You are on page 1of 309

Commentary on the Pauline Epistles (The Thought of St. Paul) Table of Contents: Chapter 1. The Life of St.

Paul Chapter 2. First Letter to Thessalonika Chapter 3. Second Letter to Thessalonika Chapter 4. Letter to the Galatians Chapter 5. Letter to the Philippians Chapter 6. First Letter to Corinth Chapter 7. Second Letter to Corinth Chapter 8. Letter to the Romans Chapter 9. Letter to Philemon Chapter 10. Letter to the Colossians Chapter 11. Letter to the Ephesians Chapter 12. The Pastoral Epistles Glossary Appendix: Sedaqah in Jewish/Christian Tradition "Chapter 1. The Life of St. Paul" Our chief sources for the life of St. Paul are things that occur in his Epistles, and the long account in the Acts of the Apostles. Many today wish to discard Acts, saying it gives a very different picture of Paul. But this is not true.1 We do not know the precise date of Paul's birth. He says he was a young man (neanias) when Stephen was stoned (Acts 7:58) which was probably in 36. So he should have been under 30 in 36 and so would have been born early in the first century, probably not later than 10 A.D. In the Epistle to Philemon, probably written about 62, he calls himself an old man (presbytes) which would mean over 50. So again, somewhere around 10 A.D. is a reasonable estimate. He was born in Tarsus in Cilicia, a Hellenistic town. In 66 B.C. the Roman General Pompey reorganized Asia Minor, and made Tarsus a provincial capital. Mark Anthony granted, and Augustus confirmed the rights of freedom, immunity and citizenship. So Paul had Roman citizenship, a very valuable thing at that time, which he did not hesitate to invoke when needed. Paul says Tarsus was "no insignificant city" (Acts 21:39). It was an intellectual center, rivaling Athens and Alexandria. Paul clearly knew Greek well, for his Epistles are all in Greek. He should have grown up speaking Aramaic at home, and also, according to tradition, would have begun to read the Hebrew Scriptures at age 5. His later studies in Jerusalem would have been in Hebrew. He came from the tribe of Benjamin, and his original name, Saul, was that of the great hero of that tribe. After Acts 13:9 his name is given as Paul. We are not sure of the reason: it was usual for Jews then to have two names, one Hebrew, one the Romans could pronounce. But it is to

be noted that the name Paul begins in Acts right after Paul converted Sergius Paulus, the Roman governor of Cyprus. He says he lived strictly as a Pharisee (Acts 26:5 -- Cf. Gal l:14). He asserts in Philippians 3:6 that he kept the law perfectly. He had a married sister whose son was in Jerusalem in 58. (Acts 23:16ff.) He himself studied in Jerusalem under the great Rabban Gamaliel I (flourished c. 10-50 A.D.). Gamaliel was somewhat liberal in tendencies, but Paul certainly did not pick any of that up. It seems to be the same Gamaliel who intervened in the Sanhedrin. (Acts 5:34 ff.) Late Christian legend said he became a Christian. We do not know how old he was when he went to Jerusalem, probably about 13-15. Since he shows no sign of having seen Christ during His earthly career, Paul probably returned to Tarsus when still a young man, shortly before the opening of the public life of Jesus. He would not have been installed as a rabbi until about age 40. At that point he would have had to marry, but it seems he did not marry, though it is just possible he was a widower. Studying the Law at that time meant chiefly solving cases about how to act. Some decisions were ridiculously tight. For example, the schools of Shammai and Hillel at that time debated many things: if a hen lays an egg on a festival day may it be eaten or not? May a tailor go out with his needle near sundown on Friday (he might forget and be carrying it on the sabbath?). One of the greatest of modern Jewish Scholars, Jacob Neusner2 said of many things in the Mishnah (200 A.D.-- mostly made up of earlier rulings): "Why in the world would people take seriously the nonsense we are now trying to master? And...of all the noble chapters of the Mishnah [why] have you selected this monumental nonsense?" Yes, there were noble things in the teachings of the time. They even spoke of love of God, our Father. 3 Paul's use of Scripture was of course affected greatly by this training. He uses more than 80 direct quotes from the Old Testament, and many more allusions. He seldom quotes from the Hebrew text, seems to use a Greek text similar to the Septuagint. He probably did this since he was writing for Greek speakers. But also he would quote from memory and so the wording might vary for that reason. However, like the rabbis, Paul might pay little or no attention to the original setting of a quote. If the words could carry the meaning he wanted, he would quote them in that sense. But, the sense in which he used them would be something true in itself. However, he very often had a Hebrew word in his mind when using a Greek word: we will point out instances of this in the detailed comments to come. It is important to know the Hebrew meaning in these instances, which we will supply. In Tosefta, Kiddushin 1.11 we read that "a man must teach his son a trade: whoever does not teach his son a trade teaches him to be a thief." The most famous rabbis engaged in a manual trade to support themselves. They did not want to take pay for teaching. Aboth 2.2

quotes a later Rabban Gamaliel, son of Rabbi Juda ha-Nasi as saying: "The study of the Law along with a trade is a fine thing, for being busy with both makes a person forget sin. All study of the Law not joined with labor is vain, and an occasion of sin." We know that Paul supported himself by tentmaking, or, more likely, by making cilicium, a coarse waterproof cloth made of goats' hair, used for tents and raincoats. It came from his native province of Cilicia. Paul carried on this trade even on his missionary expeditions. We do not have anything entirely certain on his physical appearance. Some have pointed to such texts as 2 Corinthians 10:1, where Paul says that he, "in appearance is lowly among them." But that could mean unimpressive, not necessarily physically short. In 1 Corinthians 2:3 he says: "I came to you in weakness ( astheneia) and in fear and in much trembling." Astheneia could mean physical illness or could mean merely that he lacked authority. The trembling could have meant malaria --common in Paul's world -- or it could mean merely he felt his own unimpressiveness in the sophisticated Greek world. There is an apocryphal Acts of Paul and Thecla -- probably going back to a document of the first century -- which says this of Paul: "a man short of stature, with a bald head and crooked legs, in a good state of body, with eyebrows meeting, and nose somewhat hooked, full of friendliness."4 So uncomplimentary a description is not apt to have been forged. We do not know how long Paul may have stayed in Jerusalem after his schooling. Most likely it was a few years. He seems to have come to know the authorities there, since on his trip to Damascus later, to arrest Christians, he had authority from them. The next thing we know for certain of him was that he watched the garments for the men who stoned Stephen (Acts 7:58-60). Some would put this at about 34 A.D. It seems much more likely it was 36, for then the term of Pontius Pilate ended. He was deposed by the Legate of Syria, Vitellius, and sent to Rome to face charges brought by the Jews. Fear of such charges had led him to consent to the death of Jesus! If the new governor had not yet arrived or still did not grasp things well, there was a chance for the Jews to inflict capital punishment on Stephen -- a thing the Romans did not allow them to do (cf. John 19:6). Since it is rather likely (cf. Acts 8:1-3 and 9:1) that Paul's journey to Damascus to arrest Christians was about the same time as the stoning of Stephen, it is probable that his conversion also came in 36 A.D. His conversion is told in three places in Acts: 9:3-19; 22:6-16 and 26:1218. The first time is part of the narrative; the second and third are from speeches Paul gave later. Strangely, some cannot find the explanation for what they call contradictions: 9:7 says those with him heard the voice but saw no one, while 22:9 says they saws the light but did not hear the voice. The solution is easy: Greek akouein, to hear, has a broad span of meaning (so does English listen). It can mean either to

merely perceive a sound, or to also understand it. Secondly, 26:14 says we all fell to the ground; while 9:7 says his companions stood amazed. Totally easy! They did fall first, then soon scrambled to their feet, and stood amazed. If we gather up the words spoken by Jesus in all three accounts, there is not a lot of information. Yet Paul in chapter 1 of Galatians insists he learned Christianity not from the other Apostles, but from Christ in this vision. How? It must have been an interior locution -- in it God as it were touches the brain of the man, and can convey as much information as He wills in one touch.5 His friends had to lead Paul into Damascus, for he was blind. Then God sent to him Ananias, who baptized him, and he regained his sight. At once he began, to the amazement of the Jews, to preach Jesus, saying He is the son of God and the Messiah. Soon the Jews began to plot against him. Friends put him in a basket, let him down over the wall through a window. In Galatians 1, Paul insists he did not at once go to the Apostles to learn, for the vision had taught him. Instead he went to Arabia. We do not know what part of Arabia -- he could have gone to Mt. Sinai, but it could have been just the Transjordan. We do not know why he went to Arabia -- he could have made a pilgrimage to Mt. Sinai. Or he could have merely spent time in the desert for prayer and penance. The sequence of events here is less clear -- probably his trip to Arabia fits between 9:21 & 22 in Acts. Further, 2 Corinthians 11:32 mentions leaving Damascus in a basket when the agent of King Aretas was trying to catch him: we do not know if there were two escapes in a basket or just one. When he did go to Jerusalem, the Christians were suspicious of him, recalling what he had done in the past. Barnabas allayed their fears and took him to the Apostles. Galatians 1:18 tells of going to Jerusalem to get to know Cephas (he calls Peter by that Aramaic form regularly). Paul stresses he did not need to learn from the Apostles. But a Hellenist plot made him leave Jerusalem, and he went to Tarsus. He seems to have stayed there probably from 40 to 44 A.D. We know nothing of his activities in that interval. Perhaps that was the time for the vision he reports in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4, of being taken up to the third heaven? Then Barnabas came to Tarsus to find him, and took him to Antioch, where he stayed a whole year. A prophet Agabus foretold a famine, which came. The church at Antioch made a collection for Jerusalem, and Paul took it there. Then he went back to Antioch -- he constantly returns there after expeditions. His first missionary expedition was probably in 46-49. It is reported in Acts 13:3 to 14:28. He went with Barnabas and John Mark, probably the Evangelist. They sailed from Seleucia, the port of Antioch, to Salamis in Cyprus. Then

they went by land to Paphos. In the court of the Roman governor, Paul found a Jewish false prophet, Bar-Jesus, also called Elymas, with the proconsul Sergius Paulus. Paul looked intently at Elymas, and called him "son of the devil, enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villany." Elymas became blind. The proconsul believed. We notice that Paul is not a milquetoast man, always being nice. He could be very stern and strong when the case called for it. Similarly Jesus called the Pharisees, "brood of vipers," and "whitewashed sepulchers" (Mt 24:24-33). Next they sailed to Perga in Pamphylia -- the south central coast of Asia Minor. Here John Mark deserted. Paul went first to the synagogue -- his usual practice, and after rehearsing Jewish history, said that God had raised up a man of the line of Jesse, Father of David. But the people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Him nor did they understand the prophecies about Him. They fulfilled these prophecies by condemning Him, but God raised Him from the dead. He then appeared to those who had been with Him before. So Paul brings them this good news. The speech, reported in Acts 13:16-41, is very well constructed. Even though rather brief on paper, it gives one the impression of having heard a full length address. This is the way it is with the speeches in the classic histories of Greece. Since Luke was an educated Greek, a physician, we would expect him to follow the pattern used by the ancient Greek historians. Now Thucydides (1.22) tells us openly about the speeches in his works. He said he always tried to get the exact text, but could not remember all of the wording. So he would report it in his own words. If he could not get the text, he would try to get the substance, and then fill in in his own words. If he could not get anything, he would write a speech suitable for the occasion. So we would expect that Luke would follow this pattern. Then we ask: Is it likely that Luke could get the actual text? Luke traveled with Paul many times. Paul like other travelling missionaries would use very similar presentations in many places. He would have one for Jews, another for educated pagans. So Luke could easily have gotten at least the substance, and perhaps he was present for certain typical presentations. The Jews left the synagogue saying they wanted to hear more the next sabbath. Paul did return, and many gentiles also came. The Jews became jealous and reviled Paul and drove him away. Paul followed the injunction of Jesus, and shook the dust from his feet (Mt 10:14), and went on to Iconium. At Iconium some Jews believed, others stirred up trouble, and wanted to kill Paul. He left and fled to Lystra and Derbe. At Lystra a cripple was listening to Paul. When Paul noticed, he commanded the cripple to stand up. He did. The crowds went wild, and said the gods had come down in human form -- such stories were told

in Greek mythology. They thought Paul was Hermes and Barnabas was Zeus. They wanted to offer sacrifice to them, and Paul protested in vain -- until Jews came from Iconium, turned the people against Paul. One moment he was a god -- now they literally stoned him, and left him for dead. His followers came and helped him after the Jews left. He went on to Derbe, then retraced his steps to the coast, and appointed presbyters in every church. This agrees with the fact that already in First Thessalonians 5:12 he urged the people to subject themselves to those placed over them in the Lord. Paul then sailed back to Seleucia, and went by land to Antioch. The fact that Paul had made numerous gentile converts, and had not told them to be circumcised and keep the law of Moses, led to dissension. Some, probably former Pharisees, objected strongly. We call these "Judaizers." As a result, the church there asked Paul to go to Jerusalem to consult the Apostles. Paul in addition received a revelation telling him to go. The probable date was 49 A.D. Peter spoke first at the meeting, and told his own experiences with the Centurion Cornelius (Acts 10). So Peter favored Paul's position. James next arose and did the same. Then Paul and Barnabas told how the Holy Spirit had been given to gentiles without circumcision. Therefore the council wrote "to the brothers of gentile origin in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia." The decision was that they need not be circumcised or keep the law. But they asked them to do four things -to avoid loose sex, to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols, from blood, and from the meat of strangled animals. The provision about sex was of course part of basic morality. The other three things were from the old law. They were added not in the belief they were required, but to soothe the feelings of the Judaizers who wanted to impose the whole law. An objection is raised: Paul writing to Corinth (1 Cor 8ff.) told them they could eat meat sacrificed to idols, unless there would be scandal. The answer is easy. As we noted, the letter was addressed to Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia. Now if today the Vatican sends a directive to the Episcopal conference of one area, it applies there, and not elsewhere. Similarly this letter applied only in one area. Paul, as we see from Acts 16:4, did preach these things in the area to which they applied -- but not elsewhere. After the meeting, Paul returned to Antioch, and Peter soon followed. At first, Peter followed the council decision: he did eat with the gentiles, and did not avoid the meats forbidden by the old law. But then some came "from James," and Peter stopped. Those "from James" must mean persons from the territory of James, not from James himself, for in the council he had agreed with Paul. Paul saw the great danger if Peter would give the impression they had to keep the law, and so he rebuked him publicly. We have no

account of Peter's reaction. Some today foolishly think Peter was adamant and broke with Paul. But that would mean Peter, the first Pope, would reverse his own doctrinal decision. We cannot suppose that. Really, Peter was only being weak, as he was so often during the public life of Jesus. But that weakness could seem like a doctrinal reversal: hence Paul's action. Probably in the same year 49, Paul suggested another missionary expedition. Barnabas wanted to take along his cousin John Mark. Paul objected, for John Mark had deserted them early in the first trip. So Paul took along Silas (Silvanus), and Barnabas went to Cyprus with John Mark. This second expedition seems to have been in the years 49-52. It is told in Acts 15:36-18:22. Paul went overland through Syria and Cilicia, and then to Derbe and Lystra, places in which he had preached on his first trip. At Lystra he found a disciple named Timothy, whose mother was Jewish, his father Greek. Paul had Timothy circumcised because of the Jews in those places, who all knew his father was a Greek. This does not mean of course that Paul believed it was necessary to be circumcised -- it was just a tactic to please the Jews and avoid friction. This was in line with his stated policy in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, where Paul says he became a Jew to the Jews, a Greek to the Greeks, all things to all men, to gain all by some means. Of course he would not use any means that was morally wrong -- but short of that, he would bend, for the sake of the Gospel. They next went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia. The Holy Spirit had told them not to go into the Roman province of Asia -- later Paul would spend three years at Ephesus in Asia -- or into Bithynia. The probable reason: some places needed the faith more than others. Since they could not cultivate every place at once, there needed to be a decision or a choice. They came to Troas, near the site of ancient Troy. There a vision appeared to Paul in the night of a man of Macedonia saying: "Come over to Macedonia and help us." Paul of course left at once for Macedonia. Luke was probably with him at this point, for the text says, "We sought to go to Macedonia." Yet, we know that in travel narratives at that time there would sometimes be a shift of person, to first person plural, with no special reason. So we are not sure. They sailed to Samothrace and then to Neapolis, and on to Philippi, where they stayed some days. In Philippi there was a slave girl who had a spirit of divination, who followed Paul crying: "These men are servants of the Most High God." Paul was annoyed that she kept on crying out, and commanded the spirit to leave her. It did. The girl's owners had been making money with her divination, and so dragged Paul and Silas to the magistrates, charging they advocated customs that were unlawful for Romans. The crowd attacked Paul. The Magistrates ordered Paul

and Silas beaten and put into prison. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying, and an earthquake came: all doors were opened, all chains loosened. The jailor was about to kill himself, but Paul said: "Do not harm yourself, we are all here." The jailor asked Paul what he should do. Paul told him to believe in Christ, so the jailor and his household were baptized. At daybreak the magistrates sent word to release Paul. But Paul said: "They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have put us into prison. So do they now cast us out secretly? No, let them come themselves and take us out." The magistrates were fearful when they knew Paul was a citizen. They came and apologized. Paul and Silas then went through Amphipolis and Apollonia to Thessalonica. Paul went to the synagogue there for 3 sabbaths. Some Jews were converted, but many more Greeks. The Jews were jealous, stirred up trouble, so that Paul left by night for Beroea. There he also went to the synagogue, and the Jews there were more receptive. But the Jews at Thessalonica heard of it, came and stirred up the crowds against Paul. Paul next went to Athens, and was annoyed at seeing the idols. He argued in the synagogue and in the agora every day. Some Epicurean and Stoic philosophers met him, and disputed with him. Then they took him to the Areopagus. There Paul gave a speech in which he said that he had seen their altar "to an unknown god." So, he said, he would tell them who it was. And he preached Jesus and the resurrection. Some mocked him, others said we will hear you later. He made just a few converts, including Dionysius the Areopagite. He had made a large mistake about the unknown god. The Greeks believed their gods were jealous, and if even by oversight, someone failed to offer sacrifice to all those worshipped in a place, there would be punishment. 6 So the altar was a precaution, in case they forgot someone. And many Greeks did not like to think of a resurrection of all men, for they believed in reincarnation, and hoped to escape it after some time. From Athens, Paul went to Corinth, and stayed at first with a Jewish couple, Aquila and Priscilla, who had left Rome when Claudius ordered all Jews out. Paul stayed with them, for they had the same trade as he. But the Jews again reviled and opposed him, so he moved in now with a gentile, Titius Justus, who lived next to the synagogue. Crispus, a leader of the synagogue, became a convert, but other Jews took Paul before the Roman governor, Gallio. Gallio had contempt for their charges and dismissed Paul. Then the Jews gave a beating to Sosthenes, a leading Jew, in view of Gallio, who did not intervene. Paul stayed about 18 months at Corinth. It was probably there, in 51 A.D., that he wrote First and Second Thessalonians. After that time he sailed for Syria, Aquila and Priscilla with him, via Cenchrae. He stopped at Ephesus in the Roman province of Asia, then

moved on to Caesarea. Soon he went by land to Antioch. He may have paid a visit to Jerusalem before going to Antioch. More on his life will be included at intervals within the following commentaries on his Epistles. END NOTES 1 Note in Context: Cf. Wm. Most, Free From All Error, 2d ed. 1990. Libertyville, IL, Chapter 18: "Two St. Pauls?" 2 Note in Context: Invitation to the Talmud, revised ed., Harper & Row, 1984, p. 53. 3 Note in Context: Cf. Solomon Schechter, Rabbinic Theology, Schocken, NY, 1969 -- on p.18 he says he cannot understand Paul. 4 Note in Context: Cited from E. Hennecke, New Testament Apocrypha, Westminster, Phila 1964, II, p. 354. 5 Note in Context: Cf. St. Teresa of Avila, Life 25 and Interior Castle 6.3.7. 6 Note in Context: Cf. the legend of the Calydonian hunt. "Chapter 2. First Letter to Thessalonika" This letter is apt to be the very first book to be written of the New Testament. The only possible competitor would be the Letter to the Galatians -- if we hold the view that Paul directed it to the communities he founded in South Galatia on his first missionary expedition, in 46-49 A.D. Then Galatians might have been written in 48 B.C. But it is more likely that Paul wrote to North Galatia, to communities he founded on his second expedition, and then the date would probably be about 54 A.D. This first letter to Thessalonika was written from Corinth, probably early in 51 A.D. Paul had stayed in Thessalonika some time, to judge from the flourishing community there. He seems to have written this letter out of concern for how the Christians there would stand up under the attacks of the Jews. He says he wanted to return, but "Satan hindered us" (2:18). So he sent Timothy to check. Timothy brought a good report, with no mention of serious abuses, such as later developed at Corinth. The city of Thessalonika had been founded by Cassander, one of the generals of Alexander the Great, in 316 B.C. It became the capital of the new Roman province of Macedonia in 146. In 42 B.C. it backed Octavius against Brutus and Cassius at the battle of Philippi. Since Octavius won, Thessalonika became a free city.

Although some doubt whether Paul wrote certain letters that now bear his name (such as Second Thessalonians, as we shall see), everyone agrees on the authenticity of First Thessalonians. Summary of 1 Thessalonians, Chapter 1 Paul, and his companions Silvanus (Silas) and Timothy wish grace and peace to the Thessalonians. They constantly thank God for them, and remember them in their prayers -- especially they recall their faith, love, and firm hope. God's call to them did not depend just on Paul's unsupported words, but on the showing of the power of the Holy Spirit. Then the Thessalonians imitated Paul -- and hence, indirectly, imitated Jesus, even though this got them into trouble with the Jews. But the Holy Spirit gave them His joy in all of this, so that their faith became a model for believers elsewhere in Macedonia and Greece, where others tell how Paul came into Thessalonika, how they gave up their idols, and began to serve the true God, and to await the return of His Son, whom the Father raised from the dead. They are confident He will save them from the wrath of the Day of the Lord, the time of reckoning at the end. Comments on Chapter 1 Paul speaks of Jesus as Lord, rather than using the word God for Him. He does not deny His divinity. The most sacred Hebrew word for God -the only one not ambiguous -- was Yahweh. But in the late Old Testament period people came to feel it was too sacred to pronounce, even in prayer, even in reading the Scriptures. So instead they said Adonai, Lord. Hence the Greek version of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, translated Yahweh by Greek Kyrios, Lord. In everyday Greek kyrios could be used even of a human master, but in a religious context, it meant a god. Acts 9:20 tells us that right after his conversion, Paul preached at once in the synagogues, and said of Jesus "This is the Son of God." All were astounded -- a devout Jew could be called a Son of God, but if Paul had meant it only in that broad sense, they would not have been astounded. So he did preach Jesus as God. Early in the chapter we meet some key words -- chiefly, grace, peace, faith, love, call. Please do not forget to use the glossary for these. Grace is any gift from God to man. Peace means well-being in general; faith means total adherence of a person to God, so that if God speaks a truth, faith requires belief in the mind, if God makes a promise, faith calls for confidence, if God gives an order, faith calls for the "obedience of faith" (cf. Rom 1:5), all to be done in love (Gal 5:6). Paul spoke of their call by God to be full members of the Church. (We speak of full membership, since as we shall see in connection with Romans 2:14-16, there can be lesser degrees). As 1 Timothy 2:4 will tell us: "God wills all men to be saved [to enter the Church formally] and to come to the knowledge of the truth." Yet, in the practical order, the Gospel could not reach everyone at once -- even centuries would be needed. So a decision was made by God as to where to send the

missioners first. Hence we find that on his second missionary trip, Paul was told by the Holy Spirit not to go into the Roman province of Asia, or Bithynia (Acts 16:6-10). It is not that God did not want those people to hear the word -- no, but He judged there was more urgent need elsewhere. Full membership in the Church is a great help, but one can reach final salvation even without it, provided he has at least a minimum degree of membership1. We note too that Paul speaks of the Father as raising Jesus from the dead. If we think of His humanity, this is of course correct. If we think of His divinity, we say He rose by His own power. Both ways of speaking appear in the New Testament, and both are correct. The first preaching often used the human mode, to introduce the hearers gradually to the full truth. At the end of this chapter Paul speaks of the Day of the Lord. In the Old Testament this expression referred to any time of reckoning, when God would rescue His people, and humble their enemies. This could refer just to some great battle -- but it could also refer to the final Day of the Lord, the day of Judgment. Paul means that here.2 Summary of 1 Thessalonians, Chapter 2 Paul tells them he had not come to them without fruit. Just before coming he had been whipped and jailed at Philippi. But that did not stop Paul, for he trusted in God. He did not come like so many traveling charlatans, who worked with deception, uncleanness (even sexual) or guile. Nor did he flatter them, or seek glory. He did not even ask them for financial support for his work, though that would have been legitimate. He wanted them, not their money, he said. He wanted to share not only the Gospel, but his very life. He acted as a father to his children, and was happy they received the word as coming from God -Who works (causes good will) in those who believe. His not taking a collection did not mean he had no authority: he stresses in 1 Corinthians 9 that he does have the right to take up collections. He does use authority when needed, e.g., 1 Corinthians 4:21, where he says in a playful but serious tone: "Do you want me to come to you with the rod" for punishment? In 2 Corinthians 14 he gives definite rules for the use of charisms. In Acts 14:23 he appoints presbyters in each church at the end of his very first mission. And there are more instances. They imitated the churches in Judea, even in suffering from the Jews, as did their brethren elsewhere -- the Jews who killed Jesus and the prophets, and were against all men, forbidding the apostles to speak to the gentiles so they could be saved, enter the Church. These Jews were filling up the measure of their sins. Paul had to leave them for a time, but was still with them in spirit. He wanted to return, but Satan prevented it. Comments on Chapter 2

'Holy' basically means set aside for God; 'walk' means to live one's life. Paul's words about filling up the measure of sins are frightening. We find such an expression already in Genesis l5:l6, where God tells Abraham He will give the land to him and his descendants, but not right away -- four time periods (Hebrew dor) must pass first, for "the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full." God, as absolute Master, could give any land to anyone He willed at any time. But He prefers to follow objective good order. He will even wait until the Amorites have gone the limit in sinning. In 2 Maccabees 6:13-16 the inspired writer is meditating on the fact that the Jews are so hard hit in the persecution of Antiochus IV of Syria. He says that even so, he is pleased that God punishes the Jews for their sins in this life, instead of the next life -with some, He lets them fill up the measure of their sins. Now Paul says that the Jews who are persecuting Christianity are on the wrong side of that divide -- they are going the limit in sins. So the anger of God is upon them eis telos -- which could mean either "completely" or "finally, until the end." They are so hardened they will never repent. In saying these things, Paul is not being antisemitic -- he is simply telling the really sad truth, of how the Jews persecuted him and other Christians too, very persistently, over and over again. Compare his emotional attachment to his kinsmen at the start of Romans 9, where he says he could even wish to be cursed, away from Christ, to bring them into the kingdom of the Messiah. Of course, he would not give up Christ, this is emotional. But it shows his deep feeling. Summary of 1 Thessalonians, Chapter 3 Paul could not stand not knowing about the Thessalonians, so he stayed alone at Athens, sent Timothy to Thessalonika to strengthen them. He comments that trouble (thlipsis) is something that commonly comes to Christians, as he had already told them. He prays that the Father and Jesus Christ may direct his path to see them. Comments on Chapter 3 When Paul says that trouble or persecution commonly comes to Christians, we think of 2 Timothy 3:12: "All who want to live religiously in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution." Behind it is the way Paul would sum up the whole of Christian life: a person is saved and is made holy if and to the extent that he/she is not only a member of Christ, but like Him. Now in the life of Christ there were of course two phases -- first, a hard life with suffering and death; second, eternal glory. We are now in phase one. The more we are like Christ in this first phase, the more shall we be like Him in the second. Hence Paul says in Romans 8:17: "We are heirs of God, fellow heirs with Christ, provided that we suffer with Him, so we may be glorified with Him." And in 8:28: "We know that God makes all things work together for good for those who love Him," and in 2 Corinthians 4:17: "That which at present is light and

momentary in our troubles, is working (producing) for us beyond all measure, an eternal weight of glory." Now if even something light and momentary, endured for likeness to Jesus, does that -- what of things that are long lasting and very hard? On this matter of likeness to Christ, St. Paul says we are members of Christ (1 Cor 12:12-27; Rom 12:4-5; Col 1:18; Rom 6:3; Eph 4:12-15). We do all with Christ, we suffer with Him, die with Him, are raised with Him, ascend with Him (Rom 6:3-8; Col 3:1-4; Eph 2:5-6). We must be like Christ in all things, including make-up for sins (Rom 8:9,13,17; Col 1:24; 1 Cor 11:1; 2 Cor 5:17). As a result of these texts, we see that Luther missed much in saying we need do nothing but take Christ as our Savior. Especially important is Romans 8:17, cited above. There is something remarkable about the language in verse 11, in which Paul prays that the Father and Jesus Christ may direct his path to them. The special feature does not show in translation, but in Greek Paul uses two subjects, the Father and Jesus, which normally needs a plural verb, for two persons. Yet Paul uses a singular. We are reminded of the saying of Jesus Himself in John 10:30: "I and the Father are one." Summary of 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12 Paul now urges them to live in the way in which they have been taught to live, so as to grow more spiritually. He asks them to recall the precepts he gave them, especially this: God wills their sanctification. He wants them to stay away from sexual immorality, and to control their vessel in sanctity and honor, not like the gentiles who give in to passions, for they do not know God. They should not sin against others in this matter, for the Lord will avenge such things as Paul had already told them. To live in uncleanness is to spurn not just man but God. He compliments them that he need not teach them brotherly love -God Himself has taught them. He wants them to grow still more, and to mind their own business, not being idle busybodies, but working, so outsiders may not criticize the faith. Comments on 4:1-12 In urging them to live in the way he has taught them, Paul uses Greek paralamabano, which in his usage usually means receiving oral teaching. It had to be so -- when Paul wrote this letter, there was as yet no written Gospel, and this is probably the first of all the Epistles. His words about controlling one's vessel in sanctity are ambiguous. They could mean either (1) self-control in sexual matters, or (2) keeping one's wife in control. We think definitely the first sense is what Paul intended. When Paul says the gentiles do not know God what does he mean? In Romans 1 he will insist that people can know the existence of God by thinking on His works in nature. We might try to explain this by thinking of the sense of the Hebrew yada. As we saw in the glossary, it means not only know but love. Yet, since some gentiles do love God --

as we will see in Romans 2:14-16 -- we need something more. This is really an instance of what we will call "focusing" by Paul -- we will see more of it in Galatians 2:15, but now let us say Paul has two ways to look at many things: (1) the focused way, and (2) the factual way. In the focused way he considers what the thing naturally produces --leaving God's grace out of the picture. It is as if we were looking through a tube. Only what is within the circle of the tube will be visible. In the factual way, we remove that artificial limit and take into account that some at least will use the grace offered them. Then the outcome can be very good. For example, often when Paul speaks of the old law of Moses he speaks in the focused way with this result: the law makes heavy demands, it gives no strength, so one surely falls. But in the factual way, he adds that even though the law gives no strength, yet as a matter of fact (factually), divine help was offered even before Christ. Those who used it would have a different, a good outcome. We might also call the focused way the system as system way: then here, the system or setup of being a gentile, as such, produces nothing but sin, sexual and other. In the de facto way, we would note that actually God did offer grace to gentiles even before Christ. Those who used it, did well, could stay out of sin. Summary of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 Paul tells them strongly to pay attention. They should not fail to understand the situation of those who have already died. If they misunderstood, they would be like others who have no hope. Since they believe Jesus died and rose, they should also believe that God will bring with Jesus those who died believing in Jesus. Solemnly Paul tells them as a word of the Lord: we who are still alive when He returns will not get to see Jesus before those who have died. For the Lord Himself will come down from the sky, amid sounds of a cry of an archangel and a trumpet, and those who died in Christ will rise at once, and then we, who will have stayed alive, will be taken to meet Jesus in the air together with those newly risen. Then we will be with Him always. Let them console one another with these thoughts. Comments on 4:13-18 We took these lines separately from the rest of the chapter because of their special importance. If we read between the lines, we see that some in Thessalonika were worrying about this: Suppose we die before Jesus returns -- then those who have not died will get to see Him before we do. We would say, a foolish worry, as long as they see Him. But a remarkable implication is present, which so many readers do not notice, namely, those who are still alive at the end, when Jesus returns, will never die at all. Is it not true that all die? Yes, but any general principle has room for exceptions. This is one. Because this exception was keenly felt in the early Church, many were hoping for the end in their time, to escape death. The Didache, which may be very early, has a line of liturgical text ( maranatha) which, if we divide

the words in one way (marana tha) means: O Lord come. It is a prayer for the end. These lines are of capital importance in another way: We notice that twice Paul speaks of "we the living." Does this imply he believed he would live to see the end? That deduction need not follow. Many teachers speak in the first person, singular or plural, as a way of making things concrete. For example, in explaining Philippians 2:13, I often say to a class: "When God sends an actual grace to me, that is, one to lead me and enable me to do a particular good thing at a certain time, the first thing the grace does is to put the good thought into my mind -- we gather this from 2 Corinthians 3:5. This almost automatically makes me favorably disposed to the idea -- though there is still no decision. At that point, what things are possible for me? . . ." And I go on to fill in the rest. I am not in such a case giving any information about myself -- just using myself as a means of making it concrete. Paul in l Corinthians 3 speaks much about himself and Apollo. But then in 4:6 he tells them explicitly that he has just used the names Paul and Apollo as an illustration. So also it could be here. Hence there is no proof at all that Paul believed he would be alive at the end . Sadly, many commentators think it is proved -- we admit such an implication is not entirely impossible -- then they make many deductions on that unsolid basis: they say, for instance, that Paul could not have written Second Thessalonians, because there, in chapter 2, it is quite clear he does not think the end is near. They want to use such an unsolid deduction to outweigh explicit testimony of early writers that Paul really did write Second Thessalonians. Again, they think they see other echoes of such a belief on the part of Paul in 1 Corinthians 7. We will see these as they come up. (In Galatians 3:23-4:3 Paul uses we several times in a similar way.) Still another important point: many today, especially fundamentalists, claim that here Paul is teaching that there will be a "rapture" -- that some day, without warning, God will take all good people out of the world to reign with Christ. Only the bad people will be left. More than once I have seen bumper stickers: "In case of rapture, this car will be unmanned." Those who hold this rapture idea point out that in the passage we are looking at, people are taken in the air to meet Christ -- but in the Gospel description of the Last Judgment, the things happen on the earth -- so, two different events, they claim. But the Church does not teach such a thing, and with good reason. Those who make this mistake do not notice the genre of the two passages. Genre means the pattern of writing. For example, in English literature today we have such a thing as a historical novel, e.g., one about our Civil War. Such a novel is a mixture of history and fiction -the main line of the story is historical, and so are the background

descriptions. But fictional elements are added, e.g., word for word conversations of Lincoln with Grant. The essential question is this: What does the writer mean to assert or claim? He asserts that the main line and background are historical -- he does not assert that the fictional elements are true. We do not charge him with error or deception for having those fictional elements -- no, this is the right way to write a historical novel. We have in English many of these genres, almost all inherited from Greece and Rome, with rather little change. So as long as we read things in that large culture stream, our instinctive adjustments, as natives, serve well. We know how to take things. But if we start to read a writing from a very different culture stream, can we reasonably say: I am sure they write just like modern Americans? Of course not, it would be silly. But Scripture belongs to a very different culture stream: ancient Semitic. They have rather different patterns, even though some overlap ours at times. Among the especially strange genres of Scripture is one called apocalyptic. It first appeared in full form about 2 centuries before Christ, and ran for about 4 centuries. In it the writer describes visions and revelations -- without necessarily asserting they really happened. This may be just a vehicle of expression. There is highly colored imagery, and secret things are revealed. Of course, the original readers knew enough not to take all the highly colored images as if they were sober narrative. They knew they must reduce these things much to get at what the writer really meant to convey. (For a strong case of apocalyptic writing, read Daniel 7:7-14). Now it is clear that the description of the Last Judgment, and the present lines 13-18, each contain apocalyptic elements -- without being full-blown apocalyptic. For example, all humans of all ages must come for judgment -- but the earth does not have enough space, even if they stood over the entire globe, for all people of all ages to appear. So we see that we must take it differently: there will be a judgment, but not precisely in that form. Once we realize these things, we see how foolish it is to press a detail of the imagery, saying that one takes place on the earth, the other in the air. No, this is all part of the description of one and the same event, the return of Christ followed by the judgment. So there is simply no teaching here that there will be such a "rapture" as some like to imagine. Summary of 1 Thessalonians Chapter 5 Paul tells them that the day of the Lord, the end, will come suddenly, as a thief does in the night, as they already know. When people speak of peace and security -- that is the time when sudden destruction will be over them, and they will not escape. Since they are not sons of darkness but of light, they should not be sluggish like others, but be awake. They should put on the armor of faith, love and hope. God has

put them on the path of salvation. "So, whether we may be dead or alive when Jesus returns, we will live with Him." He urges them to respect and love those in authority over them, and be at peace with them. He urges further that they correct the unruly, console those who need it, have care for the weak, avoid repaying evil with evil, being glad, giving thanks at all times. They should not disregard the charismatic gifts of the Spirit, but should check all seeming instances of them. Even the very appearance of evil is to be avoided. Paul also prays that the God of peace may make them holy, and keep their spirit, soul and body without blame until the time of the return of Jesus. God who called them is faithful to his covenant and promises, and He will provide that grace for them. Comments on Chapter 5 Paul seems to have told the Thessalonians more about the end than he has told us -- it seems implied in the first line of this chapter, shows up even more clearly in 2 Thessalonians 2:5. We surely wish he had written it down! But he does mention that the end will come when it is not expected, probably when people say everything is fine. Similarly, Jesus Himself said (Mt 24:37-39) that it would be as it was in the time of Noah -- then people were eating and drinking -- business as usual -and all of a sudden the flood was upon them.3 He speaks of faith, hope and love as armor to defend them -- and he is right. The hope of a glorious eternity with Jesus, if one keeps it in mind and dwells on it, can sustain one in the worst trials. For God has "destined them to gain salvation." It does not mean they are assured of salvation, that they have it made -- Paul makes clear that is not the case. In 1 Corinthians 9:26-27, Paul says even he does not have it made -- he must mortify his body. Even after his great preaching, he could still be lost.4 We notice too that Paul says "whether we are alive or dead" when Jesus returns, we hope to live with Him. Here is another indication that Paul was not so sure he would live to the end. He urges also love and respect for the authorities of the Church. We know from Acts 14:23 that on his very first missionary expedition, Paul installed "presbyters" in every church. The word "presbyters" is not yet a technical word (we often translate it as priest). It takes time for precise terminology to develop in any field. For example, in Acts 20:17 & 28 we find the same group referred to by the words presbyteroi and episcopoi (bishops). In 1 Corinthians 3:5 Paul can call himself a diakonos (deacon).5 When Paul tells them not to extinguish the Spirit (5:19) he probably refers to charismatic graces.6 In more than one place (e.g., 1 Cor 2:5) he says their faith rests not on human wisdom, but on the showing of the power of God.7 We know from 1 Corinthians 12-14 that miraculous charismatic gifts were common, routinely given in the first age, in

Paul's day. If Paul had tried to sell Christianity by his own unsupported word, he would have had no success. So miracles were needed, and they were of the charismatic type. 8 Yet here in 5:21 he tells them to examine all things -- presumably, to see if it really is the Holy Spirit at work. In 1 Corinthians 12:3 it becomes clear that some things that seemed like charismatic gifts were really the work of Satan. It is important to notice too that Paul wants them to avoid even things that merely appear evil. Behind this is the teaching on scandal. To do something that is wrong or at least seems wrong, may lead another into sin. That is scandal, against which Paul speaks strongly in 1 Cor 8-10. But even if someone does not do something actually wrong, but only what seems to others to be sinful -- that can have the same effect. Hence Paul wants them to avoid even the appearance of sin. Theologically very important are the words in which Paul prays that they may be kept without stain until the end, and then adds that God who called them is faithful, and He will keep them. Now, clearly this does not mean He will take away their free will -- no, but besides the graces needed for each individual temptation, something added is needed for sustained effort, for perseverance. This is what is called the grace of perseverance, or final perseverance. The Council of Trent taught (DS 1566) that we cannot be certain we will have that gift. Trent was striking at the foolish view of the Protestants that one can be infallibly and permanently sure of salvation by just one act: take Christ as one's personal savior. 9 But Trent also said (DS 1541) that "God, unless they fail His grace, just as He has begun a good work, will complete it, giving both the will and the doing." Trent here is combining Philippians 1:6 and 2:13. It means in brief: We cannot be sure of having final perseverance -- God will surely offer that grace -but we may not have it if we fail His grace, that is, reject it. Paul teaches this same truth, that that grace is offered to all, again in Philippians 1:6 and 1 Corinthians 1:5-8. Sadly some older theologians taught that God might withhold this grace -- a grace earned for us by Jesus -- without any grave fault on our part. This is to deny the love of God, which He has proved by sending Jesus to a terrible death (cf. Rom 5:8). To love is to will good to another for the other's sake. So when God says in 1 Timothy 2:4 that He wills all men to be saved, it is the same as saying He loves all). In speaking of spirit, soul and body, Paul does not imply two souls. 10 END NOTES 1 Note in This will be more fully explained at Rom 2:14-16. 2 Note in Cf. Zeph 1:l5; Amos 5:18-20; Is 2:10-22. Context: Context:

3 4 5 6 7 8

9 1 0

Note in Context: Cf. also 2 Pet 3:10. Note in Context: Cf. also the warning in 1 Cor 10. Note in Context: As to the historical reliability of Acts, cf. W. Most, Free From All Error, Prow, Libertyville, Il, 1985, chapter 18. Note in Context: See the glossary on grace, and the comments on 1 Cor 12. Note in Context: Cf. also Gal 3:2. Note in Context: St. Augustine, in City of God 2.5, answers those who deny miracles by saying that if Paul and the other Apostles, uneducated men from a backwoods province of Rome, had converted so many peoples without miracles, that would have been a great miracle. Paul was trained as a rabbi, but Greeks and Romans would scorn that. Note in Context: Cf. glossary: faith. Note in Context: Cf. The new catechism, section 367.

"Chapter 3. Second Letter to Thessalonika" As we mentioned in comments on First Thessalonians, many today deny that Paul wrote Second Thessalonians. There are two kinds of evidence for authorship, internal and external. Internal consists in things said or implied in the work itself; external consists in statements by early writers. There are several statements of early writers, saying that 2 Thessalonians is by Paul: St. Irenaeus (c.140 - c.202) who had listened to St. Polycarp tell his recollections of the preaching of St. John, quotes from both 1 Thessalonians and 2 Thessalonians as Paul's (PG 7.1061 and 1138). Similarly Tertullian (c.160 - 222 or later) and St. Epiphanius (c.315-403) quote both Epistles as Paul's. Some try to disregard all this early evidence by merely pointing to 1 Thessalonians 4:3-18, and claiming that shows Paul expected to be alive at the end. But we saw the passage can very easily be taken as not implying any belief on the part of Paul that he would live to the end. Paul seems to have written 2 Thessalonians soon after 1 Thessalonians, after hearing that many there were upset, thinking the end was very soon, and even quitting work. Paul writes to correct this false notion, chiefly by pointing out, in chapter 2, that two signs must come before the end -- the antichrist and the great apostasy. But neither was in sight at the time. Summary of 2 Thessalonians, Chapter 1

Paul and his companions Silvanus and Timothy wish grace and peace to the Thessalonians. We should thank God always for the great growth of your faith and love. We can even boast about you in the other churches. You hold up in all persecutions -- this situation is a sign that a just judgment of God is coming, for justice calls on God to repay those who trouble you, and to give relief to you who are troubled, along with us. He will do this when the Lord Jesus appears from the skies, with the angels or messengers of His power, in a fire that gives punishment to those who do not know God or obey the Gospel. They will pay the due penalty, which is eternal ruin, when He comes to be glorified in His holy ones and to cause wonder to all the faithful. So we always pray that God may judge you worthy of the call to the Church that He has given you, so the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him. Comments on Chapter 1 Paul is proud of the way they are holding up under persecution from the Jews. The fact that they suffer thus shows that there must be a just judgment coming, to reward them, to punish the enemies of Christ. Jesus will appear with His angels in a flame of fire to bring eternal ruin to those who persecute His faithful ones. "His messengers" means His angels -- the Greek word is angeloi. Some today say we are not certain there are angels, or even deny their existence flatly. But it is a basic rule of Scripture study that we should understand the Scriptures as the original readers would have understood -- not reading them as if written by a modern writer. If we read in this way, there is no doubt that the readers, and the early writers of course too, of Scripture, understood that angels are beings distinct from God. Further, Vatican II, On the Church 12, tells us that if the entire Church, people and authorities both, has ever believed a truth (considered it revealed) that belief is infallible. Surely, the whole Church has long believed in angels. So this is an infallible doctrine. The mention of fire in this passage is, however, a touch of apocalyptic genre, which we explained in commenting on 1 Thessalonians 4:l3-18. We do not mean to deny the Scripture on fire of hell. This refers to something different, the fire of His return.1 We notice too that Paul speaks of the punishment as eternal ruin, that is, it will not end. So Paul does teach the eternity of hell. Paul also prays that they may continue to be worthy of the call God gave them to full membership in the Church. The mere fact that they have entered does not mean they have it made, are automatically secure forever (Luther's mistake). 2 Faith means much more than a confidence that the merits of Christ apply to me. Summary of 2 Thessalonians, Chapter 2 Paul begs them not to be shaken by any spirit, or word, or letter supposedly from him as if the end were near. It cannot come, he says, unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of sin is revealed. He, the

antichrist, will exalt himself over God, or anything that is worshipped. He will even sit in the temple of God to receive worship. Paul tells them he said this to them when he was there, so that they know what is holding back the appearance of this antichrist. The mystery of sin is already working, until the person or thing holding back his appearance is out of the way. Then the lawless one will appear. But Jesus will destroy him with the spirit of His mouth at His coming. The coming of the antichrist will be accompanied by great wonders, through Satan, to deceive those who are on the road to destruction, who did not accept love of truth that would have saved them. Since they did not accept the truth, God lets them be deceived. All who do not believe the truth but consent to wrongdoing will be judged. But Paul thanks God that He has chosen them for salvation in holiness. So he urges them to stand and hold fast to the traditions they had been taught, by his word, or by his letter. He prays that Jesus and the Father may console and strengthen them in all good works. Comments on Chapter 2 Here Paul gives only two signs of the end. There are others, as we will see presently. The first sign is a great apostasy, a falling away from the faith. It is true that Jesus desired there might be one flock and one shepherd: John 10:16. But He really meant He wanted both Jews and gentiles to be part of the one flock. But at the end there will not be such a picture: Jesus also said (Lk 18:8): "When the Son of Man comes, do you think He will find faith on the earth?" Of course, He had promised the Church will last -- but at the end there will be little left to it, because of the great apostasy. He also said (Mt 24:12): "Because lawlessness (sin) will reach its full measure, the love of the many will grow cold." (This is another instance of the theme of filling up the measure of sins, which we saw in the comments on chapter 2 of 1 Thes). Similarly 2 Timothy 3:1-7 gives a dreadful litany of the vices of men in the last days, and 2 Timothy 4:3-4 says "A time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine; they will accumulate teachers to tickle their itching ears; they will turn from the truth to fables." (Some think this last text is fulfilled today. It surely seems so. However, there is a pattern of multiple fulfillment of prophecies in Scripture -- something can go through more than once.3 The second sign is the man of sin. By the man of lawlessness or sin, Paul means the antichrist, even though he does not use the word. The chief passages on the antichrist are: Mt 24:5 & 11 & 24; Mk 13:22; 1 Jn 2:18-22; 1 Jn 4:3; 1 Jn 7. In some of these texts we find the singular, antichrist, in others the plural, antichrists. In some both are found. This seems to be part of a well established Hebrew pattern in which an individual stands for, and in a sense is even identified with a group -- in this case the group would be all the forces of evil. There are to be lesser false Christs before the end (cf. Mt 24:5 & 11). But before the end will come the great antichrist. The Fathers of the Church

sometimes say his time will be three and a half years before the end. That number would be a symbolic one, yet it does seem that the period of his power will be relatively short, as Matthew 24:22 seems to indicate.4 Other signs in Scripture for the end are these: (1) Rom 11:25-27: "A blindness in part has come on Israel until the fullness of the gentiles enters. And so all Israel will be saved." (I.e. will enter the Church -- hardly would Paul mean to foretell final salvation for all Jews. And they could reach final salvation without formal membership in the Church, as we shall see in connection with Romans 2:1416. So Paul does not here refer to final salvation.) If we compare Luke 21:24, the similarity of language is remarkable: "Jerusalem will be trodden by the gentiles until the times of the gentiles are fulfilled." We compare these last words with "until the fullness of the gentiles enters," from above. It seems to mean Jerusalem will be a gentile, not a Jewish city, until the times of the gentiles are fulfilled -- probably the period providentially designated for the conversion of the gentiles. We note the language "the fullness of the gentiles enters...the times of the gentiles are fulfilled." Then also the time set by God for the conversion of the Jews would be approaching -- but we remember with Him, one year is as a thousand days, a thousand days as a year. (2) Daniel 12:7 says: "And when he shall finish (or complete) the scattering of the power of the holy people, all these things will be accomplished." (For this translation, we take Hebrew kalah to mean finish, complete -- a common dictionary meaning. Most versions ignore this, and change the text instead. But the New Revised Standard Version substantially agrees with our translation). So again, we would be led to think the time for conversion of the Jews is near, in the sense indicated. Further, 2 Maccabees 2:4-8 tells how Jeremiah hid the ark of the covenant, and when his followers tried to find it, said it would be hidden until God would again gather together His people. But this item is unclear, since verse 1 of the same chapter says: "You will find it in the records" that Jeremiah did this. Hence inspiration does not guarantee that Jeremiah did it, only that the "records" say it.5 (3) The return of Elijah the prophet: Sirach 48:10. Malachi 3:23-24: "Lo I will send you Elijah the prophet before the day of the Lord turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so I may not come and strike the land with doom." 6

(4) Some think that Enoch will also return , for Genesis 5:24 says that he "walked with God, and he was not here any longer, for God took him." See also Hebrews 11:5. But neither text says he will return. Some have speculated he will be one of the two witnesses mentioned in Rev (Apoc) 11:3-13, but there is no proof of this, and many suggest other names for the two witnesses, e.g., Peter and Paul. Others think they are Moses and Elijah. The Fathers generally think the two are Elijah and Enoch. (5) It is possible that Joel 3:1-5 refers to the end. It speaks of old men dreaming dreams and young men seeing visions before the day of the Lord. However St. Peter took it to refer to the first Pentecost, in Acts 2:17-21. But we could also have here another case of multiple fulfillment of prophecies, of which we spoke above in commenting on the great apostasy. (6) Matthew 24 has two chief sets of signs. First, in verses 6-8: "You will hear of wars and reports of wars. Do not be disturbed. These things must happen, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be pestilences and earthquakes. These are the beginnings of the birthpangs." Clearly, these signs are quite vague, and in a way have happened in every century. But in 24:29: "Right after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be moved." There are two great difficulties in interpreting this verse: First, most of it is a quotation from Isaiah 13:9-10. But Isaiah is merely foretelling the fall of Babylon. Americans tend to exaggerate, Hebrews did more of it, and a poet-prophet like Isaiah could go still farther. We see similar strong imagery in Isaiah 34:4, which seems to mean God's judgment on Edom, and in Ezekiel 32:7-8, which seems to refer to the judgment on Egypt. Secondly, this is apocalyptic imagery, which most likely needs to be reduced to find the sober content. (7) Matthew 24:4: "And this Gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world, for a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come." After reviewing these signs, we can easily agree with St. Paul that the end will come like a thief in the night, for most of these signs are rather vague, except the few that seem to refer to the period just before the end -- namely, the return of Elijah and the conversion of the Jews.

Mark 13:32 reports Jesus Himself as saying: "About that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." The Fathers of the Church in the first centuries wrestled mightily with this text. For a long time we find two kinds of statements by many of them: one set says He really did not know; the other set insists that He did know. Both types of statements commonly are found in the same Father. The difficulty was finally resolved by Eulogius and Pope St. Gregory the Great (DS 474-76): "He knew it in His humanity, but not from His humanity." That is, the fact registered on His human mind, but the information did not come from His humanity.7 Paul also says that God will send the working of error to those who have not believed. Is this a positive blinding -- which would be just -- or is it merely that the laws built into the nature of things automatically bring about that blinding, in line with the words of St. Augustine (Confessions 1.12): "You have ordered it, and it is true: Every disordered soul is its own penalty?" For a further explanation of the process, see this author's book Our Father's Plan.8 Summary of 2 Thessalonians, Chapter 3 Paul asks their prayers for the spread of the Gospel. He tells them that since God is faithful to His promises and covenant, He will confirm them in the faith. He commands them to avoid close association -- not all association -with any Christian who does not live as he should. As part of this, he tells them to imitate him in working for their food. If someone does not want to work, he should not eat. But even if they avoid close association, it is not to be permanent, nor should they consider him an enemy: it is to bring him to his senses. Finally, Paul writes a bit in his own hand -- he had been dictating the letter it seems. Comments on Chapter 3 We notice Paul repeats the fact that since God is faithful to His promises, He will offer them the grace of perseverance. He orders them to avoid a Christian who lives immorally. But we notice he speaks of close association -- he does not mean to drop all association. Really, this is a matter of prudential handling, and may need to be adjusted to different concrete situations, e.g., if a son or daughter enters an invalid marriage -- how should one handle him or her? Surely there must be some restraint, to give a continuing signal that the child is in sin. Thus one avoids the close association that would otherwise have been present. But not all association need be avoided. And it is for the purpose of bringing the erring one to his/her senses. Some are vehement in saying no parent may go to such a wedding. Others advise a parent to go (while making clear that the child is in the wrong), for to break then may be an irreparable break, and remove chances for later conversion.

Since some of the Thessalonians have been quitting work, expecting the end, Paul tells them to get to work. If someone does not work, he should not eat. Clearly Paul would not disapprove of what is called Workfare, the requirement that someone on relief should work if possible. END NOTES 1 Note in Context: Cf. 2 Pet 3:7. 2 Note in Context: Cf. the glossary s.v. faith. 3 Note in Context: Cf. W. Most, Free From All Error, chapter 5. 4 Note in Context: Cf. also Rev (Apoc) 20:3. 5 Note in Context: Also, Biblical Archaeology Review, May-June 1983, pp. 66-69 reports a man named Crotzer claimed he found it -- but BAR rejects the report. 6 Note in Context: Cf. also Mt 17:10-13. 7 Note in Context: For more on this, see Wm. G. Most, The Consciousness of Christ, Christendom Press, Front Royal, l980, especially chapter 6. 8 Note in Context: W. G. Most, Our Father's Plan, Trinity Communications, Manassas, l988, chapter 19. "Chapter 4. Letter to the Galatians" Paul had written the two Letters to Thessalonika during his 18 months stay at Corinth, on his second missionary trip, probably in 51 A.D. Then he soon went back to Antioch, which had been his base of operations. After some time at Antioch, Paul set out on his third expedition, which was in 54-57 A.D. (See Acts 18:23-21:17). He first went overland through north Galatia and Phrygia, and came to Ephesus, which was his center for about three years. It was probably there that Paul wrote to the Galatians in about 54 A.D. This is true on the theory -- most likely true -- that Paul wrote to north Galatia, to communities he founded in the interior on his second journey (Acts 16:6) and visited on his third journey (Acts 18:23). However, as we said in the introduction to the Letters to Thessalonika, it is possible Paul wrote to south Galatia, communities he founded on his first expedition (Acts 13:13-14:28). Then the Letter to Galatia might have been as early as 48 A.D., and then would have been the very first part of the New Testament to be written.

Paul had already attended a meeting of the Apostles in Jerusalem, probably in 49 A.D. which decided that the gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia need not be circumcised and keep the law of Moses. This question had become acute since Paul had made so many gentile converts. Just as a means to appease those who wanted to impose the Mosaic law, the council did call on the gentile converts to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, and from strangled animals. These were just a few points of the Mosaic law, rather small. It also called for what general morality requires, that they abstain from loose sex. But the Judaizers -- those who had wanted to impose the whole Mosaic law -- did not give up easily. They still tried to impose the law on even gentile converts. They seem to have caused much trouble in Galatia on this score. Hence this is the chief reason why Paul wrote to Galatia. In it he stresses heavily his teaching that justification (getting right with God) comes not by keeping the law, but by faith (let us recall from the glossary the sense in which Paul uses the word faith). Paul will return to the same theme in Romans. Luther claimed he had made a great discovery, justification by faith, in Galatians. It was really a great mistake, for, as is explained in the glossary, Paul did not mean by faith what Luther thought he meant. More on this in the Supplement, below, on Luther. Since the Judaizers said in effect that Christ alone is not enough -one must also add the law -- Paul naturally reacted by saying: We are free from the law. This caused great confusion. 2 Peter 3:15-16 said that in Paul's letters there are many things hard to understand. He was very right! As we shall see, Paul really meant that keeping the law does not earn salvation, though violating it would earn punishment (cf. 1 Cor 6:9-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:5). Some have said Paul did not understand Judaism -- a ridiculous claim, for Paul was a Jew, trained by the great teacher Gamaliel in Jerusalem, and was a zealous Pharisee. Some want to say we get into the covenant community, the Church, without earning it (justification by faith) but that to stay in, one must observe the covenant law. Paul has no such distinction. We get justification (which brings entry into the people of God) by faith, without earning it. Reaching final salvation is equally, in the basic sense, without earning it -- hence Paul often speaks of us as "inheriting the kingdom." When we inherit from our parents, we do not say we have earned it -- though we could have earned to lose it (cf. again 1 Cor 6:9-10; Gal 5:21; Eph 5:5). In that sense, we cannot get by with violating the law, even though keeping it does not earn salvation. There is a secondary sense in which we merit heaven: the fact that we have become (without earning it) sons of God, gives us a claim to inherit. A claim can be called a merit.1 A student some time ago summed up this matter of salvation neatly: You can't earn it, but you can blow it.

A lesser, but important reason for his writing was to answer the claims of some there that he was not a real apostle, just a secondstringer, not sent out by Christ Himself. Everyone today agrees that Galatians is really by St. Paul. Summary of Galatians, Chapter 1 Paul who is an Apostle, not sent out by men, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, along with his companions, wishes grace and peace to the churches of Galatia, from Jesus Christ who died for our sins, to free us from the present wicked age. Paul is surprised that the Galatians can be so easily separated from the one who called them, into a different Gospel -- which, yet, is not another Gospel, for there is only one. But there are certain people disturbing the Galatians, and trying to change the Gospel of Christ. However, no matter who would try to change the Gospel -- whether it be Paul, or even an angel from the sky -- cursed be such an angel! Paul repeats: If anyone tries to change the Gospel, let him be cursed! Paul insists that he does not preach in such a way as to try to please humans, but God. To try to please humans instead of God would make him no slave of Christ. For he did not receive what he preaches from men, nor from teaching -- he got it by revelation from Jesus Christ (on the road to Damascus). He recalls how zealous he had been for Judaism, more than his associates, even to the point of trying to overthrow the Christian Church. But then it pleased God, who had planned for it even before his birth, and called him in love, to reveal His Son to Paul so he would preach Christ among the gentiles. Paul did not right away go to consult any human being, not even the Apostles in Jerusalem. Rather, he went to Arabia for a time, then came back to Damascus. Then after three years he traveled to Jerusalem to get to know Peter, with whom he stayed 15 days. While in Jerusalem he did not see any other Apostle except James, the brother of the Lord. Paul swears he is telling the truth. After that he went north to Syria and Cilicia. The churches in Judea did not know what he looked like. But they had heard he who once was a persecutor had turned to preaching the Gospel he once tried to destroy. So they praised God because of Paul. Comments on Chapter 1 We notice how excited Paul is in opening this letter. He usually says some nice things to the recipients, to put them in a receptive frame of mind. Here he is excited by the false charges against him, and so he omits all that and starts at once to say he is an Apostle sent out directly by Christ -- not sent out just by men. Christ is the one who died to free us from our sins, and from the present evil aeon. That word aeon is ambiguous. He most likely means here the present evil period of time, when Satan exerts so much influence, but yet the time in which Christ has indeed died for us, and so begun our liberation, but

that freedom and salvation will not be complete until the age to come. The world does not really operate on the principles of Christ. It can also, less likely, mean aeon, which refers to a type of spiritual being imagined by the Gnostics. God himself produced the first pair of aeons, male and female. They produced the second, and so on, each pair less perfect, until one pair went bad, and was thrown out of the pleroma, the full assembly of the aeons. This initiated a line that created our world. Paul often has to combat various errors. In Colossians it is fairly likely, even though not certain, that he is writing against such opponents. It is not very likely that he had such opposition in Galatia. He next goes right into the chief message of this letter -- about the Judaizers, who try to teach a different Gospel. Even though they claimed they were Christian, and merely wanted to add a requirement of keeping the Mosaic law, yet Paul speaks strongly against them. He means that if they are right, then Christ is not sufficient, for we would have to add to faith in Christ the keeping of the old law as well. So he vehemently imagines an angel coming down from the sky with a different Gospel than what he preaches. Such a Gospel would be false. Hence, he curses the imaginary angel and even repeats the curse. Then he returns to defending himself, and says he learned Christianity not from any man, not even the Apostles, but from the appearance of Christ on the road to Damascus. He compares himself by implication to Jeremiah (cf. Jer 1:5) of whom God said: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you . . . I dedicated you as a prophet to the nations." After this vision, Paul did not feel any need to consult the Apostles in Jerusalem. Even though the Acts of the Apostles (9:3-19; 22:6-16; 26:12-18) reports few words were said by Jesus to Paul in that vision, yet Paul learned all Christianity from it. How? Throughout the centuries, many holy people have experienced what are called interior locutions. In them it is as if God touches the brain. By one touch He can convey any amount of information He wishes.2 Instead of consulting others, he went to Arabia. We do not know what area he has in mind -- the name covered much territory. Perhaps he made a pilgrimage to Mt. Sinai. Perhaps he merely went into the area across the Jordan. Nor does he tell us how long a time he spent in Arabia. After that he went back to Damascus. After three years he went to Jerusalem. Does he mean three years after his conversion or three years after returning from Arabia? We cannot tell. And more chronological vagueness will follow in chapter 2. No wonder there is a problem of figuring out the timetable for Paul's activities! He says he went to Jerusalem to historesai Cephas. (He regularly says Cephas for Peter). That word could mean to consult him -- or just to visit him and get to know him. The second is what he must mean, for he is stressing that he did not learn Christianity from any human. He

stayed with Peter for fifteen days, during which time he saw no other Apostle but he did see James. We could also have translated: "I did not see any other Apostle [except Peter], I just saw James, the brother of the Lord." There was a James, the brother of the Lord, who seems to have acted as Bishop of Jerusalem. But he was not one of the twelve. However, the word 'Apostle' often is used more broadly than to apply only to the twelve. As to the word 'brother' of the Lord, it means only some kind of relative, not another son of Mary. The Hebrew word for brother is very broad -- for that matter, so is our English word. We can call everyone in a fraternity brother, etc. Hebrew has no word for cousin, or for most kinds of special relatives. And even though the New Testament is in Greek, which does have such words, yet the writers of the New Testament often are affected by their Hebrew habits. Thus Paul who knows Greek well, could say in 1 Corinthians 1:17: "Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach." Then why did he baptize? There is a Hebrew way of thinking showing up, which lacks the degrees of comparison -- even though Greek has them -- and so instead of saying more for preaching than for baptizing, he says not for the one, but for the other. And there are numerous other instances. Then he went up to Cilicia -- his home-town, Tarsus was there. He also went to, or passed though, Syria, in which was Antioch, which was to become an important base of operations for him soon. Summary of Galatians 2:1-14 Paul continues the story of his early years in the faith. After 14 years he went to Jerusalem again, with Barnabas and Titus, because of a revelation. There he compared notes with the Apostles, privately, and checked on the accuracy of what he preached. They did not even ask to have Titus, a Greek, circumcised. However, some false brothers got in, unfortunately, to oppose the freedom the Galatians had in Christ, to enslave them and Paul, by making them subject to the Mosaic law. Paul did not give in to them even for a moment. Those who were important did not add anything to what he was preaching. (Paul observes in passing that it makes no difference in the sight of God of whatever sort they were -- probably he means, of what sort they had been during the earthly life of Jesus -- the Gospels reveal their weaknesses in that time. Or else, that the fact that they had been with Jesus on earth did not make them any more Apostles than he was, for he too was sent out by Christ). Rather, seeing that God had given him a mission to the gentiles, while Peter was sent to the Jews, and seeing the grace given Paul, James and Peter and John shook hands in fellowship, asking only that Paul should remember the poor -- which he was already doing. After the meeting, Cephas (Peter) came to Antioch. (Paul had gone on ahead). At first Peter ate with the gentiles (ate foods prohibited by the Mosaic law). But then some men came from James, and he stopped. Other Jews with him fell into the same hypocrisy -- even Barnabas was

misled. So Paul seeing the danger, told Peter in front of everyone that if he, even though a Jew, had been willing to live like a gentile (not following Mosaic law) -- how could he force (by his example) the gentiles to act like Jews? Comments on 2:1-14 After 14 years Paul went to Jerusalem again. From what point did he count the 14 years? We do not know. The Greek could also be translated "in the course of a period of 14 years." He says he went because of a revelation. Acts 15:2 says the community at Antioch sent him because of the debates over the Mosaic law. Of course, there is no conflict -- both things can readily be true. This was the council of the Apostles, probably in 49 A.D., described in Acts 15:1-30, at which Peter spoke first, saying the gentiles need not keep the law of Moses or be circumcised (the two things go together, for circumcision was a sign of being under the law). Then James spoke, and agreed. So the council wrote to the churches of Syria and Cilicia, telling them they need not be circumcised or keep the law of Moses, but asking them not only to avoid loose sex (required by basic moral law) but also, seemingly to appease the feelings of Jews, to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols, from blood, and from strangled animals. It is important to notice that the letter went just to the churches of Syria and Cilicia. Today if the Vatican writes to one or two episcopal conferences, the letter applies only to those areas, not elsewhere. Similarly, the letter of the council of Apostles did not apply elsewhere. Hence we have the answer to a difficulty some think insuperable -- they note that Paul did not hesitate in 1 Corinthians 8-10 to permit the Corinthians to eat meat sacrificed to idols, as long as they watched out for scandal. Then the objectors wonder how Paul could disregard the letter of the council. The answer is what we have just indicated -- requests to observe three items of the Mosaic law did not apply outside of Syria and Cilicia. We know from Acts 16:4 that Paul did preach in accord with the letter when he was in the area to which it applied. We notice that Paul privately compared his teaching with that of the Apostles -- it was not that he had doubts. He insisted so strongly in chapter 1 that he received his knowledge of Christianity directly from the Damascus road vision. No, this was just to reassure those who might not believe what he had said in chapter 1. In passing, we might note that in verse 4 Paul starts a sentence, but never finishes it. He usually dictated his letters, and especially when he was worked up, he could easily forget where he was at in a long sentence. Grammarians call this pattern anacolouthon (a Greek derivative meaning: not following up). More of the same pattern starts in verse 6. But the sense is clearly what we gave in the summary. Paul says some Judaizers came from James. But we know from Acts 15 that James agreed with the council decision that gentiles need not keep the Mosaic law. So we wonder about the mention of James. It

could be a different James, for that was a very common name among the Jews -- there were two Apostles of that name, and another James, the "brother of the Lord." Perhaps it means merely they came from James' place, Jerusalem. Paul also says the Apostles added nothing to his preaching. Some have charged contradiction here with Acts 15 in which, as we just saw, the council did add three rules from the Mosaic law to the general moral rules. But the answer is easy. Paul is speaking of the basic doctrine -- this temporary sop to the feelings of Jews was not a matter of doctrine. The Apostles did not ask him to change anything in his doctrine. So, James, Peter and John shook hands in fellowship -- the Greek is koinonia, a state of having all things in common. When Peter came to Antioch, he at first followed the decision he had helped make in the council, and so ate, with gentiles, foods not permitted by the Mosaic law. But then he returned to his well-known vacillation, which we saw in the Gospels -- how he started out to walk on the waves when Jesus told him he could, but then doubted and began to sink -- and how he swore he would never deny Jesus -- then did it three times. Paul does not tell us Peter's reaction after Paul confronted him. Many today assume -- with no evidence -- that Peter and Paul were on the outs after this. As we said, there is no evidence of it. It was just a case of Peter's well known weakness in conduct. The objection supposes Peter began to teach false doctrine, that gentiles must keep the Mosaic law, and this even after he himself had taken the lead at the council in teaching the true doctrine! But the promise of Christ to protect the teaching of Peter and the Church rules that out completely. After receiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost he could still be weak, but would not waver in doctrine. Similarly, Paul's correction was not about Peter's doctrine, which he had not changed, but about his conduct, too weak. But because of Peter's special importance -- for the Gospels so many times show Peter as in first place -- his example could be dangerously misleading. Hence Paul felt he had to correct Peter. So it is also foolish to cite this incident as a case in which an Apostle corrected a Pope on doctrine. It was not a matter of doctrine, but of vacillation in practical conduct. Summary of Galatians 2:15-21 In verse 15, Paul seems to be quoting his opponents who say: "We are by nature Jews. We are not sinners from the gentiles." But Paul says he knows that a person is not justified, or made right with God by doing the works of the law -- no, it is by faith in Jesus Christ that people become just. Christians have believed so as to be in Christ (probably, not certainly, implies: they are members of Christ; Paul will develop this idea more in 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, and especially in Colossians and Ephesians), and so are justified by the faith of Christ,

and not by doing what the law calls for. For no one will be justified by carrying out the law. But if, in trying to reach justification in Christ, Christians turn out to be sinners, then Christ would turn out to be a minister of sin (for failing to justify them)! Heavens no! He is not that! Again, if Paul were to return to what he had left, that is, the observance of the law, he would thereby make himself a sinner (either by turning to what cannot justify, or by admitting he should not have left). For Paul died to the law through the law, with the result that he lives to God. He is crucified along with Christ. It is no longer Paul that lives: Christ lives in him. He lives his present life in the faith of Christ, even though he, Paul, is still in the flesh. Christ loved him, and gave himself for him. So Paul does not put aside the regime of grace, for if justification came by the law, Christ would have died for no reason. Comments on 2:15-21 Here we are at the heart of Paul's great thesis: justification through faith, and not through the works of the law. He opens, it seems -- there were no quote marks in use in his day -- with a quote from his opponents, who proudly say: "We are Jews. Gentiles are sinners." Or else we could also say, probably, that Paul here is using a focused picture ( see comments in the glossary on focusing). But now, before going ahead, because of its vital importance, we add a supplement on the ideas of Luther. Supplement on LutherI. That Luther was scrupulous is admitted even by Lutheran theologians: "In their situation, the major function of justification by faith was . . . to console anxious consciences. . . . The starting point for Luther was his inability to find peace with God . . . terrified in his own conscience."3 That is, he thought he was always in mortal sin. He got peace only by making what he thought was a great discovery in Galatians and Romans: justification by faith. The sad thing is he did not do enough study to see what those two key words mean. First, he thought justification leaves one totally corrupt, and without even free will.4 Consequently, he held for an absolute blind predestination. He compared a human to a horse, which could have either God or Satan as rider. The man has no choice. But according to the rider he does good or evil, goes to heaven or hell as a result. He said after justification it is as if a white cloak of the merits of Christ were thrown over us: God will not look under the rug. In contrast, Scripture teaches that by justification we are "partakers in the divine nature" (2 Pet 1:4). And that we are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 3:16 & 6:19) Who would surely not dwell in total corruption. Paul teaches that after death we will see God face to face (1 Cor 13:12). Now of course God has no face and the soul has no eyes.

But it means we will see Him as directly as I might see you. I look at you, but I do not take you into my head: rather, I take in an image of you. Images are finite or limited, so are you. But no image could let me know what God is like, He is infinite. So it must be that He will join Himself directly to the created soul or mind, so that by that means it can know Him as He is. But in Malachi 3:2 we read: "Who can stand when He appears? He is like a refiner's fire." So He will not join Himself forever to total corruption (cf. Apoc/Rev 21:27), or if He did, that refiner's fire would have to cleanse it -- that would be purgatory. Secondly as to the word faith : Again Luther did not study to find what Paul means by faith. He thought it meant confidence that the merits of Christ are credited to me. (Take Christ as one's personal Savior). Then on a ledger for myself I could write infinity for the merits of Christ; on the debit page, the number for my sins, past, present and future. No matter how many, how great, they would always be outbalanced by the infinite merits of Christ. So the person has infallible salvation. So even if he sins much, no problem. In Epistle 501 to Melanchthon: "Sin bravely, but believe still more bravely." And in a letter to the same Melanchthon of August 1, 1521: "Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly. . . . No sin will separate us from the Lamb even if we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day." In contrast, St. Paul includes three things in faith: believe what God says, have confidence in His promises and -- it is this third one Luther omitted and denied -- obey His commands. Thus in Romans 1:5 Paul speaks of the "obedience of faith," that is, the obedience that faith is. The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible , a standard Protestant reference work, in the fifth volume, a Supplement, on p.333 says precisely this, that Pauline faith includes "the obedience that faith is." But faith which includes obedience cannot justify disobedience . Therefore Luther made a huge mistake. If anyone ever took Christ as his personal Savior, it was St. Paul himself. Yet St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 compares Christian life to a great race at Corinth. Anyone who hoped for the prize had to go into athletic training, and so deny himself much. Only one could get it, but all Christians can get it, and their prize is eternal life, not just a crown of leaves. Some Protestants say Paul is just urging them to gain something extra. But no, in context, Paul has been urging them for some time to avoid scandalizing another by eating meat offered to idols when the other thinks it forbidden. In 1 Corinthians 7:11-13 Paul pleads: "The weak one will perish [eternally] because of your knowledge [that the eating is not wrong in itself], a brother because of whom Christ died." Paul himself even with his heroic work for Christ, does not think he has infallible salvation. Rather in 1 Corinthians 9:2617 he said (literal version): "I hit my body under the eyes and lead it around like a slave, so that after preaching to others, I may not be disqualified [at the judgment]." And right after that in chapter 10, Paul

gives many instances when the first People of God did not have it infallibly made: rather, many were struck dead by God for sin. So in 10:12: "He who thinks he is standing, let him watch out so he does not fall." Yet in his Exposition on Psalm 130:4 Luther wrote, speaking of justification by faith: "If this article stands, the church stands; if it falls, the church falls." Sadly then, his church never did stand, for he greatly misunderstood both key words, faith and justification. Some Protestants add a requirement of being "born again ." Now Baptism really is being born again (Jn 3:5), since it gives justification which makes us children of God. But Protestants mean that when one takes Christ as his Savior, he must have an experience, usually a feeling. But there is no scriptural requirement for that. Emotion is neutral in religion. This shows the error of his belief in Scripture alone. Really that idea is antibiblical. For the Second Epistle of St. Peter in 3:16, speaking of the Epistles of St. Paul -- where Luther thought he found such errors -says: "In them there are many things hard to understand, which the unlearned and the unstable twist, as they do the rest of Scripture, to their own destruction." Luther did just that. He insisted Scripture is so clear that anyone can understand it. St. Peter says no, it is very hard. Further, Luther had no means of knowing which books are inspired , are part of Scripture. He thought that if a book preached justification by faith strongly, it is inspired. But most books of the Bible do not even mention the subject. And he could write a book to do that, and so could I, and it would not be inspired. A Baptist Professor, Gerald Burney Smith, in 1910 at the national Baptist convention, reviewed in his paper every means he could think of to find which books are inspired 5 He discarded one after another, and said if we had a providentially protected teaching authority, that would tell us -- he of course did not think we have such a thing. So he was left trying to appeal to Scripture but not able to know for certain which books are Scripture. Hence, not strangely, later in his article he said it is not surprising that today we do not so often meet talk of anything infallible: "Nothing is more noticeable than the gradual disappearance of that word 'infallible' from present-day theologies." Of course, when one cannot know which parts are Scripture. Gerhard Maier, in a book called The End of the Historical Critical Method published by the great Lutheran house of Concordia, said (1974, pp.61 & 63):". . . only scripture itself can say in a binding way what authority it claims and has. . . . Scripture considers itself as revelation."6 What a perfectly vicious circle! Scripture is inspired because inspired Scripture says inspired Scripture is inspired. Luther's mistake led to another impasse : He believed that we are totally corrupt by original sin, so we cannot avoid sinning almost constantly. But that belief logically led to an impossibility, as we see in the Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Position of the Missouri Synod 7

(emphasis added): "As to the question why not all men are converted and saved, seeing that God's grace is universal and all men are equally and utterly corrupt, we confess we cannot answer it." They saw the next step would be to say that God predestines and reprobates blindly, with no condition in the humans. Calvin did say that. Luther also did, as we saw above in his work The Bondage of the Will. Most Lutherans, including the Missouri Synod, seem not to know, or not to want to know what Luther really taught on this matter.8 II. Earning salvation: We do not earn salvation, or justification. We get justification, (the state of grace for the first time) without any merit at all, it is purely a gift. 9 But secondly, having that state, since it makes us sons of God, gives us a claim to inherit the kingdom. Now a claim to a reward can be called a merit. So only in this sense can we be said to merit heaven.10 Thirdly, having that status as sons of God and sharers in the divine nature (2 Pet 1:4) means our works after that point have a special dignity that calls for added reward. So we can be said to merit additional degrees of grace, i.e., of capacity for taking in the vision of God in heaven.11 We could put it this way: we by our own power cannot merit anything at all. But inasmuch as we are members of Christ and like Him (cf. the syn Christo theme, especially in Romans 8:17: "we are heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him, so we may also be glorified with Him") we get in on the claim, or merit, He generated. So, we are free from the law in the sense that keeping it does not earn justification. But if we break it we earn punishment. Again: We can't earn it, but can blow it.12 We return to the line by line commentary: Galatians, Chapter 2, verse 15: Protestants like to point to the verb dikaioo and to say in ordinary Greek it means only 'declare just' -- for a human court could not do more. But that is a natural situation, for no human judge could do more than declare a man just. But God is not so limited, He can make one just, not in the sense of making it true that the man never sinned, but in eradicating the effect of sin. Sin leaves a soul incapable of the vision of God in the next life; justification, as we saw above, makes one capable, gives him a participation in the divine nature. This is a radical interior transformation, not just something legalistic and extrinsic. (As to that verb dikaioo, other verbs that have the -oo ending mean to make one to be what the root indicates. E.g., leukos is white, leukoo means to make white; delos is clear, deloo means to make clear. So it is only that no human can make one just that causes the shift from the usual meaning of -oo verbs in the case of dikaioo). Paul adds that it is impossible to keep the law: no one is justified by the works of the law -- seeming to imply: it cannot be done. (Probably echoing Psalm 143:2). Here we need to recall the pattern of two ways of looking at the law -- we mentioned them in the comments on 1 Thessalonians 4:5, and in the glossary. We said that the two ways

could be called focused and factual. In the case of the law, the focused view would be this: The law makes heavy demands -- it gives no strength to keep them -- so inevitably the person falls -- then he is dead and even cursed, for the law curses those who do not keep it (Deut 27:26). We called this a focused view by a metaphor -- imagine we are looking through a tube of any kind and we see only what is framed by the circle of the tube. Something just a bit outside the circle is not seen. What is not seen in the focused view of the law is the fact that even before Christ, divine help, grace, was offered to people (in anticipation of Christ). If they used that, then we would have the factual picture, thus: The law makes heavy demands, and gives no help -- but help is available from the grace of God -- if a person uses it, then he does not inevitably fall -- he may choose to keep out of sin and please God instead. So, in the factual view, it was possible for Paul to say that he himself, even before his conversion, kept the law perfectly (Phil 3:6). This twofold way of looking at the law makes it possible for Paul to have two kinds of statements about the law -- most commonly, he speaks almost harshly (in a focused picture, e.g., 2 Corinthians 3:7 & 9; 1 Corinthians 15:56); at other times, in a factual picture (e.g., in Romans 3:2 and 9:4) he can even speak of the law as a great privilege for the Jews. We need to keep this double pattern in mind often, for it is needed to understand many things in St. Paul. (Incidentally a sort of focused way of speaking appears also in 1 John 3:9 which says "Everyone who is born of God does not commit sin, for His seed remains in him. And he is not able to sin since he was born of God.") In verses 17 and 18 Paul gives as it were confirmations of his thesis that justification is by faith. But he makes the wording so extremely compact that we must fill in, in order to follow him. If we fill in verse 17 it will mean: If someone tries to find justification by faith in Christ and then turns out to be a sinner, that would mean Christ had failed to provide the justification sought through faith -- which would make Christ the minister of sin -- which is of course absurd. (Paul writes in Greek me genoito -- literally: "Let it not be." We paraphrased: Heavens no!) We could fill in verse 18 in two ways: If I go back to depending on the law for justification, I make myself a sinner, because either (a) That would amount to an admission I was sinful in leaving the law in the first place, to depend on Christ or (b) I put myself in the impossible position of depending on the law for justification -- which it cannot give, since it only makes heavy demands but gives no grace, so I must fall and wind up a sinner, in a hopeless state (cf. the remarks on the focused picture of the law). Paul also says that through the law he died to the law so as to live to God. Most likely it is to be understood in this sense: The law called for death as penalty for sin. Christ died. But Paul -- and all Christians -- are

members of Christ. So in that sense, if He died, they too died. (This is the Mystical Body concept -- will see more of it in 1 Corinthians 12 and still more in Colossians and Ephesians). So Paul can also say in 2 Corinthians 5:14: "I am convinced of this, that one died for all, therefore all have died." Here is an interesting possibility: St. Paul surely knew of mystery religions, very common in his day. In them if a man went through, at least in a ritual, the same things a god had gone through, he would get the same effect. For example, the Egyptian god Osiris died, was made into a mummy, then by having his mouth opened with the right words, he became the god of the dead. So, others could get the same effect the same way. At one point in the rituals of some of these mystery religions, the one initiated would be given a cloak to put on, then he was "putting on the god." Now Paul of course would not mean to turn Christianity into a mystery religion. But he might well, in line with his policy of being all things to all men (1 Cor 9:19-23), use the language and thought system of such mysteries to help to put over Christianity. So if Christ died, we died. Paul has a syn Christo theme: we do all with Christ (some things in sacramental ritual, some in living our lives). If we suffer with Him, we will be glorified with Him. We were baptized into His death. We were buried with Him, and rise with Him. We should live a new life with Him. We should set our hearts on heavenly things (Rom 6:3-8; 8:9 & 17; Col 3:1-4; Eph 2:5-6). Some Protestants say that Christ was punished for sin, that He took the punishment we should have had. This is an outrageous notion, that the Father would punish an innocent one, even His own Son! We can clarify the picture by making a distinction. There are two things: (1) To punish can mean to inflict evil on another so it may be evil to him -that is hatred. Of course the Father did not do that. (2) We could explain the word thus: The Holiness of God loves all that is morally right, and so will punish to rectify the objective order of goodness. We could picture the objective order of things -- the whole moral picture to be seen in the world -- as a two pan scales. An early Rabbi, Simeon ben Eleazar (c.170, citing Rabbi Meir from earlier in the same century), wrote: "He [anyone] has committed a transgression. Woe to him. He has tipped the scale to the side of debt for himself and for the world."13 The sinner takes from one pan what he has no right to take. So the scale is out of balance. The Holiness of God loves what is right, and so wants the balance restored. How? If the sinner stole something, he begins to rebalance by giving it back. If he stole a pleasure, that is used up, but he can begin to rebalance by giving up some other satisfaction he would have legitimately had. We have been saying "begins" since the imbalance from one mortal sin is infinite. No creature could produce an infinite value to fully rebalance even one mortal sin. So IF the Father willed -- He did not

have to of course -- but if He so willed, if He wanted to fully rebalance, that could be had only by sending an Infinite Person, His Son, to rebalance. That Son gave up what He could have lawfully had, even to the death of the Cross. This infinitely rebalanced for sin.14 Punishment even in civil affairs, if rightly thought of, is such a rebalance. (It is good to try for rehabilitation, but not always workable. And often jail is needed to protect society from habitual criminals). But the essential aspect of punishment is this rebalancing of the objective order, which should not, as we said, include a desire that it be evil to the other out of hatred for the other. That would be vengeance. Rather the concept is like that of Hebrew naqam, action by the one in charge of the community to rectify things, i.e., the objective order. When Paul says "I no longer live, but Christ lives in me," he probably means that Christ, through His Spirit, has become the principle that dominates his life, so that Paul does the things Christ would do, in the way He would do them, out of love for Christ. He has become the "spiritual man" of which he writes in 1 Corinthians 2:14-16. He produces the "fruits of the Spirit" of which he will speak in Galatians 5:18-25. Paul himself is in the upper reaches of this third level. For there are three levels of guides a person may follow in making his decisions: On the first level, a person is guided in his decisions by the whim of the moment. Aristotle (Ethics 1.5) calls this a life fit for cattle. On the second level, one's guide is basically reason, even though that reason is as a matter of fact aided by actual graces. But on the third level one is guided by the Holy Spirit through the gifts and so can be led to do things not contrary to reason, but higher than what reason would lead to. Paul continues, saying, in verse 20, he lives his life "in the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." This is a tremendous statement. We appreciate it most fully if we put it into the framework of the covenants. At Sinai, God said to the people through Moses (Ex 19:5): "If you really hearken to my voice, and keep my covenant, you will be my special people." That is, if you obey, you will be specially favored. It brought into being a people of God, to have special favor on condition of obedience. That ancient people did not do well in obeying. So many times over, God had to send a foreign nation to oppress them, until they would come to their senses. The chief invaders were Amalek, the Philistines, Assyria, New Babylonia. Finally came the great smash: Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon swept down in two waves, 597 and 587 B.C. He wrecked the temple and the city, took most of the people away into captivity to break their national spirit. It was during that captivity that God spoke again through the great prophet Jeremiah (3l.3lff.): "I will make a new covenant. It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers, for they broke my

covenant, and I had to show myself their master. But this is the covenant: I will write my law on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people." The new was to be different in that the new would be written on hearts, the old was on stone tablets. The old had been broken, it was implied that the new would never be broken. But the two essential things about Sinai were still there: there would be a people of God, who would receive favor on condition of obedience. Jeremiah hardly could foresee how this would be fulfilled. Vatican II tells us (On the Church 9) that Jesus Himself made that covenant in the Upper Room the night before He died. He took bread here, wine there, and said: "This is my body . . . this is my blood." It was as if He said: "Father, I know what you have commanded: I am to die tomorrow. Very well, I turn myself over to death -- represented by the seeming separation of body and blood in the two species of bread and wine -- I accept. I obey." He made the pledge that evening, and fulfilled it the next day. But now we notice this: in a covenant -- which in that way resembles a contract -- each party gives something in return for what the other gives. Of course the things given are at least of approximately equal value -- surely so in the mind of the receiver -- otherwise there would be no agreement made. But the "price" of redemption (cf. 1 Cor 6:20) given by Jesus is of infinite value. Therefore, what the Father gives in return must be similarly infinite, namely, an infinite treasury of grace and forgiveness for the human race. Is that title, as it were, established just in favor of our race as a whole? It is for us as a whole, but there is more -- and that is the great point of what St. Paul says here: "The Son of God loved me and gave Himself for me." That is: there is an infinite title -- to use the language of contract/covenant -- established by the price of redemption in favor of each individual human! Could it be that this is true just of Paul, a very special person? No, for Vatican II 15 taught: "Each one of us can say with the Apostle: The Son of God loved me, and gave Himself for me." How could anyone fail to be saved then, as long as he would pull up from sin just before death? The answer is: one can become hardened or blind from repeated mortal sin -- then even if God gives graces, they are not received. The sinner is as it were impermeable. And if he set out to have a spree of sin, and finally pull up, when he did stop sinning, that would not be a change of heart (repentance), but something preplanned. Such is the love of the Heart of the Father, revealed to us in the Heart of His Son! For love means to will or wish the well-being and happiness of another for the other's sake. So when The Father loves us, it means He wills us happiness, even eternal happiness.16 Paul continues saying he does not "set aside the grace of God." We need to notice that Paul has several expressions, which to him are

equivalent: grace of God means the setup, or regime of grace, that is, the setup of justification by faith, leading to final salvation by faith (on sense of the word faith, please see the glossary). So Paul means here: He is not going to leave the regime of justification/salvation by faith/grace, to go back to trying, in vain, for justification/salvation by law. So he adds that if one could get justification by the law, there would have been no need for Christ to die. (It is in vain to try for justification by law, for the law has no power to save, and no one can keep it -- this Paul says in the focused sense). Summary of Galatians 3:1-22 Paul is still disturbed by the Galatians who want to go back to the law, to leave the setup of faith. So he asks: Who has put a magic spell on you to make you act this way? Jesus was pictured to you as crucified to rescue you -- the law could not save you. So he appeals to the charismatic, miraculous gifts they received at Baptism -- these were routine in Paul's day, but became scarce later, certainly by 150 A.D. So he means: You could see by your experience that faith brought you such spiritual things, such mighty deeds. Was it then by keeping the law that you got them? No! It was by faith, by the "hearing (that is, obedience) that is faith." Now Paul points to the example of Abraham, who was justified by believing (Gen 15:6) even before circumcision was ordered (Gen 17). So Abraham becomes the father of those who imitate his faith. Hence gentiles receive the blessing, as sons of Abraham. For God said to Abraham that all nations would be blessed in him (Gen 18:18). But anyone who depends on works, instead of on faith, will be under a curse, since the law (Deut 27:26) says anyone who does not keep the law is cursed. And no one can keep the law (in a focused picture). But the Old Testament says, in contrast, "The just man will live by faith" (Hab 2:4). But, the law says: He who carries out this law will live by it. But Christ bought us from the curse of the law, by becoming a curse for us. For the law says that he who hangs on the tree, dies that way, cursed (Deut 5:14), so in that sense Paul could say Christ was cursed or a curse. But He overcame that curse. We as His members (cf. also 2 Cor 5:14: "One has died for all, therefore all have died") therefore also have overcome the curse. Hence we receive the blessing of justification by faith through Him, not through the law. Paul says there might seem to be a conflict: if anyone makes a will, that is valid, and is respected. God made such a will for inheritance to Abraham and to his "seed." Since "seed" is singular it must mean Christ. That was a valid will. Hence the law which came 430 years later does not make the grant by the will invalid. If our claim to inherit from the Father depended on law, it would no longer be an inheritance, it would be earned. But God made His pledge to Abraham by way of a promise or will, not by way of a law.

