, , , , , ,

(The previous post in this series can be found here: https://memoirandremains.wordpress.com/2013/06/05/1-clement-12-commentary-and-translation/)

1 Clement 13:

Therefore, let us humble ourselves, brothers – putting away all boasting and blindness and foolishness and wrath; let us obey what is written. For the Holy Spirit says

Let not the wiseman boast in his wisdom

Neither the strong man in his strength

Neither the rich man in his riches

But let him who boast, boast in the Lord, so that he will seek him and do justice and righteousness.

Especially, remember the word of the Lord – as he taught gentleness and longsuffering:

Show mercy that you may receive more

Forgive that you may be forgiven

As you do, thus it will be done to you.

As you give, thus it will be given to you.

As you judge, thus you shall be judged.

As you showing loving kindness, thus you will be shown loving kindness.

With what you measure, so it will be measured for you.

By means of this command and these promises, let us strength ourselves for the purpose of obedience [to walk in obedience]– being humble mind through his words which show us what is fitting for a saint. For the holy word says,

Upon whom will I look, but upon the one who is meek and quiet and trembles at my word.



Comment: The tone of Clement throughout is humble and emphatic. He does not state that the Corinthians need such humility, but he does not. Rather, the exhortations are all “we” , “let us”.

He calls them onto humility: first by referencing the OT examples given; second, by means of new quotations: 1) Jeremiahs 9:23-24 (quoted by Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:31); 2) a summary of Jesus’ exhortations; and 3) a promise from Isaiah 66:2.

Translation Notes:

The only difficulty in translation appears in the last clause of the third verse.  Here are the alternative translations:

With this commandment and these precepts let us confirm ourselves, that we may walk in obedience to His hallowed words, with lowliness of mind.


With this commandment and with these instructions let us strengthen ourselves to walk, being obedient to his saintly words, being humble-minded


With this commandment and with these injunctions let us strengthen ourselves to walk in obedience to his hallowed words and let us be humble-minded


 …for conduct obedient to his holy words in all humility


…that we may humbly walk in obedience to his holy words




Ταπεινοφρονήσωμεν οὖν, ἀδελφοί

            Let us be humble (have humble minds) therefore, brothers

Hortatory subjunctive: “let us be humble”.

The verb to be humble carries negative connotations outside of Christian literature.  

Liddle & Scott define the word as meaning, “low, mean-spirited, base”. For example, Epictetus, Discourses 1.9.10-11

[10] ἐγὼ μὲν οἶμαι, ὅτι ἔδει καθῆσθαι τὸν πρεσβύτερον ἐνταῦθα οὐ τοῦτο μηχανώμενον, ὅπως μὴ ταπεινοφρονήσητε μηδὲ ταπεινοὺς μηδ᾽ ἀγεννεῖς τινας διαλογισμοὺς διαλογιεῖσθε αὐτοὶ περὶ ἑαυτῶν [11] ἀλλὰ μή τινες ἐμπίπτωσιν τοιοῦτοι νέοι, οἳ ἐπιγνόντες τὴν πρὸς τοὺς θεοὺς συγγένειαν καὶ ὅτι δεσμά τινα ταῦτα προσηρτήμεθα τὸ σῶμα

Long translate this, “I indeed think that the old man ought to be sitting here, not to contrive how you may have no mean thoughts nor mean and ignoble talk about yourselves, but to take care that there be not among us any young men of such a mind, that when they have recognised their kinship to God, and that we are fettered by these bonds, the body …”

Or as Wigglesworth has it, “One would think that you would need an instructor, not to guard you from thinking too meanly or ignobly of yourselves”


ἀποθέμενοι πᾶσαν ἀλαζονείαν καὶ τύφος καὶ ἀφροσύνην καὶ ὀργάς

Putting  away all boasting and blindness and foolishness and wrath

The structure of this command looks very similar to NT usage[1]. The language of James and 1 Peter is the closest in construction to Clement’s usage – but it is not similar enough to demonstrate copying.

ἀλαζονείας: boasting is a common word for Clement. It is also found in 14.1, 16.2, 21.5 & 35.5.

καὶ ποιήσωμεν τὸ γεγραμμένον

and let us do (obey) that which has been written

The articular participle for the substantive.

λέγει γὰρ τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον

For says the the Spirit, the Holy One,

For the Holy Spirit says.

τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον: this particular construction for “the Holy Spirit” is quite common – appearing 20 times in the NT. The clause, “the Holy Spirits says” appears in Hebrews 3:7.

Μὴ καυχάσθω ὁ σοφὸς ἐν τῇ σοφίᾳ αὐτοῦ:

Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom

Here he quotes Jeremiah 9:24-25 LXX with slight modification (the LXX appears in the margin[2]). The most notable difference is that Jeremiah attributes the quotation to the Lord (kurios) and Clement (following Hebrews?) attributes the quotation to the Holy Spirit.

