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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : John Chrysostom (347-407) on 1 Corinthians.

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brendaM
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Joined: 2024/1/19
Posts: 304
North Eastern UK

 John Chrysostom (347-407) on 1 Corinthians.

"John Chrysostom (/ˈkrɪsəstəm, krɪˈsɒstəm/; Greek: Ἰωάννης ὁ Χρυσόστομος; c. 347 – 14 September 407)[5] was an important Early Church Father who served as archbishop of Constantinople. He is known for his preaching and public speaking, his denunciation of abuse of authority[6] by both ecclesiastical and political leaders, his Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom, and his ascetic sensibilities.

The epithet Χρυσόστομος (Chrysostomos, anglicized as Chrysostom) means "golden-mouthed" in Greek and denotes his celebrated eloquence.[1][7] Chrysostom was among the most prolific authors in the early Christian Church. He is honoured as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran churches, as well as in some others. The Eastern Orthodox, together with the Byzantine Catholics, hold him in special regard as one of the Three Holy Hierarchs (alongside Basil the Great and Gregory of Nazianzus)." Wiki.

I am using this thread to quote some of the writings of Chrysostom, in particular on 1 Corinthians, in the hope that some balance may be introduced regarding modern interpretations on the subject of tongues. If I put it on the Tongues thread, I fear it would soon be forgotten or passed over.

The quotes will come from:

https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/220135.htm

if anyone wants to read it all. Starting with:

"14 verse 3: But he that prophesies speaks unto men edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

At this point he makes a comparison between the gifts, and lowers that of the tongues, showing it to be neither altogether useless, nor very profitable by itself. For in fact they were greatly puffed up on account of this, because the gift was considered to be a great one.

And it was thought great because the Apostles received it first, and with so great display; it was not however therefore to be esteemed above all the others. Wherefore then did the Apostles receive it before the rest?

Because they were to go abroad every where. And as in the time of building the tower the one tongue was divided into many; so then the many tongues frequently met in one man, and the same person used to discourse both in the Persian, and the Roman, and the Indian, and many other tongues, the Spirit sounding within him: and the gift was called the gift of tongues because he could all at once speak various languages.

See accordingly how he both depresses and elevates it. Thus, by saying, He that speaks with tongues, speaks not unto men, but unto God, for no man understands, he depressed it, implying that the profit of it was not great; but by adding, but in the Spirit he speaks mysteries he again elevated it, that it might not seem to be superfluous and useless and given in vain.

Do you see by what he signifies the choice nature of this gift? I.e., by the common benefit? And how every where he gives the higher honor to that which tends to the profit of the many? For do not the former speak unto men also? Tell me. But not so much edification, and exhortation, and comfort. So that the being powered by the Spirit is common to both, as well to him that prophesies, as to him that speaks with tongues; but in this, the one (he, I mean, who prophesies) has the advantage in that he is also profitable unto the hearers. For they who with tongues were not understood by them that had not the gift.

What then? Did they edify no man? Yes, says he, themselves alone: wherefore also he adds,

1 Corinthians 14:4
He that speaks in tongue edifies himself.

And how, if he know not what he says? Why, for the present, he is speaking of them who understand what they say — understand it themselves, but know not how to render it unto others.

But he that prophesies edifies the Church. Now as great as is the difference between a single person and the Church, so great is the interval between these two. Do you see his wisdom, how he does not thrust out the gift and make nothing of it, but signifies it to have some advantage, small though it be, and such as to suffice the possessor only?

2. Next, lest they should suppose that in envy to them he depresses the tongues, (for the more part had this gift,) to correct their suspicion he says,"

So we see that Tongues was understood by the ECF's as foreign languages, not just in Acts 2 but also in this most disputed letter of Paul's. See he also references the Tower of Babel as directly connected with this, showing again that he is speaking of human languages, which if foreign in a group setting with no interpretation, would only be understood by God, and indeed really only fully understood by God in the event of an interpreter getting some of it wrong.

I can see now why modern interpreters might not like to have it referenced to the Tower of Babel as it really demolishes their argument. But let's keep it civil and offer disagreements if wished.

Hopefully, it will serve as a place of understanding where we will see where the others are coming from rather than think they just deny it without reason..

 2024/2/11 3:59Profile
TMK
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Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 6650
NC, USA

 Re: John Chrysostom (347-407) on 1 Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 14:22-25 v 22 "Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers. v 23 If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds? But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you. "


Here is the JB Phillips translation:
———
22**That means that tongues are a sign of God’s power, not for those who are unbelievers but for those who already believe**. Preaching the word of God, on the other hand, is a sign of God’s power to those who do not believe rather than to believers. So that, if at a full church meeting you are all speaking with tongues and men come in who are uninstructed or without faith, will they not say that you are insane? But if you are preaching God’s word and such a man should come in to your meeting, he is convicted and challenged by your united speaking of the truth. His secrets are exposed and he will fall on his knees acknowledging God and saying that God is truly among you!”
———-

Note the difference in vs 1.

Phillips included a footnote in his translation that is fairly controversial namely that he thinks Paul made a "slip of the pen" or mis-dictated, or his scribe erred, in the traditional translation of vs 22. That verse makes no sense otherwise in the context of the following verses. He thinks he reversed what he intended to say, namely that prophecy was for unbelievers and tongues for believers.

