…Whose God Is Their Belly…

 I’ve been using volume VIII of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (ed. by Mark Edwards) as I teach/preach through Philippians.  There are a bunch more in this IVP set (Thomas Oden is the general editor), and I do recommend them for OT/NT studies.  So far, I’m quite impressed with this commentary.  It contains excerpts of Basil of Caesarea, Chrysostom, Marius Victorinus, Ambrosiaster, and a few more.  I do often want to read more than a paragraph from these early fathers as they comment on Philippians, but I realize the nature of this commentary series is simply to give the reader a taste of the patristic method and content of exegesis and textual application.  Here’s a short and excellenty commentary (from this volume) by Chrysostom on Philippians 3.19 (…whose god is their belly…).

“Your belly is given to you so that you may nourish it, not so that it may burst.  Your body is given you that you may rule it, not so that you may have it as a mistress.  It is given that it may serve you for the nourishment of the other members, not so that you may serve it.  Do not exceed these bounds.  The sea in flood does not so much harm to the boundaries as our belly does to our bodies and our souls.  The flood overwhelms only part of the land.  The god of the belly overwhelms the whole body.  Set self-constraint as a bound to it as God sets the sand to the sea.”

Here’s the link if you want to check out the other commentaries in this fine series.

shane lems

sunnyside wa