So there is a question: Why was the law added at all? It was in view of transgressions, until that descendant, Christ, should come, to whom the promise given to Abraham about his "seed" really referred. We can see this fact also by noticing that there was a two-sided arrangement made with the law -- for there was a mediator, Moses, and the law was given through angels. But in a one-sided arrangement, like the will or promise given to Abraham, there is no mediator, there is just one party, God. Did the giving of the law then go against the promise or will given to Abraham? Of course not. If the law had been able to give life, (that which was promised to Abraham), there would be a conflict. But the law could not give life. Rather, Scripture shows that all are caught under sin, but they will be rescued by the basis of faith in Christ. Comments on 3:1-22 Paul thinks the Galatians must be either out of their mind ( anoetoi) or under a magic spell. How else could they, for whom he pictured Christ as crucified to save them, now want to think He is not enough? How could they think they must add the old law, which has no power to save anyway! Furthermore, they should know by experience! By experience at Baptism they found they received miraculous gifts by the obedience that is faith (akoes pisteos). How could they now want to go back to the law? Look at the case of Abraham, Paul says. God promised him a great progeny, and Genesis 15:6 says Abraham's faith justified him. Paul notes that this happened before Abraham was ordered to take on circumcision, (Gen 17) which stands for the yoke of the law. So Abraham was justified without the law. Why not the Galatians? God really promised all nations would be blessed through Abraham -- by being his children, not by carnal descent, but by walking in the steps of his faith. So, those who depend on faith, receive the blessing promised to Abraham. In contrast, those who depend on the law, fall under a curse (they cannot keep the law -- cf. the focused picture described in chapter 2). And in Deut 27:26 we read: "Cursed is everyone who does not keep all the things written in the book of the law." The regime of faith however is also taught in the Old Testament -- in Habacuc 2:4, where we find that: "The just man will live by faith." (In the original context, Habacuc meant that those who trusted in God would be protected from the Chaldean invaders -- Paul adapts the saying to his own purpose, as Rabbis often did. But Paul does literally mean -- no mere adaptation -- that we are saved by faith). We got away from the law because Christ paid a terrible price, the price of redemption! He even became a curse for us. This is vehement language. The law says (Deut 21:23) "Cursed is everyone who hangs on the wood," that is, everyone who is executed that way is cursed. That happened to Christ, so, He came under a curse. Paul makes it

stronger, saying He was not just under a curse, but became a curse. This sounds like the kind of language we sometimes find in the Old Testament, where we meet a noun where we would expect an adjective, e.g., Psalm 147:14: "He makes our boundaries peace," instead of "peaceful."17 Besides, Hebrew is not at all rich in adjectives, hence such a usage as this becomes possible. Paul uses similar language in 2 Corinthians 5:21 where he says that God made Christ to be sin for us. Please see comments there. (In 1 Corinthians 1:23-2 Paul said Christ crucified was a stumbling block to the Jews, and nonsense to the gentiles. The Jews found it a scandal that their Messiah should die, and die under a curse; the gentiles thought it impossible that a god would associate with men, and still more impossible that he would die for men: Plato, Symposium 203; Aristotle, Ethics 8.7). In saying, "Christ bought us," Paul refers to the price of redemption (cf. 1 Cor 6:20 and 7:23). The Old Testament, Intertestamental literature, the New Testament, and Rabbinic literature see that sin is a debt which the Holiness of God wants to have paid. A comparison given by Rabbi Simeon ben Eleazar is helpful 18: "He [meaning anyone] has committed a transgression. Woe to him. He has tipped the scale to the side of debt for himself and for the world." The sinner takes from one pan of the two-pan scales what he has no right to take: the scale is out of balance. It is the holiness of God that wants it rebalanced. How? If the sinner stole property, he can begin to rebalance by giving the property back; if he stole a pleasure, he can begin to rebalance by giving up some corresponding pleasure. But we keep saying "begins," for even one mortal sin means an infinite imbalance, for the Person offended is infinite. The Father did not have to arrange for this rebalance, but in His holiness, or love of all that is good, He willed to do so. That He could do only by sending a Divine Person, His Son, to become man. A divine Person incarnate could generate an infinite value, to really rebalance the scale. That is what the redemption was. Christ by His horrible sufferings put back into the scales more than all sinners had taken.19 Further, in line with the policy of being all things to all men, as we saw above, Paul may at times use the language of mystery religions to help explain and sell Christianity. In those religions, one went through, ritually, the same experiences that a god went through, and so got the same result. Christ because a curse, and overcame it. We as His members have therefore overcome the curse of the law. Next, in 3:15 and following, Paul asks if there is a conflict or contradiction between two events: 1) God gave something to Abraham unilaterally, that is, God took on an obligation by a promise. Abraham did not have to do anything (this was before circumcision was commanded, and before the law was given). 2) But then, 430 years

later at Sinai, God promised the same thing, but then added strings, conditions to be fulfilled, i.e., the law. About the first event: Paul compares the gift to that given in a valid will or last testament. We do not earn what we get through our parents' will. We get it because they are good, not because we are good. Further, in regard to the first event, Paul insists the promise was to Abraham and his seed, that is, his descendant. Paul makes an issue of the fact that the word seed is singular, not plural, and says therefore it refers to Christ.20 As to the second event: This is the covenant of Sinai, in which God said (Ex 19:5): "If you really hearken to my voice and keep my covenant, you will be my special people." So Paul means it seems that God went back on his promise -- of course He could not really do that -by at Sinai adding conditions to what had been a stringless promise. Paul solves it, in a rabbinic way, in 3:21: There is no conflict, since the law cannot give eternal life, while the promise, by faith, can do it. We would solve it in a different way: What God promised to Abraham was not eternal life, but the land. At Sinai He promised the same, plus much more. Hence, no conflict. (As the Old Testament period went into its later part, there was a tendency to reinterpret things to mean eternal life, as Paul does. Please see comments on Philippians 1). We need to comment on some details within this passage. In 3:19 Paul asks why was the law given (if it could not justify). He says the law was given "in view of transgressions." The phrase is very ambiguous, having three possible meanings. First, we could translate as purpose: the law was given for the purpose of turning ordinary sin ( hamartia) into transgression (parabasis). Hamartia is the kind of sin one can commit even without having a revealed command of God. Sins between Adam and the time of the law were such. They were still sins, but not as evil as a sin committed after a revealed command. Paul often uses the word parabasis which we rendered "transgressions." (English does not always observe the distinctions of which we are speaking). But there are objections to this 'purpose' translation: Would God really want to make things worse, give a law to make it worse? Of course not. We could, however, recall that the Jews often said God directly did things when He only permitted them. But that would mean changing the purpose expression to mean result. We could also translate the words to mean cause: then it would be: the law was given because there were transgressions. But this does not seem good, for before the law, there were no transgressions, if we take that word in the strict sense. So we had better translate the words to mean result: "The law was given, with the result that ordinary sins were made into transgressions." In 3:20, the next verse, Paul is not very clear. But we can see the sense: the Sinai covenant was bilateral, i.e., both God and the people took on obligations. We see this because there was a mediator, Moses

and the angels. There is no mediator in a one-sided arrangement -- a mediator is used only with a deal between two parties.21 We need to comment too on the fact that Paul speaks of 430 years coming between the promise to Abraham and Sinai. Actually, the Rabbis of his time were discussing what that time was. The chief difficulty comes from Exodus 12:40: The Septuagint, the old Greek version of the Old Testament, said there were 430 years between the time of Abraham and the Exodus from Egypt. But the Hebrew text of Exodus 12:40 says the 430 years mean only the time spent in Egypt. Which is correct? They did not know in Paul's day. Neither do we. The date of the Exodus is much controverted. Paul of course does not pretend to solve the problem, he merely uses the figure given in the Septuagint text, for he normally quoted the Septuagint, for the benefit of his Greek readers. We note the expression "valid will." The Hebrew word berith meant only covenant. But the Septuagint picked the Greek word diatheke which could mean either last will or covenant. It almost always means covenant in the New Testament. But a few times it is used in the sense of last will, as in this passage. Summary of Galatians 3:23-4:20 In earlier times before the new regime of faith came, all humans were kept under the law until the regime of faith would be revealed. The law was like a slave that takes children to school, it merely prepared the way for Christ, prepared for the justification of faith. But now the regime of faith is here, and so people are no longer under that slave. Instead, Christians are sons of God through faith in Christ. In being baptized into Christ, they have put on Christ. So now there is no difference of Jew or Greek, slave or free, or male or female -- all are in Christ Jesus. By belonging to Christ, Christians are the children of Abraham, and so can inherit the promise once given to Abraham. While the heir is a minor, he might as well be a slave, he has no freedom of action, even though he is in a way master. But he is subject to administrators until the time comes that his father has set. In the same way all people used to be like minors, slaves, under the elements of the world. But now in the fullness of time God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to buy back, to redeem, those who were under the law, so they could be adopted as sons. Because Christians are sons, the Father has sent the Spirit of His Son into their hearts, who cries out, Father. So now instead of being slaves, they are sons. That means Christians also can inherit, are heirs. Formerly, since people did not know God, they were slaves to those beings that were not really gods. But in the present regime, Christians know God -- really, are known, that is, chosen by God. Since that is the case, why would the Galatians want to turn back to the weak, poor previous state in which they once were? They want to become slaves again, for they observe certain days, months, times, years. Paul is

afraid he may have worked in vain over them. He pleads for them to be like him, just as he became like them. They did not wrong Paul. It was in weakness of the flesh that Paul preached to them the first time. But they did not reject this temptation of seeing him weak. Instead they accepted him as if he were an angel of God, as if he were Christ Jesus Himself. But now, where is that former welcome? At that time, they would have pulled out their eyes and given them to Paul. But has Paul now became an enemy by telling them the truth? They, the Judaizers, cultivate them eagerly, but not well. The Judaizers want to shut the Galatians out from the gift, the freedom of Christ, so they may cultivate the Judaizers. To be cultivated in the right way is fine -- but that should not be just when Paul is present with them. Paul cries out: O my children, I am suffering over you as if in birth pains to bring you forth again, so that Christ will be formed in you. I wish I could be with you now, and talk differently -- I don't know what to do with you! Comments on 3:23-4:20 Paul compares at length two regimes or setups -- being under the law, or being under faith. The law was a slavery in that people had to obey many commands. Yet doing so did not earn salvation. Only faith can obtain salvation. In becoming, by baptism, members of Christ who is God's Son, we become the brothers of Christ -- and so have a claim to inherit a place in the Father's mansions with Him.22 Even though the word inherit (kleronomein) sometimes means merely to obtain, yet here, in view of the setting -- with all the talk of being sons, and of a last will and testament (3:15-18) -- we see it does have the strict meaning of inherit. A son inherits from his Father not because he, the son, is good, but because the Father is good. The son could, of course, earn the opposite of good things, could earn punishment, even to be disinherited. But if he does not do that, he will get his inheritance, a place in the Father's house, not because he earned it -- children who inherit do not say they earn it -- but because the Father is good. In regard to this, inheriting by faith, there is no difference of free or slave, Jew or Greek, male or female. May we then conclude there are no differences in other respects as well? Certainly we cannot draw that from Paul's words here. Paul in the whole context, at great length, is talking simply about justification and inheriting by faith. So it is not at all legitimate to say that in regard to other things, e.g., ordination to the priesthood, there is no difference of male and female. To say that would be to violate a most basic principle of Scripture study, i.e., we must understand things in the light of the context. We must not take the words as if in isolation, and then apply them to just anything we might want to. Paul adds -- thinking back to the passage about the promise given to Abraham and his seed -- that Christians are the real seed of Abraham.

They need not be racially descended from Abraham. That alone would not suffice for salvation. They must rather imitate the faith of Abraham, and so be justified by faith. So Christians can be called spiritual Semites. (Paul does not use these words, but the sense is the same). Rabbi Levi (c.300 A.D.) said23: "In the future, Abraham will sit at the gate of Gehenna, and will not permit any circumcised Israelite to go down there." The Talmud, Sanhedrin 10.1, has the same idea: "All Israel will have part in the age to come." The same view was probably around in the time of Christ, and is likely to be behind the response of Christ to the man who asked if most people were saved or lost (Mt 7:13): "Enter through the narrow gate." He meant: Do not say 'we have it made, since we are children of Abraham' (racially) -- more is needed! In contrast, Paul says that physical descent from Abraham is not enough. Earlier, in 3:16, Paul made an issue of the fact that the word seed is singular, not plural, and so made it refer to Christ. Really, the word in itself is commonly collective, refers to a group. But Paul, like a Rabbi, is free with this point. But now he shifts, and clearly means that the word seed refers not just to Christ the individual, but to Christians. 24 Of course, he probably would and could say that Christians are in a way identified with Christ, being His members. In that train of thought, Paul will say vehemently in 2 Corinthians 5:14, "One died for all, therefore all have died." In stressing that a child who is a minor has two aspects -- he has a legal right to an inheritance -- but also he cannot dispose of it or control it while still a minor -- Paul says that we (we think again of 1 Thessalonians 4:13 and following in which Paul spoke of "we the living" and really meant it in a general sense, not meaning to say he expected to be on hand at the end) once were enslaved under the elements of the world. We are not sure what Paul means by elements. It could mean either of two things: 1) the spirit powers of whom the Gnostics and Jewish apocalyptic speculators spoke (Paul does not believe in them unless he takes them to be the same as the devils, as he does in Colossians 2:15), or 2) religion before Christ, true but imperfect among the Jews, false among pagans. He speaks of the elements again in 4:9, and the question is the same. Either understanding would fit in both places. The second meaning is more likely. When Paul contrasts two eras, one of slavery under the law, or under the "elements" with the era of the freedom of sons, we must watch out not to misunderstand. There are two possible senses here. First, one could take him to mean that there was darkness before the dawn of Christ, and so no one could be saved. Paul surely does not mean that, as we can see from Romans 2:14-16 and Romans 3:29-30. Secondly, we could take it to mean that all graces granted before the coming of Christ were given only in anticipation of Christ's earning of all graces

by His sacrifice, and that even the just of the Old Testament period could not reach the vision of God before Christ actually came and died. That is true. So we have something like a twofold system as system picture (system as system really means the same as focused) here. The first picture is that of the time before Christ: in and of itself, it could not save, gave no means of salvation; the second picture is that of the time of Christ -- salvation has been earned by Him. We get it if we become members of Christ in Baptism and live by faith. In 4:12 Paul says that he first came to them in weakness of the flesh. Does he mean he was physically sick? Not impossible. In particular, there was much malaria in his world, and one can get recurrent fevers from it. Some have even taken his words about their being willing to pluck out their eyes for him to mean he had eye trouble. This is being too crude, we fear. The weakness of the flesh could merely mean that Paul recognized he was a nobody in the eyes of the world, and physically not impressive -- he seems to have been small. In himself he was nothing; he depended on the power shown by the Spirit in miracles. Summary of Galatians 4:21-5:1 Paul says that if they really want to be under the law, they should notice what the law, the Old Testament, says. In it they can see that Abraham had two sons, one from Hagar, the slave woman, one from Sara, the free woman. The son of the slave woman was born in the normal course of nature; but the son of Sara came only by way of a divine intervention. In allegory, the women stand for two covenants -Hagar stands for the covenant of Sinai, which enslaves. Sinai is a mountain in Arabia, which corresponds in the allegory to the earthly Jerusalem, which is in slavery to the law. But there is a Jerusalem above -- for which Sara stands. It is free, and it is our mother. Hence Isaiah (54:1) exhorts the sterile woman to break forth and shout for joy, for the deserted woman has more children than the woman who has a husband. So Christians are like Isaac, son of Sara, who was born by divine promise. But just as in Abraham's day, the son of the slave woman persecuted the son born according to the spirit, so it is the same in Paul's day. But Scripture reports the words of Sara to Abraham: (Gen 21:10) "Cast out the slave woman and her son." That son will not inherit along with the son of the free woman. Christians, then, are not the children of the slave woman, but of the free woman, with Christ's freedom. So they should stand firm, and not put themselves under slavery again. Summary of Galatians 5:2-12 Paul insists strongly that if a person is circumcised, Christ will do him no good. Such a one is under obligation to the whole law. One who seeks justification by the law has been severed from Christ, has left the regime of grace for that of the law. But Christians, by the Spirit, await

the hope of righteousness on the basis of faith, not law. For those who are in Christ, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision matters -- what does matter is faith that works through love. The Galatians were running well -- but who blocked them to keep them from obeying the truth? Their conviction does not come from God who called them. Rather, a few Judaizers, like a little yeast, can work through the whole mass. But Paul is confident in the Lord that they will agree. Whoever is the source of the trouble, will be judged. If some claim that Paul too preaches circumcision -- then why do they persecute him? For in that case he has left the regime of the Cross, and gone over to the regime of the law. Paul wishes that those who are disturbing the Galatians would cut themselves off. Comments on 5:2-12 When he says if you are circumcised, Christ will do you no good, Paul of course means if it is done as a religious rite indicating obligation to keep the Mosaic law. He does not refer to it as a mere surgical procedure, so often done today. When he adds that one who is circumcised, as a religious rite, must do the whole law -- Paul is probably after the Judaizers who may not have demanded all practices, only some of them. But if someone is circumcised as a religious rite, he has left the regime of justification by faith, and gone to the regime in which one tries to be justified by keeping the law -- which is impossible, for the law cannot save. Paul says to such a one, "You have been severed from Christ" -- playing on the fact that Jewish circumcision did involve some severing of flesh. Then he adds that neither being circumcised nor its lack is enough for salvation -- what is enough is faith that acts in love. When he says, "If I still preach circumcision -- why should Judaizers oppose me?," we suspect some of them had pointed to the fact that he had Timothy circumcised, as we see in Acts 16:3. Paul did that not as a religious rite, of course, but only as a means of avoiding trouble with the Judaizers. Still, one could ask: Is Paul inconsistent here? For as we saw in Galatians 2:14, he reproached Peter for stopping his eating with gentiles -- a thing Peter had done before (we commented on that case earlier). In the last verse of this section (verse 12), Paul uses some earthy language, when he says he wishes that those Judaizers who are disturbing the Galatians would "cut themselves off." There are several meanings on which he is playing -- cutting off flesh in circumcision, cutting self off from the Galatian community and getting out of the way, and also a jab in comparison with the priests of Cybele, well known in Galatia. They would dance about the altar, get into a frenzy, then cut themselves with their knives, and if they went to an even greater frenzy, some of them would castrate themselves. Of course

Paul does not want them to do that. He is enjoying making a strong dig at them. Summary of Galatians 5:13-25 Paul now finds he needs to warn them. Even though they are called in freedom from the law, they must not take that to mean they can do whatever their fleshy side happens to want. They should serve one another in love, for in doing that, they are actually fulfilling the whole law. Otherwise, if they bite at one another -- they might even eat one another up! Therefore he tells them to live following the lead of the Spirit -- then they will not carry out the desires of the flesh. Flesh and Spirit have opposite desires. As a result, in weakness, people too often do not do the things they really want to do.25 Those who follow the lead of the Spirit are not under the law. If one gives rein to what the flesh wants, he will fall into many evils: sexual looseness, uncleanness, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, bickering, jealousies, angry outbursts, selfish rivalries, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, orgies and similar things. He has already told them, and now he repeats it -- that they who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Following the Spirit brings the opposite kinds of fruits: love, peace, patient endurance, kindness, generosity, fidelity, mildness, chastity. There is no law to forbid these things. Those who belong to Christ, instead of letting the flesh rule them, have crucified the flesh. So if we live by the Spirit, we should follow where the Spirit leads. Comments on 5:13-25 Paul got himself into much trouble by preaching "You are free from the law." We can imagine the reaction of libertines: "Is that so? Let's go and live it up!" Of course Paul did not mean to give license for just anything. So he tries to answer here. First, he says this should not be an occasion for the flesh. Rather, they should follow the Spirit, or love. If they do, they will not, as a matter of fact, be breaking the moral law. But, while that is true, it is not so easy to see every implication, every detail of what love would call for. So Paul adds two lists. If you follow the Spirit of Christ, you will produce good fruits, which he enumerates. But if you follow the flesh instead, you will do evil works, which he lists. (We notice the special touch: he speaks of works of the flesh, but fruits of the Spirit). But there is a clear implication here of what we saw earlier, namely: As to salvation, you cannot earn it (by keeping the law) but you can "blow it," lose it, by violating the law. So there really is an obligatory law. Hence Pope John Paul II said: "Although St. Paul . . . teaches that justification is not obtained by the works of the Law . . . he does not thereby exclude the binding force of the Decalogue."26

Paul tries to make the same point in a different way, by giving the two checklists. If one follows the Spirit, the Spirit never leads to any violation of the law -- rather, the opposite. We notice that Paul says that those who do such things -- the works of the flesh -- will not inherit the kingdom of God. We spoke of this above. Children inherit because the parents are good, not because the children are good or have earned it. Yet they could earn punishment. Again, as to salvation: You cannot earn it, but you can blow it. Summary of Galatians 5:26-6:18 Paul advises we should not desire empty glory and thereby provoke and envy one another. Even if someone is caught in sin, spiritual people should correct him in a spirit of meekness, watching out too so as not to fall into the same thing. If we bear the burdens of one another, we fulfill the law of Christ. If a person thinks he is something, whereas he is nothing, he deceives himself. So let each one examine what he does, and then he will have something to boast of for what he does -- not trying to raise himself by cutting down others. Let each one carry his own burden. Those who receive religious instruction should share material goods with their teacher. For no one can deceive God -- whatever one sows, that is what he will reap. If he sows the things of the flesh, he will harvest corruption thereby. If he sows for the spirit, he will reap eternal life. So we should not get tired of doing good. We will get the harvest at the right time. Especially we should do good to those who share our faith. Paul now takes up the pen (he has been dictating), and says: Look at the large letters in which I write. Those who want to put up a good front, a good appearance in the flesh, are trying to get the Galatians to be circumcised, so they may not endure persecution (as Paul does) for preaching, instead, dependence on the Cross of Christ. Really, these Judaizers do not keep the law. They just want to get others circumcised in order to be able to boast of it. Paul says he will boast over nothing but the Cross of Jesus, through which the world has been crucified to him, and he to the world. Neither circumcision matters, nor uncircumcision -- what does matter is being a new creation. Peace and mercy to those who live this way, and to the new Israel of God (Christians). As for the rest, he says he bears the marks of Jesus, and so no one should make trouble for him. He prays finally that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ may be with them. Amen. Comments on 5:26-6:18

Here we have mostly rather miscellaneous moral exhortations. Paul commonly does this at the end of an Epistle. It is called paraenesis, which is just a Greek word for exhortation. In 6:3 Paul speaks of a person as "being nothing." He does not mean nonexistence, of course. But he does mean what he says strongly in 1 Corinthians 4:7: "What have you that you have not received? And if you have received it, why boast as if you had not received it," i.e., as if you had generated the good yourself instead of just receiving it from God. St. Augustine says the same thing forcefully ( Epistle 194.5.19): "When God crowns your merits, He crowns nothing other than His own gifts." We will see much more on this point in our comments on Philippians 2:13. In 6:15 Paul says a Christian is a new creation. He says this in several places. It is important, for it shows that we are not totally corrupt from original sin, as Luther thought. After justification, we are remade so completely as to be a new creation. Creation means making out of nothing, or from scratch. When Paul says in 6:17 that he bears the marks of Jesus in his flesh, he does not seem to refer to what today are called stigmata, the marks of the nails in the body of Jesus. Stigmata in Paul's day often meant the branding used to mark a slave as one's possession. In Paul's case, the marks would come from the beatings he often suffered for Christ. In the last line Paul prays that the grace of Jesus may be with them. We explained in 1 Thessalonians 1 that the Greek charis can mean either grace or favor. But if we do at times translate as favor, we must still remember that favor does not mean merely that God, as it were, sits there and smiles at us -- and gives us nothing. If He gave nothing, we would do good by our own power -- and Paul will not allow such a thought, it would be the heresy of Pelagianism. So if the translation favor is used, we need to always remember that it includes God's giving something to us -- which is grace. Please recall the comments on 6:3 above. END NOTES 1 Note in Context: Cf. Council of Trent DS 1532 and 1582. 2 Note in Context: On such locutions, cf. St. Teresa of Avila, Life 25.1, and Interior Castle, 6.3.7. 3 Note in Context: Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue VII, Justification by Faith ed. Anderson, Murphy, Burgess; Augsburg 1985, ## 24 & 29 of agreed on Statement. 4 Note in Context: Cf. The Bondage of the Will, tr. Parker & Johnson, Revell Co., Tappan NJ, pp. 103-04 & 273.

5 6 7 8 9 1 0 1 1 1 2 1 3 1 4 1 5 1 6 1 7 1 8 1 9 2 0

2 1 2 2

Note in Context: Biblical World 37, 1911, pp. 19-29. Note in Context: Publ. 1974, pp.61 & 63. Note in Context: Concordia, St. Louis, 1932 14. Note in Context: For the answer to these Lutheran claims see W. G. Most, Catholic Apologetics Today, chapter 18. Note in Context: Cf. Council of Trent, DS 1532. Note in Context: Trent DS 1582. Note in Context: Ibid. Note in Context: Cf. 1 Cor 6:9-10: After a list of the great sins, Paul adds: "Those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom." Note in Context: Tosefta Qiddushin 1.14. Note in Context: Cf. Paul VI, Indulgentiarum doctrina, Jan 1, 1967. Note in Context: On the Church in the Modern World 22. Note in Context: Cf. 1 Tim 2:4: "God wills all to be saved." Note in Context: Cf. also Isa 62:7 and 65:18; 2 Cor 5:21. Note in Context: C.170 A.D., claims to be quoting Rabbi Meir from earlier in the same century. This text is found in The text of Tosefta, Qiddushin 1.14, cited above. Note in Context: Cf. Paul VI, Indulgentiarum doctrina of Jan 1, 1967. Note in Context: Paul is acting like a Rabbi again here. He knows well that Greek sperma and Hebrew zerah are both singular, but are easily collective, and so can stand for many. Paul knows this, and uses them so elsewhere, e.g., Romans 9:7 and 4:13 & 16. Cf. also Gal 3:29 which does treat seed as collective. Note in Context: Cf. CBQ, January, 1967, pp.1-19 Note in Context: Cf. above after 2:15, Supplement, II.

Note in Context: 3 In Bereshith Rabbah 17.7. 2 Note in Context: 4 Cf. also Paul's use of the word seed in Romans 9:7 and 4:13 & 16. 2 Note in Context: 5 More on this in our comments on Romans 7:7ff., really a focused picture. 2 Note in Context: 6 January 25, 1983, Sacrae disciplinae leges. "Chapter 5. Letter to the Philippians" There are three chief views as to the place and time of the composition of this letter. (1) The older, traditional view held Paul was in prison in Rome. This view notes that the letter mentions praetorians and those of Caesar's household. If written from prison in Rome, the date would be 61-63. (2) Paul was in prison at Caesarea about 58 A.D. However the arguments for this view fit also for Ephesus equally well. (3) Paul was at some time in prison at Ephesus. Inscriptions now show that there were praetorians there, and also persons of the household of Caesar there, caring for the imperial Asiatic treasury. Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:30-32 seems to speak of facing possible death at Ephesus. Considerations of travel time fit best with Ephesus. For the letter seems to imply three or four trips between Paul's prison and Philippi. If Rome, it would be a trip of four or five weeks; if Ephesus, only six or seven days. Philippi was a rather young city, as cities went in those days. It was founded in 358/57 by Philip, King of Macedonia, father of Alexander the Great. The city by Paul's day had a heavy Roman population. In 42 Anthony defeated Brutus and Cassius there. Paul founded the first European Christian Church there on his second mission, probably about 50 A.D. The names Paul mentions in this letter seem to be largely gentile names. After starting the Church there, Paul seems not to have visited again before writing this letter. While he was preaching at Thessalonika, about 50 A.D., the Philippians sent money on two occasions. Now, while Paul was in prison, they sent another gift, carried by Epaphroditus. Paul writes to thank them and to warn strongly about Judaizers (3:2): "Watch out for the dogs. Watch out for the doers of evil. Watch out for the mutilation." (He meant circumcision). All today agree that this letter really was by Paul. But there is a problem about its rambling, disjointed character. Letters in general are apt to lack unity and order. But this letter goes farther. As a result, some think what we have is really two or three letters joined together. The most impressive argument is this: St. Polycarp

wrote also to Philippi. And in 3.2 he speaks of the letter s that Paul wrote them -- in the plural. Some proposals have been made to separate out the two or three letters, but the results are not very convincing. Summary of Philippians 1:1-11 Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ, wish grace and peace to all the holy ones at Philippi, with the Bishops and Deacons. Paul always gives thanks to God for them when he recalls them in every prayer, for they share in promoting the Gospel from the beginning even till now. Paul is confident that the God who began a good work in them will bring it to completion, until the day of the return of Christ at the end. Paul says he has reason to think this about them, for they are all fellow sharers in the grace, in his chains, and in defending and strengthening the Gospel. He longs for them in the love of Christ, and prays that their love may abound still more in knowledge and discernment, so they may choose the things that are better, and may not stumble, even until the end, since they are being filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Christ. Comments on 1:1-11 Paul does not hesitate to call himself a slave, even though he glories in the dignity of a son of God. Each term brings out part of the rich reality. Slave helps us see that we owe everything to God, and He could require our service without any reward -- we just owe it to Him. Yet in His goodness He does reward beyond what any creature would dream of if it had not been revealed: the promise of the share in the divine nature in the vision of God. We note Paul mentions bishops and deacons -- but not priests. The terms, especially bishops and priests, were very fluid at this time, they were not precise technical words.1 Episkopos merely meant overseer -deacon meant servant -- presbyteros meant elder. It take time for technical terms to develop precision. Holy ones means those who are set aside for God by the covenant. Grace is any gift from God to man, as we explain more fully in the glossary. Peace means general well-being. We have something theologically very important here: Paul assures them that God who has begun the good work in them, by bringing them to the faith, will bring it to completion. As we saw in 1 Thessalonians 5:24, this is a promise of the grace of final perseverance. The same assurance is given in 1 Corinthians 1:5-8. The Council of Trent (DS 1541, 1566) insists we cannot be sure we will have this grace. Paul does not differ -- he insists God will provide, or offer it. We could reject it, and then we would not have it. Trent in the same DS 1541 teaches that "God, unless we fail His grace, just as He began a good work in us, so He will complete it." We notice the Council is really quoting Philippians 1:6. Paul in his turn, in 1:10, urges them to

avoid stumbling -- again, it is one thing for God to offer the grace of perseverance -- another for us to have it, for we can reject it, and so stumble. Trent, historically, was speaking against the foolish notion of infallible salvation of the Lutherans who held if we take Christ as our personal Savior, we are infallibly saved after that. The article in the standard reference work, Kittel, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament on save does not even mention such a sense as that "infallible salvation." Summary of Philippians 1:12-30 Paul wants them to know that his situation -- being in prison -- has turned out well for the Gospel. For some Christians, encouraged by Paul's courage, speak more boldly. Still others, hating Paul, preach Christ just to stir up the Romans to kill Paul. Even this, says Paul, has a good effect: as long as Christ is still preached, one way or the other. As far as he is concerned personally, if he is allowed to live, that is a chance to live for, to preach Christ. If he dies, he can be with Christ. But to stay in the flesh is more needed for souls, thinks Paul. He really cannot make up his mind which to prefer. He says he has confidence (probably be is speaking in the spirit of a coach in the locker room before a difficult game) that he will live and come back to them. Meanwhile he urges them to live their lives worthy of the Gospel. They should not be frightened. The opposition is a sign that the opponents will be destroyed, by the just God, and that those faithful to Christ will be rewarded. Comments on 1:12-30 We notice the broad attitude of Paul. He does not say he hopes those who preach Christ out of hatred will be stopped. No, the important thing is that Christ be preached. As for himself personally, Paul shows a magnificent attitude. He does not pay any attention to his own feelings -- just to what is good for souls. So he cannot make up his mind whether to hope for death, to be with Christ, or life, to serve Christ by helping souls! In saying he would like to be dissolved and be with Christ, Paul is showing he believes he could be with Christ between death and resurrection. He has similar thoughts in 2 Corinthians 5. These have occasioned many unfortunate debates. For clarity and convenience, we will comment on both passages here, for the thought is similar. The majority opinion holds that: 1) the Jews up to perhaps the 2nd century B.C. had no idea of survival after death at all, 2) neither, then, of course, would they have any idea of retribution, reward and punishment, after death. The minority opinion is the opposite on both points. At the bottom of the majority view is the notion that the ancient Hebrews had only a unitary concept of the human being -- instead of knowing we have body and soul, two parts, so that the soul can be with God even without the body. This view insists there is only one part, a

body, which gets breath. The Old Testament word nefesh -- sometimes translated as soul -- has a broad span of meanings, including breath. So a man would be only a body with breath. Really, the unitary notion has to imagine annihilation after death, for the only part, the body, goes to pieces. The New Jerome Biblical Commentary in 77:174 strains so far as to say that the thought of survival did not take deep root in Jewish thought even after the text of Wisdom 3:1: "The souls of the just are in the hand of God." It says the Essenes may have believed in immortality and, "certain New Testament passages may [italics in original] refer to immortality." The writer ignores the explicit testimony of Josephus on the Pharisees, in Antiquities, plus all the texts of Paul. The Commentary also forgets the words of Jesus to the Sadducees in Matthew 22:23-33 in which He proved survival, and also, in Luke 16:23-31 Jesus tells the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. Both are surviving death, one in punishment, one in reward. Again, in Matthew 10:28 Jesus warns: "Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell." Clearly, Jesus speaks of two parts of man. To avoid a two part picture of man, some of these writers think we already in this life, if we are with Christ, are taking on our resurrection body (they claim to see this in 2 Corinthians 5, where Paul says, in a very human way, that he would like to have the glorified body put on on top of the present body, so as never to be without a body). But Paul himself rejects any such notion. In Philippians 3:12 and in 2 Timothy 2:17-18 he rejects a notion then around that the resurrection had already taken place. (Of course it is now fashionable for many to say that Paul did not write 2 Timothy. The reasons given are poor, as we shall see later). There are some extreme opinions that are somewhat similar -- which yet seem to hold for a survival of some sort: Pierre Benoit, in "Resurrection: At the End of Time or Immediately after Death?" 2 wrote on p. 112 that Paul is not thinking of an immortal soul. For him, as throughout the Bible, the soul is as mortal as the body. "Actually it dies through sin." But God can re-create the life it once had lost. This leads to some confused and confusing statements. On p. 107 Benoit says that in 2 Corinthians Paul, after heavy trials, takes heart from the belief that even without this body and in a state of nakedness he will already be with Christ. He thinks the idea in Philippians is similar, but says that Paul does not say clearly how he understands this life with Christ outside the body. Benoit adds that Paul later will say that the Christian has already risen. He is thinking of Ephesians 2:4: "Even though we were dead because of our transgressions, He made us alive again together with Christ . . . and He raised us up again together [with Christ] and made [us] to sit together [with Christ] in heavenly places." Also Colossians 3:1-4: "If then you have been raised

up with Christ, seek the things that are above. . . . For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God." Benoit seems to be at least close to the ideas of W. D. Davies 3 who writes on p. 372 that Paul the Pharisee would think that after death he would be in the Age to Come only in its first phase. He would have no body until the resurrection, although participating in blessedness. But Paul the Christian would believe that the Age to Come eternally existent in the Heavens had already appeared in its first stages in the Resurrection of Jesus. The resurrection body, the body of the final Age to Come was already being formed, since Paul had died and risen with Christ and was already being transformed. So at his death Paul would already have another body. So Davies thinks that there is no room in Paul's theology for an intermediate state of the dead. So great was the unity of Christians with Christ that just as Christ Himself had already passed into the eternal order, so had Christians too. Davies then appeals to Colossians 3:1-4 which says the Christians had already risen with Christ and although still living in the flesh, yet they are 'dead' and their 'life hid with Christ in God.' Benoit and others sadly misunderstood Paul. Already in Romans 6:34 8 Paul gives his favorite theme of syn Christo, with Christ: that is, we are saved and made holy if and to the extent that we are members of Christ and like Him. In His life, two phases -- first, a hard life, suffering and death -- secondly, glory. The more we are like Him in phase one, the more in phase two. In the texts we quoted from Ephesians and Colossians Paul speaks of us as having died -- he does not mean that we physically died -- so neither does he mean we have physically risen. He means we have died to, given up, the old way of life dominated by the flesh, and now live the life of the spirit, and should live our lives with the outlook of one who has emerged from the grave on the last day -- how different everything will look to us then! The Minority View: Holds that at least very early the Jews not only knew of survival, but also of retribution in the future life. The chief reasons are the following: 1) Flavius Josephus, noted Jewish writer (37 -- c.100 A.D.), in Jewish War 2.8.14 tells about the Pharisees in his day, that they held "every soul . . . is imperishable, but the soul of the good alone passes into another body, while the souls of the wicked suffer eternal punishment." He says of the Sadducees: "As to the persistence of the soul after death, penalties in the underworld, and rewards, they will have none of them." But, Paul was a zealous Pharisee. 5 So he would hold this view which Josephus attributes to the Pharisees. Most of the people followed the Pharisees. 2) It is generally agreed that by the second century B.C. Jews came into contact with Greek ideas, which clearly held for the two parts of man. It is true, the Greek ideas, such as those of Plato and Aristotle do not entirely match our two part concept. Yet they were enough to help

suggest the truth to the Jews, especially along with the case of the Maccabean martyrs, in the time of the persecution by Antiochus IV (for example, 2 Maccabees 6-7) which showed that if there were no reward and punishment in the future life, God would not be just. This experience would have forced a rethinking by the Jews -- if indeed they ever did hold the unitary concept. Hence Judas Maccabeus in 2 Maccabees 12:43-46 has a collection taken to have sacrifices offered for the souls of the dead in battle. The belief in survival and retribution is definitely reflected in Wisdom 3:1 and following: "The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them . . . they are in peace." 3) Mitchell Dahood, in the introductions to each volume of his three volume translation of the Psalms in the Anchor Bible, gives evidence from new translations, worked out with the help of Ugaritic parallel words, to show a very early understanding of the afterlife. 6 It is generally admitted that Psalm 73:24 can imply afterlife and even retribution: "You will guide me with your counsel, and afterwards, take me in glory." Interestingly, the Hebrew for take is laqah, the very same verb used in Genesis 5:24: "Enoch walked with God and he was no longer here, for God took him." A somewhat similar thought seems to be found in Psalm 16:10-11. Also, Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, in the article on immortality says: "The idea of a possible return to life gained wider and wider acceptance. The Israelites could not remain unaffected by the Canaanite belief in the death and resurrection of a divinity who symbolized the life of nature."7 For the Jews were living in the midst of the Canaanites after the Exodus. Also, the Jews spent some centuries in Egypt, where the idea of a future life was very vivid. E. P. Sanders, in his introduction to his translation of the Testament of Abraham8: "The idea that the soul separates from the body at the time of death, and that it is the soul that goes either to salvation or punishment is relatively widespread."9 There is also the debated text in Job 19:25-27 in which Job says he is certain that his goel, his vindicator, lives and that at last he will stand forth upon the dust and from his flesh will see God. This cannot mean in the present life, for in 7:6-7 he says he has no hope for this life. It could mean merely a resurrection, without implying survival before the resurrection but in 14:22 Job says that the flesh of the dead one is in pain -- implying survival. In addition, Qoheleth 12:14 could easily imply future retribution. 4) As to the unitary concept, it is important to hold to precise theological method. In theology one may meet two facts, both well established. Yet they seem to clash with each other. We recheck our work,but if it is correct, then we hold onto both, without straining, until the time when the means of reconciliation appears. So in this matter there are two facts (1) man is, and appears to be a unity; (2) yet there is survival and retribution. Item #1 was evident at once; item #2

seems to have been at least implicit very early if not from the start -see the evidence above, especially the argument given by Jesus Himself from "I am the God of Abraham. . . ." So the inspired writers, guided by inspiration, expressed both points, and sometime later -- at least by the 2nd century B.C., learned how to fit the two together. We may well suspect that the Hebrews were groping, that they did not have a clear idea of two parts, yet they did not mean annihilation. Jesus in refuting the Sadducees cited the words of God to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:6): "I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." And Jesus added: "He is not the God of the dead but of the living." So from these Old Testament words the Hebrews at least could have learned -- if they did not know it before -- of survival. For certain, very early, the Jews believed in necromancy, consulting the dead. That of course implied that the dead had not been annihilated. Even if we say mediums were frauds, yet the fact that the Jews consulted them shows their belief in survival. Necromancy was forbidden (cf. Lev 19:31; 20:6,27; Deut 18:11; 1 Sam 28:9-19) Saul consults a medium, who does bring up for him Samuel from the realm of the dead. It may be objected that some texts say the dead know nothing about what goes on on the earth: Qoheleth 9:5-6,10; Job 14:21. But the case of Samuel was special, he had been a great prophet, and surely God could on occasion as He wills give such knowledge to one who has left this life. (A soul in heaven knows all that pertains to it by the vision of God; those not yet in heaven have no natural means of knowing what goes on on earth). In Babylon and Greece there was also necromancy.10 Summary of Philippians 2:1-11 Paul urges them in Christ to make his joy complete by being harmonious among themselves, by avoiding self-seeking and vain glory. In humility consider each as better than self. Let each look to the interests of others, not their own. To sum up, he wants them to imitate the attitude of Christ. Even though He was in "the form of God" He emptied Himself, that is, in becoming man He did not cling to equality with God. Rather, He made it a policy not to demand exemption from any human suffering. He took on the "form of a slave." He would not use His divine power for His own comfort, but only for others. He obeyed to such an extent as to die on the cross. But as a result of this, the Father exalted Him, giving Him the name that is above every name. Now at the mention of the name of Jesus, everyone in the heavens, on the earth, and under the earth should bow to Him, and every tongue should confess that Jesus is Lord. Comments on 2:1-11 The opening exhortation is simple: imitate the humble selflessness of Jesus. He even tells them to consider others better than themselves. This can raise a problem. If I am in a room with nine others, should I say to

each of the nine: "You are better than I?" And then should each of the nine say the same to the others, and to me? Of course this would not work out. Paul is depending on a psychological point. If I come to know myself very well -- quite a long-range task for anyone -- I will know not only what things I may have done that are objectively, in themselves, sinful or wrong, I will also know my own interior (probably not perfectly even then), so as to have a gauge on my responsibility resulting from the combination of the objective rating of my acts plus my interior dispositions. But when I look at another, all I can really know is the objective, outward rating of an action. For example, if I see someone kill another, I can say: That was objectively murder, gravely wrong in itself. But can I know the person's interior dispositions -- how much he may have been affected by various things, for instance, was he really out of his head at the time? (We are not thinking of the often false claims of temporary insanity made in courts). A very holy person, coming to know his own weakness and many falls, may get the impression: "I wonder if others are as bad as I am? I have received such graces!" (Any sin is worse after receiving many graces than in a person who has received less). This is psychological, but the experience of the Saints shows it is realistic. This is all that Paul means here. Paul describes the attitude of Jesus a in poetic set of lines, 6-11. These may be an old liturgical hymn, or something Paul himself composed. If they are an older hymn, did Paul modify it? Some scholars are confident they can tell what modifications Paul made, even though we do not have the older hymn. They try to do this by noting characteristic and uncharacteristic kinds of wording in the hymn, and by claiming to see differences in theological presentation. They think the soteriology (doctrine about redemption) fits with a more primitive preaching in Jerusalem than with Paul's -- all of this is very subjective, and not very convincing. (If we were sure the original hymn was in Aramaic, then we admit such a line as verse 10: "Those in the heavens, on the earth, and under the earth" would hardly fit Aramaic, and so would be a modification, probably by Paul). More important questions are raised about (1) the meaning of the expressions "form of God" and "form of a slave" in this hymn, and (2) the meaning of the words, "He did not cling to or grasp at equality with God." There are different opinions about the phrases "form of God" and "form of a slave." There are four chief opinions: (a) The phrases refer to the external glory of God, and to the external appearance and resultant treatment given a slave. (b) They refer to divine nature and to human nature. (c) These phrases reflect the ideas of the Rabbis about Adam -- God created first (as mentioned in Genesis 1:26) a perfect man, then (as in Genesis 2-3) a sinful man. Jesus existed at the

beginning as the heavenly man. He humbled self in obedience, and now gets equality with God, which He did not grasp at as "robbery." (d) These lines do not speak of a preexistence of Jesus. They say Jesus, unlike Adam, did not grasp for equality with God, but surrendered His life to God. The third and fourth views are rather fanciful, lack solid support. But either of the first two views would be acceptable -- that the form of God means divine nature, or that it means the glory that belonged to the divine nature. This latter view would imply possession of divine nature. Even if we take the word to mean divine nature, Jesus of course could not give up the divine nature, but He could only give up the exemptions from suffering He could have claimed as a result of that divine nature. A striking instance: Jesus comes to John to be baptized along with sinners. John protests; Jesus says it is proper to fulfill everything that is right. The second question is closely intertwined, the meaning of equality with God as something to be clung to or grasped at. The Greek phrase here is ambiguous, for two reasons. First, the word harpagmos is very rare in Greek, and so the sense is less clear; second the Greek to einai isa theo is an ambiguous structure, not reproducible literally in English. The result of both things is this: It could mean (1) He did not grasp at equality with God (as if He did not already have it); (2) He did not think equality with God was something to be held onto. Rather, He gave up claims to exemption from suffering on the basis of divinity (as said above). The second, of course fits the true thought. Those who want to say Paul did not clearly speak of Christ as God would prefer the first rendering. Please recall what was said in the first paragraph of the comments on chapter 1 of First Thessalonians. The general sense is clear: Paul urges them to imitate the humility of Christ, Who did not cling to what He had a right to, but humbled Himself so far as the death of the cross, and so was exalted by God because of this. Some, especially charismatics, become exultant over the idea that Jesus became Lord. Of course He always was Lord in His divinity. But since He chose in emptying Himself to give up the use of divine power for His own comfort, He seemed to lack things until after His resurrection, when He said (Mt 28:19): "All power is given to me in heaven and on earth." He always had that power, but as human He would not use it until then, except to heal the sick.11 Text of Philippians 2:12-13 Because of the critical nature of these lines, we give the actual text instead of a summary. Verse l2: "And so, my beloved ones, just as you have always obeyed, not only as when I am present, but much more now in my absence -- with fear and trembling work out your salvation." Verse 13: "For it is God who works in you both the will and the doing, according to [His] good will."

Comments on 2:12-13 To work out salvation with fear and trembling does not mean to be greatly frightened, "I might be eternally lost!" No the phrase, with fear and trembling, had been overworked. Such things happen in any language, and then they lose their force. We gather this about our phrase from 2 Corinthians 7:15, where Paul says of Titus: "You received him with fear and trembling." Really, relations with Corinth had been bad -- so no fear and trembling. It means merely "respectfully." Again Psalm 2:11 says: "Serve the Lord with fear,and rejoice before Him; with trembling pay honor to Him." We note the combination of fear, trembling, and rejoicing. Also, later in Philippians, (3:1 and 4:4) Paul says "rejoice in the Lord," even with the "fear and trembling." As we shall see, when we act, doing either good or evil, we use the power of God, the First Cause. This calls for great respect of course. He is not responsible for the evil; we might consider an electric outlet. The power company provides power, but the customer decides which way it is to be used. We note too in passing that to speak of working out salvation hardly fits well with the Protestant notion that one can be infallibly saved by just one act, "taking Christ as your personal Savior," after which no matter how much one sins, salvation is still infallibly assured. Most versions seem to be reluctant to bring out the full force of the Greek here -- as we did in our version. For it seems to say that God causes the free decision of our will -- leaving us with a great problem, of course. Thus one version says: "It is God who begets in you any measure of desire or achievement." We notice that between desire and achievement there is a decision of the will -- the version we cited simply omits it. That could imply that we alone cause the decision, God does not. So we could do good without grace, which is Pelagianism. So we need to study the matter carefully. We translated the Greek energein as works, that is, produces. That Greek verb commonly in Paul means a supernatural force at work. We translated the Greek thelein as will, rather than desire. In 5th century B.C. Athens, the word could not mean will, in the sense of a decision of the will. It meant desire. But Paul is centuries later, and the words have changed sense. It still could mean desire, but also in Paul's day it could mean a decision of the will. How can we know which it means? The Second Council of Orange was a local council, but because of special approbation of Pope Boniface II, it has the force of a general council in its decrees. That Council helps us greatly in its Canon 4 (DS 374): "If anyone contends that God waits for our will to be cleansed from sin, and does not confess that the fact that we will to be cleansed happens in us through the infusion and operation of the Holy Spirit in us, he resists the Holy Spirit Himself who said through Solomon, 'The will is prepared by the Lord' [Proverbs

8:35], and the Apostle [St. Paul] who preaches in a salutary way: 'It is God who works in you both the will and the doing, in accord with good will." The Council was writing against the heresy of Pelagius, who said we do not need grace for salvation. Now if St. Paul meant that God causes only the desire, and not also the act of will, then we would not need grace for the act of will -- and we would have Pelagianism, which denied the need for grace. So, difficult as it is to see, we must admit that God causes in us even the good act of will. The Fathers of the Church knew a good philosophy can help much in studying Scripture. They, not knowing Aristotle, used Plato and found much help. St. Thomas Aquinas steered us to use Aristotle. Now Aristotle would reason thus: Suppose I am at one point on the earth, and want to travel to another. First I must have the capacity for the travel. If the trip is made, then that capacity is filled or fulfilled. He liked the words potency and act instead of capacity and fulfillment -the labels are not important. The idea is evident, even if one does not accept Aristotle's system in general. But then we notice that this rise from potency to act is found whenever there is any change at all. We call it a rise because at the start there is some emptiness on hand, which would like to be filled or fulfilled. So there is added being at the top of the rise. Question: Where does the added being come from? No one lifts himself off the ground by his shoelaces -- he cannot give himself what he does not have. So if I am causing the change, where did I get the added being? Perhaps I had some of it in stock, as it were, within me. But where did that part of me get the added being? I must look to an outside source. But where did it get it? -- and I might picture a long or short chain of sources. But until I find a source that does not labor under the problem of getting up to act, I have not solved the problem -- rather, a larger load to pull is being accumulated. That being that finally explains, provides the power, is what Aristotle calls the First Cause, or God. He does not have to get up from potency to act, He simply is up. He simply is actuality. But now, we add to what Aristotle gave us: When I make a decision of my will -- there is a rise from potency to act. Clearly, at the start of the power chain must be God. So it is He who works in me both the will and the doing. (The doing also involves such a rise). He does this, says Paul, "according to [His] good will." That is, as He pleases. As the Council of Orange said, He does not have to wait for me. Rather, He causes my desire to be cleansed of sin! Now we can see: we need the power of the First Cause, God, when we make a decision, good or evil. So we surely must "work with fear and trembling" that is, with great respect. But, how do we reconcile this with free will? Sometimes in theology we meet two statements that seem to clash. We must then recheck our work. But if we do not find any error, then we must avoid forcing

either statement. We must say that there can be mysteries in divine things. So we will hold onto both, hoping someone sometime will find how to put the two together. The first truth was that God causes the good decision. The second truth is this: Even though God causes the good decision of my will, yet Scripture constantly urges us to return to God. 2 Corinthians 6:1 says, "We exhort you not to receive the grace of God in vain." So I must be able -- somehow -- to determine whether or not His grace comes in vain. How put the two things together? Theologians have labored -- and wrangled -- for centuries over this. Has the Church given the answer? No, only a fragment of it (DS 1554). However, it does seem an answer can be found. For a new proposal, please see this author's Our Father's Plan, chapter 18. Here is a sketch: God sends an actual grace to me, and with no help from me it does two things: it causes me to see something as good, and then, almost automatically, it makes me favorably disposed to it. When these two things are in place, I could not make a decision to accept the grace -- Philippians 2:13 stops that -but I could reject. If I do not reject, that is, if I make no decision at all (not even a decision not to reject) then grace continues in its course, and works in me both the will and the doing, in such a way that at the same time I am cooperating with grace, by power being received at the same moment from grace. Now we can see the basis for humility. In view of what we have just said of our total dependence on God, we see that if one accepts the explanation proposed using Aristotle's framework, we would have to say that if I have a ledger for myself, and on the credit page I want to write what I have contributed in the rock bottom sense (that is, what I have not received from God, but have made up entirely by myself) to doing good -- it is a zero, the lack of a decision against grace. How much self-esteem does that justify? But there is also a debit page, the number for my sins. Those are my own, not received from God. So my self-esteem goes below zero. Humility leads me to accept this at every level of my being -- for there is a danger that like the Pharisee in the temple, I might use words like his, "O God I give you thanks . . .," while really, at least subconsciously, be grabbing credit for myself. This text is most helpful to dwell on, for spiritual growth. It helps one to see that every bit of good I am and have and do is God's gift to me (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:7). So St. Augustine is terribly right when he says (Epistle 194.5.29): "When God crowns your merits, He crowns nothing other than His own gifts." Could we weaken the force of these verses by noting that there is a Hebrew pattern that attributes to direct action of God that which He really just permits? There is such a pattern. For example, in 1 Samuel 4:3 (literal version of the Hebrew) after a defeat, the Hebrews said:

"Why did God strike us today before the face of the Philistines?" -- even though they knew it was the Philistines who had hit them. But we cannot say verses 12-13 are such a pattern -- for the text of the Council of Orange, and the philosophical reasoning, both demand the stronger understanding. To weaken it that way would be, again, Pelagianism. Summary of Philippians 2:14-29 Paul urges them to act in a blameless way, without grumbling, in the middle of a twisted and perverse generation. They, in contrast, seem like stars in the world. He wants them to hold to the word of life so when Christ returns, Paul can be proud of them, and can say he did not work in vain. Paul returns to the thought: perhaps the Romans will execute him. Then he will be a sacrifice for their faith. He would be glad of that. But yet, he hopes to send Timothy to them soon, for he wants to hear a good report about them. Timothy is selfless, concerned about them, unlike so many who seek their own things, not the things of Christ. But they have experienced Timothy. He has been like a son to Paul. So he will send him as soon as he sees how things will come out for himself. But Paul has confidence in the Lord that he will soon come to see them. Meanwhile, he sends Epaphroditus, his fellow worker to them. He had been dangerously sick, almost died. But God spared him, so Paul would not have grief on top of grief. He urges them to receive him with joy in the Lord and appreciate a man who would risk death for the work of Christ, to help Paul. Comments on 2:14-29 The brotherly love of Christians would stand out in the midst of the selfishness of many -- not all -- pagans. Paganism ran on principles so different from those of Christ. In this sense Paul can speak of a twisted and perverse generation. In Ephesians 5:15-16 a similar thought: "See that you walk carefully, not as though unwise, but as wise persons, redeeming the time, for the days are evil." In Romans chapter 1 Paul will give a dreadful litany of the vices of the gentiles, and in the first few lines of chapter 2 he will imply -- as we will see later -- that every one of the pagans does all these things. Yet Paul knows that they do not all do all these things. For in 1 Corinthians 6:11, after a smaller, less dreadful list of mortal sins, he said: " Certain ones of you were such." In other words, not all the Corinthians -- even in a city famed for its licentiousness -- were that wicked. How can we reconcile the seeming clash? We need to recall our comments on Galatians 2:15-21 on focusing. The view Paul uses in Romans is a focused one. In it the law makes heavy demands, in fact, individual items in the law make a heavy demand -- but that gives no strength -- so all must fall, fall into each individual sin. But in the de facto view, though it remains true that the law gives no strength, yet help is available, from another source, from the grace merited by Christ (offered in anticipation of His

death even before He came). With it, not all are so wicked. Hence the view of 1 Corinthians 6:11. Here and in Ephesians 5 in the most factual way possible we have to say that the principles of the world are opposite to those of Christ, and hence can be called perverse. We notice again that Paul shifts back and forth -- on the one hand he knows the Romans may kill him; on the other hand, he shows a kind of confidence that it will not happen. The Epaphroditus Paul speaks highly of here should not be confused with Epaphras mentioned in Colossians 1:7 and 4:2, the one who first brought the faith to Colossae. Summary of Philippians, Chapter 3 Paul urges them to rejoice in the Lord. It is easy for him to write to them, and they need the protection, for they must watch out for the dogs, the evil doers, those who mutilate the flesh (circumcision). Christians are the ones with the real circumcision, not made in the flesh, but in the spirit. The Judaizers boast of their fleshy credentials -- Paul could match them: He was circumcised on the eighth day, he came from the nation of Israel, from the elite tribe of Benjamin. He was a Hebrew of the Hebrews, i.e., the real thing. He was so zealous for Judaism as to persecute the Church. He kept the Jewish law perfectly. But now the things he used to consider as privileges of being a Jew -he considers them a loss, in comparison to Christ. Really, not just Jewish things, but everything is to be considered as a loss in comparison to the outstanding knowledge of Christ. Paul gladly takes the loss of anything and everything -- all things are so much dung in comparison to having Christ. He wants to gain Christ, to be found in Him, not depending on himself for justification, but on faith in Christ. Paul wants to know Christ and the power of His resurrection, and to share His sufferings so as to be like Christ in His death. In that way he hopes to arrive at the great resurrection at the end. He has not, of course, reached it, nor does he claim to be perfect. But he pushes on, to try to grasp it, since he was grasped by Christ on the road to Damascus. So he forgets what is behind him, and stretches ahead to the goal, the crown of the calling he has from God in Christ. He urges them to live in accord with the understanding they have reached. To that end they should imitate him, Paul, for he imitates Christ. Yet many live like enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end will be destruction. Their God is the belly, their glory is in their shame, they think of the things of this earth. In contrast, the citizenship -- way of life -- of the Christian, is in the heavens. From there our Savior, Christ, will come, and will transform this lowly body and make it like His glorious body, by the power by which He can make all things subject to Himself. Comments on Chapter 3

Paul is insistent on the need to rejoice in the Lord -- he will repeat it in 4:4. St. Francis de Sales speaks of the "fine point of the soul." 12 He means that in a human there are various levels of operations, both in the flesh and in the spirit. We might think of a 25,000 foot mountain. It can happen that on some days the lower slopes will all be engulfed in storm and blackness, while the tip of the mountain sticks out above the clouds, into calm and sunshine. So too it is possible for one who is very devoted to Christ -- as Paul was -- to be in great distress in all the lower levels of his being, but yet on the fine point that sticks out above the clouds, there is a peace that nothing can take away. Some think it is "un-Christian" to say anything harsh to anyone. They do not notice that Jesus Himself called the Pharisees a "nest of vipers" (Mt 23:33), and said they were like whitewashed sepulchers (Mt 23:27) -- pretty on the outside, inside filled with rottenness and dead men's bones. When there is need, one can and sometimes should use harsh words. So Paul here, for the protection of his converts, calls the Judaizers dogs -- Jews commonly called pagans dogs. And he speaks of circumcision as a mutilation! Christians have the spiritual circumcision, cutting off the love of things of the world. Paul even asserts that before his conversion he kept the Jewish law perfectly. We recall his words in Galatians 2:16, implying that no one can keep the law. In the focused view (we explained that in comments on Galatians 2:15 ff.), no one can -- but in the factual view, with the help of Christ's grace, one can do it. Paul even before he knew Christ, had that help offered to him, and he used it. There are two ways of speaking of the things of the world -- on the relative scale, or on the absolute scale. On the absolute scale, we say they are all good, for God made them good. They have added dignity from the fact that in the incarnation Christ took on a created nature, used created things.13 Some today try to say: Since they are all so good, there is no value in voluntarily giving up anything ! This notion is devastating, it undermines religious vocations (which call for giving up things) and leads to ruined marriages (making people immature by always doing only what feels good, only as long as it feels good. But then, since marriage must be a permanent commitment, they are incapable of that, having grown up never holding themselves to anything they did not like at the moment).14 Paul here speaks on the relative scale, that is, in comparison to Christ, everything on earth is so much junk, even dung. It is in this sense that older writers used to speak of the nothingness of creatures, or of despising the world, or contempt of the world. They did not mean to deny the goodness of creatures on the absolute scale -- they spoke on the relative scale. And they were keenly aware that even though creatures are good, they can also be "thorns" as the parable of the sower calls them. And they thought of the words of Christ about the camel and the needle's eye.15 The more one acts on the view that Paul

proposes here, the more he is likely to gain that peace on the fine point of the soul mentioned at the start of the comments on Philippians 3. And the greater will be his power of spiritual eyesight. We notice too that Paul here says he has not yet reached the resurrection of the dead. Of course not -- but there were people in his day who said it had already come.16 Here again Paul tells them to imitate him, and thereby to imitate Christ. This is not a case of pride, a lack of humility in Paul. He understood deeply with a realized knowledge his own nothingness -the sort of things we saw in explaining 2:13 above -- that every bit of good he is and has and does is simply God's gift to him (cf. 1 Cor 4:7). For most people, however, to speak as Paul does here would be dangerous, a temptation to pride, for not many have the deep realization of their own nothingness in comparison to God. The words, "Let not your right hand know what your left hand does" apply well here, i.e., do not dwell on any good you do. You might begin to grab undue credit at least subconsciously. Paul speaks of some who are enemies of the cross of Christ -- those who follow the unfortunate spirituality of giving up nothing, of whom we spoke above, would be an example today. Such a spirit was surely around in Paul's day too. But more specifically, he might mean the Judaizers here -- then the belly would allude to dietary laws, and shame to circumcision. But he might also mean libertine Christians. Paul also speaks of Christians as having a citizenship in heaven. This in the spirit of Hebrews 13:14 -- "We have here no lasting city, but look for one that is to come." We look forward to the resurrection, when our bodies will be transformed -- the more we are like Christ here in phase one, that of His hard life, suffering and death -- the more will we be like Him in glory, in the transformation of the resurrection. We notice too that Paul speaks of Christ as going to "transform" our bodies. His Greek here uses, in a compound form, the same root (morphe) as that which he used in speaking in Philippians 2:6-7 of the "form of God . . . the form of a slave." Here he means more than outward appearance -- so we have an indication, inconclusive but interesting, that Paul really means divine nature . . . human nature in 2:6-7. Summary of Philippians, Chapter 4 Paul, as usual at the end of an Epistle, gives some exhortations. He wants them to stand firm in the Lord. He urges Evodia and Syntyche to agree in the Lord, to avoid disagreements. He asks his fellow worker to help these women who have helped him with the Gospel, and also Clement and the other apostolic workers whose names are in the book of life. Again, he urges them to always rejoice in the Lord. Let their generous attitude be known to all. The Lord is near. Avoid needless cares. In every prayer let them make their requests, with thanks, to

God, and then the peace of God which is beyond understanding will keep their hearts and minds in Christ. They should hold to everything true, venerable, righteous, pure, lovable, deserving of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy. Hold to what they have learned from him, Paul. He is glad that they thought of sending some help to him. He does not mean he is in need -- he has learned to be content with little or much, with being in lowly state or in abundance. He can do everything in the one who gives him power. But it was good that they did help in his trouble. Only the Philippians have helped him since the beginning of his preaching in Macedonia. Once or twice they have sent things to him to Thessalonika. Paul does not mean he needs or wants the gifts -- no but he wants them to have the growing spiritual credit for having helped him. Their gifts are like a sweet odor of sacrifice. God will take care of their needs. He sends greetings to all the Christians. The brothers who are with him send greetings, especially those of the household of Caesar. He prays that the grace of Christ may be with their spirit. Comments on Chapter 4 This is an easy chapter, largely the exhortations Paul usually gives at the end of an Epistle. We gather that some women helped Paul in his work. He does not use the word deaconess, and even if he had, the words bishop, priest, deacon are generic, not technical at this period. At any rate, Canon 19 of the General Council of Nicea in 325 mentions deaconesses, but says they are not ordained. It seems that two of the principal Christian women there, Evodia and Syntyche, were quarrelling. Paul urges them to stop it. We do not know who is the fellow worker or colleague Paul mentions without naming him -- it could be Epaphroditus. The Clement mentioned here could be the one who later became Pope Clement I -- Eusebius, Church History 3.15.1 thinks it is. Clement I, in his letter to Corinth, written about 95 A.D. says Peter and Paul were of his own generation. The "Book of Life" seems to mean merely those who are on the way to final salvation. It need not be identified with predestination. (We will discuss predestination in connection with Romans 8:29 ff.) There are mentions of a Book of Life in Exodus 32:32, Revelation 3:5 and 13:8. The word we translated above as "generous attitude" is epieikes in Greek. Justice leads one to give to others what they have coming, no more, no less. This virtue urges one to give a bit more than is strictly required. When Paul says that the Lord is near, it could mean He is always present. Or it could mean that we are now in the final epoch of God's dealings with man -- there is to be no further regime to supplant the Christian regime, as Christianity supplanted the Mosaic regime.

Paul shows great detachment -- in Roman jails, one was much dependent on outsiders for food. (Prison terms of years' length were almost unknown.) Paul is glad to get help, could get along well without help. He says that in general the churches where he preached did not give him material help. He supported himself by tentmaking at night. He thought this would make his preaching more acceptable -- when we see how much trouble he had with the Corinthians, we wonder. Often people want a two-way arrangement, they do not like to be merely receivers. This is a psychological point which Paul seems to have missed. In saying he is glad about their spiritual credit, he implies merit. Even though the basic justification is given without any merit, as Paul constantly insists, especially in Galatians, yet, after that, having the dignity of sons of God, one can establish a claim to reward (merit) in a secondary sense -- for in the most basic sense no creature by its own power could possibly establish any claim on God. It is possible only when God freely makes a promise, as if to say: If you do this, I will do that (cf. Exodus 19:5). Really, our merit is sharing in the claim Jesus established, which we have inasmuch as we are His members and like Him. (Please recall our comments on this in the Supplement 2, after Galatians 2:15). Those of the household of Caesar need not be high ranking people -the term could include minor functionaries, often just freedmen. END NOTES 1 Note in Context: Cf. Acts 20:17 compared to v.28. 2 Note in Context: Concilium, vol.60, ed. P. Benoit and R. Murphy, Herder & Herder l970. 3 Note in Context: Paul and Rabbinic Judaism, London, 1962. 4 Note in Context: Cf. Eph 2:5-6 and Col 3:1 and Rom 8:17. 5 Note in Context: Cf. Phil 3:5-6 and Acts 23:6. 6 Note in Context: Cf. in the third volume (Anchor 17A) pp. xli-lii. 7 Note in Context: Volume II, p. 689. 8 Note in Context: which he dates 1-2 centuries A.D. in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, ed. James H. Charlesworth I.878. 9 Note in Context: Cf. also J. Bonsirven, Palestinian Judaism in the Time of Christ (tr.

1 0 1 1 1 2 1 3 1 4 1 5 1 6

W. Wolf, McGraw Hill, l965) pp. 163-65. Note in Context: For answers to varied specific objections from the Old Testament, especially from Job, Sirach, and Qoheleth, see W. Most Free From All Error, chapters 7 & 8. Note in Context: Cf. also comments on Romans 1:4. Note in Context: Treatise on the Love of God, 9.3. Note in Context: Cf. Vatican II, On the Lay Apostolate 7. Note in Context: On this idea cf. W. Most, Our Father's Plan, chapters 19 & 20. Note in Context: On this danger of creatures, cf. also chapters 19-20 of Our Father's Plan mentioned above. Note in Context: Cf. 2 Timothy 2:17-18 and comments on Philippians 1:12-30 above.

"Chapter 6. First Letter to Corinth" Introduction Corinth was a very ancient and important city. The site was inhabited as early as the 4th millennium, but it did not become a great power until the 8th century B.C. The peak of its power was in the 6th century. It was destroyed by the Romans in 146 B.C. -- the same year in which they gave the same treatment to Carthage. Some extremist Greeks mobbed some Roman senators at Corinth. An army under Metellus came down from Macedonia, but was not able to take the city. Then another Roman general, Mummius, came with four legions, and captured the city. Rome decided to make an example of Corinth -- all who were not killed in the fighting were sold as slaves. The city was destroyed, was in ruins until about 44 B.C., when Julius Caesar reestablished it, tried to name it Laus Julii -- the praise of Julius -- but the old name came back. Augustus made it the capital of Achaia, the seat of Roman government for the area. Polybius, the great Greek historian who was present in 146, told of seeing Roman soldiers using priceless paintings as dice-boards. There is also a report that Mummius contracted with some shipmasters to take the finest statues and paintings to Rome, and wrote in the contract: "If any of these were lost, destroyed, or damaged in transit, the carriers must replace them with others equally valuable." Corinth came to surpass even Athens as a center of science and culture. It was the hub of dealings between Romans, Greeks, Jews, Syrians and Egyptians. In St. Paul's day it had a population of about one-half million. It was also a sports center, for the Isthmian games

were held there every two years. (There were, in all, four great sets of games in Greece, counting the Olympics). Corinth was noted too for its immorality, even compared to the rest of Greece. The verb corinthiazein "to act like a Corinthian" meant to be immoral. Kore Korinthe, literally, "Corinthian girl," meant a prostitute. The temple of Aphrodite on the high point of the city, the Acrocorinth, was said to have had 1000 hierodules, sacred prostitutes. Its position on the isthmus, astride east-west traffic, meant many sailors would be there, which did not help the moral tone. Paul preached everywhere: "You are free from the law." We can imagine the trouble that started in Corinth. Actually, as we can see from Second Corinthians, St. Paul had more trouble with Corinth than with any other church. Paul founded the Church there early in 51 A.D., on his second missionary expedition. He stayed about 18 months there. No one today denies this Epistle (and Second Corinthians too) is by Paul, especially in view of the letter Pope Clement I wrote to Corinth about 95 A.D. In #47 he said:"Read your letter from the Blessed Apostle Paul again." Summary of 1 Corinthians 1:1-9 Paul who is called to be an Apostle, and Sosthenes, write to the Church of God at Corinth, to persons made holy in Christ. He wishes them grace and peace from the Father and Jesus Christ. He rejoices that they are made rich in every word and knowledge. They are lacking in nothing, as they wait for the revelation of the Lord at the end. He will make them strong so as to be without reproach on the day of the return of the Lord. God Who is faithful will do this. Comments on 1:1-9 Paul calls them holy -- we know that does not basically mean high on the moral scale -- the Corinthians were far from that, we will soon see, for Paul spends four chapters correcting their factionalism, and then still other faults. He seems to have had more trouble with them than with any other community. But Hebrew qadosh is the word in Paul's mind -- it means consecrated to God, that is, by coming under the new covenant. He says too they are rich in every word and knowledge -these seem to be charismatic gifts, of which he will speak more in chapters 12-14. Very importantly, we notice he tells them they can be sure that God will keep them free of reproach until the parousia, the return of Christ, for God is faithful to His promises in the covenant. This means that as far as God is concerned, He will offer them the grace of final perseverance -- of course, they could and might reject that, and so not have it. Therefore the Council of Trent taught (DS 1541): ". . . about the gift of [final] perseverance . . . let no one promise himself anything with absolute certitude, even though he should place most firm hope in the help of God. For God, if they do not fail His grace, will complete the

good work, bringing about both the will and the doing." We must understand the Council in the light of the historical situation. Trent was writing against the unfortunate mistake of Luther who taught an infallible salvation, if one once and for all "took Christ as his personal Savior," or "made a decision for Christ." That is, if one came to believe Christ had died for him. Then, no matter how much he had sinned in the past, was sinning, or would sin, the infinite merits of Christ would always outbalance the sins. Hence, salvation would be infallible, with no need of repentance, penance, confession or anything else. In contrast, Trent said that God would complete the work He had begun (an echo of Philippians 2:6) -- which implies of course that He will offer the grace of perseverance -- but that no one can be sure he will have that grace, since he, the human, may not accept it, may reject it. Summary of 1 Corinthians 1:10-18 He urges them in the name of the Lord that they all agree completely, and avoid factions. They should rather be fully united in the same thinking, in the same views. He says he learned through messengers sent from Chloe that there was strife among them. He means: some say they belong to Paul, some to Apollos, some to Kephas, some to Christ. To counter this foolish idea he asks: Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? So he is glad he baptized no one there except Crispus and Gaius, so no one could say they were baptized in the name of Paul. Then he recalls: he also baptized the household of Stephanas. And he begins to wonder: perhaps he did baptize a few others too. The mission Christ gave him was not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel. He was not asked to do that in an eloquent expression of wisdom. Then it might seem that the cross of Christ was not the power. For those on the road to eternal ruin, the doctrine of the cross seems like foolishness, but to those who are on the road to salvation -- to Christians -- it is the power of God. Comments on 1:10-18 Greeks then were much inclined to bickering. The Corinthians were boasting of belonging to special factions within the Church -- some to the faction of Paul, some to that of Apollos, some to that of Kephas. We do not know if he had in mind a Christ faction, or if he was thinking of Christians who refused to join any faction, saying: We just belong to Christ. We do not know. The suggestion has also been made that they might have been former Jews who had known Christ on earth. Apollos was a Jew from Alexandria, converted at Ephesus, who had been trained in the mode of Scriptural study practiced by Philo (allegorical). He was an eloquent orator.1 Kephas of course is the Aramaic form of Peter, which Paul usually prefers.

Some, especially some Protestants, think the Holy Spirit dictated, word by word, the text of Scripture. This is not true, and we can see it especially in this passage, where Paul's memory wakes up in three stages -- at first he baptized only Crispus and Gaius, then he recalls the household of Stephanas, then he says he may have baptized some others too. When Paul says that Christ did not send him to baptize but to preach, we need to recall that Hebrew and Aramaic both lacked the degrees of comparison of adjectives and adverbs, such as: good, better, best; much, more, most; clear, clearer, clearest. We would have written: He sent me mostly to preach, in a lesser degree to baptize. His comment that he was not asked to have eloquence and wisdom, but just to preach the cross suggests there may be two things in Paul's mind. First, he did try to be very clever in his speech on the Areopagus in Athens.2 It failed badly, and so Paul may have decided not to try that again. But, much more, he does insist often that he wants their faith to rest not on any human eloquence, but on the power of Christ. Let us imagine Paul coming into sophisticated Greece. His training as a Rabbi would have been scorned. He was a nobody. If he had nothing but his own unsupported word he would have gotten nowhere. So he depended on displays of the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit. Paul very explicitly appeals to these displays in 1 Cor 2:4-5. Paul says that the doctrine of the cross was foolishness to the Greeks. We have grown up with the doctrine of the Incarnation and the cross, and it never did have a great impact on us, the way it did when it first burst upon the world. Plato, in his Symposium, 203, had said that no god associates with humans. Aristotle, in his Nichomachean Ethics 8.7, said no friendship is possible between a god and a human -- the distance is too great. Plato did have a lofty concept of the great God, but also believed in much lesser gods. Aristotle's concept was lower than that of Plato. If they thought such gods would not stoop to associate with us, what would they think if they heard that the almighty God actually became man! Even further, what would they say if they heard that He consented to be put to death in so horrible and disgraceful a manner! No wonder the doctrine of the cross sounded like foolishness to Greeks. Yet many, who did not reject the grace offered to them, did embrace it. The problem was similar for the Jews. In fact, in Deuteronomy 21:23 they had read: "Cursed be anyone who hangs on the wood!" Summary of 1 Corinthians 1:19-25 Scripture (Isaiah 29:14) says that God will destroy the wisdom of those who are wise, and frustrate the understanding of those who seem intelligent. Paul asks: Where does the wisdom of the wise man get him? What about the scribe (learned man)? What about the searcher (for wisdom or argument) in the worldly sense? God has shown that what the world calls wisdom is insufficient, even foolish,

compared to divine wisdom. The world tried to understand God by wisdom, but failed. So it pleased God to save those who believe through preaching that seems foolish. The Jews want miracles as signs, the Greeks want the wisdom of philosophy. In place of those, we preach a Christ who was crucified -- a scandal to the Jews, foolishness to the gentiles. But to those who are called to the faith, both Jews and Greeks, this is Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. For the things of God that seem foolish are wiser than humans, and the things that seem like weakness (in letting Christ be crucified) are stronger than we are. Comments on 1:19-25 Paul becomes almost lyrical in this beautiful passage. He plays on the paradox that what seems foolish on God's part is supreme wisdom, while human wisdom in comparison is nothing, it is not enough for salvation. And what seems like weakness on the part of God is actually supreme strength. In this sense God wipes out the wisdom of the wise: He shows how scant human wisdom is compared to divine wisdom. The Greeks want wisdom -- we give them Christ, the supreme wisdom of God. The Jews want signs, miracles: we give them Christ, the miracle of the power of God. Paul makes use of the double meaning of Greek dynamis, (plural dynameis). The singular means power, the plural means displays of power, miracles. In Christ we see the power of God supremely. But it is only those called to the faith that see it rightly. That word call, as commonly used by Paul, means God's call to humans to be members of His people of God, the Church, in faith. God offers this grace to all (see 1 Timothy 2:4), but not all accept. (Some do not accept because of mental blocks: they perceive subconsciously that if they accepted it, that would call for changes in their way of life which would be quite unacceptable to them.) Summary of 1 Corinthians 1:26-30 He urges them to look at those called with them into the church at Corinth: not many whom the world considers wise, not many powerful men, not many of noble birth. Instead, God has chosen the ones the world would consider foolish, to make the wise ashamed; He has chosen the weak ones, to shame the strong. He has chosen those without nobility, those who are scorned, those who are nobodies -- so no flesh may boast in the sight of God. It is as a result of God's choice that you are members of Christ. He became wisdom and justice, and sanctification and redemption for us. Therefore, as Scripture says: let him who boasts, boast in the Lord. Comments on 1:25-30 They were proud of being in a special faction, and, we may assume, proud they got into the Church -- they are smarter than the dumb pagans, they would think. In contrast, Paul tells them to look at what kinds of members their church has: people whom the world would

consider of little or no account. And yet, God will use them to show up the worldly wisdom of those the world calls wise -- for they have Christ, who is the wisdom of God, they have the wisdom of the cross. He became holiness and justice and wisdom and redemption for them. Since they are His members, they share in these. So while they have nothing to boast of that they themselves have produced, they can boast of what they have that God has given them, without merit on their part. For it is because of God, not because of their own qualities, that they got into the Church. We could add, in regard to justice, the thought of Romans 3:21-30 where Paul speaks of the redemption as a means of showing that God is always concerned with what the moral order requires . During the Old Testament period, He did not provide a full rebalance of the scales of the objective order. But in Christ He did that, superabundantly. For there is an objective moral order. Of it Pope Paul VI wrote: "Every sin brings with it a disturbance of the universal order, which God arranged in His inexpressible wisdom. . . . So it is necessary for the full remission and reparation of sins . . . not only that friendship with God be restored by a sincere conversion of heart, and that the offense against His wisdom and goodness be expiated, but also that all the goods, both individual and social, and those that belong to the universal order, lessened or destroyed by sin, be fully reestablished , either through voluntary reparation . . . or through the suffering of penalties." 3 An ancient Jewish Rabbi, Simeon ben Eleazar, gives a helpful comparison: "He [anyone] has committed a transgression. Woe to him. He has tipped the scales to the side of debt for himself and for the world." 4 The sinner takes from one pan of the scales what he has no right to: the scale is out of balance. It is God's Holiness that wants it rebalanced. The sinner can begin to rebalance by giving back stolen property, or by giving up a pleasure instead of the pleasure he took illegitimately. But he can only begin: for even one mortal sin is infinite, since the Person offended, God, is infinite. So if the Father willed a full rebalance -- He did not have to do that -- it could be had only by sending a divine Person to become man. That Person could generate an infinite value to fully rebalance. Then, by making us His members, it would count frfor us.5 At the end, Paul loosely quotes Jeremiah 9:21-30: "But rather, let him who glories, glory in this, that in his prudence he knows me, knows that I the Lord bring about covenant-fulfillment, justice and uprightness on the earth." As we noted, Paul implies they were called to full membership in the Church not because they were better, but because they were weaker and needed more help. We think of an ordinarily good family in which most of the children are healthy, but one is sickly. That one gets extra help of course. (We spoke of full membership to imply that there is a

lesser degree of membership. On this we will speak in connection with Romans 2:14-16). Other Scriptural passages suggest that God in general calls people to the Church not because they are better but because they need more help, being more resistant to grace. Thus in Ezekiel 3:5-7 He told the prophet: "I am not sending you to a people with obscure speech and difficult language. . . . If I were to send you to these, they would listen to you; but the house of Israel will refuse to listen to you, since they will not listen to me. For the whole house of Israel is hard of brow and obstinate in heart." So Ezekiel, in 5:6, referring to Jerusalem, said: "She [Jerusalem] has changed my judgments into wickedness more than the gentiles, and my statutes more than the countries around her." The book of Jonah gives us the same implication. The Assyrians in Nineveh, a cruel people, readily did penance at his preaching. But when prophets went to the holy people of God, they had a hard time, and were sometimes in danger of death. In fact, in the Mekilta de Rabbi Ishmael6 we read words put into the mouth of Jonah: "Since the gentiles are more inclined to repent, I might be causing Israel to be condemned [by going to Nineveh]." In the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37) we see two officials of the holy people of God pass by the wounded man, but a Samaritan takes good care of him. Again, in Luke 17:11-19 we read of the cure of ten lepers. But only one came back to say thanks, and he was the one who was not a member of the holy people of God. In Matthew 11:21 Jesus is very displeased at the response of Chorazin and Bethsaida and says: "If the wonders done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes." It is obvious: all the above support the implication we saw in St. Paul: the holy people of God are more resistant, in general, to God's grace than are the outsiders. Summary of 1 Corinthians, Chapter 2 Paul says he did not come to them with great eloquence of wisdom to announce the Gospel. He did not claim he knew anything among them except Jesus, and Him crucified. He came to them in weakness and fear and much trembling. And he did not speak in the persuasive words of human wisdom, but he depended on the showing of the power of the Holy Spirit. He wanted their faith to rest not on human wisdom, but on the power of God. He says he speaks wisdom among the perfect, but it is not the wisdom of this world, or that of the rulers of the world, who are headed for ruin. He speaks the wisdom of God in a mystery, a hidden wisdom, which God planned for in advance before all ages, for their glory. No one of the rulers of this world knew this wisdom. If they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory. It reminds him of the

words of Isaiah 64:3 so that he says: Eye has not seen, nor has ear heard, nor has it gone up into the heart of man, what things God has prepared for those who love Him. God reveals this wisdom to them through the Spirit. The Spirit of God examines everything, even the deepest things of God Himself. Just as no one knows the depths of a human being but that one's soul, which is in him, so too no one knows the depths of God except the Spirit of God. We Christians have not received the spirit of this world, but the Spirit of God, so that we can see the things of God. We speak of these not in the learned words of human wisdom, but in the words the Spirit gives us, explaining spiritual things by comparison with spiritual things [or: explaining spiritual things to spiritual persons]. In contrast, the merely natural man, who does not have the Spirit, does not grasp the things of the Spirit of God. They seem foolish to him, and he cannot grasp them, for that can be done only with the Spirit. But the spiritual man, who has the Spirit of God, understands everything, though he himself is not understood by anyone except by another spiritual man. "Who has known the mind of God? Who has given Him counsel?" But we have the mind of Christ. Comments on Chapter 2 Paul continues to work against the factions. They think themselves wonderfully wise. In contrast, he tries to explain what real wisdom, divine wisdom, is like. So when he first came to Corinth, he did not claim to know anything but the crucified Christ. He came without much confidence. The word weakness could mean physical illness -- it could mean he had an attack of malaria, not rare in his world. But it could also mean he realized his lack of power, of anything that would make him humanly impressive. To the Greeks he would seem like a little uneducated man, from a backwoods province. His training as a Rabbi they would scorn. "Fear and trembling" was an overworked phrase. So it weakened, and came to mean merely, "very respectfully." Hence he depended on showing of the power of the Spirit, that is, on miracles, most likely of the charismatic type (we will examine those later in chapters 12-14). Norman Perrin, a famous Scripture scholar of the University of Chicago (died 1976) in his book, Rediscovering the Teaching of Jesus7 says that at one time he thought he could trust the Gospels. But then Form Criticism showed him over and over again that he could not. He says the strongest case, one that "forced" him, was a comparison of Mark 9:1 with parallels. In Mark 9:1 we find: "There are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Kingdom of God coming with power." Matthew 16:28 is the same except that they will see "the Son of Man coming in his kingdom." Luke 9:27 merely says they will see "the kingdom of God."