I do believe in the inspiration of scripture but also think it is possible that there are copy errors in some places. I agree with Phillips here. The passage makes no sense otherwise.


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Todd

 2024/2/11 7:47Profile
brendaM
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 Re:

If you understand that the appearance of tongues at Pentecost was sign of judgement for the unbelieving Jews present (Babel) and later was used for missionary purposes, then it makes perfect sense.

 2024/2/11 7:54Profile
brendaM
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Joined: 2024/1/19
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 Re:

That's a very slippery slope you are on if you think Paul/scribes made mistakes and that the ECF's did not pick any up.

It is going to lead to the apostacy prophesised I believe.

 2024/2/11 7:59Profile
TMK
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Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 6650
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 Re:

“ iii. Others have thought that the real problem here is an error made by someone who copied the verse very early in the history of the Bible. For example, respected translator J.B. Phillips thinks an ancient scribe mixed up Paul’s word order in 1 Corinthians 14:22, and the verse should read: That means that tongues are a sign of God’s power, not for those who are unbelievers but to those who already believe. Preaching the word of God, on the other hand, is a sign of God’s power to those who do not believe rather than to believers. It is important to note that Phillips does not believe the Holy Spirit made an error, but he believes that a copier of what the Holy Spirit inspired made the error.”

David Guzik’s commentary


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Todd

 2024/2/11 10:02Profile
narrowpath
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 Re:

BTW

there is a marked difference between prophesying and preaching, these two should never be confused:

προφητεύω = to prophesy, to be a prophet, speak forth by divine inspirations, to predict
to prophesy with the idea of foretelling future events pertaining esp. to the kingdom of God
to utter forth, declare, a thing which can only be known by divine revelation
to break forth under sudden impulse in lofty discourse or praise of the divine counsels
under like prompting, to teach, refute, reprove, admonish, comfort others
to act as a prophet, discharge the prophetic office

κηρύσσω = to be a herald, to officiate as a herald
to proclaim after the manner of a herald
always with the suggestion of formality, gravity and an authority which must be listened to and obeyed
to publish, proclaim openly: something which has been done
used of the public proclamation of the gospel and matters pertaining to it, made by John the Baptist, by Jesus, by the apostles and other Christian teachers

 2024/2/11 12:51Profile
ChrisA
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Joined: 2022/7/8
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 Re:

John Chrysostom
From this it is clear that they did not hand down everything by letter, but there is much also that was not written. Like that which was written, the unwritten too is worthy of belief. So let us regard the tradition of the Church also as worthy of belief (from his commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:15).

He also believed something very close to transubstantiation regarding the Eucharist (communion elements).

I do not derive my theology from him or a number of early church "fathers" who had already deviated from sound doctrine by the third century A.D.

 2024/2/11 20:42Profile
brendaM
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Joined: 2024/1/19
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North Eastern UK

 Re:

ChrisA

The Orthodox oral tradition was handed down from the Apostles and does not contradict scripture. The Roman Catholic organizations' traditions are of their own imaginations.

Agreed, the early teachings had already deviated by some (and already noted in the NT), but Chrysostom can be considered as reliable as a church historian as any, regardless as to whether his whole theology was in line with scripture.

 2024/2/12 3:59Profile
ChrisA
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 Re:

Brenda, both the Catholic and Orthodox churches claim that the Bible is a *part* of their traditions. This gives them a lot of wiggle room for extra-Biblical practices. They are quite the twins in their theology. One has a pope, the other has a patriarch. One prays to statues, the other prays to icons (flat images). Both groups pray to "Mary" and to "saints." Both groups do the sign of the cross (not Biblical). The Orthodox teach that the gifts of the Spirit ceased by the end of the 1st century, whereas the Catholic church jumped on board with the charismatic movement in the 1960s when they saw how many people were leaving their institution to be born again in Christ and Spirit-filled.

The Orthodox teachings and traditions have been discussed at length on this forum in years past. They do not align with the Scriptures. You would not be allowed to partake of communion if you visited one of their church services, unless you went through their lengthy membership rituals.

 2024/2/12 6:05Profile
brendaM
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Joined: 2024/1/19
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North Eastern UK

 Re:

ChrisA

I am very aware of the unscriptural teachings and practices of what has become very un-Orthodox for many but not all, as time has gone on. Otherwise I would have swam the Bosphorus.

Some pray to Mary but that is not accepted by all, whereas they venerate - a different thing. Same as icons. The rest is misunderstanding regarding their mindset, for example, past saints are alive as we are.

You cannot just write them off like that as there is so much variety and false teachings, but yes they would not accept me without lengthy training to correct my errors but mine would no doubt be shortened.

The Orthodox Church was the original church which the Roman Catholics broke away from and were the ones who decided what was scripture. They produced our Bibles.

As for interpretation of the Bible, I can no longer call myself a Protestant after studying their interpretations, and have found answers to many problems I inherited by reading the writings of their 'Pillars' of the faith especially on Theosis or union with Christ which the west has merely attempted to copy.

Most of what you say is due to misunderstanding. They have always had a group of patriarchs which meet at councils and never a pope, which led to the schism.

 2024/2/12 6:35Profile





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