

from Christ, race.

visible presence,

and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the Temple worship, and the promises, are their inheritance; the patriarchs belong to them, and theirs is the human stock from which Christ came; Christ,

Not not

yet

all all

rules as

God

it is

not as

who

those

if

all

God's promise has

are sprung

the posterity of

he was

from

Abraham

through

Isaac,'

That

to say, God's sonship

is

told, 'that

are

things, blessed

given to

counted

him

'When

and Sara

this season

shall

have a

Israel are truly Israelites;

received a promise,

is

your posterity shall be traced.' is

not for

those

all

it is

was a promise

comes round

son.'

its effect.

who

are

only the children

God's promise that are to be

as the result of

as his posterity. It

failed of

Abraham's children: Tt

Abraham's children by natural descent;

said:

over

Amen.

for ever.

And

who

And

God made, when he

again,

I

will visit you,

not only she, but Rebecca too

when she bore two

sons to the same hus-

band, our father Isaac. They had not yet been born; they had

done nothing, good or might stand out theirs to call

evil;

and

clearly as his

account for

it,

came, she was told:

already, so that

own

God's purpose

no action of from whom the

choice, with

nothing but his

will,

The

be the servant of the

elder

is

to

From Corinth of the Mystical

Body with

its

58 A.D.

crucified

279

Head, Christ Jesus our

Lord.

The Problem Of

Jewish Unbelief.

Paul here begins a

section of his letter; for the next three chapters (9-11) cusses the sad fact of Israel's rejection of Jesus.

he

new dis-

The Jewish

nation had been in training, during the whole period of their

2,000 years' existence , for the coming of their Redeemer; surely they, Erst of all other peoples, should have accepted Jesus with-

out question. ing

Did God's plan go

astray

somewhere? In answer-

Paul explores the mind of God, investigates the

this,

subject of

human

responsibility,

and argues

in detailed fashion

from the words and persons of the Old Testament.

He

does not deny the privileged position of the chosen peo-

God; instead, he lists nine privileges possessed by the Jews, and by no other peoples. They have Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (whose name was changed to Israel, and this name became God's own designation of his people) as their patriarchs;

ple of

God

has

made covenants with them

again and again,

He

Abraham, then with Moses and David.

first

with

manifested his

presence in a miraculous fashion under the form of a shining

cloud during the whole forty years of the Exodus; he selected

one place on earth, the temple at Jerusalem, where true worship could be offered to him.

was

a Jew; Jesus

And

finally,

the Messias himself

was born of king David's house in Bethlehem.

Paul begins his argument by investigating God's action in the cases of

Abraham and

Isaac.

He

mode

of

chose one son

of each of these patriarchs to be the repository of his blessings. Isaac was chosen, Ishmael rejected; then Jacob was chosen, and Esau rejected. These selections were due solely to God's free choice;

God picked

his

man

before birth. This shows that

Romans

280

younger/ So

What

that

it is

and an enemy

I

read:

'I

13-27

have been a friend to Jacob,

Esau/

to

God

does this mean? That

to be thought of.

whom

we

9,

acts unjustly?

will show pity/ he tells Moses, 'on those show mercy where I am merciful'; the effect

Pharao, too,

why

reason

I

not

is

'I

pity; I will

comes, then, from God's mercy, not from man's alacrity.

That

told in scripture:

is

have made you what you

will,

This

or man's

the very

is

are, so as to give proof,

my name

in you, of

my

the earth/

Thus he shows mercy where it is his will, and where he hardens men's hearts. Hereupon you will ask, 'If

it is

power, and to

let

be known

over

all

his will

that

so,

is

how

can he find fault with

sisting his will?'

with

God?

ioned

me

Is

Nay, but

who

us, since there is

thus?' Is not the potter free to

re-

to bandy words

are you, friend,

the pot to ask the potter,

no

Why have you

fash-

do what he

with

wills

make two objects, one for noble and one for ignoble use? It may be that God has borne, long and patiently, with those who are the objects of his the clay, using the same

vengeance,

fit

lump

to

only for destruction, meaning to give proof of

that vengeance, display, in those

and display

who

his

power

at last;

meaning

are the objects of his mercy,

how

also to

rich

is

the glory he bestows, that glory for which he has destined

them.

We

are the objects of his mercy; we,

whom

That is what he says Osee: 'Those who were no people of mine,

Jews and Gentiles people; she

alike.

who was unloved

they used to be told, called,

"You

now, sons of the

cerned, Isaias cries out:

are

shall

he has in the I

called,

book of

will call

my

be loved. In places where

no people of mine," they And, where Israel

living God.'

The number

will

be

is

con-

of the sons of Israel

may

From Corinth 58 A.D.

earn

God

horn

a vocation

is

something he

281

gives;

man

does not

it.

God's Purpose Served Even By Rebels.

human mind

to the

in

is

and Esau.

no problem

how

It is easy to see

the divine plan

how about

is

his

Ishmael

his justice in iejecting

by those obedient to him; but

carried out

those

who

rebel

him?

against

illustrate this,

Paul takes up a third character, the Pharao

impeded God's plan

of the Exodus. This Egyptian king

every turn; after each of the

when

Jet Israel go,

but

word (Exod.

7-10).

Gods

trating

first

how

nine plagues he promised to

This does not

mean

that Pharao was frus-

purpose; unknowingly and unwillingly he was

this

happens

is

which

best seen

is

always

fulfilled.

from the trade of pottery

may produce

making.

If the clay is suitable,

vessel

most expensive perfume; if there is the day, the rejected article is not thrown away;

fit

flaw in

at

the plague ceased he went back on his

carrying out the divine plan, Just

is

God's choosing Isaac and Jacob for

favours; the real difficulty

To

There

the potter

a superb

to hoJd the

a it

can serve some ignoble use (some ordinary household function).

Pharao, the rejected vessel of clay, represents rebellious

Israel.

But they have not escaped the sovereignty

the hard hearts of unrepentant Israel

God's Mercy

To Jew And

of rejection there vessels for this

Gentile.

God; even can be used by God. of

Alongside the divine plan

his plan of election; there are the potter s

is

noble as well as for ignoble uses. PauYs purpose in

paragraph

Church, the

is

to

show

call of

that the constitution of the Christian

both Jew and Gentile, was not an

after-

it was an integral part of his divine purpose right from the beginning of Jewish history, in Old Testament times.

thought;

Romans

282

be

like the

it is

sand of the

sea,

but

a short reckoning that the

had

Isaias

said earlier on:

9,

'If

28-10, 8

it is

a remnant that will be

Lord

will

make upon

earth/ So

the Lord of Hosts had not left

we should have been

us a stock to breed from,

left;

like

Sodom, we

should have gone the way of Gomorrah/

What

do we conclude, then? Why, that the Gentiles, who

never aimed at justifying themselves, attained

justification,

that justification which comes of faith; whereas the Israelites

aimed

at a disposition

reached

Why was

it.

justification

which should

this?

Because they hoped to derive their

from observance, not from

the stone which trips men's feet; so hold,

I

men's

am

setting

feet, a

lieve in

him

down

will

God,

God's honour, standing.

and

tripped on

read in scripture: 'Bea stone to trip

is

who

be-

heart, all

my

not be disappointed/

all

can

my

the good will of

for their salvation. I

testify;

but

That they

are jealous for

with imperfect under-

it is

They did not recognize God's way of justification, way of their own, instead of sub-

so they tried to institute a

Christ has superseded the law, bringing

mitting to

his.

fication to

anyone who

will believe.

gives of that justification

man

we

one who

in Sion

They

faith.

boulder to catch them unawares; those

Brethren, they have prayers to

them, and never

justify

will find life in its

But the

justification

claim: 'Do not say,

which comes from the law,

commandments

which comes from

"Who

will scale

we had to bring Christ down to down into the depth for us?"

if

is

faith

makes a

different

heaven for us?"

(as

if

that a

he observes them.

earth), or, '

justi-

The account which Moses

"'Who

we had

'

(as

will

to

if

go

bring

Christ back from the dead). 'No,' says the scripture, 'the

message

is

close to your hand,

it

is

on your

lips,

it

is

in

From Corinth

By

his use of the

58 A.D.

283

two phrases, 'no people of mine

loved/ Osee foreshadows the

call of

.

.

.

the heathen nations.

un-

The

Gentiles with no membership in the chosen people, and outside the influence of

now

God's revealed religion in Old Testament

welcomed friendship of God. times,

Isaias is

are

into the Christian

Church and the

speaking of the Assyrian invasion of the eighth cen-

tury B.C. (a century later than Osee). Israel will survive war

and

exile

not

as

— the

an entire nation but as a chosen few

saved remnant. She will he partially saved, not totally destroyed

Sodom and Gomorrah were. That is why so many Gentiles and so few Jews make up the Christian Church; God foretold in the Scriptures who would accept and who would reject his Son, who is the stone (our Lord used the same metaphor of as

Mt.

himself,

21, 44)

which has tripped the

feet of the

mass of

Israel.

Israel's

Failure

Her

Own

Fault.

been considering the problem of

From

point of view. that

he

God

plan

to this point Paul has

Israel's

unbelief from God's

Old Testament history he has shown power to choose or reject whomever

the

has sovereign

will: his divine

Up

is

carried out

by both the obedient and

the rebels. In this paragraph Paul examines the problem from

mans

point of view. His conclusion

is

that Israel herself

to blame; her failure to recognize that faith in Christ

only

way

to justiEcation

the Mystical

The main ment.

He

that the

Body

uses the

is

the

responsible for her exclusion from

of Christ.

line of his

New

is

is

argument

is

again from the

Old

Testa-

wording of Deuteronomy 30, 12-14 to snow

Testament approach by

faith

is

less

difficult

than the Old Testament approach by observing the Mosaic law.

The Jews thought

they had to win God's friendship by

Romans

284

9-21

10,

your heart'; meaning by that the message of

we

preach.

You can

confess that Jesus

God

has raised

believe,

we

if

There all alike

you

faith,

which

your

lips to

will use

The

dead.

heart has only to

make

are to be justified; the lips have only to

if

no

is

if

the Lord, and your heart to believe that

is

him up from the

we are to be 'Anyone who believes

confession, says,

find salvation,

distinction

That

saved. in

him

will

what the

is

scripture

not be disappointed/

made here between Jew and

Gentile;

have one Lord, and he has enough and to spare for

all

upon the name of the Lord will be saved/ Only, how are they to call upon him until they have learned to believe in him? And how are they to believe in him, until they listen to him? And how can they listen, without a preacher to listen to? And how can there be preachers, unless preachers are sent on their errand? So we read in scripture, 'How welcome is the coming of those who tell of good news/ True, there are some who have not obeyed the call those

who

call

upon him. 'Every one who

of the gospel; so Isaias says, 'Lord,

(See

hearing?'

how

faith

Why

them?

yes:

tell

me, did the news never come

'The utterance

sage reaches the ends of the world/

warned of 'I

I

Why,

make them

will will

it?

put

rivalry

there

And

me

to those 'I

And,

every land, the mestell

me, was not

Israel

a saying that goes back to Moses,

jealous of a nation that

never looked for

of Israel,

is

fills

is

no nation

at

all;

between them and a nation which has never

learned wisdom.'

known

has given us a faithful

comes from hearing; and hearing

through Christ's word.) But, to

who

calls

who

Isaias speaks

out boldly, 'Those

have found me;

I

who

have made myself

never asked for word of me'; and he says

have stretched out

my

hands

all

that refuses obedience, and cries out against

day to a people

me/

From Corinth 58 A.D. great deeds, like

spacemen scaling the

ing back the dead. That is

not

difficult to

is

End; he came

presented himself to

have to do

mind and

is

us,

to accept

skies, or

magicians bring-

God

unnecessary, says Paul, because

and rose horn the tomb

tion,

285

down on

earth at the Incarna-

at the Resurrection.

without any

effort

him by



faith

on our

God

part; all

has

we

internal assent of the

external profession.

The Gospel Has Been Preached Everywhere.

This section

is

usually understood as a demonstration of the guilt of the

Jews.

They have no excuse

at

all,

because the good news of

salvation through Christ has been preached,

over the Mediterranean world; none of

by

this time, all

them can

have not heard of Christ. Paul's emphasis

is

say that they

on preachers

be-

cause there were few books in those days; people did not find

out about things from reading;

it

was preaching that was

es-

sential in spreading the belief in Christ.

But Mgr. Knox has an holds that Paul

is

entirely different explanation.

He

here treating of the call of the Gentiles; the

unbelief of the Jews

is

only mentioned by

way

of contrast.

among the converts from Judaism them thought the gospel should not be preached the Gentiles at all; they had completely forgotten our Lord's

Nationalism was so strong that to

many

express

of

command

to his followers: 'Preach the gospel to the

whole of creation, making

So Paul's objective to the

always

is

7

disciples of all nations.

to prove that the admission of Gentiles

Church was foretold meant the true Israel

in the

Old Testament,

that

God

to have a world-wide diffusion. In

support of his claim, he goes right back to Moses; then he quotes king David, the prophet Joel, and his favourite Isaias (4 times).

Romans u, 1-14

286

God disowned his people? That is not to I am an Israelite myself, descended from Abraham; Benjamin is my tribe. No, God has not disowned Tell me, then, has

be thought

Why,

of.

the people which, from the

not remember what scripture plaint,

he recognized

first,

am

the only one

and

left,

my

you

about

Israel:

and overthrown your

'Lord, they have killed your prophets, altars; I

God

Do

The com-

us about Elias?

tells

mean, which he made before

I

as his.

too,

life,

threatened/

is

And what does the divine revelation tell him? There are seven thousand men I have kept true to myself, with knees that never bowed

So

to Baal/

true; grace has

it.

