February 1, 2022
- 2 Kings 5:1-15, Naaman the Syrian healed
- Lesson: Naaman healed: Baptism in the Old Testament
- 1 Corinthians 14:13-25, Interpreting tongues
- Lesson: Against pursuing our own edification to the neglect of those around us
- How do we come to know God’s wisdom?
O Lord open thou my lips
And my mouth shall declare thy praise.
O God + come to my assistance;
O Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, *
and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now, *
and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
This is another day, O Lord. I know not what it will bring forth, but make me ready, Lord, for whatever it may be. If I am to stand up, help me to stand bravely. If I am to sit still, help me to sit quietly. If I am to lie low, help me to do it patiently. And if I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly. Make these words more than words, and give me the Spirit of Jesus. Amen. 
“Holy Spirit, Truth divine”
By Samuel Longfellow
Holy Spirit, Truth divine,
Dawn upon this soul of mine;
Word of God and inward light,
Wake my spirit, clear my sight.
Holy Spirit, Love divine,
Glow within this heart of mine;
Kindle every high desire;
Perish self in your pure fire.
Holy Spirit, Power divine,
Fill and nerve this will of mine;
Grant that I may strongly live,
Bravely bear, and nobly strive.
Holy Spirit, Right divine,
King within my conscience reign;
Be my Lord, and I shall be
Firmly bound, forever free. 
O God, the author of peace and lover of concord, to know you is eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom: Defend us, your humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting in your defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries, through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 
2 Kings 5:1-15, Naaman the Syrian healed
1 Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man and in high favor with his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Aram. The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered from leprosy.[a] 2 Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. 3 She said to her mistress, “If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”[b] 4 So Naaman[c] went in and told his lord just what the girl from the land of Israel had said. 5 And the king of Aram said, “Go then, and I will send along a letter to the king of Israel.”
He went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten sets of garments. 6 He brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, “When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you my servant Naaman, that you may cure him of his leprosy.”[d] 7 When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to give death or life, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy?[e] Just look and see how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me.”
8 But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent a message to the king, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come to me, that he may learn that there is a prophet in Israel.” 9 So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and halted at the entrance of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean.” 11 But Naaman became angry and went away, saying, “I thought that for me he would surely come out, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and would wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy![f] 12 Are not Abana[g] and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them, and be clean?” He turned and went away in a rage. 13 But his servants approached and said to him, “Father, if the prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more, when all he said to you was, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” 14 So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean.
15 Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company; he came and stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel; please accept a present from your servant.”
Naaman healed: Baptism in the Old Testament
“Leprosy, much like AIDS today, was one of the most feared diseases of the time. Some forms were extremely contagious and, in many cases, incurable. In its worst forms, leprosy led to death. Many lepers were forced out of the cities into quarantined camps. Because Naaman still held his post, he probably had a mild form of the disease, or perhaps it was still in the early stages. In either case, his life would have been tragically shortened by his disease.” 
St. Ephrem the Syrian wrote, “Some rely on these words to say that [Naaman] was the one who had killed Ahab by striking him with an arrow shot by his own hand, when there was war between [Israel] and Aram. This favor was granted him by the Lord as a reward for killing the persecutor of the prophets and for enfeebling the power of Jezebel, [Ahab’s] wife, and for restraining her cruelty. And thanks to him the disciples of Elijah had relief too, those whom the fear of Ahab and Jezebel had forced to flee into the desert and take refuge in some caves. And they had returned to their abodes, as the Scripture mentions below. But all these theories are groundless, except for what they say about the persecution of the prophets, which is undoubtedly correct,” (On the Second Book of Kings 5). 
“Aram was Israel’s neighbor to the northeast, but the two nations were rarely on friendly terms. Under David, Aram paid tribute to Israel. In Elisha’s day, Aram was growing in power and frequently conducted raids on Israel, trying to frustrate the people and bring about political confusion. Israelite captives often would be taken back to Aram after successful raids. Naaman’s servant girl was an Israelite, kidnapped from her home and family. Ironically, Naaman’s only hope of being cured came from Israel.” 