Perrin thought the texts of Mark and Matthew expected the end to come soon, while Luke had given up on that hope, and was settling down to "the long haul of history." Perrin missed some things. First, all three Synoptics put this line just before the Transfiguration, even though they do not always agree on chronological order. So it could refer to that. However there is a better explanation, one suggested by the words of Paul here about the showing of the power of the Spirit, i.e., miracles. Today some scholars are more reluctant to admit that "kingdom of God" sometimes means the Church in this world or in the next. (We grant that the phrase, like so many ancient words or phrases, could vary in meaning at different times). In the original edition of the Jerome Biblical Commentary, David M. Stanley admits that 'Kingdom of God' often means the Church, and he specifically says: "The next instance of the phrase occurs in a very difficult passage [Mk 9.1] which refers to the establishment of the Church."8 John L. McKenzie says that the phrase in Matthew is at least sometimes "clearly identified with the community of the disciples." 9 And really, it is obvious in many places that 'kingdom of God' does mean the Church, e.g., in the parable of the wicked tenants in Matthew 21:43; in the parable of the mustard seed in Mark 4:30-32; Matthew 13:31; Luke 13:8-19; and in the parable of the net (Matthew 13:47-50) and in many other places. (The 1990 New Jerome Biblical Commentary no longer thinks that the Church is the kingdom. But at least it has given up the unfortunate translation of the earlier edition of the New American Bible which usually said "reign of God" instead of "kingdom of God.") Raymond E. Brown,in The Churches the Apostles Left Behind10 admits that in some parts of the New Testament kingdom does mean the Church in this world and/or the next. In his Responses to 101 Questions on the Bible11 he says that the translation often used in the New American Bible, "reign of God," is unfortunate. It should be "kingdom of God." As to the words "spread with power" this means miracles, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to which Paul appeals. So the meaning of Mark 9:1, as Stanley points out, is this: they will see the Kingdom of God, the Church, being spread by displays of the power of the Spirit, by miracles. Similarly, the text of Matthew pictures Christ visiting, taking care of His Church (concept of the Hebrew word paqad). Luke of course presents no problem. So Perrin was not at all forced. The "rulers of this world" could mean either the powers of this world, those who condemned Christ, or the evil spirits, who all too often get their way in this world. Had they known the truth, of course they would never have crucified Him. Next, as an expression of the admirable nature of divine wisdom, Paul gives a quotation that resembles Isaiah 64:3, "No ear has ever heard, nor eye ever seen, any God but you doing such deeds for those who

wait for Him." Some of the Fathers -- Origen, Ambrosiaster and Jerome -- thought Paul was quoting from the intertestamental work, the Apocalypse of Elijah. However this line is not found in the text we possess of the Apocalypse of Elijah. The comparison Paul makes is clear: just as no one fully knows a person except his own soul, so no one but the Spirit of God fully knows Him. But we have received, in a measure, the Spirit of God. So we are enabled to understand spiritual things, such as the doctrine of the cross, which seems folly to others. The merely natural man does not have this Spirit. But the spiritual one does. It can lead a person to heights not contrary to reason, but beyond what reason would reach. A good example is that of Our Lady at the Annunciation. As soon as the Angel told her that her Son would reign forever, she would see He was to be the Messiah, for Jews then generally believed the Messiah would reign forever. When the angel had left, if she were thinking like the purely natural person, she might have reasoned thus: Now my people have been waiting for centuries for this day. I should share the joy with them, especially I should tell the authorities in Jerusalem, and also my husband Joseph. For in a rather short while he could not help getting dark suspicions. Yet from the Gospel we see she did none of these things. God had to send an Angel to Joseph to stop him from dismissing her. At the end of this chapter, Paul quotes Isaiah 40:13, according to the Septuagint reading. Since he is writing for Greek speaking persons, it is natural for him to quote the Greek version, even though he himself commonly has the Hebrew in mind. Often we must ask what Hebrew word lies behind a certain Greek word he uses. Summary of 1 Corinthians, Chapter 3 Paul says he cannot talk to them as though they were spiritual persons -- they are not. Their love of factions shows they are fleshy, not spiritual. So he had to feed them on babyfood, milk. Even at the time of writing they are still fleshy, as their envy and strife show. They walk according to man -- that is, according to a merely human way of looking at things. For when someone says he belongs to Paul, or to Apollos -- that is a fleshy way of acting. Really: what is Apollos? What is Paul? They are just agents through whom you received the faith, as the Lord granted to each one. Paul planted, and Apollo watered. But it is only God who made it grow. Neither the planter nor the waterer amounts to anything -- only the one who makes it grow, God, really counts. Planter and waterer have basically the same role. Each one will get his reward according to how he works. We, I and Apollo, are fellow workers with God. You Corinthians are the field of God. You are also the house of God. With the power of grace, I laid the foundation, like a wise builder. Another built on it. Each one needs to

see to it how he builds. No one can lay down any other foundation but the one that is in place: Christ. These workers, like Paul and Apollos, may build superstructures of different qualities, like gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw. The fire of the Day of the Lord, the end, will make clear what sort of superstructure it is. If the work someone has done stays, he will have a reward. If it is burned down, he will take a loss. Yet he himself will be saved, though passing through fire. You are the temple of God, for the Spirit of God dwells in you. If one destroys this temple of God, God will destroy him. For you are the holy temple of God. Avoid deceiving yourselves. If someone thinks he has wisdom, let him become a fool (by seeing that human wisdom is folly compared to divine wisdom). Then he will be wise. For what this world calls wisdom is only foolishness compared to the wisdom of God. Scripture says that "God is the one who catches the wise in what they think is their cleverness. The Lord knows that the thoughts of the worldly wise are vain." So no one should boast about mere humans, as heads of the factions. Everything belongs to you -- Paul, Apollos, Kephas, the world, life, death, present things, things to come -- all belong to you. You belong to Christ. He belongs to God. Comments on Chapter 3 This is a very easy chapter. Paul tells them they are childish, not childlike, in their pride over factions. Really, he and Apollos are only agents of God. Without God, nothing would happen. This is a good time to recall what we saw in explaining Philippians 2:13. When he says that each one will get his reward, he raises a problem. We recall from Galatians how insistently he preached that justification is by faith, we do not earn it. But the answer is easy. Within the covenant, if we ask why God gives good things, there are two answers. On the basic level, no one by his own power can develop a claim on God. So everything is unmerited, unearned, is mere mercy. But on the secondary level, that is, given the fact that God has freely made and entered into a covenant in which He said: If you do this, I will do that -in that framework, if the human does what God has called for, then God owes it to Himself to give it. In that sense, there is repayment. (The same explanation will hold for Romans 2:6 later on). Paul's words about the Day of the Lord making clear by fire of what sort the work of each is, have sometimes been taken to refer to purgatory. This seems not true, for Paul is speaking of the last day, when purgatory will no longer have place. And the fire he mentions is an apocalyptic image. (We saw about such images in connection with 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17.) When he says they are the temple of God since the Spirit dwells in them, we need to remember that a spirit is not present in the same

way as bodily beings are. The latter take up space, a spirit needs no space. Rather, we say a spirit is present wherever it causes an effect. So God is present everywhere since He caused all things to exist, and holds them in existence. He is said to come again in Baptism, since then He begins to produce an added effect: He makes the soul basically capable of the vision of God in heaven (more on this in 1 Corinthians 13). So He can be said to come again in Confirmation, and again in Ordination, because each time He begins to produce added effects. Who destroys the temple of God? The one who drives out the divine presence by mortal sin. He does deserve destruction! If he dies in that state, it will be eternal ruin. At the end of the chapter Paul is quoting, a bit loosely, Job 5:12 (in a form close to that of the Septuagint) and Psalm 94:11. Summary of 1 Corinthians 4:1-5 People should look on us, workers like myself and Apollos, as servants of Christ, and administrators of God's mysteries. What is necessary in administrators is trustworthiness. Paul says he considers it a matter of no importance what judgment they make of him -whether he is the best or not the best leader of a faction. He does not judge himself either. In fact, even though he has nothing on his conscience, he says that does not make him certainly in the clear. It is the judgment of the Lord that counts. So they should not judge before the right time, the time of the coming of the Lord, who will bring to light what darkness now hides, and will show the plans of hearts. Then each one will get his praise or blame from God. Comments on 4:1-5 In stressing that they should not be attached to a particular worker, and make that one the head of a faction, Paul makes a remarkable statement: even though he is not aware of having anything on his conscience, yet he may not be entirely innocent. Many have failed to understand his words here. He is echoing an ancient Old Testament theme of the sheggagah, the involuntary sin. It means that someone may have committed a violation of God's law without knowing of it at the time. Today people would say: what of it? He was in good faith. But Scripture does not take that attitude. Here are some texts to show the attitude shown in the Old Testament and in the Intertestamental literature, in the New Testament, and in the early Fathers of the Church: God's concern for what is morally right shows remarkably in chapter 4 of Leviticus, in the prescriptions for what is to be done in case of sheggagah, involuntary violation of what is right. So the wrongdoer must make up for it, usually by a sacrifice. The comment of Roland J. Faley on Leviticus 4:1-4:15 12 is quite right: "Israel's responsibilities were clearly enunciated in the law, and any departure therefrom disturbed the right order of things. The presence

or absence of volition did not alter the objective situation. . . . even the unwitting party . . . had to offer atoning sacrifice." Of course, an involuntary sheggagah was not at all on the same level as a sin done be yad ramah, with a high hand, with full deliberativeness. But yet it should not be just merely ignored as if it did not matter at all. We think of numerous passages that bring this out. For example, in Genesis 12:17 Pharaoh has taken over Abram's wife in good faith. But: "The Lord struck Pharaoh and his household with great plagues because of Abram's wife Sarai." There are similar attitudes shown, whether the incidents are doublets or not, in Genesis 20:1-7 and 26:1-11. In 1 Samuel 14:24 Saul had sworn an oath that his people would fast. His son Jonathan narrowly escaped death for unwitting violation. Tobit in 2:13 is very unreasonably careful of this sort of violation. His wife had been given a goat along with her pay. He would not believe it and said: "Where did this goat come from? Perhaps it was stolen! Give it back." Psalm 19:12-13, still in use in the liturgy says: "Though your servant is careful of them, very diligent in keeping them, yet who can detect failings? Cleanse me from my unknown faults." The Testament of Levi in 3:5 says: "In the heaven next to it are the archangels, who minister and make propitiation to the Lord for all the sins of ignorance of the righteous." The theme appears again in the Psalms of Solomon 3:8-9: "The righteous man continually searches his house to remove utterly [all] iniquity [done] by him in error. He makes atonement for [sins of] ignorance by fasting and afflicting his soul." In the Gospel of Luke, 12:47-48, we find the same attitude: "The slave who knew his master's wishes but did not prepare to fulfill them will get a severe beating, but the one who did not know them, but did things deserving blows [objectively] will get off with fewer stripes." In the image of the last judgment in Matthew 24:44, those on the left plead ignorance: "Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or away from home or naked or ill or in prison and not attend to you in your needs." But the judge rejects the plea. St. Paul had persecuted Christianity out of zeal for what he thought was right. But he still wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:9: "I am the least of the Apostles; in fact, because I persecuted the Church of God, I do not even deserve the name." The attitude of 1 Timothy 1:15 is equally Pauline: "I myself am the worst" of sinners. A modern Jewish scholar, A. Bchler explains: "The ancient pious men brought every day a doubtful guilt-offering, to clear themselves from any error of a grave religious nature possibly committed on the previous day." 13 This of course is doing even more than Leviticus 4 required, which called for atonement only when the guilty one came to know he had done an unlawful thing.

The First Epistle of Clement (2.3) tells the Corinthians: "You stretched out your hands to the almighty God, beseeching him to be propitious, if you had sinned at all unwillingly [akontes]." In the Shepherd of Hermas, (Mandate 9.7) we find the angel telling Hermas: "For absolutely, on account of some temptation or transgression of which you are ignorant, you receive what you ask for so slowly." And in Parables 5.7.3: "Only God has the power to give healing for your former ignorances." Tertullian (Apologeticum 18.2-3) says that God "sent . . . men . . . to proclaim what sanctions he had decreed for not knowing." And in his De idololatria 15.7-8: "I know a brother who was severely chastised in a vision the same night because his slaves, after a sudden announcement . . . had crowned his door. And yet, he himself had not crowned it, nor commanded it . . . and when he came back, had rebuked it." Clement of Alexandria (Stromata 6.6) wrote: "Whatever any one of you has done out of ignorance, not clearly knowing God, if he repents when he does learn, all his sins will be forgiven him." St. John Chrysostom (On Priesthood 4.2) says that some who are electors of priests and bishops are careless, but, "If the elector is guilty of none of these things, but says he was deceived by the opinion of the many, he will not be free of punishment, though he will pay a penalty somewhat less than the one who is ordained." In the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, still in frequent use today, before the Epistle there is a prayer: "Forgive us every offense, both voluntary and involuntary." All of this, of course, is simply part of the fact that the Holiness of God wants the objective order rectified, even if it was violated unwittingly. We commented on this concern for the objective order above in our explanation of 1 Corinthians 1:25-30. Summary of 1 Corinthians 4:6-21 Paul says he used the names Paul and Apollos just as examples, hoping that by this means they might learn "not to go too far," so they won't be blown up with pride over one teacher as against another. For who says the Corinthians are something special? What have they that they have not received? If they received it, why brag as if they had made it themselves? He thinks that God has put the Apostles as the last in the line, like those condemned to death. They have become a spectacle to the world, and to angels and to men. They are fools for Christ -- the Corinthians are prudent in Christ! The Apostles are weak -- they are strong! The Corinthians are glorious -- the Apostles are without honor. Right up to this hour the Apostles are hungry, thirsty, without adequate clothing, are beaten, have no home, they work hard with their own hands. When people reproach them, they bless in return. When people persecute them, they bear up under it, when people

speak badly of them, they entreat. They have become the offscourings of the world, the scum of everyone, right up to now. He does not write this way to make them ashamed, but to try to bring his dear children to their senses. For even if they have thousands of teachers in Christ -- but they have only one Father, for Paul begot them in Christ, through the Gospel. So he begs them to imitate him. This is why he has sent Timothy to them, his beloved and faithful son in the Lord, to remind them of his ways in Christ, as he teaches everywhere, in every church. Some have become inflated with pride as if he were not coming. But he will come quickly, if the Lord so wills. Then he will find out not what they say -- those who are puffed up -but what they do. The kingdom of God does not depend on talk but on power. What do they want? Should he come with the stick like a Father? or with love and mildness? Comments on 4:6-21 He says he used the names Paul and Apollos to stand for just any teachers, so that by that illustration they might learn not to go too far. Here he is quoting a common saying -- the Corinthians would know it of course. We are not sure what it meant, for Paul is too brief. When he asks what makes them special, we must understand it in the setting. He wants to say that they are proud of getting into the Church, and into a special faction too. Paul is not, at this point, talking more broadly. Some theologians in the past have expanded it to say, as it were: When God looked over the scene before time began to run, He saw no differences at all in people -- for they would have only what goodness He would give them. As a result, they claimed, He had to decide blindly to arrange who would be saved or not. This was a monstrous error. These theologians forgot a whole half of the picture, namely, that there is also the negative side to the picture, namely, how much people resist grace and so sin. God does not make them resist. So there is a difference in people which God does not make. We will see more of this in our comments on Romans 8:29ff., on predestination. But the next sentence does apply broadly: What have you that you have not received? It means that every bit of good we are and have and do is simply God's gift to us. But He offers the good graces abundantly, and we get them if we do not reject them. Please recall our discussion on Philippians 2:13. Next Paul even indulges in sarcasm to wake them up. Then he turns to begging them. He will use any means that is not illegitimate in itself to win souls: all things to all men! We notice too he claims to be their Father in Christ. So we see that the words of Our Lord in Matthew 23:9 that we should not call anyone Father, really only teach an attitude. Otherwise children in a family could not call their father Father!

At the end he is really playful: Should I come with a stick to give a spanking? Summary of 1 Corinthians, Chapter 5 Paul complains of sexual looseness in Corinth, to such a point that a man in their community is living with the wife of his father -- a stepmother it seems. Even the pagans do not permit that, he says -and yet the Corinthians are still proud! Rather, they should be sad, and get that evil one out from their midst. Paul himself, though physically absent, is present in spirit, and has already passed judgment: they should gather together in the name of Jesus, and hand the man over to Satan to be mistreated, so that he will come to his senses. Their boasting -- he is thinking of the factions again it seems -- is bad. Just as a small bit of yeast can work through a large mass of dough, so also this one evil person may do much harm. So: clean out the old yeast, and be a new mass of dough. You should be unleavened, for Christ, our Passover has been immolated. Then they can celebrate the feast, not with the old yeast or with corruption, but with the unleavened bread of purity and truth. Paul had written them in a previous letter that they should not have close association with immoral persons. He means those who claim to be Christians but are immoral. He does not mean the immoral persons among the pagans, who include greedy persons, robbers and idolaters. They would have to get off this world to avoid all pagans who are immoral! But he means they should not associate closely with so-called Christians who are guilty of immorality or greed or idolatry, reviling, drunkenness, robbery. They should not even eat with such a Christian. As to those outside -- it is for God to judge them. But they should drive out the incestuous man. Comments on Chapter 5 Paul uses the Greek porneia here, which is broad enough to cover any kind of sexual looseness. The man in question seems to be living with his stepmother -- though some commentators think it is his natural mother after the death of his father. The law of Moses, Leviticus 18:8 prohibited this. So did Roman law.14 Paul calls for strong action. Some today speak of simply forgiving even if a person does not repent. Not so Paul. He wants to excommunicate the man, and even to hand him over to Satan to be worked over till he comes to his senses. In Paul's day, the hand of God was showing itself clearly in pleasant things, such as the miraculous gifts regularly given at Baptism. The other side of the coin was that God's hand showed itself openly to punish evil; thus we see in 1 Corinthians 11:30 that some became physically sick or died from unworthy reception of the Holy Eucharist. For another case of such a penalty, see 2 Timothy 1:20. The talk about the leaven is double edged -- leaven or yeast is really a beneficial form of corruption. Here it stands for evil corruption, and

also recalls that at the Passover the old leaven had to be cleaned out (cf. Exodus 12:15-17 and 13:6-7). Christ is the new Passover, and so we must get rid of all leaven, i.e., evil or corruption, to celebrate His Passover. Some think the mention of clearing out the old leaven could indicate Paul was writing near Easter. This is possible, but far from proved. Paul says he wrote to them in a previous letter that they must avoid close association with immoral persons (the word is pornoi -- sexually loose persons). So we gather that what we call First Corinthians is really at least Second Corinthians. We will see later that he also wrote at least one letter in between our First and Second Corinthians -- so there must have been at least 4 letters to Corinth, perhaps even more. Could the lost letters have been inspired? Yes, inspiration would not necessarily prevent loss. Is there any hope of finding the lost ones? Hope gets small, but it is not gone. In our own century there have been major discoveries of ancient works on papyri in Egypt -- the most recent in 1946-47, a whole library of Gnostic works at Nag ha'ammadi. The Delta gets moderate rainfall, but the rest of Egypt is so dry that papyri even without care can survive for many centuries, even millennia. Paul wants them to avoid close association with immoral Christians. We could translate either "so-called Christians," or: "those who have the name of Christian." There is a difference in slant and color. The Greek will stand either translation. We might compare what he says about avoiding Christians who do not live up to their faith in 2 Thessalonians 3:6 & 14. The purpose is to bring such a one to his senses. So this advice must be used with good judgment, to decide in each case what is most likely to bring the result Paul hopes for. At the end he quotes a line that occurs more than once in Deuteronomy (e.g., 13:5): "Take away the evil from your midst." Summary of 1 Corinthians 6:1-8 Paul is indignant that when they have lawsuits, they take them to courts where the judges are not part of the people of God, but are "unjust." They should realize that the holy ones will judge the world -and so, if that be true, could they not handle the smallest judgments? We will judge angels -- so all the more, matters of daily life. So [in sarcasm] if they have cases about ordinary matters, they should take the nobodies in the Church and make them be judges. They should be ashamed -- do they not have any wise man who can judge cases between Christians? Instead, Christian goes to court against Christian -- and with infidels as judges at that! Actually, it is a failure for them to have lawsuits -- they should rather be inclined to suffer injustice or to lose something. But, instead of bearing wrong, they do wrong -- and to brother Christians at that! Comments on 6:1-8

Greeks actually seem to have enjoyed lawsuits. In a Greek court, one would not hire a lawyer -- he would speak for himself. Hence speaking ability was highly prized. There is a legend -- even if it may not be true, it is in character -- of Korax and Tisias. After one of the many upheavals in Sicily, a teacher named Korax (the word means "crow") advertised: "If anyone takes my course, I guarantee he will be able to win his first case." Tisias took the course. At the end, Korax told him to pay up. Tisias refused. They went to court. Korax rose first: "Gentlemen of the jury, you will decide either for me or against me. If you decide for me, by your decision he must pay. If you decide against me, he has won his first case, and so owes me the money." Then Tisias rose: "Gentlemen of the jury, you will decide either for me or against me. If you decide for me, by your decision I do not have to pay. If you decide against me, Korax has not fulfilled his contract, I have lost my first case, and so I owe him nothing." The verdict of the jury was : "Bad crow (Korax) bad egg." The story illustrates an unfortunate feature of Greek courts: they would often be moved by an argument that was clever, even if it was merely plausible, not conclusive. (We think of the actions of Ulysses in Homer -- always clever, honest sometimes). So when Paul says the pagan judges are unjust, it is true in two ways: 1) They follow principles that are not in accord with justice or with Christianity; 2) They accept specious arguments. Paul argues: We will judge the world and angels -- so we should be able to handle ordinary cases. He has in mind Wisdom 3:8, "They shall judge nations and rule over peoples," and perhaps also Daniel 7:22. Earlier, in 1 Corinthians 4:8, we saw Paul use sarcasm. Here he does it again. He will use any means that is not immoral to win their hearts over to what is right. Next, Paul says it is a failure for them to have lawsuits at all. He has in mind the sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:41), where Jesus tells them if someone wants to force them to go one mile, to go two miles, and similar things. So, in that spirit, they should prefer to suffer wrong rather than to do wrong. (The reference was to the Roman practice of "impressment," forcing someone to carry military baggage for one mile). Summary of 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 More broadly, they should realize that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God. They are deceiving themselves if they think the unjust could inherit. Really those who commit the great sins will not inherit: the sexually loose, the idolaters, the adulterers, the effeminate, those who lie with males, the thieves, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the robbers. Certain ones of the Corinthians had in the past been such -- but now they have been washed, have been made holy, have been made

righteous in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. Comments on 6:9-11 When Paul says the "unjust" will not inherit the kingdom, he is thinking of Hebrew sedaqah, often translated as justice or righteousness -- but really having a broader meaning. Sedaqah is the virtue that leads one to do everything morality requires, not just to practice justice in the narrow Greek & Roman sense of giving to each one what is due him (no more or less). Then Paul gives examples of the chief varieties of great sins or sinners. First, the sexually immoral -- the Greek is pornoi. Old versions used to render it as "fornicators." That is true, but the word covers all kinds of sexual sin. Paul then mentions idolaters and adulterers -- with much of our meaning for those words, although adultery in the Old Testament sometimes meant general infidelity to God by His People, whom He had espoused to Himself. 15 Yet it seems St. Paul means the word adulterers in the more usual sense here. The effeminate and those who lie with males are homosexuals -distinguishing the two types of roles in homosexuality. Homosexuals today try to say St. Paul objects only to promiscuous homosexual relations. But the Catholic Church interprets Paul to mean any homosexual relations. (Cf. the Doctrinal Congregation's "Letter on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons," of October 30, 1986.) Further, Scripture nowhere makes such a distinction. See Genesis 13:13 and 19:5 and also Leviticus 18:22: "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination," and Leviticus 20:13: "If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them shall be put to death." Paul also in Romans 1:26ff. gives a dreadful list of the vices of the pagans and makes homosexuality the centerpiece, and then in the last verse of the chapter, he agrees with Leviticus: "Though they have known God's decree that those who do such things deserve death, yet they not only do them, but approve of them." This is the ultimate, the lowest degradation: to not only sin in a foul manner, but even to say it is good. See also the letter of Jude, verse 7: "Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise acted immorally and indulged in unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire." We also get light from the way the original readers of the Old Testament understood these things. So in the intertestamental literature (written after the completion of the Old Testament and even overlapping a bit the time of the New Testament), we find flat condemnations of homosexuality. For examples, see The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha16 and also the comment by the Editor of the Sibyllines, I, p.323: "All forms of sexual offenses are condemned, but special reproach is poured on homosexuality. . . . [such condemnation] can be paralleled amply in the preachings of gentile moralists."17 Thus Suetonius, biographer of the first twelve Emperors,

accuses many of them of homosexuality, always presenting it as a vice, never as anything tolerable. Pagan Athens in the 5th century B.C. even had a law against homosexuality! St. Paul speaks similarly in other places such as Ephesians 5:5, and Galatians 5:16-21. Martin Luther slid too easily over these passages. He thought that if one once in a lifetime took Christ as His personal Savior, he could commit all kinds of sins, and he would not be charged with them! So Luther wrote, in Epistle 501, to his great lieutenant Melanchthon: "Pecca fortiter, sed crede fortius," that is: "Sin boldly [or bravely] but believe still more boldly [or bravely]." And in another Epistle to Melanchthon of August 1, 152118: "Be a sinner and sin boldly. . . . No sin will separate us from the Lamb, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day." To think Protestants used to charge Catholics with having a permission to sin in indulgences! Look what Luther gave them! Hence a bumper sticker I have seen said: "Christians are not perfect, just forgiven." The sense is just what Luther said in these Epistles. But as we saw in First Thessalonians, St. Paul means something other by the word "faith" than merely being confident that the merits of Christ are credited to me. As we said, even the standard Protestant reference work, Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, (Supplement volume, p.333) explains faith as we did -- far different from what Luther thought. Further, according to Luther's view, one is infallibly saved if he once takes Christ as his Savior. For then on the credit side of the ledger he can write infinity, for the merits of Christ, which will always outbalance any number on the debit page for his sins past, present, and future. Luther did not see that faith includes "the obedience of faith" (Romans 1:5) and thought faith, which includes obedience, can justify any amount of disobedience! Besides the fact that the Catholic Church has condemned Luther's errors -- this is the essential thing -- we can see that St. Paul, who surely took Christ as his personal Savior if anyone ever did it, yet does not count on that. Thus, as we shall soon see in 1 Corinthians 9:26-27, St. Paul said that he chastised his body to tame it, otherwise, even after preaching so much to others, he might be rejected at the judgment. But, if once taking Christ as his Savior would take care of him permanently, he would have no need for such chastisement of the body. Also, we notice that in all three passages mentioned above Paul says that the great sinners will not "inherit" the kingdom of God. Now it is true, that the word inherit in Scripture sometimes means merely to acquire. But often it means to inherit from one's father. And St. Paul in Romans 8:17 says we are heirs of the Father along with Christ, if we suffer with Him, so we can be glorified with Him. (Recall also the comparison of the last will and testament in Galatians 3:15-18). Now when we inherit from our father, we do not say we have earned our

inheritance. No, we get it because our father was good, not because we are good. (This is like justification by faith, in which we get justification without earning it). Yet we could earn to lose that inheritance by being bad children too much. A student in a discussion class once summed it up neatly: "As to salvation -- you can't earn it, but you can blow it." In verse 11 St. Paul says that only "certain ones" of the Corinthians were as wicked as the great sinners he has described. He can say this honestly even though Corinth was noted for its immorality. Now this raises an interesting problem if we compare it with the dreadful litany of the sins of the gentiles Paul gives in chapter 1 of Romans. There, as we will see when we study that in relation to the first lines of chapter 2 of Romans, Paul really is charging all gentiles with all these sins. (For he says in 2:1: "You who judge another condemn yourselves, for you do the very same sins yourselves -- all are guilty of all sins!") It is evident that 1 Corinthians 6:11 seems to clash with Romans chapters 1-2. In Corinthians, even in a licentious city, not all are guilty of all the great sins. But in Romans, all are. Commentators usually do not even mention the problem when they speak of First Corinthians. They often do mention it in connection with Romans, but cannot solve the problem. We will see it fully when we get to Romans. For now, if we recall that St. Paul has two ways of looking at some things -- focused and factual -- we will see that in 1 Corinthians he is using a factual view, in Romans 1-2, a focused view (we could also call it a system as system view -- the system or setup of being a gentile as such produces nothing but sin, every sin). Summary of 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 Paul's enemies quote Paul against Paul. He said: You are free from the law. But now he replies: not everything is good for me. The enemies repeat. Paul replies again: I will not let anything get control of me. The enemies now say: Food is for the stomach, and the stomach for food. They imply: Similarly, if one wants sex, he should take it. But Paul replies that God will bring to an end the use of the stomach and of sex, in the resurrection. For the body is for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. God has raised the Lord Jesus from the dead -- He will do the same for us later. Further, your bodies are members of Christ. So, is it right to take the members of Christ and make them one in the flesh with a harlot? For the one who attaches himself to a harlot does become one flesh, two in one flesh. But the one who attaches himself to the Lord becomes one spirit, instead of one flesh. So he urges: run away from sexual immorality. Other sins, says Paul, are outside a man's body. But sex sins are especially contrary to one's own body. And that is not right, for our bodies are the temple of the

Holy Spirit: we do not belong to ourselves, for Christ has bought us at a price. So we should glorify God with our bodies. Comments on 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 In Paul's day there were no punctuation marks of any kind -- no periods, commas, quotation marks. In fact, they did not even separate words. So we have to use good judgment to see what would have been in quotes. Here we need some quote marks. We can imagine Paul going into licentious Corinth and saying: You are free from the law. The libertines would say: We are! Let's go and live it up! But Paul heard of their ways, and wanted to stop them, yet would not say they were not free from the law. So he says: Not everything is beneficial. Really, if we obey God's laws it does Him no good. But it pleases Him for two reasons: 1) He, being Generosity itself, loves to give to us. His laws are instructions on how to be open so as to receive. 2) His laws also steer us away from things that would be harmful, for example, getting drunk brings a hangover, and worse, in time, liver damage. Premarital sex feels like real love, warmth, tenderness -- but is only chemistry, not love. It often leads to a loveless marriage. Paul adds that he does not want to be a slave to creatures, to be dominated by them, addicted to them. God's laws make us free from being hooked on things. His enemies then try to argue from a parallel -- just as we eat food when hungry, so we should have sex when we are hungry for it. Here Paul argues that both food and sex are temporary. After the resurrection, our bodies will need neither one. So the body is for the Lord, for He, if we are His members, will raise us up on the last day, just as the Father raised the Son. Paul tries another argument. Those who have intercourse become two in one flesh. But it is not right to become one flesh with a harlot, when my body is actually part of Christ. By becoming one with Christ we become one spirit with Him, instead of being two in one flesh with a harlot. So he says they should flee, run away, from sexual temptations. Some commentators think he may have had in mind a distinction. There are two kinds of temptations -- one type is such that one can reason himself out of it. Thus if one is tempted to rob a bank he can say: Why take the money, when I have to give it back to be forgiven (otherwise, keeping it is a continuation of the sin). And think of the dangers -- armed guards, tellers have a call button under their toes that will bring in the police. But with a temptation involving strong emotion, such as sex, there is no point in trying to reason oneself out of it. St. Francis of Assisi has a clever comparison. He loved to speak of Brother Sun, Sister Moon, etc. Similarly he called his body "Brother Ass" -- the long-eared kind. No ass ever goes over to another ass and says: Brother Ass, you have been around longer than I. Please give me good advice. No, he learns only by his own experience, especially if he

is facing north when a boot comes in quickly from the south. Suppose then that a man has bought a copy of Playboy. He has opened it at the center-fold, and is taking it in, and getting worked up. But then Brother Mind speaks: See here, Brother Ass. Why get excited? That is only a piece of paper with some ink on it. You can't do anything with that. So why get excited? And what does Brother Ass say? Yummy! Paul's saying that other sins are outside the body, but sexual sin is against the body, is hard to interpret. Probably he means that the body is so fully involved in sex. Yet, that body is the temple in which the Holy Spirit dwells, Whom we have from God. Jesus bought us at a price, the price of redemption. So we do not belong to ourselves. So when a woman wanting an abortion says "It is my body, it is my own business what I do with it," Paul would reply, "No. You do not belong to yourself." (Not to mention the live baby inside!) He concludes: Glorify God with the way you use your body. Summary of 1 Corinthians 7:1-11 The Corinthians had sent some questions to St. Paul in writing. He begins here to answer and says that it is better for a man not to touch a woman. Yet, to avoid the danger of sexual immorality, it is good for each man to have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. Further, the man has an obligation to give the use of marriage to his wife on her request, and she to him, for she does not have the power over her own body: the husband does. Similarly, the husband does not have power over his own body: the wife does. So he urges them not to deprive one another of the lawful use of sex in marriage except by mutual agreement, for a suitable time to make them free for prayer. But after that period, let them use their rights again, so Satan may not tempt them by their lack of self-control. This, however, he says as a concession -- not as a command. Really, he would like all to be unmarried as he is. However, each one has his own grace from God, one this way, the other the other way. In line with this, he says to the unmarried and to widows that it is better to stay as he is, unmarried. However, if they cannot control their desires, they should marry. Better to marry than to burn with desire. He says to the married -- or rather, it is the Lord who says this -- the wife must not leave the husband. If she does, she must either stay unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. The husband should not dismiss his wife. Comments on 7:1-11 Paul says it is better to give up even the legitimate use of sex. However, for most people marriage is needed as a lawful outlet. In marriage each one has given to the other rights to the use of the body in marital relations. Hence neither one has a right to refuse without grave reason. To refuse without grave reason would be a grave sin. These lines, and a repetition of the same thought further on in this chapter 7, have caused much dissent today, even against the inspired

teaching of St. Paul in Holy Scripture. Some argue: the Church teaches one may reach spiritual perfection in every state in life. (The Church does so teach, and it is true in itself.) So, the argument continues, if we say that celibacy/virginity is better than marriage, then one who chooses marriage is lacking in generosity with God, and so cannot become perfect. We reply in the words of St. Paul in 7:7: "Each has his own grace from God: one this way, another the other way." That is, God has designed different paths for different persons. For most persons the path is that of marriage, which, properly used, does lead to spiritual perfection. So, if a person follows the path God intends for him, he cannot be charged with a lack of generosity. Each path is a grace. This does not prevent St. Paul from saying that the one path, in itself, objectively, contains a more powerful help to spiritual perfection than the other does. Why? We can see it by dwelling on the words of Our Lord in Matthew 6:21, "Where your treasure is, there is your heart also." In the narrow sense, the treasure would be a box of coins a man might bury under the floor of his house for safekeeping. If he has such a stash, the coins would act like a magnet, to pull his thoughts and heart towards it: he would enjoy thinking of what he has. But then, it is obvious that the same effect can come from any creature: we can put our treasure in just anything -- in huge meals, in gourmet meals, in sex, in travel, in study, even in the study of theology. We notice that while all the things just mentioned are lower than God, some are farther below than others. So that is the first factor. There is a second factor: how strongly does the person let himself be pulled by certain creatures? At the thin end of the scale, here is a man who is so little attracted by creatures that they lead him to no more than imperfections, which are less than venial sin. But another may be pulled to commit occasional venial sin -- or habitual venial sin -- or occasional mortal sin -- or habitual mortal sin. In proportion to these two factors -- how far below God the attraction is, and how strongly it holds the person -- it becomes just so much less easy for the person's thoughts and heart to rise to the divine level. Now the legitimate use of sex in marriage, done with the intention of acting according to God's plan, is positively good. Hence Vatican II 19 taught: "The acts by which the spouses are intimately and chastely united together are honorable and worthy." But a thing may have two aspects, e.g., in the parable of the sower (Mt.7:22) the thorns represent the good things of this life -- they really are good, since God made them such. Yet they also are thorns, they may block the growth of the good seed. Similarly, the correct use of marriage is permissible and even can be meritorious. Yet it may at the same time make it that much less easy for the thoughts and heart to rise to God. That is why St. Gregory of Nyssa wrote in his work On Virginity (2)0: "Our powers of emotion do not have a nature that can at one and the same time

pursue both the pleasures of sense and spiritual union. Further, both of those goals cannot be reached by the same patterns of life. Continence, mortification of the passions, disdain of fleshly needs are the means of the one union. But everything that is the opposite of these is involved in bodily cohabitation." In brief, even the lawful use of sex is a powerful pull towards creatures. To that extent it makes it less easy for the soul to rise to the thought of God. In passing, let us inject another comparison, which leads to the same thought as what we have just said. We think of a galvanometer, which is merely a compass needle on its pivot, with a coil of wire around it. We send a current through the wire: the needle swings in the right direction, and the right amount, measuring the current. It will read correctly if there is no competition from outside pulls, e.g., 30,000 volt power lines or a large mass of magnetic steel. If these outside pulls are very strong, and the current in the coil is mild, the current in the coil may have no effect on the position of the needle. My mind is like such a meter. The current in the coil is grace. It is gentle and mild, in that it respects my freedom. But the outside pulls of creatures, if one lets himself be greatly engaged in them, may drown out the effect of the current in the coil. In extreme cases, the person is spiritually blind. For the first thing a grace needs to do when it comes is to put into one's mind the thought of what God wants at the time to lead it to do (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:5). But if the outside pulls make the meter of the mind incapable of registering His attractions, grace cannot do even the first thing it needs to so. Then it will not do any other things either. A person without grace is eternally lost, unless a grace comparable to a miracle comes that can prevent such resistance from starting, or can cut through it even after it starts. But such graces are by nature rare, for they are as it were miraculous (they reduce but do not destroy free will). God cannot make the miraculous or the extraordinary be ordinary and routine -- it would be a contradiction. Someone could ask Him: Why did you make these laws of life and then go regularly beyond them? From this comparison we gather even more clearly that if a person wants to become as sensitive as possible to every movement from the Holy Spirit, he should reduce as low as possible the pulls of creatures, even legitimate pulls. Further he must do this not only in regard to sex, but in regard to all pulls. Hence St. Gregory of Nyssa also wrote, in chapter 18 of his On Virginity: "The fullness of this freedom does not lie only in that one point of abstaining from marriage . . . an inclination towards vice in any act or an practice whatsoever makes one a slave. So one who tries for the transcendent aim of all virginity must be true to himself in every respect, and must show its purity equally in every relation of his life." In other words, detachment -- hanging loose as it were -- is needed not only in regard to sex, but in regard to all

creatures. Someone who abstains from marriage but becomes selfindulgent in other matters will not gain much. (Paul will speak again of detachment later in this chapter, verses 29-35). As a result, even though in itself there is a more powerful spiritual help in abstention from marriage, yet we must notice that someone who does enter marriage with the right intention, and uses it according to God's plan, may go farther on the spiritual path than one who abstains from marriage, especially if this latter does not cut down low the pulls of all other kinds of desires. 20 Hence Pope Paul VI wrote to the 13th National Congress of the Italian Feminine Center (Feb. 12, 1966):"Christian marriage and the Christian family demand a moral commitment. They are not an easy way of Christian life, even though the most common, the one which most of the children of God are called to travel. Rather, it is a long road toward sanctification." For male and female psychology are so very different that even in an ideal pair -- not always had -- each one can honestly say: "I have to give in most of the time to make this work." That self denial, that generosity, done with the realization that it is part of God's design for humans, is a wonderful help to spiritual growth. Love really is not a feeling, it is a will or desire for the well-being and happiness of the other for the other's sake. If children come, babies are very cute and enjoyable part of the time, but rather pesky at other times. If again one accepts this as part of God's plan, it is really sanctifying. The monk may get up at 2 AM to make a holy hour. When 60 minutes have passed, he can go back to sleep. But the parent who has a baby crying in the middle of the night may make a different kind of holy hour (if understood as fulfilling God's plan, it is a holy hour). He/she knows not how long it may last. It is good to read 1 Timothy 2:15 in the light of what we have just said: to accept the discomforts or pains of a way of life chosen in accord with God's plan is truly sanctifying. An insurance commercial on TV said, rather beautifully: "When you have children, their goals become your goals." This is splendid generosity! Now we can easily see what lies behind Paul's advice in verse 5, to at times refrain from the lawful use of marriage, for a limited time, and by mutual consent, "so you may be free for prayer." It is not a question of clock hours of course. No, it is what we have just explained. Most commentators who know nothing of the spiritual principles we have seen cannot understand that verse, and even call it "enigmatic." In verse 6, Paul says he says "this" as a concession, not as a command. We do not know what the 'this' refers to -- it could be either: 1) what he said in verse 5 (at times omit intercourse by mutual consent to be free for prayer), or 2) it is good to have a spouse, to avoid the danger of unlawful use of sex. It makes sense either way. We saw that Vatican II said the lawful use of marriage is worthy and good. In the first centuries, some seem not to have understood this.

Thus St. Jerome wrote21: "It [Scripture] says, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. If it is good not to touch a woman, then it is bad to touch: for nothing is the opposite of good except evil. If it is bad, and is forgiven [he has in mind verse 6, which we shall explain in a moment] it is conceded so that worse evil may not follow." St. Jerome's reasoning is defective: it is not true that if a thing is not good it is bad. It may vary in different conditions or be neutral. But he was affected by the Latin version of verse 6: "I say this by way of pardon [venia], not by way of command." St. Jerome should have looked at the Greek, for he knew Greek well. The word there which he rendered "pardon" is syngnomen, which can mean either pardon or concession. Taking it to mean pardon, he picked up the implication that there must be sin there. St. Augustine did similarly (Enchiridion 78.21). Vatican II, On the formation of priests 10 says those preparing for priesthood, "should see the superior excellence of virginity consecrated to Christ." (Virginity/celibacy are the same word in Greek and Latin). Verses 7-11 are now easy: Paul wishes all could have the superior advantage of abstention from marriage. But he adds that there are different kinds of grace -- one has this, the other that. We note he calls marriage a grace (charisma). So he adds that those who are not already married, and those who are widowed do well to abstain form marriage. First Timothy 5:4 wants younger widows to marry -- this does not contradict the advice given here. It merely adapts it to the case in which a woman is widowed early in life, and does not restrain herself from being a busybody and other things. Then, better to remarry. Verse 9 says, obviously, that if one finds it too hard to abstain from the use of sex, then he/she may need the lawful use of it in marriage. Those who are married must avoid divorce with remarriage. Summary of 1 Corinthians 7:12-16 Relying on Apostolic authority, Paul says that if any Christian has an unbelieving wife, and she will live peacefully with him, he must not dismiss her. Similarly, if a Christian wife has an unbelieving husband. For the unbelieving spouse is made holy by the believing mate. If such were not the case, the children would be unholy -- but really, they are holy. However if the unbeliever will not live peacefully with the Christian, let the unbeliever depart. The Christian is not in servitude in such a case, for God has called us in peace. How could the Christian party be sure of converting the unbeliever? Comments on 7:12-16 This is the Pauline privilege. In Paul's day, there were no cradle Catholics in Corinth -- all were converts. Most of them would have married before being baptized. Suppose then that the pagan party is

willing to live in peace with the Christian? Let the pagan not depart. So the marriage is not dissolved. If the marriage continues, then the unbeliever is made holy by the Christian mate. Similarly the children. Here Paul is using the Old Testament sense of holy, Hebrew qadosh. It does not basically mean high in moral perfection, but rather, one who comes under the covenant. So the unbelieving mate and the children are automatically brought under the covenant by the Christian party. However, if the unbeliever will not live in peace, then the marriage is dissolved. Since neither was baptized at the time of the marriage, it was not sacramental. Paul adds: How could the Christian be sure of converting the pagan? Here we see the word 'saved' means entering the Church. Paul does not speak explicitly of permission to remarry, but tradition since the early centuries has so understood it. Summary of 1 Corinthians 7:17-24 There is a general rule: each one should continue to live in the way he/she was when called into the Church. Paul arranges things thus in all the churches. So: if someone was called into the Church when circumcised, he should not try to remove the circumcision. For circumcision or the lack of it does not matter. What does matter is keeping the commands of God. Suppose someone was called into the faith as a slave? He should not be concerned. Even if given a chance to become free, let him use it. For the one who is called to the faith as a slave is a freedman of the Lord. But the one who is called as a free person is a slave of Christ. They were bought at a price. They should not become the slaves of men, for each one should remain before the Lord in the situation of his external life in which he was called. Comments on 7:17-24 It is important to notice Paul's general principle -- for which he gives two examples. The general principle is that the fact they became Christian does not require any change in the externals of their life -unless of course they were in a sinful occupation. First example: someone was circumcised when called to the Church. He should not try to remove the marks of the circumcision. In Greece, sports were done in nudity, so the mark of circumcision would be seen by many. So some tried to stretch the skin to remove the trace of circumcision. Second example: someone was a slave when called into the Church. That should not concern the slave. Even if the slave has a chance for freedom, let him "rather use it." Use what? If we consider the context, the general principle, it seems Paul suggests remaining a slave, as a help to humility, or because no change is needed. The attitude of Paul to slavery has caused some questions. Did St. Paul know slavery is

wrong? We cannot be sure. Inspiration would keep him from ever saying it was all right, but would not necessarily give the information that it was wrong. The promise of Our Lord at the Last Supper to teach them all things (Jn 14:26; cf.16:13) did not mean new public revelations. It meant rather that the Church would be led over the centuries to an ever deepening penetration and understanding of the deposit of faith left at the start. Hence we see some truths understood and even defined today which were scarcely seen, if at all, in the first century, e.g., the Immaculate Conception. In this framework, it is possible Paul did not see the truth about slavery. However, what he says is all quite all right. He speaks of it also in Colossians 3:22-24; Ephesians 6:5-8; 1 Timothy 6:1-2; Titus 2:9-10, and in the entire Epistle to Philemon. In general, Paul exhorts slaves to serve faithfully, even when the masters are not watching them. (1 Peter 2:18 speaks similarly). To understand, we need to note that slavery was the basis of the Mediterranean economy: not even the Roman Emperor could have uprooted it, still less the struggling infant Church. Further, the lot of many slaves was not too hard. Yes, it was hard in the mines, less hard in agriculture, but many were slaves in households in the cities. Further, when a slave got his freedom -- not too unusual -- often he would make a deal with the master to continue the same work, in exchange for security. For a free worker in a slave economy could not earn much, and had no security at all. Still further, Paul's outlook is dominated by the contrast between time and eternity -- this life is very short, and not entirely satisfactory because of varied evils and sufferings. Compare it to the unending stretch on the other side, with satisfaction beyond all we can imagine -- or woe beyond imagining. In such a perspective Paul could say and think: what situation we have here is not so important -- let us take care to fare well in the next world! He repeats (from 6:20): they were bought at the price of redemption by Jesus. But -- probably fearing someone might want to sell himself into slavery because of his remarks -- let them not do that. Rather, let them stay in the situation in which they were called. Summary of 1 Corinthians 7:25-35 Paul repeats his advice, that it is good to follow virginity/celibacy. This is not a command of the Lord. Paul gives it as advice, coming from one who has received the spiritual favor of abstention from marriage. This abstention is good because of the present necessity. So if one has a wife, he should not seek to be loosed. If one has no wife, better not to take one. If one does marry, he does not sin. And if a virgin marries, she dos not sin. But those who do marry will have tribulation of the flesh. Paul wishes to spare them that. The time is short. Hence, those who have wives should not be attached to them. Those who weep or rejoice should not be too much taken up with it. Those who buy should be detached from their

purchases. Those who use the world should not be attached to the world. For this world of appearance is transient. Paul would like them to be free of care. The unmarried one is concerned with the things of the Lord, to please the Lord. But the married person is concerned with the things of the world, to please the spouse. Similarly, the unmarried woman and the virgin are concerned with the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and in spirit. But the married woman needs to be concerned with things of the world, to please her husband. Paul gives this advice about not marrying not as a trap, but for what is good, to enable them to be with the Lord without being pulled in another direction. Comments on 7:25-35 The Lord does not command virginity. But Paul advises it, in the sense explained above in this chapter. Paul says he "has received mercy." In some places, "mercy" means a special favor in the external economy -- here, the grace of abstaining from marriage. Paul says this abstention is good because of "the present necessity." The words "present necessity" could have more than one meaning: 1) Some think Paul means that the end of the world is near. This is not true, it is based on the unfortunate interpretation of 1 Thessalonians 4:13 ff. which we examined and answered earlier. We therefore dismiss that proposal. One could hold it only by taking the word present (enestosan in Greek) to mean not present but imminent, and necessity would have to mean the troubles to come just before the end. The word necessity could have that meaning, but there is no entirely clear example of the word enestosan having the meaning of imminent instead of present. The word "necessity" is often used in the New Testament in no reference to the end, e.g., 2 Corinthians 6:4 and 12:10. 2) It is most likely that Paul means the difficulties of married life. We spoke of those earlier. Paul says in verse 18, that those who do marry will have "tribulation of the flesh." He is sparing them that in recommending virginity/ celibacy. Paul says "the time is short." Of course, those who think he thought the end was near would seize on that statement. But if one knows the usual way the Scriptures speak, it refers to the brevity of all time. 2 Peter 3:8 (echoing Psalm 90:4) says that in God's eyes a thousand years are like one day, and one day like a thousand years. Again, in Haggai 2:6-7 God says, "In a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth . . . and the treasures of all nations will come" into the temple. The lines clearly refer to the Messiah, who "in one moment, in a little while" was to come into the temple. But that prophecy was written in 520.B.C. So, many years in the eyes of God are as nothing. Also, the Christian regime is the final one of God's dealing with man.

Really, if we think back to early life, perhaps to when we were in second grade -- a school year then seemed indefinitely long. But a year in later life seems like very little. Time keeps picking up speed. Next Paul urges detachment from all the things of the world. We saw earlier in our comments on the first few verses of this chapter 7 what is meant by detachment -- not letting creatures get a hold on one, not letting them pull one. He speaks of this in reference to wives and all things. He says "the figure of this world is passing." That word figure can have either the sense of "the appearance that this world is" or, "the way this world is." Paul says he wants them to be free from care -- the unmarried are concerned with the things of the Lord, the married, with those of the world, how to please the spouse. Now in practice this does not always work out that way. It is probably best to think of these statements as in the focused type (we explained that in commenting on Galatians 2:15), or, to put it another way: the situation of being unmarried, as such, tends to produce freedom to attend to the Lord -- marriage, as such, tends to concern for the world and the mate. We recall the comments of St. Gregory of Nyssa quoted earlier in comments on the first 5 verses of this chapter 7. Paul says he does not want to cast a snare before them -- for if someone whom God has not called to abstention from marriage should try to live that way, it would be spiritually dangerous. Paul says rather his desire is to see them free from being "pulled in another direction" -we recall again our comparisons made on the first 5 verses of this chapter 7. Summary of 1 Corinthians 7:36-40 If a father thinks he is not giving the right treatment to his unmarried daughter, and if she is at the critical age, and it must be -- let him do what he wants: let her marry. But if the father has stood firm, and if there is no pressure (from the daughter), but the father is in control, and he has decided to keep his daughter a virgin, he will do well. So the one who gives her in marriage does well, but the one who does not give her does better. A married woman is bound to her husband while he lives. But if he dies, she is free to marry whomever she wishes -- but let it be in the Lord. However, she would be better off to remain unmarried, as Paul recommends. Paul thinks he too has the spirit of God. Comments on 7:36-40 We have given the traditional view of verses 36-38, making them speak of a father considering whether or not to arrange a marriage for his daughter. She is at the critical age -- i.e.,at the point of age where if she does not marry, she is unlikely to marry. If she is not pushing, so that the father is free, it is better to omit marriage. But it is not wrong if he does give her in marriage.

Another view would make these lines 36-38 refer to a man having a struggle controlling his sex drive -- this is not at all likely, for it would involve straining the meaning of several words. Still another proposal would have Paul speaking of a couple who are living together without indulging in sex. This too is very unlikely. Paul concludes the chapter by advising widows to remain unmarried. (He does not speak of widowers since usually the husband dies first). First Timothy 5:11-15 does not contradict the advice here. Rather, those in view in 1 Timothy are young widows, who do not behave well: better to remarry than that. Paul urges in addition that if a widow remarries, let her marry a Christian. Good advice -- there are enough openings for differences in marriage without having so great a difference. The chances for the Catholic party -- and the children -- to lose the faith are very high. The final comment is interesting. Paul says: "I think I too have the spirit of God." We suspect some charismatics at Corinth claimed to have a message contrary to the teaching of Paul. So he says that he too has the spirit of God. Summary of 1 Corinthians, Chapter 8 We all have knowledge about food sacrificed to idols. But knowledge by itself, without love, does not help one spiritually, it may even inflate a person with pride. So if someone is proud in his knowledge, he does not yet have the right kind of knowledge. But if one loves God, he is known and loved by God. Now about meat sacrificed in the temple of an idol: An idol is nothing. And the idols are not gods, they are nothing. Yes, there are many socalled gods and lords, but we know there is just one God, the Father, from whom all things exist, and we exist for Him. And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things exist, and we exist through Him. But not everyone has the right knowledge about idols, so as to know that food sacrificed to them is not changed, for the idol is nothing. However, some who eat food sacrificed to idols cannot get out of their head the notion that it is changed; they have grown up accustomed to thinking that way. So if they eat with that belief that the food is changed, then their conscience, which is weak, is defiled, and so the person sins. Food does not in itself make us acceptable before God. If we do not eat such meat we will not lack anything. If we do it, we will not have any abundance. But people who have the correct knowledge (that an idol, being nothing, changes nothing) should watch out that this knowledge of theirs does not result in scandal for the weak, i.e., in leading the weak into sin. For if someone sees a person who does have the right knowledge at table in the temple of an idol, will not the onlooker who

sees this, be led to do what his weak conscience considers sinful, namely, to eating food sacrificed to idols? Then that one who is weak in conscience would be destroyed by the knowledge of the one who knows -- that brother for whom Christ died! So one who acts this way, sins against the brothers, strikes their weak conscience, and sins against Christ. Therefore Paul says with emphasis: if food leads my brother into sin, I would rather not eat meat forever, to avoid scandalizing my brother. Comments on Chapter 8 We recall that in Acts 15 the Council of Jerusalem decided that gentile Christians did not have to be circumcised and keep the Mosaic law. Yet, as a concession to the feelings of Jews, it did ask the gentiles to avoid three things prohibited in the old law, one of which was eating food sacrificed to idols. When Paul was in the territory to which the letter was sent -- Cilicia and Syria -- he did preach this restriction (see Acts 16:4). But the rule did not apply outside that area. If the Vatican today sends a letter to the Bishops of one territory, it will have force only in that territory. So now at Corinth, far from Syria and Cilicia, Paul can and does reason: an idol is nothing. Nothing changes nothing. So the food is not changed. So you may eat it. But he adds a qualification: do not do it if it would cause scandal. Scandal means any word or act which either is evil, or will be seen by another as evil, in such a situation that the other will likely be led into doing what really is wrong, or what he thinks is wrong. To do what one thinks is wrong, is to act in bad faith, and is a sin, even if the thing in itself is not sinful, e.g., if someone thought to eat a banana was a mortal sin, and in that frame of mind ate one, he would sin mortally -- not from eating the banana, but from doing what he considered wrong. (But we may not turn that around and say: if a person thinks a thing is all right even if it is not, he does not sin. No, he is obliged to align his conscience with the teaching of the Church. We recall what we said on 1 Cor 4:4 about involuntary sin. God's love of what is objectively right is such that He wants some make-up even in such a case. (We should add: today, in such immense confusion, when priests and even bishops are teaching falsely, we could understand a person thinking something is all right when it is not, and yet not being guilty, because of the confusion). So Paul says that knowledge alone, without love, i.e., without considering the spiritual needs of others, is not good, it is apt to lead to the inflation of pride instead. Now the possibility of scandal arises in this way: Some of Paul's converts had grown up thinking food was changed by being offered to idols. It was not changed. Should Paul instruct them: "Just say Paul says it is all right?" Paul fears many would not digest this thought, and so, if led by social pressure (probably at a dinner) to eat food sacrificed to idols, would do it in bad faith, and so would sin. For a long

established fixed pattern of thought that one has grown up with is hard to dislodge, and therefore anything that tries to get into a person's mind that would clash with that established idea probably will not get in, or will not register. Long ago the Church used to require abstinence from meat on all Wednesdays and Fridays in Lent. But then at one point the U.S. Bishops announced it was permitted to eat meat on Wednesday in Holy Week. There had been a confusion in the minds of the Bishops: the general law required abstinence on Fridays and Saturdays. The U.S.Bishops got permission to transfer the Saturdays to Wednesday. But for a long time they did not notice the permission did not apply in Holy Week. Hence it finally was clear that people could eat meat on Wednesday in Holy Week. That seemed very strange or perverse to many old people. Some of them reacted by saying: "No! That is not the way I was brought up!" To induce such a one to eat by social pressure at a dinner would probably mean the old person would be acting in bad faith -- unable to get the idea into his head. And so he would sin. There would be scandal. The case Paul has in mind has the same psychology. Paul mentions a special case: suppose someone who does not grasp the truth about these foods sees you, who do know, reclining in the temple of an idol. Will that not lead the other to sin? Yes, it probably would. But we notice a problem. Paul surely does not mean one may take part in the rites of pagan temples. So there are two possible solutions: either Paul is here focusing on just one aspect of the matter (we recall how he focuses in relation to the law, especially as we saw it in Galatians 2:15, and in the glossary) -- or he has in mind a meal in a side room in a temple complex, so that the meal is not part of a temple ritual. Paul speaks vehemently: We must not lead someone into sin by this sort of scandal -- that would be to destroy a soul for whom Christ died! So Paul says vehemently: He would rather not eat meat forever than scandalize another. Summary of 1 Corinthians 9:1-22 Paul asks: Is he not free? is he not an Apostle? has he not seen Jesus the Lord? are not the Corinthians his work in the Lord? He says that even if he may not be an Apostle to some others, but surely he is to the Corinthians: they are the proof of his Apostleship. To those who try to speak against him, his defense is this: He insists he does have the right to get support from the churches he serves, he has the right to marry a Christian woman just as the other Apostles and the Brothers of the Lord and Kephas do. Do only he and Barnabas lack the right of not having to work for their own support? No one serves as a soldier at his own expense. No one plants a vineyard and does not share in its fruit. No one shepherds a flock and does not get some of the milk.

It is not just these human comparisons or reasonings that he depends on. For the Scripture itself says the same. For example in the Law of Moses we read: "You must not muzzle the ox that treads the grain." Now God did not make the law just for the sake of oxen -- no, it was for our sake, so that we could see that the one who plows should be able to hope to get part of the crop, and the one who threshes, similarly. Paul has sown spiritual things among them. So it is not asking a lot if he were to ask for material support. Others share in that right, does not Paul have all the more right? But he has refrained from using this right, he has put up with much to avoid making any hindrance to the Gospel by asking for support. The priests in the Temple eat from the offerings in the temple. So the Lord also commanded that those who preach the Gospel should live thereby. But he, Paul, has not made use of this right. However, he is not writing this way to hint he wants material support. He would rather die than do that! To preach the Gospel is no great credit for him, for that is just his assignment. If he does it willingly, he will have pay from Christ. If he does it grudgingly, he would be just a functionary. The "pay" he has in mind is that of making the Gospel free of charge. Even though he is a free man, yet he has acted as a slave [working without pay], in order to gain as many as possible for Christ. So his policy is this: He will be like a Jew to the Jews, to gain the Jews. He will be like one under the Law, to gain those who are under the Law. He will be like one free of the Law -- though He is not free from the law of God, but under the law of Christ -- to gain those who are outside the Law. He becomes like one who is weak to gain the weak. To all men he becomes all things, so as to save all, by all means. Comments on 9:1-22 To understand Paul rightly in this stretch it is very important, as we shall see after a bit, that we must keep clearly in mind what he is doing. He began by speaking of food sacrificed to idols, and said the food was not changed and so one could eat it. But then he added: in case of scandal, do not eat. He spoke very strongly: you must not, for the sake of a piece of meat, ruin a soul for which Christ died!. He even died, died terribly. Cannot you give up this little? Now in this chapter and the next chapter he continues to plead most earnestly: do not ruin a soul for a piece of meat. To support this plea he says in effect: Look how far I am going to save your souls. I could accept financial support for my work. People in all walks in life get their support from their work. So do the priests in the Temple. Both pagan and Jewish priests do that. But I am giving that up to help you reach the great goal of eternal life! Then Paul presents his own principle on which he decides everything. First, it is taken for granted he will not do anything wrong, will not contradict the principles of Christ. But on all other things, he will be as adaptable as needed: he will be a Jew to the Jews, all things to all men.

(Incidentally, this is a splendid sort of policy for anyone to follow: never give in on principle, but be as adaptable as needed on everything else). Summary of 1 Corinthians 9:23-27 Paul sums up: He does everything for the Gospel, so he can share in it, that is, reach eternal life through it. He reminds them: those who compete in the stadium in the Isthmian games all compete, but only one can get the prize. So the Christians should run in such a way as to get the prize. In those games, those who compete give up many things [athletic training]. They do it in the hope of getting a crown of leaves that does not last. But we are competing for eternal life, and whereas in the games, only one can get the prize, in the race for eternal life, not just one, but all can get that prize! Paul personally acts the same way as do the great athletes: he does not run without knowing where he is going. He does not hit at the air. No, he hits his body under the eyes, and leads it around like a slave, so that after preaching to others, he himself may not be disqualified in the race, that is, lose the eternal crown. Comments on 9:23-27 Paul continues to plead: keep your eyes on the goal of eternal life, and do not cause someone to lose it just for a piece of meat. He appeals to the example of the athletes who give up so much in athletic training in the hope of winning a crown of leaves in the Isthmian games (held every two years at Corinth). Only one of them can win -but in the race for eternal life, all can win. Should we not be willing to give up many things, like those athletes, when we are out for an eternal prize, not just a crown of leaves? He again gives his own example. He does not go off in all directions in the race. He does not strike blows at the air. No, he hits his body under the eyes -- the exact translation of Greek hypopiazo. In Greek boxing, there were no padded gloves. So a blow under the eyes would be likely to be a knockout. Then the winner would wait until the loser came to, and then would put a rope around his neck,and lead him around the stadium like a slave. Hardly sportsmanship! But that was the way it was done. So Paul says he is very hard on his body. If he does not do that, it might rebel, lead him into sin, and he might be disqualified in the race for eternal life even though he had preached to others. It is very important to keep in mind the context. Paul is not urging them to get just an added prize (as the Anchor Bible tries to claim, on p.243) -- no, he is urging them to avoid causing eternal death to another. And if they do so they will sin mortally too, and be disqualified in the race whose prize is eternal life. It is the same for himself. He fears not just losing an added prize, but eternal life itself, just as the Corinthians would risk losing eternal life for themselves and for the one they would scandalize. Furthermore, the treatment Paul gives himself

-- hitting under the eyes, leading around like a slave -- that is, to put it mildly, rather rough for just something added, but quite in order to avoid loss of eternal life. The reason the Anchor Bible tries to make the claim that it is only a matter of some added thing is obvious. If we recognize that Paul really is speaking of gaining the prize of eternal life, then what he says destroys Luther's claim of infallible salvation by once in a lifetime "taking Christ as your personal Savior." Surely if anyone ever did take Christ as his personal Savior, Paul did. Yet he does not feel he is infallibly saved. Far from it, he has to work hard (not to earn it but to avoid "blowing it." Please see again the comments on Galatians 2:1521 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Even more basically, we saw already in our comments on 1 Thessalonians 1:3 that what Paul means by faith, when he speaks of justification by faith, is very different from what Luther thought. Even the Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, Supplement, p.333 , a standard Protestant reference work, knows that what Paul means by faith is quite different: If God speaks a truth, we must believe it in our minds; if He makes a promise, we must be confident He will keep it; if He tells us to do something, we must do it, in the "obedience of faith" [Romans 1:5], all of this to be done in love. Quite a contrast to just thinking Christ is my Savior, He has paid for my sins! Yes He has, but that is not what Paul means by faith. (We find that by using a concordance, finding every place where Paul uses the word faith and related words, reading all in context, keeping notes, adding up the result). Furthermore, we should add this: If Luther were right, Paul would have no reason to be so concerned about a person sinning in scandal. He would not tell them they must not ruin a soul for whom Christ died. Rather, he would say with Luther22: "Even if you sin greatly, believe still more greatly." So in Luther's view it would not mean eternal ruin if the man did sin in scandal. He would need only to believe Christ paid for that sin, and all would be well. Summary of 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 Paul speaks forcefully: He does not want them to be ignorant that their spiritual ancestors, the Hebrews all went under the cloud, and all went through the sea, and all were "baptized" in Moses in the cloud and sea. All ate the same spiritual food, the manna, and all drank the same spiritual drink, from the spiritual rock that followed them, but the rock was Christ. Yet, God was not pleased with the majority of them, and they were laid low in the desert. What happened to them were prophecies by actions, foreshadowings of what we have, so we might not desire evil things as they did, or go into idol worship, as some of them did, for: "The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to take their pleasure."

So Paul urges them: Do not be sexually immoral as some of them were. Twenty-three thousands of them fell in one day. And they must not tempt the Lord as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents. Some of them murmured. We must not do that. They were destroyed. These things that happened to them were types, prophecies by actions. Scripture tells us these things to bring us to our senses: the final age has come to us. So if someone thinks he is standing, he must look out for a fall. No temptation has struck them yet except the kind that people in general have. However, God is faithful to His promise, and will not allow them to be tempted more than they can bear. He will provide also along with the temptation, a way out, so they can bear it. Comments on 10:1-13 We need to keep in mind that Paul is still working hard to persuade them not to give scandal, to give up meat at times to avoid scandal, to avoid ruining a soul for which Christ died. In this section he gives a number of Old Testament incidents. He calls them types, that is, foreshadowings. That means that the actions were prophecies of what was to come. The Fathers of the Church were fond of looking for types, e.g., the ark was a type of the Church, Isaac carrying the wood on which to be sacrificed was a type of Christ. The ancient Hebrews were the People of God, but that did not mean they had it made. They fell into sin and were destroyed for it. Paul clearly does not have in mind that they had it made if they were part of the people of God -- a foreshadowing of the new people of God, which, according to Luther would be those who "take Christ as their personal Savior" and then need not worry if they do sin. But Paul indicates here that the ancient people of God did not have it made. Neither should the Corinthians think they are secure because they are the people of God, and so could sin by scandal without being punished. They could be destroyed too. According to Luther that would not be possible. They were all "baptized" by being under the cloud and passing through the sea. This foreshadowed Baptism. The cloud was that spoken of in Exodus 13:21. God went before them in a column of cloud by day, a pillar of fire by night. They had as spiritual food the manna that fell daily in the desert, and which prefigured the Eucharist. And they drank from the spiritual rock. It was called spiritual because of the spiritual origin of the water thatt came from it, and because it was a "type" or foreshadowing. There was a rabbinic legend that the rock actually followed them. Paul can make use of it without endorsing it, much as we can quote from Alice in Wonderland to illustrate something without thinking the story of Alice was true. A similar usage appears in the Epistle of Jude 9. But further, God is often called the Rock in the Old Testament 23 and He was always

present with them. In Exodus 17:6 God said He would be standing there in front of them on the rock from which the waters came. Deuteronomy 8:16 says it was God who brought the water out of the rock for them. Paul calls the rock Christ -- he applies the property of God to Christ. There were several rebellious actions by the Hebrews in the desert. Psalm 78:30-31 tells of their being laid low in the desert for their murmuring. "The people sat down to eat and drink and rose to take their pleasure." This line is from Exodus 32:6, the incident of the golden calf. The people got tired of waiting for Moses who went up onto Sinai for 40 days and nights, and finally they prevailed on Aaron to make them a golden calf, which they worshipped. The pleasure may well have been sexual. The incident in which 23,000 fell was that in which they sinned with the daughters of Moab, who also got them into idolatry: Numbers 25:19. This was right after the marvelous prophecy of Balaam in the preceding chapter! Paul gives the number as 23,000 even though Numbers 25:9 reports 24,000. The answer is that Semites were not precise about numbers. Hence Pius XII, in Divino afflante spiritu24 speaks of semitic approximation and hyperbole as normal for them. (Consider also the fact that their day was divided into 12 hours for the daylight period, even though the length of an hour would vary constantly throughout the year). The incident of the serpents to which Paul refers seems to be that of Numbers 21:6-9. After the people murmured, God sent saraph serpents that bit and killed them. When they begged Moses for help, God told him to put up a bronze serpent on a pole. Anyone who was bitten and looked at it, would be healed. This of course was a type of the cross. Incidentally, though God had prohibited making images (Exodus 20:4-5), He ordered this. This shows that the prohibition was not against making all images, just things to worship. The next incident of murmuring to which Paul alludes without being precise is probably that of the rebellion of Korah, Dathan and Abiron against Moses, in Numbers 16. After recalling these things, Paul draws his conclusion: these things were prophecies by actions. They show us that to be a member of the people of God is not enough. One must avoid sin too. So they cannot get away with giving scandal by leading others into sin over meat sacrificed to idols. He says the ends of the ages have come upon them. It means that the Christian regime is the last period of God's dealing with the human race. There is to be no other regime to supplant it. 25 So Paul goes on warning them: they have not had any extraordinary temptation yet. Was he perhaps thinking of persecutions which were coming? But in any case, God is faithful to His promises, and He will give them the

strength needed. We think here of the promises of the grace of final perseverance which Paul gave in 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; Philippians 1:6; 1 Corinthians 1:8-9. Summary of 1 Corinthians 10:14-33 and 11:1 He urges his beloved Christians to flee from idol worship. He speaks to them inasmuch as they are sensible people. He asks them to see for themselves. Their cup of blessing is a sharing in the blood of Christ. The bread they break is a sharing of the body of Christ. For they all, though they are many, are one bread and one body, for they all share in the one bread. Similarly, the racial Jews who eat of the sacrificed victims share in that altar. Turning again to the pagan temples, he says that he does not mean that something is changed by being sacrificed to idols, or that an idol is something. No, but what the pagans sacrifice, they, in effect, sacrifice to the demons and not to God. So the Christians should not want to be sharers with demons. They cannot drink of the cup of the Lord and of the cup of the demons too. They cannot share in the table of the Lord and the table of demons. They should not want to provoke the Lord to jealous anger. They are not stronger than He is, are they? [Someone might object, quoting Paul against Paul]: "Everything is permitted, for we are free from the law." The reply: Not all things are good for us. [Objection returns] "Everything is permitted" Reply: But not all things are spiritually helpful. So, we should not seek our own interests, but be concerned about the other person. [Conclusion] They can eat everything sold in the market, asking no questions because of conscience. So, if some pagan invites a Christian out to eat, and he goes, he may eat whatever is served, asking no questions because of conscience. However -- if someone at table says: "This was sacrificed to idols," then, they must not eat, because of the conscience of the one who said that. [Objection] "Why should our freedom be destroyed because of the conscience of someone else? Why should anyone speak ill of us because of food over which we have said grace?" [Reply] Whether we eat or drink or do anything whatsoever -- we should do all for the glory of God, and avoid giving scandal to Jews, to Greeks, and to Christians. Paul accommodates himself to all in everything, he is all things to all men. He does not look out for what is useful for him, but for the others so they may be saved. So they should imitate him. He imitates Christ. Comments on 10-14:33 and 11:1 Paul now returns to the main topic: May they eat food sacrificed to idols, which he began at the start of chapter 8. In between he devoted a long fervent discourse to urging them not to give scandal in eating meat sacrificed to idols. Then they would ruin a soul, for a piece of meat, a soul for whom Christ died.

Now, even though Paul has said that an idol is nothing and nothing changes nothing, he has something to add. He opens by saying that the blessed cup ("cup of blessing" is a Hebraism) they drink means sharing in the blood of Christ, and the bread is a sharing in the body of Christ. Even though they are many, they are one by sharing in the one bread. Then he makes a parallel to the racial Jews: those who eat from the victims that have been sacrificed share in the altar. It is implied that those who share in the victims sacrificed to idols share in the idol's altar. But: What of the fact he has said the idol is nothing and the food is not changed? He does not deny that. But he adds that behind idol worship are the demons. In that sense, to eat the food sacrificed to idols in the temple ritual would be sharing with demons. They cannot share both with the Lord and with demons! They cannot drink the Lord's cup and the cup of demons too, or share in the table of the Lord and the table of demons. He says they must not provoke the Lord to jealous anger -comparing Him to a lover jealous of his beloved. Paul may have confused readers by this time. At one moment he speaks of taking part in the temple ritual; at another moment he is thinking of scandal given outside that ritual, at a private dinner. It still remains true, and he does not deny it that to eat it outside of temple ritual is harmless, unless there is scandal. But Paul is thinking of the kind of case we mentioned earlier: when eating would pressure someone with weak conscience into eating when he would think it sinful to eat. We should notice too the implication of the above. He compares the Eucharist to the sacrifices of Jews and of pagans, clearly implying that the Eucharist is basically a sacrifice, in which those who take part are given part of the victim after it is offered. The Eucharist is a sacrifice, because a sacrifice in our theology has two parts (We can gather this from Isaiah 29:13: "This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me." We notice the two parts, lips, that is externals, and heart, that is, interior dispositions). In the Eucharist the outward sign on Holy Thursday was the seeming separation of body and blood, by having the two species. This stood for death, and expressed His willingness to die in obedience, the interior disposition of His heart. (The picture is the same in the Mass, same outward sign, same interior disposition. On Friday the outward sign changed to the actual separation of body and blood. But the interior, His obedience to the Father, was the same, was really continuous from Thursday, in fact, from His entry into the world when He said: "Behold, I come to do your will, O God" [Hebrews 10:7]. In the Mass, His disposition is continuous from Thursday and Friday: death makes permanent the attitude of soul with which one leaves this world.). Paul next imagines an objector who still does not want to have to give up meat anytime to avoid scandal. The objector invokes Paul's

principle that they are free from the law. Paul replies in the same way as what we saw in 1 Corinthians 6:12, where they also quoted Paul against Paul, and he replied that such things are not good for them, do not help spiritually. He sums up: You may eat things sacrificed to idols, except when there is scandal. Then the objector returns: "Why should my freedom be taken away because of someone else's conscience?" Paul replies with a very general principle: Whatever we do, it must be for the glory of God. To give scandal and thereby ruin a soul for whom Christ died, is not for the glory of God. Paul, as he said before, becomes all things to all, so they may be saved. So they should imitate him, as he imitates Christ. It is interesting to notice this final thought is the same as that in the Rabbinic document, Tosefta, Berakoth 4.1, in which we read: "No one should use his face, his hands, or his feet, except for the glory of the Creator." It means: To use a pleasure without reference to God, merely pleasure for pleasure's sake, would be wrong. About the heading of this section: Paul of course did not make divisions into chapters and verses. The division here was made very badly, putting the start of a new chapter in the middle of a sentence. Summary of 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 Paul praises them for remembering him, and for holding to the traditions he has given them. He says that God is the head of Christ, Christ the head of every man, the man is the head of the woman. As a result, if a man prays or gives prophetic discourse with a covering on his head, that is a disgrace. On the other hand, if a woman prays or gives a prophetic discourse without a veil, she disgraces her head. She might as well have her head shaved. If a woman does not have a veil, she should be shaved. But if that is disgraceful, let her have a veil. But the man must not cover his head, since he is the image of the glory of God; the woman is the reflection of the man's glory. In the beginning, the first woman came from the man. And the man was not created for the sake of the woman, but the woman for the man. For this reason, the woman should have a sign of authority on her head in view of the angels. However, neither is the woman without the man nor the man without the woman in the Lord. For just as the woman first came from the man, so also the man is born through the woman. But all are from God. Nature itself tells us that if the man lets down his hair, it is a dishonor; but if the woman lets down her hair, it is a glory for her. Her hair was given her as a covering. If anyone wishes to wrangle, our answer is: we do not have such a custom, nor do the churches of God. Comments on 11:2-16

Is Paul, in calling for veils for women, just repeating the custom of the times, or is there a theological principle? There is no doubt he does bring in a theological principle in verse 3 in saying that God is the head of Christ, Christ the head of the man, the man the head of the woman. We will see a similar thought in 14:34 where Paul appeals to the Law, i.e., the Old Testament. But the further question is this: Is the answer here basically controlled by custom or by theological principle? It is clear from the whole passage, which is loosely argued, and depends more on some sort of fittingness than on anything decisive, and especially it is clear from the last line, that it is basically custom. For at the end, the bottom line is: If someone wants to argue, we reply: We do not have such a custom as letting women be without veils in praying and prophesying. First, we must remember that prophesying does not mean basically foretelling the future; in Paul's usage it means using a charismatic gift of giving an effective exhortation to the community. A special problem is raised by what some think is a conflict between verse 5 and 14:34, where Paul orders women to be silent in the church. For it could be implied in 11:5 that if a woman does have a veil, she may prophesy in the church. We will see the various solutions proposed when we reach 14:34. But for now it is sufficient to notice that all we would need to suppose is that we have a special case of focusing here, that is, Paul keeps his whole attention on one point: Women should not prophesy without a veil. He does not mean to say anything about whether or not she may do so if she does have a veil. This is basically the pattern of speaking we saw so many times in relation to the law, where Paul usually takes a focused picture (i.e, his vision is artificially limited as if he were looking through a tube, and sees only the things within the circle made by the tube. Then he would say: the law makes heavy demands, gives no strength, so a fall is inevitable) in contrast to a factual picture (which removes the limit of the circle, lets us see things nearby: the law still makes heavy demands and it gives no strength, but help is available in divine grace, not given in any relation to the law). A comment about the angels mentioned in 11:10: the people of Qumran believed angels were present at liturgical services, which is not a foolish thought. And also the angels were thought of as guardians of the natural order. Summary of 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 Paul is going to give an instruction, and he cannot praise them, because their coming together does not make them better but worse. For when they do meet in the church there are, he hears, cliques among them. He believes that is somewhat true. He says it is inevitable that there be such cliques, with the result that those worthy of approval become evident.

When they do meet, it is not to eat the Lord's meal. For each one goes ahead and eats without waiting for the others. Further, one goes hungry, another has too much. So he asks: Don't they have houses for eating and drinking? Do they look down on those who have nothing and thereby shame the church? He says he cannot praise them for this. He reports what he received from the Lord, and passed on to them: On the night on which the Lord was betrayed, He took bread, gave thanks, broke it and said: This is my body, which is for you. Do this in memory of me. Similarly after eating, He took the cup and said: This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Whenever you do this, do it in memory of me. For whenever they eat this bread and drink this cup, they proclaim the death of the Lord until He returns at the end of time. Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily is guilty of [profaning] the body and blood of the Lord. So each one should examine his conscience and then [if he finds himself fit] eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For the one who eats and drinks [unworthily] eats and drinks condemnation for himself. He does not distinguish the body [of the Lord from common bread]. Because of sins of this sort, many in the community are sick and weak, and quite a few have died. But if these people examined themselves [before sharing in the Eucharist] they would not be condemned. But in being judged by the Lord, they are being educated so they may not have to be condemned along with the world. So when they come together to eat, they should wait for one another. If someone is hungry he should eat in his house, so condemnation may not be the result of their meeting. Paul will arrange the other things when he comes. Comments on 11:17-34 Paul is disturbed about the meals they have before the Eucharist. There is no community spirit, but small groups, some of which have too much, others little or nothing. The word "drunk" need not mean they had so much as to seriously damage their ability to think and make judgments, though that could have been true in some cases. It merely means some excess. When he says they come together in the church it would not mean a special building, which was not to be had at so early a date. They met instead in some large house. Many translations here use a purpose form, that is, they say it is necessary or inevitable that there be such cliques in order that those who are good may stand out. But that is hardly the purpose of the people. Rather, it is just the result. The Greek conjunction hina used by Paul has both meanings. In many passages the translators are too prone to use a wording that expresses purpose when result is appropriate. Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic all have more than one

structure capable of meaning either purpose or result, according to the general thought. The word is in "this is my body" would be omitted in Hebrew and Aramaic, but Paul properly supplies it in his Greek. Can we prove from these words that there is a real abiding presence? The context here favors that, in that Paul speaks of a sin against the body and blood of the Lord. But even if it were only symbolism, he could speak that way. Really, we depend on the interpretation, the on-going teaching of the Church for this. The Church from the start has taught the real presence. The teaching was crystallized in the definitions of the Council of Trent.26 Trent in DS 1637 appealed to the universal faith of the Church. It also even used the word "transubstantiation" in DS 1652. The word there is not to be taken in the technical AristotelianThomistic sense, but in the everyday sense of a change of the substance of the bread and wine into that of the body and blood of Christ. It is likely enough that the bishops at Trent did have that technical framework in their minds, but we cannot prove it from these words. And what is merely in their minds without being expressed does not count. In recent times there has been a proposal within Catholic circles to say there is only a "transignification" or change of meaning in the bread and wine, with no real transformation. This error was already condemned by the Council of Trent, against the Protestants. On Sept 3, 1965, Paul VI, in Mysterium fidei, specifically rejected the proposal of transsignification and said that the ancient documents of the Church, even if the language might be improved in some cases, yet that language was and is perfectly correct. The Doctrinal Congregation, in a letter to the Bishops of July 24, 1966, reemphasized the teaching of Paul VI. And again, the same Doctrinal Congregation, in Mysterium Ecclesiae of June 24, 1973, reaffirmed the teaching of the Mysterium fidei, since denials of the Real Presence were continuing. It admitted there can be "historical conditioning" of words, but never such that the original statement was incorrect, or positively unsuitable to express the truth. There is some variation in the four places in the New Testament in which we find the Eucharistic words. Luke 22:19 ff. says: "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in memory of me. . . . This cup [is] the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you." Mark 14:22 ff. has: "Take, this is my body. And taking the cup, after giving thanks, He gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And He said to them: This is my blood of the covenant, which is shed for many." Matthew 26:26 ff. has: "Take, eat, this is my body. And taking a cup and having given thanks He gave it to them saying: Drink from this all of you. For this is my blood, of the covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."