And

if it is

not due to observance of the law; grace at

missed

all.

its

What

does

mark; only

remnant has remained

in our time; a

it is

chosen

it

if it

due to

grace, then

were, grace

would be no

mean, then? Why, that

has

Israel

chosen remnant has attained

this

we read in them unseeing

while the rest were hardened; so

scripture,

numbed

eyes

their senses, given

it is

to this day/ David, too, says, 'Let their feasting

it,

'God has

and deaf

ears,

be turned into

upon them; let their eyes be keep their backs bowed down con-

a trap, a snare, a spring to recoil

dim, so that they cannot

see,

tinually/

Tell me, then, have they stumbled so as to

God

forbid; the result of their false step has

fall

altogether?

been to bring the

Gentiles salvation, and the result of that must be to rouse the

Jews to emulate them. riched the world, default,

speaking

now

of stirring

up

to I

Why

then,

if

their false step has en-

the Gentiles have been enriched by their

what must we

the Gentiles,

some

if

expect,

when

it is

you Gentiles. ) As long

mean

my own

to

make much

flesh

and blood

of them. If the losing of

of

made good?

as

my

my

(I

apostolate

office, in

am

is

to

the hope

to emulation, and saving

them has meant

a world re-

From Corinth

A

Believing

58 A.D.

Remnant Among The

287 Paul's

Jews.

first

contact

with Christianity was the Jong sermon of Stephen, delivered

on the day of

his execution

by the Jewish

leaders.

In

this

speech (Acts 7) Stephen traced the long history of rebellion against God by Israel; but there were always some true to the Lord, such as Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David.

And

this is the

doctrine put forward here by Paul: there are Jews in the Christian

Church, true followers of the Master. Peter and Paul,

Mary

many bishops and missionaries the faith, are members of the chosen race.

the mother of Jesus,

engaged in spreading

The

doctrine of the

Remnant,

remaining true to the Lord,

ment

is

a percentage of the nation

developed in the Old Testa-

especially in the writings of Isaias.

God's providence in the Babylonian elect of first

God, they represented the

exile;

used

it

to explain

the exiles were the

true Israel.

The

teaching

appears in scripture in the story of Elias (ninth century

B.C.).

As he Bed from the wrath

complained to but

He

God

told

God him

Achab and

of

Jezabel,

that he was the only true worshipper

there were 7,000 others

lowed the idolatrous ways of the Jewish

who had not

leaders; they

remnant who remained true

to the Lord.

The Church Not Meant For

Gentiles Only.

Up

he

left;

fol-

were the

to this point

Paul has been explaining the rejection of the Jews for the benefit of Jewish converts;

now he

is

prophesying the return

of the Jews, so as to keep the Gentile Christians in their place.

Jewish Christians were a minority at

Rome;

there was danger

of their being cold-shouldered by the Gentile majority. Prob-

ably Peter, the apostle of the as the

champion of Gentile

their place, restore

make them

live

Roman

church, had asked Paul,

Christians, to put the Gentiles in

peace between the two communities, and

together in unity.

Romans

288

11,

15-26

conciled to God, what can the winning of risen

them mean, but

life

from the dead?

When

the

loaf

first

is

consecrated, the whole batch

is

con-

when the root is consecrated, the branches The branches have been thinned out, and you, a wild olive, have been grafted in among them; share, with them, the root and the richness of the true olive. That is no reason why you should boast yourself better than the branches; remember, in your mood of boastfulness, that you owe life to secrated with

it;

so,

are consecrated too.

the root, not the root to you. 'Branches were cut away/ you will tell

me,

for

want

'so

that

I

might be grafted in/ True enough, but

of faith that they were cut away,

that keeps you where you are; you have rather for fear;

God

were native to the

is

what

tree,

also severity.

if

not,

they too will be grafted belief; to graft

deed,

it

them

be

all

to their

I

only faith

no reason

for pride,

is

graciousness, then, in

is

for those

who have

for you, only so long as

you too

in, if

is

shall

God,

you con-

be pruned away. Just so

they do not continue in their un-

in afresh

is

not beyond God's power. In-

was against nature when you were grafted on to the

true olive's stock, you, will

it is

he should find occasion to be

if

His severity

fallen away, his graciousness

tinue in his grace;

was

was unforgiving with the branches that

unforgiving with you too? There

and there

and

it

the easier for

own

who were him

native to the wild olive;

it

to graft these natural branches

on

known

to

parent stock.

must not

fail,

brethren, to

make

this revelation

you; or else you might have too good a conceit of yourselves.

Hardness has fallen upon a part of

Israel,

but only until the

tale of the Gentile nations

is

complete; then the whole of

Israel will find salvation, as

we

read in scripture: 'A deliverer

From Corinth 58 A.D.

289

Paul reminds the Gentiles that the gospel was preached to

them only when the Jews

rejected the Christian missionaries;

they should he grateful to the Jews for this opportunity of vation.

Will not

this fact stir

up the Jews

sal-

to emulate the

and eventually enter the Christian Church? Such a

Gentiles,

conclusion to history would be a wonderful surprise, something like Lazarus coming hack from the grave (that seems to

he the meaning of the disputed phrase,

'life

risen

from the

dead). In order to

make

it

clear that the Gentiles are

not to regard

the temporary rejection of Israel as a compliment arranged for their personal benefit, Paul uses illustrations, that of

an olive

one of

tree; instead of

his

hest-known

lording

the Jews in arrogant fashion, the Gentiles should he

and

filled

over

with a salutary fear of divine punishment.

Our Lord likened

Israel to a fig-tree (Lk. 13, 6-9); in Isaias

and the Psalms the image of a vine Jeremias

it

humhle

we End PauYs

figure of

an olive

ranean world the cultivated olive

widespread of

all trees; it is

the

is

is

used; in tree.

Osee and

In the Mediter-

the most familiar and

main source of cooking

oil.

Paul pictures a graft of wild branches on to a cultivated ('true olive') tree; this is

contrary to normal procedure.

the Gentile influx into the Church; the Jews by

And

so

is

all rights

should have been the heirs to the Messianic promises

made

to the patriarchs (the root of the tree).

Our Lord concluded

Final Conversion of the Jewish Race. his discourse in the

these words: 'Believe me, you shall see nothing

when you will be saying, "Blessed is he name of the Lord." This seems to have

forward, until the time that

comes

in the

Week with of me hence-

temple on the Tuesday in Holy

7

Romans

290

come from

shall

this shall I

27-12, 4

11,

and

Sion, to rid Jacob of his unfaithfulness;

be the fulfilment of

my

when

covenant with them,

take away their sins/ In the preaching of the gospel,

God

rejects

them, to make room for you; but in his elective purpose

he

welcomes them,

still

not repent of the

were once

gifts

he makes, or

rebels, until

God

does

issues.

You

for the sake of their fathers;

of the calls

he

through their rebellion you obtained

pardon; they are rebels now, obtaining pardon for you, only to

be pardoned

in their turn.

to their rebellion, only to

O

depth of God's

Thus God has abandoned all men include them all in his pardon. wisdom, and

riches, his

knowledge!

his

How

inscrutable are his judgments,

ways!

Who has ever understood the Lord's thoughts, or been

his counsellor?

Who

ever was the

his favours?' All things find in

and

their goal; to

him be

And now, brethren, up your bodies worthy of

I

first

him

to give,

and

so earned

all ages,

Amen.

appeal to you by God's mercies to offer

God and

as a living sacrifice, consecrated to

rational creatures.

is

the worship due from you as

And you must

not

with the manners

fall in

must be an inward change,

your minds, so that you can

satisfy yourselves

a

remaking of

what

is

God's

the good thing, the desirable thing, the perfect thing.

will,

Thus,

in virtue of the grace that

is

of your

company not

his just estimation,

is

given me,

each.

Each

all

I

warn every

to think highly of himself,

man

beyond

but to have a sober esteem of himself, ac-

cording to the measure of faith which

not

undiscoverable his

their origin, their impulse,

glory throughout

his acceptance; this

of this world; there

who

how

of us has

God

has apportioned to

one body, with many different

these parts have the

same function;

parts,

just so we,

and

though

From Corinth

58 A.D.

291

been the revelation on which Paul bases his statement of the ultimate conversion of Israel. It was the unbelief of Israel

announced

that he

obstacle in the

way

to the Thessalonians (2 Thess. 2) as the

Second Coming. And

of the

it is

generally

understood in tradition that the end of the world will follow

on the conversion of the Jews. Probably the reason for not undergoing death is so that he can come back

shortly Elias

before the end of time

To do

so there

and convert the Jews (Mt.

17, 10-12).

must be a Jewish nation still existing at the end would seem to be the reason for the con-

of the world; this

tinued existence of Israel as a nation, despite tudes of

The

all

the

vicissi-

its history.

entry of Israel into the Christian fold will be the final

demonstration of God's mercy and wisdom; then seen that the mystery of

was due to

mans

Gods

it

will

be

dealings with his chosen people

limited knowledge, not to any failure in

divine Providence. All creation will fall

on

its

knees in praise

of the Trinity.

Harmony

Mind

Here begins part Romans. In the Erst three parts Paul has treated of mans need of redemption, the completeness of that salvation brought to man by Christ, and the problem of

in the Mystical Body.

four of the Letter to the

of Israel's unbelief. Till

now he

has been concentrating on

dogma, on teaching the Romans the truths of he begins the moral section of his conduct which

The

Row from

truths already set

chapters (this Christian;

is

letter,

the principles of right

truths already learnt.

down by Paul in the Erst demand a new outlook

chapter 12)

what Paul

calls

'a

eleven in the

remaking of your minds.

rational creatures they are to give their nature; their

now

salvation;

God

whole being, body and

9

As

a worship beEtting soul,

must be

dedi-

Romans

292

12,

5-21

many in number, form one body in Christ, and each acts as the counterpart of another. The spiritual gifts we have differ, according to the special grace which has been assigned to each. If

a

man

is

him prophesy as far as the measure him. The administrator must be content

a prophet, let

of his faith will let

with his administration, the teacher, with his work of teaching,

own

the preacher, with his preaching. Each must perform his

task well; giving alms with generosity, exercising authority with

anxious care, or doing works of mercy smilingly.

Your

must be a

love

sincere love;

you must hold what

upon what

in abomination, fix all your desire

is

is

evil

good.

Be

affectionate towards each other, as the love of brothers de-

mands, eager to give one another precedence. unwearied in

activity,

aglow with the

Spirit,

I

would

see

you

waiting like slaves

upon the Lord; buoyed up by hope, patient

in affliction, per-

severing in prayer; providing generously for the needs of the saints, giving

the stranger a loving welcome. Bestow a blessing

on those who persecute you; a with those

harmony

who

rejoice,

selves airs of

I

its

wisdom.

injury; study

Keep peace with

all

your behaviour in the

men, where

Do not avenge yourselves, beloved; course; so

we

him

drink

coals of fire

it is

possible, for

allow retribution

read in scripture, 'Vengeance

will repay, says the Lord. Rather, feed

hungry, give

heap

common

conceited thoughts; never give your-

Do not repay injury with world's sight.

your part.

the mourner. Live in

of mind, falling in with the opinions of

folk, instead of following

to run

not a curse. Rejoice

blessing,

mourn with

if

upon

he his

is

thirsty;

head/

your enemy

by doing

Do

malice; disarm malice with kindness.

is

this,

for if

me,

he

you

is

will

not be disarmed by

From Corinth

58 A.D.

293

And since the Christian is member of Christ's Mystical like Christ This new Hie he is

cated to the service of the Lord.

not an isolated individual hut Body, he must think and the

of the

live

a

Head;

thoughts and feelings,

living

is

all his

motives of conduct must he those of Christ

The good

life

all his

function of each individual

of the body;

tion allotted to

is

determined by the general

he must be content to carry out that func-

him

in the

Church, and not

function of any other member. This body

an organism of

and peaceful working

delicately inter-related parts; the unity

of the

is

try to usurp the

body depends on the harmonious working of

all

its

members. Paul

is

thinking of the jealousies and quarrels between the

Jew and Gentile converts

in

Rome. He

mostly to the Gentile majority,

and arrogant

directing his advice

is

who were

inclined to be proud

in their attitude to the less

numerous Jewish

converts.

Writing from Corinth, where Eourished

(1

Cor. 12-14),

^ au

^

spiritual gifts of all kinds

illustrates his

teaching on the

need of harmony in the Mystical Body by choosing seven spiritual gifts.

The function

of the prophet, for example,

determined by the commission more, no

God

made

to him,

no

Jess.