“The little girl’s faith and Naaman’s quest contrast with the stubbornness of Israel’s king (2 Kgs 5:7). A leader in mighty Aram sought the God of Israel; Israel’s own king would not. We don’t know the little girl’s name or much about her, but her brief word to her mistress brought healing and faith in God to a powerful Aramean captain. God had placed her for a purpose, and she was faithful. Where has God put you? No matter how humble or small your position, God can use you to spread his Word. Look for opportunities to tell others what God can do. There’s no telling who will hear your message!” 
“The name of Israel’s king is not mentioned in this story. The events of 2 Kings 1–8 are mainly about Elisha’s ministry and are not intended to be chronological. The king was most likely Jehoram (2 Kgs 3:1), but we cannot know for sure.” 
“Naaman, a great hero, was used to getting respect, so he was outraged when Elisha treated him like an ordinary person. A proud man, he expected royal treatment. To wash in a great river would be one thing, but the Jordan was small and dirty. To wash in the Jordan, Naaman thought, was beneath a man of his position. But Naaman had to humble himself and obey Elisha’s commands in order to be healed.” 
“Obedience to God begins with humility. We must believe that his way is better than our own. We may not always understand his ways of working, but by humbly obeying, we will receive his blessings. We must remember that (1) God’s ways are best; (2) God wants our obedience more than anything else; (3) God can use anything to accomplish his purposes.” 
“Naaman left in a rage because the cure for his disease seemed too simple. He was a hero, and he expected a heroic cure. Full of pride and self-will, Naaman could not accept the simple cure of faith. Sometimes people react to God’s offer of forgiveness in the same way. Just to believe in Jesus Christ somehow doesn’t seem significant enough to bring eternal life. To obey God’s commands doesn’t seem heroic. What Naaman had to do to have his leprosy washed away is similar to what we must do to have our sin washed away—humbly accept God’s mercy. Don’t let your reaction to the way of faith keep you from the cure you need the most.” 
St. Ephrem the Syrian wrote, “Naaman was sent to the Jordan as to the remedy capable to heal a human being. Indeed, sin is the leprosy of the soul, which is not perceived by the senses, but . . . human nature must be delivered from this disease by Christ’s power which is hidden in baptism. It was necessary that Naaman, in order to be purified from two diseases, that of the soul and that of the body, might represent in his own person the purification of all the nations through the bath of regeneration, whose beginning was in the river Jordan, the mother and originator of baptism,” (On the Second Book of Kings 5.10–11). 
St. Ephraim continued, “[Naaman] offered royal presents, but the prophet did not accept them and was not persuaded by the donor, even though he had pressed him many times. For that magnificently and very clearly prefigured the mystery of the healing, which is freely granted to all nations of the earth by our Lord through the intercession of the apostles. And this had been promised in advance to those masters by the prophet Isaiah, when he said, ‘You were sold for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money’ [Is 52:3],” (On the Second Book of Kings 5). 
“Naaman the leper arrived at Elisha’s house and expected Elisha to cure him by way of magical gesture or incantation. Instead, his healing by Elisha’s instructions brought about a conversion experience that caused him to believe in the one true God. Christ alluded to this when he said, ‘There were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian’ (Lk 4:27); he used this story as an example of a prophet not being welcome in his own country: the prophet performed mightier works among the foreigners than among his own people because their faith was stronger. This story bears resemblance to that of the ten lepers cured by Christ, of which only one returned to thank him (cf. Lk 17:12-19).” 
According to St. Irenaeus (c. 130 – c. 202 AD), “It was not for nothing that Naaman of old, when suffering from leprosy, was purified upon his being baptized, but [it served] as an indication to us. For as we are lepers in sin, we are made clean by means of the sacred waters and the invocation of the Lord.” 
Below is a portion of “The Baptism of Christ,” a sermon by Saint Gregory of Nyssa (335-395), one of the three Cappadocian Fathers of the Church:
“Now herein, by that wondrous sacrifice, Elijah clearly proclaimed to us the sacramental rite of Baptism that should afterwards be instituted. For the fire was kindled by water thrice poured upon it, so that it is clearly shown that where the mystic water is, there is the kindling, warm, and fiery Spirit, that burns up the ungodly, and illuminates the faithful. Yes, and yet again his disciple Elisha, when Naaman the Syrian, who was diseased with leprosy, had come to him as a suppliant, cleanses the sick man by washing him in Jordan, clearly indicating what should come, both by the use of water generally, and by the dipping in the river in particular. For Jordan alone of rivers, receiving in itself the first-fruits of sanctification and benediction, conveyed in its channel to the whole world, as it were from some fount in the type afforded by itself, the grace of Baptism. These then are indications in deed and act of regeneration by Baptism.