We underlined the word many in the texts of Matthew and Mark. Luke and Paul do not have those words. Many today have charged that the present English Mass is invalid, since it says "all" instead of "many." They say that a substantial change in the words for a sacrament makes it invalid. There is such a principle. But to decide what is a substantial change is the prerogative of the Church, not of individuals, unless they are acting like Protestants. The Church has approved the use of all in the English version. The Pope when in the U.S. often used it. In Italy he uses per tutti, meaning "for all." So those who insist the Mass is invalid are really lacking in faith, in the protection of Christ for His Church. Turning to philology, we notice that the word used by Our Lord, if He was speaking Hebrew -- likely enough for so solemn an event -- would have been rabbim. (We recall that Jewish boys learned to read with the Hebrew Old Testament) It often had a special sense, that is, "the all who are many." If I were with three people, I could say all, but could not say many. There are five instances of this usage in the prophecy of the passion in Isaiah 52:3 -- 53:12. This is especially clear since in 53:6 it is said that "we all had gone astray . . . the Lord has laid on him the guilt of us all." In this line the word for us all is the familiar kulanu, whose sense no one would doubt. Then in verse 11, referring to the same persons, the just servant will "make just rabbim," the same persons of course. And similarly in 53:12 it is said that he took on "the sins of rabbim."27 In case He was then speaking Aramaic the word saggi'in at least at times, especially when translating Hebrew rabbim could have that sense. It is found for example in the Aramaic Targum on Isaiah 53:ll.28 St. Paul used here the Greek polloi. Every time Paul uses that word as a noun, it always means all, in the sense of Hebrew rabbim. For example in Romans 5:19: "Just as by the disobedience of the one man, the many [polloi] were made sinners, so by the obedience of the one man the many [polloi] will be constituted just." In the first half of the line, Paul speaks of original sin, which certainly came upon all, not just upon many.29 We saw in commenting on 10:16-22 that Paul has in mind that the Eucharist is not only a sacred meal but also and basically a sacrifice. When Paul says, in 11:26, that whenever we both eat the bread and drink the cup, we proclaim the death of Jesus, he is pointing to the fact that the Eucharist is a sacrifice. In a sacrifice there are two elements: 1) the outward sign, 2) the interior dispositions. The outward sign is there to express and perhaps promote the interior. It is the interior that gives it its value. Now at the Last Supper, the outward sign was the seeming separation of His body and blood. There would not be such a sign if both species were not present, to express seeming separation of body and blood. It is as if He were saying to the Father: "Father, I know the command you have given me. I am to die tomorrow. Very good, I turn myself over to death (expressed by the seeming separation). I

accept, I obey." The next day He carried out that pledge. His interior disposition of obedience was the same, in fact it continued. But the outward sign shifted to the physical separation of body and blood in death. Today on our altars, He makes Himself present through the priest in the same outward sign as that which He used at the Last Supper. His interior disposition is the same as that with which He died, in fact, it is not repeated, it is continuous. For death makes permanent the attitude of heart with which one leaves this life. This, then, is why Paul speaks of the need of both species. One alone would not express death. (Paul uses either instead of both in the next verse, which speaks of Communion, for in Communion we receive the whole Christ under either one of the two species). Our participation in the sacrifice of the altar is partly exterior, making responses, singing etc. But the essential participation is in joining our obedience to His. One way that could be done is to take a bit of time before a Mass and look back: What have I done since the last Mass in obeying the will of the Father? Whatever has been done well, can be joined with His offering. If some things are defective, apology is in order. Then I can also look ahead to the time soon to come. Sometimes, but not always, I will see something coming up in which I know what His will is, but am not eager to do it. So I ask myself: Do I really mean to do His will? If not, this is no place for me. But if I do, then both future and past are focused into one present moment -- that moment is the one in which He again, through the agency of the priest, becomes present on the altar in the double consecration. That consecration itself is the offering. Other things, even the great Amen are a sort of psychological extension, not the essential offering. Paul also gives the words of institution which speak of the blood of the covenant. The first great covenant was Sinai, in which God said through Moses (Exodus 19:5): "If you really hearken to my voice and keep my covenant, you will be my special people." Jeremiah 31:31ff. foretold a new covenant, in which the essential condition would still be obedience. Did Jeremiah see that the essential obedience would be that of Jesus? We do not know if he saw it. But we know now. So in the Mass He does hearken to the voice of the Father, He obeys, expressing His willingness even to die again -- though of course that will not be asked of Him. We were not present when He made that pledge on Thursday evening, nor when He carried it out on Friday. Hence He added: "Do this in memory of me," so we would have the opening to join with His offering. Why should there be a Mass, when Jesus completed His sacrifice once-for-all on Calvary (Hebrews 9:28)? It is one thing for Him to earn all forgiveness and grace, another thing for us to receive it -- to receive it, we must be open. That means we must be not only members of Christ, but also like Him. Hence Romans 8:17: "We are heirs of God, fellow heirs with Christ, provided that we suffer with Him so we may

also be glorified with Him." This is the syn Christo theme,"with Christ." We find it in Romans 6:3 and 8 and 8:17, and in Colossians 3:1 & 4; and Ephesians 2:5-6; cf. also 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 and Galatians 5:1926. Protestant mistakes on this point are so common. Some say Jesus did all, His work is infinite, so we need do nothing but accept. Luther even said therefore we can sin as much as we want. In his Epistle of August 1, 1521 to Melanchthon: "Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly. . . . No sin will separate us from the Lamb, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day."30 But they forget what we have just said, the need of being open to receive. And they forget that faith includes obedience to God: Romans 1:5. So it cannot justify disobedience. 31 Others are so foolish as to say Catholicism is not even Christian, for it implies the work of Christ is not complete. Again, we have just answered that. In passing, we notice that in the first consummation of the covenant, His Mother was there, and taking part, "by design of divine providence" as Vatican II said. In the Constitution on the Church 61 we read: ". . . in suffering with Him as He died on the cross, she cooperated in the work of the Savior, in an altogether singular way, by obedience, faith, hope and burning love, to restore supernatural life to souls." So she joined in, shared in the very covenant condition, obedience, which gave all its value to the sacrifice. She did it at the cost of immense suffering, for since all spiritual perfection consists in alignment of one's will with the will of God, she was then called on to positively will that He die, die then, die so dreadfully. She had to do this in going counter to her love for Him which was so great that Pius IX said of her 32 that her holiness/love was so great that "none greater under God can be thought of, and no one but God can comprehend it." Literally, then, her suffering to join in the redemption was such that only God can comprehend it! In 11:17 Paul continues, saying that "whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily, is guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord." For He dies no more, no more is body and blood separated. So if one receives either, he receives both. So it is quite significant that Paul in 11:26 uses and, but in 11:27 uses or. Paul next, quite obviously, calls for an examination of conscience, to see if one is in the state of grace at least. If not, to eat and drink is to eat and drink condemnation. Some commentators at this point, unfortunately, with a contorted view say the body and blood mean the community, for we are the body of Christ, as the members of His Mystical Body. We are that. But in context we know what Paul is talking of. Paul next adds that because of unworthy Communions many are sick and weak and even some have died. In Paul's day, everyone at Baptism received miraculous gifts. More on these in chapters 12 -14,

although we saw something already in Galatians 3:2 where Paul asks them how they received the Spirit -- by works, or by faith. They could tell which it was, because God's hand was showing openly in granting the miraculous gifts. So if God worked so openly on the positive, the good side, in that day, it was quite in line for Him to be equally open on the negative side, the side of punishment. We saw the theme of "filling up the measure of sins" in 1 Thessalonians 2:16. It would be good to review the comments we had on that passage. When Paul now says that when we are punished "we are being educated" by the Lord, so we may not have to be condemned with this world, he has in mind that theme. That insistence on examining oneself is of major importance in all periods of time. Today many are getting lax about receiving, making no preparation, no thanksgiving afterwards. Pope John Paul II, in his very first Encyclical, Redemptor hominis (20), explained that if one does not really work at receiving, there will not only be no spiritual gain, but even a loss. Summary of 1 Corinthians, Chapter 12 Paul very much wants them to learn about "spiritual things," that is, charismatic gifts. When they were pagans, they went to dumb idols whenever they were driven by their leaders. So he needs to tell them: If a person is speaking in the Spirit of God, he will not say "Cursed be Jesus." Also, no one can confess that Jesus is the Lord (divine) except by the Holy Spirit. There are many kinds of charisms, but the same Spirit; there are many kinds of ministries, but the same Lord; and there are many kinds of works, but the same Lord who works (produces) all things in all. Each one gets a kind of manifestation of the Spirit for the good of the community. One gets wisdom in discourse, another, the power to express knowledge, another gets the kind of faith that brings miracles, another gets the gift of healing, another gets the gift of working miracles, another gets prophecy, another receives the power to tell what kind of spirit is at work, another gets various kinds of tongues, another gets the gift of interpreting the tongues. It is one and the same Spirit that produces all these gifts, distributing them as is fitting to each one, as He wills. The human body is a unit, but it has many parts. All the parts make up the one body. It is the same with [the body of] Christ. For by the one Spirit we were baptized into [so as to be parts of] the one body of Christ. There are many different kinds of members in the body of Christ. So it would be wrong for the foot to say that it does not belong to the body because it is not a hand. Or for the ear to say because it is not an eye, it does not belong to the body. If the whole body were just an eye, there would be no hearing; if the whole body were just the sense of hearing, there would be no sense of smell.

In reality, God has placed the various members in the body as He willed. If there were only one kind of part, there would be no body. But really, there are varied kinds of members, forming one body. The eye cannot tell the hand it does not need hands; nor can the head tell the feet they are not needed. Those parts of the body that seem weaker are all the more necessary. And those that seem less honorable receive more abundant honor. Our unpresentable members have more abundant "presentability." Yet the presentable members are not in need. God has made wise provisions for a variety of members in the body, giving more abundant honor to the member that is lacking, so there may be no dissension in the body. The members take care of one another. If one member suffers, all suffer with it. If one member is honored, all rejoice with it. So the Corinthians are the body of Christ, and individually are its parts. God has put these members in His Church: first, Apostles, second, prophets, third, teachers, then wonder-workers, then those with gifts of healing, then helpers of the poor, administrators, and those with various kinds of tongues. Not all are Apostles are they? Nor are all prophets are they? Not all are teachers are they? Not all are wonder-workers are they? Not all have the gifts of healing do they? Not all speak in tongues, do they? Not all interpret tongues do they? Be eager for the better gifts. Comments on Chapter 12 Chapters 12-14 deal with charismatic graces. In Paul's day of course, precise terminology had not yet developed. It is that way with every field of knowledge, time is required. Sometimes a new term is coined; at other times an agreement is reached that at least in precise writing, the meaning of a broad everyday word will be artificially limited. We now will write with the help of the later precision of language. Yet the ideas were all there in Paul's Epistles. Grace is any gift from God to human beings. There are two great groups of graces: sanctifying and charismatic. Sanctifying graces are those that are aimed at making the recipient holy; charismatic graces are not directly aimed at that (though they incidentally may help) but they are for some benefit to the community. Sanctifying graces include two kinds: habitual (also called sanctifying grace) and actual graces, that is, graces God gives me here and now to lead and enable me to do a particular good thing now. (We spoke of these in comments on Philippians 2:13). Charismatic graces also come in two kinds: the miraculous, and the non-miraculous. The latter, the kind that are not miraculous, are offered to everyone. They include the gift of being a good parent, a good teacher, etc. (Vatican II spoke of these in Constitution on the Church 12).

The principles and policies God has chosen to follow are quite different in the two areas. Sanctifying graces are needed for salvation. Since God wants all to be saved, He offers them to all abundantly. The receptivity of the individual determines what he gets, i.e., he gets them if he does not reject them (see also our discussion on Philippians 2:13). But with charismatic graces the rule is: The Spirit gives them where He wills, and independently of the qualities or receptivity of the one who gets them. Hence the frightening conclusion: someone could even work miracles and not even be in the state of sanctifying grace! We gather this from Matthew 7:22-23: "Many will say to me on that day [the day of the end]: Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name and cast out devils in your name, and worked many miracles in your name? And then I will tell them: Depart from me, you who work iniquity. I never knew you." So, someone might work miracles and not even be in the state of grace! As we read further, we will see that Paul thinks the Corinthians are practically childish about the miraculous charismatic gifts, especially, about tongues. He will warn them in several ways about that. Practically at the start of chapter 12 Paul warns them about an experience they had when they were pagans. Then they knew a phenomenon called "enthusiasm." The Greek words meant having a god inside them. Then the person might act wildly, and even curse the god inside him. So Paul has to tell them it is not that way with the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit. If someone curses Jesus, it is not the good Spirit that is within. From this we readily gather that there can be three sources of these miraculous gifts: the good Spirit, the evil spirit, and we would add, autosuggestion. Therefore when we meet with things that seem to be these gifts today, we must remember that they need to be examined and checked. We must not think automatically: "This sounds like what Paul describes." No, it could even be an evil spirit. And it could be autosuggestion. Two professors who were much involved in the Charismatic movement expressed to me the opinion that many cases are suggestion. Further, I know of some nuns who think they are making spiritual growth with charismatic things, but actually are not, because they follow also the unfortunate error sometimes called New Spirituality. (Please check the comments on Philippians, chapter 3). Right after warning against spirits that curse Jesus, Paul makes a very confusing addition. He says that to believe in the divinity of Jesus (to say Jesus is Lord) requires the Holy Spirit. This is correct of course. But: If someone does believe in the divinity of Jesus, will it follow that what charismatic gifts he seems to have are from the Holy Spirit? Not at all. The reason is that, as we said, there are two groups or categories of graces, sanctifying and charismatic. When Paul warns of a spirit that curses Jesus, he is speaking of a mistake in the charismatic category.

When he says one needs the Holy Spirit to believe the divinity of Jesus, he is in the sanctifying category. Hence, to have that gift in the sanctifying category does not prove anything about one's status in the charismatic category. It does not prove any gifts he seems to have are from the Holy Spirit. We notice the threefold structure in verses 4-6, speaking of divisions of charisms, ministries and works. This suggests the Holy Trinity. We are not sure what he means by "wisdom in discourse" or "the power to express knowledge." One plausible conjecture would be that the former means a deeper understanding of divine things, and the second would mean an ability to present these things to others. However it is clear that when Paul speaks of "faith" in verse 9, he means a faith in the charismatic, not the sanctifying category. When Paul speaks of faith he normally is in the sanctifying category, that is, when he speaks of justification by faith. We explained in 1 Thessalonians what he means by that faith. But charismatic faith is a divinely given gift of confidence that if the recipient asks for a miracle, it will be granted. Of course if God as it were injects that confidence, He will follow through on it. It does not mean that one should try to work himself into an almost emotional state of confidence, and then will get a miracle. Not at all. We already mentioned in chapter 11 that prophecy does not basically mean a gift of foretelling the future. It is rather a gift of giving an effective or moving exhortation to the community. The power to distinguish spirits would mean the ability to tell whether or not it is the Holy Spirit at work in a particular case. The gift of tongues, if genuine, is the ability to speak in a different tongue. But it does not in itself mean that the speaker knows what he is saying: for that, an added gift, that of interpretation, is required. Paul will say more about that in chapter 14, for the dangers are obvious. Is this gift of tongues the same as that which the Apostles had on the first Pentecost? Then people of many different native languages did understand. The speakers of whom Paul tells us in general would not understand. Did the Apostles also know? Probably yes. Or was there a sort of miracle in the air, so that the Apostle spoke one language, the crowd understood in various languages? We do not know. There are cases today in which some were present who happened to know the language being spoken, even though the speaker did not know what he was saying. I have been told of two cases in which some were praising God beautifully; but others at the same time were cursing Him! I have read in a charismatic publication of an instance in which a woman was at a charismatic meeting (I know her name, but will refrain from giving it), did not have the gift of tongues, but wanted it. A man stood near her, coaching her. He said: If any sound feels like coming,

encourage it. Soon she was speaking something she thought was like Hawaiian since it was mostly vowels. But this is really asking for Satanic deception or for self-deception. The great St. Teresa of Avila, who had so many marvelous experiences, warns us of this sort of thing. In her Interior Castle 6.9 she advises, speaking of visions: "I wish to warn you that when you hear God is giving souls these graces, you must never ask or desire Him to lead you along this road. Even if you think it is a very good one, there are certain reasons why such a course is not wise." She goes on to give several reasons: It shows a lack of humility. And one also leaves self "open to great peril because the devil has only to see a door left slightly ajar to enter." She mentions also autosuggestion: "When someone has a great desire for something, he convinces himself that he is seeing or hearing what he desires." Although she spoke of visions, the principle would be the same for the gift of tongues. Further, as we shall see, St. Paul warns the Corinthians that they are too attached to that sort of gift. Paul's comparison of the Body of Christ to a human body is the first long occurrence of the Mystical Body doctrine in St. Paul. (He mentioned it briefly in passing in 1 Corinthians 6:15). Paul does not use the word mystical at all. That is a modern invention. It is needed, since the Mystical Body is not the same as a physical body, nor is it like a corporation, with its lesser unity. There is no secular parallel to the Mystical Body. It does help explain how it is that what Jesus did in the Redemption can count for us. That is true since we are His members. Hence in 2 Corinthians 5:14, "Judging this, that if one died for all, therefore all have died." Romans 12:4-8 is very similar to the present passage. In Colossians and Ephesians we find much more development and Christ is explicitly called the Head of the Mystical Body -- in 1 Corinthians and Romans that is merely implied. The Encyclical of Pius XII, On the Mystical Body, develops Paul's doctrine extensively. The weaker and unpresentable members mentioned in verses 22-23 are the sexual organs, which we cover up, thereby giving them added "honor." When Paul says if one member suffers all suffer with it, the reference is more to the Mystical Body, though it is true in a way of a physical body. There was a rabbinic teaching, which was probably around in Paul's day even though our reference comes from Tosefta, Kiddushin, 1.14 which quotes Rabbi Simeon ben Eleazar, who says he is citing Rabbi Meir, a disciple of the great Rabbi Akiba: "He [anyone] has carried out a commandment. Blessings on him! He has tipped the scales to the side of merit for himself and for the world. He [anyone] has committed a transgression. Woe to him! He has tipped the scales to the side of debt for himself and for the world." Then Paul gives a list of charismatic gifts. We notice that he numbers the first three, then drops the numbers. The first three are nonmiraculous gifts. Tongues is put last. This is part of Paul's work in

trying to reduce the attachment of the Corinthians to tongues. The closing line of this chapter is part of that thrust: Be eager for the better gifts. This leads into the beautiful chapter 13 on love. Summary of 1 Corinthians, Chapter 13 Now Paul will show them the very best way. If he were to have the gift of tongues, including all languages of all people and of angels, but would be without love, it would mean no more than a noisy gong or cymbal. If he had the gift of prophecy and knew all mysteries, and had all knowledge and had charismatic faith enough to move mountains, but had not love -- it would be nothing. If he gave away all his possessions to feed the poor, and even gave up his own body to be burned, but did not have love, it would do no good. Love has long patience, it is kind, not jealous, does not boast, is not proud. It does not act arrogantly, does not look out for its own interests, is not easily angered. It does not keep a record of past injuries. It does not take pleasure in seeing evil done, but it does take pleasure in seeing good done. It bears all things, is ready to believe the best about others, it does not give up hope easily. It is patient in all things. Love will never be superseded. The gift of prophecy will come to an end. So will the gift of tongues, and the gift of charismatic knowledge -we have knowledge in part now, and prophecy in part. But when what is perfect comes, that which is only partial will be removed. When he was a child, he used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child. But when he grew up, he put away childish things. In this life we see God only through the mirror of creation, in an obscure way. But then we will see Him face to face. Now we have partial knowledge; then we will know God as God knows us. Now there remain faith, hope and love -- these three. The greater of these is love. Comments on Chapter 13 This chapter is so beautiful from the literary point of view, so different from Paul's usual literary style that some have suggested Paul used a ready made work. This is possible. Ideas abut authorship in those times were very free. Someone might change another's work, or he might use the name of a famous man as a pen name for his own work. Paul describes the characteristics of love, rather than giving a definition. A definition would be this: To love is to will good to another for the other's sake. (See Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics 8.2. This definition is also implied in John 3:16. For the fact that God went so far as the death of His Son to make eternal happiness possible for us implies that He wills that for us -- that is love.) Paul uses this chapter to contrast with the overemphasis the Corinthians are putting on charismatic things, especially tongues. He

said in the last line of chapter 12 that they should seek the better gifts. Now he opens by saying he will show the best way. Some rabbis speculated on angelic tongues. The fact that Paul mentions it here need not mean he believed there were such things (cf. our comments on the rock that followed the Jews, in 1 Corinthians 10:4). Angels are pure spirits. The faith of which he speaks here is charismatic faith, injected into a person by God, as we explained in comments on chapter 12. We do not know what he means by "giving his body to be burned." It hardly means the insane and immoral practice of some in our time who set themselves on fire for a protest. That was not known in Paul's day. But we do gather that helping the poor is not identified with love, though it will be an effect of love. Love of neighbor means this: Out of love of him, I wish him eternal life and good things here too. I do that to please God, who wants neighbor to have those things. This move to please God is love of God -- and love of neighbor at the same time. Hence we see the close bond between the first and second commandments. But we must not say, as one priest I know did: "If I were alone on a desert island, I could have no relation to God: I can have that only through people." No, even though bound together, the two loves are quite distinct. To be arrogant is to demand or accept things in a haughty way, through pride. We translated ou logizetai kakon in 13:5 as "love does not keep a record of injuries." It could also be: "love is not inclined to believe evil of others." But we prefer the version we have used. It is of immense importance. If two people are quarreling, especially within marriage, first each will use up the arguments pertaining immediately to the point in dispute. But when there is no victory -- as usual in such a dispute -- each will be tempted to enlarge the war in either or both of these ways: 1) To generalize: "You are not just nasty now, you are a nasty person in general." 2) One will dig up and as it were read a list of all the past offenses of the other. These tactics hurt deeply. To merely to go on after the quarrel is over by living as if nothing had happened, is unlikely to heal the wound. Most likely a real apology is needed. But it is also true that love is not inclined to believe evil of others. When we look about, there is probbly rather little pure malice in the world: even the crazies who take hostages, etc., think they are performing a religious action! But inability to understand is much more common. Therefore, we can probably say that statistically, if one makes a policy of putting the more charitable interpretation on something, he is likely to be right more often than he would be in the other way. And besides, in Matthew 7:1, Jesus tells us not to judge. That does not mean we may not say murder or adultery are grave sins in themselves.33 But what we may not say is that we are sure of the

interior dispositions of the other. We simply do not have the information or proof most of the time. He says that love does not enjoy seeing evil done -- so it may make him look good by contrast. Love will depend on its own merits. At the end of time, there will be no more charismatic gifts. But love will continue forever. Paul says that today he sees God through a mirror. Mirrors then were just polished sheets of metal, not so brilliant as ours. He means we know something about God by seeing the good things He has created. But even when we see someone face to face, our sight is indirect. The vision of God in Heaven is direct, more direct than seeing someone today. If I look at you, I do not take you into my head: I take in an image. That works, since although the image is finite or limited, so are you. But if I as it were stand before God to see Him, no image can help. For images are finite: He is infinite. So Pope Benedict XII (DS 1000) defined that there is no image involved. So it must be that God joins Himself directly to the human soul without even a image in between, thereby performing the function an image would have had. In this way the soul is enabled to plug in, as it were, into the infinite streams of knowledge and love that flow within the Holy Trinity. For, as chapter 1 of St. John's Gospel says, the Father speaks a Word: it is substantial, it is His Son, coming forth by an infinite stream of knowledge, as it were. Between Father and Son arises love: it too is substantial, it is the Third Person, the Holy Spirit, coming forth by an infinite stream of love. These streams are of course infinite. Hence heaven never could grow dull. Let us relate this to purgatory. In Malachi 3:2 God says: "He is like a a refiner's fire . . . who can stand when He appears?" So if the soul were totally corrupt, as Luther thought, God would surely not join Himself to it eternally. Rather, the "refiner's fire" would have to purify it, if indeed it was basically oriented to God in the first place -- instead of thinking that it could commit fornication and adultery a thousand tims a day and still be with God.34 Still further, there is no time there. Time involves a restless succession of changes: a moment ahead called future changes to present, then to past. But St. Augustine says of the angels that they participate in the timelessness of God's eternity. 35 So will it be with the soul that reaches this Blessed Vision. Heaven does not, as it were, go on and on; rather, the soul simply IS blessed and happy beyond anything we can picture to ourselves. We add: the human soul of Jesus, according to the teaching of Pius XII in his encyclical on the Mystical Body (DS 3812) had this vision of God from the first instant of conception. Considering His structure, this was inevitable. For ordinarily if we put together a human body and soul, it automatically becomes a human person; not so in Jesus, for the whole humanity was taken over, assumed, by the Second Person of the

Trinity, so that it never was a human person. Hence not just the human mind, but the entire humanity of Jesus was joined to the divinity even more closely than the ordinary soul in the Beatific Vision. For the ordinary soul remains a distinct person from God; Jesus was united in one Person. This means that all knowledge was as it were before Him in that vision. In it He saw all He would have to suffer. This must have been as it were eating on Him, as we gather from Luke 12:50 and John 12:27: a tremendous thing to take on for our salvation! This vision did not prevent Him from suffering: there are many levels of operation in a human, both in body and in soul. Just as a mountain 25,000 feet in altitude can have just the peak sticking out into sunshine above dark clouds on many days, so only the point of His soul would be in the blessing of that vision: all the lower levels could be plunged into distress, even fear, as happened in Gethsemani (cf. Mark 14:33). For an unprotected humanity facing such dreadful torture would recoil in fear. He could have prevented that by His divine power. But Philippians 2:7 says He emptied Himself, that is, resolved not to use His divine resources for His own comfort -- only for others would He employ them. Summary of 1 Corinthians 14:1-33a Paul asks them to pursue love, of which he spoke in chapter 13, and to be eager for charismatic graces, but especially for the gift of prophecy. If someone speaks in a tongue, he is not speaking to humans but to God, since no one understands: he utters mysteries in the Spirit. But if one prophesies, his speech brings spiritual help and encouragement and consolation to the congregation. The one who speaks in a tongue benefits himself; the one who prophesies benefits the church. Paul would like to see all of them have the gift of tongues, but better, the gift of prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than one speaking in tongues -- unless the latter can translate, for the spiritual good of the church. But really, as things are, if Paul were to come speaking in tongues, what good would it do, if he did not bring an intelligible revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? There are many lifeless things that make a sound, such as the flute or the harp. But if there are only indistinct sounds, who will know what is supposed to be played on the flute or harp? If a bugle gives out an unclear sound, no one will get ready for battle. So too, if someone in a tongue gives out a sound that cannot be understood, how will anyone know what it means? He will be talking to the air! There are so many kinds of voices in the world -- almost everything has a voice. But if the listeners do not know the meaning, the speaker and the listener are like foreigners to each other (cannot be understood).

So, since they are eager for charismatic gifts, they should seek them for the spiritual benefit of the church. So one who speaks in a tongue should pray for the gift of interpretation. If one prays in a tongue, his spirit prays, but his mind is left without fruit. What then? If one prays in the Spirit, may he also pray with his mind. If one sings in the Spirit, let him also sing in his mind. If you blessed God in the Spirit, how would an outsider know what you were saying? You may give thanks to God beautifully -- but the other gets no spiritual help. Paul thanks God that he can speak in tongues more than all of them. Yet he would rather speak five intelligible words to teach others, than ten thousand words in an unintelligible tongue. He begs them not to be childish in their brains, but to be childlike in regard to malice. Let them be mature in their thinking. We read in Isaiah: "I will speak to this people in other tongues and on the lips of others. But even so they will not listen to me, says the Lord." So, tongues are a sign not for believers, but for unbelievers. But prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers, but for believers. If the whole community comes together, and all speak in tongues, and an outsider comes in: will he not think them insane? But if many are using the gift of prophecy, and an outsider comes in, he is convinced of his sins, he is led to reflect on his case. The secrets of his heart are revealed [to him]. So, he will fall on his face and adore God and say: God really is among this community. What is the practical conclusion? When they come together, suppose various ones have a psalm, a teaching, a revelation, a tongue, a gift of interpretation. Everything must be controlled for spiritual benefit. So if there is to be speaking in tongues, there should be two or at most three, and one at a time. And someone should interpret. But if there is no one to interpret, let those with tongues be silent in the church, and speak alone and to God. Two or three prophets may speak at one meeting of the community, and the others should judge whether it comes from a good or an evil spirit. If someone who is seated gets a revelation, then the one speaking at the time should be silent. For all can have an opportunity to prophesy, but should do it one at a time, so all may learn and gain exhortation. The spirits of the prophets are under the control of the prophets. For God is not a God of uproar, but of peace. Comments on 14:1-33a This section is a series of comparisons of tongues and prophecy: tongues always make a poor second. Paul thinks the Corinthians are childish about tongues. So in 14:20 he tells them to be childlike, but not childish. Anything can make a sound, but if it is unintelligible what good is it? In contrast, prophecy i.e., giving a moving exhortation to the community, does bring spiritual growth.

The line of 14:16 was much used before Vatican II to argue that we must have vernacular liturgy. But the argument from 14:16 is not at all conclusive. For people then used to commonly have missals with parallel texts, English and Latin. So they did know what was being said. Further, the use of a strange language helps to promote reverence. Pagan Roman liturgy was in Latin, but it included some very archaic words (e.g., duint for current dent "may he grant"), and some of it was in a form of the language so archaic as to be unintelligible. For example, Horace at the time of Christ makes fun of a man so conceited that he claimed to understand the Salian hymn to Mars. We have that hymn today, and can see they would not understand (a copy can be found in English and Latin, in the Loeb Classical Library, Remains of Old Latin). For example, the first line of it read: "Enos Lases iuvate." The Latin current in the time of Horace would have said: "Nos Lares iuvate": "Household gods, help us." Again, the ancient Hittites used a completely separate language for their liturgy. Behind all this is the fact that in our relation to God there are two poles, or centers around which things are grouped. One is the pole of love, closeness, warmth. That is cultivated heavily today. The other is the pole of majesty, greatness, immensity. That perception has been lost or almost lost in the minds of many today. We cannot exaggerate either pole, for God is infinite in all respects. But our response will be distorted if we cultivate one and almost or entirely leave out the other. In 14:21 Paul quotes, loosely, Isaiah 28:11 ff. In context, Isaiah was warning that because the people would not listen to the prophet, God would send the Assyrians, whose language they would not know, and would strike them. Even then they would not be converted. Now if Paul commonly paid attention to the context or setting of the Old Testament texts he quoted -- which he did not do -- we would say here that Paul means: "You people think tongues are a sign of God's favor. Beware! It might be a sign of His anger!" The relation of 14:22 to 23 is a bit odd. First Paul says that tongues are a sign for unbelievers -- it means that they will see there is a spiritual power at work here. He adds that prophecy is for believers -- it was for their spiritual benefit. In verse 23 he seems to say the opposite about prophecy: he says it is a sign for an outsider -- in the sense that the prophecy will move him to conversion. So there is no contradiction. We note that Paul wants tongues used only one at a time in the church. At some charismatic meetings hundreds may speak in tongues at the same time. They will reply that there is a difference between speaking in tongues and praying in tongues. But from 14:17 it appears that the use of tongues Paul has in mind is precisely praying and praising God in tongues. So Paul insists on good order in the church. And he says that -- unlike what the Corinthians had seen in pagan cases of "enthusiasm" [a god

inside] the Spirit that moves Christians is not a God of uproar. The speakers can control themselves. In general this could be a valid form of spirituality provided that great care is taken. First, one must check each case, as we said above, to see if it comes from a good spirit, an evil spirit, or autosuggestion. Many charismatics object strongly to checking. There is also a great danger of elitism. Some charismatics say other Catholics are "dead." This could lead to spiritual pride, the most deadly of vices. They should recognize that there is a diversity of spiritual graces, so not all need to follow the same pattern. Yes, on the basic level, all must follow the same principles. But on the secondary level, there is room for much variation, e.g., compare St. Francis de Sales, a refined gentlemen, with St. Benedict Joseph Labre, who lived like a tramp, and probably had body lice. Some groups also reject devotion to Our Lady -- a sure sign that something is very basically wrong. Others reject things the Church promotes, such as the Miraculous Medal or the Scapular -- again, a sign of something very wrong. Still others say they do not need the Church, they have a direct line to the Holy Spirit. This is seriously in error. Some groups have a rigid authoritarian structure -- even though no one of them has a valid claim to authority. The authorities are answerable to no one -- this is very dangerous. There is also a danger of excess emotionalism: normally God does give consolations (satisfactions in religion) to those who make the second conversion (begin to get very serious about pleasing God). But this does not normally last indefinitely: St. Francis de Sales warns that if it did, they might love the consolations of God rather than the God of consolations.36 Some charismatics claim what they have is merely the activation of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, which does not happen in the usual Catholic. They call this Baptism in the Spirit. This too is a great error. All receive these Gifts along with sanctifying grace, and they have an increase at Confirmation and other times. But normally they do not show clear and overt effects until one is far advanced in the spiritual life -- earlier, there may be latent effects. Still further, the effects of these Gifts are not the miraculous phenomena -- that would be to confuse the sanctifying and the charismatic categories . Some also tend to be fundamentalistic in understanding Scripture. Many charismatics today are trying to say all Catholics must be charismatic, that "baptism in the spirit" was routine in the patristic age. We find this clearly in a booklet, Fanning the Flame, by Kilian McDonnell.37 He cites a few patristic texts to try to show these phenomena were routine in the patristic age. But the texts given are few, just three are given: Fairly clear are those of Tertullian, St. Hilary, St. Cyril of Jerusalem. But the booklet admits on p.18 that: "Both Basil of Caesarea . . . and Gregory Nazianzus . . . situate the prophetic

charisms within the Christian initiation, though they are more reserved in their regard than Paul." No quotes are given. Then we see a remarkable admission on St. John Chrysostom, quoted on the same page, "Chrysostom complained, however 'the charisms are long gone'." St. Augustine, in City of God38, has to argue strongly that miracles are possible, against those in his day who denied the possibility. He says that if they want to say the Apostles converted the world without any miracles -- that would be a great miracle. If there were miraculous gifts commonly around, Augustine would have merely pointed to them. But he did not. Still further, historically. The miraculous gifts were common in Paul's day, but at least by the middle of the next century became scarce in the mainline Church, but common in heretical groups. The present movement started in the first decade of the 20th century among Protestants. Some decades later, some Catholics, precisely by contact with the Protestants, claimed the same gifts. Did not Pope Paul VI speak favorably of the movement? Yes, for there can be valid instances of it. But the dangers are very real and not too rare. Summary of 1 Corinthians 14:33b-40 As he says in all the churches, he orders women to be silent in the churches. They are not permitted to speak, but to be silent, as the Old Testament says. If they have questions, they should ask their own husbands at home. He asks if the word of God has come from or come to them alone? If someone thinks he is a prophet, or thinks he has charismatic gifts, then he will recognize that what Paul is writing is the command of the Lord. If someone does not know, God does not recognize him. He insists that everything must be done properly and in good order. Comments on 14:33b-40 We need to keep two questions distinct: 1) What does Paul mean in this passage on ordination of women? 2) What does the Catholic Church teach on ordination of women? We will take up each question separately, and first, what Paul means here. When we examined 1 Corinthians 11:4 we saw that there is a question of whether that verse, which could be taken to imply permission for women to pray and prophesy in the church if they have a veil, clashes with 11:34. We said then that we could consider 11:4 as a focused text, i.e., Paul is focusing only on the point: they may not do these things without a veil, but he does not mean to give an implication beyond that. If we take it that way, there is no clash at all with 14:34. Others, not thinking of the possibility of a focused interpretation, charge there is an interpolation. However there is no evidence at all for that. Those who hold that think there is the contradiction mentioned.

But we have seen that there need be no contradiction, if we adopt the focused way of understanding. We must raise a further question, as we did with 11:2ff.: Is Paul here merely expressing a custom of his day? Or is there also a theological framework? If there is, to what extent does it have influence on his stance? It is clear from his appeal to the "Law," the Old Testament, that there is a theological framework. The Old Testament passage most probably in mind would be Genesis 3:16: "Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you." The fact that here Paul does explicitly appeal to the Law makes the case stronger here than it was in 11:2ff. But as in 11:2ff we had to ask whether the theological framework controlled Paul's decision, so we ask here. It is difficult to be certain, though we think it more likely that it does, especially in view of the decisions of the Church on this point, which we will cite presently. A very radical proposal has even been made that we imagine all of 14:33b-35 to be in quote marks: Paul would be quoting something the "prophets" in Corinth thought up. Then he would strongly reject it in verses 36-38. But that would involve an abrupt shift in Paul's thought at 14:3b, and so seems very unlikely. Before giving the statements of the Church, we recall the matter of Galatians 3:28, in which Paul says that in Christ, "there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave or free, male or female." But we saw there that this does not apply to the matter of ordination of women, since the context in Galatians is justification by faith: In regard to gaining that, it makes no difference if one is male or female. It would be far out of line to claim to extrapolate and say there is no difference in any other respect! The most important statements by the Church are these: 1) Paul VI, on April 18, 1975, in response to a committee studying the Church's response to the International Women's Year said: "If women did not receive the call to the apostolate of the Twelve, and therefore to the ordained ministry, they are however invited to follow Christ as disciples and collaborators." 2) The Doctrinal Congregation, on October 15, 1976, issued a long document on this matter. It very clearly and flatly rejected the ordination of women. Unfortunately, the press, not knowing theological procedure, said the chief reason given was that the priest represents Christ Who was a man. But in giving theological reasons, at the end, after solid proofs, we come to what is called "Argumentum convenientiae," an argument from fittingness. Such arguments are not intended to be conclusive. So the objection does not hold at all. In fact, the document explicitly called this an argument of fittingness. Before that point, the document said: "The Church's tradition in the matter has thus been so firm in the course of the centuries that the Magisterium has not felt the need to intervene in order to formulate a principle which was not attacked." It notes too that in not calling

women, Jesus was not constrained by customs of the times, for, "His attitude towards women was quite different from that of His milieu and He deliberately and courageously broke with it." The document notes too that when the Gnostics and other heretics "entrusted the exercise of the priestly ministry to women, this innovation was immediately noted and condemned by the Fathers, who considered it as unacceptable in the Church." It cites St. Irenaeus, Tertullian, St. Cyprian, Origen, St. Epiphanius and others. 3) Paul VI on November 30, 1975 wrote to Archbishop Coggan of Canterbury: " Your Grace is of course well aware of the Catholic Church's position on this question. She holds that it is not admissible to ordain women to the priesthood, for very fundamental reasons. These reasons include: the example recorded in the Sacred Scriptures of Christ choosing his Apostles only from among men; the constant practice of the Church, which has imitated Christ in choosing only men; and her living teaching authority which has consistently held that the exclusion of women from the priesthood is in accordance with God's plan for his Church." The reason given last by Paul VI is the decisive one: he appeals to the on-going teaching of the Church. So this is a definitive teaching. Paul VI mentioned also the constant practice of the Church. There is not even one official text approving of attempting to ordain women as priests. On the contrary, there is a solid wall of texts from general and local councils against it. Especially strong is a letter of Pope Gelasius (14.26), of March 11, 494, speaking vehemently against what seems to have been a fact that some bishops in S. Italy attempted to ordain women. Gelasius said this "seems to threaten . . . the tragic downfall of the whole church." The Fathers do not often have occasion to speak on the subject, but when they do, they unanimously strike out at it, and often hard. 4) John Paul II, in Apostolic Letter of May 22, 1994 Ordinatio sacerdotalis, gave the definitive answer: "In order that all doubt may be removed . . . a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful." This statement follows the lines of Paul VI and in itself is a definition, which is irreformable. Finally, in an almost humorous way, St. Paul says that if some charismatics in Corinth think they have the Spirit, so does he. If they do not recognize the divine origin of his teaching, God does not recognize them! Summary of 1 Corinthians 15:1-28 Paul says solemnly that he is informing them about the Gospel which he preached to them, which they received, in which they are standing

firm, through which they are on the road to final salvation, if they hold to it as he preached it -- unless they have believed in vain. He handed on to them first of all that Christ died for our sins, as foretold in the Scriptures, and that He was buried and rose on the third day, according to the Scriptures; and that he was seen by Kephas, then by the twelve, then by more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then James saw Him, then all the Apostles. Last of all, Paul, like one born out of normal time, also saw Him. Paul says he is the least of the Apostles, and not worthy to be called an Apostle because he persecuted the Church of God. However, it is by God's grace that he is what he is, and that grace given him has not been in vain. Rather, he has worked more than all the other Apostles -not he, but the grace of God with him. Whether it be he, or whether it be they: thus he preaches, thus the Corinthians have come to believe. Now since our preaching tells that Christ rose from the dead: How do some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ did not rise either. But if He did not rise, then our preaching is vain, and vain is your faith. We are seen as false witnesses against God, for we gave witness against God saying that He raised up the Christ, but He did not do that if the dead do not rise. If the dead do not rise, neither did Christ rise. But if He did not rise, your faith is foolish: you are still in your sins. And those who have died hoping in Christ have perished. If we have had hope in Christ only in this life, we are more to be pitied than all other people. But the truth is that Christ has risen from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also came through a man. Just as in Adam all died, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each one will be in his own order. Christ is the first fruit, then when He returns, those who belong to Christ. After that comes the end, when Christ will hand over the kingship to God the Father, when he has destroyed every sovereignty, authority and power. For He must reign until He puts all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be destroyed will be death. For the Father has made all things subject under the feet of Christ. When it says that all will be under Christ, it means all but the Father who subjects all things to Christ. When the Father has subjected all things to Christ, then the Son Himself also will be made subject to the Father, the one who made all things subject to Him, so God may be all in all. Comments on 15:1-28 Paul opens the chapter by insisting on the preaching of the resurrection, which they have received by oral tradition ( parelabete = you have received, i.e., in preaching). Paul insists that the death and resurrection of Christ were foretold in Scripture. His death of course was foretold in Isaiah 53. Isaiah 53:10-

12, after speaking of his death, also says that "he shall see his descendants, he will prolong his days . . ." His death is also in Psalm 22:17, which even speaks of His hands and feet being pierced. He Himself too foretold His death and resurrection several times. The prophecy of His resurrection on the third day, outside of the words of Christ Himself, is more difficult to deal with. We find it mentioned in verse 4, which says: "He was buried, and according to the Scriptures, rose on the third day." The only direct text predicting His resurrection on the third day might be Hosea 6.2: "After two days he will revive us; and on the third day he will raise us up." In the original setting, the prophet is urging the people to return to God, and He will save them. The liturgy applies this to the resurrection of Jesus. Is it mere accommodation or multiple fulfillment of prophecy? Probably the latter. An outstanding article by Bertrand de Margerie, S.J. 39 shows that the third day was widely used in Scripture for the day of rescue. It was the day of the rescue of Isaac from being sacrificed (Genesis 22:4ff.) and of the deliverance given by Joseph to his brothers. (Genesis 42:17ff.) The Hebrews were to go three days into the desert to sacrifice (Exodus 5:34). It was the day of the revelation of the law at Sinai (Exodus 19:16). It was the day the spies saved by Rahab were delivered (Joshua 2:22). David had sinned by ordering a census, but chose a punishment of pestilence to end on the third day. (2 Samuel 24:13ff.) It was the day on which Hezekiah would go up to the temple again, after being delivered from death (Isaiah 38:1-5). It was the day on which Esther found favor with the king and saved her people (Esther 5:1). It was the day of return from the exile at the time of Ezra (Esdra 8:32). It was the day of deliverance of Jonah from the whale (Jonah 2:1). Jesus Himself predicted His resurrection on the third day (Matthew 16:21; 20:19; 27:63). Interestingly, in Babylonia, in the Descent of Ishtar, the third day was the day of the reawakening of the fertility gods.40 We need not think Paul is giving a complete list of the appearances of Jesus, or that he gives them in chronological order. He speaks of himself as one born out of due time, because Jesus appeared to Paul after the resurrection and ascension, on the road to Damascus. Paul says he is not worthy to be called an Apostle, because he persecuted the Church. He says this even though he was in good faith then, in fact, thought himself to be working wonderfully for God. Yet Paul knows that God is concerned with what is objectively right, even if the one who does wrong is in good faith.41 He says he worked more than all the other Apostles. When we read his travels, we can easily believe that. Yet he says it was not basically he, but grace that did it. He is right.42 Paul is having trouble with some philosophical opponents at Corinth. Most likely it is Platonists. They believed in reincarnation. Our bodies are really not part of us, they thought, for we came from a world of

spirits, and had to take on a body as a penalty. If we can get through several reincarnations, each time as a wise philosopher, we can get permission to skip reincarnation, and our soul will get wings, fly away, and never have a body again. Clearly, such people would not welcome Paul's preaching of a general resurrection at all. (Let us remember that they would hardly object to a merely spiritual body -- we must recall this at 15:44, where Paul speaks of the risen body as spiritual: he means it is completely under control of our spirit). It is possible that the opponents are Pythagoreans, who also held reincarnation, or Orphics or Gnostics. There also was another error running which said the resurrection had already taken place. 43 But it is more likely that he is dealing with the Platonists. Against them, Paul insists that if Christ is not risen, neither will we rise. For He is the first fruits, and those who belong to Him will be of the same sort at the resurrection. And of course, though Paul does not say it explicitly here, he must have in his mind his Mystical Body doctrine, of which he is fond. If the Head rises, the members must rise too. So if we deny the resurrection of the members of Christ, that implies a denial of Christ's resurrection. That in turn has a terrible consequence. Christ said He would rise. If He did not, He was false, and our faith is vain and we are still in our sins, if we depend on Him for redemption. When he says that through a man came death, and through a man came resurrection, and just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive -- he is thinking of the fact that Christ is the new or second Adam. The first Adam was the first head of our race. He involved us in original sin. Christ the new Adam, the new head of our race, reverses that damage. The Fathers, beginning with St. Justin the Martyr about 145 A.D. 44 will see that there is also a new Eve, Our Lady, who, just as Eve really contributed to the disaster of original sin, so she really contributed to reversing that damage. That new Eve theme is found extensively in the Fathers. Her cooperation in the redemption, even on Calvary, has been clearly taught by every Pope from Leo XIII to John Paul II, and also by Vatican II.45 When he says that Christ is the first fruit, and then there will come those who belong to Christ, each in his own order, we could see an implication -- which Paul himself probably did not see -- of the Assumption of our Lady, because of her close association with Christ in every one of the mysteries of His life and death. Vatican II has spelled this association out in great detail in Constitution on the Church, chapter 8. Pius XII stated it in summary form in his document defining the Assumption46 when he wrote that she is "always sharing His lot." God the Father will bring all enemies under the feet of Christ. Then at the end, Christ Himself will be made subject to the Father. To understand we recall that Christ has two natures, divine and human.

So it is quite right to make statements that apply to either nature. The New Testament often speaks entirely in the human category, e.g., Peter's speech at the first Pentecost, in Acts 2. The words about putting all things under his feet recall Psalm 110:1: "Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool." Unfortunately, the early Christian writer Origen took this to mean that even hell must be emptied, so that hell comes to an end. For those in hell are enemies of Christ.47 Summary of 1 Corinthians 15:29-34 Why should anyone be baptized for the dead if the dead do not rise? Why should Paul be risking his life every hour if the dead do not rise? He swears that he is in danger every day. What good would it be for him if he met the beasts in the arena at Ephesus? If there is no resurrection: let us eat and drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die! He tells them not to deceive themselves, "Bad company corrupts good morals." So they should wake up and not go on sinning. Some of them do not know God. Paul speaks to shame them. Comments on 15:29-34 Was there such a practice as baptism for the dead in Corinth? Paul seems to imply there was, but his words do not imply any approval. He is merely arguing from something they seem to believe in, saying that makes no sense if they do not believe in the resurrection. (It would probably mean some friend would go through baptism a second time for a friend who died without it. Mormons today do that, claiming some private revelation to one of their leaders). We do not know if he really did fight with the beasts at Ephesus. Cases are known in which Christians were put in the arena, but the animals would not touch them. That could have happened to Paul. On the other hand, he makes it conditional: if I did that. This need not mean he really did it. He then says if there is no resurrection, and thereby Christ is false, we might as well eat and drink, for then comes death. He gives a quote, from the Thais of the comedy writer Menander. This need not imply that Paul knew that play. It could have been that such quotes were in common circulation in conversation. He concludes by saying that since there is a resurrection, they should not go on sinning, acting as if there were nothing after death. Summary of 1 Corinthians 15:35-58 If someone asks what will the risen body be like, we first need to notice that what we plant in the ground must die before it comes up. And we do not sow what is to come up, but a mere grain of wheat or some other seed. But God gives the proper body to each as He wills. There is quite a variety of fleshy bodies -- one kind for people, another for animals, another for birds, another for fishes. Further there are heavenly bodies as well as earthly bodies. The glory of the heavenly bodies is different from that of earthly bodies. There is one

glory of the sun, another of the moon, another of the stars. And also, one star differs from another star in its glory. It is similar with the resurrection of the dead. The body we bury is put in the ground in corruption. But it is raised up incorruptible. It is buried in dishonor, it will rise in glory. It is buried in weakness, it is raised in power. A merely natural body is buried, a spiritual body is raised. For Scripture says that the first man, Adam, became a living soul; the last Adam, became a lifegiving spirit. The spiritual one did not come first, the natural one came first and then the spiritual. The first man was earthly, from the earth; the second man is from heaven. Just as the earthly one, Adam, so also are the earthly people. Just as the heavenly one, so also the heavenly ones. Just as we have carried the image of the earthly one, we shall have also the image of the heavenly one. Paul says emphatically: flesh and blood as it now is cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor can the corruptible body inherit incorruption. The body must first be transformed at the resurrection. He tells them a mystery: Not all will sleep, but all will be changed, in moment, in a twinkling of the eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised and be incorruptible. And Christians shall be changed. For it is necessary that what is corruptible be clothed with incorruptibility, and what is mortal, be clothed with immortality. When this corruptible thing puts on incorruption, and this mortal thing puts on immortality, then what Isaiah says will come true: "Death is swallowed up in victory. Where is your victory, O death? Where is your sting O Death?" The sting of death is sin; the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. So, they should be firm, unshakable, abounding in the work of the Lord at all times, knowing that their work is not in vain in the Lord. Comments on 15:35-58 Paul takes up the nature of the risen body. There were some hedonistic ideas around then, as there are now. First he makes a comparison to seeds planted in the ground. What comes up is quite different, though it is the same seed basically. Similarly the risen body will be transformed. He notes that there are many kinds of flesh, and many kinds of splendor or glory for bodies. Then he concludes that the resurrection of the dead is much like this. A natural body is put in the ground, and a spiritual body rises. He does not mean the risen body will not be flesh. If he meant it was purely spiritual and not flesh, his opponents of whom he spoke at the start of the chapter would have no objection. What he really means is a body completely dominated by the spirit, so that it cannot die, or be sick, because the spirit, in perfect control, does not want that. It will be like the risen body of Christ. His appearances show two things about His risen body: 1) It was real flesh. He let them touch Him, and even ate

with them, even though a risen body needs no food. But with the absolute control of the flesh, He could do that. 2) He could be seen when He willed, not seen when He did not will it. He came to the door where the Apostles had locked themselves in. He did not rap on the door, or open it by a miracle: He paid no attention to the door. His risen body could go through anyway. He says we were first in the likeness of the flesh of the first Adam; at the resurrection we, if faithful to Christ, will be in the likeness of the New Adam, Christ. In 15:50 he says flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom. He means flesh and blood as it now is -- not flesh and blood as transformed then. The parallel second half of the statement: "Corruption does not inherit incorruption," shows that. There are three manuscript readings for verse 51. The one we used above has the best manuscript support, namely: "We shall not all sleep [die] but we shall all be changed." Then he would mean those faithful to Christ. Another reading says: "We shall all rise, but we shall not all be changed." This has poor manuscript support, though the Latin Fathers after Tertullian use it. It would mean we will all rise, but not all will have a glorious resurrection: the wicked will not be glorious. This is true in itself. The remaining reading is: "We shall all sleep, but we shall not all be changed" This does have good manuscript support. It means all will die, but not all will have a glorious transformation. As to the statement that we will all die: this is a general truth. But general statements usually have exceptions. There is an exception, which we saw in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, namely, that those who are alive at the time of the return of Christ at the end will never die. Paul mentions that point only in 1 Thessalonians, and not elsewhere. At the time he sent out First Corinthians and even somewhat later there would hardly be complete collections of the Epistles of St. Paul so that comparisons could be made. And so many would not know of that exception, and a scribe would probably change things to reflect the belief of universal death, without mentioning exceptions. We add that Paul says in verse 51: "Behold I tell you a mystery." To restate the general principle that all die would hardly be a mystery. Nor would the transformation for the faithful, and its lack for the others be a mystery. That probably would have been known to most of Paul's hearers. Then Paul speaks of the last trumpet. This is of course an Apocalyptic touch, such as we saw in 1 Thessalonians 4:13ff. The line quoted in verse 55 is from Isaiah 25:8, cited rather loosely, with the addition of a still looser version of Hosea 13:14. Rabbis often cited loosely and combined texts. The sting of death is sin, since without sin, death itself ultimately meets defeat and destruction. For the risen, even the wicked, who are not transformed, will be immortal even in body.

When he says the power of sin is the law, he is again focusing. For even in the period from Adam to Moses, when there was no revealed law, people still could and did sin. Paul himself insists on that in Romans 5:13-14. Summary of 1 Corinthians, Chapter 16 He asks them to take care of the collection for the Christians of Palestine just as he has arranged for the churches of Galatia. Namely, let each one put aside on the first day of the week whatever he/she can well give, so that the collection will not need to be made when Paul comes. Then he will send the gift to Jerusalem with whatever persons they may designate, along with letters from him. If it is suitable for him to go too, they will travel with him. He plans to come to them when he has gone through Macedonia, for that is part of his plan. If possible he will stay with them perhaps even for the winter, so they can send him on his way. He does not want to see them just in passing. He would like to spend some time in Corinth if the Lord permits. He wants to stay at Ephesus until Pentecost, for there is a great and promising opening, but also many opponents. If Timothy comes, they should see that he does not have to fear. He does the work of the Lord as Paul does. So they should respect him, and send him on his way in peace, to come to Paul, who is waiting for him. As to Apollos, Paul urged him much to come to Corinth. But he definitely did not want to come. He will come later when the time is right. He urges them to stand firm in the faith, to be manly, to be strengthened, and to do everything in love. They know the household of Stephanas -- the firstfruits of Achaia, who have given themselves to serving the Christians. He urges them to put themselves under [hypotassesthe] such men and others who toil with them. Paul was glad to see Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus. They made up for the absence of the others at Corinth, and refreshed his spirit, as they did for the other Corinthians. So they should recognize such men. The churches of Asia send greetings in the Lord, and also Aquila and Prisca, together with the church that meets in their house. All the Christians there greet the Corinthians. He asks them to greet one another with the holy kiss. Then he writes a greeting in his own hand. If anyone does not love the Lord, let him be cursed. Marana tha. [Come O Lord.] May the grace of our Lord be with them. He sends his love in Christ Jesus. Comments on Chapter 16 Little explanation is needed here. Paul more than once speaks of the collection for Christians of Palestine. It will appear again in Second Corinthians. If the amount is large, he may go along with the collection. He stayed a long time at Ephesus, since it was a major center. At Ephesus was the great temple of Diana. Silversmiths there found a lot of business making miniatures in silver of the shrine. In time they

stirred up a riot against Paul, for he was hurting their business by converting people to Christianity.48 He speaks especially for Timothy, who is young, and the church at Corinth is hard to deal with, as we can gather especially from Second Corinthians. We notice Apollos says he does not have time to come. This of course is a common dodge, commonly understood as such. He would have known the Corinthians tried to make him head of a faction, as we saw in chapter 1. He probably did not relish getting into such a situation. We met Stephanas earlier, in 1 Corinthians 1:16, one of the first converts in Corinth. He seems to have taken up a stable role of service in Corinth -- we do not know what position. But Paul does urge them to subject themselves [hypotassesthe] to him and his associates. Paul did establish authorities very early as we gather from 1 Thessalonians 5:12 where Paul speaks of those who are over them in the Lord. Acts 14:23 says Paul established presbyters in every place at the end of his first missionary trip. The terms presbyteros and episkopos, "elder" and "overseer" seem to have been fluid at that time. It normally does take time to develop a precise vocabulary in any field. In Acts 20:17-36 we find that Paul at Miletus sends for the presbyters (20:17) of Ephesus, yet in 20:28 he refers to the same men as episkopoi. We have no further information on Fortunatus and Achaicus. Aquila had lived at Rome, until Emperor Claudius ordered all the Jews out, in 49 A.D. In Acts 18:2 we find Paul stayed with him and his wife, by then Christians, at Corinth. Aquila was a tentmaker, like Paul. The Aramaic maranatha could be divided in two ways. As maran atha it means "The Lord has come." If divided as marana tha it means "O Lord come." It is a prayer for the second coming. It seems it became a standard phrase in the liturgy very early. END NOTES 1 Note in Context: Cf. Acts 18:24-28. 2 Note in Context: Cf. Acts 17:22 ff. 3 Note in Context: Indulgentiarum doctrina, Jan. 9, 1967, AAS 59.7. 4 Note in Context: Tosefta, Kiddushin 1.14. 5 Note in Context: Cf. 2 Cor 5:14. For further development, cf. Wm. G. Most, Our Father's Plan, chapters 4 ff. 6 Note in Context: Tr. Jacob Lauterbach, Jewish Publication Society of America, Philadelphia, I, p.7 -- a work completed in late 4th century, a Midrash on Exodus.

7 8 9 1 0 1 1 1 2 1 3 1 4 1 5 1 6 1 7 1 8 1 9 2 0 2 1 2 2 2 3 2 4 2 5 2 6 2 7

Note in Context: Harper & Row, NY, 1967, p.16. Note in Context: II, p.783. Note in Context: Cf. his Dictionary of the Bible, pp.480-81. Note in Context: Paulist, 1984, pp.51-52. Note in Context: Paulist, 1990, p.12. Note in Context: New Jerome Biblical Commentary p.64. Note in Context: Studies in Sin and Atonement, KTAV, 1967, p.425. Note in Context: Cf. Gaius, Institutes, I.63. Note in Context: Cf. Hosea 1-3, Jer 3:1-14; Ezek 16. Note in Context: R. H. Charlesworth, ed., Doubleday, 2 vols., 1983 and 1985: I, pp.118, 258, 323, 375, 384-85, 397, 794, 812, 827, 909, 916, 917 and II, p.73. Note in Context: I, p.323. Note in Context: American Edition, Works, 48.281-82. Note in Context: Church in the Modern World 49. Note in Context: Cf. W. Most, Our Father's Plan, pp.144-50. Note in Context: Against Jovianian 1.7. Note in Context: Epistle 501, to Melanchthon. Note in Context: Cf. Gen 49:24; Deut 32:4, 15, 18, 30, 31. Note in Context: 1943, EB 559. Note in Context: Cf. Vatican II, On Revelation, 4. Note in Context: DS 1651-54. Note in Context: Cf. Joachim Jeremias, The Eucharistic Words of Jesus, Blackwell,

2 8 2 9 3 0 3 1 3 2 3 3 3 4 3 5 3 6 3 7 3 8 3 9 4 0 4 1 4 2 4 3 4 4 4 5 4

Oxford, 1955, pp.123-25. Note in Context: Cf. E. C. Maloney, Semitic Interference in Marcan Syntax, pp.14142, Society for Biblical Literature Dissertation Series #51, Scholars Press, Ann Arbor, 1981. Note in Context: Cf. the article on polloi by J. Jeremias in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Note in Context: Works, American Edition, 48, 281-82. Note in Context: Cf. Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, Supplement, 333. Note in Context: Ineffabilis Deus, 1854. Note in Context: Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical, The Splendor of Truth. Note in Context: Luther, Epistle to Melanchthon of August 1, 1521, Works, American Edition, 48, pp.281-82. Note in Context: City of God 10-7. Note in Context: Cf. his Introduction to the Devout Life 4.13. Note in Context: Liturgical Press, 1991. Note in Context: 21.5. Note in Context: "Le troisime jour, selon les Ecritures, Il est ressucit" in Recherches des Sciences Religieuses , Strasbourg 66, 1986, pp.15888. Note in Context: Cf. Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern Texts 55. Note in Context: Cf. the comments above on 1 Cor 4:4. Note in Context: Cf. comments on Philippians 2:13. Note in Context: Cf. 2 Tim 2:17-18. Note in Context: Cf. Dialogue with Trypho, 100. Note in Context: On the Church 61. Note in Context:

AAS 42.768. 4 Note in Context: 7 Cf. his Peri archon often translated as First Principles 1.6.1. 4 Note in Context: 8 Cf. Acts 18:23-41. "Chapter 7. Second Letter to Corinth" Introduction Paul must have written at least four letters to Corinth. In our First Corinthians at 5:9 he says "I wrote to you in a letter," which obviously came before our 1 Corinthians. Hence our 1 Corinthians is at least the second letter to Corinth. Again, in 2 Corinthians 2:3-4 he mentions a letter written in tears -- which is surely not our 1 Corinthians, but one in between our 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians. Therefore there must have been at least 4 letters to Corinth, and our 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians are actually 2 Corinthians and 4 Corinthians. Still further, some commentators, e.g., V. P. Furnish in the Anchor Bible Second Corinthians, think what we call 2 Corinthians is actually two letters, with the division after chapter 9. Is there any possibility of finding the lost letters? In our own day finds have been made in Egypt, at Oxyrhynchus, of classical literary works, and at Nag Hammadi (1946-47) of Gnostic works. So there is some possibility. Could these lost works have been inspired? They could have been. If found it will be for the Catholic Church to decide whether or not they were inspired. For there is no other method of determining which books are inspired.1 Turning to what we call Second Corinthians -- we will use the usual names hereafter -- it is difficult to reconstruct the date and situation with certainty. It seems that Paul's first letter was not well received, and relations between him and the church at Corinth got worse. It is likely that Paul made a hasty visit to Corinth 2 which accomplished little if anything. When he got back to Ephesus, he wrote in tears the third letter, which we do not have. Finally Paul sent Titus to try to smooth things out. While Titus was away, there came the riot of silversmiths at Ephesus mentioned in Acts 19:23 -- 20:1. Demetrius, who made miniature silver copies of the great temple of Diana there, found the fact that Paul was making converts hurt his business. So he led a mob into the theatre against Paul. Paul therefore decided to leave for Macedonia. There, perhaps at Philippi, he met Titus, and found a reconciliation had been made with the Corinthians. From Macedonia he wrote our Second Corinthians, probably in the fall of 57, on the trip reported in Acts 20:12.

We do not know who were the opponents or trouble makers at Corinth. Paul does not give a detailed description, for they were well known to the Corinthians. It may have been only two or three persons. It seems likely they were outsiders, who came with letters of commendation, claiming to be superior to Paul. They seem to have called themselves something like superhebrews. Perhaps they claimed ecstatic experiences. They also attacked Paul as unimpressive in appearance and in speaking. They probably had the skills of Greek rhetoric. We do not know at all what doctrinal specialties they may have had. The way Paul deals and pleads in these troubles makes Second Corinthians the most human of all his Epistles. Summary of 2 Corinthians, Chapter 1 Paul who is an Apostle of Jesus by the will of God, along with Timothy, wish grace and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ to all the Christians of Corinth and all Achaia. Paul blesses the God and Father of our Lord. He is the merciful Father, the God of all consolation. He consoles Paul and them in all their troubles, and so Paul is able to console those who are in every trouble with the consolation that God gives him. Just as the sufferings of Christ abound in Paul, so through Christ, Paul abounds in consolation. If he suffers trouble it is for their consolation and salvation. If he is consoled, it is for their consolation, which they experience when they patiently endure the same sufferings as Paul does. As a result, Paul's hope for them is strong, since he knows that just as they share the sufferings, so will they share the consolation. He most earnestly wants them to know the trouble he had in the Roman province of Asia. He was weighed down immensely, beyond what he alone could bear. He even despaired of living. It was as though the sentence of death had been passed on him. God arranged this so Paul might learn not to be confident in himself, but in the God who even raises the dead. God rescued Paul from so great a danger of death, and Paul is confident He will continue to rescue him, God in Whom Paul has hoped, that God will still deliver him, since many are working by their prayers for him, so [when the favor has been granted] God may be thanked by the many for the favor given to Paul through the prayers of many. What Paul can boast of is the testimony of his conscience that he has lived in this world in holiness and purity, and not following the wisdom of the flesh, but the love of God. He has acted in this way especially abundantly towards the Corinthians. He writes to them only what they can understand, and he hopes they will understand fully. It is only partially that they have understood that Paul is their glory, just as they will be his glory on the day of the return of the Lord.

Because he was sure of this, he wanted to come to them first, so they could have a twofold grace: that is, he wanted to go by way of Corinth to Macedonia, and again to come to Corinth from Macedonia, so they could send him on his way to Judea. In wanting to do this he was not acting with fickleness. He does not act in a merely human way or contradict himself. God is faithful: Paul's word to them is not both yes and no. The Son of God, Jesus, whom Paul preached to them along with Silvanus and Timothy -- that Son of God was not a vacillating yes and no. Rather, He always says yes to the Father. All Gods' promises have their yes, their fulfillment, in Him. And so it is through Him that Paul says Amen, yes, to God for His glory. The one who has confirmed Paul with them in Christ and has anointed him is God. God has also sealed Paul and them as His property, has given both Paul and them the pledge, namely, the Spirit, in their hearts. Paul calls to God to witness that he did not at once come to Corinth, in order to spare them. He is not lording it over their faith -rather, he is a fellow worker for their joy. They are standing firm in the faith. Comments on Chapter 1 Paul says that God consoles them in all their troubles. The word he uses for troubles is thlipsis. He used the same word in First Thessalonians 3:3, saying that "this is our lot" to have such troubles. Behind this seems to be Paul's great framework of the Christian regime: we are saved and made holy if and to the extent that we are members of Christ, and like Him. There were two phases for Him, first, a hard life, suffering and death; second, eternal glory. The more we are like Him in phase one, the more shall we be like Him in phase two. So God consoles us when we are the most like Christ. Hence he adds verse 5, that if the suffering of Christ -- that is suffering in imitation of Him and as His members -- abounds, so consolation also abounds. So he says in verse 7 that he has firm hope for them, knowing that if they share in suffering, they will also share in consolation. This consolation in times of deep distress may be only on the peak of the soul -- we mean that there are many levels of operations in a human. Just as it is possible for a very high mountain to have darkness and storm on all the lower slopes, while the peak projects up into sunlight, so it is possible to have great distress on all the lower levels, but great peace at the peak3 Then he speaks of his troubles in the Roman province of Asia, most likely referring to troubles in Ephesus. There he had persecutions from the Jews, and it seems also that when in prison in Ephesus, there was danger of a death sentence from the Romans (in verse 9). His condition seemed humanly hopeless, but God rescued him, through their prayers for him. (Some think he refers to a nearly fatal illness -this is less likely).

Next we begin to see Paul is having severe troubles with the community at Corinth. He pleads with them. He says that on the day of judgment they will be a glory for him. He hopes they will realize it is a glory for them to have him -- some there seem to have realized this. They seem to have accused him of vacillating in his travel plans. So he explains. He did not make a change for merely human reasons. He even takes an oath "God is faithful." He says that Jesus did not vacillate -- He was not both yes and no. But He was always yes -- now Paul shifts to mean Jesus always said yes to the Father, obeyed His will. All God's promises are fulfilled in Christ. He says that God has sealed them and him. In those times people would mark something as their property by a seal. By Baptism God has sealed them as His property. So they should act according to it -- and should never break the seal by sinning again after the forgiveness given in Baptism. We see an echo of this attitude of the seal in The Shepherd by Hermas, brother of Pope St. Pius I, when the vision tells Hermas: "The one who has received remission of sins should never sin again" (Shepherd, Mandates 3.3.2). Paul also speaks of the Holy Spirit as the pledge God gives them. A pledge is a sort of first payment, as a guarantee that the rest will be given also. If we have the Holy Spirit in our heart now, that is an assurance that -- unless we cast Him out by mortal sin -- we will receive the beatific vision in the next life, which comes from direct union of the soul with God. His presence now is a pledge, for it is really the beginning of that heavenly presence. The veil of flesh prevents us from seeing Him at present. In verse 23 he says he avoided coming to Corinth at that time to spare them. If he had come, the evils there would have made it necessary for him to be very firm. Even so, he adds (verse 25) he is not domineering over their faith -- he is a fellow worker with them for their joy. Summary of 2 Corinthians, Chapter 2 He decided not to come to visit them with grief. He fears he has grieved them by a letter. But they are the ones in whom he should be happy: clearly he did not like to grieve them, and so bring grief to himself too in the process. He wrote that way so that when he would come, he would not have to have grief from them, from whom he expected joy. So in much distress he wrote a tearful letter to them, not to grieve them, but so they might know of his love for them. If some troublemaker has caused grief to Paul, there has been grief for them too. But now that they have punished the troublemaker, he wants that not to be continued indefinitely. Rather, let them now pardon and console him, so he may not be crushed by great grief. So may they affirm their love for him. Paul wrote to see the results of their testing the troublemaker, to see if they were obedient to what he said. If they

forgive, so does Paul. Whatever forgiveness he has given it is for their sake, so Satan may not succeed with his tricks. When he came to Troas to preach, even though there was an opportunity for preaching in that important place, he could not be at ease because of the trouble in Corinth, and Titus had not yet come back [from a mission to Corinth]. So he decided to move on, and to go to Macedonia. He thanks God, who always makes them part of Christ's triumphal procession and through Paul makes known the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ everywhere. For we are the fragrance of Christ for God -- for some, leading to salvation, for others, to eternal ruin. For on encountering the Gospel, some advance on the way of life, others, on the way of death. So who could feel equal to this assignment? We are not like shopkeepers who water down the wine to make more money. No, Paul speaks from purity, for the sake of God, in the presence of God in Christ. Comments on Chapter 2 Paul continues with a personal kind of pleading. He did not come to Corinth at once, for if he had done so, he would have had to be stern, which he did not want. If in that way he would grieve them, then it would rebound on him, for they are his joy. But he did write a tearful letter, in constriction of heart. This letter of course is not our First Corinthians. So there must have been another letter in between our first and second ones. We saw before there was also one before our First Corinthians. We gather that the Christians at Corinth have in some way punished the leader of the trouble. Now Paul tells them that is sufficient -- he fears the offender may be crushed by excessive grief, and Satan may win. He forgives whomever they forgive -- in a completely selfless attitude. We gather too that Paul had sent Titus to Corinth to try to resolve the problem. Since Titus had not yet met Paul by the time Paul got to Troas, Paul left there for Macedonia, even though there would have been a good opening for preaching in that important city. But it seems by the time he wrote this letter, Titus has met him, and given a generally favorable report on conditions in Corinth. So Paul gives thanks to God, who always makes him and workers like him part of the triumphal procession of Christ as He conquers the world. In Roman triumphal parades, the major officers of the army of the conquering general would ride on horses behind his chariot. Paul compares his work to the sweet odor of an Old Testament sacrifice. Yet that odor can have opposite effects: for some it means advancing on the road to eternal life; to others, on the road to eternal death. Paul feels that of himself he is not capable of such an

assignment from Christ. Yet he is dispensing the word of God in all purity, and is not like a cheating tavern keeper who waters the wine. Summary of 2 Corinthians, Chapter 3 Is Paul now as though just beginning, presenting his credentials to the community of Corinth? No, he does not need credentials. For the community itself is his commendatory letter, written on their hearts, known and read by all. They are the letter of Christ which Paul delivered, not written with ink, but with the Spirit of God, not on stone tablets, but on the tablets of hearts. Paul has great confidence through Christ. He does not mean he is able by himself to get even a good thought. His ability to do that is from God. God has made him capable of being a minister of a New Covenant, not of the old letter, but of the new spirit. The old letter brings death, but the new spirit gives life. If the ministry of death, the old regime, which was written on stone tablets, was so glorious that the people could not even look on the face of Moses because of the glory of his face -- which is now gone -- how much more will the ministry of the spirit be in glory? The ministry of condemnation, the old law, came in glory -- how much more does the ministry that makes souls righteous abound in glory? For the glory of the old if put before (compared with) the surpassing glory of the new, is nothing. If that which is now gone came in glory -- how much more is the abiding regime glorious? Since we have such hope, we use much freedom. Moses put a veil over his face, so the people might not see that the glory of his face faded (until he went back again to God). But the minds of those people were dulled. Even today, their hearts are still veiled when the Old Covenant is read. The veil could be removed if they accepted Christ. But even to this day, when the old law is read, their hearts are covered with a veil. But when they, or their hearts, turn to the Lord, the veil will be taken away. For the Lord, Jesus, brings the new spiritual regime, instead of the old letter. And that spirit gives us freedom from the letter, the old law.All of us, our faces unveiled, see the glory of the Lord, and this transforms us more and more in glory by the action of the Lord of the spiritual regime. Comments on Chapter 3 It seems Paul's opponents in Corinth, who are likely to be some sort of Judaizers, came with credentials from other Judaizers, making great claims for themselves -- we will see more of their claims reflected in chapters 11:1-15. They seem to have charged that Paul lacked credentials, that he made himself too important, that his letters were impressive, but his appearance not so. In reply to such claims, Paul says the community there is his credential: a living church under the Spirit of God. His credentials are not written on parchment or papyrus, like those of the opponents, but

on the tablets of fleshy hearts. We think of Jeremiah 31:33, in the prophecy of the new Covenant, where God says: "I will write my law on their hearts." For this reason Paul has great confidence. Yet he does not claim he can even get a good thought by his own power: for even that he depends on God. Many today translate verse 5 to mean that Paul says he cannot claim credit on his own, his ability comes from God. That is true enough in itself. The key word is Greek logizomai, which readily has two meanings, to claim credit or calculate, and to think. In adopting our rendering we are following the definition of the Second Council of Orange held in 529. Because of a special approval given it in 531 by Pope Boniface II, theologians consider its canons equal to those of a general council. Canon 7 says: "If anyone claims that by the power of nature we can think anything that pertains to the salvation of eternal life, as we should, or make a choice, or consent to the preaching of the Gospel without the illumination and inspiration of the Holy Spirit . . . he is deceived by a heretical spirit, and does not understand the voice of God in the Gospel saying (John 15:5): 'Without me you can do nothing' and the word of the Apostle (2 Corinthians 3:5): 'Not that we are sufficient to think anything of ourselves as from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God'." Some today want to say that this canon merely uses our verse 5 as an illustration. But it hardly seems that way, and for certain, the illustration should not be taken from something with a different meaning. The Council certainly does take verse 5 to have the meaning we have given. The Latin used by the Council of Orange does not have the ambiguity of the Greek. We notice a similar situation is present in the translations of Philippians 2:13, where we also have a definition in Canon 4 of II Orange, which renders the verse of Philippians exactly as we did in our comments on that passage. Perhaps the reason why many are so disinclined to see the sense we have seen in these two passages is the difficult picture that results: We are, of our own power, incapable of a good thought, and even of a good decision of will, and of carrying out that decision. We need grace for all these things. This seems hard to reconcile with free will. Yet it can be done. We gave a sketch of a new proposal in commenting on Philippians 2:13.4 Paul goes on to say God has made him able to be a minister of the New Covenant. We notice he seldom speaks of a New Covenant, perhaps because the Judaizers so distorted the Old Covenant. He says the New Covenant is not of the letter but of the spirit. Here we need to recall the explanation of focusing we saw in comments on First Thessalonians 4:5, summarized in comments on 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12 and Galatians 2:15, and in the glossary. Briefly, Paul commonly takes an artificial view of the old law: It made heavy demands, but gave no strength -- to be under heavy demand with no strength must

mean a fall. Then one is spiritually dead. We called this focused because it is as if we were looking through a tube, and so could see only what is framed by the circle of the tube. But in a factual view we remove that limit, and see the whole horizon. Then we see the law still makes heavy demands and gives no strength, but help is at hand, from the grace of Christ which is in no relation to the law. With grace the result is good. We can call the focused view also a system as system view. The system of being under the law, as such, brings only death. But the system of being under the regime of the Spirit, the regime of grace, as such, can produce nothing but good. Therefore: The letter, the old law, kills, but the Spirit, the regime of grace, gives life. Many take this saying to mean: Don't bother with what the law says, just get the spirit. But there is no basis whatsoever in Paul's words for that. He is in a very different context, as we have seen. Within the focused perspective, Paul can call the law "the ministry of death," for in that perspective it can only bring death. Then he made some contrasts. The old law was on stone tablets, the new is written on hearts. Even the old came in glory at Sinai, but its glory, compared to that of the regime of Christ, is as nothing, as if a candle were put outside in the glaring light of noonday sun in summer. Exodus 34:29-35 tells how the face of Moses was so gleaming after he was with God that the people could not stand to look at it. So he put a veil over it. Paul adds a bit, in rabbinic fashion. He imagines that the glory on the face of Moses would fade after a while, and be restored only when he went back with God. To hide this fact, Moses used the veil. Then he says that sadly, the minds of the Jews who continued to reject Christ even in his day were still veiled, unable to see, since they continued to reject Christ, who could remove the veil. There are several opinions on the sense of every item in verse 17. The following probably is the best way to understand it: the Lord is spirit in the sense that Christ is the lifegiving spirit, of which 1 Corinthians 15:45 spoke: The New Adam became a life giving spirit. Of course Paul did not deny the reality of the flesh of the risen Christ. He meant that His humanity is an instrument giving us spiritual life, and that His flesh is completely dominated by His spirit, so that it functions according to the laws of spirits, not those of bodies. By our contact with Him we are transformed by the glory of the Lord, going ever farther and farther in glory by the action of the Lord, the lifegiving spirit. Summary of 2 Corinthians, Chapter 4 So, since he has this ministry by the mercy of God, Paul does not give in to weariness, but he rejects the things that are hidden and shameful. He does not live in such a way as to be willing to do just anything, unscrupulously, nor does he deform the word of God. Rather,

he presents his credentials to every conscience in the sight of God, in the manifestation of the truth. If the Gospel is veiled, it is that to those on the path to ruin, those in whom the god of this world has blinded their faithless thoughts, to keep the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ from shining for them -- Christ, who is the image of God. Paul does not preach himself, but Christ the Lord; he is their slave through Jesus. For it is the same God Who once said "Let light shine out of the darkness," Who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God reflected in the face of Christ. We have the treasure of this assignment to preach in earthenware vessels, so that the wonderful power may be clearly God's and not ours. In everything when we are troubled, we are not at a loss; when we do not know which way to turn, we do not despair; we are persecuted, but we are not deserted; we are cast down, but not ruined. We always bear the death of Jesus in our body so that His life may appear in our body. For we the living are always being handed over to death for the sake of Jesus, so that His life may be shown in our dead flesh. Therefore, death is at work in Paul, but life in them. Since he has the same spirit of truth as the sacred writer who said, "I believed, and so I spoke," he too has faith, and so he speaks. He knows that the One who raised Jesus will also raise us up with Him, and will put Paul near Him, along with the Corinthians. For everything is for their benefit, so that the abundant grace may bring even greater glory to God through the prayers of thanksgiving that the many will say. So he does not get tired. Even though his outer man is wearing out, yet his inner man is being renewed day by day. That which is at present light and momentary in our tribulations is producing for us, beyond all measure, an eternal wealth of glory for us, for we do not look at the things that can be seen with the eyes, but the things that the eyes do not see. For the things that we see are for a time; but those that are not seen are eternal. Comments on Chapter 4 Paul has his assignment of preaching in a mortal body (earthenware vessel). God's mercy has given this to him. Mercy does not always mean being kind to someone who deserves a penalty -- it can also mean a special favor in the external order. Paul used the word mercy that way in 1 Corinthians 7:25, in speaking of the grace of celibacy. In Romans 9:15 mercy means the special favor of full membership in the People of God, the Church. Paul is not like the charlatans who will do just anything to achieve their goals (Greek panourgia means willingness to use any means, licit or illicit). He spoke in chapter 3 of a veil on the hearts of those who reject Christ. Now he says that veil is the work of "the god of this world," that is, of Satan, who has such striking power in this world. 5 In the opposite

direction, if one lives vigorously according to what faith calls for, his spiritual perception gets ever deeper and keener. Those who are on the road to ruin have the opposite effect of increasing blindness. The light of Christ is compared to the power of creation, to what God did in the beginning, when He said: Let there be light. This implies of course that Christians are a "new creation," for it was the Creator who said that. He made them into new beings, not just old corruption, with a white cloak of the merits of Christ thrown over it, as Lutheran theory would hold. Paul will also use the words "new creation" in 2 Corinthians 5:17. He used them too in Galatians 6:15. Grace transforms the soul, making it basically capable of the vision of God in the next life. So it really is comparable to a new creation. In 1 Corinthians 1:26-28 he said that God chose the weak things of this world to show up the strong, so that it would be obvious that it was His power, not human ability that was at work. Similarly here Paul says he is an earthenware vessel, so that it may be obvious that the great power displayed is from God, not from men. As for himself, Paul says that no matter what happens, he is not dejected or cast down. He is glad that in this way, in his sufferings and weakness, the likeness of the death of Jesus may show in him, so that effects of the life of Jesus may also be manifested. Further, Paul's sufferings are a means of life for the Corinthians -- we think also of Colossians 1:24, where he says he fills up in his body what is lacking of the tribulations of Christ for His body, which is the Church. He then quotes the words of Psalm 116:10 (according to the Septuagint) saying that since he had faith, he also spoke. Paul does the same, he speaks out of his faith, that is, he keeps on preaching the Gospel in spite of everything. For he knows that resurrection day is coming, when he and they will be with Christ. (He uses the Psalm line out of context, as the rabbis so often did. But the meaning Paul attaches to it here is a true one in itself.) Everything -- sufferings and joys -- is for the sake of the faithful. Let God be thanked abundantly for His abundant grace. His physical nature is wearing out gradually, but his spiritual strength keeps on growing. Then he adds a line that is magnificent for consolation in trials: Even little things that run only a little while, if accepted for Christ, bring a rich eternal reward. If that be true of the little and the momentary -what of the hard and the long-running! It is good to think of this line 17 along with Romans 8:18: "I judge that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that is to be revealed to us!" To gain this, we must keep our eyes on the eternal things, which are seen only by faith -- for the things that our bodily eyes see are temporary and not very important. Summary of 2 Corinthians, Chapter 5 Paul knows that if he loses his earthly house, his body, he has a building from God, an eternal dwelling, not made by hands, in the

heavens. He says he groans, wishing that that heavenly dwelling could be put on on top of the earthly dwelling, the body, so he would not lack clothes at any time, never be naked. While he is in this tent, this body, he groans and is burdened. He does not like to take off that clothing, that body, but would like to put the new on on top of the old, so that the mortal might be swallowed up in life. It is God who prepares us for this very thing. He has given us the Spirit as the pledge. So, in confidence, since he knows that while he is in the body he is away from the Lord -- for we all walk in faith, without seeing -- he gets up his confidence, and decides he would prefer to be away from the body and to be with the Lord. Therefore he is eager no matter where he is, to be pleasing to the Lord. For everyone must appear before the tribunal of Christ, so as to receive what is due for what he/she has done through the body -- good or evil. So, in fear of the Lord, he tries to convince men -- but God knows him fully. He hopes the Corinthians in their consciences know him too. This does not mean he is again trying to present his credentials to them. Rather, he is giving them an opening to make a defense against the claims and boasts of the opponents, who claim outward things, not things of the heart. So, whether or not he is beside himself, it is all for God, and if he is in his right mind, it is for them. His love for Christ drives him on, for he knows that since one died for all, therefore all have died. Christ died for all so that the living might no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and rose. From this time on Paul will not look on anyone in a merely human way, according to what is exterior. Even if he once thought of Christ in that way -- he now no longer looks upon Him in a human way. All who now are in Christ are a new creation -- the old way has passed -everything has become new. But all things are from God, who reconciles us to Himself through Christ, and gave to Paul the ministry of reconciliation: God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, and not holding their transgressions against them, giving to Paul the word of reconciliation. So Paul is a legate on behalf of Christ, and God is giving exhortation through Paul. Hence he begs them on behalf of Christ to be reconciled to God. God even made Him who did not know sin to be sin, for us, so we could become the righteousness of God in Him. Comments on Chapter 5 In a very human way, Paul expresses more than once his desire: He wishes he could have a glorious transformation without dying, so as to have the transformed body he spoke of in First Corinthians 15:42-54 put on on top of his present body.