Love of Neighbour and Civic Loyalty. this

has

is

Paul begins and ends

paragraph with an exhortation to practise charity. His

words are addressed mainly to the Jewish Christians at Rome; and it is their conduct to the pagan neighbours that he has in mind. The Jews had been expelled from Rome by the emperor Claudius in 50 A.D. (Acts 18, 2). They had returned to their

homes to End them looted; there was an atmosphere of tension and hostility in the neighbourhood; their loyalty as

Romans

294

13, 1-13

Every soul must be submissive to

comes from God

thority

only,

and

its

all

lawful superiors; auauthorities that hold

Thus the man who opposes authority God, and rebels secure their own condemnation. A good conscience has no need to go in fear of the magistrate, as a bad conscience does. If you would sway are of

is

his ordinance.

a rebel against the ordinance of

from the

be

free

its

approval; the magistrate

good. Only

if

fear of authority, is

do

you do wrong, need you be

nothing that he bears the sword; he inflict

right,

and you

shall

God's minister, working

is

afraid; it

is

God's minister

for

win your

not for still,

to

punishment on the wrong-doer. You must needs, then,

be submissive, not only

for fear of

punishment, but in con-

same reason that you pay taxes; magisand must give all their time to it. Pay every man his due; taxes, if it be taxes, customs, if it be customs; respect and honour, if it be respect and honour. Do not let anybody have a claim upon you, except the claim which binds us to love one another. The man who loves his neighbour has done all that the law demands. (All the commandments, Tou shall not commit adultery, You shall do no murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,' and the rest, are resumed in this one saying, Tou shall love your neighbour as yourself.') Love of our neighbour refrains from doing harm of any kind; that is why it fulfils all the demands of the law. science. It

is

trates are in

for this

God's

service,

Meanwhile, make no mistake about the age we already

it is

salvation lieve.

is

The

live in;

high time for us to awake out of our sleep; our closer to us

night

is

abandon the ways

far

now than when we on

its

of darkness,

first

learned to be-

course; day draws near. Let us

and put on the armour of

Let us pass our time honourably,

as

by the

light of day,

light.

not in

From Corinth 58 A.D. citizens

295

was suspect by the pagans among

whom

they Jived.

Their natural reaction was to repay in like coin. That attitude is

wrong, Paul

tells

them; they must repay injury by kindness.

Such unexpected treatment discomfort ('coals of

At the end

will

produce a salutary sense of

Ere').

of the paragraph, Paul presents charity as the

word and

Christian ideal, just as the Master himself showed by

The

deed.

Christian

for the neighbour has

and

obligations;

who

lives his life

no need

only the

fifth, sixth,

ments (which Paul

submerged

in this

Our Lord

to worry about

he does not have to watch

turn, because his charity will

Not

on the motive of love

lists

move him

commandments

his step at every

to act as

he ought.

and tenth commandlaws and obligations are

seventh, ninth,

here), but all

new commandment

of Christ.

himself gave the principle by which a

determine his obligations to

God and

the state,

man

can

when he

answered the question about tribute money: 'Give back to Caesar what

is

Caesar

s,

and

to

God what

is

God's.' Paul

mind when he repeats the authority. The Jews looked on

still

has the Jewish converts in

Master's

lesson of obedience to

the state

as the

empire of Satan; they were under Yahweh's direct rule

(theocracy). In Palestine they were plotting the overthrow of

Rome. The catholic; its

Christian attitude

members must

is

different.

live as citizens of different

ments; submission to lawful authority

Christians the Light of the

up what Paul has

The Church

just said

World.

is

is

govern-

a matter of conscience.

This short section links

with what

is

to follow.

He

has

been speaking of the Christians' need to influence the pagan worJd around them; in the next section he goes on to a prob-

lem

in

Gentile.

the

Roman

church, the dispute between Jew and

Romans

296

14-14, 13

13,

revelling

and drunkenness, not

in lust

quarrels

and

arm

rivalries.

Jesus Christ; spend

Rather,

and wantonness, not

in

yourselves with the Lord

no more thought on nature and nature's

appetites.

Find room among you

for a

man

of over-delicate conscience,

without arguing about his scruples. Another

what he

science, eat

with vegetable

fare.

one who

will;

Let not the

is

first,

man

can, in con-

scrupulous

is

over his meat,

content

mock

at

him who does not eat it, or the second, while he abstains, pass judgment on him who eats it. God, after all, has found room for him.

Who

another?

Whether he keeps

his master.

are you, to pass

And

judgment on the servant of

his feet or falls, concerns

keep his feet he

him

this

day and that; another regards

a sure footing.

will;

the Lord

One man makes

give

all

is

none but

well able to

a distinction

between

days alike; let either have

own mind. He who observes the day, observes it in the Lord's honour. Just so, he who eats does so in the Lord's honour; he gives thanks to God for it; and he who a clear conviction in his

abstains from eating abstains in the Lord's honour,

and he too

None of us lives as his own master, and none of his own master. While we live, we live as the Lord's

thanks God. us dies as

when we die, we die as the Lord's servants; in life and death, we belong to the Lord. That was why Christ died and

servants, in

lived again; ing.

he would be Lord both of the dead and of the

And who

are you, to

are you, to pass

mock

before the judgment seat of I live,

says the Lord, there

no tongue but will

judgment on your brother?

at your brother?

shall

is

God

liv-

Who

We shall all stand, one day, (so

we

no knee but

read in scripture, 'As shall

pay homage to God' )

;

bend before me,

and so each

of us

have to give an account of himself before God. Let us

cease, then, to lay

down

rules for

one another, and make

this

From Corinth 58 A.D.

The metaphor

297

of light shining in darkness

Lord's words.

He

the Christian

must he the same (Mt.

himself

is

is

taken from our

the light of the world (Jn. 5, 12), since

he

is

8, 12);

to live

Christ's life over again.

We Must Practise Mutual Toleration.

One

of the big prob-

lems in the early Church was the relation between Jew and Gentile converts. Eight years before a council had been held y

at Jerusalem to

read:

improve

The Jerusalem

this situation.

'You are to abstain from what

decree

sacrificed to idols,

is

from

blood-meat and meat which has been strangled' (Acts 15, 29). Owing to the strict kosher regulations observed by Jews in eating,

and the

arose at every

free use of all

food by Gentiles, friction

meal where Jew and Gentile sat down together. (a banquet before Mass) brought the

Each week the Agape

problem before the Christians. Paul had warned the Corinthians about their conduct at such a

now gives some advice The background of about what he strict

ate,

to the

and

also

(I

Cor. 11); he

Romans.

the convert Jew

sabbath observance.

meal

he found

He knew

made him

it difficult

scrupulous

to

put aside

that such laws were

no

longer binding on a Christian; but the habits of a lifetime left his

Joss to

conscience over-delicate.

The Gentile convert was

understand such an outlook; he showed

and was inclined

or understanding

to

little

poke fun

at a

sympathy

at such trivial

observances.

Paul lays tions: it

down

a principle to

smooth out Jew-Gentile

seems

false

and

foolish to others.

by concentrating on his glorious

One man

life,

imitates our

his resurrection;

the other

fasts;

one thinks of

life,

Lord

another

keeps his thoughts on the death of Jesus, his crucifixion. feasts,

rela-

A man must follow his individual conscience, even when

One

the other of death;

Romans

298

14, 14-15, 2

rule for ourselves instead, not to trip

up or entangle

a brother's

my

tells

conscience.

This

my

is

name

the

assurance, this

Lord

of our

unclean in

itself; it is

unclean that

it

peace of mind

is

what

only

when

becomes unclean

a

man

for

is

food you for

it is

eat.

not for you to bring

You must not

is

it is

it

because you are

is

a soul for

good thing

a

is

you to be brought into disrepute. The kingdom of

ness of heart, finding our peace

Such

is

joy in

God

is

means Tightthe Holy Spirit.

this or that;

and our

which

to perdition with the

allow that which

not a matter of eating or drinking

be

And if your brother's

neglecting to follow the rule of charity. Here

Christ died;

in

believes a thing to

him.

disturbed over food,

is

me

nothing which

conscience

Jesus, that there

it

the badge of Christ's service which wins acceptance

with God, and the good opinion of our fellowmen. Let our aim, then, be peace, for

and strengthening one another's

you to destroy God's work

food.

Nothing

is

to the hurt of his

unclean; yet

own

it

goes

ill

with the

You do

conscience.

well

eat meat, or to drink wine, or to

do anything sin,

The good

own

No, we who

is

which your

it

a matter

who can make his He who hesitates, and

self-condemned; he acts in bad conscience, is

bad conscience, there

is sin.

are bold in our confidence ought to bear with

the scruples of those

own

in

a cause for scandal or

fortunate,

choice without self-questioning.

none the less,

and wherever there

our

is

eats

you refuse to

conscience that you have, keep

between yourself and God; he eats

man who

if

not

mouthful of

for the sake of a

brother can find an occasion of scruple.

faith. It is

who

are timorous; not to insist

on having

way. Each of us ought to give way to his neighbour,

From Corinth 58 A.D. but both are living the ways.

Each individual

of the Master, though in different

life

is

299

responsible to

God

only for his

own

conduct.

Make

Sacrifices for

ering in the

Peace and Unity.

Roman community

This interminable bick-

about what was lawful in the

matter of eating and drinking placed a

false

emphasis on unim-

portant things and prevented the faithful from thinking on

them by our Lord. In reminding mind the advice of the

the lessons of conduct given

them

of this, Paul possibly has in

Master to

we

his followers:

to eat?" or

"What

'Do not

are

we

fret,

then, asking,

to drink?" It

to busy themselves over such things;

heaven

who knows

care to

End

the

that you need of

"What

for the

are

heathen

you have a Father in all

Make

God/ It is the Romans were allowing

kingdom

that really counts; the so taken

them

is

it

your Erst

supernatural

life

themselves to be

up with material things that they were inclined

to

neglect true spiritual values.

There was food (such it

also the

as pork),

wrong. This

is

a

when

his tender conscience considered

an offence against charity, and

loss of a soul for

But

danger of forcing a Jewish convert to eat

whom

may

cause the

Christ shed his blood on Calvary.

sympathetic understanding on the part of the Gentiles

Rome. At the Last Supper (Jn. 17), our Lord prayed for the unity of his Church; it would be a powerful motive attracting unbelievers. The want of unity and harmony among the Romans could restore peace and harmony to the church at

was a serious obstacle in the way of the conversion of the pagans.

Example of Unselfishness. Writing Eve years later to the Philippians from Rome, Paul told them: 'Each of you must study the welfare of others, not his own. Yours Imitate Christ's

Romans

300

where after

15,

3-15

good purpose by building up his faith. Christ, would not have everything his own way: 'Was it not

serves a

it

all,

uttered against you/ says the scripture, 'the reproach

how

(See

instruction;

we were

to derive

hope from that message

durance and courage which the scriptures bring the author of to

be

of

all

so that

I

bore?'

the words written long ago were written for our

all

all

endurance and

us.)

of en-

May God,

encouragement, enable you

all

one mind according to the mind of Christ

you may

all

Jesus,

have but one heart and one mouth, to

God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. You must befriend one another, as Christ has befriended you, for God's

glorify

honour.

I

would remind those who

are circumcised, that Christ

came to relieve their needs; God's fidelity demanded it; he must make good his promises to our fathers. And I would remind the Gentiles to praise God for his mercy. So we read in scripture,

will give

'I

praise, in the

thanks to you for

him from

all

you Gentiles;

honour'; and once Jesse,

and sing your

midst of the Gentiles'; and again

too, Gentiles, rejoice with his

the Lord,

this,

one who

own

let all

more

people';

'You

the nations of the world do

Isaias says,

shall rise

and

it says,

again, 'Praise

up

'A root shall spring

to rule the Gentiles; the

Gentiles, in him, shall find hope.'

May God,

the author of our hope,

peace in your believing; so that you

fill

you with

dance, through the power of the Holy Spirit. It

have any doubt of you, of

good

will,

knowing

my

all

give advice to one another

brethren;

all

may have hope I

know

is

joy

and

in abun-

not that

I

that you are full

you need to know, so that you can if

need be; and yet

I

have written to

somewhat freely, by way of refreshing your memory. So much I owe to the grace which God has given me, in making me a priest of Jesus Christ for the Gentiles, with

you, here and there,

From Corinth 58 A.D. is

to be the

mind Christ

Jesus showed.

he gives the Romans here.

When

7

301

And

that

is

the lesson

the Second Peison of the

Trinity was horn in a stable at Bethlehem, he did not choose

the time and place for his of others that he

him by rest,

own

convenience;

had in mind.

When

it

was the welfare

crowds flocked round

the lake of Galilee so that he had no time to eat or

he did not drive them away;

it

was not

his

own

ease

and

that determined his course of action, but the

satisfaction

needs of others. The pain and agony of his death on the cross

was borne for the good of others. This

Romans; they must not

before the

what Paul holds up

is

insist

on having

their

own

way; they must always consider the welfare of others, especially the

more timorous.

Such

Head must be one mind

close imitation of the

of the Body; there

action of

all

is

essential for the unity

directing

and guiding the

the members. Since the Gentile converts were

mainly responsible for the disunity of the

Roman

church, Paul

concludes his advice to them by four quotations from the scrip-

show how grateful the Gentiles should be to God for his mercy to them. If Christ had been interested only in what was to his own advantage, he would never have given up so much to win eternal life for the Gentiles. tures.

His purpose

Why

Paul

is

to

Wrote to the Romans. The main body of the Romans has been completed. It was an ambitious

Letter to the effort

on Paul's

part; also it

was the

and only time that

first

he ventured to write to a church unknown to him personally. Just as he began his letter (1, 8-13) with an explanation of

why he presumed

to address the

community

at

Rome,

so he

again takes up the subject with further elaboration.