“Let us for the rest consider the prophecies of it in words and language. Isaiah cried saying, ‘Wash you, make you clean, put away evil from your souls;’ and David, ‘Draw near to Him and be enlightened, and your faces shall not be ashamed.’ And Ezekiel, writing more clearly and plainly than them both, says, ‘And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be cleansed: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I give you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh, and my Spirit will I put within you.’
“Most manifestly also does Zechariah prophesy of Joshua, who was clothed with the filthy garment (to wit, the flesh of a servant, even ours), and stripping him of his ill-favoured raiment adorns him with the clean and fair apparel; teaching us by the figurative illustration that verily in the Baptism of Jesus all we, putting off our sins like some poor and patched garment, are clothed in the holy and most fair garment of regeneration. And where shall we place that oracle of Isaiah, which cries to the wilderness, ‘Be glad, O thirsty wilderness: let the desert rejoice and blossom as a lily: and the desolate places of Jordan shall blossom and shall rejoice’? For it is clear that it is not to places without soul or sense that he proclaims the good tidings of joy: but he speaks, by the figure of the desert, of the soul that is parched and unadorned, even as David also, when he says, ‘My soul is unto You as a thirsty land,’ and, ‘My soul is thirsty for the mighty, for the living God.’ So again the Lord says in the Gospels, ‘If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink;’ and to the woman of Samaria, ‘Whosoever drinks of this water shall thirst again: but whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst,’ John 4:13-14 .
“And ‘the excellency of Carmel’ Isaiah 35:2 is given to the soul that bears the likeness to the desert, that is, the grace bestowed through the Spirit. For since Elijah dwelt in Carmel, and the mountain became famous and renowned by the virtue of him who dwelt there, and since moreover John the Baptist, illustrious in the spirit of Elijah, sanctified the Jordan, therefore the prophet foretold that ‘the excellency of Carmel’ should be given to the river. And ‘the glory of Lebanon Isaiah 35:2,’ from the similitude of its lofty trees, he transfers to the river. For as great Lebanon presents a sufficient cause of wonder in the very trees which it brings forth and nourishes, so is the Jordan glorified by regenerating men and planting them in the Paradise of God: and of them, as the words of the Psalmist say, ever blooming and bearing the foliage of virtues, ‘the leaf shall not wither,’ and God shall be glad, receiving their fruit in due season, rejoicing, like a good planter, in his own works. And the inspired David, foretelling also the voice which the Father uttered from heaven upon the Son at His Baptism, that He might lead the hearers, who till then had looked upon that low estate of His Humanity which was perceptible by their senses, to the dignity of nature that belongs to the Godhead, wrote in his book that passage, ‘The voice of the Lord is upon the waters, the voice of the Lord in majesty.’
“But here we must make an end of the testimonies from the Divine Scriptures: for the discourse would extend to an infinite length if one should seek to select every passage in detail, and set them forth in a single book.”
O holy Lord,
as we believe you to be our light
enlighten our hearts with the
brightness of our Lord’s resurrection,
that with the knowledge of the Trinity
and understanding of the unity,
we may be worthy to be children of the light,
members of Christ,
and temples of the Holy Spirit;
who reigns forever and ever. Amen.
- Antiphonary of Bangor, 7th century 
1 Corinthians 14:13-25, Interpreting tongues
13 Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray for the power to interpret. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unproductive. 15 What should I do then? I will pray with the spirit, but I will pray with the mind also; I will sing praise with the spirit, but I will sing praise with the mind also. 16 Otherwise, if you say a blessing with the spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider say the “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since the outsider does not know what you are saying? 17 For you may give thanks well enough, but the other person is not built up. 18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you; 19 nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind, in order to instruct others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.