Of course, he knows this is not possible, and so he says he gets up his nerve, as it were, and would like to be away from the body so as to be with Christ. Even now, he says, we have the Spirit as the pledge of the vision of God in the next life -- we saw this earlier in 2 Corinthians 1:22. This is of course the same sort of thought we saw in Philippians 1:2126 where he could not decide if he wanted to live or to die -- to live is a chance to work for Christ; to die would mean to be with Christ. In our comments on that passage we reviewed the several strange proposals put forth by commentators, with or without an attempted base in Jewish thought. Similarly in this passage, some think Paul speaks of a resurrection body, which he would have before dying. But our answer now is the same as it was in Philippians. We add that when Paul does speak of the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 he knows that the transformation of the body does not take place at once after death, but at the end of time. Also Second Timothy 2:17-18 complains against some who thought the resurrection had already taken place. Commentators are really strangely dull: it is admitted that the Pharisees of Paul's day knew of an intermediate state, between death and resurrection, without a body. Paul beyond doubt was a Pharisee before his conversion. So there is no need to try to force his thought into a strange mold, different from what the Pharisees held. As a natural result of this desire, Paul says he should try to please the Lord, for we all must appear before Him for judgment, and receive our due. The thought returns that he is fully known to Christ -- he wishes he were so well understood by the Corinthians. But even so, he is not going to present credentials again. Rather, he tells what qualifications he has as a countermeasure to the false boasting of his opponents. He will rehearse these outward credentials later in 11:22-12:10. Then it seems some have charged him with being beside himself -the Greek exestemen can have that meaning, though it can also mean to be in ecstasy. Paul says no matter what, he works for God, and for their sakes. For His love for Christ drives him on. Since Christ died, and we are members of Christ's Mystical Body, His death is beneficial to us, as if we had died. Christ died so that the living may live for Him, and not for themselves. At one time Paul looked upon Christ in a merely human way, looking at externals -- this would have been before his conversion, whether or not he had seen Jesus before His death: probably he had not seen Him then. But now he no longer looks at externals, but at the interior. So anyone who is now a member of Christ is remade, is a new creation (we recall 4:6 above). The old things are gone, all is new. (Again, this hardly fits with Luther's idea of total corruption).

Everything comes from God who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave Paul the mission of promoting the carrying out of this reconciliation. Paul is a legate for Christ; God exhorts through him. Even though Christ was sinless, God made Him to bear the sins of all. God "made Christ to be sin" in the sense that He caused Him to bear the weight of all our sins. He overcame sin, and became instead righteousness: we as His members are also made righteous. Paul's astoundingly bold language here is much like what we saw him write in Galatians 3:13 where he said Christ because a curse for us. Please review the comments on that passage. Summary of 2 Corinthians, Chapter 6 As Paul cooperates with God, he urges them not to receive the grace of God in vain. Scripture says: "I heard you at the acceptable time, and helped you on the day of salvation." Yes, now is that acceptable time, now is the day of salvation. For his part, he gives no offense to anyone, so his ministry may not be blamed. Rather, in everything, he establishes himself as God's minister, in much endurance, in troubles, in necessities, in tight spots, in blows, in prisons, in tumults, in hard work, in loss of sleep, in fastings, in purity, in knowledge, in long-suffering, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in unfeigned love, in the word of truth, in the power of God, through the weapons of righteousness on the right and on the left, through glory and dishonor, through being ill spoken of and well spoken of, considered as a deceiver, yet well known, as dying, and yet alive, as being punished, but not put to death, as grieved, but always rejoicing, as needy, but enriching many, as having nothing, and yet possessing all things. He held back nothing from them, his heart has been enlarged in love for them. There is no lack of room for them in him -- but there is a narrowness or lack of room in their hearts for him. In return -- he speaks to them as his children -- he begs them to enlarge their hearts to take him in too. He asks them not to be yoked together with unbelievers. He asks: What do righteousness and wickedness have in common? What in common between light and darkness? What agreement is there between Christ and Belial, Satan. What has a believer in common with the unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and that of idols? For they are the temple of the living God, as God said: "I will dwell in them and walk amongst them, and I will be their God and they will be my people. Therefore, go out from their midst, and separate yourselves, says the Lord. And do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you, and will be a Father to you, and you will be as sons and daughters: says the Almighty Lord." Comments on Chapter 6 In urging them not to receive the grace of God in vain, Paul clearly implies that in some way they determine whether or not it comes in

vain, a statement of free will. So many places in Scripture imply the same, where we are called on to repent, to turn to God, etc. We compare these with 2 Corinthians 3:5 where we hear we have not even the power to get a good thought by ourselves, and Philippians 2:13, where we find we cannot even make a good decision of will or carry it out on our own. The two sets of texts seem to clash. Yet they do not. For data on how to reconcile them, please see this author's Our Father's Plan, chapter 18. We gave a summary of our new proposal in connection with comments on Philippians 2:13. The quote about the acceptable time is from Isaiah 49:8 according to the Septuagint. God is always ready to receive our adherence to Him. Paul then describes how an authentic minister of God should act: these are his credentials, in contrast to the boastfulness of his opponents in Corinth. Then he pleads with them to be open to him, as he is to them. Starting at verse 14 we find a passage which some commentators think does not fit, and so they suspect it came from a different Epistle of Paul. Not impossible. But there is a connection. He is telling them how to conduct themselves in the pagan atmosphere of Corinth. They should not conform themselves to this world in order to gain acceptance, a common and strong temptation. He reinforces his plea with a string of Scriptural texts and illusions -- identification can be found in the margin of any good edition. Summary of 2 Corinthians, Chapter 7 He says that since they have such great divine promises, they should cleanse themselves from everything in flesh or spirit that could defile, seeking perfect holiness in the fear of God. Again he pleads that they may make room for him in their hearts. He says he has wronged no one, ruined no one, has defrauded no one. He is not saying this to condemn them. For he has already said that he has room for them in his heart, to live and die with them. Really, in spite of some troublemakers there, he has great freedom in speaking to them. He even boasts elsewhere about them, and is filled with consolation, and has superabundant joy in all his troubles. When he came to Macedonia, he had no rest; he was troubled much -- fears inwardly, struggles outwardly. But God who consoles the lowly consoled him when Titus came. It was not just his arrival, but the consolation Titus could report he had from them. He told Paul of their longing for him, their weeping over him, their zeal for him. So Paul rejoiced instead of being sad. Even if he grieved them by the tearful letter, he does not regret it -though he did not like to do it at the time -- but that letter grieved them only for a while, but then led to repentance, and so he is happy. They had the kind of grief God wants, one that leads to repentance. Grief of this kind in God's way leads to salvation; the grief of the world leads to death.

He tells them to consider the kind of grief they had, the kind God wills -- it made them eager, led to defense, caused indignation at evil, fear, desire, zeal, punishment of the offender. They showed themselves right in everything in the matter. He wrote not so much because of the wrongdoer, but to bring out their solicitude in the sight of God. This consoled Paul. And he had added happiness at seeing the joy of Titus, for they refreshed his spirit. Thus Paul has not had to be ashamed over the fact that he had been boasting about the Corinthians. It turned out that what he said about them was true. The heart of Titus goes out to them abundantly, when he remembers their obedience, how respectfully they received him. So Paul is happy that he can have confidence in them in everything. Comments on Chapter 7 The thought is too simple to need much comment. Paul shows very human emotions here: He was distressed when some at Corinth were doing wrong. He wrote them a tearful letter, which we do not have. That grieved them, but then led to their changing. He sent Titus to make peace with them. Titus brought back a fine report, and so both Paul and Titus are happy. Literally, Paul says they received Titus "with fear and trembling." But that expression is stereotyped -- overused -and so has lost much of its force. It means merely, "with great respect." We saw it also in Philippians 2:12. Chapters 8-9 of Second Corinthians Because these two chapters are so easy to read, we are not giving the usual summary of them. Paul is merely announcing a collection for the Christians in Jerusalem. He calls it a grace to give -- for a grace is needed to move anyone to do anything good. He wants them to give according to their ability, not going beyond that. In 8:18-19 he mentions "the brother whose praise is in the Gospel throughout all the churches," who has also been chosen as a traveling companion for Paul's entourage in making this collection. It is not certain who this is, but many since Origen think it is St. Luke. There is special reason, for this is one "whose praise is in the Gospel." If that referred only to preaching, many could be described that way. So it seems writing the Gospel is the reason. And we know that Acts of the Apostles was written by St.Luke, and in it we see him traveling with St.Paul several times. On the other hand, it is objected that Acts makes no mention of this collection. Probably it had nothing to do with the chief purpose of Acts, which seems to have been to show how the Church spread and even reached the capital of the empire. Summary of 1 Corinthians, Chapter 10 Paul says that he himself begs them through the meekness and graciousness of Christ -- Paul who they say is lowly when present, but bold in letters when absent -- he begs that when present he may not have to be bold in the confidence on which he counts to be daring

against those who charge he is living according to the principles of the flesh, in a worldly way. He says that even though he is still in the flesh, he does not wage war for Christ according to the fleshy way of life. For the weapons he uses are not fleshy, but powerful with the power of God, to destroy fortifications, to destroy false reasonings and every high place that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. He takes captive every mind to lead people to obey Christ. He has the ready power to correct the injustice of every disobedience, when their obedience becomes full. He asks them: Look at what is obvious. If anyone is confident that he belongs to Christ, let him think a second time, and realize that Paul is too. If Paul boasts much about his power, which the Lord gave him to build up and not to destroy, Paul will not be put to shame. He says this in such a way that he may not seem to frighten them by his letters. For the opponents say that the letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech is of no account. So, anyone who makes such charges ought to realize that what Paul is by letters when absent, he is the same by deeds when present. He says, in sarcasm, that he does not dare to compare or put himself alongside of the opponents who are praising themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another, and compare themselves with one another -- they do not understand. Paul says he will not boast beyond measure, but according to the measure of the assignment God has given him -- which extends even to Corinth. For he did not overextend his sphere of operations, as if it did not extend to them. He came to them with the Gospel of Christ. He will not boast too much by boasting over another's labors. But he has hope, when their faith increases, to extend his influence over them more and more, according to God's assignment for him. He hopes to preach, when they are well grounded, to territories beyond Corinth, but not so as to boast over territories someone else has already cultivated. Jeremiah says: "Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord." For it is not the one who praises himself who deserves approval, but the one whom the Lord approves. Comments on Chapter 10 He appeals through the meekness and graciousness of Christ -- this is the virtue that does not hold to merely the line of what is due, but gives more generously. Paul is now going to speak directly against the opponents in Corinth, who seem to be boastful, and attack his authority, and who say he is unimpressive even though he writes strong letters. In contrast, Paul insists he does have the authority of Christ. He says that in person he is just as strong as he is in letters. But -- in sarcasm -- he says he will not compare himself to those "superapostles" (cf. 11:5).

When in verse 10 Paul says his opponents say his bodily presence is unimpressive, we may add that the apocryphal Acts of Paul and Thecla says he was small of stature, with bald head, and crooked legs and a hooked nose. Even though those Acts on the whole are probably of second century, and are apocryphal, and at times fanciful, it is likely that this unflattering description of Paul goes back to the first century. He says that in preaching in Corinth he has not gone beyond the area assigned to him by Christ. (He seems to make it a point not to preach in territories already worked by others. When the Gospel is just starting out, it would not be economical for two to work the same area). He hopes to preach in more remote places. Probably he has Spain in mind. In Romans 15:24 Paul explicitly mentions his desire to go to Spain. Pope Clement I, who says Peter and Paul were of his own generation, speaks of Paul traveling to the boundary of the west -- which to the Roman world would mean Spain (1 Clement 5.7). The second century Muratorian Fragment (38-39) also speaks of Paul as setting out for Spain. The quotation in verse 17 is from Jeremiah 9:22-23. In 1 Corinthians 4:7 Paul says that everything good that we are or have is God's gift to us. So we have nothing to boast of that we ourselves originated, but we can "boast" of His great gifts to us, by which, as 2 Peter 1:4 says, we are by grace "sharers in the divine nature." Let us recall the comments at Philippians 2:13 on our total dependence on God. Summary of 2 Corinthians, Chapter 11 Paul hopes they will put up with some of what he calls "foolishness" (boasting of his own credentials to counter the opponents). He says he loves them so much that he is jealous over them, even as God is over His people. Paul has promised to present them as a chaste bride to Christ. But he fears that just as the serpent deceived Eve, so they may be corrupted from the simplicity and holiness that leads to Christ. For if someone preaches a different Jesus from what Paul preached, or if they receive a different spirit, or a different Gospel -- they readily accept it. But Paul insists he is not at all less than the "superapostles" as the opponents seem to call themselves. Even if he does not have rhetorical skill in speaking, he does have the knowledge about Christ. He has been making that clear to them in everything. Did he do wrong in lowering himself to exalt them, i.e., by preaching the Gospel without taking financial support for himself? He "plundered other churches," i.e., did take some support from them, to get what he needed to live to serve the Corinthians. For before when he was in Corinth and in need, he did not ask them for anything, but Christians from Macedonia supplied what he needed. So he insists he has not been at all a burden to them. He will continue that way. He swears by the truth of Christ that he will not give up this pledge. Why? Is it that he does not love them? God knows he does. But he refrains from

asking for support, to cut off a chance for the opponents to criticize him. These opponents are false apostles, fraudulent workers. They transform themselves into apostles of Christ -- not strange, for Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. So if his agents do the same it is not surprising. But their end will be like their works. Again he begs them not to think him senseless, or if they do, may they at least accept him even as a fool. What he is going to say is not the way the Lord talks. He is going to indulge in the folly of boasting. For since many opponents boast of matters of the flesh, he will do the same. For (in sarcasm) they gladly put up with fools, since they are wise. They put up with it if someone makes them slaves, if someone devours them, if someone robs them, if someone exalts himself, if someone strikes them on the face. He says, in sarcasm, he is ashamed that he has been too weak to do as they do. But if these superapostles boast of something -- in folly he says -- he can do it too. Are they Hebrews? So is Paul. Are they Israelites? So is Paul. Are they descendants of Abraham? So is Paul. Are they ministers of Christ? In foolish boasting Paul says: He is more. He is in labors more abundantly, in prisons more abundantly, in beatings beyond measure, in dangers of death many times. Five times the Jews gave him 39 blows. Three times he was beaten with rods. Once he was stoned. Three times he was shipwrecked. He spent a night and a day in the sea. He often has had to travel on land, with dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from his own people, dangers from the gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the desert, dangers on the sea, dangers from false brothers -- in labor and hard work, often in loss of sleep, in hunger and thirst, in fastings many times, in cold and nakedness. Besides all this there is his daily pressure, his concern for all the churches. Who is weak and Paul is not weak? Who is scandalized and he is not set on fire, in concern if they found any obstacle in him? If he must boast, he will boast only of the things of his weakness. The God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ knows -- may He be blessed forever -- that Paul does not lie. At Damascus the Ethnarch of King Aretas was guarding the city, to catch him. But he was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and so escaped. Comments on Chapter 11 Paul hates to have to rehearse his own qualifications, to "boast." He calls that foolishness. But in view of the principle he expressed in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, of doing all things that are not wrong to gain souls by any means, now he is prepared to "boast," though he will take a bit of time before starting it.

Meanwhile he fears that the Corinthians have accepted another Gospel, a false one. We recall how vehemently he spoke in Galatians 1:8-9 that even if an angel were to come down from the sky bringing a different Gospel, the angel should be cursed. Paul even says here that the Corinthians readily accept such falsifications of the Gospel! His enemies call themselves superapostles, and say he is a poor speaker, not impressive in appearance, and claims too much authority. No matter, he says, but I bring the truth of Christ. Then to show his sincerity he stresses that he does not ask the Corinthians for his material support -- in general he does not do that, though he has gotten something from the church at Philippi when he was in need. This practice of Paul's seems not to have helped in Corinth. Perhaps Paul was making a psychological mistake. People do not like to be in a one-way arrangement, only receiving, never returning a favor. It makes them feel inferior. So Aristotle, in Ethics 8.2, says that for friendship, there must be favors both received and given, in each direction. The fact that Paul writes under inspiration does not guarantee that he would use the best judgment. It only guarantees he will write the truth about what he is actually doing. He says the false apostles transform themselves into apostles of Christ. He does not really mean they are such, they just seem to be such. He says Satan also puts on the appearance of a good angel to deceive people. That was happening in Paul's day, and it happens in every age, including our own. Especially today we see a distortion of love which wants to so care for material needs of others that it neglects direct relation to God. A friend of mine once said: "If I were alone on a desert island, I could have no relation to God: I can have that only through people." After this long intermission Paul finally gets to what he dislikes to do, to boasting. He says he too is a Hebrew, an Israelite, a son of Abraham. But as to being a minister of Christ, he has very different credentials: His great continued sufferings which are needed to bring the Gospel. He was often in prison, beaten many times. The Jews stopped at 39 blows, since Deuteronomy 25:1-3 ordered a limit of 40 blows. Among other things, he mentions hunger and thirst, and then he speaks of fastings, which seem to be self-imposed, otherwise he would be repeating himself, saying, in effect, hunger and hunger. In addition, he is under stress in his concern for the churches everywhere. He goes further, and says he will boast of the things in which he was weak. First he tells of his escape in a basket from Damascus. In the next chapter, there will be remarkable experiences. Summary of 2 Corinthians, Chapter 12 He says if boasting is necessary -- it is not a good thing -- he will speak of visions and revelations given by the Lord. He knows a man in

Christ who 14 years ago -- he does not know if in the body or not, God knows -- that man was taken to the third heaven. He says he knows such a man -- in the body or not, he does not know, God knows -- that he was taken into paradise, and heard unspeakable words that a person is not permitted to speak. He will boast for such a one, but as for himself, he will not boast except over his weaknesses. But if he would wish to boast, he would not be foolish, he speaks the truth, but holds back so no one will think more of him than what he sees or hears from Paul. Because of the loftiness of the revelations, to keep him from exalting himself -- a "thorn to the flesh" was given to him, an angel of Satan, to beat him, so he might not exalt himself. Because of this, he very earnestly begged the Lord that it might leave him. But the Lord told him: "My grace is enough for you. Power is made perfect in weakness." As a result, Paul will boast of his weaknesses, so the power of Christ may dwell in him. So for this reason he is pleased to be in weaknesses, in insults, in necessities, in persecutions, in tight spots for Christ. For when he is weak, then he is strong. Now he says he has become foolish -- they drove him to it, for they should have commended and accepted him. For in no respect does he fall short of the "superapostles" -- even though he is nothing. For the proofs of being an apostle have been worked among them, in patience, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds. He asks: In what way have they been less favored than the rest of the churches except that he has not asked for financial support? He asks forgiveness for this "injustice." Now he is ready to come there for the third time, and he will not burden them financially. He does not seek their money, but them. It is not right that children should build up treasure for their parents, but the parents for the children. Paul will most gladly spend and be spent for their souls. If he loves them too abundantly: should he be loved by them more poorly? Then Paul imagines they admit he has not been a burden to them, but they might say he was unprincipled and "took them" by deceit. He replies that he never took advantage of them through anyone he sent. He asked Titus to go, and sent another brother with him. Titus did not take advantage of them did he? Have not Paul and Titus both walked the same way? Have they had the impression that he was really defending himself to them? Really, before God and Christ, he insists that what he said was for their spiritual good. But he is afraid that somehow when he comes there he may find them as he does not want to find them, and so they may find him not as they wish. He is afraid that he may find that somehow strife, envy, anger, selfish ambitions, slander, gossiping, being puffed up, and disturbances have come among them. He fears

that when he comes again, God may humiliate him before them, and he may have to wail over many of those who sinned before and did not have a real change of heart in regard to the uncleanness and sexual looseness and sensuality they had practiced. Comments on Chapter 12 Paul continues with the "boasting." It is only after a few lines that we find out he is the man who 14 years ago was taken to the third heaven. He does not know if he was or was not in the body at the time. The astronomy of the day would speak of three realms, first, the earth's atmosphere, second, the region of the stars, third the place where God dwells. One Jewish tradition would speak of three heavens, another of seven. Paul clearly means he was taken to the highest. When he says the words he heard were "unspeakable" he could mean either that he was forbidden to reveal what he heard or that there are no human words to express it. In normal speech, we depend on the fact that both the speaker and the listener share a common experience to which a word refers. But if the listener has nothing in common, the matter is unspeakable. We do not know if Paul refers to a lofty experience of infused contemplation, or to a vision in the charismatic category. He probably means the latter. (We explained the two categories in comments on 1 Corinthians 12). Some think he had a glimpse of the Beatific Vision itself. He says that he was given a thorn to the flesh, an angel of Satan to beat him to keep him from getting proud. There are three views of commentators on what sort of thing it was: 1) persecutions -- but Paul says he begged three times, i.e., very earnestly to get rid of them. He would hardly plead to be free of persecutions, which he would consider a privilege. 2) illness Only if it were such as to keep him from apostolic work could we imagine Paul pleading so much to be freed from it. And even then, he more likely would have said: "May your will be done," even if it kept him from work. Also, illness can be a means of spiritual growth, if accepted as God's will, and of reparation for sin. 3) violent sexual temptations. Some object that Paul would not be likely to have this in mind. To admit that might give an opening to his opponents. But we reply that he did not consent to them. To come through well would really be a merit. However, when good people have a siege of such temptations, having to try to throw thoughts out many times before peace returns, they often feel uneasy, wondering if they really did hold out well enough. That would be helpful to humility, which Paul says was the purpose of the thorn. And we know that in what St. John of the Cross calls the Second Night or the Night of the Spirit, there are normally very severe temptations, against any virtue, and they may be against purity. Paul says he is pleased to be in weakness, since then the power of God is more evident, does more. Weakness, seeing himself having a

hard time to keep out of serious sin, would help humility, which is so necessary. And the fact that he would experience and thereby realize his own weakness would also help humility. There is also something modern psychologists call somatic resonance. We could explain it this way: since we are made up of body and soul, matter and spirit, and these two are so closely joined together as to form one person, the result is this: If we have a condition on either of the two sides, then for normal running (not for just survival) we should have a parallel condition on the other side. That parallel condition is called a resonance. When it comes on the bodily side -- the most usual case -- it is labeled somatic, from Greek soma, body. For instance, sometimes a person in deep black depression will think he has lost his faith. But he has not. The bad chemistry of the disease interferes with the chemistry that should serve as the somatic resonance to faith. Hence it seems to him he has no faith left. Virtue is basically in our spiritual will. But the somatic resonance to it is on the bodily side. When the body is hard pressed and strained, and feels its own weakness deeply, then the somatic resonance to virtue is at hand. So Paul's experience of weakness would help his virtue of humility, by adjusting his somatic resonance to humility. After all this he says with regrets that he has become foolish in boasting, but they drove him to it, he needed to do it to counter the claims of the opponents. That should not have been necessary, for they saw in him all the signs of an Apostle, i.e., miracles. And also he has not accepted money from them. Rather, he says children should not store up treasure for parents, but parents for children. This means of course he considers himself their father -- he implied the same in 1 Cor 4:15 where he said they may have many teachers, but not many fathers. He has begotten them in Christ. So the words of Christ in Matthew 23:9 saying we should call no man father, really inculcate an attitude, and do not prohibit the word father. Paul surely would not act contrary to the injunction of Christ. In verse 16 the Greek for unprincipled is panourgos, being willing to do anything at all -- whether moral or immoral -- to get the result one wants. At the end of this chapter we see that in spite of his complimentary words to them earlier, he really is not sure of the good qualities of some of them. Summary of 2 Corinthians, Chapter 13 He says he is coming for the third time, and according to Deuteronomy: "Every thing shall be proved by the mouth of two or three witnesses." He said it before, and he repeats it now while he is away, to those who have sinned before, and to all, that if he comes again he will not spare them -- since they seek proof of the Christ who speaks in him. Christ is not weak in dealing with them. He was

crucified in the weakness He willed to tolerate before His resurrection, but now, after that, He lives by the power of God. Similarly, Paul is weak in Him, but will live with Him by God's power towards them. He urges them to examine their consciences to see if they are in the faith. Do they know themselves? Do they know that Jesus Christ is in them? -- unless they are rejected by Christ. He hopes they are not rejected, failing in the test. Paul prays to God that they may not do evil, but that they may come out of the test approved, that they may do good, even if thereby Paul seems not vindicated. Paul cannot do anything against the truth. He can only act to support the truth. But he is glad when he is weak, but they are strong. What he prays for is their improvement even to perfection. So he writes these things while absent, so that when he comes, he may not need to treat anyone severely, using the power the Lord gave him to build up, and not to destroy. As for the rest, he tells them to rejoice, to be perfect, to encourage one another, to be in agreement and at peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with them. He tells them to greet one another with the holy kiss. All the holy ones greet them. May the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the sharing with the Holy Spirit be with them all. Comments on Chapter 13 In a rather playful spirit he says he is coming for the third time, and that is enough to prove things to them. For Deuteronomy 19:15 says everything can be proved by two or three witnesses. Of course, the same person speaking three times does not meet the requirement. He remarks that he has said it before, and repeats it: if he comes again he will have to be demanding. Christ died in the weakness He assumed for our sakes, but now that He is risen, He is powerful forever. Similarly, Paul seems weak for a time, but will act with the power Christ gave him -- a power to be used only to build up spiritually, not to destroy. So they should examine their consciences, and see if they could pass scrutiny by Christ. He hopes they do pass, even if that would mean that he, Paul would seem to have been wrong. He is glad when they are strong, even if he is weak. So he is writing now in the hopes that when he does come he will not need to be severe on anyone. The "sharing" with the Holy Spirit does not mean just "fellowship," as it is often translated. It means the state of having things in common (koinonia) with another, here, the Holy Spirit, to whom they are bound and by whom they are bound to one another. END NOTES 1 Note in Context: Cf. Wm. G. Most, Free From All Error, Libertyville Il., 2nd ed., 1990, chapter 2. 2 Note in Context:

Cf. 2 Cor 12:14; 13:1-2; 2:1. 3 Note in Cf. comments on Philippians 3. 4 Note in Cf. Wm. G. Most, Our Father's Plan, chapter 18. 5 Note in Cf. John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11, and Ephesians 2:2.

Context: Context: Context:

"Chapter 8. Letter to the Romans" Introduction It seems that Paul had written Second Corinthians from Macedonia, in the fall of 57 A.D. He went to Corinth, perhaps directly, perhaps by way of Illyricum (cf. Romans 15:19). He arrived in Corinth, his third visit, in the winter of 57, probably in December. He stayed three months in Achaia (cf. Acts 20:2-3). During this stay, probably at Corinth, and probably in the winter of 57-58, he wrote the Epistle to the Romans. It seems Paul felt his chief work in the east was over, and so planned, after going to Jerusalem again, to go to Rome, and from there, to go to the farther west, especially Spain. We do not know who first brought the faith to Rome. Acts 2:10 speaks of Jews from Rome in Jerusalem at the first Christian Pentecost. Some think they may not have come just for the feast and then returned to Rome -- some Jews wanted to spend their last years before death in Jerusalem. But it is likely that at least some of those mentioned did go back to Rome. We do not know when Peter first came there. Probably sometime after the Council of Jerusalem, which was probably in 49 A.D. Aquila and Priscilla, Jewish converts, had to leave Rome because of the edict of Claudius, and reached Corinth about 49. The expulsion may have come after a conflict of Jews and Jewish Christians at Rome. Suetonius in his life of Emperor Claudius (25) says: "He expelled Jews making constant disturbance, led by Chrestos. [A garbled version of Christ -- really, Christians]." That seems to imply converts to Christianity were in Rome before 49. There is a funeral inscription of a woman, Pomponia Graecina, seemingly a Christian, buried in Rome about 43 A.D. It is disputed whether the community at Rome was mostly Jewish Christians or Gentile Christians. The latter seems more likely. Practically all admit today that this Epistle is by Paul, though a question can be raised over the final doxology in 16:25-27. Chapter 16:1-23 is a different problem. Most admit it is by Paul, but is it part of the original letter? Marcion, Tertullian, Cyprian and Irenaeus seem to know the Epistle without these verses, in fact, without chapters 15-16. Chapter 16:1-16 reads like a letter of introduction for one Phoebe. In spite of these questions, the Church has declared all these parts part of Scripture, and so inspired.

Romans has affected our theology more than any other New Testament book. The chief Patristic commentaries were made by: Origen, St. John Chrysostom, Theodoret, St. John Damascene, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Ambrosiaster and Pelagius. There are famous commentaries also by Luther, Calvin, and Melanchthon. Some Books to Compare Since there is so much difference of opinion about many things in Romans, it will be interesting to know some of the chief commentaries. At a number of points we will tell which authors hold which opinions. The opinions proposed here at times differ from all these commentators. Then it could be interesting to compare. The Church has not spoken explicitly on many lines in Romans, but indirectly has established many things. This commentary never differs from the Church, even indirectly or by implication. Yet it does offer some new answers to old questions, which the other commentaries at times seem unable to provide. Here are the chief commentaries on Romans. (Many of these are in foreign languages, but we will report at the right times what they say): P. Althaus, Der Brief an die Rmer, Gttingen, 1959; C. K. Barrett, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans Edinburgh, l971; C. E. B. Cranfield, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, 1975, 1979; J. Fitzmyer, in Jerome Biblical Commentary, 1990; J. Huby, Eptre aux Romains, (Revised edition by S. Lyonnet), Paris, 1957; O. Kuss, Der Rmerbrief, Regensburg, 1963-78; M.-J. Lagrange, Eptre aux Romains, Paris, l950; F. Leenhardt, The Epistle to the Romans, London, 1961; H. Lietzman, An die Rmer, Tbingen, 1929; O. Michel, Der Brief an die Rmer, Gttingen, 1966; J. Fitzmyer, Romans (Anchor Bible 1993 -- has abundant data, but does not address most of the great seeming contradictions in Romans). Summary of Romans 1:1-12 Paul, a slave of Jesus Christ, who was called to be an Apostle, and set aside for the Gospel of God, which God foretold in advance through his prophets in the Old Testament about His Son, who according to the flesh came from the line of David, who was appointed as Son-of-Godin-Power according to a spirit of holiness after his resurrection from the dead. Through Him Paul has received the grace of apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all gentiles, for His name. Among them the Romans were called to belong to Jesus Christ. Paul wishes grace and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ to all at Rome who are beloved by God and called holy. He gives thanks to God through Jesus Christ for the Roman Christians. For their faith is known in the whole world. Paul calls God to witness, the God whom he serves in his spirit, that he constantly remembers all of them in his prayers, praying that somehow finally he may be able to come to them, in accord with the will of God. For he longs to see them,

so he may give them some spiritual grace to strengthen them -- that is, to be consoled together with them, each by the faith of the other. Comments on 1:1-12 The above passage is mostly a long introduction. Paul says what any Jew would say, that the Messiah was foretold by the prophets. (Of course, not all Jews saw Jesus was the Messiah). To say, as some do today, that one can get something out of the Old Testament prophecies only by hindsight, only by seeing them fulfilled in Christ, is to forget that the Jews actually did understand very much, as we can see from their Aramaic Targums (Aramaic versions of the Old Testament, usually free and with fill-ins) which saw as Messianic chiefly : Genesis 3:15; Genesis 49:10; Numbers 24:17-24; Isaiah 9:5-6 and 11:1-16; and 53; Micah 5:1-3. As to Isaiah 7:14, the Babylonian Talmud,Sanhedrin, 99a reports that Hillel, one of the two great teachers at the time of Christ, thought it was Messianic, that Hezekiah, son of Achaz (to whom Isaiah spoke) had been the Messiah. Jacob Neusner, Messiah in Context, Fortress, Philadelphia, 1984, p.190) tells us that later, when the Jews saw Christians using that verse, they stopped saying it was Messianic. But they gave themselves away -- for all today admit that the child of 9:5-6 is the same as the child of 7:14 (both verses belong to the stretch we call the book of Immanuel). And the Targums do mark 9:5-6 as Messianic. The same study by Neusner gives an exhaustive survey of all Jewish literature from after the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonian Talmud. He finds no interest in the Messiah up to that Talmud. In the period 500-600, the time of the Babylonian Talmud, he found interest did return but they spoke of only one of the great prophecies of the Old Testament, that he would be of the line of David. It is obvious that the targumic work on prophecies, which sees the Messiah in so many places, could not have been written in these periods when there was little or no interest in a Messiah. So the targumic work on the prophecies is very early. Some scholars think it goes back in oral form to the time of Ezra.1 Paul says Jesus was appointed Son-of-God-in-power by the spirit of holiness after His resurrection. We put the hyphens in to indicate that all the words are part of one title. The sense is this: He always was the Son of God, and in His divinity always had all power. But as Philippians 2:7 tells us: "He emptied Himself," that is, He made the policy of not using His divine power for His own comfort -- He would use it only for the sick. But then after the resurrection, He said (Mt 28:18): "All power is given to me in heaven and on earth." Then He would exercise that almighty power even as man. Paul's work is to bring about the "obedience of faith" in the gentiles. The of in that phrase is the same as the of in "The city of Washington," etc. It does not mean that Washington has a city -- it means the city that is Washington. We recall here the definition of faith Paul has in mind: if God speaks a truth, faith requires us to believe it; if He makes

a promise, we must have confidence in it; if God tells us to do something, we obey, with the obedience of faith. All these are to be done in love. (Please recall the entry on faith in our glossary with the quote from the Protestant Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible). There is a delightful polite touch in the fact that at first he says he will give them some spiritual grace, and then as it were he pulls back and says "that is, so each may be consoled by the faith of the other." Summary of Romans 1:13-18 He says strongly that he has often wanted to come to see them, so he could have some fruit in Rome as he already has among other gentiles. He is obliged to preach to both Greeks and non-Greeks, to the wise and the foolish. So naturally he has desired to preach at Rome too. He is not ashamed of the Gospel. The Gospel is the power of God to bring salvation to everyone who has faith -- first to the Jews, then to the Greeks. The moral rightness of God is revealed in the Gospel in ever increasing degrees of faith. Scripture says: "The just man will live by faith." For the anger of God is revealed from heaven over all impiety and violations of righteousness on the part of men who in their unrighteousness hinder what is true and right. Comments on 1:13-18 When Paul says the Gospel is the power to bring salvation to all who have faith, he is just repeating his favorite theme of justification by faith. That will be the great thrust of the first part of this Epistle. His plan will be this: He will first show that the gentiles, if they try to gain salvation by keeping the law, fail completely. Then he will show that the Jews fail too. Jews plus gentiles equal everyone. Hence all must turn to faith for justification. (Please recall our Supplement on Luther after Galatians 2:15). It is tremendously important to note this thrust. For soon some difficult lines will come, and commentators are inclined to infringe on Paul's thrust and ruin his argument by saying that Paul speaks only of tendencies on the part of humans. That would imply not all are failures, and then his argument intended to show that all must turn to faith for justification would fail, if some could get justification by keeping the law instead of by faith. We will soon notice that Paul often, not always, in Romans is using the focused view (which can also be called a system as system view). Thus he will make statements that in the factual picture are too strong: they are not in accord with the historical picture. But in the focused view his statements are quite all right. For he is going (last part of chapter 1) to accuse Greeks of much more than what they really did. Similarly for the Jews (2:17ff.). He can do this only by focusing, i.e., by saying that the law in general, and even each major precept of the law

is a heavy demand. But that precept gives no strength. To be under a heavy demand with no strength means one must fall and fail. In fact, all will fail under each major command! Of course he knows that is too strong in the factual picture, in which God's grace, even before Christ, is offered to us. With it, the picture changes: some still reject the grace and fail; others use it and do not fall. It is clear that Paul knows that the focused view is not factual, does not correspond to reality, for in 1 Corinthians 6:11, after giving a smaller list of the greater sins, he says to the Corinthians: "Some of you were such sinners." He says this even though Corinth was an especially licentious city. But in 1 Corinthians 6:11 he was talking in the factual picture -- here in Romans chapters 13 he will be often (at times he shifts) using the focused picture. Of course as we go along we will clearly point out which kind of view he is using at the moment. When he says the Gospel is the power for Jews first and then for the Greeks, he seems to have in mind that God first revealed Himself clearly to the Jews, and also that he, Paul, in preaching, went to the synagogues first. There he usually got few converts, and often persecution instead. Then he would turn to the gentiles, and find a fine reception. When he says that the moral rightness of God is revealed from heaven, the words "righteousness of God" have caused much dispute. The most favored view is that the phrase means His activity to save His people.2 But there is reason to fear that this interpretation has been founded more on Protestant prejudice than on careful Scriptural work. Thus Martin Luther himself3 wrote that he was eager to understand the Epistle to the Romans, but for long he was disturbed by the words, 'the righteousness of God' which he took to mean that righteousness whereby God acts righteously in punishing the unrighteous. He says he pondered long and hard until he "grasped the truth that the righteousness of God is that righteousness whereby, through grace and sheer mercy, he justifies us by faith." Today scholars have begun to see Luther's situation honestly. Thus in Justification by Faith: Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue VII , the statement agreed on by both Lutherans and Catholics said in 24: "In their situation [that of the reformers] the major function of justification by faith was rather, to console anxious consciences terrified by the inability to do enough to earn or merit salvation." And in 29: "The starting point for Luther was his inability to find peace with God." He was scrupulous, and got out of it only by coming to think that even if he was sinning mortally all the time, everything was still all right. The right way to approach the question -- not much noticed -- is to realize that St. Paul often has in mind a Hebrew word behind his Greek. The Hebrew behind Greek dikaiosyne (righteousness) was sedaqah. We see first that it means God's concern for what is right in general: Psalm 11:7; 33:5; Genesis 18:19. Then we see that it also stands for God's

concern for the right in conferring benefits: e.g., Judges 5:11; Isaiah 61:8 and 52:1; Psalm 24:5; Job 37:23. The word also expresses His concern for what is right, in punishing: Isaiah 59:15-18 (in this passage even yeshua which usually means salvation, also means punishing. The use of naqam is the same. In 1 Samuel 15:33 ysha is also used to mean punish); Isaiah 63:5 (same usages as in 59:15-18); Isaiah 10:22; Lamentations 1:10. We see from Isaiah 5:15-16 and Ezekiel 28:22 that it is His Holiness that calls for His observance of sedaqah. We find next that underlying both kinds of uses of sedaqah -favorable and unfavorable -- lies the covenant, e.g., Psalm 103:17 uses sedaqah in parallel with hesed, the word for the covenant bond -showing that they mean the same. It shows also in many other places, e.g., especially in Deuteronomy 11:26. God's concern for what is right in itself shows dramatically in the widespread theme of sheggagah, the case of inadvertent violations, which still called for a makeup, e.g., in chapter 4 of Leviticus, in Genesis 12:17 and in many other places in Old Testament and New Testament and Patristic literature. The widespread concept of sin as a debt that must be paid shows also His concern for moral rightness. This concept is common in the Old Testament, in Intertestamental Literature, in the New Testament, in Rabbinic texts, and in Patristic works. We conclude: the favored view that righteousness of God means saving activity is not entirely wrong, but it is shallow and onesided. Rather the real basis is the covenant, in which He promises benefits for obedience, penalty for disobedience. When used to refer to humans, sedaqah has the same meaning as we have seen it has referring to God.4 If we move on to verse 18 which speaks of the anger of God revealed from the heavens, we note that it opens with the word for. Commentators have not noticed that fact. For continues the thought in the same direction, unlike but which changes the direction. So 17 and 18 are unified in this way: both are a carrying out of the covenant commitment God has made. In passing, we notice the expression in verse 17, "from faith to faith." We take it to mean moving from one degree of faith to another. This is parallel to "from death to death" in 2 Corinthians 2:16. It means going from one step in faith to another. Paul also, in verse 17 cites Habacuc 2:4: "The just man will live by faith." The original sense was that the upright man would live when the Chaldeans invaded, by his fidelity to God. Paul extends the sense here. Rabbis commonly were loose in their handling of Old Testament texts. Paul was trained as a Rabbi. At the end of verse 18 Paul speaks of those who by their unrighteousness -- violation of the moral order -- hinder or hold back the truth. At times Paul uses truth to mean moral good, and lie to mean sin. If we think of the English expression "true to form" we can

follow this usage. God has as it were a pattern or form in His mind to which humans should conform. If they do that, they are "true to form," and practice the truth. The opposite is a lie. Summary of Romans 1:19-28 God makes known to people His own existence. He is invisible, but can be known by the visible things of His creation, so that His invisible power and divinity can be known. So those who do not come to know Him are without excuse. But many who did come to know His existence did not honor Him as God or give thanks. They became foolish in their thoughts, and their ununderstanding heart became dark. They said they were wise, but really became fools. For instead of Him they worshipped images of corruptible man, and flying things, and creeping things. Since they did this, God let them go into the uncleanness they wanted, so as to dishonor their bodies with each other. They followed the lie instead of the truth of God. They worshipped and served creatures instead of the Creator -- who is blessed forever. Amen. Because of this, God turned them over to the dishonorable passions they wanted. Their women exchanged their natural use for the unnatural. The men similarly left the natural use of the woman and burned instead with desire for other men, so that males did what was improper on males. They received in their own persons the pay proper for their wandering. They for their part did not see fit to keep God in their knowledge -- God for His part handed them over to a depraved mind with which they did what was not right. Comments on 1:19-28 Paul says that God has made Himself known by His creation. Anyone who does not come to know His existence is without excuse. Anthropology shows this is true, for primitives do know God or gods. Many of those who worship many gods also know one great God -- who in some cases they say they do not worship since they have nothing worthy of Him. In fact, modern anthropology shows that the primitives on the least advanced level of material culture at least very often know only one God, and worship Him. Polytheism and other distortions come with advancing civilization. St. Justin the Martyr, in his First Apology 46 (around 145 A.D.) has a remarkable comment, which does not contradict St. Paul. He says that many in the past who were thought to be atheists -- he mentions Socrates and Heraclitus -- were really Christians, since they followed the Logos (the Divine Word). In Second Apology 10.8 he adds that "the Logos . . . is in everyone." What does the Logos do in each one? He makes known to people what they must do, what morality requires. We will see later remarkable implications of this. We can see now that such people are not atheists in Paul's sense, for they do know and follow the Spirit of Christ, without knowing what it is that they are following.

To return to St. Paul's picture: Even though they did know God, many by their sins of idolatry went down and down farther in the moral scale, for they lost the light. They even worshipped animals or animal headed human figures -- the Egyptians did this. Their chief God Amon-Ra had a ram's head with a human body. Their descent could be compared to a spiral, which gets larger as it goes farther out. We notice that at the bottom is homosexuality. And in the last verse of this chapter, Paul will say that there are some who once knew these things deserve death, but now they not only do them, but approve of doing them. That of course is the ultimate degradation, to say sin is good. Summary of Romans 1:29-32 Now Paul gives a horrible litany of the vices of the gentiles: they are full of all kinds of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice, envy, murder, strife, deceit, ill-will, gossiping, slander, hating God, insolence, haughtiness, boastfulness, inventing evil, disobedience to parents, foolishness, faithlessness, heartlessness, ruthlessness. They once knew the just decree of God that those who do such things deserve death. But now they not only do these things, they even approve of those who do them. Comments on 1:19-32 In our comments at the start of 1:13-18 we observed that Paul is using his familiar pattern of a focused picture in chapter 1, especially in the last verses. This is clear since everyone admits that historically the gentiles were not as wicked as this, and especially that not all were that wicked. As we said above, Paul himself knows that not all were thus, for, as we pointed out above, in 1 Corinthians 6:11, after a smaller litany of great sins, he said that only "certain ones of them" were that way. In 1 Corinthians he was using the factual picture, in which one sees that the grace of God is available even before Christ. Those who use it do not have to fall. But in the focused picture, people cannot get that grace, and of course do fall. What do the commentators do here? Here are some samples: Many admit that the picture Paul gives is not realistic. Yet they do not compare this passage with 1 Corinthians 6:11 where, as we said, Paul recognizes that not all were guilty of all the great sins. Nor do they relate this passage to 2:1-3 in spite of Paul's connecting word in 2:1, "for this reason." (More on this when we reach 2:1-3). Fitzmyer says: "In this entire section, Paul is not saying that every individual pagan before Christ's coming was a moral failure. . . . He does not mean that paganism was de iure incapable of moral uprightness." But this ruins Paul's argument that all are hopeless and so must turn to faith. Leenhardt says: "He wishes to describe an orientation of the human being, its inner tendencies." Our comment here is the same as on Fitzmyer. Michel says: "Paul will not characterize each pagan as such, rather he points out the direction in which the inner disintegration of paganism drives them." -- Same comment again.

But we can explain: Paul needs to use the focused picture in the first part of Romans, as we said, to make the claim that all -- Jew and gentile -- are hopeless if they try for salvation by keeping the law. Gentiles all fail. His charges against the Jews begin in 2:17. But they to, in a focused picture, fail. It is only in a focused picture that all fail. Why we say that all fail will be clearer when we get into the first lines of chapter 2. (We recall that Paul himself did not make chapter and verse divisions. That is the work of later editors. In fact, in his day, the manuscripts did not even separate words). In 1:32 we rendered in such a way as to distinguish two periods of time: they once did know these things deserve death; now they approve of doing these things. Not all versions bring this out. But it is necessary. For one cannot at one and the same time know a thing deserves death and say it is good. The key is in the Greek aorist participle epignontes. It can be translated as expressing mere aspect of action, or as standing for past time. We have taken it this second way. Quite a few commentators, as Cranfield says, wonder how it can be worse to approve of a sin than to commit the sin. They miss the fact that it is one thing to sin and admit sin is sin, another thing -- and much worse -- to say that sin is good! In addition, they seem not to have noted the time difference we just explained, nor the fact that the people in question do both -- they both sin and say sin is not sin but good. In the course of his litany of vices, Paul made homosexuality the centerpiece as it were. We add: In the Old Testament, Leviticus 20:13 prescribes: "If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall be put to death." In the New Testament, the Epistle of Jude 7: "Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise acted immorally and indulged in unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire." The Intertestamental literature of the Jews shows how they interpreted God's punishment of Sodom and Gomorrah.5 Summary of Romans 2:1-5 For this reason every one who judges another is without excuse. He really condemns himself too, for he does the very same sins! Paul asks if such a one who judges others and does the same himself hopes to escape the judgment of God? Or does he disregard the rich kindness and patience and long-suffering of God? That patience of God is aimed at leading him to repentance. But instead, in his hard and unrepentant heart he is accumulating for himself anger on the day of God's anger, when the just judgment of God will be revealed. Comments on 2:1-5 There are two key expressions here: "For this reason," which explicitly ties what he now says to the terrible litany of the vices of the

gentiles -- and the fact that Paul says that one who judges another is guilty of "the very same sins" himself. The commentators do not do well here. First, most of them try to wipe out the force of that connector, "for this reason," since they cannot see how to make sense of it. Instead they say it is a weak particle which we can ignore. Now Greek does have such weak particles, often ignored in translation. But this word is not one. It is dio which always means "for which reason." Cranfield thinks he has solved the problem if, contrary to most commentators, he makes the charges of chapter 1 refer to Jews as well as gentiles. But even if that would be so, he does not solve the problem of "the very same sins." He merely thinks they sin in general. The trouble is increased since some commentators think that 2:1 begins Paul's charges against the Jews. Then of course there is added reason for trying to make dio almost meaningless, for if 2:1 speaks of Jews, there could be no such connection to chapter 1 since in it, clearly, Paul did not speak of the Jews. When the commentators come to the words "the very same sins," they soften the saying to mean that in general people are sinners. Fitzmyer simply ignores the problem. Althaus says that even if the man does not do the same sins, he basically contradicts God. Cranfield similarly says that the words the very same sins "need not imply that [the one who judges] sins in precisely the same ways." Kuss does better in saying that Paul is describing "the sad state of humanity before Christ and without Christ." If he means that historically all were lost before the time of Christ, that would be a sad error. If he means something like our focused picture, it would be much better. We do, of course, solve both problems by the use of our distinction of focused view vs. factual view. If we take the focused view of chapter 1 -- which is needed since otherwise Paul's picture is greatly exaggerated, as he himself shows he knows in 1 Corinthians 6:11 -- we can say here in chapter 2: Not only the law as a whole, but each major command in the law is a heavy demand. To be under a heavy demand without any help, is to fall. Hence all fall into all sins. This of course is true only in a focused view, not in the factual picture. This is a drastic solution, we admit. But the commentators in general just give up, as our samples show. As to the opening word "for this reason" we do tie it to the litany of chapter 1, in which, in the focused view, all are guilty of all sins. Summary of Romans 2:6-13 God will repay each one according to his works. So there is glory and honor and freedom from corruption for those who try to reach eternal life by patience in good works, but anger and God's fury to those who disobey the truth and obey unrighteousness. Every soul that does evil will find affliction and anguish: first the Jew, then the Greek. But there is glory, honor, peace to those who do good: first to the Jews, then the

Greeks. God plays no favorites. For all who have sinned without knowing the law will perish without the law. Those who have sinned with the law will be condemned through the law. It is not those who merely hear the law who are just in God's eyes: those who do the law are just. Comments on 2:6-13 This passage has caused much difficulty to many, especially to Protestants. The problem is this: Paul so insistently, over and over, stresses that justification comes by faith, not by good works. Yet here in this passage he does nothing but say several times over that God does reward good works! In the volume which we cited above, Justification by Faith: Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue VII , Joseph Burgess, one of the three editors, has a chapter on this question, "Rewards, But in a Very Different Sense." He reviews ten Protestant attempts to solve the problem, but rejects them all. He himself does not manage to solve it either. Some Catholics have done little more than rejoice to see Paul preaching the need of good works. But they have not solved the problem. And yet, the solution is not at all difficult. We start by noticing that St. Paul, when he says God will repay each one according to his works, is merely quoting from Psalm 62:13. We need to read the line in the Hebrew -- Paul would of course have that in mind. For the usual English translations hardly make sense at all. They are apt to say: "You, Lord, have mercy (or: love) for you repay each one according to his works." But it is not mercy to repay according to works. It is justice. But the Hebrew, instead of mercy or love, has hesed, the word for the covenant relationship. So the line means then: "You, Lord, do observe the covenant, for you repay. . . ." We need then to ask a question on two levels, on the fundamental level, and on the secondary level. On the fundamental level, no creature can by its own power establish a claim on God. So there is no repayment at all, there is only unmerited, unmeritable generosity on the part of God. This corresponds to justification by faith, not works. But on the secondary level, namely, when God has once freely entered into a covenant, then, if the humans do what He calls for, then He owes it to Himself to carry out His commitment: If they do good, He promised to reward, to repay. He will do that. Paul continues, in verses 7-11 saying the same as he said in verse 6, and the explanation is the same for all. Twice Paul says: "First to the Jew, then to the Greek." And he even adds once: "God does not play favorites." This at first sight seems strange. We need a distinction: God does not play favorites in repayment -- all are repaid according to what they do. But on the time scale, God first began to deal with the Jews by explicit revelation; then with the Greeks. And Paul himself regularly went first to the synagogues in each new town, then to the gentiles.

Summary of Romans 2:14-16 The pagans do not have the revealed law, yet when with nature as their guide, they do what the law requires, they are a law for themselves. They show the work of the law written on their hearts. According to how they respond, their conscience will either accuse or defend them on the day when God will judge hearts through Paul's Gospel, through Jesus Christ. Comments on 2:14-16 There are two problems in these lines: 1) Paul has been accusing all of all sins, but now he says that some gentiles keep the law. 2) Further, he seems to say those who keep it are saved by so doing, a contradiction of justification by faith. Barrett says "to suggest that the Gentiles kept the moral law would make nonsense of Paul's thought as a whole." He says this since, as we have brought out, Paul's chief argument in the first chapters of Romans is that all are hopeless if they try for salvation through law -so they must turn to justification by faith. Leenhardt says we must "avoid supposing that the Apostle wished to show 'how the Gentiles can be saved in spite of their not having received the law.'" His thought is much like that of Barrett. Dodd wants to rearrange the verses, and say this is a "possible exception." Kuss thinks it clashes with Romans 5:13 but says Paul is "concerned with arguing on the problem at hand, not with Systematics." Some, like Cranfield, not knowing that this is a factual picture in contrast to the focused picture Paul has just been using, repeat the same ancient mistake of St. Augustine, in thinking Paul must be speaking of converted gentiles, not of unconverted gentiles: Paul, Augustine thought, could not say such things of gentiles who were still unconverted. St. Augustine worried that verse 14 says they keep the law by nature -- he thought that had to mean: without grace. But it means the law is the guide, not their strength. Cranfield prefers the view of Augustine, without making clear if it is for the same reason. We fear these attempts do not solve the problems. But, about the first problem, namely that Paul has been trying to show all gentiles guilty of all sins, yet now seems to say some gentiles are saved, we can use our helpful approach by way of two ways of looking at things -the focused and the factual pictures. Thus far in Romans Paul has used strongly the focused view, as we have seen. But now he shifts to the factual picture -- we recall he did that in 1 Corinthians 6:11 -- within which grace is available through Christ, even to gentiles. If they use it, they will be saved. This is like the thought of Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 16: "For they who without their own fault do not know of the Gospel of Christ and His Church, but yet seek God with sincere heart, and try, under the influence of grace, to carry out His will in practice, known to them through the dictate of conscience, can attain eternal salvation." This

grace is, of course, offered abundantly to all, since (1 Tim 2:4): "God wills all to be saved." John Paul II, in his Encylical Mission of the Redeemer says the same in 10: "The universality of salvation means that it is granted not only to those who explicitly believe in Christ and have entered the Church. Since salvation is offered to all, it must be made concretely available to all. . . . For such people, salvation in Christ is accessible by virtue of a grace which while having a mysterious relationship to the Church, does not make them formally part of the Church, but enlightens them in a way which is accommodated to their spiritual and material situation." We note especially that the Pope says they are not formally members of the Church. We will return to that point: they can be substantially members, even if not members by formal adherence. We began above to show how this works out. The Spirit of Christ writes the law on their hearts (cf. Jeremiah 31:33: "I will write my law on their hearts"), that is, He makes known to them interiorly what is required of them. Those who follow it, are, without realizing it, following the Spirit of Christ. But, according to Romans 8:9, those who have and follow the Spirit of Christ, belong to Christ. In Paul's terms, to belong to Christ is the same as being members of Christ, the same as being members of the Church. 8:14 adds: "As many as are led by the Spirit of God, are sons of God." As sons, they have a claim to inherit along with Christ, for they are members of Christ and sons of God. To repeat: in Paul's language, to belong to Christ is the same as to be a member of Christ. And that in turn is the same as to be a member of the Church! Their membership will be less full, in that they do not explicitly adhere to the Church. Yet it is substantial, and sufficient for salvation, as Lumen Gentium 16 indicates. And we are offering a fill-in on what John Paul II said about not being formally members, yet being saved. Thus the old problem of the defined doctrine "no salvation outside the Church" is readily solved. In fact, Vatican II, in Lumen Gentium 49 says: "All who belong to Christ, having His Spirit, coalesce into one Church."6 The second part of the problem of these lines is that Paul seems to say they are saved by keeping the law -- in contrast to being free from the law and having justification by faith. To solve this we notice Paul makes two kinds of statements. On the one hand, he says we are free from the law; on the other hand he says (e.g., in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10) that those who commit the great sins "will not inherit the kingdom." To reconcile these we notice that Paul was fighting against Judaizers who thought they earned salvation by keeping the law. So that is what Paul is denying, that salvation is earned by keeping the law. But he also makes clear in 1 Cor 6:9-10 that we can earn eternal loss by not keeping the law. A student in a discussion class summed it up neatly: "As to salvation, you can't earn it, but you can blow it." This is really the same as what Paul says in Romans 6:23: "The wages [what we

earn] of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life." Again, when St. Paul says those who commit the great sins will not "inherit the kingdom," we recall that when we inherit from our parents, we do not say we earned it. But we could have earned to lose our inheritance, by being bad enough long enough. So they are saved not by earning it by keeping the law, but by avoiding earning punishment by breaking the law. Paul's verb kleronomein at times means merely to get, not to inherit. But we must remember how often Paul speaks of us as sons of God, especially in Romans 8:17: "If we are children, we are heirs, heirs indeed of God, fellow-heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him, so we may also be glorified with Him." The proviso that we must suffer with Him reflects Paul's vision of the whole Christian regime: We are saved and made holy if and to the extent that we are members of Christ, and like Him. We can be said to merit or to get a claim, not by our own power, nor individually, but in as much as we are members of Christ and like Him, we come to share in the claim He established. Let us apply this to Socrates, whom St. Justin mentioned. The Spirit of Christ wrote the law on the heart of Socrates. Socrates believed what he read there, he had confidence in it, and he obeyed it. So, since Socrates followed the Spirit of Christ, even without knowing what he was following, yet he did follow that Spirit, therefore Justin was right in saying Socrates was Christian (for he followed the divine Word, the Spirit of Christ). Further, in Romans 8:9 as we know, Paul says if one does not have and follow that Spirit, he does not belong to Christ. But then, if one does follow that Spirit he does belong to Christ. To belong to Christ is the same as being a member of Christ, as we said. And that, in turn, is the same as being a member of the Church, not by formal adherence, but substantially. (We note in passing this would serve to fill in what Pope John Paul II said about a mysterious grace that does not make them formally members of the Church -- but it does make them substantially members.) Please notice in passing the three things in Socrates that add up to Paul's definition of faith, and note too that in Romans 3:29 Paul will say that God showed He was the God of the gentiles as well as of the Jews, since He made provision for them to be saved by faith. Anthropology shows it is true that even primitives show a remarkably good knowledge of the moral law. So Paul is right in saying the gentiles do by nature the things of the law -- law is not their strength, but their guide. (Of course, it is one thing to know the law, another thing to follow it. Some primitives do follow, some do not).7 In saying that "they show the work of the law written on their hearts," Paul is clearly echoing Jeremiah 31:33 (the prophecy of the new covenant), in which God says: "I will write my law on their hearts." So God, the Logos, or the Spirit of Christ -- really, all are the same, since everything the Three Persons do outside the divine nature is common

to all Three -- the Spirit of Christ writes the law on their hearts, that is, He makes known to them interiorly what they ought to do, what morality requires. Summary of Romans 2:17-29 Paul charges a Jew, who has the name of being a Jew, and who has such confidence in the law, who boasts of his relationship to God, and claims to know the will of God, to know how to choose the better things by following the law, and who claims to be the leader of the blind, the light of those in darkness, the instructor of those who do not understand, the teacher of little ones, having the embodiment of knowledge and truth in the law -- Paul charges: You teach others. But you do not teach yourself. You preach we should not steal, but you steal. You say we should not commit adultery, but you do commit adultery. You abominate idols, but you steal from the temple. You boast over having the law, yet by violations of the law you dishonor God. For the name of God is blasphemed because of you among the gentiles, as Scripture says. The Jew says: "Circumcision is beneficial." But if he violates the law, he might as well be uncircumcised. So if the uncircumcised gentiles keep the things the law demands for justification, will not they be as good as circumcised? And the uncircumcised gentile who by nature keeps the law condemns Jews who do have the law and circumcision, but violate the law. For the real Jew is not the one who is such in outward appearance. Nor is the real circumcision what appears outwardly. But the one who is interiorly a Jew is the real Jew. And circumcision of the heart, in the spirit, not in the flesh, is the real circumcision. Praise for it is not just from men but from God. Comments on 2:17-29 In chapter 1 Paul showed -- in a heavily focused form -- that all gentiles are hopeless if they try to get salvation by keeping the law. Now in 2.17 he turns on the Jews, for he wants to be able to say that all -- both Jews and gentiles -- are hopeless, so that all must turn to justification by faith. Naturally he will use a focused picture of the Jews too. And that is obvious, for Jews in general were not nearly so bad as Paul paints them here. Modern editors, not knowing how to use our focused vs. factual picture approach, try to soften the charges against the Jews by adding several question marks (for there was no punctuation in Paul's day), e.g., "You teach others. Do you teach yourself? You say we should not steal. Do you steal?" But in our approach there is no need to add question marks. In fact, Paul really wants to make it very strong, so as to show both Jew and gentile are hopeless if they try for justification by law, as we have said before. So we do not need to try to soften by adding question marks. Taking the text as statements is actually stronger, and that is what Paul wants.

Paul spoke of the pride and love of the Jews for the law. This was very true. Psalm 118 (119) is a long litany of praise of the law. It was thought to contain divine wisdom. In fact, in the Babylonian Talmud, Aboda Zarah 3b and in the Palestinian Targum on Deuteronomy 32:4 we read that God Himself divides the day into four parts, and spends three hours daily in studying the law! When Paul says that because of the Jews the name of God is blasphemed among the gentiles, he seems to be adapting Isaiah 52:5 (following the Septuagint): "Because of you, my name is continually blasphemed among the gentiles." In the original setting it referred to the contempt felt by conquering Babylonia for the weakness of the God of Israel, who had to let His people suffer defeat. For in the thought of the ancient Near East, the strength of a god was measured by the defeats or victories of his city. Actually God sent the defeat as a punishment, but the Babylonian would not understand that, and instead thought the god of Israel was weak. When Paul says "circumcision is beneficial" we best understand it as a quote he is giving from the Jews trying to defend themselves. Paul follows up on their claim: even if you would be right in that, since you violate the law, you might as well be uncircumcised. While the gentile who -- as in 2:14-16 does keep the law -- does as well as if he were circumcised. In 2:17 Paul remarkably slides from the factual picture in the first half (factual picture of the gentiles who do keep the law, as in 2:14-16) to the focused picture (the Jews who violate it as in 2:17ff.). Summary of Romans 3:1-20 (An objection): "What advantage is there for a Jew? What good is there in circumcision?" (Paul replies): "There are many advantages in every way. First, God's revelation was entrusted to them." (Problem): "What if some refused to believe or were unfaithful? Will that mean God will not be faithful?" (Reply): "Heavens no! God is faithful. (As the Psalmist says): 'Every man is lying' and as a result, 'God is declared just in His words, and He is victorious when called to answer for His actions.'" (Objection): "If the fact that we are unrighteous gives God a chance to show He is righteous (by punishing us), what shall we say? Shall we say God is wrong in punishing us (to speak in a human way)?" (Reply): "Heavens no! If that were the case, how could He judge the world?" (Objection reappears): "If the truth of God abounded in my lie, resulting in His glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?" (Reply): "Then it would be the same as what they charge me, Paul, with: that I said we may do evil so that good may come. No! Their condemnation is just!" (Objection by a Jew): "What then? Do we excel (others)?" (Reply): "Not at all. For we have already shown that all, both Jews and Greeks are under sin. Scripture says: No one is just, not one. No one

understands or seeks God. All have gone down together and have become useless. There is no one who does good, not even one. Their throat is like an open grave. With their tongues they acted with deceit. Vipers' poison is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. They are quick to shed blood. Calamity and misery are in their ways. They do not know the path of peace, or keep the fear of God before their eyes." We know that what Scripture says, it says to those who are bound by the law. The result is that no one can have anything to say in reply. The whole world is found guilty in the eyes of God. For on the basis of works of the law, no one will be just before Him. For through the law there is [only] knowledge of sin. Comments on 3:1-20 This chapter opens with a series of imaginary objections and replies. First, the objector asks what advantage is there in being a Jew -- after what Paul has said against them in chapter 2. Paul says there is much advantage in every way. He starts out to give a list, saying "first." But he never gives a second or third. He was dictating these letters, must have forgotten where he was. But we notice he says one great advantage the Jews had was divine revelation -- which included having the law. This is quite a contrast with his usual dim words about the law. But we recall again, Paul has two ways of looking at the law: focused and factual. In the focused way, the law gives nothing but knowledge of what is right or wrong, but no strength. So people must fall. But in the factual picture, divine help is offered independently of the law. Those who use it are given blessings, and rescued from falling into the automatic penalties that lie in the nature of things. (See St. Augustine, Confessions 1.12: "Every disordered soul is its own penalty.") Paul asks: If people are unfaithful, will God also be unfaithful? He replies: Heavens no! (Thus we chose to translate his "Let it not be.") It means: God will keep the covenant, no matter what people do. But that covenant is two-sided (cf. Deuteronomy 30:19). If people do well, He will reward; if they sin, He will punish. Then Paul adds something imaginative. He cites Psalm 116:11 and 51:6 with this picture: God is called to court as it were to see if He is acting justly. It is determined that people are sinners (they lie: cf. our comments on "lie" in Romans 1:25 above). God punishes. He is simply carrying out moral righteousness in doing that. So God is vindicated, declared righteous. (We recall again our comments on the "righteousness of God" in Romans 1:17). Now comes a strange objection -- which Paul states twice in slightly different words. He does not fill in the sentences -- the folly of the objection would show clearly then. He imagines a sinner saying: I sinned, and God punished me. But then God should not object to me, for I gave Him a chance to show He is just by punishing me! After the

second try of the objection Paul says that if the objector were right, we could make the end justify the means -- as some charge Paul is doing! Finally a Jew asks whether Jews excel or not? (Could also translate as passive: Are we excelled?) Paul says they do not excel. He says he has already shown that all are hopeless. He did that in all of Romans up to this point, in which he showed first that gentiles are hopeless morally, and then that Jews are the same. So he sums up: " All are under sin." The implication is: they must then turn to faith for justification -- they cannot make it by keeping the law, for no one keeps it. (We recall again that Paul did this only by a heavy use of focusing). Paul next gives a string of Scriptural texts: Psalm 14:1-3, 5:10, 140:4, 10:7; Isaiah 59:7-8; Psalm 36:2. This is a literary form called "Testimonia," a series of texts, probably a standard collection, to help preachers and catechists. Of course, Semitic exaggeration is strong here. (And this is poetry too). For Paul knows not all are such terrible sinners. In fact, in Philippians 3:6 he claims he, before his conversion, kept the law perfectly. And Luke 1:6 says the same of Zechariah and Elizabeth. And the Old Testament praises David so highly. We add too that 1 Corinthians 6:11 says not all the Corinthians committed all the great sins Paul had just enumerated. Next, Paul again sums up and says the whole world is found guilty. No flesh is justified on the basis of works of the law. We think too of Psalm 143:2: "Before you no man alive is just." Paul then adds, almost in the same words we use in speaking of focusing: "From the law comes [only] knowledge of sin." He means: it gives knowledge only, not strength. So people must fall. Summary of Romans 3:21-31 But now, in the new regime of Christ, the concern of God for moral rightness has been made clear, a righteousness which the law and the prophets testify that He has. This is the [work of His] righteousness manifested to save all who have faith in Jesus, whether Jew or Greek. [Sense: God's concern for moral rightness is shown by His sending His Son to rebalance the objective order and save those who have faith in Jesus, whether Jew or Greek]. All have sinned, and need God's power. Justification is given without charge [without being earned], by grace, through the redemption worked by Christ Jesus. God publicly set Him up as the new propitiatory of atonement. [The fruit of His atonement is communicated to us] through faith in His blood. By this atonement wrought by Jesus, God shows His concern for righteousness. For in the time of His patience, the Old Testament, He passed over sins [in that He did not provide a complete rebalance for them]. But now His righteousness is apparent, [for He has provided for the full rebalance of the objective order]. So He is seen as righteous, and makes righteous those who depend on faith in Jesus. In view of this, who is there who can boast that he has earned his salvation? No one. Boasting is made impossible since we are not in the

regime of works [where people tried to earn]. No, we are in the regime of faith [in which we get justification without earning it, by faith]. For it is through faith that one becomes justified, without the works of the law. So we can see that God acts like the God not only of the Jews, but also of the gentiles. For it is one and the same God who makes the Jews righteous on the basis of faith, and gentiles also through faith. Does what we have said mean that moral righteousness is not fulfilled? Heavens no! Rather, it is well established. Comments on 3:21-31 Commentators often dilute the meaning of this section, especially verses 24-26. To see this, let us recall some background. In commenting on Romans 1:17 we said that God's righteousness means His concern for what is morally right. The gods of Greece and Rome, and Mesopotamia too, were practically amoral, rather than immoral. If we said immoral, we would mean they violated morality, but knew they were doing so, yet could get away with it. But when we say they were amoral, it means they act as if there is no such thing as morality. In contrast, the God of Scripture is "morally righteous" (Hebrew sadiq, as Psalm 11:7 says) and loves what is morally right (sedaqoth). Pope Paul VI, in the doctrinal introduction to his document on indulgences of January 1967, said this: "Every sin brings with it a disturbance of the universal order, which God arranged in His inexpressible wisdom and infinite love. . . . So it is necessary for the full remission and reparation of sins . . . not only that friendship with God be restored by a sincere conversion of heart, and that the offence against His wisdom and goodness be expiated, but that all the goods, both individual and social, and those that belong to the universal order, lessened or destroyed by sin, be fully reestablished, either through voluntary reparation . . . or through suffering penalties." An ancient Rabbi, Simeon Ben Eleazar8 gives a helpful comparison: "He [any sinner] has committed a transgression. Woe on him! He has tipped the scales to the side of debt for himself and for the world." It means this: A sinner takes from one pan of the scales something he has no right to take: the scale is out of balance. It is basically the Holiness of God, loving all that is right, that wants it rebalanced. How do it? If the sinner stole property, he could begin to rebalance by giving it back. If he stole a pleasure, he can begin to rebalance by giving up some other pleasure. But these are only beginnings, for even one mortal sin has an infinity about it: the Person offended, God, is infinite. So if the Father willed complete rebalance, that could be done only by sending a divine Person to become man. The Father actually did that, He sent His Son. In the old law there was a propitiatory, the golden plate with the cherubim on it, on top of the Ark of the Covenant. Once a year, on the day of atonement, the High

Priest would sprinkle the blood of the sacrificed animal on it, to make atonement for the sins of Israel of the past year. 9 Christ is the new propitiatory in His blood, to make atonement. The shallow view of these verses would make Christ's death seem like just a liturgical ceremony, using His blood instead of the blood of an animal. But then we should ask: Why something so painful for a ritual thing? The truth is: He gave up so much and suffered so much to rebalance what the sinner had done in taking what he had no right to. This rebalanced the objective order, as the Holiness of God willed. (We stress Holiness, since that is the center, rather than His justice, which is, of course involved too. But it is primarily His Holiness that loves all that is right). This was the price of redemption (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:20 and 7:23). It was not paid to Satan, the captor of our race in the imagery of the price of redemption. And of course it was not paid to the Father, who was not the captor. But it was paid to rebalance the objective order, as the Holiness of the Father willed. During the Old Testament times we could say that God did not show this concern or His desire to fully rebalance. Yes, He did at times punish sin dramatically and openly. But those penalties did not fully rebalance. In that sense Paul could say that God "passed over" sins during the Old Testament times. Only the redemption by Jesus fully rebalanced the objective order. The fruit of that redemption of His is given us through faith in Him. Then we have not earned it -- but He earned it, at a terrible cost. In this sense Paul can say in the last line of this section that this picture we are seeing did not wipe out concern for moral rightness (the question could be raised since sinners get the justification without earning it). But God did show His concern since He did provide for the full rebalance by the infinite value of the death of His Son. Paul says that the fact that we get justification without earning it leaves us no room to boast. If we had earned it ourselves, there could have been an opening for boasting. But actually, we are justified by faith, without works. When Paul asks if God is the God of both Jew and gentile he has the following in mind: If He had made salvation depend on the Mosaic law, the gentiles would be left out of salvation, and God would seem not to care for them, not to be their God. But actually, He did take care of them, providing justification by faith. How that worked is what we saw in our comments on 2:14-16 above. Summary of Romans, Chapter 4 What do we say about Abraham the ancestor of the racial Jews? If he was justified by works, he would have something to boast about, though not in the sight of God. But Scripture says: "He (Abraham) believed the Lord, and that belief was considered as righteousness for him" (Genesis 15:6). If someone works, he is paid not as a favor, but because the payment is due. But if someone does not work, but

instead just believes Him who makes the impious just -- then faith justifies him. King David speaks of the blessedness of one who has been justified without works: "Blessed are those whose iniquities are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is one whom the Lord does not charge with sin." Paul asks whether this blessedness comes to one who is circumcised, or to one who is not circumcised. We see the answer in that Abraham believed God, and that faith was considered justification, at a time when Abraham was not circumcised. For we read only later, in Genesis 17:10 that he received the sign of circumcision, and became the father of all who have faith without being circumcised. For them too faith is counted as justification. Thus Abraham became the father of circumcision for those who are not only circumcised but who also follow in the footprints of the faith of Abraham our Father, when he was still uncircumcised. The promises to Abraham did not come to Abraham and to his descendants through the law, namely, the promises that he would inherit the world. No, they came through the righteousness that is faith. If someone inherits on the basis of law, then there is no place for faith, and the promise has no effect. For the law leaves one exposed to anger. But if there is no law, neither is there a violation of a revealed law. So all depends on faith, and so also on grace, and the promise stands for all the descendants of Abraham. This means not those who are under the law, but those who follow the faith of Abraham, the Father of all of us. Hence Scripture says: "I have made you the Father of many nations." He is our father in the sight of God, in whom Abraham had faith, the God who makes the dead live, and who calls things that are not as though they are. Abraham believed God at a time when humanly there was no hope, and so he became the father of many nations. Hence Genesis 15:5 said: "Thus will your descendants be." When God promised, Abraham did not weaken in faith, though he thought of his own body almost dead, since he was nearly 100 years old, and of the dead womb of his wife Sara. He did not hesitate to believe on hearing God's promise. Rather his faith grew strong and he gave glory to God. He was convinced that God is able to do what He promises. So for this reason his action was counted as justification. This was not written because of Abraham alone that it was counted for him, but also on account of us, for whom faith will also be counted as righteousness, faith in the One who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, Jesus Who was handed over to death because of our transgressions, but Who lives for our justification. Comments on Chapter 4 Paul spoke more briefly on the case of the faith of Abraham in Galatians 3. Here he develops it more. Abraham at age 99 still had had no son by Sara, his free wife, though he did by his slave wife, Hagar.

But in Genesis 15:6 God promised him a son, and added that through that son, he would have countless descendants. Even though Abraham was 99 -- not too old for a man to be a father in some cases -- and his wife Sara was 90 and had been sterile all her life, Abraham believed God. This faith was credited as justification for him. Paul stresses that this happened before God ordered circumcision, which He did two chapters later, in chapter 17. The Jews of Paul's day were proud of descent from Abraham and thought that guaranteed salvation except for a few very wicked types of Jews. Paul insists that being racially a descendant is not enough -one must imitate the faith of Abraham. In that way Abraham has most numerous progeny, even as God had promised. In verses 7-8 Paul quotes Psalm 32:1-2. Lutheranism likes to point at the words covered and not imputed. This, they think, teaches their error about a justification that is purely extrinsic, so that the person justified remains totally corrupt, covered by the white cloak of the merits of Christ. God will not look under the rug if they have taken Christ as their personal Savior. They forget Paul says the Holy Spirit dwells in the soul of the just -- He will not dwell in total corruption! 10 We are also a new creation -- quite different from the same old corruption: 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15. The basic mistake is ignoring the genre. Psalm 32 is poetry. Poetry in any language uses colorful images, and no one would think of pressing them. The fundamental underlying mistake of course is the fact that Luther did not know the meaning of faith in Paul. He thought it meant confidence that the merits of Christ were credited to him. Really, as we have seen in our comments on 1 Thessalonians 1, faith has a very different meaning in Paul.11 Summary of Romans 5:1-11 Now that we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have gained access into this grace in which we stand, and we boast of the hope of reaching the glory of God. Furthermore, we can even boast about our troubles. For from trouble well accepted, we get patience, and patience brings tested virtue, and tested virtue brings hope. Hope will not let us down, for the love of God has been given into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who is given to us. When we were still unable to help ourselves, at the suitable time, Christ died for us who were ungodly. It is barely possible that someone would die for a righteous man. Perhaps someone might do that. But God has proved His love for us because when we were still sinners, Christ died for us. So now all the more, now that we have been justified in His blood, will we be saved from God's anger through Him. For if when we were still enemies, the death of His Son reconciled us to God, now being reconciled, we will be saved by His life. In fact, we can even boast over

God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now been reconciled. Comments on 5:1-11 Christ gives us access to God. If one has ever tried to reach an important man, even just the president of a large corporation, he will find it difficult to get beyond the rows of secretaries. But we can reach the Father. So we have hope of reaching final salvation. Even our troubles can be a source of benefit. In 2 Corinthians 4:17 Paul says in this respect: "That which is light and momentary in our troubles, is producing for us, beyond all measure, an eternal weight of glory." If this is true of things that are light and short, what of things that are heavy and long-running? And Romans 8:18 says: "I judge that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us." Romans 8:28: "God makes all things work together for good for those who love Him." It means that everything but sin can be turned into a means of likeness to Christ. Even anxiety, if we handle it properly,can be valuable. For Jesus Himself suffered from anxiety from knowing through the vision of God in His soul, what was to happen to Him: Lk 12:50 and Jn 12:27. 12 If we were to sum up St. Paul's picture of the whole of Christian life it would be this: A person is saved and made holy, if, and to the extent that, one is a member of Christ, and like Him. Now in His life there were two phases: first, a hard life, suffering and death, second, eternal glory. The more we are like Him in this first phase, the more will we be like Him in the second, in eternal glory. So even anxiety, well handled, can be a means of likeness to Christ. We notice too that when Paul says trouble gives patience, patience tested virtue, and virtue gives hope -- the thought does not fit well with the Lutheran notion of infallible salvation by just once "taking Christ as your personal Savior." In that framework, what need is there of patience, virtue, and of building hope? When Paul says the love of God is given us, he means the Holy Spirit is given, for He is the love of the Father for the Son, and the Son for the Father. He is given to us in that He comes to the soul and transforms it by grace, making it basically capable of the direct vision of God in the next life. He also gives guidance and many other things. The next thought is tremendous. Yes, it would be rare indeed for someone to be willing to die for another even if the other were a very good person. What if the other is a sinner! Yet Christ did die for us when we could not help ourselves, when we were still sinners. Paul says that thus God proved His love. Love is a will or wish for the wellbeing or happiness of another for the other's sake. Now if someone starts out to bring this about, but a small obstacle stops him, that is a small love. If it takes a great obstacle to stop him, that is a great love. If even an immense obstacle will not stop him, the love is immense.

What then was the love of Christ who went to so horrible a death to make possible eternal happiness for us! This really is proving His love. Paul next says that now that He has done this, has earned all graces for us, could we imagine Him holding back on what He has Himself earned? Of course not. Sadly, some old theologians, as we have seen already, did think He might withhold the grace of final perseverance even from someone who had lived a good life up to that point, for no reason. That is a sad error, which contradicts the teaching of St. Paul on final perseverance in 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, Philippians 1:6 and 1 Corinthians 1:8-9. In fact, the founder of that school of thought, Domingo Baez thought God did not really will the salvation of all. He denied what is revealed in 1 Timothy 2:4: "God wills all to be saved." 13 Logically, this was a denial of the love of God for us, since to love is to will good to another for the other's sake. So when God says He wills our salvation, He is saying He loves us. Some of that school also said that if God wills good to another, without adding "for the other's sake" that is love. They meant this: all humans are destined to hell by original sin. God wants to show mercy and justice. To show mercy, He will rescue a small percent of our race. But He would do that not for the sake of those whom He would rescue -- He would pick them blindly. So He would not really love anyone -- He would just use these people, not love them. Of course that is a monstrous error, which amounts to a denial of God's love. But, as St. Paul says here, God has proved His love. And since Christ earned all graces for us, He will not deny us the graces which He earned at such cost, and which we need, without a fault on our part. Summary of Romans 5:12 There is a parallel: just as through one man, Adam, sin came into the world, and through it came death, and so death came on all, inasmuch as all have sinned [so through one man, the new Adam, all will be made just]. Comments on 5:12 We are taking this one verse separately, because the comments needed are long. First we added to our summary some words in square brackets, since Paul did not finish his sentence here. Yet it is obvious what he meant. The Council of Trent (DS 1514) defined that the words of St. Paul: "Must not be understood in a sense different from the way the whole Church diffused throughout the world, has always understood them." Now this clearly means that these words contain the doctrine of original sin. But the Council did not pinpoint precisely which words contain that doctrine. It is evident the Council did not refer to the last clause "inasmuch as all have sinned." For the Greek Fathers understood these words very differently from what the Western Fathers did. So there is no question of what the whole Church has always held on those words. The Latins translate: in quo omnes

peccaverunt. In quo would seem to refer to Adam. In what sense could one say that all are in Adam? Not at all clear unless one speaks of solidarity, and that would hardly cover here. The Greek Fathers on the other hand take them as meaning "the condition being fulfilled, all have sinned" as if to mean that we have all ratified the sin of Adam. So the Council did not at all decide between the two ways of understanding the clause. But we can say that the Greek Fathers, who still spoke the same language, have made the better version. So we will take the first part of the statement as referring to original sin even though the Council did not pinpoint the words that are critical. For in itself, sin could mean just the personal sin of Adam, or could mean also the effects in us, i.e., original sin. Similarly, death could mean physical death, or spiritual death or both. Pope John Paul II in a General Audience of October 1, 1986 explained: "In context, it is evident that original sin in Adam's descendants has not the character of personal guilt. It is the privation [lack of what should be there] of sanctifying grace in a nature which, through the fault of the first parents, has been diverted from its supernatural end. It is a 'sin of nature', only analogically comparable to 'personal sin.'" Here is the thought: God gave to our first parents, among other things, the gift of sanctifying grace by which they shared in the divine nature (cf. 2 Peter 1:4). God intended they should pass that gift on to us. But they lost it, or rather, discarded it by sin. So they did not have it to pass along. Hence the children of Adam arrive in this world without that gift, which they should have (cf. the "privation" mentioned by John Paul II above). If we compare two persons: first, an adult who has just committed a mortal sin on his own, and second, the new baby, there is something the same, something different. Both lack what should be there, namely, sanctifying grace. But the adult lacks it by his own personal fault. In the baby there is no fault. To use the same word twice, in senses part the same, part different is an "analogical use." Hence the Pope said it was "analogically comparable" to personal sin. Besides sanctifying grace, God had given to our first parents not only basic human nature, but also preternatural gifts. These were freedom from death and a coordinating gift. (Some prefer to call it the Gift of Integrity). We mean this: Basic humanity without anything added would have many drives, in both body and spirit. These drives would not be evil, but they would tend to disorder, each one going mechanically after its own object, with no regard for the other drives or for the needs of the whole person. To keep the drives easily under control, a coordinating gift would be needed. God clearly gave that. Genesis makes it evident. For after the fall, God called: "Adam, where are you?" Adam replied: "I hid myself because I was naked." God said: "How did you find that out if you did not eat the forbidden fruit." It is evident. Before the fall Adam was also naked, but it did not bother him -- after the fall it did. The difference is that before the fall he had a

coordinating gift which made it easy to keep the sex drive, the most rebellious of all, in its proper place. After the fall he had lost it, and that drive began to act unreasonably. Hence he felt ashamed and felt the need for cover. (We can see that without such a coordinating gift there would be -- and there is -- a need of mortification, to try to tame the drives). How far down did our humanity go because of the fall? It surely lost that coordinating gift. But was there any additional loss? Luther said we became totally corrupt, hence his book, On the Bondage of the Will. Luther was wrong. John Paul II, in a General Audience of October 8, 1986 explained: ". . . according to the Church's teaching it is a case of a relative and not an absolute deterioration, not intrinsic to the human faculties . . . not of a loss of their essential capacities even in relation to the knowledge and love of God." Really, this is what we would expect, given the wonderful goodness and love of God. He would hardly take our nature down still further than the loss of the coordinating gift. So when we say that the "mind was darkened and the will weakened" we mean it only in this relative sense of which the Pope speaks, not in an absolute sense. That means: mind and will are weaker than they would have been with the coordinating gift. But they are not weaker than they would have been if God had started our race with only the essentials of human nature. It is sometimes noted that there is no clear mention of original sin in the Old Testament, and hardly anything in the intertestamental literature. However even if the Jews did not see it, the fact is there to see if one reflects. God had intended that our first parents should pass on these added things to us. They did not have them to pass on. And they lost God's favor [which amounts to grace]. So their children arrive in the world not being in God's favor. That is basically what original sin means. The Immaculate Conception, then, means that Our Lady started life with, not without, sanctifying grace. This was given her in anticipation of the merits of Christ.14 In that same document, Pius IX wrote: "The Fathers and ecclesiastical writers . . . in commenting on the words, 'I will put enmity between you and the woman, and your seed and her seed' have taught that by this utterance there was clearly and openly foretold [praemonstratum] the merciful Redeemer of the human race . . . and that His Most Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary, was designated [designatam], and at the same time, that the enmity of both against the devil was remarkably expressed. Wherefore, just as Christ the Mediator of God and man, having assumed human nature, destroying the handwriting of the decree that was against us, in triumph affixed it to the cross, so the most holy Virgin, joined with him in a most close and indissoluble bond, together with Him and through Him exercising eternal enmity against the poisonous serpent, and most fully triumphing over him, crushed his head with her immaculate foot."