Paul had plenty of problems to occupy the churches he

had personally founded.

all his

time

He humbly

among

pictures

Romans

302

my

God's gospel for offering I

15,

16-28

priestly charge, to

some reason

have, then, through Christ Jesus,

God's

in

make the

Gentiles an

worthy of acceptance, consecrated by the Holy

sight. It

is

not for

Spirit.

for confidence

me to give you any account of what

Christ has done through agents other than myself to secure the

submission of the Gentiles, by word and action, in virtue of

wonders and

own work

signs,

done

power of the Holy

in the

My

Spirit.

has been to complete the preaching of Christ's

gospel, in a wide sweep

from Jerusalem

as far as Illyricum. It

has been a point of honour with

me

never in places where Christ's

name was

to preach the gospel thus,

already known;

would not build on the foundation another man had

I

but

laid,

who had those who

follow the rule of scripture, 'He shall be seen by those

had no tidings of him, he had never heard of him.'

shall

be made known to

me

This was the chief reason which prevented you. But

and

I

now

I

have been eager, these

to you; as soon, then, as I

hope

to see

you

I

many

I

write,

I

in passing;

am making

years past, to find

can set out on

and you

when you have done something As

from

visiting

can find no further scope in these countries,

my

shall

put

me on my

way,

to gratify this longing of mine.

a journey to Jerusalem, with

of relief to the saints there.

my way

journey to Spain,

You must know

that

an errand

Macedonia

and Achaia have thought fit to give those saints at Jerusalem who are in need some share of their wealth; they have thought fit to do it, I say, and indeed, they are in their debt. The Gentiles, are

if

bound

they have been allowed to share their spiritual

gifts,

to contribute to their temporal needs in return.

When that is done, and

I

have seen

hands, you shall be a stage on

my

this

revenue safely in their

journey to Spain; and

I

am

From Corinth

58 A.D.

303

himself going about preaching the gospel in those places the other Christian missionaries had not had time to evangelize;

he never put

most

likely,

his sickle in another

then, that Peter,

mans

harvest. It

the founder of the

church, had asked Paul to write to his

community

Paul does not mention Peter hy name, hut that

been for reasons of Peter

name

s

in Rome. may have

would not be prudent

to have

and white when persecution

started

security; it

in black

seems

Roman

against the Christians.

PauYs basic claim to teach the Romans came from the Master himself; the grace of apostolate to the Gentiles had been conferred on him by Jesus on the Damascus Road (Acts 22, 21).

Rome

was predominantly a Gentile church, and so a

special charge of the apostle of the Gentiles. It official

to

was Paul's

function to present the Gentile sacrifice as an offering

God.

Paul Hopes to Visit

Rome

Soon.

Eight years

earlier,

Paul

had probably intended going to Rome. This was during the course of his Second Missionary Journey. lonica (Acts ij, 10-15),

Way

He

left

Thessa-

and proceeded along the Egnatian

towards Dyrrachium.

Knox

suggests that he actually set

and was shipwrecked; had he landed at on the Italian mainland, he would have gone on to Rome; in actual fact he wound up at Corinth (Acts 18). Now that his work in the East is completed, his eyes turn to the West. Possibly Jewish opposition to him has become so strong in the countries he has evangelized that it would be better for the Christians if Paul removed himself elsewhere. He knew that he was looked on as an apostate in Jerusalem; sail

for Brindisi,

Brindisi,

Romans to pray for his safety. Actually he is trouble when he does arrive at Jerusalem at the

he even asks the in for a lot of

Romans

304 well assured that

when

I visit

15, 29-16, 12

you,

shall

I

be able to

visit

you

in

the fulness of Christ's blessing. Only, brethren,

I

by our Lord Jesus Christ, and by the love of the

Spirit, to give

me

entreat you

God on my behalf. Pray that I may be kept safe from those who reject the faith in Judea, and that my mission to Jerusalem may be well received by the saints there; so that I may reach you, God willing, glad at heart, and make holiday with you. May God, the author of peace, be with

you

I

the help of your prayers to

all.

Amen.

commend

our

Phoebe

to you; she has devoted her

Make

church at Cenchrae.

service to the

Lord

sister

as saints should,

and help her

in

her welcome in the

any business where she

needs your help; she has been a good friend to many, myself

My

among them. worked

at

my

and Aquila, who have

greetings to Prisca

side in the service of Christ Jesus,

heads on the block to save

my

life;

not only

and put I

but

their

all

the

churches of the Gentiles have reason to be grateful to them.

My

Christ,

My

which meets

greetings, also, to the congregation

my

house; to

and

dear Epaenetus, the

to

first

offering Asia

Mary, who has spent so

greetings to Andronicus

prisoners of mine,

and

much

Junias,

who have won

repute

whom

I

among

Apelles, a

man

My

fellow-

the apostles greetings to

love so well in the Lord; to Urbanus,

helped our work in Christ's cause, and to tried in Christ's service;

bulus' household; to

my

my

to

labour on you.

kinsmen and

that were in Christ's service before me.

Amplias,

at their

made

who

dear Stachys; to

and those of

Aristo-

kinsman Herodion, and to such of

Narcissus' household as belong to the Lord.

My

greetings to

Tryphaena and Tryphosa, who have worked for the Lord so well; and dear Persis, too; she has been long in the Lord's

From Corinth end of

is

an early tradition written

Clement, about

down hy

as Spain, in the light of Paul's is

the fourth pope,

thirty years after Paul's death. It says that

'went to the confines of the west.' This

Britain

305

Third Missionary Journey (Acts 21).

his

There

58 A.D.

Paul

usually interpreted

is

words to the Romans. Actually

further west than Spain, hut

it

had only

just

been

conquered (15 years before), and would hardly have been contemplated by Paul as a field for his missionary activities.

Greetings to Friends at in Paul's time; letters

Rome.

There were no post

offices

were sent by personal messenger. That

is

why Paul mentions Phoebe here; she was to carry his letter to Rome. Cenchrae (pronounced Kenkray) was the eastern port of Corinth.

Paul greets 28 people in his

list

of

Roman

friends; a rather

Rome. The

surprising fact, seeing that he has never visited

most were Jews exiled from Rome by Claudius eight years earlier in 50 A.D. (Acts 18, 2); they had met Paul, chieffy at Corinth and Ephesus, during most probable explanation

their exile; they all

the

names

were

in the

now

list

are

is

that

living at

Rome

again. Practically

Greek or Latin; but

it

was normal

procedure for Jews living outside Palestine to adopt Greek

names; Paul did

Saul There

is

this

when he changed

another theory that this

list

his

Hebrew name,

was

originally part

of the Letter to the Ephesians, not an authentic part of

Romans at all; Paul spent know many people there. This like

list

gives us

three years at Ephesus,

and so would

an insight into Paul's genius for friendship;

the Master he was the most approachable of men.

doubtedly his most intimate friends were Aquila and

Un-

Priscilla

Romans

306 service.

My

and

mother,

his

16,

13-26

greetings to Rufus, a chosen servant of the Lord,

who

has been a mother to me; to Asyncritus,

who

Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren

and

are with them; to Philologus

Olympias, and

all

the saints

one another with the

who

Julia,

Nereus and

are of their

his sister,

company. Greet

the churches of Christ

kiss of saints; all

send you their greeting. Brethren,

I

entreat you to keep a watch on those

who

are

causing dissension and doing hurt to consciences, without regard to the teaching which has been given you; avoid their

company. Such

own hungry

men

are

no

servants of Christ our Lord; their

bellies are their masters;

but

guileless hearts are

deceived by their flattering talk and their pious greetings.

renowned

are

and

am

I

spect

all

proud of you; but

when

there

You

over the world for your loyalty to the gospel,

is

a

would wish

I

good end to be

who

harmful intent. So God,

is

to see

you circum-

served, innocent only of

the author of peace, will crush

Satan under your feet before long.

May

the grace of our Lord

Jesus Christ be with you.

Timothy, who works

do

my

at

my

side,

kinsmen, Lucius and Jason and Sosipater.

who have committed this letter to of the Lord. ) Greetings to host, too, of the city,

sends you his greeting; so (I,

Tertius,

paper, greet you in the

you from

name

my host, Caius, who is the

whole church; from Erastus, treasurer of the

and your brother Quartus.

There

is

one who

is

of that gospel which

I

able to set your feet firmly in the path

preach,

when

I

herald Jesus Christ; a

gospel which reveals the mystery, hidden from us through countless

prophets

now made plain, through what the have written, now published, at the eternal God's

command,

ages,

but

to all the nations, so as to

win the homage of

their

From Corinth 58 A.D. (Prisca);

he had lived with them during

and then

later at

son of Simon of Cyrene,

who

is

his

only one of the eight

(Mk.

15, 21);

mother was well known to

women on

Warning Against False Teachers. Romans

his

list.

Unlike the

the Corinthians and Galatians,

is

letters to

lacking in personali-

rather a thesis, a closely reasoned dogmatic treatment

of fundamental principles of the faith. It

End Paul warning

men; some think that Paul

Romans

to

is

surprising, then, to

his readers against false teachers.

agreement among commentators the

Mary and

Rufus, probably the

is

carried Jesus' cross

he had a brother Alexander, and

ties; it is

Jesus' intimate

Bethany, the household of Martha,

friends at

Final

his Erst stay at Corinth,

Ephesus (they remind us of

Lazarus). Another interesting person

Paul; she

307

is

is

disturbed Corinth and Galatia should turn up in

Romans

no

only giving a general warning to

be on the lookout in case such teachers

the only clue to their identity treated in

There

as to the identity of these

as

Rome. About

the dissension over eating,

is

14-15; possibly Paul

is

afraid that his de-

fence of Jewish customs might lead to a revival of the Judaizing problem that troubled

On

the day that Paul

many

came

of his other foundations.

to the

end

of his letter, there

was a group of eight Christians around him in the house of Caius. Paul mentions disciple,

them

all,

beginning with his most trusted

Timothy. Three of them he describes

(there are another three in the

Roman

means that they were of the same

list);

as

kinsmen

this

probably

tribe as Paul, the tribe of

Benjamin. Paul has seemed to end this letter so not surprising to End a Enal doxology. Tertius

mary of

and added a

postscript with his

many

He

times that

it is

took the pen from

own hand.

his doctrinal thesis, but this time the

It is a

emphasis

sumis

on

Acts of the Apostles 20, 3-12

308 faith.

To

him, to

God who

alone

age to age, through Jesus Christ,

is

wise, glory

be given from

Amen.

Third Missionary Journey continued

When

he had stayed three months

there,

he was meaning to

take ship for Syria; but, finding that the Jews were plotting against him, he resolved to go back again through Macedonia.

He

was accompanied by Sopater, son of Pyrrhus, from Beroea,

Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from

Derbe, Timothy, and two friends from Asia, Tychicus and

Trophimus. These went on

first,

and waited

for us at Troas.

As soon as the time of unleavened bread was over, we set sail from Philippi, and took five days to reach them at Troas, where we spent seven

When

the

days.

new week

began,

we had met

for the breaking of

and Paul was preaching to them; he meant to leave them next day, and he continued speaking till midnight. There were many lamps burning in the upper room where we had met; and a young man called Eutychus, who was sitting in the embrasure of the window, was overcome by deep sleep. As Paul still went on preaching, sleep weighed him down, and he fell from the third storey to the ground, where he was taken up dead. Paul went down, bent over him, and embraced him; then he said, 'Do not disturb yourselves; his life is yet in him/ And so he went up again and broke bread and ate; afterwards he talked with them for some time until dawn came, when he left. And the boy was taken home alive, to their great bread,

comfort.

Troas April 58 A.D.

309

The

the call of the Gentiles, not the rejection of the Jews. entry of

Body

nations into the Mystical

all

is

Gods

great

mystery.

From Corinth

to Jerusalem 58 A.D.

Raising of Eutychus at Troas.

The

seven companions of

Paul mentioned here were delegates of the various churches entrusted with the collections

made

of Jerusalem. Paul's intention

for the

was that

all

needy Christians proceed together

by sea from Corinth, arriving in time for Easter at Jerusalem.

He changed

his plans

when he

learnt of a plot to assassinate

him on hoard the pilgrim ship to Jerusalem. Keeping probably only one disciple as companion he went overland to Philippi, sending the others by sea to Troas to await his arrival there.

way he outwitted his enemies. Easter fell on 28 March in 58 A.D. Paul's evasion tactics delayed him so that he was still in Philippi when Easter ('the In this

time of unleavened bread) came. Luke joined the party there (he

had been appointed bishop of Philippi eight years before

by Paul); he narrates the rest of the journey to Jerusalem in the

first

person (this

is

the second of the three 'we-sections'

of the Acts).

Paul had been at Troas twice before. Apart from the young

man mentioned

in this paragraph,

we know only one

Christian of that city, Carpus (2 Tim. 4, 13).

Mass

other

('the break-

ing of bread) was celebrated in the early hours of

Sunday

morning; the Christians assembled on Saturday evening, and kept

vigil

throughout the night; this was the

in the early

Church.

common

practice

Acts of the Apostles 20 13-27

310

7

For ourselves, we took ship and

where we

sailed to Assos,

were to take Paul on board; he had arranged

this,

himself meant to go across by land. So at Assos

and took him on board, and journeyed

because he

we met him,

to Mitylene. Sailing

we reached a point opposite Chios the following day; we put in at Samos, and arrived on the third at Miletus. Paul had made up his mind to sail past Ephesus, for

thence,

on the

next,

he was

fear of having to waste time in Asia; it

eager,

if

he found

keep the day of Pentecost at Jerusalem. From

possible, to

Miletus he sent a message to Ephesus, summoning the presbyters of the church there.

And when

they had

him, he said to them: 'You yourselves can lived

among

you, since the

Lord

serving the

first

day when

in all humility, not

come out

testify, I

how

I

to

have

set foot in Asia,

without tears over the

which beset me, through the plots of the Jews; and how I have never failed you, when there was any need of preaching to trials

you, or teaching you, whether publicly or house by house.

I

have proclaimed both to Jew and to Greek repentance before God and faith in our Lord Jesus.

'Now, a prisoner in spirit, I am going up to Jerusalem, knowing nothing of what is to befall me there; only, as I go from city to city, the Holy Spirit assures me that bondage and affliction

my

life

await me.

I

care nothing for

precious compared with

the course

my

all that; I

work, which

run, the task of preaching

I

do not count is

to finish

which the Lord Jesus

has given me, in proclaiming the good news of God's grace.

