John Chrysostom, called the “golden-mouthed” for his eloquent preaching, continues in this second volume of the 67 Genesis homilies to provide instruction for the moral reformation of the Christians of Antioch. He continues in Homily 18 with Genesis 3 and finishes in Homily 45 with Genesis 20. They seem to have been delivered perhaps as early as 385, half just before and during Lent and the remainder, from Homily 33 onward, after Pentecost.
That Chrysostom favored Antiochene exegesis is clear from his exhortation at the beginning of Homily 20 to “take up the thread of the reading and apply. . . the teaching from the passage.” “You see,” he writes, “there is not even a syllable or even one letter contained in Scripture which does not have great treasure concealed in its depth.” He artfully interprets the literal spiritual meaning of this treasure for his congregation through inspiring and colorful exegesis.
It was Chrysostom’s pastoral responsibility to guide his congregation by means of homiletic exegesis. He urged his listeners to take note of the instruction and to give attention to the correction of their own daily lives so as to “proceed to the enjoyment of salvation.” The theme of the good man Noe, who remained unaffected by the universal decline of mankind into wickedness, provides the example for the moral improvement of his listeners in Homilies 23–29, as does the hospitality of Abraham in Homilies 41–45.
The Genesis homilies reveal Chrysostom as commentator, preacher, moralist, and profoundly theological and precise exegete of Scripture, the truth of which he teaches for the betterment of this congregation.
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John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, was an important Early Church Father. He is known for his eloquence in preaching and public speaking, his denunciation of abuse of authority by both ecclesiastical and political leaders, the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and his ascetic sensibilities. After his death (or, according to some sources, during his life) he was given the Greek surname chrysostomos, meaning “golden mouthed,” rendered in English as Chrysostom.