He also said that even at the start, her holiness was so great that "none greater under God can be thought of, and no one but God can comprehend it."15 What about evolution of the human body? Pope Pius XII, in Humani generis, 1950 (DS 3896) said that the Church does not prohibit studying this belief, with care, provided that one does not say evolution is certain, and provided that one holds that human souls are immediately created by God. From this we gather that evolution is not clearly contrary to Scripture and the Magisterium. Considering the literary genre of Genesis, all we would need to hold is that God in some special way -- without saying which way -- produced the first human pair. He could have established natural laws to bring about the evolution of the body until it was suitable to have a human soul. This suitability need not be extremely strict. Before birth when the fetus is imperfectly formed, there is already a human soul. And after birth, it is several years before bodily development permits the use of reason, for which the human soul had the capability all along. We note this: St. Augustine centuries ago, in his De Genesi ad Litteram 6.12.20 rejected a simplistic view of the formation of Adam: "That God made man with bodily hands from the clay is an excessively childish thought." For God does not have hands, he said. St. John Chrysostom in his Homily on Genesis 2.21 called the rib episode a case of synkatabasis, divine adaptation to our needs: "See the condescendence of divine Scripture, what words it uses because of our weakness. . . . do not take what is said in a human way." Pope John Paul II suggested a way to take it: "The man (Adam) falls into the 'sleep' in order to wake up 'male' and 'female'. . . . Perhaps . . . the analogy of sleep indicates here not so much a passing from consciousness to subconsciousness as a specific return to nonbeing . . . that is, to the moment preceding the creation, in order that, through God's creative initiative, solitary 'man' may emerge from it again in his double unity as male and female."16 The evidence from natural science for evolution is usually much overstated. A conference was held over ten years ago at the Field Museum, Chicago, of 160 of the world's top paleontologists, anatomists, evolutionary geneticists, and developmental biologists. They decided Darwin was wrong in that he supposed many intermediate forms between species, e.g., between fish and birds. They admitted that the fossil record does not give even one certain case of such intermediates. They did not, however, discard evolution even though they admitted the evidence was not there. Instead they opted for "punctuated equilibria," the belief that a species might stay the same for millions of years, then by a fluke, leap up to a much higher form of the same sort. If they had evidence this actually happened, it was not mentioned in the report in the Research News section of Science.17 Some mention the high vertical columns exposed

in the Grand Canyon, in which lower forms, such as Trilobites, are found lower, and higher and higher forms as one goes up. But all admit that canyon was once a sea bottom, and the simpler things would naturally settle lower. Further, the presence of these forms in a column does not offer any evidence at all that one thing came from another. Some also mention that all bodies grow in spurts. This is true, but they do not become a new species, as evolution would require. Further, Science News,18 in an article "Why is Sex?" reports: "'Sex is the queen of problems in evolutionary biology' wrote Graham Bell, an evolutionary biologist at McGill University in Montreal in 1982. Why such a thing exists at all, he says, is 'the largest and least ignorable and most obdurate' of life's fundamental questions." It does not really fit with the notion of natural selection. A related question is that of polygenism, the idea that all humans came from several pairs, not from one pair. On this Pius XII wrote in Human generis: "Christians cannot embrace that opinion . . . since it is by no means apparent how this view could be reconciled with things which the sources of revelation and the acta of the Magisterium of the Church teach about original sin, which comes from a sin really committed by one Adam, and which, being transmitted by generation, is in each one as his own." 19 On reading this, those who do intend to follow the Church are divided. Some say this is final, no room is left to consider polygenism. Others say that we must notice that the Pope says it cannot be considered since it is not evident how this could fit with Scripture and Magisterium. They say he meant to leave the door open, if a way could be found to reconcile the theory with these sources. Modern science is veering much away from polygenism today. Science News of August 13, 1983 reported that Allan C. Wilson of the University of California at Berkeley had studied mitochondrial DNA from all over the world. He concluded that all existing humans came from just one mother, living 350,000 years ago. His view met little acceptance at first. But now, Newsweek of Jan 11, 1988 reports 20 that Wilson's idea is widely accepted by scientists, except that they think she lived only 200,000 years ago. According to the same article, some scientists are now going to try to trace the father of all present humans, a much more difficult task. The mitochondrial DNA is transmitted only on the female line. Hence the conclusion covers only the mother. But we must add this: Even this theory does not rule out the possibility that even though all present humans came from one mother, there may have been other lines which died out. Summary of Romans 5:13-21 Paul imagines an objection saying that up to the time when the Mosaic law was given, there was sin in the world, but it was not charged against anyone, since there was still no law. But Paul replies: in spite of that, it is true to say that death ruled in that period even

over those who had not violated a revealed command as did Adam, who was a forecast of the man to come, Christ. For the redemption, the grace, is not like the transgression. There was one transgression which led all to death, original sin. But now the grace of God and His gift in grace through Jesus Christ is abundant for all. Similarly, the gift of grace is different from what came through the one who sinned. On the one hand, judgment came after one sin, leading to condemnation. On the other hand grace came after many transgressions, leading to justification. For if sin reigned by the transgression of the one man, much more now those who receive the abundance of grace and justification will reign in life through the one Jesus Christ. Then, just as one man's transgression led all men to condemnation, now through the one act of justice by Jesus, all are led to justification and life. Just as by the disobedience of the one man, the first Adam, all were made sinners, so by the obedience of the one man, the New Adam, Jesus, all are constituted just. Law came in and transgression was abundant. But just as sin reigned through death, so also grace reigns through justification leading to eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Comments on 5:13-21 Paul opens with an imaginary objection which tries to claim that sins were not charged against anyone in the period when there was no revealed law, i.e., from Adam to Moses. Behind this is a distinction. Paul commonly observes a distinction between two Greek words, hamartia, which means a sin committed when there is no revealed law as yet, only the law on people's hearts of which he spoke in Romans 2:14, and parabasis, a sin committed when there is a revealed law. Now it is obvious, before the revealed law came, there could not be parabasis. But there could be hamartia. Paul replies by insisting that death did reign -- physical or spiritual or both -- during the period when there was no revealed law, i.e., from Adam to Moses. Paul says Adam was a type of the one to come. He means Christ was the New Adam. But there is this difference: the Old Adam got us into the harm of original sin. The New Adam reversed that damage, through the redemption. It is interesting to notice that in 5:13-14 Paul sees that even though there could not be parabasis without a revealed law, there could be hamartia. But in Romans 7:9 he focuses out the fact that there could be hamartia in the same period, for he says that during that period "I was alive" spiritually, did not sin, since there was no revealed command. Next Paul goes into several repetitions. All mean this: The redemption is more abundant than the fall. He is very insistent, saying it so many times, with small variations in language. The last time, in verse 19, he adds that the death of Christ was an act of obedience to the Father. Really, if it had been done without that, as a merely physical thing, it

would have not redeemed anyone at all. It was His obedience that gave His death its value. That obedience was the covenant condition, the condition of the new covenant. It was needed for the interior attitude in sacrifice, and for rebalance of the objective order. Today there is a sad error, that of Leonard Feeney, who took the old teaching that there is no salvation outside the Church, and twisted it by interpreting it his own way. In condemning his teaching 21 the Holy Office pointed out at the start that just as we must avoid private interpretation of Scripture, so also we must avoid private interpretation of the official texts of the Church. If one interprets privately, as Feeney did, he can then make one text contradict the other. And he can then reject the ones he does not like. Feeney's error amounted to saying that if one does not get his name on the register of some parish, even if there was no fault at all, even if he never had a chance to hear of the Church, he goes to hell. This is a monstrous error! The Feenyites are apt to say they admit that before Christ people could be saved without joining the old people of God, the Jews. But that after Christ, things got so much worse. Then they can just go to hell, without any chance at all. Paul of course here insists, on the contrary, that the redemption did not make things worse, it made things better. The Redemption was superabundant. And Paul, as we saw, says it many times over.22 In verse 20, Paul says law came in with the result that sin abounded. Sadly, many versions make it read: the law came in order that sin might abound. Can we imagine God giving a law with the purpose of making things worse? But we can say that that was the result, for sin got worse, because it was then a violation of a revealed command. And the very fact of hearing a no-no tempts perverse people to disobey. Behind the difference in the translations is this fact: The Greek conjunction here is hina. In fifth century B.C. Athens that could mean only purpose. It still could in Paul's day, but the language had changed -- all living languages change. So in Paul's day it could also mean result. We decide by the sense which translation is called for. (The same double possibility was available in Hebrew and Aramaic). Summary of Romans, Chapter 6 Paul imagines someone raising an objection that is really foolish. The objector, on hearing in chapter 5 that the redemption is so abundant after sin asks: then would it be good to stay in sin, and get even more abundance? Paul answers: Heavens no! We have died to sin, and so could not still live in sin. We were baptized into Christ, so as to be part of Christ, His members. We were baptized into His death. We were buried together with Him through baptism into death, and so just as Christ was raised from the dead by the power of the Father, we also, as though just raised from the dead, ought to walk in a new way of life. If we have been joined with Him in a death like His, then we will also be joined with Him in a resurrection like His. Our old man, that is, our

old way of life, has been crucified along with Christ to destroy the way of sin, and so we are no longer enslaved to sin. For a person who has died is freed from sin. If we have died with Christ, we believe we will also live with Him. We know that He has been raised from the dead, and dies no more. Death no longer has power over Him. He died once, to sin, but the life He leads, He leads to God. So we too should consider ourselves dead to sin, but living to God, in Christ. We should not let sin rule over our mortal bodies or obey its desires. We should not let our bodies be instruments of iniquity, of sin. Rather we should come to God as persons raised from the dead, and bring our bodies as weapons of righteousness, for God. Sin will not be Lord over us, for we are not under the regime of law, but under grace. The objection returns: Should we sin since we are not under law but under grace? Heavens no! Whoever it is to whom we give ourselves as slaves, to obey, we are slaves of that one -- either slaves of sin leading to death, or slaves of the obedience of faith, which leads to justification. Thanks be to God. We were slaves, of sin, but now we have obeyed from the heart the teaching to which we were given over. We are free from sin, and have become slaves to righteousness. To speak in a human way, because of your weakness: Just as you were slaves to uncleanness and to more and more iniquity, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness, leading to sanctification. When you were slaves of sin, you took no orders from righteousness. What gain did you then get from the things of which you are now ashamed? The point to which they lead is death. But now, being freed from sin, being slaves to God, you bear fruit leading to sanctification, and the end of it all is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus. Comments on Chapter 6 To answer an imagined objection, Paul sketches much of his syn Christo theme, that is, that we are saved and made holy if and to the extent that we are members of Christ and like Him. In His life there are two phases: first, a difficult life, suffering and death; second, eternal glory. The more we are like Him in the first, the more in the second. Hence in Romans 8:28 he will say that for those who love God all things work together for good -- everything but sin can be made into eternal gold by using it as a means of likeness to Christ. In the syn Christo theme he teaches: 1) we are members of Christ: e.g., in 1 Corinthians 12:12-17; Romans 12:4-5; Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 4:12-15. 2) We do everything with Him: In Romans 6:38, the present text, we are baptized into Him, i.e., so as to be a member of His, we are buried in the waters of baptism with Him, we rise with Him, we should live a new life with Him -- with the outlook we will have on the last day when we rise from the grave. How different the present

life will look then -- some things we considered great will be seen as trifles -- and the reverse. Paul restresses this idea of living with such an outlook in Colossians 3:1-4, saying that since we were raised with Christ, we should set our hearts on heavenly things. The thought is similar in Ephesians 2:5-6. 3) We must be like Him in all things: In Romans 8:9 if we do not have and follow the Spirit of Christ, we do not belong to Him. Similar ideas appear in Romans 8:13 & 17. So we see a basic mistake of Lutheranism which says Christ did all, so we are not obliged to do anything. It is even all right no matter how much we sin if only we continue to believe Christ has paid for it all. Consider again Luther's Epistle 501: "Sin bravely, but believe still more bravely." And in his Epistle of August 1, 1521 to Melanchthon: "Be a sinner and sin boldly. . . . No sin will separate us from the Lamb, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day." 23 We saw that faith includes obedience. Luther, not seeing that, thought faith could authorize any amount of disobedience to God's law. But we must be like Christ in all things, including His work of rebalancing the objective order. Paul himself in Colossians 1:24 says he is working to fill up in his own body what is lacking to the sufferings of the whole Christ, for His body, which is the Church. Paul keeps working on the theme of slavery in this chapter. We once were slaves of sin. Someone who sins a lot does get addicted, and is no longer free. Paul wants us to be as dedicated to what is right as sinners are to their sin. Then we are "slaves of righteousness." We emphasized twice in this passage that Paul said we were slaves of sin. Yet in 7:14 Paul will say "I am fleshy." The only way to avoid saying he is contradicting himself is to notice that 7:14 is really a focused picture. He does not really mean that he is still dominated by the flesh. No, rather, he is giving an image of what that is like in itself. There are two regimes, that of sin and the flesh, that of the spirit and of faith. The flesh in a focused view produces nothing but sin; the spiritual regime in a focused view produces nothing but good. In chapter 7 Paul will develop the focused view of the regime of sin; in chapter 8 the focused view of the Christian regime. Failure to see this has led to tragic errors. We will see more on it in these chapters. So we need to be on the watch for the time or tense of verbs in this connection in 7:5-6 & 14; 8:9. In the last verse of this chapter, Paul sums up our situation: we can earn punishment (wages of sin), but eternal life is not earned, it is a free gift, a grace. We recall the summation we made in connection with 1 Corinthians 6:9-10: as to salvation, you can't earn it, but you can blow it. We are free from the law in the sense that keeping it does not earn salvation. We are not free in the sense that we cannot violate it and still "inherit the kingdom." Summary of Romans 7:1-6

Paul reminds them that they know law (Romans had a flair for that). So they know that the law has power over a person only while he is in this life. Then Paul takes up a special example of this: a wife is bound to her husband while he lives. But when the husband dies, she is free from that law. If she is with another man while her husband is alive, she will be an adulteress. But when he dies, she is free. She is no longer an adulteress if she is with another man. Similarly, Paul says that they died to the law through the death of Christ. So they can be away from the power of the law, their former husband, and now are with Christ. When they were in the regime of the flesh, the passions of sins aroused by the law worked in their bodies, bearing fruit leading to death. But now in the new regime, they have been freed from the law, they have died to the law that once held them. They are in slavery to the Spirit in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. Comments on 7:1-6 Paul says they died and so are freed from the law, since they are members of Christ who died. Formerly they were in the regime of the flesh -- a focused picture, i.e., flesh as such cannot produce good, but only sin. In reality, in the factual picture, one who is physically in the flesh, if he uses the grace of Christ that is offered, he does not always sin, but may do much good. But now they are in the regime of the spirit -- again, a focused picture, i.e., being in the spirit can produce nothing but good. Again, in the factual view, one who has become a member of Christ may reject the grace offered, and so may sin. He could speak of passions of sins aroused by the law in that the very fact that the law forbids something tempts many people to do it. Summary of Romans 7:7-13 He does not mean that the law is sin. Of course not. But he would not know sin except through the law. For he would not desire something wrong if the law did not say: "Do not do it." However sin took up the opening provided by the law, and caused him to desire what was wrong. For without the law, sin was dead. But he was once alive, when he did not have the law. But then the command of the law came, and sin came to life again: he died spiritually. So the command of the law that was intended to bring life, turned out to bring death. Sin, making use of the opening, deceived him, and killed him through the violation of the command. So the law in itself is holy and the command is holy and good. He asks: So, did what was good turn into death for me? Heavens no! But sin showed itself supremely sinful, and produced death through what was good for me. Thus sin became the sinner par excellence by using the command. Comments on 7:1-13 In the actual text Paul keeps saying 'I', here we used 'he' for clarity. Many proposals have been made as to who the 'I' is: Here are the chief

ones: 1) Paul refers to his own personal life, his complete life. 2) Paul refers to his own life since his conversion. 3) Paul speaks in the person of Adam when confronted with the command. 4) Paul uses a stylistic figure, he is dramatizing the experience of all who had the Mosaic law but relied on their own resources to meet what it called for. The first and second views cannot be right. Here Paul pictures himself as weak, and falling readily into sin (that will be even clearer in verses 13-25). But in Philippians 3:6 he said he kept the law perfectly even before He met Christ. The third view hardly fits, only the personification of sin in verse 11 reminds us of the case of Adam. The fourth view is close to right, but incomplete. We can gather, with the help of 7:9 that Paul has in mind two different time periods: 1) the period from Adam to Moses, when there was no revealed law; and 2) the period from Moses to Christ, when there was a revealed law. We get this distinction of periods by noting that in 7:9 he says: "I was alive (spiritually) at one time" (the first period). But then in 7:9-10 (the second period) he says that "when the command came, sin came to life again, and so I died." So he has in mind two time periods. About the first period, from Adam to Moses, when there was no revealed law, Paul says then he (meaning everyone), was spiritually alive. For there was no law. He focused out of the picture the fact that even though one could not violate a revealed law then (parabasis), he still could violate the law written on hearts 24 (Interestingly, in 5:13-14 Paul insists there was hamartia, sin committed without a revealed command, between Adam and Moses). As to the second period, from Moses to Christ, the time of the law, then the law came and sin revived, meaning violation of a revealed law was again possible and really happened. This did happen factually. But especially if we take this as a focused picture we say: The law made heavy demands -- it gave no strength -- so a fall was inevitable. Paul adds two minor touches: the mere fact the law said no-no made people desire the forbidden fruit. And when he personifies sin by saying "sin, taking an opening through the command" he brings to mind the temptation of Adam by the serpent in Eden. Summary of Romans 7:14-25 Paul [so no one will misunderstand his remarks about the law] says he knows that the law is spiritual. But he is fleshy. He has been sold under sin. He does not understand the way he acts. For he does what he does not wish, and hates what he does. In that case, since he does what he does not want to do, he agrees that the law is good. But it is no longer he who does such things, but the sin dwelling in him. He knows that good is not in him, in his flesh. For he can wish to do good, but cannot do good. For he does not do the good he wants to do, but he does the evil he does not want to do. In that case, not doing

what he wants, it is no longer he who does it, but the power of sin dwelling in him. So he notices a pattern [law] in himself: when he wants to do good, evil is at hand. He is pleased with the law of God in his heart. But he sees a different pattern [law] in his body, making war against the pattern [law] of his mind, taking him captive in the law of sin, the law that is in his body. He exclaims: Oh! I am a wretched man! Who will rescue me from this death? [It will be grace, in chapter 8]. Praise to God through Jesus Christ! In his mind he wants to fully follow the law of God, but his flesh follows the law of sin. Comments on 7:14-25 In the lines above, verses 7-13, Paul gave a historical -- theological picture of a person who is faced with the law, but does not have grace. This is, briefly, a focused picture. Of course, to be under a heavy demand, with no strength, means a fall. In these lines, verses 14-25, he repeats the same picture, but now in a psychological instead of an historical-theological perspective. So he says, more than once: I see the law is good. I want to obey it. But I cannot. So it is the power of sin in me that makes me fail. I am wretched! What will rescue me? It will be the regime of the grace of Jesus Christ, explained in a focused way in chapter 8. If one did not know about the focused perspective, he would probably take these lines as a factual picture of Paul, or any Christian. That cannot be true. Paul said in Philippians 3:6 that he even before his conversion had kept the law perfectly. And we notice the shift in verb times or tenses. In 6:17 & 20-22 he said they formerly were slaves of sin: but no more. Yet here he says I am fleshy, as if still under sin. This makes sense only if the picture in chapter 6 was a focused picture of the regime of grace, but here we see a focused picture of the regime of the flesh. No wonder Luther wrote a book, The Bondage of the Will. He simply did not understand. Summary of Romans 8:1-18 Now, for those who are in the regime of Christ, who are His members, there is no condemnation. For the pattern [law] of the Spirit of life in Christ has rescued us from the pattern [law] of sin and death [of which he spoke eloquently in chapter 7]. For God has accomplished what the law could not do, for it was weak through the flesh. God sent His own son in a flesh like that of the flesh of sin. He condemned sin in the flesh so that the just requirement of the law could be fulfilled in us, provided we live our lives not according to the flesh, but according to the spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on things of the flesh; but those who follow the spirit set their minds on the things of the spirit. For to pursue what the flesh wants is to head towards death. But to pursue what the spirit wants is to head to life and peace.

The aim of the flesh is hostile to God. The flesh as such is not subject to the law of God. It cannot be subject. So those who are in the flesh [who follow the flesh] cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh, but in the spirit -- provided the Spirit of God dwells in you. If anyone does not have and follow the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body has died to sin, but your spirit is alive because of righteousness. If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus lives in you, then He who raised Jesus will also make your mortal bodies alive at the end, through His Spirit who dwells in you. Therefore, brothers, we have no obligation to live according to the flesh. If we do that, we will die. But if we put to death the deeds of the body we will live. All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. You did not receive again a spirit of slavery tending to fear, you have received the Spirit of divine adoption, by which we can say: Abba (Father). The Spirit who is within us gives testimony that we are sons of God. If we are sons, then we also can inherit the kingdom, we are heirs along with Christ, provided that we suffer with Him, so we may also be glorified with Him. These sufferings of the present time -- I judge they are not worthy to be compared with the glory that we shall see. Comments on 8:1-18 In chapter 7 we saw a strongly focused picture of a person under the law without the help of grace. He was in the regime of the flesh, he was fleshy. Now in chapter 8, after Paul's impassioned scream at the end of chapter 7, he answers the question he had asked about who would rescue him. So here is a different kind of focused picture, or, we could call it a system as system picture. The system of being in Christ, in the spirit, can produce nothing but good. In itself it is fail-safe. However Paul had had some unpleasant experiences from preaching that we are free from the law, as we saw in 1 Corinthians 6. So here a number of times in chapter 8 he will break the focus and speak in a factual picture. He begins with saying the system itself, of being in Christ, is fail-safe, so there can be no condemnation for those who are in Him. They have left the regime of death and sin, and gone into the regime of the spirit and life. The Spirit is an interior power -- not a constraint from without -- that tries to lead us to do what Christ did, as He did it. If we follow the Spirit, we will not violate the law, and we need not even think of the law, following the Spirit keeps us away from violating it. (If we did not recognize this as focused, we would probably say with Luther: If you once take Christ as your personal Savior, you may sin, and there is still no condemnation for you). The law made demands we could not carry out, because of the weakness of our flesh -- this is said in a focused way, leaving out the fact that even though the law did not give the needed strength, yet

that strength was to be had even before Christ. God sent His Son to gain that strength for us, so we could fulfill what the law calls for -- for if we violate it, we are lost, and will not inherit the kingdom. He does not mean that keeping the law merits salvation, he merely means that violation of the law earns punishment. But he feels he needs to warn us: even though the system itself is fail-safe, yet we could fail if we follow the flesh instead of the Spirit. What the flesh wants is aimed at death; what the Spirit leads to is life and peace. This leads Paul to give a repeat of the focused material from chapter 7: flesh as such cannot produce what pleases God, for flesh moves in the opposite direction. So those who follow the flesh (who are in the flesh) cannot please God. This is one of the things that led Luther to think we cannot help sinning mortally all the time. He did not see that there are the two kinds of pictures, focused and factual. (Incidentally, we have a very similar focused picture in 1 John 3:9: "Everyone who is born of God does not commit sin, for His seed remains in him. And he is not able to sin, since he was born of God." The same Epistle uses a factual picture in 1:10: "If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.") If we have the Spirit and follow the Spirit, we belong to Christ. Now, to belong to Christ means to be a member of Christ, which in turn means to be a member of the Church, for the Church is His Mystical Body. Therefore, those who follow the Spirit, who do what the Spirit writes on their hearts (of which we spoke in comment on 2:14-16) are members of Christ, are members of the Church, without formal adherence, but this is enough to satisfy the requirement: no salvation outside the Church. Vatican II in Lumen Gentium 49 said what seems to mean the same: "All who belong to Christ, having His Spirit, coalesce into one Church." The Spirit we have received allows us to call God our Father. We are sons of God. If we are sons, then we have a claim to inherit the kingdom, even though we have not earned it. We are heirs along with Christ. But Paul again breaks His ideal focused picture to warn: to be heirs with Christ we must be like Him, we must suffer with Him, in order to be able to be glorified with Him. "The sufferings of this life are not worthy to be compared to the glory that is to be revealed to us." Here we also think again of 2 Corinthians 4:17 which says that what is now light and momentary in our suffering, is producing for us beyond measure an eternal weight of glory. These two passages are a wonderful help when we must face something extremely hard to take. Summary of Romans 8:19-30 All of visible creation is waiting for the revelation of the sons of God. Creation was subjected to foolishness, contrary to its own will. That happened because of the one who made it subject [Adam]. Yet, creation waits in hope. For it will be freed and made no longer subject to corruption. It will join in the freedom of the glory of the sons of God.

But at present, all visible creation groans together with us, and is in birthpains. In fact we ourselves though we have the Spirit as the first fruits, groan in ourselves as we wait for our adoption as sons, for the redemption of our body. For now we are saved in hope, not in final reality. A hope that is already realized is not hope but possession. For no one hopes for what he already has. But if we are in hope, and do not yet have it, we wait in patience. Similarly, the Spirit helps our weakness. We do not know what prayer to make or how to pray as is needed. But the Spirit Himself prays for us with silent groans. But He who searches hearts [God] knows what the Spirit wants, knows that according to the will of God, He prays for the holy ones. God Himself brings it about that everything works together to produce good for those who love Him, for those who are called into the Church according to His design. Those whom He chose in advance, He also predestined to be like the form of His Son, as His members. Those whom He predestined, He also called into the Church. And those whom He called into the Church, He also justified. And those whom He justified, He also gave them glory. Comments on 8:19-30 Paul now turns his eyes from Christians alone to all creation and Christians in it. Creation was put into disorder, and groans, waiting to get out of it when the sons of God are also freed from the disorder. For before the fall, the higher part of Adam and Eve, the soul, was subject to God. Their lower part, the body, was subject to their soul, and could not rebel against it in the way he pictures in Romans 7:14-24, for Adam and Eve had the coordinating gift we explained above in comments on 5:12. But when Adam and Eve's higher part, the soul and will, rebelled against God, then the punishment of disobedience was disobedience, as St. Augustine said.25 For their lower nature rebelled against their soul. And all creation felt the disorder and rebelled against our race. But all lower creation waits for this to be changed. We now have the beginning of our sonship, but not the fullness of it. When we get it, then all creation will be delivered from slavery to corruption: we now are filled with the process of tearing cells down and rebuilding: metabolism. That will come to an end. And all lower creation will be renewed at the same time, and made free from such corruption. So it seems there will be immortal birds! St. Francis of Assisi would surely vote for that! When Scripture speaks of fire at the end, it is a fire that renews, does not destroy, as is clear from Paul's words. The vision of God will be in the souls of those saved. But their bodies shared in doing good, and so should be rewarded too. Their condition will be patterned after the risen body of Christ. Two things: On the one hand, He had real flesh. He himself let the Apostles touch Him, and even ate -- though He did not need food -- to show the reality of His flesh. On the other hand, He

could come through the locked door where the Apostles were hiding, without bothering about the door. Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:44 speaks of it as a spiritual body. But it cannot be mere spirit -- it is patterned after the body of Christ, and Paul was arguing with Greeks who did not want a physical body. Had he meant a body of spirit, not of flesh, there would have been no need of argument. A note: If the usual theory about unbaptized babies, that by Thomas Aquinas is correct, namely, that they have no punishment, but do not have the vision of God -- then will their parents be able to be with them? Definitely yes, their bodies can be together. The babies, if they lack the beatific vision, will not know what the parents have in their souls. (St. Thomas, De malo q.5, a.3 ad 4). However, it may be that God has a better way. Since the Church has not spoken, we may speculate. First, St. Thomas says that God's hands are not bound by the Sacraments.26 This is obvious. Also, the redemption is more abundant than the fall (Romans 5:15, 21). But before the fall, many theologians think God did provide for infants. And St. Paul reasons that if God had not provided a means of salvation outside the People of God before the time of Christ, He would seem to be not their God. So He did provide (Romans 3:28-30). In 1 Corinthians 7:14 Paul says that in a marriage where one remains pagan, the other is converted, the pagan is "made holy" by the marriage, i.e., is brought under the covenant. He says the same of the children, and does not say "provided they are baptized." Further, God shows in Scripture a great concern for rebalancing the moral order if it is upset by sin. 27 It seems likely He is also concerned to rectify the physical order. So in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, after death Abraham does not charge the rich one with violation of charity -- of course he was guilty. Abraham mentions only that in the previous life, the rich man was in comfort, Lazarus in misery. Now it is time to balance things. So we wonder: Would God decide that babies deprived of any chance at life -especially if cut to pieces in abortion -- should have things rebalanced too? It seems not impossible. The new catechism in 1261 says that given the great mercy of God Who wills all to be saved, and the tenderness of Jesus to children (Mk 10:14) "Let us hope that there is a road to salvation for babies who have died without Baptism." The Holy Spirit Who dwells in our souls helps our weakness at present. We do not know well enough how to pray or what to pray for. But the Spirit within us prays for us, and of course His prayer is heard. How can it be that God the Holy Spirit prays to God the Father? As we saw in consideration of Romans 1:17, God's Holiness loves everything that is right and in good order. In that framework, Jesus when He asked to be baptized by John said it is fitting for us to fulfill all that rightness calls for (Matthew 4:15 -- He had emptied Himself, as Philippians 2:7 says, and so would not claim any special concessions because of His divinity. So He willed to come with sinners, as if He were a sinner, to

John's baptism). Also, even though Jesus was and is God, yet in His humanity He willed to be led by the Holy Spirit. This was foretold in Isaiah 11:1-3. Isaiah 61:1-3 says "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me." Jesus refers this to Himself in Luke 4:18. Several other times in the Gospels we see this influence. The Spirit came upon Him at His baptism. He was led into the desert by the Spirit. He rejoiced in the Holy Spirit (Lk 10:21). St. Thomas expresses the principle behind all of this. 28 We paraphrase since a literal version would be obscure -- Thomas uses the word hoc 4 times, shifting the sense each time. We paraphrase: "God wills one thing to be in place to serve as a title for the second thing, even though the first thing does not move Him." This is in His love of good order. Other effects of this policy: The merits of Christ are infinite, so He would not have needed to add those of Our Lady in earning redemption. Yet He did. (We spoke of earning Redemption, for there is a further phase, giving out the merits. In that phase, He wants us to be like Christ, for a different reason: so we may be open to receive -- and again, in His love of good order, wanting titles to be present. Of course, her whole ability to do anything comes entirely from Him, and so in that sense, her role does not add to His). Further, with Jesus and Mary, there would be no need for intercession of the Saints. Yet He does add that. And He bound Himself by promise, "Ask and you will receive" and by covenant, in the same attitude. Thus He arranged for titles for what He would do anyway. In verse 28 we find a beautiful and consoling thought. "Everything [but sin of course] works together for good for those who love God." This is merely Paul's general framework. If we make a synthesis of this thought it would be this: A person is saved and is made holy if and to the extent that he is not only a member of Christ, but like Him. In the life of Christ, two phases: first, a hard life, suffering and death; second, glory. The more we are like Him in phase one, the more in phase two. Some have said that if one is anxious he lacks confidence in God and so he is wasting his effort. We should have confidence in God. But to what extent? We distinguish two areas 1) Those that come under the promise of "Ask and you shall receive." But this, as St. Augustine explains, applies only to salvation for ourselves and what is needed for it. (As to others -- they may be placing an obstacle). 2) All other things: Even without a strict promise, we can ask for and get many things. But we cannot pin down precisely what will be given. If we ask for something that would be harmful, He will not give it. (The exhortation to have faith like a mustard seed and one can move mountains refers to charismatic faith, a different thing. In it we do not whip ourselves into a feeling of trust, but God takes the initiative, and gives first the confidence, then the result. Please recall the comments made on 1 Corinthians, chapters 12-14).

But if one does what he can about anxiety, then it can be used as a means of likeness to Christ. For He too had anxiety. His human soul had the vision of God from the first instant of conception. Thus He saw in hideous detail all He would suffer. When we see a possible evil coming, we can say: Perhaps it will not come, perhaps it will not be so bad. He had no such refuge: the vision was mercilessly clear. At two times in His life He let us see inside Him as it were. In Luke 12:50: "I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how an I straitened until it be accomplished." It means He felt in a tight spot until He could get it over with. In John 12:27 He was speaking to a crowd in Jerusalem shortly before His death. He allowed Himself (for He could have held in) to break into the discourse: "Now my heart is troubled. What shall I say? Father save me from this hour!" Then in the garden, the nightmare caught up with Him. We can scream and wake up from a nightmare -- He found it had Him.29 Verses 29-30 have occasioned long, bitter debates, and much worry for many souls, even blackness of near despair for those who did not understand. Paul says that God "predestines" those whom He chose in advance. Predestines to what? In context, Paul has been speaking in an idealized, mostly focused picture, of full membership in the Church. For in verse 27 things work for good in "those who are called." Called in Paul regularly means called to full membership in the Church. (We say full, since there is a lesser but substantial membership, of which we spoke at 2:14-16). Chapter 9 will help further to see that Paul is talking abut membership in the People of God. That is a great help towards final salvation, but does not predetermine it. So God does call people to full membership. We might make a comparison. Imagine God looking over the scene before history begins. He sees a great checkerboard with a square for each human of all ages. He sees three kinds of squares. Class 1 includes all the external means of grace, Mass and all Sacraments. Class 2 has some Sacraments. Class 3 has no external means. In it, of course, God does offer graces interiorly. But He notices too that humans differ greatly in their resistance to grace (resulting in sin). Some are so resistant that no matter where He would put them, they would be lost. He will not waste class 1 squares on them, for that number is not infinite. The others are all such they could be saved if they got the proper assignment. Some within this group need the very best, class 1. Others can get by with class 2 or even 3. So there is at least this way -- perhaps He has a better way -to make assignments so no one will be lost because of the kind of assignment to a square. (There needs to be the three classes since the Gospel could not reach everywhere at once, and since even though the founder of a heresy may be guilty of grave sin, yet those in later generations, born into the heresy, are unlikely to be guilty. So unless

God would multiply miracles all over, so as to make them virtually ordinary, there must be the three classes of squares). Within this framework, God does call some to class 1 squares. We saw at the end of chapter 1 of First Corinthians that God seems to give the class 1 and 2 squares to those who are more resistant, who need more. In chapter 9 of Romans Paul will say merits are not the reason for His assignments. So now in verses 29-30 Paul is saying that God chooses some for class 1, and gives them along with that, justification, and then he mentions glory. Glory could mean either divine help here30, or final glory. If it means the latter, Paul is using his focused way of speaking: the Church is a fail-safe institution. Yet several times in this chapter, as we have seen, Paul injects a condition: provided we suffer with Him, provided we follow His spirit. For information on predestination to heaven, see this author's New Answers to Old Questions,31 or Our Father's Plan, Chapter 12. Briefly, the conclusion reached there is this: God's decisions have three logical steps. First, He greatly wills all to be saved. (He has proved that will as we saw in Romans 5:8). Second He looks to see who resists His grace gravely and persistently, to such an extent that they cannot be saved, for they persistently throw away the very means that could save them. These are let go, rejected. Thirdly, all who have not resisted in that way, are predestined to heaven. (I.e., He arranges so that their death comes when they are in the state of grace). This is not because of merits (which have not yet been seen on the screen as it were), but because He wanted to do that, in stage 1, and they are not stopping Him. Thus there is reprobation (negative, letting them go) because of demerits, but predestination without merits. (We think again of: "You can't earn it, but you can blow it." And of Romans 6:23). We gather the same thing from the Gospel analogy of the Father. In an ordinarily good human family, 1) the Father (and Mother too) want all the children to turn out well. 2) No child needs to say :I had better dry dishes, cut the grass, etc., and then I will get them to love and care for me. No, he gets that because they, the parents are good, not because he, the child is good. 3) Yet the children know that by being bad they can earn a slap -- in an extreme case could even earn to lose their inheritance from their parents. Summary of Romans 8:31-39 [In view of what has been said, of the way God has arranged everything for us]: What shall we say? No one can hurt us if God is for us. After He went so far as not to spare His Son -- could He hold back anything? Who is there who could bring charges against those whom God has chosen? Not God Himself -- He justifies us. Nor Jesus -- He died for us, and intercedes for us. No one and no thing can separate us from His love -- not trouble, tight spots, persecution, hunger, nakedness, danger, or the sword. We more than conquer through Him. So nothing

can separate us -- not death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor present things, nor future things, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else! Comments on 8:31-39 St. Paul is exultant. He has just painted a beautiful picture of the failsafe system that God has set up to save us. This means that the system as system (focused) cannot fail. We ourselves, of course could fail it. But otherwise, just nothing -- he enumerates many things -- can ruin us, except of course our own sins. We cannot help thinking of the terribly dark picture painted by some older theologians who thought Paul was speaking of predestination to heaven, and saying God chose people blindly to save, or not to save. That would not be love, for to love is to will good to another for the other's sake. He would be willing good to the saved, but not for their sake (it would be blind), but to make a point that He was "merciful." In that unfortunate theory, after earning all graces for us, He might, without any serious fault on our part, just not feel like giving the grace of final perseverance, which He had so dearly earned for us. Paul could hardly be exultant with that thought. And we saw three times that Paul teaches God does offer the grace of final perseverance to all -- though anyone could still reject it. Of course, as we said, this is a focused picture. And, since Paul seems to have had bad experiences with preaching freedom from the law, he has broken his focus a few times in this chapter 8. There is of course a relation to getting to heaven. Having full membership in the Church is a great help. But it does not predetermine anything. Some with their names on a parish register will be saved, some lost even so. Paul mentions principalities and powers. In Colossians and Ephesians he has a great deal more to say about these and other groups. At first in Colossians we could not tell if he means good or evil spirits. After a while it is clear he means evil spirits. He uses these terms, it seems, because the opponents he is working against use them. Summary of Romans 9:1-18 Paul exclaims in anguish that he is telling the truth, that his conscience bears witness in the Holy Spirit: He has a great grief and pain that does not let up. He could wish to be cursed and to lose Christ for the sake of his racial kinsmen! They are the Israelites, to whom belong the adoption as sons, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the cult, the promises, and the patriarchs. From them Christ came, as far as the flesh is concerned. May God who is over all be blessed forever! But the word of God calling them to be His people has not fallen out. For not all who are descended from Israel are the real Israel. Nor are all who descend from Abraham His children, for Scripture says: "Your seed descends through Isaac, not through Ishmael." For it is not just the children of the flesh who are children of God, but it is the children of

the promise [Isaac came by God's promise] who will be counted as Abraham's descendants. God promised that at the right time He would return, and by then Sara would have a son, Isaac. Further, when Rebecca by our father Isaac had conceived twins, and before they were born or had done anything, good or evil, God told her: "The elder shall serve the younger." So the choice depends not on works, but on God's will. Hence also God said: "I love Jacob more than Esau." This does not mean there is any injustice with God. Heavens no! For God told Moses He would have mercy where He willed, and pity where He willed. It does not depend on the will of the human, but on the decision of God to show mercy. Scripture said to Pharaoh: "For this very purpose I put you on the throne, to show my power in you, and so that my name might be known in all the earth." So God has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills, He hardens. Comments on 9:1-18 Paul opens with an emotional scream that he would even be willing to be cursed, and away from Christ, to get his racial kinsmen into the Messianic kingdom. Of course this is emotion. Paul has just said in chapter 8 that nothing at all could separate him from Christ. But it does show real feeling. It shows how wrong are the charges that Paul was anti-Semitic! He speaks with pride of the privileges of the Jews. Among them, the giving of the law. This is a factual picture -- the same sort we saw early in chapter 3. He usually speaks darkly of the law, in a focused picture. The translation we gave of verse 5 is more likely what Paul intended. However it is grammatically possible also to render it: ". . . from whom is Christ (as far as the flesh is concerned) the one who is over all, God, blessed for ever." Then Paul would be using the word God for Christ. Normally he uses Lord, in the same sense. Paul cannot bring himself to giving right away the real reason why they are not in the people of God -- that they rejected and killed Jesus. So instead he goes off onto a related question, namely: On what principles does God choose peoples to be part of His people? To determine this, he goes back to the start of the chosen people, to Abraham. Abraham had two sons, Isaac and Ishmael, by a free wife, and by a slave woman. Paul says there is a fork in the road now: through which side will the line of descent of the people of God go? It goes, he says, through Isaac. Then another fork: Isaac has twin sons, Esau and Jacob. It will go through Jacob. Before the twins were born or had done good or evil God made His decision. He said the elder would serve the younger. This merely refers to the fact that Jacob, rather meanly, obtained the birthright from Esau. But then God says, in Malachi 1:3: "I have loved Jacob and hated Esau." The explanation lies in the fact that Hebrew and Aramaic both lacked the degrees of comparison, such as good, better, best, or clear, clearer, clearest.

Without these, they found other ways to talk. We see one here, love and hate. It really means what we saw in our summary: He loves one more, the other less. God does not hate anyone. Similarly, in Luke 14:26 Jesus says we must hate our parents. Of course He did not really mean hate -- it was the same Semitic problem: He meant love them less, and Him more. Paul also quotes God saying in Exodus 33:19, that He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy. But we need to note that word mercy. Often it means that when someone has done wrong, he gets off with little or nothing. But here mercy means the special favor of being a member of the people of God. Similarly, Paul uses the word mercy in 1 Corinthians 7:25 to mean the grace of being celibate. Here Paul says that whether or not one obtains the mercy of membership in the people of God depends not on whether the human wants it, but on God's decision to grant it. We need to keep in mind that full membership in the Church is not needed for salvation, even though it is a very great help. (Let us recall what we said above, on 8:29-30, about the checkerboard). Next Paul speaks of the Pharaoh of the Exodus -- he does not name him, nor are we certain. Paul quotes Exodus 9:16 according to one MS of the Septuagint. God is saying that since Pharaoh by his own free will was wicked, God could use Him as a foil to show His power in the Exodus. Paul adds that God shows mercy on whom He wills, and hardens whom He wills. The language is taken from the picture of Pharaoh given several times in the account of the plagues in the Exodus, when Pharaoh was on the point of releasing the Jews, but then changed. Exodus sometimes says God hardened him, at other times says Pharaoh hardened his own heart. Behind it is the fact that as we explained before in connection with Philippians 2:13, the Hebrews often spoke of God as positively doing something when really He only permits it. Obviously, the message of the whole above passage is this: God gives full membership in the people of God without regard to merits. At the end of chapter 1 of 1 Corinthians we had gathered that He considers need in assigning the special advantages. Summary of Romans 9:19-33 [After contemplating these truths of God's power and His decisions] St. Paul, in awe, asks: How can people be blamed, when God is so powerful? [The answer]: Just as a potter has the right to make one vessel of honor, another of dishonor, so also God can decide freely. But if God, even though He wanted to show His anger and His power, endured for a long time people who deserve wrath and who have made themselves ready for destruction, and also, to show the riches of His glory for those who receive mercy, prepared for glory, us whom He also called into the Church, not only from among the Jews, but also from among the gentiles. . . . [who can object?]. As He says in Hosea: "I

will call those who were not my people, my people, and those who were not beloved, I will call beloved. And this will happen: In the place where they heard, 'You are not my people', there they shall be called sons of the living God." Isaiah cries out about Israel: "Even if the sons of Israel be as numerous as the sands of the sea, only a remnant will be saved." The Lord will carry out His word decisively and quickly on the earth. And as Isaiah predicted: "If the Lord of hosts had not left us some offspring, we would be like Sodom and like Gomorrah." What then shall we say? We say that the gentiles who did not knowingly try for justification, reached it, the justification that is on the basis of faith. But Israel, trying for justification through the law, did not reach justification. Why? They stumbled on the stone of stumbling, and the rock of scandal, as Scripture says: "Behold, I am placing in Sion a stone on which people will stumble, and the one who believes in Him will not be ashamed." Comments on 9:19-33 After speaking of the power and the decisions of God, to give or not to give the special mercy of full membership in the people of God without considering merits, Paul asks: Can people be blamed? We would explain: This special mercy of full membership is not owed to anyone, and people can be saved without it, as we saw in 2:14-16. Yet it is a great advantage to have it. God does give it rationally, as we saw in explaining the checkerboard image in our comments on 8:2930. But Paul prefers a different approach. He speaks of the sovereign majesty and rights of God. To illustrate this he uses a comparison of a potter, familiar from the Old Testament. The potter sits in front of his potter's wheel. Aside him is a table with a large gob of clay. He takes one handful, makes out of it a vessel of honor, perhaps a graceful vase for olive oil or wine. He takes another handful, makes a vessel of dishonor, perhaps an under-the-bed pot where there is no indoor plumbing. Clearly the potter can make what he wants. The bedpot cannot complain. Similarly, God can give or not give this special favor of full membership in the people of God as He wills. Within this framework of giving or not giving that favor, Paul thinks again of people like Pharaoh and others like him and so adds: God showed long patience with those who deserved His anger, who prepared themselves for wrath. Pharaoh not only did not get into the people of God, but was very wicked in addition. God did not strike them soon but in His long patience let them "fill up the measure of their sins," on which we commented in 1 Thessalonians, chapter 2. He also prepared glory for those who are in the path to salvation and follow it. Here Paul is thinking of the fail-safe system of chapter 8. It would be fail-safe only in a focused picture, which Paul did present in

chapter 8 but even there Paul brought in the need of their cooperation by breaking his focused picture a few times, as we saw, when he said they will have this benefit only if they have and follow the Spirit of Christ, and if they suffer with Him, so they may be glorified with Him. So now Paul asks: If God acts this way, can anyone object? Of course not. He has given each what each deserved. (Paul leaves his sentence unfinished as we have seen him doing elsewhere). To illustrate, Paul quotes Hosea 2:23 and 1:10 loosely. Rabbis often conflated two texts, and so does Paul here. In the original setting, Hosea referred to Israel, which ceased being God's people by their sins before the exile. (We recall Jeremiah 31:31 where God said: "I will make a new covenant . . . they broke my covenant, and I had to show myself their master [instead of acting like a Father].") God would restore a remnant of them. The remnant would be "saved." (The word save can mean rescue from temporal evils, entry into the people of God, or reaching heaven. It is the second meaning that the context calls for here, which means becoming part of the people of God again after the exile. If saved here meant entering into heaven finally, Paul knows, as we saw in Romans 2:14-16, that people can reach that without formally entering into the people of God). Really, only a remnant returned from the exile. Ten tribes did not come back at all. Paul says God will act decisively and quickly. Paul is citing in abridged form Isaiah 10:22-23. Paul is using a sort of multiple fulfillment pattern.32 He reapplies the remnant theme to refer to the minority of the Jews who accepted Christ. Without this remnant, Paul says the Jews would be wiped out like Sodom and Gomorrah (citing Isaiah 1:9, which spoke of the punishment of faithless Israel). He adds that the gentiles who had never heard of justification, yet reached it. He means those who followed what the Spirit writes on hearts, as in Romans 2:14-16. In contrast, Israel tried for justification by law. They stumbled on the stone of stumbling, Christ, of which Isaiah 28:16 and 8:14 (conflated) spoke. St. Augustine made a sad mistake in reading 8:29 and especially chapter 9. First, he thought the whole passage referred to predestination to heaven and reprobation to hell. The context shows, as we have seen, that it refers to predestination to full membership in the Church, not to heaven or hell. Further, he thought God really hated Esau. God does not hate anyone. Augustine did not know about the Hebrew way of speech we described in which hate means love less. He also used allegory (a purely arbitrary way of working in which one makes one thing stand for another) on the image of the potter, and said the mass of clay was the whole human race which became a "damned and damnable mass" as a result of original sin. He thought God could throw the whole mass into hell without waiting for anyone to sin personally. But to show mercy He would pick blindly a small percent and rescue them; the others, He would desert the great

majority (to show everyone should have been damned). In such a picture God would not love even those He would rescue, since He would not be willing them good for their sake but for His -- to let Him make a point of "mercy." This idea of Augustine of course has no support at all in the text or context. It is pure and sad imagination. The Church never endorsed it. Even St. Prosper of Aquitaine, commonly considered Augustine's chief defender -- for there was much opposition in Augustine's own time -- contradicted it. For in Augustine's view, God first deserts a man, then the man, left without strength, deserts God. But St. Prosper wrote (Responsa ad capitula obiectionum Gallorum 3): "They were not deserted by God so that they deserted God; but they deserted and were deserted, and they were changed from good to evil by their own will, and as a result . . . they were not predestined . . . by Him who foresaw them as going to be such."33 Every reputable Scripture scholar today understands the context, which Augustine and many others ignored, in a period of time when most scholars ignored Scriptural contexts regularly. Yet his view underlies the errors of Baez and his school which we saw in commenting on Romans 5:8. Summary of Romans, Chapter 10 Paul says his heart desires and he prays earnestly for the salvation of his racial kinsmen, the Jews. He testifies to them that they have zeal indeed, but it is misguided. For they do not know the way in which God gives justification [which is by faith]. Instead, they try to establish it their own way [by law], and so do not use God's way of getting justification. The goal of the law was Christ, for justification for all those who believe. Moses writes about the righteousness that comes from the law, saying: "The one who carries it out will live by it." But the righteousness based on faith says instead: Do not say in your heart: "Who will go up to the sky, that is, to bring Christ down to us." And do not say: "Who will do down into the abyss?" That is, to bring Christ up from the dead. What does it really say? It says that the word is near to you, in your mouth and in your heart, that is, the word of faith that we preach. If they confess with their mouth that Jesus is the Lord, and believe in their heart that the Father raised Him from the dead, they will be saved [enter the Church]. For faith in the heart brings justification, and profession of faith leads to salvation [entering the Church]. Isaiah says: "No one who believes in Him will be ashamed. For Jew and Greek are alike, they all have one Lord, who is generous to all who call on Him." For: "Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved." [enter the Church]. How will they [the Jews] call upon One in Whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in Him if they have not heard of Him? How will they hear unless someone preaches to them? How will they preach without being sent, as Isaiah says: "How beautiful are the

feet of those who preach the Gospel." But not all accept the Gospel. As Isaiah says: "Lord, who believes what they hear from us?" So, faith comes from hearing the Gospel, through the word of Christ. So Paul says: They [the Jews] did not fail to hear did they? He replies in the words of Psalm 19: "Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and to the ends of the world their words." So Israel has not failed to have a chance to know. Moses says: "I will make you envious by those who are not the people of God. I will make you angry by a nation that lacks understanding." Isaiah boldly says: "I was found by those who did not seek me, and became evident to those who had not asked for me." But Isaiah says to Israel: "All day I stretched out my hands to a people who disobeyed and contradicted me." Comments on Chapter 10 Paul opens this chapter again with an emotional expression of his love for his own racial kinsmen. He says they mean well -- but have a misguided zeal. They did not turn to faith for justification, as Abraham did. He wants them to reach salvation -- in the same sense as his words opening chapter 9, where he wanted them to enter the Church, the messianic kingdom. This will become clearer a bit farther down in this chapter. The end of the law is Christ. The Greek telos could mean either the terminal point, where the law ceases, or the goal. Paul has said in Galatians 3:24 that the law prepared for Christ. He also could say the law comes to an end with Christ, who freed us from the law -- except that as we have seen, Paul so many times insists that if we break the law we are lost eternally, e.g., in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. The quote from Moses is from Leviticus 18:5 which says a person will live, be well off, if he keeps the law. Next Paul does a remarkable thing: He takes the text of Deuteronomy 30:11-14 in which Moses tells them that they do not have to go up to the sky or into the depth to find the law, which brings such blessings. They already have it, and it will bring blessing. Paul substitutes Christ for the law! He says we do not have to go to the sky or the depths to get Christ and his regime of justification by faith. It is here right now! Verses 9-12 have caused much misunderstanding on the part of simplistic fundamentalists. What Paul is really saying is this: If you make a profession of faith, the faith that is in your heart, you can be saved. But the word save in Scripture as we have seen, has three meanings: 1) rescuing from temporal evils, 2) entering the Church, 3) reaching heaven. Clearly it is the second here, for the whole context speaks of entering the Church, the people of God. What of the meaning fundamentalists use in which they mean one takes Christ as his personal Savior and then is infallibly saved? This interpretation has no foundation in Scripture. Thus G. Kittel, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament , in the article on save,

Savior does not list such a meaning as even a possibility. What shows conclusively they are wrong is what we saw long ago, in commenting on chapter 1 of First Thessalonians, and in comments on Galatians 2:15. To really find what Paul means by faith we read every line where he speaks of faith and of believing. Keep notes, and add them up. It is something very different from the imagination of Luther and his followers. A standard Protestant reference work, Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, Supplement, gives the same meaning of faith in Paul as we have given.34 Paul quotes Isaiah 28:1 to say those who believe in Him will not be ashamed, whether they be Jew or Greek. Paul then cites Joel 3:5 (RSV and NRSV numbers are 2:32): "Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved." In context, it meant that on the day of the Lord, a remnant that call on Him will be rescued. For the reasons just given, it does not have the simplistic meaning that if anyone with his lips calls on the Lord he is infallibly saved no matter how much he has sinned, is sinning, will sin.35 Then in verses 14-21 Paul returns to his concern for his beloved kinsmen the Jews. He works through in detail what is needed for them to have the faith. He says that Christ must be preached, and that has been done, for the preaching has gone forth everywhere (He uses Psalm 19:5 which speaks of nature proclaiming the glory of God. Paul adapts it to preaching the Gospel). So Paul concludes that the unfaithful Jews have heard the preaching of the Gospel. Of course they have! To bring this out he cites the song of Moses from Deuteronomy 32:21 in which God says that they have provoked Him with idols who are no-gods. So He in turn will provoke them with a no-people: they will be humiliated by pagans. So now the unfaithful Jews will be shown up by the gentiles who have accepted Christ. When he says in verse 17 that faith comes by hearing, he does not mean faith depends on the ears in contrast to the eyes. No, he means faith comes by responding to the preaching of the Gospel, by hearing it, and listening to it, or obeying it.36 (In those days, there would be no question of their learning the faith by reading: copies were expensive, and not nearly all could read. To suppose Christ told the Apostles: Write some books, get copies made, pass them out, tell the people to figure them out for themselves -- that is ridiculous. Actually, the Church depended on its own oral transmission of doctrine, not on private interpretation of Scripture!) We should add: Paul's words have nothing to do with the desire of some to forbid people to have missals or missalettes, saying: they must hear the lector, not read! Then, he quotes Isaiah 65:1-2 which says He was found by those who did not seek Him, but verse 2 adds: "I have stretched out my hands [in invitation] all day to a people that disobeyed, and contradicted!" A sad picture indeed for Paul to face.

Summary of Romans 11:1-12 Has God rejected those who were His people? Heavens no! Paul says he too is an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the elite tribe of Benjamin. God once chose His people, and He has not rejected them. (He means that God still invites them to be part of His people. It is most of them who have rejected Him). We recall the case of Elijah. He prayed to God against Israel saying: "They have killed your prophets and destroyed your altars, and I am the only one of your prophets left, and they want to kill me." But God answered him saying that God had left a remnant, seven thousand men, who had not worshipped Baal. Similarly now, there is a remnant, chosen by grace. If it depends on grace, it does not depend on works. If it depended on works, then grace would not be grace. (In grace we get things without earning them by works). What then? Israel did not attain what it sought, but the remnant did. Those outside the remnant were hardened, as Scripture says: "God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, up to this time." Similarly David says: "Let their table be a snare and net and scandal and retribution to them. Let their eyes be darkened so as not to see, and always bend their back." Have then they stumbled in such a way as to stay down? Heavens no! But because of their sin, the gentiles were saved [got into the Church] so the Jews may be envious [and turn to seek salvation in Christ]. But if the sin of the fallen Jews led to riches for the world, and the failure of the Jews is the riches of the gentiles -- how much richer will it be when all Jews accept Christ? Comments on 11:1-12 Most Jews rejected Christ. What was the consequence? They fell out of the people of God.37 It reminds us of the words of Christ in the parable of the wicked tenants (Matthew 21:43):"The kingdom of God will be taken from you, and will be given to a people who will bear fruit" But God has not withdrawn His call to them. He still wants them to be members of His people, whom He chose in advance. But there is only a remnant now who have accepted Christ. Paul himself is still a descendant of Abraham, of the elite tribe of Benjamin.38 He is part of the remnant. The case was similar to the days of Elijah when it seemed all had fallen away and gone after Baal. Elijah prayed in anguish, and said they wanted to kill him too, the last prophet of God (1 Kings 19:9-18). God replied that He had made a choice and preserved a remnant. Was the choice made on the basis of merits? No, this is part of the same picture as we saw in chapter 9. God picks members of His people not because of merits. So similarly in Paul's day a remnant was faithful.

What of those outside the remnant? They thought they were seeking justification, but did not reach it. Scripture (a conflated quote from Deuteronomy 29:3 and Isaiah 29:10) said God made them dull, unable to see or hear. This of course is the common Hebrew pattern in which it is said that God directly does a thing when actually He only permits it. We saw this in discussing Philippians 2:13. A strong example of it is in 1 Samuel 4:3 where the Jews, defeated by the Philistines, exclaimed: "Why did God strike us today before the face of the Philistines" (This is a literal version of the Hebrew. Most modern translations soften it). In a similar way the Psalmist (69:22-25) asks retribution on those who afflict him. (This Psalm seems to foretell the sufferings of Christ, especially since the line just before our quote says they put gall in my food and in my thirst gave me vinegar to drink). It is not a cry for vengeance, but for rebalancing of the objective order. 39 Paul now takes comfort in the thought that the fall of the Jews is not permanent. For he will foretell in verses 25-27 the conversion of the Jews before the end of the world. He notices: the fact that the Jews rejected his preaching was the occasion of his turning to the gentiles, who entered in great numbers. Then if the fall of the Jews occasioned this benefit, what will it be when they all come to Christ at the end! He expresses a hope -- rather fancifully -- that the fallen Jews would become jealous of the gentiles and so convert to Christ. Summary of Romans 11:13-27 Paul says he is the Apostle of the gentiles. He pursues his assignment, hoping to provoke the fallen Jews to jealousy of the gentiles so they may seek Christ too and be saved [enter the Church. Paul knows, as in Romans 2:14-16, that they could reach final salvation without formally entering the Church]. If the fact that many Jews rejected Christ was the occasion of the gentiles accepting Him -- what will it be when the fallen Jews accept Christ? It will be like a resurrection of the dead. If the first fruits are holy, the rest of the crop is holy too. If the root is holy, so also are the branches. Some of the branches broke off from the tame olive tree, and you gentiles, from a wild olive tree, were engrafted in the place of the broken off branches. Then you shared in the rich root of the olive. But you must not boast against the original natural branches. It is still true that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. If you gentiles should boast and say: "Branches were broken off so I could be grafted in," remember that they broke off because of their lack of faith. You stand by faith. Do not be proud, be fearful, for if God did not spare the original natural branches, neither will He spare you if you become unfaithful. Look then at the kindness and the severity of God -- severity to those who fell; but kindness to you, provided you stay in His kindness. If not, you too will be cut off. But if they do not continue in unbelief they will be grafted back into their own olive true. God can engraft them again.

If you were cut from the wild olive that was your natural place, and then beyond nature were grafted into the tame olive tree -- all the more will those who naturally belonged to the tame olive tree be engrafted in again [if they become faithful and accept Christ]. Brothers, please take note of this mystery and do not be conceited. A blindness has come upon part of Israel until the fullness of the gentiles enter the Church. Then all Israel will be saved [enter the Church] as the prophet says: "The one who delivers shall come from Sion. And he will turn away impiety from the sons of Jacob. This will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins." Comments on 11:13-27 Paul continues to follow the call Christ had given him on the road to Damascus. In working for the gentiles he keeps on hoping he may make the fallen Jews jealous so they will turn to Christ. If the fall of these Jews was the occasion of so many conversions of gentiles -- what will it be when they too are converted! In Numbers 15:18-21 the Jews were ordered to set aside the first portion of the dough in a cake for the Lord. The remainder then acquired a legal purity. If the root is holy, so too are the branches that the root feeds. It is hard to work out the details of these two figures of Paul. The first fruits seem to be the converted remnant. He then begins to look forward to the conversion of the others. (Some would rather say the root stands for the ancient patriarchs). He paints a comparison of two olive trees. The tame olive tree is the original people of God; the wild olive tree stands for the gentiles. Many branches broke off from the tame tree, leaving spaces for the branches from the wild tree, the gentiles (The branches that left the tame olive tree, the people of God, are, of course no longer members of the kingdom: see again 9:25-27). His invitation to them to be members till stands (as in verse 2 above and verse 29 below). He warns the gentiles not to be conceited, thinking themselves brighter or better than the fallen Jews. (It reminds us of the conceit of the Corinthians in their factions). Paul tells them that if the branches that naturally belonged to the original people of God could lose out from lack of faith, then the same thing could happen to the gentile converts. God in a sense showed severity to those who fell -- except that the word for severity in Greek is apotomia -- if we may coin a word, it would be "cutting-off-ness" It does express the thought here. Then Paul again consoles himself with the thought that the broken off branches can be grafted back in. Finally in 25-27 he definitely predicts it. The blindness has struck only part of Israel -- actually, by far the greater part -- but before the end they will be converted. They will be saved. Again, Paul knows well, from his words in 2:14-16, that the fallen Jews if in good faith could reach final salvation without explicitly entering the Church. So here "saved" means entering the Church. Really, entry

into the Church is what Paul has been talking about in all three chapters 9-11. Paul does not say when this conversion will happen, except that the blindness will last, "until the fullness of the gentiles enter." In commenting on 2 Thessalonians 2 we compared this line with Luke 21:24: "Jerusalem will be trodden by the gentiles until the fullness of the gentiles enter." And we had to wonder if we may be near that point, since Jerusalem has again become a Jewish city, after so many centuries since 135 A.D. We noted also in our study of 2 Thessalonians that Elijah is to return. Now we wonder: Is he on his return to be the deliverer from Sion? We do not know. Paul follows up with a composite quote from Isaiah 59:20-21 and Isaiah 27:9. Summary of Romans 11:28-36 In regard to the Gospel, the fallen Jews are enemies, resulting in good to you gentiles; in regard to God's call, they are beloved because of the Jewish patriarchs. For the graces and call of God are without repentance. Just as you gentiles were once disobedient to God, but now have received the mercy of His call to the Church, so now they, the fallen Jews have disobeyed, leading to mercy coming to you. And so they will receive the mercy of conversion finally. God has shut up all in disobedience, and so mercy will come to all. O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and untraceable His ways! Who has given advice to Him? Who has first given to Him, and He will be repaid? For from Him, and through Him, and for Him all things exist. To Him be glory forever. Amen. Comments on 11:18-36 The fallen Jews are hostile to the Gospel, but this has resulted in good for the gentiles. Yet God's call to them to be His people is not taken back -- God does not repent of His call. Just as the gentiles once disobeyed God, but now have been called to the Church, so the fallen Jews have disobeyed, leading to mercy coming to the gentiles. Will the gentiles then be in apostasy, and be brought out by the sight of the conversion of the Jews? We do not know. Paul has been indulging in wishful thinking in this passage, hoping that Jews in his own day would become jealous of the gentiles and so come in -- of course on the whole it did not happen. And so the Jews will finally receive the mercy of conversion. God has shut up -- declared that all are disobedient -- and so mercy will come to all. The thought is parallel to that of Galatians 3:22 where Paul said that Scripture has locked up all in sin -- that is, has declared all are under sin. Of course, Scripture does not force people to sin. But finally, the fallen Jews will see the light. Greatly differing views from this have been proposed by Jews in our time. In a public lecture before the Roman Forum in New York, 40 Achad

ha Sh'erit asserted that the vocation of the Jews is to be a blessing to the world. He appealed to Genesis 12:3 (18:18) where God said "all the families of the earth will be blessed in you." But as we saw, Paul explains that it means people are to get blessing by imitating the faith of Abraham (Galatians 3:7-9;Romans 4:13). God's covenant was to give them blessings, not to make them a blessing. Tosefta,Kiddushin 1:14 said: "He [anyone] has committed a transgression. Woe to him! He has tipped the scale to the side of debt for himself and for the world." So the sins of the Jews, not only of those who demanded the crucifixion of Christ, but also of the other Jews who ratified it by persecuting followers of Christ and trying repeatedly to kill St. Paul, show that they were a liability for the world, not a blessing. Their continued rejection of Christ today is objectively gravely wrong. In Leviticus 4, God demands reparation for sins committed in ignorance. Hence reparation is needed for the continuing rejection of Christ. God would not cause for centuries what is objectively wrong. Elias Friedman, O.C.D., in Jewish Identity41 thinks God Himself intends them to remain blind for centuries, to prepare for the day when their conversion will bring the gentiles out of apostasy. They had a veil on their hearts in Paul's time (1 Cor 3:14-17) by rejecting Christ -- most of them still do. God who requires sacrifice to make up for even sins of ignorance (Lev 4) surely does not intend them to remain blind. 1 Timothy 2:4: "God wills all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth." In Romans 9:1-3 Paul even, emotionally, says he would be willing to be cursed, away from Christ, to bring them to Christ. At the end, Paul stands back in awe and admiration at the wisdom and knowledge of God, and at His ways, which we cannot fully understand. He quotes Isaiah 40:13 and joins another passage to it -perhaps Job 41:3. Some think Paul alludes to Job 35:7 and 41:11. But we cannot be sure. He closes with a doxology, a praise of God, for whom all things exist and from whom all things come. Glory to Him forever! Summary of Romans, Chapter 12 Paul urges them in view of God's mercy shown to them that they make their bodies a living sacrifice which is holy and pleasing to God in spiritual worship. They should not try to be like this world, but instead deeply change themselves in spiritual renewal, so as to come to know God's will, to know what is good, well-pleasing and perfect. He says to them in virtue of the grace given him, that is, in view of his authority as an Apostle that each should not rate himself higher than what he really is. They should learn sound judgment in their selfestimate. God has given each one an assignment and the graces (charisms) that are needed for it,in the measure of (charismatic) faith. For just as there are many parts in a human body, each with its own function, and all are necessary to form a living body, so also in the

Church God has given various functions to different ones, as members of one another. So they have differing gifts, according to the charism given each one. For example, the charism of prophecy should be used according to the analogy of faith (in line with the right faith). He who has the charism of ministering, should use it for ministering. He who has the charism of teaching, should use it for that purpose. He who has the charism of giving exhortations should use it as intended. The one who is moved to give, should give without counting the cost; the one who is given the gift of presiding should use it in concern for those over whom he presides. He who shows mercy should do so cheerfully. Love should be true, without pretense, so as to hate evil and adhere to good. They should love one another with the love of brotherhood, in giving honor, trying to outdo one another. They should not be sluggish in taking care, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, rejoicing in our hope, being patient in tribulation, persevering in prayer, sharing with the holy ones in their need, pursing hospitality. They should bless those who persecute them: bless, and not curse. They should rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep, being in agreement, not thinking lofty things, but associating with the lowly. They should not be wise in their own estimation. Let them not return evil for evil, but provide good in the sight of all men. And if it is possible, be at peace with all, not seeking revenge, but leaving room for anger. For Scripture says: Righting wrong is mine, I will repay, says the Lord. But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, if he is thirsty, give him a drink. By doing this you will heap coals of fire upon his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil by good. Comments on Chapter 12 Paul has just finished a very difficult exposition, as we have seen. Now he settles down, in an almost conversational way, to a moral exhortation which flows from what he has already said. So, in view of the mercies, the special favors God has given them in calling them to full membership in the Church, they should deeply transform their lives, to make the use of their bodies a spiritual sacrifice. This is the language of 1 Peter 2:5. It means that by doing God's will in all things we have the interior disposition that is required in joining ourselves with the sacrifice of Jesus in the Mass. His interior disposition on the cross and on the altar was and is obedience to the Father (cf. Romans 5:19). Ours should be in line with His. Then we live according to the ways of Christ, and not according to the ways of the world. In their use of creatures, all should be directed to God. This is what detachment means, using creatures only in such a way as to direct their use to God. Then their spirit will be renewed and so made capable of knowing what is good, which is God's will. For detachment from creatures increases one's spiritual perception. In Romans 1 he described the progressive decay in what we called a spiral, into

blindness and following the way of the world. Now he urges quite the opposite. Of course he also would say that a politician should not try to keep his faith from influencing him. That would be conforming to this world. Using his apostolic authority he tells them not to think more of themselves than what they really are. He is speaking in the context of charismatic graces -- those given for the benefit of the community, not directly for personal holiness. Paul spoke more fully of these charisms in 1 Corinthians 12, and used the comparison of the body, which he gives more briefly here. When he speaks of the "measure of faith" he does not mean the kind of faith that justifies, but rather charismatic faith: the faith which itself is as it were injected into a soul by God, so that the soul becomes confident that if it asks for some special things, even a miracle of healing, it will be given. Certainly he does not mean that God sparingly doles out the graces needed for salvation and holiness. The Father has accepted the infinite price of redemption, and so has bound Himself to offer graces without limit on His part -- the limit is really our own rejection or lack of rejection. It is not good to say that God gives "sufficient grace" to be saved. This implies doling it out. The infinite price of redemption forbids saying that. Please recall the comments on Galatians 2:20. No, Paul is in a very different category here, the charismatic category. In his day even miraculous charisms were normal for all Christians. Today, non-miraculous charisms are still to be had: the grace of being a good parent, a good teacher, a good speaker, etc. Vatican II, in Lumen Gentium 12 warns against rashly seeking the extraordinary charisms. Prophecy, as we saw in 1 Corinthians 12 means the gift of giving a moving discourse to the community. But he wants it used according to the analogy of faith, i.e., expressing thoughts in line with what faith teaches -- they must not claim a special line to the Holy Spirit and then use that to contradict the teaching of the Church. The remaining lines of this chapter are very general exhortations to doing good. Only a few things need explanation. He wants them to rejoice in hope, that is, to take strength from looking forward to the glorious life with Christ that awaits them in the world to come. He wants them to be at peace with all -- but adds, if it is possible. Some persons have such diverse mentalities that the most that can be done is to agree to disagree. However, before giving up to that extent, we are encouraged to make a sincere try to get to know the other. Not always, but sometimes, a pleasant surprise is waiting. The quotation from Deuteronomy 32:35 (which follows the Palestinian Targum reading more closely than it does the Hebrew) is often misunderstood because of the frequent use of the translation "vengeance." Linguistically this is unfortunate. The Hebrew here has nqm, the Aramaic of the Targum nqmta. It has a special meaning of

the executive intervention in action by the supreme authority to make things right -- whether that requires favorable or unfavorable action. 42 There are two very different things. One is to seek revenge, which is morally wrong, and God of course does not do it. It is to will evil to another so it may be evil to him -- the opposite of love, which wills good to another for the other's sake. A very different thing is to will that the moral order, disturbed by sin, be righted. God Himself does that. But He wants us to leave it to Him, for it is so easy to slide over the line between a desire for the rebalancing of the objective order, and immoral vengeance. A sinner as it were, takes from one pan of the scales of the objective order what he has no right to. The scale is out of balance. The holiness of God wants it rebalanced. The sinner can begin to rebalance by giving up some other pleasure in place of the one he has stolen. But even one mortal sin is an infinite imbalance (the Person offended is infinite). So no creature could fully right it. If the Father wanted a full righting only an Incarnation could do it. That is what He did.43 A line from Rabbi Simeon Ben Eleazar44 helps: "He [anyone] has committed a transgression. Woe to him! He has tipped the scales to the side of debt for himself and for the world." The probable meaning of heaping coals of fire on an enemy by doing good to him is that this will make him ashamed. This is the view of Sts. Augustine and Jerome. Summary of Chapter 13 Paul says everyone should be subject to the higher authorities of the civil state. All authority comes from God. So the authorities that exist are put in place by God. Therefore anyone who resists the authority, resists the ordinance of God, and those who do resist will be condemned. Rulers do not exist to cause fear to those who do good, but to those who do evil. If people wish not to fear the authority, they should do good, and then the authority will praise them. The authority is an agent of God for their benefit. But if one does evil, he should be afraid. The authority carries the sword with reason, for he is the agent of God to carry out God's wrath on evil doers. So we should be subject, not just out of fear, but as a matter of conscience. For the same reason they should pay taxes. The authorities are public agents of God, who collect these things to serve the public good. So they should pay what is due to all, and give honor to the one to whom honor is due. They should owe nothing to anyone except to love each other. The one who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. So the commandments against adultery, against murder, against theft, against coveting, and all the other commandments are summed up in one thing: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Since love does no harm to neighbor, love fulfills the law.

They should also realize that the fitting time is now for them to get up from sleep, for their final salvation is closer than when they first came to the faith. The night is far spent, so that the day is coming close. So they should put on the armor of light, and live their lives as in the day -- not in the excesses people indulge in in the night: carousing, drunkenness, sexual excesses and lusts, strife and envy. They should put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh. Comments on Chapter 13 A civil state is necessary to provide things we need, but which individuals alone cannot provide. God Himself wills that there be such a state, and at least in that sense, the authority of the ruler comes from Him. What form of government accomplishes this common good is not critical. God can accept any form. But people tend to think only their form is legitimate, e.g., ancient Athens, and the U.S., tend to think only democracy is permitted; ancient Rome thought only a republic dominated by the senate would be legitimate. But Aristotle, in his Politics explains there are three good, and three bad types of constitutions, depending on who has power. If one man has it, and rules for the common good, that is monarchy; if he rules for selfish ends, it is tyranny. If a relatively small group have the power and rule for the common good, it is aristocracy ("rule of the best"). If they rule for selfish ends, it is oligarchy ("rule of a few"). If all have power, and use it for the common good, Aristotle calls it "politeia," a rather generic word, meaning constitutional government. If they use it for selfish purposes, it degenerates into democracy, which Aristotle thinks is a bad form of government, the least bad of the bad forms. The problem is that it is hard to make a government work in which all have a vote. Among other things, three conditions are needed: 1) Those who have the vote should use it -- but only if 2) they know the issues. To vote without knowing is sinful, a shot in the dark, which may support evil. So to merely indiscriminately "get out the vote" is not good. 3) Those who vote are obliged in conscience to vote for the common good, not for the good of their own group. Again, this is hard to achieve. If these conditions are not met, we may easily see "the tyranny of the majority." Once the choice has been made of who will have power, then he/she/they are put in place by God, and in that sense at least we may say the power comes from Him. So to resist it is to resist the authority of God. (We add: There some merely penal laws, in which there is no intention to obligate conscience. These can be seen when a penalty is grossly out of proportion to the offence. We call them merely penal, since the only obligation is to accept the penalty if a court gives it out). In passing, we notice that the top civil authority at the time Paul wrote was none other than Nero. Paul wrote in 57 or 58, probably. Nero at this time was still in what is called the "Quinquennium Neronis" the

five year period in which he let himself be dominated by the philosopher Seneca, and the Praetorian Prefect Burrus. Nero's personal life was bad during this period, yet the rule was good. But later, in 65 A.D. when Titus 3:1 was written, Nero was an impossible tyrant. Yet the Epistle gives the same injunctions. It did not of course call for obedience to wicked orders, but did want obedience to legitimate commands. Paul next says that if you do good, you will get praise from the authority. Of course this does not always happen, by any means. But here if we recall the focused way Paul often looks at things we can see. When we spoke of the Law, in a focused view, we would see: The Law makes heavy demands -- it gives no strength -- so one must fall. So we could say the situation of being under the Law as such brings only harm. Similarly, the state as such should give only good to the good. In the factual view, in which we add actual conditions -- the presence of wicked rulers -- this does not always turn out that way. The next thought is very important: the civil authority carries the sword. In Roman law, this is the ius gladii, the right of the sword, which meant the right to inflict capital punishment. Therefore, if anyone says: "capital punishment is un-Christian," he/she is saying the equivalent of heresy, by contradicting Sacred Scripture. It is permitted to debate whether it is desirable on other grounds. But we may not question its legitimacy in general. It certainly does help provide rebalance for the objective order, and the Holiness of God does want that order restored if it is put out of balance. (We explained this matter in commenting on Romans 12:19, above). In verse 4 some versions say the authority is "the avenger of God's wrath." Here we need to recall our comments made above on "vengeance" in 12:19. St. Paul adds we should be obedient not just out of fear, but as a matter of conscience: the civil authority does have God's authority as he explained at the start of this chapter. At verse 8, Paul goes into some more general exhortations to love as the fulfillment of the law. He says that the command of Leviticus 19:18, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," really implies all else. That is true. Jesus Himself said that all is summed up in the twofold command of love of God and of neighbor: Matthew 22:40. (Unfortunately, the Jews did not see the breadth of the word neighbor, but tended to make it mean only their fellow countrymen). The last verse of this chapter is the one Augustine was providentially led to see in his spiritual/psychological crisis in the garden. His conversion came at once on reading it. Summary of Romans, Chapter 14 He asks them to treat as brothers or sisters those who are weak in faith. He advises not to try to reason them into a sensible position. For some have faith such that they think everything is all right to eat --

there are no unclean foods. But the weak one thinks only vegetables are permitted. Again, the one who understands that everything is all right to eat must not scorn the other. God accepts the other. Really, who are we to condemn someone else's servant [God's]? It is the judgment of the Lord that counts for that weak one. The Lord will make him stand. Some judge that there are certain days when they must make certain observances -- but others, we, judge every day is proper. It is essential that each one not act against his conscience. For the one who does unnecessarily observe certain days, does it thinking the Lord so wills. Again, we who eat all things do so for the Lord, and give thanks to God. But the one who limits his diet does so thinking the Lord wills it, and gives thanks to God. No one of us lives for self or dies for self. Whether living or dying, we belong to the Lord. Christ died and came back to life so He can be the Lord of both the dead and the living. So who are we to condemn another brother, or scorn him? All of us must stand before the divine tribunal. As God said through Isaiah: "As I live, says the Lord, every knee will bend to me, every tongue will report to God." So then each of us will have to give that account. Hence we should not keep on judging/condemning others, but instead, decide not to cause scandal to them. We know we are certain in the Lord Jesus that no food is unclean in itself. But if someone considers it unclean, it would be wrong for him to eat it. So if we scandalize a brother by food, we are no longer living according to love. We must not for the sake of food destroy a soul for whom Christ died. We must not let our Christian freedom be ill-spoken of because it results in scandal. The kingdom of God does not depend on freedom in regard to food and drink -- what does count is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. The one who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God, and people approve him. So we should cultivate the things that pertain to peace, and to spiritual help to one another. We must not destroy God's handiwork for the sake of food. Yes, all things are clean, but can be evil to one who eats them in scandal. It is right not to eat meat or drink wine, or do anything at all which scandalizes a brother. So this knowledge that we have about foods and similar things we must use for ourselves and before God. But we must not flaunt it before others in such a way as to scandalize them. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself for a thing he has decided to do. But if someone acts in doubt about the morality of what he is doing, if he eats in that state of doubt, then he is condemned, even though there was nothing wrong about the eating in itself. But because he acted in bad faith, he is condemned. Anything that is done in bad faith is a sin. Comments On Chapter 14

We are not able to determine precisely what sort of problem persons Paul has in view here, though we can know some things about them. And we can know the principles involved clearly. They are "weak in faith." Really, one who has strong faith, who believes in the protection of Christ on His Church, will have no trouble accepting the decisions of the Church that no food is wrong to eat in itself, and that there are no days on which by their nature we must carry out certain rituals. If people were really logical, and then accepted most teachings of the Church, but rejected a few, we could and would say: It must be something other than faith that leads them to accept the things they accept. But as it really is, people are not always consistent and logical. And so in one sense we can say these people lack faith (on the assumption that they are being logical), and in another sense (viewing them more realistically) we would not say that. Paul here is talking in the same pattern as that we see in the Epistle of James 2:10: "Whoever keeps the whole law, but offends on one point, is guilty of [violating] the whole law." So, speaking abstractly, Paul can say these persons are weak in faith, but he also knows that concretely they are not logical, are in the grip of past habituations, and so he says that God is willing to accept them. He does not mean that God is objectively pleased with their errors, but it does mean that as long as they do not act in bad faith, He will accept them. The psychology involved is the same as that which we saw in First Corinthians, in Paul's long discussion of foods sacrificed to idols. There he said that an idol is nothing; nothing changes nothing; so in itself it is all right to eat such food. But he sees a danger of scandal: suppose you are invited out to dinner, and at table someone says that the meat has come from a temple sacrifice. At once Paul says: Do not eat it. We might think he would give instruction: "Tell them Paul says it is all right to eat." But no, he knows that at least in general, they will not be able to internalize that idea. They have grown up with the belief that food is changed by being offered in the temples of idols. If by social pressure we would force them to eat it in bad faith, that is, in the belief it is sinful, then there would be a sin, not because the food was wrong, but because it is wrong to do what one believes is contrary to morality. At the end of this chapter Paul goes even farther. He says that if someone acts in doubt as to whether a food is licit, for example, then he will sin by eating it, because he is willing to violate the law by doing something that at least is likely to be a violation. May we turn this around and say: "As long as I think it is all right, it is all right, even if the Church says otherwise?" Not at all. We are obliged to form our conscience according to the teaching of the Church. So objectively we would be wrong in going against the Church. We say objectively, because in a time of immense confusion, with false teachers so often found, even priests, telling people that

contraception, for example, is permitted -- in such a confusion someone, while objectively wrong, may yet be subjectively in good faith. To give scandal is to do something that either is sinful, or looks sinful in such a situation that it will likely lead another into doing what is sinful, or what he is convinced is sinful. In First Corinthians, Paul pleaded eloquently and at length. He does so more briefly here, but still uses the most telling argument: Are you going to eat meat in a situation where that will lead another soul into spiritual ruin? Christ died for that soul! Can you not give up meat on some particular occasion? The persons Paul has in mind here are not the same as Judaizers, for although they thought some foods were unclean, they did not go so far as to reject all kinds of meat. We note further: Paul here is dealing with a concrete situation in which some cannot form their consciences rightly in regard to foods and days of observance. He would not have any objection to giving up food, or praying on the Lord's day when one does it not as a result of an unfortunate mentality, but as a result of the commands of the Church, and the command of Christ for penance. Paul himself fasted often, as we see in 2 Corinthians 11:27. And we know historically, e.g., from the Didache, that the early Christians did fast much. Summary of Romans 15:1-13 Paul tells them that the strong should bear the weaknesses of those who are not strong, instead of pleasing themselves. Each should please his neighbor for their spiritual good. We have the example of Christ, who did not please Himself. Rather, as Psalm 69:10 says: "The reproaches of those who reproached you fell upon me." Whatever is written in the Scriptures is written to instruct us, so that by patience and the consolation which the Scriptures provide we may have hope. Paul asks that the God of patience and consolation may make them of one mind [agreeing] among themselves, just as Christ was, so that with agreement, with one mouth, they may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. So they should accept one another, as Christ accepted them, for the glory of God. Christ was a Jew and ministered to the Jews in their own framework, to fulfill the promises given to their Fathers. But the gentiles glorify God not because of the fulfillment of promises, but because of His mercy, as Psalm 18:50 says: "For this reason I will praise you among the gentiles, and will sing to your name." Similarly Deuteronomy 32:43 says: "Rejoice, O gentiles, with His people." Or in Psalm 117:1: "All nations praise the Lord, and let all peoples praise Him." Isaiah 11:10 says: "There will be a root of Jesse, and one who rises up to rule the gentiles. In Him the gentiles will hope."

So he asks that the God of hope may fill them with all joy and peace in believing, that they may have abundant hope in the power of the Holy Spirit. Comments on 15:1-13 Paul is still thinking of the weak ones of whom he spoke in chapter 14. There he stressed avoiding scandal to them. Here he adds more positively that they should help them spiritually, and "accept them," that is, accommodate themselves to the weaknesses of the others. Christ took on the reproaches He did not deserve, reproaches really directed at God. There is a difference. Christ was a minister of circumcision, i.e., He fulfilled all the promises God had made to the patriarchs. But He also did as much for the gentiles, even though they did not have the promises.45 In their case it was mere mercy, not fulfillment of promise. Yet the Old Testament did foretell what He did, in several places, which Paul quotes. In the case of Deuteronomy 32:43 and Isaiah 11:10 he quotes the text according to the Septuagint version, which happens to be somewhat different from the Hebrew. The Dead Sea scrolls have convinced most scholars that the text of the Old Testament was not firmly fixed in one form very early. Rather, there were several forms of it, before it became stabilized. The Septuagint seems to reflect a form somewhat different from our present Hebrew text in spots. Summary of Romans 15:14-33 Paul is convinced that the Romans are filled with goodness, and with all knowledge, and so can advise one another. The fact that he knows that has not prevented him from writing almost boldly in part, to remind them of what they already know. He thinks that is part of his mission as an Apostle. He is a minister of Christ to the gentiles, serving the Gospel as a priest, so that the spiritual offering of the gentiles may be very acceptable, and made holy in the Holy Spirit. So he can boast in Christ Jesus over the things God has done. He means the miracles Christ has worked through Him, to bring the gentiles by these wonders to the obedience of faith [the obedience that faith is] in the power of the Spirit of God. He makes it a point of honor not to preach in places where others have already preached. He does not want to build upon the foundation put down by someone else. This is in line with Isaiah 52:15: "They shall see, to whom no message about Him was given. They shall understand, who have never heard of Him." His travels thus far have hindered him many times from coming to Rome. But now he no longer has a place to preach in these regions, he has long desired to come to them at Rome, and also to go beyond into Spain. For he hopes to see them on the way, and hopes that they will send him on his way, after he has first been able to enjoy their company a bit.