20 Brothers and sisters,[a] do not be children in your thinking; rather, be infants in evil, but in thinking be adults. 21 In the law it is written,
“By people of strange tongues
and by the lips of foreigners
I will speak to this people;
yet even then they will not listen to me,”
says the Lord. 22 Tongues, then, are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is not for unbelievers but for believers. 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 mind? 24 But if all prophesy, an unbeliever or outsider who enters is reproved by all and called to account by all. 25 After the secrets of the unbeliever’s heart are disclosed, that person will bow down before God and worship him, declaring, “God is really among you.”
Against pursuing our own edification to the neglect of those around us
“Interpretation was a spiritual activity that should follow speaking in a tongue.”  “Ritual language is known for its conservative tendencies. E.g., we still pray “Our Father,” quote Bible passages, or sing hymns and liturgy in seventeenth-century English (KJV); immigrant communities typically use their heritage language and their new language alongside each other in worship settings, even when the meaning of their heritage language is being lost (linguists refer to this as “language shift”). Records of ritual conservatism, multiple languages in worship, and the confusion they caused are known from the Jerusalem temple… and from Palestinian Judaism (Sotah 7:1–2; Megillah 2:1). Paul gives evidence of ritually conservative language at Corinth as well.” 
“Paul displayed his thoughts as an example for the readers to follow [v. 14-15]. At church, a person might pray personally for spiritual edification or understandably for the edification of others. Paul resolved to live with both practices. He displayed such resolve in other conflicting situations, using similar expressions about “spirit” and “mind”: in Rm 7:25, he described the inner conflict over following God’s Word and following the sinful nature; in Rm 8:16, the Holy Spirit bears witness “with our spirit” against the spirit of slavery and fear. With these expressions, Paul describes feeling torn, but persists in what he knows is right and best. He acknowledges the congregation’s selfish practice while emphasizing his main point: speak in an understandable way at church.” 
In verses 16-17, “Paul may have in mind specific liturgical prayers, such as the Eighteen Benedictions that were used in first-century Jewish synagogues.”  “If you shall bless in a barbarian tongue, not knowing what you say, nor able to interpret, the layman cannot respond the Amen. For not hearing the words, ‘forever and ever,’ which are at the end [of a prayer], he does not say the Amen” (Chrysostom). 
In verses, “Paul boasted rhetorically to show the Corinthians that the activity they valued so highly was common.”  “This he does also in another place intending, namely, to take away the advantages of Judaism and to show that henceforth they are nothing, he begins by declaring that [he] himself had been endowed with them” (Chrysostom).  “Not only has Paul commanded that a language understood by the people be used in church (1 Corinthians 14:2, 9), but human law has also commanded it.” 
In verses 21– 22, “Paul quoted Isaiah, whose saying stemmed from a prophecy of Moses…. Israel failed to believe the Lord and so was conquered by the Assyrians, who spoke a different language. Conquered people are forced to tolerate and finally adopt the language of the conquerors. The foreign language constantly reminds the conquered people of their failure. (Cf Jer 5:15, which applied Moses’ prophecy to the Babylonians.) The Greek Corinthians were conquered by the Latin-speaking Romans, who completely destroyed Corinth in 146 BC and began to rebuild it as a Roman colony in 46 BC. Virtually all Corinthian inscriptions from the first century AD are in Latin, not Greek. Both Jews and Greeks at Corinth understood the relationship between conquest, judgment, and language… When God grew tired of Israel’s sin, He did not give them prophets… Therefore, clear preaching of God’s Word by the prophets was a sign of God’s favor.” 
“Christians gathered in “house churches” (cf 16:19; Ac 18:7–8). These physical divisions could contribute to the congregational divisions, which may have included differences in worship practices or even differences in languages. However, Paul regarded the Corinthians as one congregation (1:2) and here [v. 23] referred to the gathering of all Corinthian believers in a unified worship service.” 
“Spiritual gifts are for all men, Christians and non-Christians. But tongues do not edify most Christians and fail to convert unbelievers (v. 22), instead repelling them and suggesting that Christians are out of their mind (v. 23).” 