Here, then,

I

again; you,

among whom

kingdom.

stand, feeling sure that

And

I

I

you

will

not see

my

face

came and went, preaching the

ask you to bear

me

witness today that

I

have

no man's blood on my hands; I have never shrunk from revealing to you the whole of God's plan. Keep watch, then, over yourselves, and over God's Church, in which the Holy Spirit

Miletus April 58 A.D. Paul's Farewell to the

ing that

Ephesian Elders.

Luke makes no mention

311 It is rather surpris-

of Titus

among

the com-

panions of Paul, seeing that Titus was appointed to take up the collection at Corinth. Possibly the Corinthians were not yet ready with their contribution,

and Titus was

still

making

the rounds of the churches of Achaia. Another explanation is

among

that Titus was actually

the delegates to Jerusalem,

but Luke refrained from mentioning him. Tradition has Titus was

Lukes

brother;

it

that

was considered bad form to men-

it

tion relatives in writings of that period. In point of fact Titus is

never mentioned in the Acts.

Paul himself walked the 20 miles across the peninsula from Troas to Assos, while his disciples

He

made

the voyage by sea.

more time with the Christians at Troas or, as is more likely to visit some friends along the road. Coastal vessels put in to land for the night, and travelled only by day; so Paul had plenty of time to join his ship at Assos since it would not be sailing until the following day. did this either to have

y

,

It

was about 20 April by the time the ship arrived at Miletus.

This slow rate of travel was due mostly to contrary winds; the loading of cargo at various ports also slowed the ship's progress.

Ephesus was not among the ports of

ticular ship; so

the

elders

call of this par-

Paul used the quickest means of summoning

from Ephesus; he sent messengers,

probably

Tychicus and Trophimus, by the land route 30 miles up the coast

from Miletus.

He

was anxious to be in Jerusalem for

the feast of Pentecost in the middle of the

PauYs

tearful farewell to the

month

Ephesian elders

is full

of

May.

of senti-

ments paralleled in his letters. In it he quotes a saying of our Lord not found in the Gospels (the only other authentic addition to the four Gospels

is

Luke's account of the Ascension in

'

Acts of the Apostles 20, 28-21, 4

312

has

made you bishops; you

which he won

know

am

are to be the shepherds of that flock

well that ravening wolves will

gone, and will not spare the flock; there will be

among your own number who message, and find disciples to

of you continually,

and with

you to God, and to

and give you your you

me

will bear

for all that

and

I

I

allotted place

Now,

as then, I

among

one

commend

can build you up

the saints everywhere.

gold or clothing from any man;

out, that these

my

men

spent, instructing every

tears.

silver or

I

come forward with a false follow them. Be on the watch,

his gracious word, that

have never asked for

I

will

then; do not forget the three years

I

own blood. come among you when

for himself at the price of his

hands of mine have

companions needed. Always

I

sufficed

have

tried

show you that it is our duty so to work, and be the support remembering the words spoken by the Lord Jesus himself: "It is more blessed to give than to receive." to

of the weak,

When he had said this, he knelt down and prayed with them all.

They

all

wept abundantly, and embraced Paul and kissed

him, grieving most over what he had said about never seeing his face again.

When we out to

sea,

And so

tore ourselves

we made

him

they escorted

to the ship.

away from them, and

at last

a straight course, sailing to Cos,

put

and next

day to Rhodes, and thence to Patara. There, finding a ship crossing to Phoenicia,

we went on board and

sighted Cyprus, but passed

where we landed

shipped her cargo. Here

made

it

on our

we enquired

a stay of seven days with

warned Paul not

left,

at Tyre, the port for

to go

up

set sail.

and held on

We

for Syria,

vessel

had

for the brethren,

and

which the

them; they, by revelation,

to Jerusalem, but

when

the time

— Miletus April 58 A.D. the

first

313

chapter of the Acts of the Apostles). This saying of

Jesus expresses the essential of Paul's pastoral ministry

Luke them

rather than receiving.

Paul

'piesbyteis' ;

calls

the group from Ephesus

caJJs

At

'bishops.'

the Church's history the distinction of exact as priest

it is

and

this early stage of

names was not

today; hishop was an office distinct

laity,

name was used

hut the

giving

as

horn hoth

generally for those in

charge (the word means overseer) of a church; the whole group is

best cahed elders.

Both here

and affectionately feJt

that he

and

at Miletus

earlier at

to the Christian communities, because

would never meet them

tion of death at the

end of

false;

imprisonment in

Rome and

(2

Asia, stopping at

Tim.

4, 20).

again;

he

he had a premoni-

his journey. In actual fact this

he was eventually freed from his Erst

premonition was

and

Troas Paul spoke long

travelled again through

hoth Ephesus

(1

Tim.

1, 3)

Greece

and MiJetus

This journey took place after the mission to

Spain, six or seven years after the farewell recorded here. PauVs

prediction was based

on human calculation alone; the Holy

him only

Spirit told

account in the Acts

that he is

would be imprisoned. Luke's

inspired, not Paul's speech; Luke's

inspiration guarantees that Paul spoke the

words attributed to

him.

The Return

to Jerusalem.

This

is

Paul's fifth visit to Jerusa-

lem in the twenty-eight years since his conversion. final visit

And on

this

to Jerusalem, his attitude resembles that of the

Master himself on his Spirit assures

me

last

journey to Jerusalem: 'The Holy

that bondage

and

affliction

await me.' Paul's

thirteen years of missionary labour correspond to our Lord's

Galilean ministry; he has laid the foundations of the in the

Mediterranean world, and

Jerusalem where he

is

now

Church

his face is set towards

to begin his passion.

'

Acts of the Apostles 21, 5-19

314

came

we

them and continued our journey. All and children, escorted us until we were out of the city; and so we knelt down on the beach to pray; then, when farewells had been made on either side, we went on board the ship, while they returned home. to an end,

left

of them, with their wives

The end of the voyage brought us from Tyre to Ptolemais, where we greeted the brethren and stayed one day with them; the day after, we left them and arrived at Caesarea, where we went to the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the seven, and lodged with him. He had four daughters, who possessed the gift of prophecy. During our stay of several days there, a

prophet named Agabus came down from Judea.

When

he

he took up Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet with it; then he said, Thus speaks the Holy Spirit: 'The man to whom this girdle belongs will be bound, like this, by the Jews at Jerusalem, and given over into the hands of the visited us,

Gentiles."

At hearing this, both we and our hosts implored Paul not up to Jerusalem. To which he answered: What do you mean by lamenting, and crushing my spirits? I am ready to meet prison and death as well in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.' Finding that he would not take our advice, we composed ourselves and said: The Lord's will be done.' When the time came to an end, we made all ready, and went up to Jerusalem. Some of the brethren from Caesarea went with us, to take us to the house of a Cypriot called Mnason, one of the first disciples, with whom we were to to go

lodge.

with all

When we

joy.

The

reached Jerusalem, the brethren received us

next day Paul took us with

him

to see James;

the presbyters had gathered; and he greeted them, and told

them point by point

of all that

Gentiles through his ministry.

God had done among

the

Caesarea 58 A.D. AJJ Paul's friends tried to persuade

315-

him

to

abandon

his

return to Jerusalem; the same foreboding and fear had also

now

taken possession of Jesus' followers: 'And the

way going up

to Jerusalem;

and

still

while they were bewildered and followed

(Mk.

10, 32).

on

they were

Jesus led

him with

them

on,

faint hearts

r

The Master could relive his passion only in the members of his Mystical Body; Paul was filled

persons of the

with the same courage that Jesus showed in the face of danger.

His one concern was to follow closely in the footsteps of the Master in carrying out the will of the Father.

The end

of the sea voyage

capital of Judea

to Jerusalem, sixty miles

had been

came

and the seaport

away in the

in Caesarea twice before,

Roman

at Caesarea, the

for the final stage hills to

on

his

by road

the southeast. Paul

way

to Tarsus (Acts

9, 30) and after his second missionary journey. Before the end of May he will be back there, a prisoner for two years.

The

stay at Caesarea

was a busy and interesting time for

Luke, the author of the Acts;

He

it

to the

Holy Land.

Philip

and the Ethiopian (Acts

like

was probably

undoubtedly got 8)

his first visit

his vivid

account of

from Philip himself.

Men

Agabus and Mnason must have provided him with much

valuable material on the early days of the church in Palestine.

He had

a genius for listening to the stories of eyewitnesses

and then

setting

down

his

own

authentic narrative.

Most

of

the material for his Gospel was also gathered at this time.

Paul had met Agabus at Antioch, fourteen years earlier (Acts 11, 28). in Palestine;

On

that occasion he

had foretold

a famine

Paul and Barnabas had carried to the needy in

Jerusalem the Erst gift of alms from the Gentile churches.

Paul was returning to Jerusalem with large sums of

from

his Gentile foundations.

us of the prophets of the

Now

money

Agabus' symbolic act reminds

Old Testament; they commonly

Acts of the Apostles 21, 20-28

316

They

God

praised

you can

for the

news he gave, and

how many

see for yourself

learned to believe, and they are law.

And

this

you teach

all

is

all

what has come

zealous supporters of the

to their ears about you; that

the Jews in Gentile parts to break away from the

law of Moses,

telling

them not

and not to follow the crowd of them

to circumcise their children,

tradition.

What

will assuredly gather

will

men here who

are under a vow;

join in their purification

ing of their heads, then

if

happen?

Why,

a

round you, hearing that

you have come. Follow our advice, then,

and

said: 'Brother,

thousands of the Jews have

you

in this;

we have

will take these

and defray the

four

with you,

cost for the shav-

all will see clearly that the report they

have heard about you has no substance, and that you do follow the observance of the law like other men. As for the Gentile believers,

we have

that they

must abstain from what

already written to them; is

we

laid

it

down

sacrificed to idols,

and

from blood-meat and meat which has been strangled, and

from fornication/

Arrest and Imprisonment So, next day, Paul took the

men

with him, and began going

to the temple, publicly fulfilling the days of purification, until

came for each to have sacrifice made on his behalf. And when the seven days were all but at an end, the Jews from Asia saw him in the temple. Whereupon they threw the whole crowd into an uproar, and laid hands on him, crying out: 'Men of Israel, come to the rescue; here is the man who goes about the time

everywhere, teaching everybody to despise the people, and our law,

and

this place.

He

has brought Gentiles into the Temple,

Jerusalem 58 A.D.

added such actions

to the message they

317

had

to deliver

from the

Lord.

Paul must have been disappointed at the cool reception he received from the Christian leaders in Jerusalem. In effect

he was asked

to

perform a public penance for his outspoken

championship of freedom from the Mosaic law.

He showed

his greatness

by submitting to the demands of James, bishop

of Jerusalem

and cousin of our Lord.

ciple that

He

expressed the prin-

guided him when he wrote to the Corinthians:

'With the Jews I lived like a Jew, to win the Jews, with those who keep the law, as one who keeps the law (though the law

had no claim on me), to win those who kept the law. joined four Christian Jews

(Num.

He

6, 13-21); his

who had

taken the Nazirite

He

7

vow

motive was Christian unity and peace.

was not abandoning his stand for Gentile

liberty, as de-

fended in his Letters to the Galatians and Romans;

it

was

customary for Jerusalem Christians to keep Jewish observances.

Jerusalem and Caesar ea 58-60 A.D. The Riot and Rescue

in the

Jews, Paul was a renegade; he in

Temple.

In the eyes of the

had abandoned the Jewish

faith,

which he had been born and educated, and embraced a new

religion.

Had he remained

true to the faith of his fathers,

he would now have been one of the leaders in

Israel;

he had

been one of the most promising students ever to study in Jerusalem's rabbinical school.

he was now the

him with

greatest

a fierce,

But instead

enemy

of being a

of Judaism;

champion

and they hated

unreasoning hatred. Like the Master before

Acts of the Apostles 21, 29-40

31 8

They had seen Trophi-

too, profaning these sacred precincts/

mus, who was from Ephesus,

whom

he

with him, and

it

was

they suspected Paul of introducing into the temple.

The whole ran

in the city

was

city

up from

all sides.

commotion, and the

in a

They

seized Paul

common

folk

and dragged him out of

the temple, upon which the gates were shut; and they were preparing to

kill

him, when word came to the captain of the

garrison that the whole of Jerusalem

was

once summoned

his troops,

officers,

upon them; and

at the sight of the captain

He

at

and swept down

with his troops they

beating Paul.

left off

The

with their

an uproar.

in

came up and arrested him, giving orders that he should be bound with a double chain; then he asked him who he was, and what he had done. But some of the crowd were shouting this and some that, and it was impossible to find out captain

the truth amidst the clamour; so he gave orders that Paul

should be taken to the

soldiers' quarters.

When

he reached

the steps, he had to be carried by the soldiers because of the crowd's violence; a rabble of the ing behind, with cries

And

just as

of,

Tut him

people kept follow-

to death/

he was being taken into the

Paul asked the centurion, 'May

At which he

common

said,

What,

I

soldiers' quarters,

have a word with you?'

can you talk Greek?

You

are not,

band of four thousand cutthem out into the wilderness?' Jew,' said Paul, 'a citizen of Tarsus in Cilicia, no my request of you is that you would let me speak to

then, that Egyptian, that raised a

some time back, and

throats, 'I

am

mean

a

city;

led

the people/

And steps,

so,

having obtained his leave, Paul stood there on the

and made a gesture with

his

hand

to the people.