For the present, he is going to Jerusalem to serve the holy ones. For Macedonia and Achaia have sent some contribution for the poor among the holy ones in Jerusalem. It pleased them, and it was right that they should do it. For they, the Romans, are indebted to the holy ones of Jerusalem [salvation originated in Jerusalem]. If the gentiles have shared in the spiritual things they provided, then the gentiles should minister to those in Jerusalem in bodily things. When he has completed this mission, and has safely handed over the collection, he hopes to go by way of Rome to Spain. He knows that in coming to them he will come with the fullness of the blessing of Christ. So he urges them through Christ and through the love of the Holy Spirit to pray hard along with him, so he may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and so that his ministry may be quite acceptable to the holy ones in Jerusalem. Then he may come to Rome with joy, and through the will of God be refreshed by the Roman Christians. May the God of peace be with them all. Amen. Comments on 15:14-33 Now that he has finished his difficult doctrinal explanation, Paul returns to what he said at the beginning of the Epistle (1:8ff.) where he said he gave thanks to God for them, for their faith was known in all the world, and that he had been wanting to come to them. In that first chapter (1:11-12) he had first said he wanted to give them some spiritual grace, but then revised his language to say he wanted to be consoled together with them in the faith. When he speaks of the miracles, he probably means those of charismatic type. He appeals elsewhere to them, saying he does not want his preaching to rest on his own word alone, but on the showing of the power of the Holy Spirit.46 We know from 1 Corinthians 12 that these gifts were routinely given in Paul's day. It is interesting that he speaks of himself as ministering as a priest. He uses Greek hierougounta, the verb with the root of hiereus, priest. Normally he uses presbyteros or episkopos. The word hiereus was used for pagan and Jewish priests, and perhaps for this reason Paul did not otherwise use it. The quote from Isaiah 52:15 originally meant that kings and nations would hear things unheard of from the Servant of the Lord. Here Paul adapts it as he so often does. He follows the Septuagint text rather than the Hebrew, since his readers would probably be using that. He says twice he wants to go to Spain. Did he ever get there? Clement I in his Epistle 5.7 speaks of Paul as traveling to the boundary of the west. To a Roman that should mean Spain, which jutted out into the ocean farther west than anything else. Again, the Muratorian Fragment 38-39 mentions Paul setting out for Spain. The Fragment is late second century, but the Epistle of Clement is about 95 A.D., and in it Clement says (5.1) that Peter and Paul were of his own generation. He became Pope in either 88 or 92, and Peter and Paul died around 66,

so it is highly likely he had seen and heard them. Also, St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies 3.3.3 says Clement knew Peter and Paul. Paul says he fears trouble from unbelievers in Judea, and with reason. When he actually was there on the journey described in Acts 21:15ff., he really did encounter much trouble, and wound up in prison for two years before appealing to Caesar and being sent to Rome, probably in 61. Summary of Romans, Chapter 16 Paul commends to another church his sister Phoebe, who is a deaconess of the church at Cenchrae, asking that they may receive her in the Lord as befits the holy ones, and help her in whatever she may need. She has helped many, including Paul himself. He asks to greet Prisca and Aquila who worked with him for Christ, who risked their lives for his life. All the churches of the gentiles thank them, and the church that meets in their house. He next greets very many others. Some of them in verse 7 he calls "Apostles." Next he urges that they watch those who cause dissension and scandal, contrary to what he has taught them, and to keep away from them. Such persons are not slaves to Christ, but to their own belly, and by sweet talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of innocent people. All have come to know about the obedience of faith the recipients of this letter have. So Paul rejoices in them, and wants them to be wise in regard to the good, innocent as to evil. He says the God of peace will crush Satan under their feet. He prays that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ may be with them. Timothy also greets them, and Lucius and Jason and Sosipater his kinsmen. Tertius to whom Paul dictated this letter greets them, as do Gaius and the whole church, and Erastus the treasurer of the city and Quartus, a brother. May there be glory to Him who can strengthen them according to the Gospel and proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the mystery that was once hidden but is now brought to light through the Scriptures of the prophets who foretold it, by command of the eternal God, for the obedience of faith, the mystery made known to all the gentiles. To Him, the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, may there be glory forever. Amen. Comments on Chapter 16 This is a puzzling chapter in that it does not seem to belong to the Epistle to the Romans. By decision of the Council of Trent we know that it is part of Scripture. Further, it seems to be by Paul. It is a letter of recommendation for Phoebe who has been very helpful to the faith at Cenchrae, a port of Corinth. Some commentators think it really was part of a letter sent to Ephesus, not to Rome.

As to her being called a deaconess, we need to recall Canon 19 of the Council of Nicea, which says that deaconesses "have not been in any way ordained," and are to be counted among the laity. They helped with the poor, and probably also with the baptism of women when it was done by immersion. Technical and precise terms are slow to develop in any field of knowledge. For example, in Acts 20, verse 17 a group are called presbyteroi, but in verse 28 the same group are called episkopoi. In Romans 16:7 Paul calls some of his helpers Apostles. Again, that term was at times used broadly, even as it still is today. In view of this we are not sure we should call Phoebe a deaconess. The word could have the generic meaning of servant. Prisca and Aquila were a Jewish couple with whom Paul stayed for a time at Corinth. We do not know in what way they risked their lives for him. Some suspect it was during the riot of the silversmiths at Ephesus mentioned in Acts 19:23 or during an imprisonment of Paul at Ephesus. In verse 17 Paul turns to warning about enemies, who seem to be the Judaizers. He can say they serve the belly in that they are meticulous about dietary laws. In verse 26 Paul speaks of the "obedience of faith," that is, the obedience that faith is, for obedience is a major component of faith. We saw it in Romans 1:5. The word obedience alone occurs in 16:19, probably meaning the same obedience of faith. After these there is a sort of postscript of greetings, especially that by Tertius to whom Paul dictated the letter. Finally, verses 25-27 are a doxology, a praise of God. Some think it was a later addition. Other thinks it is to sum up the thought of the Epistle. At any rate, it is clear that it is part of Scripture. END NOTES 1 Note in Context: Cf. Nehemiah 8:1-12. 2 Note in Context: Cf. for example, C. E. B. Cranfield. 3 Note in Context: Luther's Works, Weimar edition, 54, pp.179ff., cited from Tyndale commentaries p.59. 4 Note in Context: Cf. also the appendix on sedaqah. 5 Note in Context: Cf. James H. Charlesworth, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha , Doubleday, 1983, 1985, I, pp.118, 258, 323, 347, 375, 394-85, 397, 794, 812, 827, 909, 926, 917. 6 Note in Context: For fuller development of this point, cf. Wm. G. Most, Our Father's Plan, appendix, including very many quotes from the Fathers who

8 9 1 0 1 1 1 2 1 3 1 4 1 5 1 6 1 7 1 8 1 9 2 0 2 1 2 2 2

have a very broad concept of membership in the Church. Note in Context: Socrates was not a homosexual. Many times in Plato's works he says that the one who seeks the truth must have as little as possible to do with the things of the body. Homosexuality was far from such a point. (Cf. Plato's Phaedo 66, 82-83, 114 and Republic 485-86, 519). Note in Context: Tosefta, Kiddushin 1.14, written about 170 A.D. Note in Context: Cf. Leviticus 16:2-13ff. Note in Context: Cf. 1 Cor 3:16-17; 6:19, 2 Cor 6:16. Note in Context: Cf. also our supplement on Luther and comments on Galatians 2:15-21. Note in Context: Cf. Wm G. Most, The Consciousness of Christ, Christendom, Front Royal, 1980. Note in Context: In Scholastica Commentaria in primam partem Angelici Doctoris, Romae, 1584, In I.19.6.col 363. Note in Context: DS 2803. Note in Context: DS 2800. Note in Context: Audience of November 7, 1979. Note in Context: Nov. 21, 1980, pp.883-87. Cf. also Newsweek, Nov. 3, 1980, pp.9596. Note in Context: Sept 8, 1984, pp.154-55, 157. Note in Context: DS 3897. Note in Context: Pp.46-52. Note in Context: DS 3866 ff. Note in Context: For a detailed answer to Feeney, see Wm. G. Most, Our Father's Plan, Christendom Press, Front Royal, Virginia, 1988, 1993 in the appendix. Note in Context:

3 2 4 2 5 2 6 2 7 2 8 2 9 3 0 3 1 3 2 3 3 3 4 3 5 3 6 3 7 3 8 3 9 4 0 4 1 4 2 4

Works, American Edition, 48, pp.281-82. Note in Context: Cf. 2:14-16. Note in Context: City of God 14.15. Note in Context: Summa II.IIae, q.68, a.2. Note in Context: Cf. Wm. Most, Our Father's Plan, Chapter 4 ff. Note in Context: Summa I. q.19, a.5, c. Note in Context: Cf. the article, Wm. Most, "Did Jesus Ever Worry?" in Homiletic & Pastoral Review, Nov. 1985. Note in Context: Cf. the way that word is used in Romans 6:4. Note in Context: London, 1971. Note in Context: On such a pattern cf. Wm. Most, Free From All Error, Prow Press, Libertyville, 1990, chapter 5. Note in Context: For a full treatment, see Wm. G. Most, New Answers to Old Questions, St. Paul Publications, London, 1971, esp. 206-213. Note in Context: P. 333. Note in Context: See again our Supplement on Luther after Galatians 2:15. Note in Context: Cf. Rom 1:5. Note in Context: Cf. 9:25-17. Note in Context: Cf. Deut 33:12. Note in Context: On Psalm 69, cf. our comments on Galatians 2:15-21. Note in Context: Dr. William Marra, Moderator. Note in Context: Miriam Press, New York, p.167. Note in Context: Cf. G. Mendenhall, The Tenth Generation, Johns Hopkins U. Press, 1973, pp.69-104. Note in Context:

On this cf. the doctrinal introduction to Paul's VI's Constitution on Indulgences of January, 1967. 4 Note in Context: 4 Writing around 170 A.D., in Tosefta,Kiddushin 1.14. 4 Note in Context: 5 Cf. comments on Romans 2:14-16. 4 Note in Context: 6 Cf. 1 Cor 2:1-5; Gal 3:2-6. "Chapter 9. Letter to Philemon" Paul in the Interval before Philemon: We have not followed Paul's movements recently. Before reading Philemon we need to fill in a bit. Paul had probably written Romans from Corinth, or at least, from Achaia, most likely early in 58. In Spring he wanted to sail from Corinth to Syria, but a plot by Jews made him decide to go by land instead, by way of Macedonia. Disciples from Beroea, Thessalonica, Derbe and Ephesus went along. He spent the Passover of 58 in Philippi. Then Paul took ship for Troas, then went by land to Assos, then by ship towards Mitylene, and skirted the coast of Asia Minor, coming from Chios to Samos, then to Miletus. At Miletus he gave a speech to the presbyteroi of the church of Ephesus, whom he had summoned: Acts 20:17-35. It is interesting to notice that in 20:17 they are called presbyteroi, but in 20:28 the same men are called episkopoi. This reflects the imprecision of terms at that period. In speaking to them he said he had never held back the truth from them. He said he was on his way to Jerusalem, driven by the Spirit, who told him several times that chains and trouble awaited him there. He also said: "Attend to yourselves and to the whole flock in which the Holy Spirit of God has placed you as episkopoi to shepherd the church of God, which he acquired through His own blood. I know that there will come forth from you after my departure, savage wolves, not sparing the flock. And from your own number there will arise men speaking perverse things to draw followers after them." Just before these words he had said: "And now, behold, I know that you will no longer see my face, all of you through whom I went preaching the kingdom." They wept much, and took him to the ship. He sailed on to Cos, Rhodes, Patara in Lycia, Tyre in Phoenicia, Ptolemais, and Caesarea Maritima. Then he went by land to Jerusalem, hoping to be in time for the Pentecost of 58. At Jerusalem he paid his respects to James and all the presbyteroi (Acts 21:17). Paul told them in detail what God had done among the gentiles by his ministry. They praised God, but then James added: "See brother, how many thousands of Jews there are who have believed, and all are zealous for the Law. But they have heard about you, that

you teach all the Jews who are among the gentiles, to depart from Moses, saying they should not circumcise their children or walk according to the customs." So they advised Paul to join four men who had made vows and to pay their expenses as a gesture of good will. Paul agreed, and went through the ceremonial days. When the seven days were almost completed, some Jews from the province of Asia saw him in the Temple precincts. They charged that he broke the law of Moss and defiled the Temple by bringing a Greek into it. They had seen Trophimus the Ephesian with Paul before, and thought he had brought him into the Temple. Then the whole city was stirred up. They seized Paul and dragged him out of the Temple. When they wanted to kill him, word came to the commander of the cohort. He at once took solders and centurions and ran down to them. Then they stopped beating Paul. The commander arrested him and ordered him to be bound with two chains. Paul asked to speak to the crowd, and did so in Hebrew _ commentators generally say that it must have been Aramaic, a Semitic language related to Hebrew, which became the most common language as a result of the Babylonian exile. Yet St. Luke must have known the difference. In his speech Paul told of a trance he had had in the court of the Temple, when he saw Jesus speaking to him, telling him to leave Jerusalem and go to the gentiles. Then the crowd again shouted to kill him. The Roman took him inside, and was preparing to flog him. Paul objected that he was a Roman citizen. The centurion was frightened at that, and asked Paul was it true. The commander said he had bought citizenship at a high price. Paul said: But I am a citizen by birth. The next day he released Paul from prison, and called the chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin. Ananias ordered an attendant to strike Paul. Paul said, "You are the one God will strike, you whitewashed wall." An attendant protested: "How dare you insult God's high priest?" Paul answered that he did not know it was the high priest. Then Paul noticing that both Pharisees and Sadducees were present said he was a Pharisee, and was on trial because of his hope in the resurrection of the dead. That really started it up again, the Pharisees and Sadducees began to quarrel. The commander feared they would tear Paul to pieces, and so had the troops take him back to headquarters. The next day some Jews made a conspiracy, vowed not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. They planned to get him brought down for examination, and to kill him on the way. But a son of Paul's sister heard about the plot and warned Paul. Paul had him report to the commander, so the commander sent Paul to Caesarea at night, with a heavy guard, to Felix the governor. Felix kept Paul in prison for two years, hoping for a bribe (Acts 24:26).

Then Porcius Festus became the new governor. To please the Jews, he left Paul in prison. Festus went to Jerusalem. Jews there urged him to send Paul to Jerusalem, hoping to kill him on the way. Festus invited them to send leading men to Caesarea. Festus asked Paul if he was willing to go to Jerusalem. Paul then appealed to the Emperor, and Festus had to make ready to send him to Rome. Before Paul left, King Agrippa and his queen Bernice came to Caesarea and called on Festus. Festus invited them to hear Paul. Paul told the story of his conversion and said: "The Messiah had to suffer, and as the first to rise from the dead, He will proclaim light to our people and to the gentiles." Festus shouted, "Paul, you are insane." But Agrippa sided with Paul and said that in a little more Paul might make him a Christian. Festus and Agrippa talked it over and Agrippa remarked that Paul could have been set free if he had not appealed to the Emperor. As a citizen, Paul had that right of appeal, and as soon as he did so, lower authorities lost rights over him. Paul and some other prisoners were put on ship. Luke seems to have been along, for he said: "We boarded a ship from Adramyttium heading for ports in the province of Asia." The next day they put in at Sidon, where Julian a centurion kindly allowed Paul to visit friends. Then they sailed around Cyprus, crossed the open sea off Cilicia and Pamphylia, and came to Myra in Lycia. There they changed to an Alexandrian ship bound for Italy. But they made little headway because of winds. They sailed past Crete, on the south side. It was autumn, and Paul warned of disaster. They normally would not sail after about the first of November. The centurion would not listen. When they were sailing along the south coast of Crete, a hurricane struck. They were shipwrecked at the island of Malta. They had given up hope, but Paul told them of a vision saying they would be saved, but the ship would be lost. Luke adds that there were 276 on board (Acts 27:37). Soldiers during the wreck thought at first of killing the prisoners, so no one could escape. But the centurion insisted on saving Paul, and told those who could swim to jump in and swim to land. The others were to hold on to planks or debris from the ship. On the land a poisonous snake bit Paul on the hand. The natives began to say he must be a murderer, for justice would not let him live. But Paul had no effect from the bite, so they began to say he was a god. One of the chief men of the island, Publius, gave hospitality for three days. His father was sick, and Paul cured him and many others on the island. Three months later they sailed in an Alexandrian vessel to Syracuse in Sicily. They spent three days there, then went on to Rhegium, in the toe of Italy. A few days later they reached Puteoli, farther up the west coast of Italy. There were some Christians there, and Paul was escorted

by them to Rome. Paul was invited to take a lodging of his own, with a soldier to guard him. He was allowed to preach freely. After three days, Paul invited the Jewish community, told his story, tried to convince them about Jesus. But after hearing it all, they began to leave without reaching any agreement. Paul then said: "The Holy Spirit said it well when He said to your ancestors through the prophet Isaiah: 'Go to this people and say: You may listen carefully, but you will never understand; you may look intently, but you will never see. The heart of this people has grown sluggish. They have scarcely used their ears to listen. They have closed their eyes so they might not see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and understand with their minds, and repent, and I would have to heal them.'" Paul added: "Now you must see that this salvation of God has been sent to the gentiles, and they will heed it." Some commentators claim to see a difficulty here. In Ephesians 2:1122 we read that those who once were far off (the gentiles) have been brought near, and Jew and gentile have been made one in the blood of Christ. But here in Acts Paul gives up on the Jews. But the answer is so simple if one has eyes to see. There are three groups in the actual situation: 1) gentiles who are converted to Christ; 2) Jews who accept Christ (as in Ephesians); 3) Jews who reject Christ, as those whom Paul met in Rome. Paul remained two years in this house arrest, and preached without hindrance. The period was 61-63 A.D. The Acts of the Apostles ends here. We are not sure why. Perhaps Luke intended to write a follow-up volume. Or perhaps his purpose was to show how the faith came to Rome, the center of the world. The Epistle Itself: Philemon was a young, well-off, respected Christian of some town in Phrygia, probably of Colossae. He had a house-church. His name means "beloved." Paul will play on that as well as on the name of his slave, Onesimus, which means "useful." Onesimus the slave had run away, after either stealing something or causing his master notable damage. He came to Rome, where Paul seems to have converted him. Eventually Paul learned he was a slave of Philemon. Paul would have liked to keep him with him, but decided to send him back. Paul promises to repay the damage caused by Onesimus. So he sent him back with Tychicus, who also carried the Epistle to Colossae (4:7-9). Colossians 4:9 suggests that Onesimus was a Colossian. There is also an Onesimus who appears as Bishop of Ephesus.1 It may have been the same person. It is clear that this little Epistle was written during Paul's house arrest, 61-63. There is no good reason to question it. Everyone accepts it as a work of Paul. On the matter of St. Paul's attitude to slavery, please see again our comments on 1 Corinthians 7:17-24. Summary and Comments on Philemon

Since this Epistle is so short and easy, we will put both summary and comments together, with the comments in square brackets. Paul, a prisoner of Christ and Timothy his brother, and Apphia his sister, and Archippus his fellow worker, send greetings to Philemon the beloved [a play on the meaning of Philemon] and to the church that meets in the house of Philemon. Paul gives thanks to God always when he remembers them in his prayers, for he has heard of the love and faith they have towards the Lord Jesus and all the holy ones [that is, Christians _ set aside for God by the covenant]. He prays that the sharing of their faith may bring good effects by the knowledge of all the good that is in them in regard to Christ Jesus. Paul had much joy and consolation over their love, for Philemon has refreshed the hearts of the holy ones. Even though Paul is sure he could command what Philemon should do, yet he entreats through love _ he, Paul, the old man [the word is presbytes, which would mean between ages 50 and 60] and even now a prisoner of Christ Jesus. Paul entreats Philemon on behalf of his child whom he begot in his bonds, namely, Onesimus _ who once was useless to Philemon [beginning a play on Onesimus, which means useful] but now is very useful both to Paul and to Philemon. Paul has sent him back with this letter, Onesimus, Paul's heart. Paul would have liked to keep Onesimus with him so he could help him with the work of the Gospel when Paul is a prisoner. But he did not want to do anything without the knowledge of Philemon so the good Philemon may be free and not compelled. Perhaps Onesimus was separated from Philemon briefly, so that Philemon might have him back forever, not as a slave, but more than a slave, as a brother, beloved [play on Philemon, again] especially to Paul, even more to Philemon, both in the flesh and in the Lord. If then Philemon shares with Paul [probably, in the faith] Paul asks Philemon to receive Onesimus as if he were Paul. If Onesimus wronged Philemon in leaving [damage or theft?] Paul says: Charge it to me. He will pay _ not to mention that Philemon owes Paul even his very self [Paul gave him eternal life]. Paul asks Philemon to be useful [play on Onesimus] to him in the Lord, to refresh his heart in Christ. Paul is confident Philemon will obey [he could mean "the obedience that is faith," as in Romans 1:5] and has written this letter knowing Philemon will do even more than Paul asks. Paul asks Philemon to also get ready a room for him, for Paul hopes through the prayers of Philemon, to be given back to him. Greetings from Epaphras, Paul's fellow prisoner in Christ, and Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, who work with him. [Epaphras was a Colossian, probably converted by Paul at Ephesus. He seems to have brought the faith to Colossae, and probably also Hierapolis and Laodicea: cf. Colossians 4:12-13. Mark is probably the John Mark who deserted Paul at the start of his first missionary expedition. Aristarchus

was a native of Thessalonika, who worked with Paul: cf. Acts 19:29; 20:4; 27:2. Demas seems later to have deserted: cf. 2 Timothy 4:10, which says: "Demas, in love with the present world, has left me and gone to Thessalonika." Luke seems to be the Evangelist]. Paul asks that the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ may be with their spirit. Amen. END NOTES 1 Note in Context: C.107-17: cf. St. Ignatius, Epistle to Ephesians 1-6. "Chapter 10. Letter to the Colossians" Introduction Authenticity: The ancient testimonies that Paul wrote this Epistle are very strong: the Marcionite Canon; 1 St. Irenaeus;2 The Muratorian Fragment;3 Clement of Alexandria;4 Origen;5 Tertullian;6 Valentinus.7 In addition, it is probably mentioned in: St. Ignatius, To Ephesus 10.2;8 St. Polycarp 10.1;9 Epistle to Diognetus 10.7;10 St. Justin Dialogue 84.11 No one questioned Pauline authorship until E.T. Mayerhoff did so in his commentary on Colossians published in Berlin in 1838. The arguments are far from solid: Vocabulary and Style: There are 34 words used in Colossians that are found nowhere else in the New Testament. There are 28 words that do not come in the undisputed Pauline letters. There are 10 words in common only with the Epistle to the Ephesians, and 15 words that are found in Colossians and Ephesians, but nowhere else in the New Testament. Reply: No one who has studied the works of the pagan historian Tacitus in the original Latin will be much impressed by any argument from vocabulary and style. If one reads the historical writings of Tacitus in Latin (it will not show in translation) the style is unusually distinctive and pungent. But we have also under the name of Tacitus a Dialogue on Orators, where the style is day and night different. It is the same as the style of Quintilian, a slightly earlier writer on oratory. We know Quintilian also wrote on this same topic, but his work is lost. So the temptation comes to say that we have the work of Quintilian, and that of Tacitus is lost. However, other evidence has convinced nearly all scholars that the Dialogue is indeed the work of Tacitus. The differences mentioned above in regard to Paul are much less. Further, many of the new words come in passages where there is special reason for them, since Paul is using the terms of some very special kinds of opponents in reply to them. These opponents are very strange indeed, as we shall see later. Theological considerations: a)Justification, faith, save, law: Paul in Colossians does not speak much of these things he formerly spoke of so often. Reply: Paul has a

different problem here. Formerly he was arguing against the Judaizers and needed these concepts so much. b)Christology: Paul does not here say Christ is the Son in whom we have redemption, and we are buried with Him in baptism, and He is seated at the right hand of the Father. Reply: Here Paul has a different purpose. He does say that we have even been raised with Christ and sit in heavenly places with him, which is part of the syn Christo theme. Some commentators, with astonishing dullness, think Paul means these things have literally taken place now. They do not see that they are all part of the theme of syn Christo: doing everything with Christ, part of which theme was found earlier, 12 and is extended here: We have a hard life with Christ, we suffer and die with Him, we are buried with Him, we rise with Him, we live our life as if we were in heavenly places even now. Since we have been raised with Christ, we must think of the things that are above. Further, Paul does speak of redemption, in the language of debt: Christ took the bill that was against us, nailed it to the cross: Colossians 2:14-15. Further, in 1:13-14 Paul speaks of the redemption they have through Christ, and the remission of sins. c)Eschatology: In the earlier letters, Paul expects the end to come soon: 1 Thessalonians 4:13ff.; 1 Corinthians 7:26. Reply: In our comments on these passages we saw that they do not at all need to imply Paul expected the end soon. In Second Thessalonians 2 he makes clear that he does not expect it _ some unfortunate commentators deny authenticity of Second Thessalonians, even though the external witnesses to it are as good as they are for First Thessalonians. d)Ecclesiology: It is more developed now. In 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 and in Romans 12:4-8 Paul speaks of Christians as members of Christ. He does not explicitly say Christ is the head. Here in Colossians and also in Ephesians he does say that, and fills in quite a bit: a)Christ is the Head:Ephesians 5:23; Colossians 1:18; 2:18-19. b)In Him is all the fullness of divinity (a new term, pleroma appears): Colossians 2:9 and 1:19. c)The Church receives from Him and becomes His fullness : Ephesians 1:22-23. d)All this is aimed at the complete development of the pleroma: Ephesians 4:13. e)Christ becomes the head or center of all: Ephesians 1:10; Colossians 1:20. Reply: Any person who lives very long should develop intellectually. Paul did that. So his ecclesiology is more developed now. Further, the claims of opponents called for more development by Paul. And to say we are members of Christ surely implies that He is the Head. Strangely, one prominent commentary, in giving the differences between Paul's Christology in Colossians and in undisputed Epistles says that in Colossians the role of believers is to hold fast to the head (2:19) and to teach and admonish one another. There is no description of special offices within the Church. To assume that there are no officers because not mentioned is very odd indeed. It is also odd to so

limit the role of believers just because Paul does not fill it in more at this point. It was not needed for his purpose. Opponents: It is difficult to be sure precisely what type of opponents Paul is working against here. Some, but not all features would fit the Judaizers especially if they include the apocalyptic type of speculator. Other things fit well with Gnostics. We add a few comments on Gnosticism: There are many forms, but common features are that they start with a great appreciation of the majesty of God, whom they often call The Depth, The Silence. This is of course good, a feature lacking in the devotion of too many today. But then they hold that matter is evil, and that God emanates aeons. The aeons come in male and female pairs called syzygies. The first pair produces the second, then it produces the third, and so on. As they go farther out, they become less and less perfect. And so, of course, one pair goes astray, and is excluded from the pleroma (the full assembly of the aeons) and is cast into the lower world. There it produces a new series of aeons, which share in the evil of the parent rejected aeon, and finally they create man and the material world. This creator is often called the Demiurge, the God of the Jews, and is evil. The Gnostics commonly held a physical predestination. There were three kinds of people: the spiritual ones, who are automatically saved, no matter how they live, the material ones, who are automatically damned, no matter how they live, and the natural men, who may be saved or lost, but that depends not on how they live, but on their knowledge. Hence the term Gnosticism, from Greek gnosis, knowledge. It is interesting, though not conclusive, to notice how often, more than usual, Paul uses words pertaining to knowledge in this letter. We will underline them to help the reader. Many of the special terms Paul uses could well be taken from such Gnostics, to answer them in their own language. Some object that Gnosticism was not around in Paul's day. But at least an incipient form was at hand, and probably more. Perhaps it is best to suppose that the Colossians had fallen into a mixture of Jewish ideas mingled with Gnostic speculation, and elements of mystery religions (for instance, the words on angels in 2:18) along with some strict ascetic practices. Conclusion on Authorship: Since the arguments offered against Pauline authorship are not at all strong, we conclude they are not nearly enough to overrule the numerous ancient testimonies that Colossians is really by St. Paul. Date and Place of Composition: Even believing Colossians is by Paul, we still do not know for certain the date and place. It seems later in Paul's life, in view of the more developed thought on the Mystical Body. Paul is in prison, but he was in several prisons. Ephesus is a good possibility, for Paul was in prison there, and it is not far from Colossae, to which Paul sends greetings. Some have suggested Caesarea, the

place of his two year imprisonment before being sent to Rome. But there are no solid arguments to help that view. Others think it was in Rome, in the period 61-63, the time of Paul's house arrest. Summary of Colossians 1:1-23 Paul, an Apostle of Christ through the will of God, and Timothy his brother, send greetings to the holy ones at Colossae, and wish them grace and peace from God the Father. Paul and Timothy give thanks to God and the Father of Jesus always in their prayers, for they have heard of the love the Colossians have for all the holy ones, because of their hope of heaven, the hope they learned by the truth of the Gospel that came to them, a Gospel which is bearing fruit and growing in all the world, as it also is at Colossae, since the day the Colossians heard of it, which they learned from Epaphras Paul's beloved fellow slave, who is a faithful minister of Christ for them, who has told Paul of their love. As a result, since hearing of this, Paul and Timothy do not cease praying for the Colossians, asking that they may be filled with the knowledge of God's will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that they may live in a way worthy of the Lord, so as to please Him completely and bear fruit in every good work, and grow in the knowledge of God, since they have been strengthened with all power according to the power of His glory so as to have all patience and longsuffering, with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who made them fit to share the lot of the holy ones in light. He delivered us from the power of darkness and established us in the kingdom of His Son, His beloved, in whom we have redemption and remission of sins. Christ is the image of the invisible God, the Firstborn of all creation. In Him all things were created _ things in the heavens, upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, including thrones, dominations, principalities and powers _ all were created through Him and for Him. For Christ is before all, and all things continue in being through Him. He is the Head of the Church, which is His body. He is the beginning, the firstborn of the dead. As a result He holds first place among all, for the Father is pleased that all fullness should dwell permanently in Him, and to reconcile everything through Him to Himself. For He made peace through the blood of His cross, so as to reconcile through Him the things upon the earth, and the things in the heavens. They were once foreign to Him, enemies because of their evil deeds. But now Christ has reconciled them by the body of His flesh, through His death, so as to present them as Holy ones, blameless and without reproach before Him _ provided they remain grounded in the faith, and firm, and are not moved from the hope of the Gospel they heard, which was preached to every creature under the sky, of which Paul is a minister. Comments on 1:1-23

Paul himself was not the first to bring the faith to Colossae, it was brought by Epaphras. Paul rejoices to hear of their faith, and has been praying earnestly for them. He wants them to be filled with all wisdom and knowledge and spiritual understanding. This would fit with the theory that Paul is working against Gnostics, but the Jewish speculators and syncretists could speak also of wisdom and knowledge. Verses 15-20 definitely seem to be some sort of hymn. Did Paul compose it himself? or was it taken from a liturgy? or did Paul even adapt a pre-Christian gnostic hymn? If Paul took over an existing hymn did he modify it? We cannot be sure of any of these things, even though some commentators think they can even identify the changes Paul made in an existing hymn, by noting some words which he otherwise does or does not favor. But this is too flimsy and subjective. What is clear is that Paul is striving greatly to proclaim the complete sufficiency and exaltation of Christ since the opponents seem to have wanted some sort of honor to be given _ not sure if it was worship in the strict sense _ to other beings. In contrast, Paul says Christ is the image of the Father. Adam was made in the image and likeness of God. Christ is the New Adam. As the Logos, the Divine Word, He is the most perfect and complete image of the Father. Christ is also first born of all creation. The first born in the Hebrew family had a special dignity and special rights. The title also belonged to Israel (Exodus 4:22) and to the King. So it means that Christ as the Divine Word has a priority of existence, transcendence of nature, and especially of power and absolute inheritance over all creatures. All things were ``created in Him.'' The sense of the in is much discussed. Some have suggested He contains the mental images of things to come, which logically should be there before God can say: Let it be. (This would be exemplary cause, probably under Platonic influence). But it is not so likely. What is entirely clear is that Christ is the center, in some way, of all creation. And further, all things were created ``through Him.'' As God, He was the Creator, as the God-man, He could be spoken of as the One through Whom the Father works. Further, all things were created for Him, as the center of unity and reconciliation, the peak of creation. Paul mentions then thrones, dominations, principalities, powers _ elsewhere he adds still other titles. From this some have tried to gather nine choirs of angels. However, Paul does not systematize this thought, and after a bit, in 2:15 it will be clear that the principalities are evil spirits. Paul may be striking at the errors about aeons, whom the opponents said we should honor along with Christ. Paul insists Christ is the center, the one through whom all were made, for whom all were made. So He is all sufficient. We need not pay any attention to

these spirit powers. In honoring Christ, we have done all that is needed. Christ is before all things. That could refer to time, or to rank. He is first in relation to all. All things have their continuation of existence in Him. He is the head of His body, which is the Church. This is the Mystical Body doctrine, more developed than it was in 1 Cor and Romans, as we noted in the introduction to this Epistle. Christ is the beginning, the first to be born from the dead. Before, He was called the first born of all creation, of the living. So he has first place in every respect over all. The Father wills that all fullness should dwell in Him permanently, not just for a time. So Christ is the fullness of God, and we need not attend to any spirit powers. The mention of fullness also brings to mind the gnostic term pleroma, the whole assembly of aeons. So Christ is greater than all aeons together, and we need not pay any attention to them. Further, the Father has willed that all things be reconciled to Himself though Christ, who made peace through the blood of His cross. This applies to all, whether on the earth or in the heavens. When they were pagans, the Colossians were not part of Christ, were enemies in that they sinned. But Christ has brought about reconciliation to the Father by His death, so He wills to present them as holy ones, blameless, and without reproach before Him. But then Paul adds a qualification ``if indeed'' they remain with the faith, and do not go into the errors of the opponents. Summary of Colossians 1:24-29 Paul says he rejoices in his sufferings for them, and he is filling up the things that are lacking of the tribulations [ thlipseon] of Christ, for His body, which is the Church. He became a minister of that Church by the arrangement of God, given to him, for them, to make the word of God fully known. There is a mystery that was once hidden from past times and generations. Now it is made known to His holy ones to whom God willed to make it known. The mystery concerns the riches of the glory of this mystery among the gentiles, the mystery of Christ among them, that is, the hope of glory that the gentiles now have. Paul announces Christ, admonishing every man, teaching every man in all wisdom so he can present every man perfect in Christ. Paul works hard for this, struggling in the divine power that is at work in him. Comments on 1:24-29 The very first verse of this section, verse 24, is of major importance. Commentators are very divided over it. The inclination today is to say that it merely means Paul has to suffer much in the course of going about to preach in many places. Of course he did have to suffer. But is that all?

When Paul speaks of something lacking in the tribulations of Christ [thlipsis] he cannot mean that Jesus the individual did not suffer enough. Further, the word thlipsis is never used by Paul for the sufferings of Christ, always of the sufferings of Christians. So it is clear, Paul is speaking of his own sufferings. Jesus Himself infinitely did this work of atonement. His members, to be like Him, must join in. St. Paul makes this abundantly clear with his syn Christo theme that we are saved and made holy if and to the extent that we are members of Christ, and like Him.13 That likeness of course must include likeness in atonement. If one member fails to do his share, then, thanks to the solidarity of the Mystical Body, another member can make up for that one. Paul feels that is part of his work for the members of Christ, for the Church, especially because of his preeminent position as an Apostle. If only we put this verse 24 into the background of the thought world of the time, it is clear that it has a very rich content, one very important for general theology and for spirituality. First of all, the concept that one could make up for another _ vicarious atonement _ was surely around in Judaism. It was strong in Isaiah 53, where the Suffering Servant justifies many. It appears in Second Maccabees 7:37 where the sufferer hands over his life, calling on God to quickly be merciful to his people. In Fourth Maccabees Eleazar says (6:28-29): ``Make my blood their purification and take my life as a ransom for theirs.'' 14 In the Manual of Discipline for Qumran 5:6, the rule is that they must make atonement for all who voluntarily give themselves to holiness. In 8:3 there are to be twelve men and three priests ``to expiate iniquity by doing what is right.'' The same thought seems reflected in Mark 10:45 (same as Matthew 20:28): ``The Son of Man has come to give His life as a ransom for many.'' The same thought also appears in the many places where St. Paul speaks of Christ as buying us back, or of the ``price'' of redemption (in 1 Corinthians 6:20 and 7:23). Commentators commonly declare themselves at a loss to explain the price concept. The price should be paid to the captor, who would be Satan. But that idea is repugnant. And the Father was not the captor. Yet there must be truth in all these lines. If we put all this into the context of the widespread Scriptural concept that sin is a debt, we can solve the problem. The Our Father has us say: ``Forgive us our debts.'' Intertestamental literature of the Jews often uses Hebrew or Aramaic hobah, meaning debt, to stand for sin. The concept is abundant in Rabbinic literature. Especially important is Tosefta Kiddushin 1.14, where Rabbi Simeon ben Eleazar says:15 ``He [anyone] has committed a transgression. Woe to him! He has tipped the scale to the side of debt for himself and for the world.'' Finally, Pope Paul VI, in Indulgentiarum doctrina, of January 9, 1967,

sanctioned the whole concept that the objective moral order is put out of balance by sin, and must be rebalanced . Mere humans begin to do this by accepting suffering or by giving up a pleasure they could have lawfully had. They only begin, for the imbalance for even one mortal sin is infinite. The infinite work is done by Christ. Yet, as we said, to receive what He earned for us, we must be not only members of Christ but must be like Him, especially in this work of rebalancing. So this is what Paul does: he makes up for those who do not do their part in atonement, which is rebalancing the objective order. He says God made him a minister of the Church, to make the word of God fully known. He says there was a mystery hidden in the past, now made known. Paul is not very clear about what it is here. He becomes clearer in Ephesians 3:6. It is the fact that the gentiles are now called to be members of the People of God. This was foretold in the Old Testament, but not clearly. The Jews thought it meant the gentiles would embrace Judaism. In a sense this is true, as we see from the comparison of the two olive trees in Romans 11:17-21. The tame olive tree is the original People of God, the wild olive tree stands for the gentiles. Many branches fell off the tame tree, by rejecting Christ. In their place gentiles were engrafted. So the New Covenant is new in a way, in its fulfillment in Christ and His redemption. But in a way it is a continuation of the Old Covenant, for Christ fulfilled all the promises and prophecies of the Old Testament. Thus Christians are made one in the same tame olive tree with the Jews who accepted Christ. Paul does not mean that no gentiles could be saved before the coming of Christ. He made clear in Romans 2:14-16 that they could. He also did the same in Romans 3:29. But then they were saved in a way that offered them less security, and in general, the gentiles did not know of the glory God has planned for them and for all who accept Christ. When Paul says in verse 26 that the mystery was hidden from the ages, he uses the Greek aion, which can mean time periods, but can also mean aeons, the heavenly powers of which the Gnostics spoke. Summary of Colossians, Chapter 2 Paul wants them to know how hard he has been working [in prayers and sacrifices] for them and for those in Laodicea, and for those who have never seen him, so their hearts may be consoled, joined in love, made rich in the assurance that comes from their knowledge, the knowledge of the mystery of God in Christ. In Him there are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Paul says this to try to protect them against deceptive arguments. For even though he is physically absent, he is with them in spirit, and rejoices at seeing their good order and firm faith in Christ. So they should walk in Christ, just as they have received, and be rooted in Him and built in Him, and strengthened in the faith that was taught them, abounding in giving thanks.

He urges them to watch so no one may take them captive through reasonings and empty deception, according to human, not divine tradition, according to the cosmic powers, and not according to Christ. In Him, Christ, all the fullness of the divinity lives permanently in a bodily way. And they have been made full in Him, having everything they need. He is above every principality and power. In Him they have been circumcised with a circumcision not done by hands, which takes off part of the flesh, but they have been circumcised in Christ by being buried together with Him in Baptism, Him in whom they were raised from the dead through faith in the working of the God who raised Him from the dead. For when they were dead spiritually because of transgressions, and in the uncircumcision of the flesh, He made them alive together with Christ, and forgave all their transgressions. He took away the bill that was against them, with its claims against them, and took it and nailed it to the cross. He despoiled the principalities and the powers. He made a spectacle of them, leading them as captives in triumph in Him. So no one should condemn them for not observing rules about food or drink, or feast days, or new moons or sabbaths, which were a foreshadowing of things to come in Christ. But now the reality promised by them is at hand in Christ. So they should not let anyone rob them of their prize so that they would humiliate themselves and worship angels, being moved by a vision and vainly puffed up in a fleshy mind, instead of holding on to the Head, which is Christ. From Him the whole [mystical] body is nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, and it grows with a divine growth. Since they have died with Christ, so as to be away from the cosmic powers: why should they still let rules be imposed on them as though they still belonged to the world? rules that say: ``Do not touch, or taste, or handle,'' referring to things that perish as they are used, according to human rules and teachings. These things have the appearance of wisdom in would-be religion and self-abasement and unsparingness to the body. But they are not of any value in checking the indulgence of the flesh. Comments on Chapter 2 Paul opens by saying he is ``struggling'' for them, presumably in prayer and sacrifice. He mentioned Laodicea, which was north of Colossae, on the Lycus river. He turns to warning them of false teachers. As we said in the introduction, we are not sure precisely what kind _ perhaps more than one kind. He warns against a false ``philosophy'' or reasoning and deception, which uses human tradition, not the divine tradition of the Church. They preach cosmic powers, Greek stoicheia. We commented on that word at Galatians 4:3, and saw it might mean there either early

religion, insufficient and imperfect as it was, or else cosmic powers. Here Paul seems to have in mind spirit powers. It need not mean Paul believes in such beings as his opponents speak of: he is using the language of his opponents. Yet he does believe in angels and devils, of course. The opponents must have been saying one should honor them as well as Christ. Paul says in Christ lives the fullness of divinity permanently, not just for a time. Christ is above every principality and power _ some of the names for these spirit powers. He says the Colossians have had a spiritual, not a physical circumcision. This makes us think that the opponents urged some, perhaps not all, Jewish practices, perhaps were entirely Jewish. Or they could have proposed a mixture of ideas. Christians have all the fullness they need in Him, Christ. He brings back the syn Christo theme, the idea that we are saved and made holy if and to the extent that we are members of Christ, and like Him _ we spoke of this in comments on 1:24 above. We note Paul speaks here as if they have already had the resurrection. This is not a physical resurrection,16 but a spiritual one, so that Christians should live already with the same outlook of mind they will have when they do physically emerge from their graves on the last day. How different will the world appear then! When they were spiritually dead, Christ brought them to life by forgiveness of their transgressions. He took the cheirographon that was against them with its claims. Some think this means He took away the Old Law. But Jesus said He came not to destroy but to fulfill. It is true, Paul has said they are free from the law, but that expression is easily misunderstood, as we gather from such texts as 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 where Paul says if one violates the law, he will not inherit the kingdom. But cheirographon is better rendered as a bill to be paid. This fits well with the debt concept of sin we spoke of above in comments on 1:24. He paid that bill by His cross. The context shows it means a bill for a debt, for in the previous verse Paul says that when you were dead in your sins, God made you alive together with Christ, ``forgiving you all your sins.'' (Ephesians 2:15 at first sight might seem to be the same thought ``annulling the law of commands with its ordinances.'' But there the context is not that of forgiving sin, as here in Colossians, but of breaking down the boundary between Jew and gentile). He also despoiled the principalities and powers. At this point we see clearly for the first time Paul views them as evil spirits. Christ made a spectacle of them by leading them as captives in his triumphal procession _ he is using the familiar image of a triumphal procession in the Roman forum, in which captives were led along with the victorious troops and commanders. Next he tells them not to let these opponents impose rules on them about kinds of food or drink or certain feasts or new moons or

sabbaths. These again seem to be Jewish ideas. Paul says they were there temporarily to foreshadow the true reality which came with Christ. But he adds they should not lower themselves by worshipping angels, impressed by a vision of angels. In the mystery religions they would sometimes put on things like this. (The words could also mean taking his stand on visible things, in contrast to spiritual realities of our faith). Instead of lowering themselves to worship beings lower than Christ, if indeed they exist at all, they must stay with Him. It is from Him the Head that His whole mystical body grows with a divine growth. Since they have died with Christ they are free of the cosmic powers, and should ignore the rules the opponents try to put onto them. It seems he quotes something like those rules: ``Do not touch, taste, or handle.'' Yet the rules refer to things that are material, and so are used up. The opponents claim there is wisdom in this, but it is only a wouldbe religion. It includes self-abasement and unsparingness to the body _ it seems, ascetic practices. Paul says they are not of any value. They are either a way of indulging man's pride, or of no value in taming the flesh _ the Greek here can stand either translation. Paul of course does not object to Christian feasts, or to mortification such as fasting, which we know he himself practiced, e.g., in 2 Corinthians 11:27 and 1 Corinthians 9:26-27. Paul does not object to these things in themselves, but only to doing them out of impositions by a false religion. Summary of Colossians, Chapter 3 Since they have been raised with Christ, they should seek the things that are above, where Christ sits at the right hand of the Father. They should think of things above, not of things on the earth. For they have died, and their life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, their life, returns in glory then they too will be revealed in glory with Him. So now before that day, they should mortify their bodies on the earth, mortify sexual looseness, uncleanness, lust, evil desires, greed (which is serving idols). God's anger comes on disobedient sons because of these things. The Colossians once lived that way, but now should put all such things aside: anger, quick temper, malice, blasphemy, shameful talk. They should not lie against one another. Instead they should put off the old way of life with its deeds, and put on the new way of life, the way renewed in knowledge according to the image of the Creator. In this way of life there is no difference of Greek and Jew, of circumcision and uncircumcision, no difference of barbarians, Scythians, slaves, free men _ Christ is all in all. So as chosen ones of God, holy and beloved, they should put on an attitude of mercy, kindness, humility, meekness, long-suffering, bearing with one another, forgiving one another if someone has offended. The Lord forgave them, so they should forgive.

On top of all these they should have love, for love is the bond of perfection. Then, Paul prays, may the peace of Christ reign in their hearts, that peace into which they were called in one body. They should be thankful. He asks that the word of Christ may dwell richly in them, in all wisdom, so that they may teach and admonish one another with psalms, hymns, spiritual songs, singing in love in their hearts to God. Whatever they do in word or deed, they should do all in the name of Jesus the Lord, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Wives should subject themselves to their husbands, as is right in the Lord. Husbands should love their wives, and not be harsh to them. Children should obey their parents in all things: this pleases the Lord. Fathers should not drive their children to the point of indignation, so as not to break their spirit. Slaves should obey their human masters in all things, not only when they are watching, as if just trying to please men, but fearing the Lord in simplicity of heart. Whatever they do, they should do it from the heart, as for the Lord, and not for men. For they know they will receive the recompense of inheritance from the Lord. They should serve the Lord Christ. For whoever does wrong, will get the due recompense for it. God does not respect persons. Comments on Chapter 3 Paul extends his familiar syn Christo theme: the Christian suffers with Christ, dies with Him, is buried with Him, is raised with Him, ascends with Him. These things are done ritually in baptism, but in likeness to Christ in all of life. Especially Christians should have even now the attitude or outlook they will have on emerging from the grave on the last day. How different earthly things will seem then! So many things once prized will be seen as trifles; things earthlings scorn will be seen as supremely valuable. If they live in this spirit, then when Christ physically returns at the end, they will be like Him in their risen bodies. To prepare for that, Paul calls for mortifying their bodies _ going contrary to earthly desires. If one uses creatures as a means to God, then it is good, and he/she can enjoy them in so doing. To use them as ends in themselves is what is wrong, is attachment. The old way of life Paul describes as the old man, the new, as the new man. If they follow this way of life, then it makes no difference whether they be Jews or Greeks or any other things. This is the same thought as we saw in Galatians 3:28. We noticed then the context in which Paul was speaking, that of seeking justification by faith. Here the context is living a Christlike life. It is not legitimate to extend the saying to say that there is no difference in anything else _ by which some seek to justify ordination of women. He asks them to forgive one another. The word used is charizein, which means to make a present of something. The offended one is

really owed something, could call for payment of the debt, but he can make a present of it, not demand it. God has acted this way towards us, we should do the same. His words about psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs probably refer to charismatic phenomena, which were routine in Paul's day.17 Starting at verse 18 we find what is sometimes called the Haustafel, the idealized picture of a family. The words about obedience by the wife have caused much discussion. Pius XI, in his Encyclical Casti Conubii, on marriage, explains what the Church teaches: ``This order includes both the primacy of the husband in relation to the wife and children, and the ready and willing obedience, as the Apostle commands [here the Pope cites Ephesians 5:22-23, which is parallel to our Colossians text]. This obedience does not deny or take away the freedom which fully belongs to the woman, both in view of her dignity as a human person, and in view of her most noble position as wife and mother and companion. Nor does it direct her to obey every request of her husband, if it is not in harmony with right reason, or with the dignity due to a wife, nor, finally does it imply the wife should be on a level with those who are legally minors.'' In many things there is full equality: in regard to seeking eternal life and justification by faith, as we saw in Galatians 3:28, in rights to the use of marriage, as we saw in 1 Corinthians 7:3-4. The text we are seeing refers to things that pertain to the management of the family. For a committee of two could not avoid much deadlock. But the striving should be for loving consensus. There is a closely parallel passage in Ephesians 5:21-33. S.F. Miletic 18 offers an attractive proposal: ``The wife's subordination means her acceptance of the husband's Christ-like love and gift of self. The husband must love his wife completely, even to the point of his death. Both roles are christological, both roles demand total selfrenunciation. . . .'' Paul wisely tells Fathers not to be so hard on children as to break their spirit _ a real possibility. He calls on slaves to obey their human masters even when they are not watching _ to serve Christ, and they will be rewarded by Christ. Here we need to recall the comments on 1 Cor 7:17-24 on slavery in general. The phrase ``the recompense of inheritance'' is remarkable. In commenting on Romans 2:6 we saw that when God gives things under the covenant, there are two levels. On the basic level, no creature can generate a claim on God, so all is mere generosity, unmerited _ parallel to justification by faith, without earning it. On the secondary level, given the fact that God freely entered into a covenant, then if the humans do what He calls for, He owes it to Himself to repay. This one phrase, recompense of inheritance, covers both parts, for when we inherit from parents, we do not say we have earned it. This refers to

the basic level. As to the secondary level, Paul speaks of recompense, repayment, under covenant. Summary of Chapter 4 Slave owners must provide what is just and right for the slaves. They have a Master in heaven. Paul urges them to be constant in prayer and to be watchful in it with thanksgiving. He asks for prayers for himself so God may give him an opportunity to speak and make clear the mystery of Christ, because of which he is a prisoner. He asks them to live wisely in their dealings with those outside the Church, and to redeem the time. Their speech should always be with love, and tactful, so that they will know how to answer each individual. Tychichus will tell them about him _ he is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow slave in the Lord. Paul sent him to them so he could learn about them and console their hearts. He sends with him Onesimus his faithful and beloved brother who comes from Colossae. They will report on Paul's situation. Greetings from Aristarchus and Mark the cousin of Barnabas _ concerning whom they have instructions. They should receive him if he comes, as also Jesus, called Justus. These are the only fellow workers Paul has from the Jews for the kingdom of God. They have been a consolation to him. Epaphras who comes from Colossae, greets them. He is a slave of Christ, always praying hard for them so they may be perfect and full in everything God wills. Paul testifies that Epaphras has much concern for those at Colossae and those in Laodicea and those in Hierapolis. Luke the dear physician sends greetings, and also Demas. Paul wishes to greet the Christians in Laodicea, and Nymphas and the church that meets in his house. When this letter has been read at Colossae, Paul wants it to be read at Laodicea, and asks them to read the one he sent to Laodicea. May they say to Archippus: Look at the ministry you have received in the Lord. Fulfill it. Greetings with Paul's own hand. May they remember his chains. Grace be with them. Comments on Chapter 4 The first line here clearly should have been in chapter 3, with his words about slaves. Then Paul gives some general exhortations. He asks for prayers so he may have an opportunity. In Philippians 1:12-14 we see that Paul found opportunity to work for Christ even when he was in prison. He urges them to work with love and tact in dealing with non-Christians. They should make use of the opportunities they have (``redeeming the time'' probably has this sense). Tychicus the bearer of this letter is mentioned barely in Acts 20:4 as from the province of Asia, and is also mentioned at the end of

Ephesians. Onesimus is probably the slave of Philemon. Aristarchus was mentioned in Acts 19:29 as a traveling companion of Paul, with him at Ephesus. Mark is probably the Evangelist. We do not know anything about Jesus Justus. Epaphras is the one who first brought the faith to Colossae. Luke the physician is the Evangelist. Demas is mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:10 where Paul says he was in love with the world, left Paul, and went to Thessalonika. We do not know much about Archippus _ perhaps he was in charge at Colossae in the absence of Epaphras. He seems to be of some importance. He is mentioned also in Philemon 2. END NOTES 1 Note in Context: Middle to late 2nd century: cf. Tertullian, Against Marcion 5.19. 2 Note in Context: 3.14.1. 3 Note in Context: Late 2nd century. 4 Note in Context: Stromata 1.11. 5 Note in Context: Against Celsus 5.8. 6 Note in Context: On Prescription. 7 Note in Context: In St. Irenaeus 1.4. 8 Note in Context: Cf. Col 1.23. 9 Note in Context: Cf. Col 1.23. 1 Note in Context: 0 Cf. Col 4.1. 1 Note in Context: 1 Cf. Col 1.15. 1 Note in Context: 2 Cf. Romans 6:1-6; 8:9 & 17; Eph 2:5-6. 1 Note in Context: 3 Cf. Rom 8:9 & 17; 6:3-6; Col 3:1-3; Eph 2:5-6. 1 Note in Context: 4 Cf. also ibid. 9:24; 17:21-22. 1 Note in Context: 5 Citing Rabbi Meir, early 2nd century. 1 Note in Context: 6 Cf. the comments on errors proposed for 2 Corinthians 5.

Note in Context: 7 Cf. comments on chapter 12 of 1 Corinthians. 1 Note in Context: 8 One Flesh: Ephesians 5:22-23, 5:31, Marriage and the New Creation, Rome: Biblical Institute 1988, p. 111. "Chapter 11. Letter to the Ephesians" Introduction Authenticity: The case is very similar to that with Colossians. No one questioned that it was by St. Paul until the late 18th century. The ancient witnesses who say it is by Paul are impressive: St. Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, and the Muratorian Fragment, plus heretical authors: Marcion, Basilides, and Valentinus. In addition there are illusions in Clement of Rome, St. Ignatius, St. Polycarp and St. Justin that are likely to refer to Ephesians. So the external arguments for Pauline authorship are very good. Can the internal arguments outweigh them? They are very similar to what we saw for Colossians: a)Vocabulary and Style: The case of Tacitus, Dialogue on Orators, which we saw in connection with Colossians still shows us that the style argument here is far from conclusive. The most impressive feature in Ephesians is the presence of long sentences. But these are also found, to a much lesser degree, in the undisputed Pauline letters. Of course it is possible that Paul told a secretary what ideas he wanted to write, then approved the final copy. The style of the secretary might be rather different. b)Theological Differences: (1)The Church: Here, as in Colossians, Paul often speaks of the universal Church, whereas in other letters he speaks more of the local churches. But both things are true. Again, in both Colossians and Ephesians the doctrine of the Mystical Body is more developed, as we saw in detail in the introduction to Colossians. But as we said there, it is not strange if a man with a good mind develops over time. In chapter 1 Paul speaks of the same predestination to be members of the Church as he did in Romans 8:29-39 and on into the next three chapters of Romans. In Romans, Paul was not referring just to the local church at Rome, but to the universal Church, the whole people of God. (2)Gentiles: In Romans, Paul looked forward to the conversion of the Jews; and hoped the conversion of the gentiles would make the Jews jealous so they would enter. Here he speaks in chapter 2 of Jew and gentile as being made one in Christ. But the objectors miss something obvious. In Romans Paul speaks of the Jews who still rejected Christ; here he speaks of the Jews who have accepted Christ. (3)Eschatology: Here Paul does not speak of an imminent end of the world, as he does elsewhere. But again, we answered this problem, if we may call it such, in commenting on First Thessalonians 4:13 ff., and

found there is no proof at all that Paul ever expected the end soon. To think he did leads to rejection of the authenticity of Second Thessalonians, where the writer clearly speaks against an imminent end, in chapter 2. But as we said, no need to suppose Paul in First Thessalonians expected the end soon. And then we would have to ignore the strong external witnesses for Pauline authorship of Second Thessalonians. Again, the objectors say in Ephesians Paul speaks of the present-day sharing of Christians in the resurrection and ascension. In Romans Paul speaks of our sharing in His death. We reply: both are true, both are part of Paul's favored syn Christo theme. (4)Marriage: Here Paul takes an idealized view of marriage, which is compared to the union of Christ with the Church. In 1 Corinthians 7 he is engaged in a different project so he praises celibacy/virginity instead. But we must not forget that in 1 Corinthians 7:7 Paul speaks of marriage and celibacy as both a grace: one has this one, another has that one. His thrust there is to say that there is a spiritual advantage to be had in celibacy/virginity not to be found in marriage. Please see again our comments on 1 Corinthians 7:1-11. c)Relation to Colossians: There are large similarities, but these prove nothing as to who wrote Ephesians. We conclude: the internal arguments we have just seen are all very weak, surely not strong enough to overpower the external witnesses that Paul did write Ephesians. At the most one might consider saying Paul told a secretary what he wanted to write, and let the secretary do the actual composition. Popes often do this with official documents too, and later sign them, making them their own. Destination of the Epistle: Even though we accept the Pauline authorship, it is a different question to ask if Paul addressed it to Ephesus. There are some significant arguments here: 1)The words "at Ephesus" are missing in some important manuscripts: Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, Chester Beatty Papyrus and in Origen. And St. Basil (Against Eunomius 11.19) says he knew of copies without the name of Ephesus. So did St. Jerome in his commentary on Ephesians. Some have suggested this was a circular letter to churches in that area, with a blank to be filled in by the reader in each place. This is possible. 2)In two places Paul writes as though he had not been to Ephesus , yet he spent time there on his second mission, and about 3 years on his third mission: In 1:15 he says: "For this reason, I too, having heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and the love you have for all the holy ones. . . ." But he could have heard further reports, and would have been pleased at them.

In 3:1: "I Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you, the gentiles, -- if you have heard of the ministry of the grace of God given to me toward you [namely] that by way of revelation the mystery was made known to me, as I wrote before briefly." This line is harder to explain, if we use the translation "if." Had he perhaps not explained fully before the mystery that the gentiles are part of the people of God? And we note he wrote briefly before . . . Need not be an earlier letter to Ephesus -could refer to his not so clear mention of this in Colossians 1:25-26, as we have seen. However, the Greek ei ge could be translated also "inasmuch as" or "If as I suppose." We add this: The heretic Marcion knew a copy of this Epistle addressed to Laodicea. 3)No references here to particular friends: Paul surely knew many, having stayed at Ephesus so long. This would favor the idea of a circular letter. Place and date: It is likely it was written during Paul's house arrest at Rome, between 61 and 63 A.D. Opponents: It was not clear who they were in Colossians, nor is it entirely clear here. It may well be the same ones. We note that near the end of chapter 1 Paul speaks again of principalities, powers, virtues and dominations. And he speaks rather often of knowledge and wisdom as he did in Colossians. Summary of Ephesians, Chapter 1 Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, wishes grace and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, to the holy and faithful ones in Christ Jesus, who are at Ephesus. Blessed be God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who blessed Paul and the Ephesians with every spiritual blessing in heavenly things, just as He chose them in Him, in Christ, before the world began, so Paul and they may be holy and without blame before Him in love. He predestined them to be adopted sons through Jesus Christ, for Himself, according to His own good pleasure, for the praise of the glory of His grace with which He favored them in His beloved one. In Christ they have redemption through His blood and the remission of sins, according to the riches of His love, which He caused to abound in them in all wisdom and understanding. He made known to them the mystery of His will according as it pleased Him, as He planned in advance to be realized in Christ, to be carried out in the fullness of time, in order to recapitulate all things in Christ -- things in the heavens and things on the earth -- to do it in Him in whom we were chosen and predestined according to the decision of Him who brings all things about according to the plan of His will. He did this so that they who have hoped in Christ, might praise His glory. In Christ they too, after hearing the word of truth, that is, the Gospel of their salvation, and after believing, were sealed by the promised Holy Spirit, who is the pledge of our inheritance, for the redemption of the people of God, for the praise of His glory.

For this reason Paul too, since he has heard of their faith in the Lord Jesus and the love they have for all the holy ones, does not stop giving thanks for them, remembering them in his prayers, in order that the God of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give them the spirit of wisdom and manifestation in knowing Him , causing the eyes of their heart to be enlightened, so that they may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power to them who believed, according to the working of the power of His strength. He exerted this strength in Christ, raising Him from the dead, seating Him at His right hand in heavenly places, above every principality and power and virtue and domination and every name that is named -- not only in this age, but in the age to come. He made all things subject under the feet of Christ, and caused Him to be Head over all things, for the Church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who is filled in all things. Comments on Chapter 1 At Romans 8:29ff., we saw Paul speaking of God's providential arrangement -- predestination -- to make people full members of His Church. (We said "full" since there can be a lesser degree, as we saw in Romans 2:14-16). It has been common in the past to think Paul spoke of predestination to heaven. But if we notice the context -- both in Ephesians 1 and in Romans 8:29, Paul is speaking of full membership in the people of God, the Church. God made this decision before the world began. This means, it was not based on merits. It was based on the "good pleasure" eudokia of His will. We saw in comments on Romans 9 -- as well as here -- that God's decision is not based on human merits. Why positively He made this decision we discussed in comments on 1 Corinthians 1:25-30. We said it was chiefly that those who need more help to be saved get more. The mystery of His will here, as in Colossians, is that both Jew and gentile are called to belong to the people of God, that is, His Church. What is meant by the words "to recapitulate all in Christ" is debated. 1) Some say it means that all things are made new in Christ. 2) Or: Christ is the new Adam, all is brought under His headship. 3) Or: To reunite all things in Christ as in a center. Probably we should combine some features and say all things are brought into Christ as their center and head and reach their summit in Him. When Paul says in verse 10 "all things" it seems to mean all creation, not just human beings. This would be the thought of Romans 8:19 that all creation, including even things below humans, is at the end to be made new, brought back to its original state in Christ. St. Irenaeus makes this recapitulation theme the center of his theology: all receive a new Head, Christ. He adds that Mary is the New Eve with the New Adam. He also extends the idea of recapitulation to evil: the great Antichrist will be the head of all the forces of evil, and all creation at the end will be renewed.

Paul adds that God chose us to give glory to Him, to praise Him. This is true, but we must not forget that He wills to attain His own glory -- in which He gains nothing at all -- by way of doing good to us. 1 He has tied together His glory and our good, in His will they are inseparable, and His glory is to be obtained through doing good to us. Paul speaks also of the Holy Spirit as the pledge of salvation. In the beatific vision, God joins Himself directly to the soul, without even an image in between. In the souls of the just, the Holy Spirit is already present as a pledge of the fuller good to be given in the world to come. He spoke of the Spirit as the seal and pledge in 2 Corinthians 1:22. The Fathers of the Church picked up the notion of the seal, and said by Baptism we are sealed, that is, marked as God's property, and so should never break the seal by any further sin. In verse 18 Paul speaks of the Spirit of Wisdom and manifestation in knowing Him. This is of course the Holy Spirit, by whom we are enabled to know and understand the things of God, which the merely natural man cannot grasp.2 We have underlined words about knowledge and wisdom in this Epistle as we did in Colossians to help notice the stress Paul puts on knowledge -- a suggestion that his opponents may be gnostic or something like gnostics. This idea is further strengthened by Paul's mention in verse 21 of principalities, powers, virtues, dominations. Christ is above all of them, and so there is no need to honor them: to worship Christ is enough. At the end of this chapter the concept of pleroma, fullness, reappears as we saw it in Colossians. The Father fills Christ, and Christ fills His Church and the members of the Church, His body. Summary of Ephesians, Chapter 2 God has loved and saved them [words from verse 5 -- the sentence is long], when they were dead because of their transgressions and sins, in which they once lived, following the aeon of this world, the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that now is at work in disobedient sons. We Christians once lived in the desires of the flesh, doing what the flesh and their thoughts wanted. For Christians were by nature sons of wrath, like other humans. But God who is rich in mercy, on account of His great love with which He loved them, even though they were spiritually dead because of their transgressions, He made them alive together with Christ -- for they have been saved by grace [not by works] and He raised them up again together with Christ, and caused them to sit together with Christ in heavenly places, as members of Christ Jesus, and through Christ Jesus. He did this to show to the ages [or: aeons] to come, the excessive riches of his love, in His kindness towards them in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace that they are saved, through faith, which is not their own doing, but it is the gift of God, which is not given on the basis of works -- so no one has a right to boast of His own goodness. For Christians are His creation, are created

in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has planned in advance for Christians to do, so they may walk in them. So they, the gentiles in the flesh, should remember that they who were called uncircumcised by those who had the so-called circumcision which is made by hands in the flesh [the Jews] -- they should remember that they were at that time without Christ, were shut out from citizenship in Israel, were foreigners to the covenants of the promise, and had no hope, and were without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus, the gentile Christians who were once far off, have become close, in the blood of Christ. For He is our peace, who made both Jew and gentile one, who broke down the barrier of the wall, and the enmity. In His flesh he annulled the law of the commands with its rules, so He might make the two in himself into one new man, and make peace, so He might reconcile the two, Jew and Gentile, in one flesh to God, through the cross, slaying the enmity in Himself. And when He came, He preached peace to the gentiles who were then afar, and to the Jews who were near. For through Christ both Jew and Gentile have access in one spirit to the Father. So the gentile Christians are no longer strangers and aliens, but are fellow citizens of the holy ones, members of God's household, being built upon the foundation laid by the apostles and the prophets, with the cornerstone being Christ Jesus, in whom the whole building is fitted together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom they are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. Comments on Chapter 2 Preliminary note: In this chapter, Paul begins with a plural you, and then changes to we (in verse 7). Paul tells the Ephesians that they were once dead spiritually because of their sins, in which they followed the lead of the aeon of the world, the ruler of the power of the air. Paul probably has in mind both Satan and his minions, and is also striking at the spirit powers in whom his opponents believed, and whom they said should be honored along with Christ (as in Colossians). It would be foolish to charge Paul with superstition here -- as has been done! -- when really he is just adopting the language of his opponents to strike the better at them. In a somewhat similar way, Christ Himself spoke (Mt 12:43-45) of the devil who was expelled from a man and then walked through desert places, without rest, until he got seven worse devils, and then went in to make that man who had been delivered worse than before. Matthew 12:4345 is clearly a sort of parable, as shown by the last line: "So also it will be with this wicked generation." It means: Christ came to break the power of Satan over the Jews. They rejected Him, and so fell back worse than before. The words "sons of wrath" have been much discussed. St. Augustine and a minority of commentators today think they refer to original sin. But the context shows that it means personal sins, for Paul speaks of

walking in the desires of the flesh, which is personal sin. Further, St. Thomas holds that original sin alone does not call for any positive punishment.3 Hence the word wrath would not be very appropriate. So most commentators and several Fathers (St. John Chrysostom, St. Jerome, Theophylact) agree Paul merely means people who deserve God's anger because of personal sins. So "by nature" means man as he naturally is, without the help of Christ. God rescued us through Christ who died for us even when we were sinners, and in that sense, enemies. This is the same as the beautiful thought of Romans 5:6-9. God made us alive together with Christ and caused us to sit with Christ in heavenly places -- this is simply the syn Christo theme we have seen several times. Paul here extends it to sitting with Christ. God wills to thus show his rich love to the ages or time periods to come -- or we could render the word aeons, spirit powers of whom his opponents speak so much. In saying we are saved by faith, Paul simply restates his great theme of justification by faith. Here he adds that even faith itself is a gift of God. However this does not mean a blind predestination or reprobation: God offers the grace of faith to all. Those who do not reject it, receive it.4 Yet, God wants us to do good works, and has even prepared them in advance, in the sense that just as we know from Philippians 2:13 we are not even capable of making positive acceptance of grace -- grace does that -- so too God more specifically has plans for each good work. In verse 11 he begins to develop the idea that the gentiles were once without hope, without God. He does not mean that no gentiles believed in God -- anthropology shows a belief in God or gods is widespread. And Romans 2:14-16 implies an acceptance of God in gentiles. But many did not know the true God explicitly. And Paul is here in a focused style of presentation: the system of being a gentile as such does not give hope.5 Not all pagans knew of any reward and punishment in the next life. On the problem of when the Jews came to know this, please see again our comments on Philippians 1, and 2 Corinthians 5. But now those who once were far off from being members of the people of God (gentiles), and those who were near are joined in the blood of Christ. So He is our peace. He broke down the wall -- may allude to the wall in the temple area which gentiles could not pass beyond. By His death He has removed the old regime of the law: all depends on faith. (In saying the old regime of the law is gone, Paul is not contradicting Jesus. Jesus said that He came not to destroy but to fulfill the law. But He also said we must become like little children to enter the kingdom of heaven: children know that their inheritance and the care of their parents is not earned. Yet they could earn to lose it. 2 Peter 3:15-16 tells us Paul often speaks unclearly. Very true. In his own

way, Paul says the same thing as Jesus had said, in 1 Corinthians 6:910 where he [Paul] lists the chief sins and says those who do them, "will not inherit the kingdom." So Paul does not contradict Jesus in saying we are free from the law, and depend on faith. Children do not, on the positive side, earn their inheritance, but could earn to lose it. We could add this: Actually, obedience is an essential part of faith, as we see in Romans 1:5, even though obedience does not earn salvation. In Galatians 5:22-23 Paul lists the fruits of the Spirit, and says [5:18]: "If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law," for the Spirit leads one to act as Christ did, and that means not breaking the law). He has made all into one new man. He has removed the former enmity. Paul of course here refers to Jews who have accepted Christ, not to those who still rejected Him. The Jews who accepted Christ are made into one people of God, with the gentile converts. Paul says both Jew and gentile have access in one spirit to the Father. Then it was hard to gain access to a king. Even today, it is hard to gain access to an important person, even just the president of a corporation. But Christians have access to the Father. Hence they are no longer outsiders, but are fellow citizens of the people of God. They are a temple built on the foundation predicted by the prophets, laid by the Apostles. Its cornerstone is Christ. Since He is that, the whole building is fitted together, and grows into a holy temple in the Lord, by whose action they are made into a living temple of the Spirit. Summary of Ephesians, Chapter 3 For the sake of this, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for them, the gentiles -- assuming that they have heard of the ministry of the grace of God given to Paul for them, namely, that by revelation the mystery was made known to him, as he wrote briefly before. In reading it they can see his insight into the mystery of Christ that was not revealed to other generations of people as it is now revealed to his holy apostles. The mystery is this: The gentiles are fellow heirs, and form part of the same body, and are fellow participators in the promise of Christ through the Gospel, of which Paul became a minister according to the gift of God's grace given him, according to the working of God's power. To Paul, the least of all the holy ones, was given the grace to preach to the gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to give light to all on what is the divine arrangement of the mystery hidden from the aeons, in God Who created all things, so that the manifold wisdom of God according to His eternal plan might be made known to the principalities and powers in heavenly places, through the Church -- the plan which He brought to reality in Christ Jesus our Lord, in Whom Paul and they can have access to God and can confidently speak freely through faith in Christ. Paul asks them not to be disheartened over his trials, which are for their glory. Therefore he bends his knees to the Father, from Whom is

named every family in the heavens and on the earth, so He may grant them, according to the riches of His glory, to be made strong with power through His Spirit, for the sake of the inner man, so Christ may live through faith in their hearts, so that they may be rooted and strengthened in love so as to be able to grasp with all the holy ones, what is the breadth and the length and the height and the depth, and to know the love of Christ that is beyond knowledge, so they may be filled to all the fullness of God. To Him who is able to do everything more abundantly than we ask or think, according to His power at work in Paul -- to Him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus for all generations of the ages of ages. Amen. Comments on Chapter 3 The first few words of this chapter lead no where grammatically: "For the sake of this, I, Paul, prisoner of Christ Jesus for you, the gentiles." Then he goes on to a different grammatical structure. This sort of thing is called anacolouthon, "not following." It can happen when one is in a long sentence. We have seen Paul do it several times before this. The problem of the next words "assuming you have heard . . ." has been covered in the introduction to this Epistle. The mystery is that gentiles now are called by God to be members of the people of God, the Church. Paul has received the special grace of preaching this, even though he is the least of all Christians. He probably means that he once persecuted the Church, out of misguided zeal, as he says in 1 Corinthians 15:9. The love shown by the Father in Christ in this is unsearchable, beyond our ability to understand. The mystery was hidden from previous times -- or, hidden from the spirit powers. Now it is made known to principalities and powers in heavenly places. These are part of the same set of names Paul used in Colossians for the spirit powers. There it finally became clear he meant evil spirits (2:15), though it is true the Jews could use such words for angels. Now, thanks to this grace, Christians have access to God and are able to speak freely to Him. Paul kneels to the Father from whom every family exists -- for there is a Hebraism which uses "name" to stand practically for existence. The words "inner man" are familiar in St. Paul. They mean the whole interior life, the heart: 2 Corinthians 4:6; Romans 7:22-23. It is not clear to what the words breadth, length, height and depth refer. Probably they refer to the immeasurable love of Christ for us, for it surpasses knowledge. The "fullness of God" seems to be Christ, in Whom is the fullness of divinity: Colossians 1:19; 2:9. See also Ephesians 4:13 where Paul prays that they may reach the fullness of likeness to Christ. Paul prays they may grow into the fullness of spiritual growth that comes from Christ. (The Greek word is pleroma, often used by Gnostics, as we saw in Colossians).

Summary of Ephesians 4:1-16 Paul, the prisoner in the Lord, urges them to live their lives in a way worthy of their calling to the People of God, in all humility, meekness, in long-suffering, bearing with one another in love. They should be eager to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond that binds them together in peace. There is one body of Christ of which they are members, one Spirit, just as they were called to the Church in the one hope of their call. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God, and Father of all who is over all, and through all and in all. To each and every one of them is given grace according to the measure in which Christ gives it. So Scripture says: "Going up on high, He took captivity captive, He gave gifts to men." The words "He went up" what do they mean except that He also went down into the lower parts of the earth? The one who went down is the same one who also went up above all the heavens, so He could fill all things. And He made some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some shepherds and teachers, in order to equip the holy ones with means to salvation, so as to build up the body of Christ until all will come together into the unity of faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to be a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. So they should no longer be children tossed about, carried about by every wind of false teaching, by the deception of men who are willing to do just anything, to lead people into error. Rather, they should live out the truth in love, and grow in every respect into Him Who is the head, that is, Christ. Through Him the whole body is joined together and united together throughout every juncture with which it is supplied, so as to bring about the growth of the body so it may be built up in love. Comments on 4:1-16 Paul now has completed the doctrinal part of the Epistle, and starts the moral exhortation. He tells them they should live according to the privileged call they have received, the call to be full members of the people of God. So they ought to be eager for the unity that comes from the Holy Spirit. For there is one body of Christ and one Spirit as well as one Lord, One Father, one Baptism, one God and the Father of all. When Paul says grace is given by measure, we already have a hint that he is not speaking of the sanctifying graces, essential for salvation -- those He offers in abundance to all, for because of the infinite price of redemption, which was offered for each individual person (as we saw in Galatians 2:20) the offer of grace must be superabundant. But here Paul refers to charismatic graces. In these, the rule is that the Spirit gives as He wills. This is confirmed when in verse 11 he enumerates charismatic functions, which are needed to build up the body of Christ, until the Church, and we, all reach spiritual maturity in likeness to Christ.

To illustrate here, Paul quotes from Psalm 68:19, following the Septuagint version, which spoke of a triumphal procession of God. The word captivity can mean a host of captives, either redeemed humans, or the captive diabolic spirits. Both views are found in the Fathers of the Church. Christ went up above the heavens, and also went down into the depths. Some think this is said to show He took possession of all creation, so as to fill all things. The words about going down may refer to His descent into the realm of the dead after His death. The Fathers generally say that the just of the Old Testament period were not allowed to reach the vision of God until after the death of Christ. But after His death, He would go to announce they could come to heaven. A homily by an unknown author used in the Roman Breviary on Holy Saturday, in an imaginative but beautiful way, dramatizes this: "The Lord went in to them, carrying the victorious arms of the cross. When Adam, our first parent saw Him, beating his breast in amazement, he exclaimed to all and said: 'My Lord with all.' And Christ answering said to Adam: 'And with your spirit.' And taking his hand he lifted him up saying: 'Awake you who sleep, and rise from the dead, and Christ will shine upon you. [These words are from Ephesians 5:14 -- which may be from an early baptismal liturgy.] I am your God, Who because of you became your Son; and for the sake of those who descended from you I now say, and with power I give the command to those in chains: 'Go out'; and to those in darkness: 'Be illumined'. And to those who sleep: 'Get up.' I command you. Get up, you who sleep. I did not make you to be kept bound in the underworld. Rise from the dead; I am the life of the dead. Rise, work of my hands; rise, my image, made to my likeness. Arise, let us go out from here.'" With the aid of such means and helps, all should come together into complete unity and knowledge of the Son of God, to be fully mature in conformity with Christ. The charisms are aimed at developing both the individual and the body of Christ, the Church. So they should avoid the false teachers, who are willing to do just anything (panourgia) to attain their ends. They should live out the truth. At times the New Testament uses truth to stand for all that is moral, lie for the opposite (cf. John 3:21: "The one who does the truth, comes to the light.") God has, as it were, in His mind, the ideal for each of us: to match up with it is to be "true to form" -- hence the probable reason for the language about truth. Verse 16 is in tortured language (which Paul uses at times, and so this helps us to think Paul wrote Ephesians). It does express the vital influence of Christ the Head on every bit of His body, the Church. Summary of Ephesians 4:17-32 So Paul bears witness in the Lord that they should no longer live like the gentiles, in the foolishness of their mind, with their spiritual understanding being progressively more and more darkened and alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that comes

from the gradual hardening of their hearts. They have become dull, and so have given themselves to unbridled luxury so as to carry out all uncleanness in their greed for more and more uncleanness. This is not the way of life they have learned from Christ -- assuming that they have listened to Him and been taught in Him in Whom is the truth. So they must put aside the old way of life, that of the old man, who is being corrupted according to desires that deceive him. Instead they must be made new in their mind where the Spirit dwells, so as to put on the new man, the one newly created according to God in righteousness and the holiness of truth. So they must put aside the lie and speak the truth with every one, for we are members of one another. If they are angry they should restrain anger so as not to sin. They should not continue their anger a long time, and should avoid giving an opening to the devil. Anyone who has been stealing should stop it, and instead work, laboring with his own hands, in order to have something to give to the needy. No evil word should come out from their mouth, but only good things, to provide help where needed, so it may be an external grace to those who hear them. They should avoid grieving the Holy Spirit by their way of life -- that Spirit who has sealed them until the day of final redemption, when Christ returns. They should give up all bitterness, and wrath and anger, and shouting and blasphemy, along with all malice. May they be kind to one another, of good disposition, forgiving one another as God forgave them in Christ. Comments on 4:17-32 The opening exhortation here reminds us of chapter 1 of Romans, which described graphically the gradual descent, deeper and deeper, into blindness and sins of all sorts, as they went down on the spiral in the bad direction, the very opposite of growing in Christ. From Christ they should learn to put aside their old way of life, so as to put on the new man, who is created in moral rightness and holiness. That language of course hardly fits with the classic Lutheran notion that even after justification, a person remains totally corrupt: the merits of Christ are thrown over him like a white cloak, and God will not look under the rug where everything is foul. Again we meet the language about lie vs. truth, standing for immorality vs. righteousness. The sentence about anger is ambiguous. It probably means: Even if you are angry, restrain yourselves so as not to be more angry than the case merits -- for not all anger is wrong. There should be a limit to anger, the end of the day. Otherwise the devil gets an opportunity. They have been sealed by the Holy Spirit -- a thought we have seen more than once before. The Holy Spirit marks them as His own

property, seals them so they should stay that way until Christ returns at the end, which is the day of the completion of redemption. We have just the beginning of redemption now. The word for forgiving here is again charizein, which means "to make a present of the debt to someone." It reflects the concept which we have seen especially in Romans, that sin is a debt. Summary of Ephesians 5:1-20 They should imitate God, as His beloved children, and should walk in love even as Christ loved them and gave Himself up for them, an offering and victim to God, for a sweet odor. No one should be able to say that there is any sexual looseness or uncleanness or greed among them. Holy ones should be free of these things. Obscenity and foolish talk and scurrility also should not be known among them, but instead, thanksgiving to God. For no sexually loose person or unclean person, or greedy one (which is worship of idols) will inherit the kingdom of Christ and God. May no one deceive them with empty words: on account of such things the anger of God comes upon unbelieving persons. So they should not share with them. Once they were darkness, but now they are light in the Lord. So they should live like children of the light. The fruit of light is all goodness, righteousness and truth. They should try to find what is well-pleasing to the Lord, and not share in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead condemn such things. For what they do in secret, it is shameful even to talk about. For everything that is brought to light becomes visible, for what is visible is light. Hence it says: Awake you who sleep, and rise from the dead, and Christ will shine upon you. So may they be careful how they live, not as unwise, but as wise, redeeming the time, for the days are evil. So he urges them not to be foolish but to be intelligent instead. And they should not be drunk with wine for in it is debauchery. Rather let them be filled with the Spirit, and speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and psalming in their hearts to the Lord, giving thanks always for everything to God the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Comments on 5:1-29 Little needs to be said here, for the exhortations are rather general and easy to understand. When Paul says sexual looseness, etc., should not be mentioned among them, he does not mean they should not even speak of the subject. Rather, it means that no one should be able to charge them with these things. When he says greed is worship of idols there are two possible meanings, for Greek pleonexia means wanting more and more -- it could be more of loose sex, or more of money. Verse 14, with its little verses "awake you who sleep. . . ." is likely to be a fragment of an old hymn or perhaps a hymn used in baptismal liturgy. In the Eastern Church it was often said in the patristic age that to be baptized is to be illumined.

"Redeeming the time" is unclear. It could mean making the best use of everything now -- but since it says the days are evil, it more likely means make the best of a world in which the influence of the principles of Satan is so strong. Wine, he says, leads to debauchery, for much drink loosens inhibitions. Hence the Romans called the god of wine liber (the word has the root of free). He wants them to be filled with the Spirit instead of wine, and to sing in the liturgy. He probably refers to charismatic manifestations, which were common in his day. Summary of Ephesians 5:21-33 They should be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. Wives should subject themselves to their own husbands, as to the Lord, for the man is the head of the woman, just as Christ is the head of the Church. Christ is the savior of His body, which is the Church. But as the Church is subject to Christ, similarly, the wives should be subject to their husbands in all things. Husbands must love their wives even as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it, to sanctify it, cleansing it by the bath of water and the word, so He could present to Himself a glorious Church, without stain or wrinkle or anything else of the sort, so the Church might be holy and blameless. On the model of Christ, husbands should love their own wives, as they love their own bodies. For he who loves his own wife loves himself. No one ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and warms it, as Christ does for His Church. For we are members of the body of Christ. So a man will leave his parents and will cleave to his wife, and they will be two in one flesh. This is a great mystery; Paul speaks in reference to Christ and the Church. Therefore each one should love his wife as he loves himself. And let the wife respect her husband. Comments on Ephesians 5:21-33 The opening verse, 21, sets the tone of being compliant with one another. After that Paul does state clearly the subordination of wives to husbands. On this please recall the very basic comments made on the parallel passage in Colossians (3:18-19). Paul shows by the theological framework that he is not just affirming a social custom of the time: the relation of the wife to the husband is parallel to that of the Church to Christ. He adds that Christ is the savior of His body, the Church. It is difficult to press this part of the parallel, unless we would say that Christ wills that graces flow to the wife through the husband. But it is evident that often enough in practice it is the wife who, being more religious, must help to save the soul of the husband. But in spite of this subjection, Paul insists on a total love and devotion of the husband to the wife, the kind Christ showed in literally giving Himself for His Church.

Christ willed to make the Church clean and holy by the bath and the word -- most commentators easily agree this refers to Baptism, even though the word bath, Greek loutron is not often used in Scripture for baptism. Yet the related verb louo is used for religious washings even in secular Greek. Commentators often point out that both Greeks and Jews had a ceremonial bath for the bride before being given to her husband. This may have helped suggest the image to Paul -- but no more than a suggestion. Paul speaks of the Church being without stain or wrinkle or any defect. This is a system as system picture, the sort of thing we saw several times in Romans, especially in chapters 7 and 8: The Church as such cannot produce anything but holiness. This does not at all deny that members, even high authorities, in the Church may be anything but holy. Husbands should love their wives as they do their own bodies: they are two in one flesh (Gen 2:24). And both are members of the body of Christ. Paul speaks of a great mystery. Commentators ask if he means that marriage is a symbol of the union of Christ with the Church of if he refers instead directly to the union of Christ with the Church. Probably the latter. A mystery in Paul ordinarily means a truth long hidden, but gradually revealed. That would be true of the close union of Christ with the Church -- which can be compared to the marriage union, just as in the Old Testament (especially in Hosea) the relation of God and His people is compared to marriage. We could say that the marriage union foreshadowed the union of Christ with the Church. Finally, after repeating that husbands should love their wives, Paul adds that the wife should "fear" ( phobetai) her husband. This means merely respect, not fear in the usual sense of the word. Summary of Ephesians, Chapter 6 Children should obey their parents in the Lord, for this is what is right. "Honor your Father and your Mother" is the chief commandment with a promise, "so it may be well with you, and you may be long-lived on the land." Fathers should be careful not to cause such stress to their children as to break their spirits. They should nourish them with education and with instructions in the Lord. Slaves should obey their human masters with respect, in simplicity of heart, as obeying Christ. They should do it not only when the masters are watching, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from their heart, serving the Lord, and not men, with readiness. For they ought to know that each one, if he does anything good, will receive recompense for it from the Lord, whether he be a slave or a free man. Masters should act similarly to the slaves, and not threaten them, knowing that the Lord of both slaves and masters is in the heavens, and there is no respect of persons with Him.