“When God’s Word is clearly preached, the Law and the Gospel go to work on the hearer’s heart. The Law convicts the hearer of sin, and the Gospel creates faith and brings forth the good fruit of sincere worship and confession. The Corinthians ’ zeal for tongues has hindered these essential works of God’s Word.” 
“Some Corinthians were pursuing their own edification to the neglect of those around them. We, too, are naturally tempted to pursue what we think of as our own spiritual needs rather than patiently sharing God’s Word with others, especially those we regard as less spiritual. Such attitudes contribute to deeper spiritual divisions among us. God calls us together for mutual edification in His Word, which always richly applies to the mature as well as the immature . Through the Word, God is really among us, giving His Spirit, faith in Christ, and all blessings of salvation. • Dearest Jesus, grant me the maturity to desire the edification of my brothers and sisters and to pursue gifts that build them up in Your love, so that our congregation may confess You with one voice in one Spirit. Amen.” 
I LIFT up my hands by night in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord—Psalm cxxxiv. 2, 3. The Lord hath commanded his loving-kindness in the day-time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life. —Psalm xlii. 8. Thus will I bless thee while I live, and I will lift up my hands in thy name.—Psalm 1xiii. 4.
- Lancelot Andrewes
How do we come to know God’s wisdom?
“We come to know God’s wisdom through the Holy Spirit, for the Holy Spirit knows the things of God (v. 11), just as the spirit of the man knows what is in man. Note Paul’s threefold classification of humanity:” 
- “The natural man (lit. “soulish”; v. 14) is one not yet joined to Christ, unenlightened and unregenerate. For such people, divine things appear to be foolishness because they inquire into divine things by human and natural reasoning rather than receiving these by faith.” 
- “The spiritual man (2:15) is filled with the Holy Spirit given at [baptism and confirmation] and is maturing in his knowledge of Christ.” 
- “The carnal man (lit. “fleshly”; 3:1) is the person who, while in the Church, has his mind set on earthly things, still trying to satisfy personal wants and selfish desires.” 
“We reveal our spiritual condition by our relationships with other Christians. The lesson is plain: Growth in our fellowship with God demands living in the overcoming strength of the Holy Spirit, who brings unity to the Church and great victory over petty, egocentric squabblings.” 
Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen. 
 Episcopal Church. (1979). Ministration of the Sick: In the Morning. In The Book of common prayer: And administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Together with the psalter, or, Psalms of David (pp. 461). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.
 Tickle, P. (2006). January. In The divine hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 628). New York, NY: Image Books.
 Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). 2 Kings. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 5828). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.
 Ephrem the Syrian. (2019). 2 Kings In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 1124). Nashville: Holman Bible.
 Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). 2 Kings. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 5829). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.
 Ibid. 6
 Ibid. 6
 Ibid. 6
 Ibid. 6
 Ibid. 6
 Ephrem the Syrian. (2019). 2 Kings In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 1125). Nashville: Holman Bible.
 Ibid. 12
 Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). 2 Kings. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 974). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum,, Ignatius Press.
 Nelson, T. (2008). 4 Kingdoms. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 485). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.
 Gregory of Nyssa. (n.d.). On the Baptism of Christ. Retrieved August 10, 2020, from https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2910.htm
 Stratman, P. (2001). For Guidance And Enlightenment. In Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church (Kindle ed., p. 58). Crossway.
 A., E. E. (2016). 1 Corinthians. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 7882). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.
 Ibid. 18, P. 7882-7883
 Ibid. 18, P. 7883
 Ibid. 18, P. 7883
 Ibid. 18, P. 7883
 Ibid. 18, P. 7883
 Ibid. 18, P. 7883
 Ibid. 18, P. 7883
 Ibid. 18, P. 7883-7884
 Ibid. 18, P. 7884
 Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). 1 Corinthians. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1598). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.
 A., E. E. (2016). 1 Corinthians. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 7884). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.
 Ibid. 29, P. 7884-7885
 Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). 1 Corinthians. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1591). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.
 Ibid. 31
 Ibid. 31
 Ibid. 31
 Ibid. 31
 Ibid. 31
 Episcopal Church. (1979). Daily Office, Rite II. In The Book of common prayer: And administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Together with the psalter, or, Psalms of David (pp. 134). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.