There

Jerusalem 58 A.D.

own

him, Paul was disowned by his

what was

his

319

people: 'He

own, and they who were

his

own

gave

came to him no

welcome/ was the time of the morning

It

his

way

sacrifice

when Paul made

into the temple for the final ceremonies of the Nazirite

vow. The temple was divided into two sections by a Jow stone wali separating the outer Court of the Gentiles from the inner

no Gentile was permitted beyond this baniei (called Soieg): 'No stiangei is permitted to cross this barrier into the holy place; the penalty is death.' Even the Roman soldiers couits;

respected the sacredness of the inner enclosure.

At the times

the

of great festivals

fortress Antonia, in the

Roman

garrison

in

northwest corner of the temple area,

was strengthened to meet any emergency. This occasion was the feast of Pentecost, and the

out for any disturbance

temple courts. The

Roman

among

riot started in the

police quickly forced the fighting

guard was on the look-

the pilgrims thronging the

Mens

Court; the temple

crowd outside the sanctuary

proper into the Gentiles' Court to avoid profanation of the holy place; they then closed the big bronze doors of the Beautiful Gate.

Captain Lysias

lost

no time

disturbance; his soldiers

mob.

He

knew

in getting to the scene of the just

how

to handle an oriental

wasted no time in questioning the

rioters

but took

Paul immediately into the barracks at the top of the steps leading into fortress Antonia. Lysias felt quite sure that he at last captured the dangerous rebel,

an Egyptian Jew

had

who

had been causing much trouble to the Jerusalem garrison (he had escaped into the desert country east of Olivet). This Egyptian

is

Paul's

also

mentioned by the contemporary historian Josephus.

Account of His

Own Conversion.

top of the Antonia steps looking

down

As Paul stood

at the

at the hostile faces of

Acts of the Apostles 22, 1-13

320

was deep

and he began addressing himself

silence,

Hebrew: 'Brethren and

ence, finding that he spoke to

and

from them that was on

me;

Way

all

Saul,

am

Hebrew.) 1

I

was carrying to

a Jew,

in this city;

I

was

to the prisons.

me

you,

men and

to the death, putting

out in that;

letters to their brethren,

it

The was

when

While

me, "I

I

was on

this befell

from heaven shone about me, and

and heard

are you, Lord?" said to

are, all of

Damascus, about midday, a voice saying to

me, "Saul,

me?"

do you persecute

'And he

you

to Jerusalem for punishment.

to the ground,

why

as

Damascus, to make fresh prisoners there

at once a great light

"Who

God

the elders will bear

journey, not far from

I fell

'

all

my way

and bring them

my

in

and handing them over

in chains

chief priests

I

honour of

persecuted this

I

women

in

am put-

under Gamaliel, in exact knowledge of our ancestral

law, as jealous for the

today.

them

and brought up

at Tarsus in Cilicia

trained,

them

I

you/ (And now they gave him even better audi-

ting before

born

to

fathers, listen to the defence

I

answered.

am

Jesus of Nazareth,

whom

Saul

persecutes."

'My companions saw the light, but could not catch the voice of him who spoke to me. Then I said, "What must I do, Lord?"

'And the Lord

me, "Rise up, and go into Damascus;

said to

there you shall be told of

all

the work that

is

destined for you."

The glory of that light had blinded me, and my companions were leading me by the hand when I came into Damascus. There a

neighbours for his pious

man

known among his Jewish observance of the law, came and stood

certain Ananias, a

well

beside me, and said, "Brother Saul, look up and see." that instant

I

looked up into his face.

Then he

And

said to

at

me,

Jerusalem 58 A.D.

321

mind must have

the crowd in the Court of the Gentiles, his

gone back 28 years to a similar scene, when Stephen stood on trial for his life in this

same temple of Jerusalem.

sent up a prayer to Stephen, the

man who

into contact with the risen Christ, the source of

At Stephens

truth.

hut

now he

He

himself

trial,

is

on

He

surely

Erst brought all

grace

him and

Paul was a prominent persecutor;

trial for his

own

life.

follows an approach similar to that of Stephen.

But

instead of tracing the history of the Jewish people, Paul gives

an autobiographical sketch of his in

Aramaic

Jews

(caiied

been understood by

patriotism

conversion.

all;

He

speaks of

could have spoken in Greek and

he chose Aramaic for the same reason

on Pentecost Sunday.

and national sentiment, and

was an appeal to

It

once established an

at

Roman

intimacy with the audience not shared by the standing by,

He

Hebrew by Luke), the mother tongue

living in Palestine.

that Peter did

own

who would understand

soldiers

only an occasional word

of Aramaic.

Once Paul began

to speak,

he

felt sure of himself.

He

recalls

the situation leading to his conversion; the details were well

known were is

to the Jewish leaders listening to

his

own

no enemy

from

him;

many

is to show that he The Jews were familiar

their history with the intervention of the

Old Testament was

to the prophets of old,

God

else

full of

Lord

God

in

such incidents. As

himself had spoken directly to

made

him could he do but obey God?

Paul; the divine will was

What

them

contemporaries. His purpose of the Jewish religion.

their lives; the

terms.

of

clear to

in

no uncertain

In Acts 9 Luke gives an account of Paul's conversion; Paul himself will repeat the story before Agrippa at Caesarea (Acts 26).

There are minor variations in the three accounts. The

only detail that needs clarification

is

the seeming contradiction

'

Acts of the Apostles 22 t 14-26

322

"The God his lips;

before

made choice of you to know his who is Just, and hear speech from

of our fathers has

have sight of him

will, to

and what you have seen and heard, you shall testify men. Come then, why are you wasting time? Rise

all

up, and receive baptism, washing away your sins at the invocation of his name."

'Afterwards,

when

I

had gone back

at prayer in the temple,

there speaking to me;

with '

I

all

into a trance,

I fell

"Make

to Jerusalem,

haste,"

he

and saw the Lord

said, "leave

speed; they will not accept your witness of

"But Lord,"

I

and was

Jerusalem

me

here."

within their own knowledge, how who believed in you, and scourge and when the blood of Stephen, your

said, "it

is

used to imprison those

them

in the synagogues;

martyr, was shed,

too stood by and gave

I

my

consent,

and

watched over the garments of those who slew him."

'And he

said to

me, "Go on your way;

on a distant errand,

Up

to send

you

to the Gentiles."

'Away with such a fellow from the

cried aloud,

shouts and throwing into the

air,

down

their

earth;

when he saw them

them

to

examine him under the

tied Paul

down with

who was man, when he is a Roman

centurion

a

garments and flinging dust lash; thus

find out the cause of the outcry against him.

had already

it is

raising

the captain had Paul taken into the soldiers'

•quarters, telling

a

mean

to this point, they listened to his speech; but then they

disgrace that he should live/ So,

would

I

in charge,

thongs,

when he

And

he

they

said to the

'Have you the right to scourge citizen,

and has not been

sen-

tenced?'

The centurion, as soon as he heard this, went to the captain and told him of it; 'What are you about?' he said. 'This man is

a

Roman

citizen.'

Jerusalem 58 A.D.

323

what Paul's companions heard. Acts

7 says that they heard the voice speak; in this paragraph Paul says they 'could as to

who spoke

not catch the voice of him explanation

that the other

is

members

g,

7

me. The simplest

to

of Paul's party heard

a voice (like the heavenly voice in the temple, Jn. 12, 29),

but were unable to pick up the actual words spoken.

The Crowd

Interrupts Paul's Speech.

devoted son of the law,

why

and preach the gospel there?

did he not return to Jerusalem

It is to

answer

this

unasked ques-

minds of

his listeners that

of a vision in the temple that

commanded him

tion

which must have been

Paul

now

tells

Since Paul was such a

to preach to the Gentiles.

in the

His mission was not to the Jews

hut to the pagans scattered throughout the vast pire.

At the mention

Roman Em-

of the hated Gentiles, all the anger of

the crowd rose again to the surface; their outcry put an end to Paul's defence.

As

a point of chronology,

Paul did not return to Jerusalem

immediately after his conversion; he spent three years in retreat in the

Arabian desert (Gal.

1, 18).

says that the reason for Paul's departure

the occasion of his revelation

first visit

In Acts

9,

29 Luke

from Jerusalem on

was a plot against

from the Lord. So Knox thinks Paul

his

is

life,

not a

not referring

to the Erst visit, three years after his conversion, hut to his

second

visit,

fourteen years after conversion. It was only a

year after this second visit that Paul's mission to the Gentiles really began,

with his

first

missionary journey in the

company

of Barnabas. It was this vision in the temple that initiated

the Gentile mission.

Paul was taken for scourging into the barracks, where Jesus had been scourged by Pilate. He was no stranger to the lash; already he

had

suffered

it

at least eight times (2 Cor. 11 , 24-

Acts of the Apostles 22 26-23, &

324

,

So the captain came and asked him, 'What are a

Roman he

'Yes,'

Why/ win

is

this?

You

citizen?'

said.

answered the captain,

'it

cost

me

sum

a heavy

to

this privilege/

'Ah/ said Paul, 'but

Upon question

am

I

by birth/

a citizen

this, the men who were to have put him to the moved away from him; and the captain himself was

Roman

alarmed, to find out that this was a

had put him

and he

citizen,

in bonds.

So, the next day, determined to discover the truth about

the charge the Jews were bringing against him, he released

summoned

to confront

and the whole them with him.

Paul fastened his eyes on the Council, and

said, 'Brethren,

him,

a meeting of the chief priests

down

Council, and brought Paul

all

my

have behaved myself with

life I

science towards

those

who were

God/ At 'It

whitened wall you

are;

is

con-

the high priest Ananias bade

this,

standing near smite

Paul said to him,

full loyalty of

God

him on the mouth. Then

that will smite you, for the

you are

sitting there to judge

me

ac-

cording to the law, and will you break the law by ordering

them to smite me?' 'What/ said the bystanders, 'would you

insult

God's high

priest?'

And high of

Paul

said, 'Brethren, I

priest; to

him who

be

sure, it

is

could not

written,

rules your people."

'

tell

"You

And now,

that

shall

it

was the

not speak

ill

finding that there

were two factions among them, one of the Sadducees and the other

of the

'Brethren,

before me.

Pharisees,

Paul

cried

am a Pharisee, and my And I am standing on my

I

out in

Council,

the

fathers were Pharisees trial

because

I

am

one

Jerusalem 58 A.D. 25). This

was suiely Paul's great opportunity to

Master and

The

325

relive in his

own body

suffer like the

the sufferings of the Head.

reason he refused to suffer scourging was probably that to torture for Christ's sake, but

he was not being subjected

owing to the mistaken impression that he was the Egyptian impostor.

The cause

claim to

if

Roman

made

citizenship was never

falsely, be-

untrue such a claim was punishable by death.

It

was

a rare privilege in the provinces; probably Paul's family in

Tarsus had to

an

won

earlier

this

coveted privilege by some service rendered

emperor.

The Romans were

Paul Before the Council.

always puzzled

by the feeling shown by the Jews over religious matters. Captain Claudius Lysias

was determined to get to the bottom of

the Jewish hostility to Paul; so he leaders to in

some room

in the fortress Antonia,

chamber, which was in the

Roman place.

summoned

meet him. This meeting took place

soldiers

Priests'

,

it is

priest,

likely,

not in the council

Court; Lysias and his

would not have been permitted

The high

the Jewish

most

to enter that

Ananias, did not preside (otherwise

Paul could not have mistaken his identity), nor were witnesses called; this

meant

that

it

was not a regular Jewish

trial

but an

enquiry conducted under the presidency of Lysias.

A

blow on the face was

nified his exclusion

a grievous insult to a Jew;

from the chosen people. Paul

it sig-

lost his

temper, and reacted so quickly that the blow was probably never delivered.

Our Lords calmness

in a similar situation

in contrast to Paul's anger. Paul's outburst

is

soon subsided, and

he apologized for his offensive words to the high

priest.

His

apology took the form of a quote from Exodus; the rabbi in

Paul shows in the apt manner in which he could End a text for every purpose.

Acts of the Apostles 23, 7-18

326

who hopes

for the resurrection of the

When he said this,

dead/

a dissension arose

between the Pharisees

and the Sadducees and the assembly was in two minds. The will have it that there is no resurrection, that there are no angels or spirits, whereas the Pharisees believe in both.

Sadducees

So that a great clamour followed; and some Pharisees' party

came forward

any fault

man/

in this

sage from a

and the

spirit,

captain,

to protest;

or an angel/

who was

their midst,

On

We

cannot find

they said. 'Perhaps he has had a mes-

Then

dissension rose high;

afraid that they

in pieces, ordered his troops to

from

scribes of the

and bring him

the next night, the Lord

would

come down and

tear Paul

rescue Paul

safe to the soldiers' quarters.

came

to his side,

and told

him, 'Do not lose heart; you have done with bearing

me

now you must carry the same witRome/ When day came, the Jews held a conclave,

witness in Jerusalem, and ness to

and bound themselves under a solemn curse that they would not eat or drink until they had killed Paul; more than forty of

them joined

priests

and

So they went to the chief and told them, 'We have bound ourselves

in this conspiracy.

elders,

under a solemn curse not to take food until we have Paul.

Your

part, then,

is

killed

to signify to the captain your wish

and the Council's, that he would bring him down before you, as if you meant to examine his cause more precisely; and we are ready to make away with him before he reaches you.'

had a son who heard of this ambush being laid; and he went to the soldiers' quarters and gave news of it to Paul. Whereupon Paul had one of the centurions brought to him, and said, 'Take this young man to the captain; he has news to give him/ So he bade him follow, and took him to the captain; 'The prisoner Paul,' he said, 'had me summoned and asked me to Paul's sister

Jerusalem 58 A.D.