As for the rest, may they be strengthened in the Lord and in the might of His power. They should put on the full armor of God, in order to be able to stand against the machinations of the devil. For we do not wrestle just against flesh and blood opponents, but against the principalities, the powers, and the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spirits of evil in heavenly places. So Paul urges them: take up the full armor of God, in order to be able to stand on the evil day, after accomplishing everything they should do. Let their waist be girded with truth, and let them have on the breastplate of righteousness, and having put on their feet readiness to promote the Gospel of peace. Always and in everything let them take up the long shield of faith, by means of which they can extinguish all the fiery missiles of the evil one. They should put on the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God. In every prayer they should pray in the Spirit, and stay watchful, making petitions constantly for all the holy ones, and for Paul, so that an opening may be given him so he may open his mouth in fearless speech, to make known the mystery of the Gospel, for the sake of which he is a legate in chains, so that in it he may speak freely as he should. Tychicus the beloved and faithful brother and minister in the Lord will give them a report on Paul's situation. Paul has sent Tychicus for this very reason, to tell them about him, and to encourage their hearts. Peace to all the brothers, and love along with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. May grace be with all those who love the Lord Jesus Christ, in unfailing love. Comments on Chapter 6 Objective moral rightness requires that children should obey their parents, out of respect for the Lord, and with His strength. The Holiness of God wills and loves all that is morally right. To honor father and mother does not mean only to obey, but also to provide financial support for them in their old age, if they need it. Even more, they may need psychological support. To put a parent into a nursing home and then to seldom if ever come to visit is a great violation of this commandment. When we were little, our parents provided for all our needs, at great sacrifice, with great generosity. When they need us at the other end of life, we should say: Now it is our turn. Paul speaks of this commandment as the first one with a promise. There is also a promise in Exodus 20:5-6 just before this commandment. To explain this -- Paul surely knew the commandments -- he might think of it as the first of the commandments that refers to neighbor, the other three refer to God. Or the word prote may be translated "chief, principal." For comments on Paul's attitude to slavery, please see again the comments on 1 Corinthians 7:17-24.

Paul says our struggle is not just against human opponents, but against the evil spirits -- we notice here he uses some of the terms he has used before, principalities and powers, and clearly means evil spirits. To conquer them we need the full spiritual armament of truth, righteousness, zeal for the Gospel, faith, looking ahead to the salvation promised us (for encouragement), and the word of God in Scripture. We saw Tychicus before in Colossians 4:7. He seems to be the bearer of both Ephesians and Colossians. He is mentioned briefly in Acts 20:4 as from the Roman province of Asia. END NOTES 1 Note in Context: Cf. Vatican I, as explained in Wm. G. Most, New Answers to Old Questions, London, 1971, 27 and Philip J. Donnelly, "St. Thomas and the Ultimate Purpose of Creation" in Theological Studies 2, 1941, 5383, and idem, ibid. 4, 1943, 3-33. 2 Note in Context: Please see again the comments on 1 Corinthians, chapter 2. 3 Note in Context: De malo q.5, a.3, ad 4. Cf. also DS 2626. 4 Note in Context: Please see again our comments on Philippians 2:13. 5 Note in Context: On focusing in general, please see comments on Galatians 2:15-21. "Chapter 12. The Pastoral Epistles" Introduction Denials of Paul's authorship of these Epistles is even stronger than it was for Colossians and Ephesians. But the reasons given are not really stronger. The ancient witnesses who say these are by Paul are very similar to those for other Epistles. The Muratorian Canon, from the second half of the second century, lists them as Scripture, and seems to mean they are by Paul. St. Irenaeus, Tertullian, St. Hippolytus and Origen quote lines from these and explicitly say they are from Paul. Eusebius the first church historian says the 14 Epistles (including Hebrews) are clearly by Paul. Still earlier, they seem to have been used by St. Clement I (in 2.7 he cites an expression used in Titus 3:1; 2 Timothy 2:21 and 3:17). St. Polycarp (in 4.1) cites from 1 Timothy 6:7. Objections against Pauline authorship are all merely internal, and not very strong: 1) Style and vocabulary -- but we have already seen especially from the example of Tacitus (in introduction to Colossians) that such arguments are never conclusive.

2) Errors he opposes seem to be Gnostic , but Gnosticism was not around in the first century. But at least the beginnings of Gnosticism are now known to have been around then. Further, the errors need not be strictly Gnostic. The errors much more likely came from within Judaism, as we can see for example from Titus 1:14 and 3:9. 3) Organization of Church seems more advanced . This is not surprising for these are the latest Pauline letters. In fact, already in Philippians we find mention of Bishops and Deacons. Acts 14:23 reports that at the end of Paul's first missionary expedition he installed presbyters in every town. And 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 speaks of authorities at Thessalonika. In the letters of St. Ignatius of Antioch (c.107-110) we find a very well developed hierarchy. 4) Stress on deposit of faith -- not strange for these are two major pastors, Timothy in charge of Ephesus, Titus, of Crete. But we find Paul stressing tradition elsewhere: 1 Corinthians 11:2 & 23; 15:1 & 3; Galatians 1:8-9; Philippians 4:9; Colossians 2:6-7; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 3:6. On the other hand, Paul does often speak in these letters of justification by faith, not by works, as we shall see. 5) Paul's travels after 63 hard to fit in. -- Really, we have little definite information about his movements after he was released from captivity in Rome in 63, since Acts breaks off at that point. But we can make a plausible reconstruction: Soon after his release, Paul did go to Spain, and then came back to Rome. In July 64 came the great fire, and persecution followed. Paul soon left Rome, hiding from the imperial police. Early in 65 he was in Ephesus with Timothy (1 Tim 1:3). After some time he set out for Macedonia, where he wrote First Timothy. From there he may have gone to Corinth, and then went with Titus to preach in Crete. After making a good start there, he left Titus in charge in Crete, and he himself went somewhere else, we know not where. He decided to spend the winter in Nicopolis (probably the winter of 65-66. But there are several cities of that name, probably he went to the one in Epirus). He wrote to Titus to join him there. He must have worked hard in Nicopolis (Titus 3:12) and nearby. Later he sent Titus to Dalmatia (2 Tim 4:10). The next thing we know he has been arrested, and is a prisoner at Rome. He seems to have left in a hurry when arrested, for he left his cloak and parchments at Troas (2 Tim 4:13). From there he would have gone to the capital of the province. He then had few defenders. He was probably in prison in Rome in about 67, and wrote 2 Timothy there. Then came a second hearing, and a death sentence was given. He was beaten, and then beheaded, probably outside the city. A tradition from the second century says it was at Aquas Salvias, which is about three miles from Rome, on the road to Ardea. He was buried at once nearer Rome, along the Ostian Way. In 258 because of threat of desecration in the persecution of Valerian, the body of Paul was moved

to catacombs on the Appian Way. Later it was brought back to its original place, and Constantine built a basilica over it. Whether or not this reconstruction is correct, and whether or not Paul wrote these Pastorals, they are part of inspired Scripture. If one denies Paul was their author, the dates suggested would be 61-63 at Rome. We even have a detailed account, of uncertain value, of the end of Paul in the apocryphal Acts of Paul (2nd-3rd century) which says Paul had been brought before the Emperor, and then condemned. Paul told the Emperor he would arise after his death and appear to him. Paul told of Christ to the prefect Longus and the centurion Cestus. When Paul as beheaded, milk spurted upon the soldier's clothing. Paul later came, about the ninth hour, and appeared to Caesar. He said: "Caesar, here I am, Paul, God's soldier. I am not dead, but alive in my God. But for you, unhappy man, there will be many evils and great punishment, not many days after this." Longus and Cestus went at dawn and approached the tomb of Paul with fear. They saw two men, Titus and Luke, praying there, and Paul between them. Titus and Luke baptized Longus and Cestus. Summary of 1 Timothy, Chapter 1 Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus, by the command of God our Savior, and Jesus Christ our hope, writes to Timothy, his true son in the faith and wishes him grace, mercy, peace from God the Father and Jesus Christ the Lord. Just as he had urged him before, when setting out for Macedonia to stay at Ephesus . . . [so now] he urges him to command certain persons not to teach a different doctrine, and to give up myths and endless genealogies, which are the occasion for discussions instead of divine learning in faith. Paul commands this out of love, from a clean heart, and a good conscience, and unfeigned faith. But certain persons have not complied, and instead have gone into vain talk, wanting to be teachers of the law, without understanding what they say, or the things they strongly assert. We know the law is good if one uses it lawfully. We know that the law is not laid down for the righteous, but for lawless and disobedient ones, who are impious and sinners, unholy and profane, killers of fathers and mothers, murderers of men, sexually loose, who lie with males, kidnappers, liars, perjurers and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine as it is found in the Gospel of the glory of the Blessed God, the doctrine entrusted to Paul. Paul thanks Christ Jesus the Lord who has made him able to work, for the Lord considered Paul faithful and established him in the ministry, even though he was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a proud man. But Paul received mercy, since he acted in ignorance and in unbelief. But the grace of the Lord has been superabundant for him, along with faith and love that are in Christ. We can be sure of this: that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of which Paul is the

chief. On account of this Paul was given mercy, so that in him first of all Jesus Christ might display all His long-suffering, and might provide a compendious example of those who are going to believe in Him for everlasting life. Therefore: to the King of the ages, incorruptible, invisible, the only God, may there be honor and glory for ages of ages. Amen. Paul solemnly commands his son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously spoken about him, to fight a good fight according to these prophecies, having faith and a good conscience, which certain persons reject, and as a result have made a shipwreck of their faith. Such are Hymenaeus and Alexander whom Paul has handed over to Satan, so they may learn not to blaspheme. Comments on Chapter 1 In verse three Paul starts a sentence, and then completes it in a different structure: anacolouthon. The summary above makes the sense clear. We see soon that Paul is concerned about errors in doctrine, involving myths and endless genealogies. These could be Gnostic errors, equally well could be Jewish speculations. He asks Timothy, who is in charge of Ephesus, to guard against them. He indulges in a play on words: the law is good if used lawfully. He means that the just, since they follow the Spirit of Christ, do not have to look at the law -- they will be led by the Spirit and so avoid any violations. Paul enumerates some of the chief great sins against the law. For to violate the law means eternal ruin. 1 As one student said, whom we have quoted more than once above: "As to salvation, you cannot earn it, but you can blow it." Paul next says he was once a persecutor and a blasphemer -- he means, when he persecuted Christians. He was in good faith, but that did not excuse it. So he calls himself the chief of sinners. Please recall the comments made on 1 Corinthians 4:4. In verse 18 he solemnly commands Timothy to fight a good fight, according to the prophecies previously made about him. Most likely by prophecy Paul means not predictions of the future -- though that is possible -- but the words spoken with the imposition of Paul's hands in ordination, as we could gather from 4:14 below, and from the way Paul uses the word prophecy elsewhere, especially in 1 Corinthians 12-14. Paul even mentions by name two of the false teachers. Hymenaeus, according to 2 Timothy 2:17-18, taught that the resurrection had already taken place. The Alexander mentioned here is probably the same as Alexander the coppersmith of whom Paul speaks in 2 Timothy 4:14-15, who did Paul harm at his trial. Paul considers both as apostates, they have made shipwreck of the faith. So he has handed them over to Satan. This is probably more than a mere excommunication. Compare comments on 1 Corinthians 5:5. Paul

hands them over to Satan to be worked over, to be brought to their senses, so save them from final ruin. Summary of 1 Timothy, Chapter 2 Paul urges prayers for kings and all in authority, so that they may make it possible for Christians to live peacefully in piety and dignity. God wants all to be saved, to come to the knowledge of the truth in His Church. There is only one God and one mediator between God and man, a man Christ Jesus. He gave Himself as the price of our redemption. He gave testimony at the proper time to the plans of the Father for our salvation. Paul was appointed herald and apostle of this truth, the teacher of the truth and faith to the gentiles. Paul wants men to pray with hands upraised in every place where Christians assemble, without anger, without hostile thought. In a similar way he wants the women to adorn themselves in suitable dress, with respect and moderation, not with artificial hair styles and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather, as it fitting for women, showing a promise of piety through good works. A woman should learn silently, in submission. Paul does not allow a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, and then Eve. Adam was not the first to be deceived -- the woman was, and was involved in transgression. But a woman will be saved through bearing and rearing children, if she remains in faith and holiness with modesty. Comments on First Timothy, Chapter 2 Paul asks for prayers for rulers, so they may let Christians live in peace. At this time the chief Roman authority was Nero, then at about his worst. God wants all to reach salvation, and wants it to be done through full membership in the Church, even though as we saw in Romans 2:14-16, without formal entrance into the Church, a person can be saved. There is only one God and one Mediator, Jesus Christ. He is the only one who by His very possession of two natures, divine and human, naturally goes between God and our race. Further, He is the only necessary Mediator, and the only Mediator that can act by His own power. Paul does not thereby exclude other lesser, secondary mediators, whose very power to act depends on the great Mediator. In His love of good order 2 God loves to have one thing in place to serve as a reason or title for giving the other thing, even though that reason does not strictly move Him, for He cannot be moved. Hence, in His love of objective order, and His love of us, He is pleased to make everything as rich as possible: He could have restored our race by even a mere animal sacrifice -- or could have sent His Son to be born in a palace, and to ascend after a short prayer -- that would have been infinite in worth -- but He chose to go beyond infinity, to go beyond the palace to the stable, beyond a short prayer to the cross.

He even, as Vatican II tells us,3 wanted to join the obedience of Our Lady, His Mother to the obedience of Jesus, in the covenant condition which was obedience, to make the titles for giving grace and forgiveness as rich as possible. This all pertains to the objective redemption, the process of acquiring a title to all forgiveness and grace, once for all. There is also the work of giving out the fruits of this objective redemption, namely, the subjective redemption. And again in it, He wills to make all as rich as possible, and so in spite of the infinity of the merits of Christ, and the marvelous merits of Our Lady, He wills to add even ordinary mediators, the saints. Jesus gave Himself as the price of our Redemption, as we saw in commenting on 1 Corinthians 6:20 and 7:23. In this way, Jesus showed the concern of the Father for all good, and for our well-being. As part of this, He appointed Paul teacher of the gentiles. Paul wants men to pray with holy hands upraised in every assembly of the Church, with placid mind. He also wants the women to be there in suitable dress, with respect and moderation -- in contrast to artificial hairdos, and adornments of gold and pearls and expensive robes, which could unduly distract men. We think again of 1 Corinthians 11 on veils for women. They should not distract the men by making themselves needlessly appealing during services in the church. As he said in 1 Corinthians 14:34, he wants women to be silent in the church, and not to take authority. Adam was made first, the woman second. And Adam was not deceived, but Eve was and she deceived Adam. Women will reach salvation by carrying out the duties of their state in life -- ordinarily (except for those who will profess religious virginity) this will mean having a family and raising the children in the love and fear of God. To form children in the likeness of Jesus and His Mother is a far greater accomplishment than to carve marble like Michelangelo. In speaking of childbearing Paul perhaps also speaks against the false teachers who forbade marriage at that time. In this connection we recall that Jesus Himself spent about 30 out of 33 years in family life, showing how highly the Father values a good family life. Summary of 1 Timothy, Chapter 3 We can be sure of this: that if someone desires to be a Bishop he desires a good work. So the Bishop must be blameless, married only once, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, a good teacher, not addicted to drink, not violent but gentle, abstaining from quarreling, and not fond of money. He should be fully in charge of his own house, keeping his children in subjection with all dignity. If someone does not know how to manage even his own home, how could he manage the Church of God? A Bishop should not be a recent convert, for then he might become proud and fall into the condemnation of the devil. He

must also have a good reputation with those outside the Church, so he may not be reproached or fall into a trap of the devil. Similarly deacons must be worthy of respect, not double tongued, not given to much wine, not desiring filthy gain, holding to the mystery of faith in a clean conscience. They should be tested first, and then, if they are found to be without reproach, serve as deacons. The women similarly must be worthy of respect, not slanderers or detractors, sober, faithful in all things. The deacons must be married once, well in charge of their children and their own homes. For those who serve well as deacons gain for themselves honor and much confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus. Paul is writing thee things to him, even though he hopes to come to him very soon, but if he is delayed, so he may know how it is necessary to conduct himself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, and is the pillar and support of the truth. All agree that the mystery of piety is great, "which became manifest in the flesh, was shown righteous in the Spirit, appeared to angels, was preached among the gentiles, was believed in the world, and was taken up in glory." Comments on Chapter 3 Paul does not mention priests or presbyters. The two words were not clearly separate at that time. Thus in Acts 20:17 & 28 the same persons are given the two names. In Titus 1, if we compare verses 5 & 7, Paul seems to use the two words indiscriminately. The qualities required of bishops and deacons are rather similar and obviously needed. It is puzzling that Paul injects a mention of women in the middle of his words on deacons. Most likely he means the wives of deacons, for that would fit well enough. To mention deaconesses would be a strange sequence of thought. Deaconesses were not ordained, as Canon 19 of the First General Council, Nicea, tells us, but helped with baptisms and with the sick. Some have understood verse 13 to mean that if a man serves well as a deacon he has taken a good step, on the way to becoming a priest. This would not fit well historically, for then the diaconate was permanent. The last words, "who was manifested in the flesh . . ." refer to Christ. They seem like an early hymn. The "mystery of piety" could refer to Him, or to God's plan for the world. Summary of 1 Timothy, Chapter 4 The Spirit foretells that in the last times some will give up the faith, and give themselves to lying spirits, to the teaching of demons. They will speak falsely in hypocrisy, they will be branded in their consciences. They will forbid marriage, and order abstention from foods which God created to be eaten with thanks. For every creature God has made is good, and nothing should be rejected that is taken

with a prayer of thanks to Him. For the food is made holy by the word of God and by prayer. In proposing these things to the people, Timothy will be a good servant of Jesus Christ, nourished by the words and faith, and by the good teaching he has followed. He must avoid profane, old-womanish fables. Go into training for piety. Bodily exercise is useful for a little, but piety is useful for everything since it contains the promise of life, the present life, and the future life. What Paul has just said is dependable, and worthy of all belief. It is for this reason that we labor and struggle, because we have had hope in the living God, who is the savior of all, especially the savior of the faithful. Timothy must command this and teach it. He should not let anyone look down upon him because he is young. Rather, he should become a model of the faithful in word, in his way of life, in love, faith, and purity. While Paul is on the way to him, he should apply himself to reading, exhortation, and teaching. He should not neglect the grace he has received by prophecy with the imposition of the hands of the presbyterium. He must train himself in this, be involved in this, so his progress may be evident to all. He should attend to himself and to doctrine, and persevere in these things, for by doing this he will save himself and those who hear him. Comments on Chapter 4 This is not the first time Paul warns of false teachers to come. In Acts 20:29-30 he predicted savage wolves would come and distort the truth. In 2 Thessalonians 2:3 he foretells a great apostasy before the end. In 2 Timothy 3 and 4 there are more predictions, even stronger than the present lines. When he says the false teachers will be branded in their consciences, he is alluding to the practice of branding criminals and fugitive slaves. The prohibitions against marriage, and restrictions on food need not come from Gnostics -- there were various other groups that said these things. In verse 6 he says if Timothy teaches the truth he will be a good diakonos, servant. Again as we saw in chapter 3, the words bishop and priest have not yet become precise. Paul tells him not to let anyone make light of him because of his youth -- he was about 35 at the time. Just as in 1:18, there is mention of "prophecies" about Timothy. In view of this verse, 4:14, it seems Paul refers to the prayers of ordination said with the imposition of hands. We recall from 1 Corinthians 12-14 that Paul's use of the word prophecy did not usually mean directly predictions of the future. Rather it referred to a moving exhortation to the people. Summary of 1 Timothy, Chapter 5 In giving corrections, Timothy should not be harsh on an elder, but should entreat him as a father, and speak to younger men as to

brothers, to older women as to mothers, to younger women as to sisters, in all purity. He should give financial support to widows, who really are such. But if some widow has children or grandchildren, they should first learn to do their duty towards those of their own household, and to make a return to parents. For this is pleasing in the eyes of God. The real widow is left alone, has hoped in God, and perseveres in supplications and prayers night and day. But a widow who indulges in pleasure is dead, even though seeming to be alive. Timothy should command too, that they live a life free of reproach. If anyone does not provide for his own and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever. A woman may be officially designated as a widow if she is not less than 60 years old, if she has been the wife of only one man, and has a record of good works, has raised her children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the holy ones, if she has helped those in trouble, if she has followed every good work. Timothy should avoid designating younger women as widows, for when they have indulged in pleasure not in accord with Christ, they want to marry. And they will be charged with having set aside their first commitment. At the same time they are idle and get used to going from one house to another, not only idly, but also as babblers and busybodies, speaking what they should not say. So it is better that the younger ones marry, have children, manage their houses, and give no occasion to the enemy so he can reproach them. For already some have turned and followed Satan. If any Christian woman has relatives who really are widows she should aid them, and not let the church be burdened, so the church may be able to aid those who really are good widows. Presbyters who preside well should be thought worthy of double honor, especially if they labor in the word and in teaching. For Scripture says: "You shall not muzzle the ox that is treading the grain" and "the laborer is worthy of his hire." Do not listen to a charge against a presbyter unless it is backed by two or three witnesses. Rebuke those who do sin in front of all, so the rest may fear. Paul charges Timothy before God and Christ Jesus and the good angels to observe what Paul has just said without prejudice and in impartiality. He urges Timothy not to hastily ordain anyone -- for he might share in the sins of another. He should keep himself pure, and no longer drink only water, but should take a little wine because of his stomach and his frequent infirmities. The sins of some are obvious, even before they go to judgment; but the sins of others are obvious only later on. Similarly, the good works

of some are evident and even when they are not, they will eventually come to light. Comments on Chapter 5 The "elder" in verse 1 is probably just any older man, not necessarily a presbyter/priest (as seems to be the cases in verse 19). Paul here is teaching respect for old age. The widows of whom he speaks are those who are officially designated by the church as such, and who therefore receive support from the church. Paul insists that if they have close relatives, these should care for them, and spare the church the burden. As to those whose husbands die when they are young, Paul does not favor putting them in the official status. Rather, he urges them to remarry. This does not contradict his advice in 1 Corinthians 7:8 that it is better not to remarry. There he was speaking of a spiritual plus to be had in abstention from marriage, as we explained there. But here he sees that those who are widowed young are not taking up the spiritual advantage, but rather are living in unsuitable ways, becoming busybodies. In verse 22 he warns against ordaining anyone without a careful check -- Timothy could be responsible for the sins of a bad candidate. We think here of Paul's teachings on involuntary sins in 1 Corinthians 4:4. Summary of 1 Timothy, Chapter 6 Paul urges those who are slaves to honor their masters, so that God's name and the way of Christ may not get a bad name. Even if the master is Christian, the slaves should not neglect their duties. Rather, they should be more inclined to serve them. Those who teach false doctrine are inflated with pride, and do not have true knowledge -- rather, they wander in word-battles and endless discussions, from which come envy, strife, blasphemies, evil suspicions, conflicts with those who think religion is a means of financial gain. Religion with contentment really is a great gain, though not financially. We came into this world with nothing, and when we leave we cannot take anything material with us. If we have food and shelter, that should be enough. For those who want to be rich fall into temptations and foolish desires. Love of money is a root of all evils. Some in this have wandered from the faith. But Timothy should flee these things, and instead pursue righteousness, piety, faith, love, patience, meekness. He should fight the good fight and gain the eternal life to which we are called, for which he made the good profession of faith before many witnesses. Just as Jesus Himself made the good confession before Pilate so Timothy should imitate Him while waiting for the manifestation of Jesus at the end. He alone has immortality, and lives in inaccessible light. To Him be honor and eternal power. Amen.

He wants Timothy to tell those who are rich in the worldly way not to be proud, or to put their hope in uncertain riches. Rather they should hope in God who provides us with all things. They should do good, and become rich in good works, sharing their wealth with others, and laying up a real treasure for themselves in the world to come. He ends by exhorting Timothy to guard well what has been entrusted to him, and to avoid vain and foolish ideas. Some going into those notions have erred in the faith. May grace be with him. Comments on Chapter 6 Paul's words about slaves here may be surprising. Please recall the explanations given earlier, in comments on 1 Corinthians 7:21. Paul returns again to warning about false doctrine. As we said earlier, we cannot be sure what kind of false teachers he may have in mind. They are more likely Jewish speculators than Gnostics, to judge from Paul's comments in the Epistle to Titus 1:14 and 3:9. In Titus 3:10 Paul will advise him to avoid such false teachers if they do not reform after one or two warnings. It seems these teachers are also trying to make money. So Paul speaks against the love of money. He calls it a root of all kinds of evils. He did not say the for there are other roots too. He says we cannot take money out of this world with us. But later, in verses 1819, he says one can have treasure in heaven by doing good now with money or otherwise, cf. Matthew 6:19-20. The profession of faith mentioned was that required for acceptance into the Church. Paul spoke of it also in Romans 10:9-10. Summary of Letter to Titus, Chapter 1 Paul, a slave of God, and Apostle of Jesus for the faith, in the hope of eternal life which the truthful God promised ages ago and revealed at the proper time by the word, which was entrusted to Paul, [Paul] wishes grace and peace to Titus, his true son in the common faith. Paul left Titus in Crete to put in order what Paul had not finished, and to establish presbyters city by city as Paul ordered. Titus should choose for this office men married once, having children who are of the faith, and having a good reputation. For a bishop should be above reproach, a servant of God, not self willed, not given to anger or wine, not quarrelsome or given to base gain. He should love hospitality and goodness, should be prudent, righteous, holy, self-controlled, holding firm to the word of faith as it is taught so he may be able to give exhortations in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict the faith. For there are many who are insubordinate, speaking foolishly, and are deceivers, especially those who are of the circumcision. It is important to silence these, for they overturn entire houses, teaching what is not right, for the sake of shameful gain. In fact, a Cretan prophet said: "Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons." Paul believes this is true. So Titus must answer them sharply, to bring them

to the sound faith instead of Jewish myths and the commands of men who turn aside from the truth. To the pure all things are pure. But to those who are defiled and without faith, nothing is clean, even their mind and conscience are defiled. They claim to know God, but deny Him with their actions, for they are abominable and disobedient and unfit for any good work. Comments on Chapter 1 Just as Paul put Timothy in charge of Ephesus, so he put Titus in charge of Crete. One work to be done is to establish presbyters in each city. Acts 14:23 says Paul established presbyters in each city already on his first missionary journey. First Thessalonians 5:12 speaks of those who are in authority, even though no name for the office is given. We note too that if we compare verses 5 and 7, the words presbyter and bishop are used indiscriminately. The qualities given for them here are much the same as those called for in First Timothy. The false teachers in verse 10 and following are clearly Jews. Titus 3:9 confirms this conclusion. They are proposing myths, claiming some foods are unclean by nature, and taking pay for their teaching. Paul speaks strongly. He says in verse 11 that Titus must refute them sharply (apotomos). In 3:10 he will say that if they do not reform after one or two warnings, Titus should avoid them. It is remarkable to see the sweeping words against Cretans in verse 12. Clement of Alexandria says the "prophet" was a Greek poet Epimenides of the 6th century B.C. The Greek historian Polybius, writing in the second century B.C. (6.46-47). makes the same sweeping charges. He says greed and avarice are "native to the soil" in Crete. He adds that the Cretans are full of treachery. Summary of Titus, Chapter 2 Paul urges Titus to give sound teaching, saying that the elders should be temperate, worthy of respect, prudent, sound in faith, in love, in patience. Similarly, older women should live the kind of life proper for those dedicated to God, should not be slanderers or given to drink, but teaching good to others, so they may prudently encourage the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to be prudent, chaste, taking good care of their homes, kind, submissive to their husbands, so the word of God may not be ill-spoken of. He should encourage the young men to be self-controlled. Titus should make himself a model of good works, in his teaching he should show integrity, seriousness, speaking soundly and such that any enemy may be ashamed of not having anything to reproach him with. He should exhort the slaves to obey their masters in all things, being well-pleasing, not contradicting, not stealing, but displaying real fidelity, so that they may be a credit to the teaching of our Savior God. For the grace of God our Savior has appeared to all, teaching them that they should avoid infidelity and worldly desires, and live lives of

self control, righteously and piously in this world, as they wait for the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of our Great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, so He might redeem us from all sin and cleanse for Himself a people of His own, one zealous for good works. Titus should speak these things with all authority, and should not let anyone look down on him. Comments on Chapter 2 The elder men in verse 2 are not priests/presbyters, as the context shows. He had already spoken of them in chapter 1. (The Greek word used here is presbytes, whereas in 1:5 it was presbyteros -- slightly different forms of the same root). Similarly the elder women are not widows officially accepted as such. They are merely older women inclined to be especially devout. The comments on slaves are much like what he has given in First Timothy. It is interesting that in verse 13 he speaks of Jesus as God. Ordinarily Paul uses the title Lord, which means the same. And we note the title of Savior -- true of course in view of the redemption. There may be also an implied comment on civil rulers who liked to have the title Savior. Summary of Titus, Chapter 3 Titus should remind the Christians to be submissive to the government and officers, ready to obey for every good work, so as to speak ill of no one, not to be inclined to quarrel, but to be gentle, and meek to all. We when we were not Christians were once foolish, disobedient, going astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, spending our days in malice and envy, despicable, hating each other. But when the kindness and love-of-men of God appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of works of righteousness that we did, but according to His mercy, through the bath of rebirth and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out richly on us through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, being justified by His love, we might be heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The truth of these things is dependable. Paul wants to confirm Titus in these things, so that those who have come to the faith may be concerned to be outstanding in good works. This is good and useful to people. He warns Titus to stay away from foolish investigations and genealogies, and strifes, and battles about the Mosaic law. After one or two warnings he should avoid a heretical man, for such a man is perverted and sins, and is self-condemned. When Artemas comes or Tychicus, Paul wants Titus to come to him at Nicopolis, for he has decided to spend the winter there. Titus should send Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way in such a way that they lack nothing. People should learn also to be outstanding in good works to meet important needs, so they may not lack fruit. All those who are with Paul

greet Titus. May Titus greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with all. Comments on Chapter 3 It is striking that Paul calls for obedience to the government at the very time when Nero was near the peak of his insanity. But they are to obey only in what is not wrong, being ready for every good work. Once they lived in an evil way, but when God's love appeared He saved us not by works -- but in justification by faith -- by His mercy, through Baptism and the Holy Spirit. We hyphenated "love-of-men" to indicate that in Greek it is just one word: philanthropia (philein -- love and anthropos -- man). By God's gift, which made us His adopted sons, we are heirs along with Christ (cf. Romans 8:17) and so can inherit eternal life. We do not basically earn it, even though as heirs we have a claim to it (which could be called, in a secondary sense, a merit: cf. DS 1532, 1582). Again, Paul warns of foolish genealogies and debates about the law -it looks again as though the opponents are Jews. In verse 10 Paul speaks of a man as hairetikos, which we rendered "heretical". But we must note that that word did not then have its modern technical sense. It could mean anyone who deviated from the teaching of the Church in any way. Such a man is autokatakritos, a very rare word. By its roots is must mean "self-condemned". We do not have any other mention of Artemas, but Tychicus may have been the bearer of the Epistles to Ephesus and Colossai, mentioned in Acts 20:4 as from the province of Asia. He is also mentioned in Ephesians 6:21. There were several cities called Nicopolis -- the one here is likely the one in Epirus, on the west coast of Greece. Zenas and Apollos may have brought this letter to Titus. Apollos is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 1:12. Please recall the comments given there. Summary of 2 Timothy, Chapter 1 Paul an Apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God for the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus, wishes grace, mercy, and peace from the Father and from Jesus to Timothy his beloved son. Paul gives thanks to God, whom he serves as his ancestors did, when he remembers Timothy in his prayers night and day, wanting to see him, remembering his tears so that Paul might be filled with joy, recalling Timothy's sincere faith, which was first in his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice, and surely is also in Timothy. Paul urges Timothy to reenkindle the grace which he received by the imposition of Paul's hands. God has not given a spirit of fear but of power, love and prudence. So Timothy must not be ashamed to bear witness to the Lord, nor be ashamed of Paul, the prisoner. Rather he should join Paul in suffering for the Gospel according to the power of God who saved all, and has called them in a holy calling, not because of their good works, but because of His own design and grace, given in

Christ Jesus, before eternal ages, but made manifest now, through the manifestation of the Savior Christ Jesus, who destroyed death, brought life and incorruption to light through His Gospel. Paul was appointed herald, apostle and teacher of it. For that reason Paul suffers as he does. Paul is not ashamed, for he knows who it is that he has put his faith in, and is convinced He has the power to keep his deposit until the final day. He urges Timothy to keep the standard of sound teaching which he has heard from Paul in faith and love in Christ. May Timothy keep the good deposit through the Holy Spirit who dwells in them. Timothy knows that all those in Asia deserted Paul, among them Phygelus and Hermogenes. He asks the Lord to have mercy on the house of Onesiphorus, who many times refreshed Paul and was not ashamed of Paul's chains. Rather, when he was in Rome, he earnestly sought Paul out and found him. So Paul prays that the Lord will grant mercy to Onesiphorus on that day. Timothy knows better than others how much he ministered to Paul in Ephesus. Comments on Chapter 1 Paul remembers Timothy's tears -- probably at their final parting, when both knew they would never see each other again in this world. Timothy was taught the faith by his grandmother Lois and mother Eunice -- Eunice is mentioned, not by name, in Acts 16:1, where we see his mother was Jewish. Just as in First Timothy, and in Titus, Paul urges them to reenkindle the grace of their ordination and to be brave. For God has not given them the spirit of fearfulness but of power, love, and prudence. Paul encourages Timothy to be prepared to suffer too for the Gospel. Jesus called them to their mission of preaching by an eternal decree. This was because of His own will, not because of good works they did. (This is not referring to justification by faith, but to the gift of apostleship). The deposit which Paul is sure Jesus will keep for him was, according to the Latin Fathers, the merit of his good works, according to the Greek Fathers, the deposit of the Gospel entrusted to Paul. At Paul's first hearing in the Roman province of Asia, nearly all deserted him, especially Phrygelus and Hermogenes.(We know only their names. They probably did not give up the faith, but were afraid). But Onesiphorus has proved faithful and managed to hunt up Paul in prison in Rome. Summary of 2 Timothy, Chapter 2 Paul begs Timothy to be strong in the grace of Christ, and to commend to other faithful men the things he has heard from Paul, so they in turn may be able to teach still others. He should be willing to endure evil like a good soldier of Christ. When one is on a military campaign, he does not involve himself in ordinary business -- he wants to please the commander. Similarly, if one competes in an athletic contest, he cannot win the crown unless he competes according to the rules of the game. And the farmer who labors should be the first to

share in the fruits. Paul urges him to understand, and promises the Lord will give him the needed understanding. He should remember that Jesus, of the line of David, was raised from the dead, as Paul preaches. For this Paul suffers evil, even to being in chains as if he were a worker of evil. But the word of God is not bound. Hence Paul patiently bears everything for the sake of the elect, so they too may attain the final salvation that is in Christ, with eternal glory. The teaching is dependable: [namely] If we have suffered with Him, we will also live with Him. If we endure patiently, we will reign with Him. If we deny Him, He too will deny us on the day of judgment. But if we are unfaithful to our commitment, He will still keep his covenant, for He cannot deny Himself. Timothy should keep on reminding people of these things and charge them before God not to get into wordy disputes, which are useless, and tend to the ruin of those who hear them. Rather, he should aim to make himself worthy of God's approval, a worker that is not ashamed, following a direct course on the word of truth. He should avoid wordy emptiness, for it tends to more impiety, and their talk will spread like gangrene. It is of this sort that Hymenaeus and Philetus are. They have left the truth, and say that the resurrection has already taken place. They subvert the faith of some. But the solid foundation of God holds, and has this inscription: "The Lord knows those who are His," and: "Let everyone who calls on the name of the Lord depart from iniquity." In a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also some of wood and of clay -- some for honor, some for dishonor. Those who cleanse themselves from such errors will be honorable vessels, sanctified, well-useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. Timothy should avoid youthful passions, and instead pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call upon the Lord with a pure heart. He should avoid foolish discussions and those that do not help spiritually, knowing that they beget strife. The servant of the Lord should not be quarrelsome, but meek to all,ready to teach, patient, in meekness teaching those who oppose. Perhaps God may give them repentance, so as to know the truth and escape the snare of the devil which captured them, to do his will. Comments on Chapter 2 We note especially in verse 2 how Paul makes provision for oral transmission of the faith -- Our Lord never told the Apostles: "Write some books -- get copies made -- pass them out -- tell the people to figure them out for themselves." This would be real folly. Yet that is what Protestantism supposes. Paul seems to know his end is near, he is glad to suffer for Christ, and he urges Timothy to be prepared to do so too. He says he will suffer for other Christians. This is the same thought as that we saw in Colossians 1:24: one member of Christ can make up for the failure of others to

make reparation for their own sins, to rebalance the objective order. He restates a grand theme of his compactly: If we suffer with Him, we will also reign with Him. We saw this in Romans 8:17 too. When Paul says that Christ remains faithful even if we are not faithful, He does not mean that we can sin, and He will still send us to Heaven. No, Pauline faith, as we saw before, includes the obedience that is faith (Rom 1:5). Faith which includes obedience cannot be the way to excuse disobedience as Luther held in writing to Melanchthon in Epistle 501: "Sin bravely but believe still more bravely." And in another Epistle to Melanchthon of August 1, 1521: ". . . you must bear a true and not a fictitious sin. God does not save people who are only fictitious sinners. Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly. . . . as long as we are here [in this world] we have to sin. No sin will separate us from the Lamb, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day."4 Paul warns again about the false teachers and even mentions two of them by name (we saw Hymenaeus in 1 Timothy 1:20 -- we know nothing of Philetus), who hold the resurrection has already taken place. They seem to mean only a mystical resurrection, in baptism, and deny a physical resurrection at the end of time. So many Greeks, especially Platonists, disliked the idea of a physical resurrection, as Paul found out on the Areopagus in Athens. They wanted eventually to escape reincarnation. The first of the two sayings on the foundation of God in verse 19 comes basically from Numbers 16:5. The second is suggested by expressions found in Isaiah 52:11; Numbers 16:26. The thought is an exhortation to sound doctrine. The comparison of the various vessels in a large house can stand for good and bad Christians, of various degrees. Verse 26 seems to mean that after being freed from the nets of the devil, the Christian can do God's will. Summary of 2 Timothy, Chapter 3 In the last days there will be difficult times, for people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, speaking evil against others, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, impious, lacking love, implacable, slanderers, profligates, inhuman, not loving good, betrayers, reckless, inflated with pride, loving pleasure rather than God, having the outward appearance of piety, but lacking its power. Timothy should avoid these. Some of these are men who worm their way into homes, and take captive silly women, weighed down with sins, led by manifold desires, always learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of truth. As Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so too these resist the truth, for they are men corrupted in their minds, reprobate in regard to the faith. But they will not get far, for their mindlessness will be evident to all, just as it was in the case of Jannes and Jambres.

But Timothy has followed Paul's teaching, his conduct, his resolution, his faith, his long-suffering, his love, his patience, and the persecutions, the sufferings that came to him in Antioch, in Iconium, in Lystra -- such persecutions Paul bore, and the Lord delivered him out of all of them. All who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and charlatans will go on to the worse, deceiving and being deceived. But Timothy should hold to the things he has learned and believed, and remember how from childhood he has known the sacred writings which can give wisdom for salvation, through the faith that is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture inspired by God is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, so that the man of God may be proficient and equipped for every good work. Comments on Chapter 3 "In the last days" can mean either all the time from the ascension to the return of Christ, or, more specially, the period just before His return at the end. Times then will be hard. Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 had predicted a great apostasy before the end. Jesus Himself said the same in Luke 18:8. Matthew 24:12 spoke similarly. How completely opposite this picture is to that foolish one drawn by Teilhard de Chardin, who held that just before the end, many or most people will be closely joined in love -- and perhaps even in telepathy! Some of these evil men will be false teachers, who will worm themselves into the homes of silly women who are loaded with sins. They will be always learning, yet never reaching the truth. It reminds us of some today who say: "Don't give me pat answers -- just questions!" Jannes and Jambres were traditional Jewish names for the magicians at the court of Pharaoh. (They are mentioned in the Targum of PseudoJonathan on Exodus 1:15; 7:11; Numbers 22:22). The prophecy that all who want to live religiously in Christ will encounter persecution is still true basically today (We may allow for a bit of Semitic exaggeration). In speaking of all Scripture as inspired, Paul does not give us a list. Surely, he refers only to the Old Testament, for most of the New Testament was not written at this time (probably 65 A.D.). Summary of 2 Timothy, Chapter 4 Paul charges Timothy before God and Jesus Christ, Who is going to be the judge of the living and the dead, and by His coming and His kingdom -- to preach the word, to apply himself to it, whether the time be opportune or inopportune, to correct, reprove, exhort, in all longsuffering and doctrine. For a time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, according to their whims, they will accumulate teachers for themselves, since they will be wanting to

have their ears tickled. They will turn aside their ears from the truth, and will turn instead to fables. But Timothy should be sober in everything, should endure evil, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill his ministry. Paul is already being poured out like a libation. The time of his being loosed from this life is at hand. Paul says he has fought the good fight, he has finished the course, he has kept the faith. For the rest, there awaits him the righteous crown which the Lord, the Just Judge, will give to him on that day -- not only to him, but to all who have loved His coming. He asks Timothy to come to him quickly, for Demas, loving this world, has left him and gone to Macedonia. Crescens went to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with him. He asks Timothy to take Mark along, for he would be very useful for the ministry. Paul has sent Tychicus to Ephesus. He asks Timothy to bring the cloak he left at Troas with Carpus, and the books, especially the parchments. Alexander the coppersmith did Paul much harm. The Lord will repay him according to his works. Paul asks Timothy to watch out for Alexander, for he has greatly resisted Paul's words. At Paul's first hearing and defense, no one stayed with him, all left him. He prays the Lord may not hold it against them. But the Lord stood by him and gave him strength so that through him the preaching might be completed and all the gentiles might hear it. Paul was delivered from the mouth of the lion. The Lord will deliver him from every evil work, and will save him for his kingdom, which is in the heavens. To Him be glory for ages of ages. Amen. He asks Timothy to greet Prisca and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus. Erastus has stayed at Corinth. Trophimus was left behind, sick, at Miletus. He asks Timothy to hurry to come before winter. Eubulus greets Timothy and Pudens, Linus, Claudia and all the brothers. May the Lord Jesus be with Timothy's spirit. May grace be with him. Comments on Chapter 4 After charging Timothy most solemnly to preach the truth in season and out of season, Paul predicts a time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, will prefer fables, will listen to various teachers, wanting their ears tickled. If one believes in the Fatima prophecy of the conversion of Russia, followed by a "certain" period of peace, then he will not think we have the fulfillment of this prophecy today, for Paul seems to refer to the time shortly before the end. Before that end must come the period of peace, which has not yet been seen. But there is a multiple fulfillment of many prophecies, and so one could say that today we have in our evils such a fulfillment, indeed, a dress rehearsal as it were. Paul in a touching way reveals he knows his death is near. He, without violation of humility -- which is truth (cf. comments on Philippians 2:13) -- says he has fought the good fight and has kept the

faith. He looks forward to a crown due to him in justice from the Just Judge. This does not contradict his great theme of justification by faith (unearned). No, it refers to something extra, and also, since he has in mind the covenant, within the covenant we can speak of two levels of reasons why God gives good things. On the most basic level all is mercy, unearned, since no creature by its own power can generate a claim on God. But on a secondary level, i.e., given the fact that God has freely entered into a covenant, then if people do what is required, He owes it to Himself to give, to reward. Please recall our comments on Romans 2:6. The Council of Trent speaks of three stages: 1) We receive sanctifying grace for the first time, justification, without any merit at all: DS 1532; 2) that grace makes us adopted children of God. Children have a claim to inherit. A claim can be called merit: DS 1582. 3) Being made children of God, with even a share in the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4), our works acquire a great dignity, which makes it suitable that they be rewarded. So we can earn increases of sanctifying grace (that is, increases in the ability to take in the vision of God in the next life). In all, though, inasmuch as we are members of Christ, and are like Him, we get in on the claim He generated: we are not saved as individuals, but as His members, who are like Him. Even though he previously wanted Timothy to stay in Ephesus, now, temporarily, he wants his help in his last hours. Only Luke is with him -probably the Evangelist, who often traveled with Paul. Paul, forgetful of self, has sent others on missionary work to various places. He asks Timothy when he comes through Troas -- which would be naturally on his route -- to bring his cloak, books, and parchments. When arrested he must have had to leave suddenly. He speaks again of the harm done to him by Alexander the coppersmith (cf. 1 Timothy 1:20 and Acts 19:33). He says God will repay him, not in spirit of revenge, but citing Psalm 62:12, as he did in Romans 2:6. He says the Lord delivered him from the mouth of the lion. This is figurative, for as a Roman citizen, Paul could not be thrown to the lions. He sends greetings to Prisca and Aquila, with whom he stayed at Corinth (Acts 18:2; Rom 16:3;1 Cor 16:19), and to Onesiphorus (cf. 1:16-18). Erastus was an official, perhaps a treasurer, at Corinth (Acts 19:22; Romans 16:24). Trophimus was from Ephesus, mentioned in Acts 20:4; 21:29. We know nothing of Eubulus. There is a tradition that Pudens was the first senator converted by St. Peter. Claudia, according to the Apostolic Constitutions5 was the mother of Linus, who is probably the first successor of St. Peter at Rome.6 END NOTES 1 Note in Context: Cf. comments on 1 Corinthians 6:910. 2 Note in Context:

Cf. Summa I, q.19, a.5, c. 3 Note in Context: Lumen Gentium 61. 4 Note in Context: Luther's Works, American Edition, 48, 181-82. 5 Note in Context: 7.46.17-19. 6 Note in Context: Cf. St. Irenaeus 3.3.3. "Glossary" Preliminary note: It is of capital importance to know the ways in which St. Paul uses a given word. Luther's error could have been avoided if he had known the meaning St. Paul gives to the word faith. For example, the major Protestant reference work, Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, in its Supplement volume (l976), on p.333, explains the correct meaning of St. Paul in the same way as that which we will give below in this glossary -- a way very different from Luther's notion. How can we be sure of what meaning St. Paul intends? The most basic way is to use a concordance, a book that gives us a list of every passage in the New Testament in which, e.g., the word faith appears. Then we look up each passage in context, see how it is used there, keep notes,and at the end add them up. One can also use various dictionaries of the Bible -- not all are equally reliable. Especially good is A. van den Born, Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Bible, translated and adapted by Louis Hartman.1 We need to notice too that not all writers of Holy Scripture use the same word in the same sense, e.g., St. James uses the word faith to mean mere intellectual assent to truth, which is far different from Paul's use as we will see. Still further, it is very important to notice that St. Paul, trained as a Rabbi, commonly does his thinking in Hebrew, and so uses Greek words in the Hebrew sense, as he knew it in the Old Testament. call, election: Paul means the call of God to be a member of the Church, in the full sense (for there can be a lesser degree of membership. Cf. comments on Romans 2:14-16). faith: Luther thought the word meant confidence that the merits of Christ are credited to me, when I take Christ as my personal Savior, or make a decision for Christ, as many say today. If we picture a ledger with credit and debit pages, on the credit page one writes infinity, for the merits of Christ -- then no matter how much he has sinned, is sinning, will sin, it makes no difference, so long as he believes Christ has paid for it all. Cf. Luther's Letter 50l to Melanchthon: "Sin boldly,

but believe more boldly." And his Epistle to Melanchthon of August 1, 15212: ". . . you must bear a true and not a fictitious sin. God does not save people who are only fictitious sinners. Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly. . . . No sin will separate us from the Lamb, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day." St. Paul, in contrast, means the total adherence of a person to God, so that if God speaks a truth, we assent in our mind (1 Thessalonians 2:13), if He makes a promise, we are confident in it (Romans 4:3), if He gives a command, we obey (Romans 1:5), all to be done in love (Galatians 5:6). At times, e.g., Romans 1:5, Paul speaks of the "obedience of faith" -- the obedience that faith is. As we said in the preliminary note, the major Protestant Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, Supplement p.333, gives the same explanation of St. Paul's meaning: "Paul uses pistis/pisteuein to mean, above all, belief in the Christ kerygma [preaching], knowledge, obedience, trust in the Lord Jesus. It comes by hearing with faith the gospel message . . . by responding with a confession about Christ . . . and by the 'obedience of faith' . . . 'the obedience which faith is'." Of course Paul does not mean that our obedience earns salvation -then there would be no real difference between justification by faith and justification by works, whereas Paul insists we are justified by faith. Yet he says that disobedience can earn punishment: Romans 6:23. How distorted of Luther to say faith justifies disobedience, when faith includes obedience. focusing: Paul has two ways of looking at the law, and some other things also. In the focused way (it is as if we were looking through a tube and so could see only what is framed by the circle of the tube): the law makes heavy demands -- it gives no strength -- to be under heavy demand with no strength means a fall. But in the factual way (we remove the limit of the circle, and see the whole horizon): Law still makes heavy demands and gives no strength, but off to the side, in no relation to the law, there is grace, given even before Christ, in anticipation of His merits. With it there need not be a fall, instead, great blessing. As we shall see, understanding that Paul has these two ways of looking allows us to solve numerous problems that no one else has solved in Paul, e.g., most of the time he says dire things about the law: no one can keep it, it is the ministry of condemnation. But in Romans 3 and 9, early in the chapter, he says having the law was a great privilege of the first People of God. grace: The most common Old Testament word is hen which means: favor on God's part to humans, then, the expression of that favor, then what He gives as a result. The Old Testament does not speak broadly here -- it mentions only blessing and wisdom as things He gives. It does not use the word as broadly as the New Testament uses its words for grace.

The most usual New Testament word in Greek is charis. In secular Greek it means charm, the quality that attracts favor. Then it picked up all the Old Testament uses of the word, then spoke more broadly of any kind of gift given by God to us. Because of this breadth of meaning, various translations may choose different words, chiefly grace or favor, according to the context. But if we translate by favor we must keep firmly in mind that it does not mean that God just, as it were, sits there and smiles, but gives nothing. Then we would act by our own power -- which would be Pelagian heresy. The word grace expresses what He gives. Protestants commonly use the word grace to mean just favor, thinking that we are totally corrupt, and that grace does not change us interiorly at all. Cf. Luther's major work, The Bondage of the Will. We gather from 1 Corinthians 12 that there are two broad categories of graces -- sanctifying and charismatic. Sanctifying graces are aimed at making the recipient holy; charismatic graces do not aim directly at that: they are for some benefit to the community. Sanctifying graces include two chief types: habitual grace (also called sanctifying) which by its very reception makes the person holy, and actual graces, those given at this moment, to lead and enable one to do a particular good thing here and now. Charismatic graces include chiefly two types: those that are miraculous, such as healing the sick, tongues, etc., and those that are not, such as the grace of being a good apostle, priest, parent, teacher etc. Of course, these distinctions and added terms are not found explicitly in St. Paul: we deduce them from many statements of St. Paul, as we shall see. The principles God has chosen to follow in the two areas, sanctifying and charismatic, are very different. He freely offers sanctifying graces to all, for He as accepted the infinite price of redemption, and so obligated Himself to offer grace without limit. What we get is conditioned by our receptivity. But charismatic graces are given where the Spirit wills, independently of the deserts of the recipient.3 St. Paul often uses two words in his greeting: Grace and peace to you. Grace can also reflect a common Greek greeting: chairein plus the common Hebrew greeting shalom. heart: The Hebrew leb is very broad, often means the whole interior life of a person. holy: The Old Testament sense of qadosh means primarily set aside or consecrated to God. One so consecrated of course ought to be high on the moral scale -- and so our modern sense of holy is related. St. Paul often uses holy in the Old Testament sense. Holy Spirit: We cannot always be sure Paul means the Divine Person in a given passage, though He surely knows of that Divine Person. But the Old Testament use of Spirit of God often means a power that comes forth from God to do what He wills. If we find the word the, it

will not prove St. Paul means the Divine Person, for the Greek of his day often used the differently from the way we do. justice, righteousness: Paul commonly has in mind Hebrew sedaqah, which means the virtue that gets one to do everything that morality requires. In the later Old Testament period it also developed the sense of salvific activity by God -- but even that seems to be derived from the primary: if the people do what they should under the covenant, God will reward them, and this is justice; if they do what is wrong, He will punish them, it is also justice. Actually the most common sense of justice as applied to God means His concern for the objective moral order in which sin is a debt which His Holiness wants repaid. This is found in the Old Testament, Intertestamental literature, the New Testament, Rabbis, and the Fathers. Cf. the appendix to this commentary. justification, justify: getting right with God. See comments on Galatians 2:16 know: like Hebrew yada it often, though not always, means not only mental knowledge, but also love. love: St. Paul nowhere gives a definition of love, but he gives a beautiful description in 1 Corinthians l3. We can get help from 2 John 6: "This is love [namely] that we walk according to His commands." This is the same thought as the words of Jesus in John 14:15 & 21: "If you love me, you will keep my commands. . . . He who has my commands and keeps them, he it is who loves me." To love is to will or wish good to another for the other's sake. But this applies only to love of a human being. For we cannot hope God is well off -- yet Scripture pictures Him as pleased when we obey, displeased when we do not. It is not that He gains thereby. There are two reasons: 1) His generosity is pleased in being able to give -- if we are open to receive it. So His commands tell us how to be open to receive. 2) Obeying these simultaneously steers us away from the evils that lie in the very nature of things for sin, e.g., a hangover after getting drunk, or the grave danger of a loveless marriage from much premarital sex. Cf. 1 Corinthians 6:12. peace: St. Paul has in mind Hebrew shalom which besides our English peace, means more broadly, well-being. save, saved: There are three senses of save, saved: (1) rescue from evils of this life (common in the Old Testament), (2) entry into the Church (e.g. Romans 9:27; 10:10; 11:14; 11:25-26 and comments on those verses),(3) reaching final salvation (e.g., Philippians 2:12; 1 Timothy 2:9 and comments on those verses). There is no instant permanent salvation by taking Jesus as personal Savior: cf. Romans 5:3-4; 1 Corinthians 9:27; 10:1-2 and comments on those verses. The standard reference, G. Kittel, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament makes no mention at all of the frequent Protestant notion of permanent salvation by one act of taking Jesus as Savior.

walk: like Hebrew halach it often means to live one's life. END NOTES 1 Note in Context: McGraw Hill, 1963. 2 Note in Context: Works, American Edition, 48, pp.281-832. 3 Note in Context: Cf. the article by W. Most, "Grace, in the Bible" in the New Catholic Encyclopedia. "Appendix: Sedaqah in Jewish/Christian Tradition" A new spirit of ecumenical openness invites us to increase our study of what help can be had from Jewish sources in the study of St. Paul, especially since so often behind the Greek word he uses there lies a Hebrew word. So philological studies are more important than ever. And in addition, they help us avoid an a priori way of working, trying to make things fit preconceived notions. No one at all would debate the fact that Hebrew sadiq and sedaqah when applied to humans mean originally meant conduct in accord with what is morally right. Yet there is a powerful tendency, often sparked by a priori considerations, to think that these words mean something quite different when applied to God. The picture is complicated since, in general, we know that ancient words often have a broad span of meaning, and in particular with sedaqah, we know that it acquired the meaning of salvific activity on the part of God. The Greek and Romans gods were considered by most persons in ancient times to be amoral, acting as if there were no morality at all. 1 The gods of Mesopotamia were largely the same.2 So when the Hebrew Scriptures said in Psalm 11:7 that Yahweh is morally right [ sadiq], and He loves morally right things [sedaqoth], something strikingly new had been introduced. Psalm 33:5 tells us very similarly: "He loves moral rightness and right judgment [sedaqah and mishpat], the earth is full of the Lord's fidelity to His covenant [hesed]." We begin to get a hint of something further from the second half of the parallelism in this line. It says that the earth is full of God's fidelity to His covenant [ hesed]. In spite of the popular belief that "The Greeks always have a word for it," this time they did not. That lack resulted in the unfortunate habit of translating hesed as mercy, as the LXX does with its usual eleos, or English loving kindness. Really, hesed means observance of the covenant bond, and says that God observes His part of the covenant relationship. But we will return to that covenant aspect after a bit. Now we will move back to Genesis 18:19 in which God, confident of Abraham's fidelity says: "I have chosen him to command his children and his house after him, and they will observe the way of the Lord, so as to do moral rightness and right judgment [ sedaqah and mishpat] in

order that [lemaan] the Lord may bring upon Abraham all that He has spoken about Him." It seems that Abraham's observance is somehow required in order that the Lord may carry out what He has pledged to Abraham, at least, so that Abraham may not deserve to lose the promises. Deuteronomy 32:4 also shows God's concern for what is right: "For all His ways are right judgment [mishpat], a God of fidelity [emunah] and not iniquity; morally right and upright [sadiq and yashar] is He." God's Sedaqah in Conferring Benefits There are many texts that reflect God's doing good as a matter of sedaqah. For example in Judges 5:11, in the Song of Deborah in thanks for the victory, we find: "There they shall recite the righteous acts [sidqoth] of the Lord." Similarly, in Isaiah 61:10: "He has clothed me with the garments of salvation [yesha] and covered me with the robe of righteousness [sedaqah]." Again, in Isaiah 52:1: "Who is this that comes from Edom? . . . It is I, speaking in moral rightness [sedaqah], great to save." In Psalm 24:5: "He shall receive blessing from the Lord, and what is morally right [sedaqah] from the God of his salvation." We notice an interesting development of sedaqah in this line. We will return to it later. Similarly, Job (37:23) voiced his confidence that God would do what is right for him: "The Almighty is excellent . . . in right judgment [mishpat], plenteous in moral rightness [sedaqah]. He will not oppress." God's Sedaqah in Punishing But very interestingly, we will now discover that the very same words for moral rightness and salvation can be used to refer to unfavorable things. A most striking idea of this sort meets us if we read Isaiah 59:15b-18 in the original Hebrew: "The Lord saw, and it was evil in His eyes that there was no carrying out of right judgment [ mishpat -- by His people]. And He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intervene [on behalf of sedaqah]. So His own arm caused salvation for Him [tosh'a lo] and His moral rightness [ sedaqah], it sustained Him. And He put on moral rightness [ sedaqah] as a breastplate, and salvation [yeshua] as a helmet on His head. He clothed Himself with garments of executive vindication [ naqam]. . . . According to deeds, accordingly He will repay." This is a remarkable text. It not only uses sedaqah in the sense of God's will to rectify right order for punishment, but it even uses the root to save, ysh to mean to restore sedaqah by punishment. So we see that both words, sedaqah and yeshua are capable of going in two directions: they can, as all admit, mean saving activity, but they can also mean punishing activity. The word naqam in the same passage is similarly capable of going in both directions. Hence R. C.

Boling, in Judges in the Anchor Bible comments: "The verb naqam, in the Hebrew Bible, as in the Amarna letters, stands for the Suzerain's exercise of his executive prerogatives in the world -- vindication, not vengeance."3 This is correct, for vengeance wills evil to another so it may be evil to him, really, in hatred. God is not capable of hatred. But He is capable of putting things right, of vindication. In naqam and in yeshua He does put things right -- favor for the good, penalty to establish sedaqah for the wicked. G. Mendenhall in The Tenth Generation writes similarly.4 On the one hand, Mendenhall notes on p.78: "The root NQM signifies the exercise of power by the highest legitimate political authority for protection of his own subjects." On the other hand, on p.85: "Yahweh has done for you vindication from your enemies (Judges 11:36)." So to the enemies, it is punishment, to His loyal people, it is vindication. We find the same ideas, in similar words, in Isaiah 63:5 where God says: "And I was distressed that there was no one to help and my arm caused salvation for me (tosh'a li)." Isaiah 10:22 says: "Destruction is decreed, overflowing with moral rightness [sedaqah]." The thought is similar in Lamentations 1:10: "He the Lord is morally right [sadiq], for I have rebelled against His commandment." Holiness Calls for Sedaqah To carry out moral rightness is a thing demanded by God's holiness. Thus in Isaiah 5:15-16: "Man is bowed down, and men are brought low, but the Lord of Hosts will be exalted in right judgment [ mishpat], and the God, the Holy One, will show himself holy [niqdesh] by moral rightness [sedaqah]." The same thought appears again in Ezekiel 28:22: "Thus says the Lord God. Behold, I am against you, O Sidon. I will be glorified in your midst, and they shall know that I am the Lord when I inflict punishments on her, and I shall show myself holy in her [niqdashti]." Covenant and Sedaqah How is it possible for these words to be used in such opposite senses? We already noted that Psalm 33:5 in the parallel second half of the verse said that "the earth is full of the covenant fidelity [ hesed] of the Lord." Psalm 36:10 speaks similarly to God: "Keep up Your covenant fidelity [hesed] to those who love You, Your moral righteousness [sedaqah] to the upright of heart." We notice here that God's exercise of faithful righteousness is conditioned on love and uprightness of heart in the human beings. Psalm 103:17 speaks in much the same way: "But the covenant fidelity [ hesed] of the Lord is from age to age on those who fear Him, and His moral rightness [ sedaqah] on children's children." This picture is quite in line with the solemn admonition given by Moses to the people in Deuteronomy 11:26: "Behold, today I am putting before you a blessing and a curse. The blessing, if you obey the

commandments of the Lord your God . . . and the curse if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God." In other words, in the covenant God has said, in effect, that He will respond to them according to their response to Him. Psalm 103:17 puts hesed and sedaqah in parallel. The thought seems to be that for God to do what He has pledged in the covenant -- whether it be blessing or curse -- is a matter of what moral rightness calls for, it is a matter of sedaqah. His holiness calls for this. The relation of the covenant to punishment appears clearly in Nehemiah 9:31-33: "Now, our God, the God, the great, the mighty One, the feared one, who keeps the covenant and covenant fidelity [ hesed], let not all our hardship seem slight before You, which has come upon us, upon our kings, our princes, our priests, our prophets, and upon our fathers, and upon all Your people since the days of the kings of Assyria to this day. And now You are morally right [ sadiq] in all that has come upon us, for You have done the truth [ emeth] and we have done wickedly." The thought is epitomized in an important saying of Rabbi Simeon ben Eleazar, in which he claims to quote Rabbi Meir, a disciple of the great Akiba (Tosefta, Kiddushin 1.14): "He [i.e., anyone] has carried out one commandment. Blessings [on him]. He has tipped the scales to the side of merit for himself and for the world. He has committed a transgression. Woe [to him]. He has tipped the scales to the side of debt for himself and for the world." Romans 3:4 says: "Let God be true, even though every man be false, as it is written (Psalm 51:6): 'So You may be justified in Your words, and win out when You are judged.'" God is pictured as if called to court, as it were, in a rib, a lawsuit. But He emerges justified. He is morally righteous, and loves what is morally righteous. The imaginary objection Paul raises in the next lines confirms this understanding of verse 6: "But if our wickedness serves to show the moral rightness of God: what shall we say?" The sense is this: our wickedness is the occasion of showing that God is righteous, in that He punishes our wickedness. The Problem of Romans 2:6 This analysis gives us a new approach to the much vexed problem of Romans 2:6 where Paul says that God "will repay each one according to his works."5 How can that be, when Paul so vehemently insists that justification is gratuitous, and that we do not earn salvation? If we put that line into its original context of Psalm 62:12, which is so often translated poorly: "You O Lord, have mercy, for You will repay each one according to his works." We must ask: How does mercy relate to repayment for works? However, the word rendered so often by "mercy" really is our familiar hesed.6 So the sense should amount to this: You, O Lord, really observe the covenant, for You will repay each one according to his works: benefits for obedience, punishment for

violation. Now if we examine the covenant more closely we will see that there are two answers if we ask: Why does God give us good things? On the most basic level, it is sheer generosity, unmerited, unmeritable. For no creature could by its own power establish a claim on God. But on the secondary level, i.e., given the fact that He has of His own accord entered into a covenant, in which He has said in effect: "If you do this, I will do that," -- then, even though technically He does not and cannot owe anything to any creature, yet He does owe it to Himself to do what He has said. If the creature carries out covenant obedience, God will surely reward him. That reward can be called sedaqah, for it is a matter of sedaqah for God's Holiness to carry out what He has pledged. Not to do it would be to violate sedaqah, which He in His Holiness cannot violate. The Problem of Romans 1:17 Now if we turn to the much debated lines of Romans 1:17-18, we should be able to see a solution. Too long, as we said at the start, the "righteousness of God" has been interpreted according to preconceived notions. With truly admirable candor both Lutheran and Catholic participants in a lengthy dialogue on justification by faith confessed: "The starting point for Luther was his inability to find peace with God. . . . [he was] terrified in his own conscience. . . ." And again: "In their situation the major function of justification by faith was, rather, to console anxious consciences, terrified by the inability to do enough to earn or merit salvation."7 To satisfy this preoccupation, exegetes have tended to say that verse 17 speaks of God's salvific activity, while verse 18 speaks of His wrath. But then: What should we do with the conjunction gar which joins the verses? For the conjunction "for" does not reverse the direction of the thought -- from saving to anger -- but it continues the thought in the same direction. How is the direction the same? Because both kinds of activities fall under covenant, in which He, God, has set before the people a blessing and a curse. They may make their choice, and He, under the covenant, will follow through. For Him to act either to save them or to punish them -- both are a matter of hesed, a matter of sedaqah, and naqam, and even yeshua. His Holiness calls for both. This does not mean we are saying the most favored exegesis is entirely wrong. No, we are suggesting it is shallow. It does not recognize the deeper basis of both salvific and punitive activity: the hesed of the covenant which offers a choice of blessing or curse. The Sheggagah Theme Shows His Concern for Moral Rightness This concern of God for what is morally right shows remarkably in chapter 4 of Leviticus, in the prescriptions for what is to be done in case of sheggagah, involuntary violation of what is right. So the wrongdoer must make up for it, usually by a sacrifice. The comment of

Roland J. Faley, On Leviticus 4:1-4:15 ( New Jerome Biblical Commentary p.64) is quite right: "Sin was a positive violation of the covenant relationship, whether voluntary or involuntary. Israel's responsibilities were clearly enunciated in the law, and any departure therefrom disturbed the right order of things."8 The stress on rectifying the objective order is quite in accord with what we saw beginning with the text from Rabbi Simeon ben Eleazar. Of course, an involuntary sheggagah was not at all on the same level as a sin done be yad ramah, with a high hand, with full deliberativeness. But yet it should not be just merely ignored as if it did not matter at all. We think of numerous passages that bring this out. For example, in Genesis 12:17 Pharaoh has taken over Abram's wife in good faith. But: "The Lord struck Pharaoh and his household with great plagues because of Abram's wife Sarai." There are similar attitudes shown, whether the incidents are doublets or not, in Genesis 20:1-7 and 26:1-11. In 1 Samuel 14:24 Saul had sworn an oath that his people would fast. His son Jonathan narrowly escaped death for unwitting violation. Tobit in 2:13 is very unreasonably careful of this sort of violation. His wife had been given a goat along with her pay. He would not believe it and said: "Where did this goat come from? Perhaps it was stolen! Give it back." Psalm 19:12-13, still in use in the liturgy says: "Though your servant is careful of them, very diligent in keeping them, yet who can detect failings? Cleanse me from my unknown faults." The Testament of Levi in 3:5 says: "In the heaven next to it are the archangels, who minister and make propitiation to the Lord for all the sins of ignorance of the righteous." The theme appears again in the Psalms of Solomon 3:8-9: "The righteous man continually searches his house to remove utterly [all] iniquity [done] by him in error. He makes atonement for [sins of] ignorance by fasting and afflicting his soul." In the Gospel of Luke, 12:47-48 we find the same attitude: "The slave who knew his master's wishes but did not prepare to fulfill them will get a severe beating, but the one who did not know them, but did things deserving blows [objectively] will get off with fewer stripes." In the image of the last judgment in Matthew 24:44, those on the left plead ignorance: "Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or away from home or naked or ill or in prison and not attend to You in Your needs." But the judge rejects the plea. St. Paul had persecuted Christianity out of zeal for what he thought was right. But he still wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:9: "I am the least of the Apostles; in fact, because I persecuted the church of God, I do not even deserve the name." The attitude of 1 Timothy 1:15 is equally Pauline: "I myself am the worst" of sinners.

Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 4:4 have been often misunderstood, by those who did not know the sheggagah theme: "I have nothing on my conscience. But that does not mean that I am justified." A. Bchler explains: "The ancient pious men brought every day a doubtful guiltoffering, to clear themselves from any error of a grave religious nature possibly committed on the previous day."9 This of course is doing even more than Leviticus 4 required, which called for atonement only when the guilty one came to know he had done an unlawful thing. The First Epistle of Clement (2.3) tells the Corinthians: "You stretched out your hands to the almighty God, beseeching him to be propitious, if you had sinned at all unwillingly [akontes]." In the Shepherd of Hermas, (Mandate 9.7) we find the angel telling Hermas: "For absolutely, on account of some temptation or transgression of which you are ignorant, you receive what you ask for so slowly." And in Parables 5.7.3: "Only God has the power to give healing for your former ignorances." Tertullian (Apologeticum 18.2-3) says that God "sent . . . men . . . to proclaim what sanctions he had decreed for not knowing." And in his De idololatria 15.7-8: "I know a brother who was severely chastised in a vision the same night because his slaves, after a sudden announcement . . . had crowned his door. And yet, he himself had not crowned it, nor commanded it . . . and when he came back, had rebuked it." Clement of Alexandria (Stromata 6.6) wrote: "Whatever any one of you has done out of ignorance, not clearly knowing God, if he repents when he does learn, all his sins will be forgiven him." John Chrysostom (On Priesthood 4.2) says that some who are electors of priests and bishops are careless, but, "If the elector is guilty of none of these things, but says he was deceived by the opinion of the many, he will not be free of punishment, though he will pay a penalty somewhat less than the one who is ordained." In the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, still in frequent use today, before the Epistle there is a prayer: "Forgive us every offense, both voluntary and involuntary." The Concept of Sin as Debt We saw from Simeon ben Eleazar that sin is a debt. That word reflects again God's concern for what is morally right. In the Old Testament This notion appears often in the Old Testament, in the sheggagah theme, as we have seen, and also in many other passages. Hosea 7:1: "When I would [wanted to] heal Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim was laid bare." It seems that God wanted to heal them, but the iniquity was a debt to be paid -- within covenant. So He could not, within covenant, heal them. His Holiness called for this attitude. Jeremiah 11:5: God calls for obedience, "In order that ( lemaan) I may carry out the oath that I swore to your fathers." John Bright

renders well thus: "this will allow me to carry out the oath that I swore to your fathers."10 Jeremiah 36:3: Asks them to turn from their evil way "and I will forgive their iniquity and their sin [ wesalachti]." Bright renders: "and then I can forgive."11 Cf. Jeremiah 11:5 above. Ezechiel 5:13: God had said in verse 6 that Jerusalem had sinned worse than the nations. Therefore He would punish them and then in v.13: "And my anger shall be fulfilled." Surely does not mean not vengeance (willing evil to another so it may be evil to him) -- which is not in God -- but that the objective order will be rebalanced. The Septuagint: The verb aphienai is often used to mean forgive. Its connotation is to remit a debt, for example, Genesis 50:17; Exodus 32:32. In Intertestamental Literature Hebrew hobah and Aramaic hobah, which directly mean debt, are often used to mean sin. Cf. S. Lyonnet -- L.Sabourin, Sin, Redemption and Sacrifice (Rome, Biblical Institute, 1970, pp.25-26,32.); George F. Moore, Judaism (Harvard U. Press, Cambridge, 1927, II, p.95); M. Jastrow A Dictionary of the Targumim (Pardes, N.Y., 1950, I, pp.42829); Jacob Levy, Chaldaisches Wrterbuch ber die Targumim (Joseph Melzer Verlag, Kln, 1959, p.241); and Michael Sokoloff, A Dictionary of Jewish Palestinian Aramaic (Bar Ilan University Press, Ramat-Gan, Israel, 1990, p.189). Testament of Abraham: E. P. Sanders dates it 1st-2nd century A.D. Recension A:12.l8: "And when he opened the book he found its [those of a soul at judgment] sins and righteous deeds to be equally balanced, and he neither turned it over to the torturers, nor (placed it among) those who were being saved, but he set it in the middle."12 In Chapter 14, Abraham and the Commander in Chief Michael offer a prayer for that soul, which corrects the balance, and it is saved. Eerdmans Bible Dictionary says most scholars think, aside from some Christian interpolations, the Testaments are by a single Jewish author of the 2nd half of the 2nd century B.C.13 In the New Testament The concept of sin as debt is very clear here. Especially important is the Our Father itself (Matthew 6:12), where we ask to have our debts (= sins) forgiven (opheilemata), as we forgive our debtors = those who have sinned against us. This of course is the same usage of aphienai that is found in the LXX. The same usage is found in the parable of the talents in Matthew 18:24: "There was brought to him one who owed ten thousand talents." Then in verse 27, "He forgave the debt to him": daneion apheken. There is also an implication of forgiving a debt in many uses of charizomai:

Luke 7:42: "And since they did not have the means to pay, he forgave each one." (They had owed debts:opheilo). 2 Corinthians 2:7: "So that on the contrary you should forgive and comfort him." 2:10: "To whom you have forgiven anything, so do I." Colossians 2:13: "Forgiving us all our transgressions." Colossians 3:13:"Forgiving each other as God has forgiven you." The verb is echarisato -- make a present of the debt. Ephesians 4:32:"Be kindly, merciful to one another, forgiving one another just as God in Christ has forgiven you." There is the same implication of debt in the texts of Paul about Christ buying us back, buying at a price: exagorazo: Galatians 3:13: "Christ has bought us back from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us." Galatians 4:5: "That He might buy back those under the law." agorazo: 1 Corinthians 6:20: "You were bought at a price." 1 Corinthians 7:23:"You were bought at a price." lytron: Matthew 20:28: "The Son of Man came to give His life as a ransom for the many." Mark 10:45 has the same. antilytron: 1 Timothy 2:6: "He gave Himself as a ransom for all." In Rabbinic Literature The concept that sin is a debt is abundant in Rabbinic literature. Aboth 4.13: "Rabbi Eliezer ben Jacob said: He who does one commandment gains for himself one advocate [ prqlyt]; and he who commits one transgression gains for himself one accuser." Cf. also Aboth 3.20, an elaborate metaphor of a shopman who gives credit, but the collectors daily make the rounds to call for payment. Sin is viewed as a debt. Pirque R. Eliezer 4.11a: "He that does one precept gains for himself one advocate [prqlyt], but he that commits one transgression gets for himself one accuser. Repentance and good works are as a shield against retribution." Tosefta, Kiddushin 1.14: [Simeon ben Eleazar in name of R. Meir]: "He has carried out one commandment. His blessings! He has tipped the scale to the side of merit [ zchth] for himself and for the world; he has committed one transgression. Woe to him. He has tipped the scale to the side of debt [hobah] for himself and for the world." Verbatim adding kol in Kiddushin 1.10:40a, below. B. Kiddushin 1.10.40a-b: "Our Rabbis taught: A man should always [40b] regard himself as though he were half guilty and half meritorious: if he performs one precept, happy is he for weighting himself down in the scale of merit; if he commits one transgression, woe to him for weighting himself down in the scale of guilt [ hobah]. . . . R. Eleazar son of R. Simeon said: Because the world is judged by its majority, and an individual [too] is judged by his majority of deeds,

good or bad, if he performs one good deed, happy is he for turning the scale both for himself and for the whole world on the side of merit [zchth]; if he commits one transgression, woe to him for weighting himself and the whole world in the scale of guilt, [ hobah] for it is said, 'but one sinner, etc.' -- on account of the single sin which this man commits he and the whole world lose much good. R. Simeon b. Yohai said: Even if he is perfectly righteous all his life but rebels at the end he destroys his former [good deeds], . . . And even if one is completely wicked all his life but repents at the end, he is not reproached with his wickedness. . . ."14 COMMENT: We note the internal quotes from Tosefta, Kiddushin 1.14, cited above. But Simeon b. Yokai rejects the idea given at the start and says: "Even if he is perfectly righteous all his life but rebels at the end, he destroys his former [good deeds]." He goes on to cite Ezekiel 33:12. Gemara on Kiddushin, as above: "R. Eleazar son of R. Zadok said: . . . the Holy One, blessed be He, brings suffering upon the righteous in this world, in order that they may inherit the future world. . . . the Holy One, blessed be He, makes them [the wicked] prosper in this world, in order to destroy them and consign them to the nethermost rung. . . ." Baraitha, Kid. 40b: "Rabbi Eleazar ben R. Sadok, of the lst century in Jerusalem, said: 'God brings chastisements upon the righteous men in this world, in order that they may inherit the world-to-come.'"15 Baraitha in Kiddushin 40b: "R. Eleazar b. R. Sadok says: God bestows prosperity in fullness upon the sinners in this world, in order to drive them (from the world-to-come) and give them as their portion the lowest step (of Gehinnom)." The same idea, in almost the same words is in: Pesikta 73a R. Akiba: "God bestows prosperity and well-being in fullness in this world and pays the sinners for the few good deeds done by them in this world, in order to punish them in the world-to-come."16 Sifre on Deuteronomy, Piska 32: "Furthermore, a man should rejoice more in chastisement than in times of prosperity. For if a man is prosperous all his life, no sin of his can be forgiven." What brings forgiveness of sin? Suffering. . . . R. Meir says, "Scripture says 'Know in your heart that the Lord your God chastises you just as a man chastises his son' (Deut 8:5). You and your heart know the deeds that you have done and you know that whatever sufferings I have brought upon you do not outweigh all your deeds." R. Yose ben R. Judah says, "Precious are chastisements, for the name of the Omnipresent One rests upon one who suffers them. . . ." R. Nehemiah says, "Precious are chastisements, for just as sacrifices bring appeasement, so do chastisements bring appeasement. . . . Indeed, suffering appeases even more than sacrifices, for sacrifices involve wealth, but suffering involve's one's body. . . ."17

B. Sabb 2.6.fol.32a: "If one is led to the place of judgment to be judged, he can be saved if he has great advocates [ prqlitin], but if he does not . . . he will not be saved; and these are the advocates [prqlitin] of a man: conversion and good works." B. Baba Bathra 1.5.fol.10a: "All the moral rightness [sedaqah] and covenant fidelity [hesed] that Israel does in the world are great wellbeing [shalom] and are great advocates [prqlitin] between Israel and their Father in heaven." COMMENT: We note that it is within the covenant framework -- hesed -- and justice -- sedaqah. The advocates (we note the Greek loan word) are the reasons to balance the objective order favorably.18 At times paraclete seems to mean a weight in the scales, as in the above. At other times it seems to mean a person who pleads for another. Thus in Shemoth Rabbah 32 we read that for keeping one precept God gives one angel, for two, two angels, for many, half of his host. And in Exodus Rabbah 18.3 (on 12.29) Moses is called a good paraclete. The Targum on Job 33:23 says that if a man has merit, an angel intervenes as an advocate among one thousand accusers. Semahoth III.11. R.Yehudah ben Ilai asserts that the ancient pious men "used to be afflicted with intestinal illness for about ten to twenty days before their death, so they might . . . arrive pure in the hereafter."19 In Patristic Literature Leo the Great, Epistle 28, To Flavian: "To pay the debt of our condition, inviolable nature was joined to passible nature."20 Athanasius, On the Incarnation of the Divine Word 9: "For the Word, knowing that only by dying was it possible for the corruption of men to be removed, since the Word, being immortal, could not die . . . took to Himself a body that could die. . . . The Word of God . . . paid the debt in death." Origen, On Matthew 20:28: "Now to whom did He give His life as a price of redemption for the many? For it was not to God. Was it then to the Evil One? For he had us in his power, until the life of Jesus was given to him as a ransom for us -- to him who was deceived, as though he could hold that life." Ambrose, Epistle 72: "Without doubt he [Satan] demanded a price to set free from slavery those whom he held bound. Now the price of our liberty was the blood of Jesus, which necessarily had to be paid to him to whom we had been sold by our sins." Augustine, Sermon 329: "For on the cross He carried out a great exchange. There the sack of our price was paid, when his side was opened by the lance of the one who struck it, from there flowed out the price for the whole world."21 Gregory of Nazianzus, Oration 45, on Easter 22 : "Now if the ransom goes to none other than the captor: I ask, to whom was it brought and why? If to the Evil One -- what a mockery! If that robber

receives not just something from God, but God Himself. . . . But if it was paid to the Father -- first of all, how? For we were not held captive by Him. Secondly, why would the blood of His only begotten please the Father. . . . Or is it not clear instead that the Father did receive the offering, even though He did not ask for it or need it, but He received it as a result of His divine plan and because it was right that humanity should be sanctified by the humanity of God."22 Solving the Problem of the Price of Redemption The texts about buying, especially those in 1 Corinthians, have caused much discussion. The imagery is this: the human race was in the captivity of Satan. Christ paid the price for release. But the notion that His blood would be paid to Satan was abhorrent to most thinkers -although Ambrose was willing to accept it.23 But now, thanks to our studies, and to the further Rabbinic texts and with the help of the imagery found in Simeon ben Eleazar in Tosefta, Kiddushin 1.14, we can solve the problem. It is true, we should not press the metaphor of price so far as to suppose a price paid to Satan. And of course it was not paid to the Father, Who was not the captor. But the Holiness of God, as we have seen, was concerned about everything that is right, and since the scales of the objective order were infinitely out of balance, He willed to have an infinite rebalance, through the death of Christ, through the ransom or price He paid. Conclusion We have surveyed the usages of sedaqah as reflected in the Old Testament, in Intertestamental Literature, in the New Testament, in the Rabbis, and in the Fathers of the Church. We have found that one of the most dominant concepts underlying many things is the idea that God's Holiness is concerned with the moral order, with what is morally right. This appears in His conferring benefits. It appears also in His punishing. His Holiness wills that the moral order be righted if it is violated: for sin is viewed widely as a debt. The covenants helped us to see how two very different meanings of sedaqah, for reward and for punishment, have a common root. There is a parallel in the usages of yeshua and naqam. These findings shed new light on some much vexed problems, chiefly those of Romans 2:6, Romans 1:17, and the notion of redemption. END NOTES 1 Note in Context: Most Greeks held this view that the Gods were amoral, as we see from the many legends of the sexual escapades of Zeus. However a few, such as Socrates, would consider Zeus as the guardian of moral rightness (dikaiosyne like Hebrew sedaqah at times). 2 Note in Context: Cf. Thorkild Jacobsen, "Mesopotamia, VII, The Good Life" pp.202-19 in The Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man, eds. H. & H. A. Frankfort et al, University of Chicago Press, 1948.

3 4 5

6 7 8 9 1 0 1 1 1 2 1 3 1 4 1 5 1 6 1 7 1 8

Note in Context: R. C. Boling, Judges, Anchor Bible, Doubleday, NY, 1975, p.25. Note in Context: G. Mendenhall, The Tenth Generation, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1973, pp.69-104. Note in Context: Cf. Joseph A. Burgess, "Rewards, but in a Very Different Sense" in Justification by Faith. Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue VII , eds. H. George Anderson, T. Austin Murphy, Joseph A. Burgess, Augusburg, Minneapolis, 1985, pp.94-110. Note in Context: Cf. Wm. Most, "A Biblical Theology of Redemption in a Covenant Framework" in CBQ 29 (1967) pp.1-19. Note in Context: Justification by Faith, Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue VII ,## 24 & 29. Note in Context: Roland J. Faley, "Leviticus" in New Jerome Biblical Commentary, 1990, p.64. Note in Context: A. Bchler, Studies in Sin and Atonement in the Rabbinic Literature of the First Century, KTAV, N.Y., 1967, p.425. Note in Context: John Bright, Jeremiah, Anchor Bible, Doubleday, N.Y., 1965, p.81. Note in Context: Ibid. p.176. Note in Context: E. P. Sanders, "Testament of Abraham" in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, ed. James H. Charlesworth, Doubleday, N.Y., 1983, I, p.875. The text is on p.889. Note in Context: Eerdmans Bible Dictionary, Grand Rapids, 1987, p.994. Note in Context: Kiddushin, tr. Rabbi Dr. H. Freedman, Soncino, London, 1977. Note in Context: Bchler, op.cit., pp.318-19. Note in Context: Ibid., p.173, n.3. Note in Context: Translated by Robert Hammer, previously unpublished, cited by Jacob Neusner, Midrash in Context, Fortress, Phila., 1983, pp.15051. Note in Context: Cf. Kittel, s.v. parakletos.

1 9 2 0 2 1 2 2 2 3

Note in Context: The Tractate Mourning, tr. Dov Zlotnik, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1966, p.39. Note in Context: DS 293. Note in Context: PL 38.1455. Note in Context: PG 36.653.2. Note in Context: Ambrose, Epistle 72. Origen, On Matthew 20:28 says too it was paid to Satan, but in deception: Satan could not keep it!