June 30 Epistle Reading

I Corinthians 2:9 – 3:8

[9] But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,
neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath
prepared for them that love him.[10] But God hath revealed
them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea,
the deep things of God.[11] For what man knoweth the things
of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of
God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.[12] Now we have
received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God;
that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.[13]
Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom
teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things
with spiritual.[14] But the natural man receiveth not the
things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither
can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged
of no man.[16] For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that
he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.[1] And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual,
but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.[2] I have
fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to
bear it, neither yet now are ye able.[3] For ye are yet
carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and
divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?[4] For while
one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not
carnal?[5] Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but
ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?[6]
I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.[7]
So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that
watereth; but God that giveth the increase.[8] Now he that
planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his
own reward according to his own labour.

(So much in this passage, where do I start!!!)

St. John Chrysostom in his Homily VII on I Corinthians II, 7, 9, 11 said:

"How is this…if the prophets spoke of it? (Cf.Is.64:4)…Yes, they heard, but the prophetic ear was not the ear 'of man': for they heard not as men, but as prophets…For after the gift of the Spirit the heart of the prophets was not the heart of man, but a spiritual heart; as also he says himself, 'We have the mind of Christ'…He is a 'natural man', who attributes everything to reasonings of the mind and does not consider that he needs help from above…Eyes are beautiful and useful, but should they choose to see without light, their beauty profits them nothing…So will you notice any soul, if it chooses to see without the Spirit, even becomes an impediment to itself…The things asserted require faith, and to apprehend them by reasonings is not possible, for their magnitude exceeds by a great deal the meanness of our understanding."

"Then to show its greatness…if the Spirit which knows the secret things of God had not revealed them, we should not have learned them…"to search" (v10) is here indicative not of ignorance, but of accurate knowledge: it is the very same mode of speaking which he used even of God, saying, 'He that searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit.' (Rom.8:27)…so much are we wiser than they as there is difference between Plato and the Holy Spirit; they having for masters the heathen rhetoricians but we, the Holy Spirit."

St. Gregory Nazianzen in his Second Theological Oration 28 (VI) said:

Phn77 "…our very eyes and the Law of Nature teach us that God exists and that He is the efficient and Maintaining Cause of all things: our eyes, because they fall on visible objects, and see them in beautiful stability and progress, immovably moving and revolving…For how could this Universe have come into being or been put together, unless God had called it into existence, and held it together? For every one who sees a beautifully made
lute, and considers the skill with which it has been fitted together and arranged, or who hears its melody, would think of none but the lutemaker, or the luteplayer, and would recur to him in mind, though he might not know him by sight…That which made and moves and preserves all created things, even though He be not comprehended by the mind. And very wanting in sense is he who will not willingly go thus far in following natural proofs; but not even this which we have fancied or formed, or which reason has sketched for us, proves the existence of God. But if any one has got even to some extent a comprehension of this, how is God's Being to be demonstrated? Who ever reached this extremity of wisdom? Who was ever deemed worthy of so great a gift? Who has opened the mouth of his mind and drawn in the Spirit, so as by Him that searches all things, yea the deep things of God, to take in God, and no longer to need progress, since he already possesses the Extreme Object of desire, and That to which all the social life and all the intelligence of the best men press forward?"

"The spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord, which searches all the hidden things of the bowels."

Proverbs 20: 27

St. Gregory of Nyssa in his On the Making of Man said:

"The Godhead is mind and word: for 'in the beginning was the Word' and the followers of Paul 'have the mind of Christ' which 'speaks' in them: humanity too is not far removed from these: you see in yourself word and understanding, an imitation of the very Mind and Word. Again, God is love, and the fount of love: for this the great John declares, that 'love is of God,' and 'God is love' (I Jn 4:7-8): the Fashioner of our nature has made this to be our feature too: for 'hereby' he says, 'shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another': –thus, if this be absent, the whole stamp of the likeness is transformed. The Deity beholds and hears all things, and searches all things out: you too have the power of apprehension of things by means of sigh and hearing, and the understanding that inquires into things and searches them out." 

Regarding 3:2, Clement of Alexandria writes in The Paedagogus:

"…if the infancy which is characterized by the milk is the beginning of faith in Christ, then it is disparaged as childish and imperfect. How is the rest that comes after the meat, the rest of the man who is perfect and endowed with knowledge, again distinguished by infant milk? Does not this, as explaining a parable, mean something like this…'I have fed you with milk in Christ;' and after a slight stop, let us add, 'as children,' that by separating the words in reading we may make out some such sense as this: I have instructed you in Christ with simple, true, and natural nourishment – namely, that which is spiritual: for such is the nourishing substance of milk swelling out from breasts of love. So that the whole matter may be conceived thus: As nurses nourish new-born children on milk, so do I also by the Word, the milk of Christ, instilling you into spiritual nutriment…perfect nourishment, and brings to that consummation which cannot cease."


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