327

Paul was soon master of the situation; he led the discussion onto his

own

ground. Possibly a chance remark on Paul's apt

quotation horn the scriptures decided

and Sadducees on

this

him

He would

question of the Resurrection.

in bringing

famous disputed question

woman

Sadducees' opinion see the case of the

husbands, Mt. 22, 23-33).

up the

divide the Pharisees (for

the

with seven

^so ^ e Resurrection was the key >

doctrine in Christian apologetic; so that Paul was not distracting the Council to

from the

real reason of their opposition

him. It was the basic apologetic of both Peter and Paul in

their recorded

sermons in the Acts (chapters 2 and

Paul Sent Under Guard to Caesarea. fortress earlier.

God

community

for his release (Acts 12).

in Jerusalem

tude to Paul; he cell that night.

activity in

He

this

same

Antonia that Peter had been imprisoned 14 years At that time the whole Christian Church had sent up

prayer to

wanted

was in

It

13).

felt

But the Christian

had been rather cool

in their atti-

sad and dejected as he sat in his prison

He had come

back from years of missionary

pagan lands only to end his career alone and un-

in prison.

could not help contrasting his conduct on the previous

day with that of the Master

gone to his death from

and dying

like the

this

who had been condemned and

same

building. Instead of suffering

Master, Paul had lost his temper, and

argued his way out of the danger in which he had found himself.

He had

when

often spoken of being crucified with Christ; and

the opportunity came, he had not been equal to the

As he meditated long into the night on the disparity between his own life and the Master s, sleep came to his troubled mind; and in his sleep, Jesus stood by his side. He

sacrifice.

calmed PauYs

fears,

and brought new hope

Paul had work to do for the Lord in

Rome.

for the future:

Acts of the Apostles 23, 19-31

328

man

take this young for

he has a message

you/

And

the captain, taking

aside, asked,

The

What

Jews/ he

him by the hand and drawing him

the news you bring me?'

is

said,

ask you to bring Paul if

into your presence;

'have formed this design; they will

down

before the Council tomorrow, as

they meant to examine his cause more precisely.

listen to

them; some of them

more than

forty in

will

be lying

in

ambush

Do for

not

him,

number. They have sworn not to eat or

drink until they have

made away with him; even now

they

are in readiness, only waiting for your consent/

Thereupon the captain dismissed the young man, warning him not to let anyone know that he had revealed this secret to him.

them,

Then he summoned two

Tou

are to have

of the centurions,

two hundred

men from

and told

the cohort

ready to march to Caesarea, with seventy horsemen and two

hundred spearmen; they

And you must and take him letter,

will set

out at nine o'clock tonight.

provide beasts, so that they can safely to the governor, Felix/

He

mount Paul also

wrote a

with these contents: 'Claudius Lysias, to his excellency

Here is a man whom the killing him; and set about but I came up with Jews my men and rescued him, learning that he was a Roman citizen. Since I had a mind to discover what complaint it was they had against him, I took him down into the presence of their Council; but I found that the accusation was concerned with disputes about their own law, and that he was Felix, the governor, sends greeting. seized,

charged with nothing that deserved death or imprisonment.

And now,

since

laid against

at the

him,

I

have information of a plot which they have I

am

sending

him

to you, telling his accusers

same time that they must plead

their cause before you.

Farewell/

The

soldiers,

obeying their orders, took Paul with them,

Caesarea 58 A.D.

The

future of the infant

329

Church from now on was

Roman

develop within the framework of the

to

Empire; the

break with Judaism was only a matter of time. Paul had written of this in

Romans

The Master had now made

13.

position clear: freedom

Paul's

would not come by submitting

to

Jewish law and justice, hut hy taking Christianity out into the

Roman

world order.

was

It

this vision that ultimately

Paul to appeal to Caesar two years

later

when he was

decided

in prison

at Caesarea.

The

on the previous day had been held

trial

fortress; the

Jews

now proposed

in the

Roman

that Paul should be sent

down

into the temple to the council chamber. This would mean that

he would be separated from the

Roman

target for the assassins knife. It

is

not known whether or

not PauYs nephew was a Christian, or plot to

kill his

uncle;

it

seems

guard and be an easy

how he

likely that

official

if

he was not

We know nothing of PauYs family apart from this

mention of

casual

this

he would have better

opportunities to overhear, or discover, the plot a Christian.

heard of

his sister. Possibly she

was married to some

who handed on the information; the nephew was sent

to the barracks so as not to arouse suspicion.

Lysias was taking

Knox

no chances, with

his

470

soldiers

(though

suggests that the text originally read only 270) to guard

Paul on the twelve hours' night march to Caesarea. Once they arrived at Antipatris, they were

and there was

little

away from the

hiJI

country,

danger of ambush. The cavalry would be

adequate for the rest of the journey across the plain of Sharon.

The

infantry were recalled to Jerusalem because the feast of

Pentecost was

There

makes

is

still

on,

there might be trouble there.

an authentic touch in Claudius'

his case better

because he

and

by

knew he was

letter to Felix.

falsely claiming that

a

Roman

He

he rescued Paul

citizen (actually

he had not

Acts of the Apostles 23, 32-24, 12

330

and conducted him, day they

left

travelling all night, to Antipatris.

Next

the horsemen to accompany him, and went back

to their quarters.

The horsemen, upon

reaching Caesarea,

and brought Paul, too, into his presence. So the governor read the letter, and asked from what province he came, and was told, 'From Cilicia'; then he said, 'I will give you a hearing when your accusers, delivered the letter to the governor,

too, are present/

And he

gave orders that he should be kept

safe in Herod's palace.

Five days later the high priest Ananias came down, ac-

companied by some of the

elders

and by an advocate named

Tertullus; these appeared before the governor against Paul. So,

when Paul had been summoned,

dictment thus: 'Such

is

many wrongs have been

enjoy, so

Tertullus began his in-

the peace you have enabled us to righted for this nation

through your wisdom, that always and everywhere, most noble Felix,

we

are ready to acknowledge

with grateful hearts.

it

must not weary you with more of this; what we ask of your courtesy is no more than a brief audience. Here is a man who is known to us as a pestilent mover of sedition But

I

among Jews

over the world, a ringleader of the sect of

all

the Nazarenes,

who

has not scrupled to attempt a violation

of the temple.

We

arrested him; interrogate

and you tions

will

we

be able to learn the truth about

bring against

him/ And the

supported the indictment, alleging that

Then

the governor

am

answered:

'I

because

know many

I

nation for self

that

it is

the

made

him all

yourself,

the accusa-

Jews, for their part, all this

was the

a sign to bid Paul speak,

more emboldened

to

make my

truth.

and he

defence,

well that you have been a judge over this years.

You have

the means of assuring your-

only twelve days since

I

worship there. They have never found

came

me

to Jerusalem, to

raising controversy,

Caesarea 58 A.D.

discovered this fact

later).

till

attempt to torture Paul;

331

AJso he makes no mention of his

could have got the captain into

this

trouble.

Paul's birthplace, Tarsus, was in the Cilicia; this

Roman

province of

was an imperial, not a senatorial province, and so

Felix was competent to try the case. Paul was lodged in prison in the governors residence;

had been

it

built originally

by

Herod the Great

Within

Paul Before Felix.

a

week

of

Paul's

arrival

at

Caesarea, a Jewish delegation under the leadership of the high

from Jerusalem. Their purpose was to obtain

priest arrived

PauYs condemnation from the

Roman

obtained that of our Lord himself.

engaged a

Roman

barrister,

To

entirely different

present their case they

Tertullus;

familiar than a Jewish lawyer with

was

governor, as they had

he would be more

Roman

procedure, which

from the Jewish manner of trying a

prisoner.

Tertullus presented three indictments against Paul; each of

the three was a crime punishable by death according to law.

They bear a

Roman

striking resemblance to the crimes with

which

the Master had been charged. Paul was accused of sedition, of

being a ringleader of a religion

('sect')

which was

illegal in

the empire, and of violating the temple (presumably by taking

Trophimus into the sanctuary, beyond the Paul's reply

is

factual.

The crimes

Soreg).

all

have happened in Jerusalem during the past

he

tells

holy

Felix just

city.

He

him must fortnight So

alleged against

what happened during

his brief visit to the

dismisses the charge of sedition by his statement

no one can produce the slightest evidence that he ever gathered a crowd about him, or addressed any body of men, that

anywhere in Jerusalem.

He

explains his presence in the temple;

Acts of the Apostles 24, 13-25

332

or bringing a crowd together, either in the temple, or in the

synagogues, or in the open

city;

nor can they produce any

proof of the charges they bring against me. But this to you, that in worshipping the

what we

call

in all that

is

God

before

of our fathers,

admit follow

my

put

call a sect. I

I I

trust

and the prophets, sharing

the hope they have too, that the dead will

pains to keep

and

my

unjust.

was when

I

To

that end

like

I,

some

men

had

years'

absence

I

rise

am God

or

came up

to

them,

conscience clear of offence towards

at all times. After

bring alms to the It

they

written in the law

again, both just

man,

Way, and

the

God

at

my own race, and certain offerings. made these offerings and had been

of

just

no crowd about rioting, by whom? By some Jews from Asia, who ought to be here, standing in your presence, if they had any quarrel with me. In default of that, it is for those who are here to purified in the temple, that

I

was found

there,

me, no

what blame they found in me, when I stood before the Council; unless it were over one single utter-

give their account of

ance,

am

on

when

my

trial

before you today,

tion of the dead."

who had

Felix,

judgment;

'I

among them,

cried out, standing there

I

because of the resurrec-

full

to him.

Way,

information about the

you a hearing/ he

said,

come down here/ And he gave

centurion that Paul was to be kept safely, but

and that any

his wife Drusilla,

orders to the

left at his ease,

days afterwards,

who was

when

Felix was there with

a Jewess, he sent for Paul,

listened to his message about faith in Jesus Christ.

is

reserved

'when Lysias,

of his friends should be given liberty to minister

And some

spoke of

I

7

will give

the captain, has

it is

"If

justice,

and continence, and of the judgment that

to come, Felix was terrified;

present/ he said,

and he

When

'I

will

'No more of

send for you when

I

this for the

can find leisure/

Caesarea 58 A.D.

he brought alms to as

own

his

any good Jew would do.

riot in the temple,

Jews;

It

but the

333

people, and offered sacrifices just

was not he, Paul, that caused the

some Asian

false accusations of

and they were not present

at Felix

s

tribunal to undergo

questioning.

The charge

of belonging to a sect (the Nazarenes as distinct

from the Jews) was probably the most dangerous tian cause.

Rome

time regarded as a separate political body.

this

Paul's purpose

re-

enjoyed the rights of Jews, since they

ligion; the Christians

were not at

to the Chris-

protected Judaism as a state-approved

to guard this protected status;

is

he argues that

the dispute between himself and the Council

is

purely a

domestic matter within the framework of Judaism. Like the

Jews themselves he believes in the Old Testament ('the law

and the

prophets').

Christian belief; selves.

The

it is

resurrection of the dead

So Paul denies the charge of being

Judaism; rather, Christianity

Old Testament; God.

of the of

is

not a purely

held by the majority of the Jews them-

is

a sect distinct

from

the fulfilment and completion

in reality Christians are the true Israel

Felix was governor of Judea from 52 to 60 A.D.,

when he

was recalled on account of complaints by the Jews against his harsh rule. He was originally a slave; he was a cruel and dissolute ruler.

He should have concluded Paul's

trial

by acquittal;

he temporized because he was afraid of Jewish reaction, and also because

Some

he hoped

authorities think that Paul spent part of his

years' captivity at

to the

to receive a bribe for Paul's release.

two

Caesarea working out the plan of his Letter

Hebrews. Though the evidence favours

its

publication

about 65 A.D., when Paul was in Rome after his journey to Spain, it is probably better to read it at this point when the

Acts of the Apostles 24, 26-25, 11

334

At the same time, he hoped that Paul would offer him a bribe, and for that reason sent for him often, and courted his company. So two years passed; then Porcius Festus came as successor to Felix; and Felix, who wished to ingratiate himself

with the Jews,

And

left

Paul in prison.

Festus, three days after entering his province,

from Caesarea to Jerusalem. Here the high leaders of the Jews put before

him

priest

went up and the

their case against Paul,

and were urgent with him, asking as a favour, that he would Paul to Jerusalem; meanwhile they were preparing an ambush, so as to make away with him on the journey. But

summon

Festus answered that Paul was in safe keeping at Caesarea;

he himself would be removing there those of you

who

are

men

as

of influence/

soon as possible; 'Let

he

said, 'travel

with me, and bring your charges against this man,

if

down

you have

anything against him/ So,

when he had spent a week with them, or ten days at down to Caesarea; and next day, sitting on

most, he went the judgment

seat,

he gave orders

for Paul to

be brought

in.

When

he appeared, there were the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem, standing round him and bringing many grave accusations against him, which they could not prove; while

Paul said in his defence, 1 have committed no crime against the Jewish law, or against the temple, or against Caesar/

But Festus had so

a

mind

to ingratiate himself with the Jews,

he answered Paul thus, 'Are you ready to go up to Jerusa-

lem, and meet these charges before

Upon which ment I

seat,

Paul

where

I

said,

'I

guilty, if I

as

there?'

standing at Caesar's judg-

have a right to be

have done them no wrong,

am

am

me

tried.

As

for the Jews,

you know well enough.

If I

have done something which deserves death,

I

Caesarea 60 A.D.

atmosphere

335

light for an appreciation of its message.

is

certainly LuJce

was busy

gathering information for the writing of his

Enished during Paul's

Roman

Paul Appeals to Caesar.

man, an

administrator.

captivity.

