I am an Orthodox Christian priest. I have been Orthodox my entire life and a priest since July 2007. From my perspective, in America at least, we have lost the functional understanding of our Orthodox Christian Faith. We must take seriously that our Traditions have purpose and are not a just a litany of tasks and obligations we must perform. To "boil down" the Faith to that creates an environment I believe is what the Apostle Paul taught against. Glory to God.
LIVE STREAM Bible Study Guide
The Book of Acts 17.32 – 18.17 – Homily 39
December 16, 2015
With Father Athanasios Haros
Every Wednesday at 7 p.m. EST
- When: December 16, 2015 & Every Wednesdays at 7 p.m. EST
- What: A Bible Study on the Book of Acts
- Click on the Link Below to Download the Study Guide for December 16:
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Study Guide to Prepare for LIVE Bible Study on December 16, 2015 – Session 40
THE CHURCH OF THE HOLY APOSTLES; A BIBLE STUDY ON THE BOOK OF ACTS
Based upon the Homilies of St John Chrysostom (SJC)
Study Guide – December 16, 2015, Acts 17.32 – 18.17 – Homily 39
Prayer before reading of the Holy Scriptures: Shine within our hearts, loving Master, the pure light of Your divine knowledge, and open the eyes of our minds that we may comprehend the message of Your Gospel. Instill in us also reverence for Your blessed commandments so that, having conquered sinful desires, we may pursue a spiritual life, thinking and doing all those things which are pleasing to You. For You, Christ our God, are the light of our souls and bodies, and to You we give glory, together with Your Father who is without beginning and Your all holy, good and life giving Spirit, always now and forever and to the ages of ages.
General Note: Paul had greater trials with Jews than with any group of Gentiles.
Chapter 17 v. 32-34 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, “We will hear you again on this matter.” So Paul departed from among them. However, some men joined him and believed, among them Dionysius the Areopagite, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.
SJC “For the Athenians, although fond of hearing strange things, nevertheless did not attend (to him); for this was not their study, but only to be always having something to say.”
Paul was led by the Holy Spirit to Corinth
Just a few Athenians had converted, but Paul was content to sew a few seeds of the doctrine of the Gospel.
Those who believed were those who were already committed to right living
Athenians jeered at the concept of the Resurrection
Chapter 18 v. 1-4 After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla (because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome); and he came to them. So, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers. And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks.
It was divine providence that the Jews were driven out of Rome so eventually, when Paul arrives in Rome later, he does so was a prisoner with a guard and protection
Paul lived humbly with fellow tradesmen. SJC “And with him he abides, and is not ashamed to abide, nay, for this very reason he does abide, as having a suitable lodging-place, for to him it was much more suitable than any king’s palace.” Are we content with basic dwelling?
The ENTIRE household converted at the same time. This would have included infants and servants as well.
Chapter 18 v. 5-11 When Silas and Timothy had come from Macedonia, Paul was compelled by the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ. But when they opposed him and blasphemed, he shook his garments and said to them, “Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” And he departed from there and entered the house of a certain man named Justus, one who worshiped God, whose house was next door to the synagogue. Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized. Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; “for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.” And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.
Paul’s actions are a violent manner. “Shook his garments” to make them jealous, but Paul STILL does not neglect the Jews. (See Romans 11.11-15)
Paul stays next door to the Synagogue as a sign of just how serious he is about not neglecting the Jews
Jealousy was enough to convert the leaders of Synagogue. SJC “Mark immediately the ruler of the synagogue converted, and many others when he had done this.”
The danger is growing because more Jews are believing, including a ruler, but God didn’t ALWAYS permit them to suffer and become too weak.
Chapter 18 v. 12-17 When Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him to the judgment seat, saying, “This fellow persuades men to worship God contrary to the law.” And when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrongdoing or wicked crimes, O Jews, there would be reason why I should bear with you. “But if it is a question of words and names and your own law, look to it yourselves; for I do not want to be a judge of such matters.” And he drove them from the judgment seat. Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. But Gallio took no notice of these things.
The “worst” trial for Paul is being sent to the Procounsul. Gallio was procounsul in 51-52CE.
SJC “He taught them that not such are the matters which crave a judicial sentence, but they do all things out of order. And he does not say, It is not my duty, but, I do not choose, that they may not trouble him again.”
Gallio must have been a man of reason since he ignored the insults of the Jews, but his inaction caused even more anger.
Judges were trained to do behave in this way to reveal which party was more reasonable.
Teaching on “How to respond when someone attacks you” – (see Homily 39)
- Do not return violence with violence
This man let us also imitate: to them that beat us, let us return blow for blow, by meekness, by silence, by long-suffering. More grievous these wounds, greater this blow, and more heavy. For to show that it is not the receiving a blow in the body that is grievous, but the receiving it in the mind, we often smite people, but since it is in the way of friendship, they are even pleased.
- It isn’t the actual insult that hurts, but the witnessing of the insult
So true is it that it is not the insult, as it is in itself, that mortifies us, but the having to suffer it in the sight of all men: since if one should do us honor in the sight of all men, and insult us in private, we shall notwithstanding even feel obliged to him. The pain then is not in the nature of the insult, but in the opinion of the beholders; that one may not seem to be contemptible.
- The one insults is the one who looks bad
For which man, I ask, is worthy of approval, the man who is excited, who is tossed with a tempest of passion, who is infuriated like a wild beast, who demeans himself in this sort against our common nature, or he who lives in a state of calm, in a haven of repose, and in virtuous equanimity? Is not the one like an angel, the other not even like a man? For the one cannot even bear his own evils, while the other bears even those of others also: here, the man cannot even endure himself; there, he endures another too: the one is in danger of shipwreck, the other sails in safety.
- God suffered before we were even born
Let this be a consolation to you when suffering insult. Are you insulted? God also is insulted. Are you reviled? God also was reviled. Are you treated with scorn? Why, so was our Master also. In these things He shares with us, but not so in the contrary things. For He never insulted another unjustly: God forbid! He never reviled, never did a wrong.
- It is the greater man who does NOT insult
But, on the contrary, we ought to say: Do you insult? Insult still: for you are nobody: whereas to those who do not insult this should be said: Who are you that you insult not?— you have surpassed human nature. This is nobility, this is generosity, to speak nothing ungenerous, though a man may deserve to have it spoken to him.
- When two men fight, only a beast can reconcile
For when both the wrong-doers and those who delight in the wrong-doing are men, the part of reconciler is left for the beasts.
Life Application Challenge – (Homily 38) Keep a clean tongue!
Therefore, reflecting on these things, let us flee the mischief thence accruing, and keep a clean tongue, that being clear from all abusiveness, we may be enabled with strictness to pass through the life present, and to attain unto the good things promised to those that love Him.
About Father Athanasios C. Haros
Father Athanasios C Haros is the Pastor at the Transfiguration of Our Savior Greek Orthodox Church in Florence, South Carolina. His sermon series, known as “Be Transfigured” are found each week on the Orthodox Christian Network. You can find more information about his parish at www.GoFlorence.org, and www.LiveANewLifeInChrist.org.