Governor Festus was

a

Roman noble-

of the old school; he was a firm

official

He

Almost

and people, Gospel, which he

at this time visiting places

and honest

arrived at Caesarea in August, 60 A.D., to

find his province of Palestine in a state of unrest. His predecessor, Felix,

in Caesarea

had put down a

by a

large-scale

he had been recalled

riot

between Greeks and Jews

massacre of Jews; for his savagery

in disgrace. Festus

had been briefed on

the difficulty of the Palestinian situation and the fanaticism of the Jews. His policy leaders

and not

That

was to become friendly with the

to antagonize

local

them.

why he made an immediate visit to the Jewish headat Jerusalem. A new high priest, Ishmael, had come

is

quarters

into office; he was aware of Festus' desire to win Jewish support,

and

Knowing

so asked as a favour that Paul be tried in Jerusalem. of the attempted

of Felix, Festus was taking at

ambush during the governorship no risks; he decided to keep Paul

Caesarea. Accordingly a

trial

was arranged before the

governor at Caesarea. Just as at the previous before, the Jews could prove

At the conclusion

of this

none of trial,

Festus asked Paul

willing to be tried in Jerusalem. This

fierce, violent

two years

if

he was

sudden change of mind

on Festus' part was probably brought about by ing the

trial

their charges.

his fear at see-

Jewish hatred of Paul, and the conviction

that the case was a matter for a Jewish court rather than a

Roman. Paul saw

that Festus was unequal to dealing with the

Jewish leaders, and that there was no possibility that his case

Acts of the Apostles 25, 12-23

336

do not ask

for reprieve;

no one has

a right to

if

their charges are

make them

without substance,

my life.

a present of

I

appeal

to Caesar/

Then

Festus conferred with his council, and answered,

'Have you appealed to Caesar?

Some

days

king

later,

To

Caesar you shall go/

Agrippa

and Bernice came to

Caesarea, to give Festus their greeting, and, since he was

spending several days there, Festus put Paul's case before the king:

There

is

a

man

and when

here/ he said,

'whom

Felix left behind

went to Jerusalem the chief priests and elders of the Jews denounced him to me, asking for his condemnation. I replied that it is not the Roman custom to make a present of any man's life, until the accused man has been in prison;

I

confronted with his accusers, and been given the opportunity

So they came here with me, and I did not keep them waiting; the next day, sitting on the judgment seat, I gave orders for the man to be brought in. to clear himself of the charge.

His accusers, as they stood round him, could not tax him with any criminal offence, such as troversies with

and with alive.

I

had expected;

him were concerned with

a dead

man

For myself,

such matters; so

called Jesus,

their con-

scruples of their own,

whom

Paul declared to be

upon the

I

hesitated to enter

I

asked whether he was willing to go to

Jerusalem, and meet these charges

there.

discussion of

Upon which

Paul

appealed to have his case reserved for the emperor's cognizance; I

and

I

gave orders that he should be kept safe until

can send him to Caesar.'

Then Agrippa to hear this

Tou So,

said to Festus,

man

'I

have often wished, myself,

speak/

shall hear him,' said he, 'tomorrow.'

on the next

pomp, and made

day, Agrippa

and Bernice came with great

their entry into the hall of

judgment,

at-

Caesar ea 60 A.D.

337

could be brought to a speedy conclusion here at Caesarea.

Guided, too, by his vision of the Loid

at Jerusalem,

he de-

cided that this was the time to appeal to the supreme court, to

Rome itself. This a Roman citizen.

was the most coveted

II,

Agrippa

I,

was the

by

This young king, Herod

Festus Puts Paul's Case to Agrippa.

Agrippa

privilege possessed

the house of Herod. His father,

last of

had died suddenly here

at Caesarea in

(Acts 12). Agrippa II had been educated in

44 A.D.

Rome, and was

more Roman than Jewish

in outlook. In 53 A.D. he had been appointed ruler of northern Palestine, with his capital at

Caesarea Philippi.

He

was

also

temple at Jerusalem; he spent

and was engaged at this time.

He

in repairing

of his time in Jerusalem,

and renovating the temple courts

was unmarried;

queen. Another, younger

authorized to inspect the

much

his sister Bernice acted as his

sister, Drusilla,

former governor Felix; she was in

Rome

was the wife of the at this time; she

was

eventually to perish in the eruption of Vesuvius.

There must have been many

visitors to see

Paul during the

course of his two years' imprisonment at Caesarea. Philip the

deacon was undoubtedly a constant

visitor;

many

of PauVs

came to report, and went out on various missions. But Luke makes no mention of any of them; instead he gives disciples

practically the trial

whole of

his narrative to

and defence before the

the Acts in

Rome

Roman

an account of PauYs

authorities.

He

wrote

while Paul was waiting to be tried before

the emperor Nero. This was to be a test case for the right to

preach Christianity throughout the

be a precedent in

Roman

law for

Roman all

world;

it

would

missionaries to follow

on Paul's case was probably Jost in the shipwreck on the island of Malta during the voyage to Rome; Luke took great care in his presentation of the

in Paul's footsteps. Festus' report

Acts of the Apostles 25, 24-26, 7

338

tended by the captains and

and Paul,

city;

the eminent persons of the

all

command, was brought

at Festus'

Festus said, 'King Agrippa, and

you a

see before

man

you who are present, you

all

whom

over

Then

in.

the whole Jewish body has

been petitioning me, not only here but at Jerusalem, crying out that he must not be allowed to

was

self, I

satisfied that

of death; but, since

thought lord,

I

day longer. For my-

he has appealed to the emperor,

best to send him,

it

live a

he had not done anything deserving

and now, writing

to

my

have no clear account to give of him. That

have brought him before you, and before you

may

Agrippa, so that the examination letter. It

would be unreasonable,

for trial without putting

I

have

I

sovereign

why

is

I

especially, king

afford material for

my

conceive, to remit a prisoner

on record the charges that

lie

against

him/

Then Agrippa

Tou

said to Paul:

are free to give an account

of yourself/

And

Paul, stretching out his hand, began his defence: 'King

Agrippa,

count myself fortunate today, to be defending

I

myself against

No

one

Jews,

you

more

is

and

all

the accusations of the Jews in your presence. familiar than

and

their controversies;

for a patient audience.

you with the customs of the this

What my

makes life

was

me

bold to ask

when

like

boy-

among my own people and memory of me, would they but admit it, is of one who lived according to the strictest tradition of observance we have, a Pharisee. And if

hood was

over, spent

from the

in Jerusalem, all the Jews

I

stand here on

my trial,

first

know;

it is

for

their earliest

my hope

of the promise

God

made

to our fathers.

lessly,

night and day, in the hope of attaining that promise;

and

this

is

the hope,

to account.

Why

Our

twelve tribes worship

my lord

should

it

king, for

him

which the Jews

be beyond the

belief of

cease-

call

men

me

such

Caesar ea 60 A.D.

339

defence, so that the authorities could read in detail just

what

said, and what the local luleis had to say about his case. Throughout the Acts, Luke emphasizes how well the Chris-

Paul

tian cause

was received by the imperial authorities in the

provinces. In Cyprus, the governor Sergius Paulus listened to

Paul and Barnabas and 'learned to believe' (Acts 13, 7-12). At Philippi, a Roman colony, the magistrates at first scourged

and imprisoned Paul and for this injustice,

Silas,

and Paul and

but afterwards they apologized Silas

parted with them on good

terms (Acts 16). At Corinth, proconsul Gallio refused to listen to the Jews,

and

set

Paul free (Acts 18). At Ephesus, 'the

delegates of Asia' were his friends; the

out that Paul

had done nothing

Paul's Speech Before Agrippa.

town

clerk there pointed

to cause such a riot (Acts 19).

No royal family had such

contact with our Lord and his Church as the Herods. the Great, great-grandfather of Agrippa cents to death in an attempt to

kill

II,

had put the Inno-

Jesus (Mt. 2); his son

Antipas had John the Baptist beheaded (Mk.

our Lord during his

Agrippa

I killed

Roman

trial

close

Herod

(Lk.

James the Greater, and

6),

23);

and mocked

his

grandson

tried to kill Peter too

(Acts 12). In face of such a history, Paul was optimistic in

thinking that the

last of

Herod dynasty would be favourBut at least Agrippa II was familiar

the

able to the Christian cause.

with both the Jewish and the Christian background of Paul's case.

Paul couJd taik to him in language that would be under-

stood. First of all Paul establishes his right to be regarded as a

true Jew.

He

in Jerusalem.

traces his early

Like

all

life,

particularly his student days

the Jews he had had as his main religious

interest the expectation of the

Messiah who was to come and

Acts of the Apostles 26, 8-19

340

you are, that God should raise the dead? Well then, I thought it my duty to defy, in many ways, the name of Jesus the Nazarene. And that is what I did, at

as

Jerusalem;

who

priests,

was

it

shut up

many

they were done to death,

Often have

I

flicting

punishment on them

nay, so

unmeasured was

go to foreign

cities to

by the chief

of the faithful in prison;

tried to force

I

me

under powers granted

I,

my

my

raised

them

by

into blaspheming,

one synagogue

in

and when

voice against them.

rage against

them

in-

after another;

that

I

used to

persecute them. It was on such an

my way to Damascus, with powers me by the chief priests, when, journeying at midday, I saw, my lord king, a light from heaven, surpassing the brightness of the sun, which shone about me and my errand that

I

was making

delegated to

companions.

which cute

We

said to

me? This

all fell

me, is

in

to the ground,

Hebrew, "Saul,

and

Saul,

I

heard a voice

why do you

perse-

a thankless task of yours, kicking against the

goad." '

"Who

are you, Lord?"

'And the Lord

said, "I

I

asked.

am

Jesus,

Rise up, and stand on your feet; that

I

vision I will

may

single

I

whom

have shown myself to you,

you out to serve me,

you have had, and other

Saul persecutes.

visions

as the witness of this

you

will

have of me.

be your deliverer from the hands of your people, and of

the Gentiles, to their eyes,

whom I am now sending you. You

and turn them from darkness

to light,

power of Satan to God, so that they may faith in

me, remission of

their sins

shall

receive,

open

from the through

and an inheritance among

the saints."

'Whereupon, king Agrippa,

I

did not show myself

dis-

obedient to the heavenly vision. First to those in Damascus,

Caesarea 60 A.D.

redeem

Israel.

Jesus Christ;

341

This hope had been realized in the person of

God

himself had iaised Jesus from the dead, pro-

viding the authentic guarantee of the truth of Jesus' claim to

he the Redeemer. Paul's point in bringing up this fundamental claim of Christianity all

is

to

show

that

the fulfilment of

it is

Jewish hopes, that the Christian religion

is

not something

Judaism hut its final completion. For the third time in Acts (chapters 9, 22, 26) Paul recounts his conversion on the road to Damascus. Without

alien to

this incident Paul's career

point in his

life.

He

has no meaning;

it

was the turning

did not willingly change his way of

life;

him and commanded

the risen Christ personally appeared to

Paul had been waging an inner struggle against God; he had been like an ox kicking against a sharp-pointed goad; hut the more he struggled to escape, the more determined God was to win him to the Christian

his allegiance.

the grace of

cause.

By

that vision

on the Damascus Road, Paul became an

apostle of Jesus Christ.

had been sent It

An

apostle

is

one who

to preach the gospel to both

is

sent;

PauJ

Jew and Gentile.

was particularly his mission to the Gentiles that annoyed

the Jews this tiles

and made him

was his greatest

from Israel. But for Paul making known to the Gen-

a renegade

privilege: 'Of

the unfathomable riches of Christ.'

The audience

listen-

ing to Paul in the palace at Caesarea was mostly Gentile;

the words he spoke religion

would eventually be sent

throughout the

Roman

Empire, and

infused by the Christian faith which tion

to

Rome. The

Paul was preaching to them would ultimately spread

from

would be the

vitality

save this civiliza-

total destruction.

Paul Tries to Convert Agrippa. tunity to

it

would

Paul never missed an oppor-

win souls to the cause of Christ. At dead of night,

Acts of the Apostles 26, 20-32

342

then in Jerusalem, then to the heathen,

God, and

I

the country of Judea, then to

all

preached repentance, bidding them turn to

so act as befits

men who

when they caught me

the Jews,

me. But, thanks to God's help,

my witness my message

ing

I still

and great

to small

That

are penitent.

in the temple, tried to

is

why

murder

stand here today, bear-

alike.

Yet there

is

nothing

which goes beyond what the prophets spoke and Moses spoke of, as things to come; a suffering Christ, and one who would show light to his people and to the Gentiles by being the first to rise from the dead/ in

of,

When

Paul had proceeded so far with his defence, Festus

said in a loud voice, Taul,

you are mad; they are driving you

to madness, these long studies of yours/

But Paul answered, 'No, most noble the message which

about

all this

I

utter

him;

Do

it

why

I

of this,

I

well enough; that

fidence in his presence.

None

was not in some

Festus,

is

I

am

The

sober truth.

is

not mad;

king knows

speak with such con-

am

sure,

secret corner that all this

you believe the prophets, king Agrippa?

I

am

is

news to

happened.

well assured

you do believe them/

At

Agrippa said to Paul,

this,

Christian with very

Why/ whether those I

it

who

were with

and

all

tired,

'it

would have

me

turn

ado/

would be

much ado

are listening to

am, chains and

Then

little

said Paul,

Tou

me

my

or

prayer to

little,

God

that,

both you and

all

today should become such as

all/

the king rose, and so did the governor, and Bernice, those

who

When

they had

re-

man is imprisonment/ And

guilty of

no

sat there

with them.

they said to one another, This

fault that deserves death or

he h