μηδὲ ὁ ἰσχυρὸς ἐν τῇ ἰσχύϊ αὐτοῦ, μηδὲ ὁ πλούσιος ἐν τῷ πλούτῳ αὐτοῦ

Neither the strong one in his strength; neither the rich one in his wealth

ἀλλʼ ἢ ὁ καυχώμενος ἐν Κυρίῳ καυχάσθω

but the boasting one in the Lord let him boast

Participle for the substantive.

τοῦ ἐκζητεῖν αὐτὸν καὶ ποιεῖν κρίμα καὶ δικαιοσύνην

to seek him and to do judgment and righteousness.

The genitive articular infinitive may here indicate result or purpose. The one who boasts in the Lord will result in one who seeks the Lord and does justice and righteousness.

μάλιστα μεμνημένοι τῶν λόγων τοῦ Κυρίου Ἰησοῦ,

especially remembering the words of the Lord Jesus

These words are similar to the sayings of the Sermon on the Mount but do not directly quote from the sermon.  “It cannot be determined whether this compilation was in circulation orally or in writing” (Grant, 36).

οὓς ἐλάλησεν διδάσκων ἐπιείκειαν καὶ μακροθυμίαν

which he spoke, teaching gentleness and longsuffering

The participle “teaching” modifies “he spoke” as a telic participle: the purpose fo the speaking was to teach gentleness and longsuffering.

οὕτως γὰρ εἶπεν

For thus he said

Introduces the quotation.

Ἐλεᾶτε ἵνα ἐλεηθῆτε,

Show mercy in order that you may receive mercy

The use of “hina” plus the subjunctive “indicates both the intention and its sure accomplishment” (Wallace, 473).

ἀφίετε ἵνα ἀφεθῇ ὑμῖν·

Forgive in order that you may be forgiven

ὡς ποιεῖτε, οὕτω ποιηθήσεται ὑμῖν·

As you do, thus it shall be done to you

ὡς δίδοτε οὕτως δοθήσεται ὑμῖν·

as you give, thus it shall be given to you

Luke 6:38 (SBLGNT)

38 δίδοτε, καὶ δοθήσεται ὑμῖν·

 ὡς κρίνετε, οὕτως κριθήσεσθε·

as you judge, thus you shall be judged.

Matthew 7:2 (SBLGNT)

2 ἐν ᾧ γὰρ κρίματι κρίνετε κριθήσεσθε, καὶ ἐν ᾧ μέτρῳ μετρεῖτε μετρηθήσεται ὑμῖν.

ὡς χρηστεύεσθε, οὕτως χρηστευθήσεται ὑμῖν·

as you show loving kindness, thus you shall be shown loving kindness

This exact verb is not quoted as being used by Jesus, but it does appear in 1 Corinthians 13:4, “love is …kind”.

ᾧ μέτρῳ μετρεῖτε, ἐν αὐτῷ μετρηθήσεται ὑμῖν

in what measure you measure, thus it shall be measured to you

Matthew 7:2.

3 Ταύτῃ τῇ ἐντολῇ καὶ τοῖς παραγγέλμασιν τούτοις

By means of the command and these promises

The use of the demonstrative pronoun and the article is interesting, although not rare. Here, the articles are anaphoric, pointing back to that just quoted.  The pronoun makes it more emphatic This very command …..

Luke 12:20 (ESV)

20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’

Examples, Matthew 12:45, 16:18, 26:34,

The dative shows the means of obedience.

στηρίξωμεν ἑαυτοὺς εἰς τὸ πορεύεσθαι ὑπηκόους

Let us strength ourselves for the purpose of going on to obedience

Eis + article + infinitive:  For the purpose of (Wallace, 591).

We are strengthened with the end of obedience.

ὄντας τοῖς ἁγιοπρεπέσι λόγοις αὐτοῦ, ταπεινοφρονοῦντες

being humble minded by means of his words which show what is fitting for a saint

ὄντας: Being, an accusative predicate, matching “ourselves” in the preceding clause.

τοῖς ἁγιοπρεπέσι λόγοις:  The dative demonstrates the means of being humble minded – as the dative was used in the previous sentence “this command ….”

ἁγιοπρεπής: as if fitting for a holy one – not used in the NT. Adjective modifying “words” the fitting for saints words

αὐτοῦ:  his, Jesus’.

ταπεινοφρονοῦντες:  being … humble minded.


φησὶν γὰρ ὁ ἅγιος λόγος

As the holy word says

Ἐπὶ τίνα ἐπιβλέψω,

Upon whom will I look

Epiblepein – to look upon, means more than merely see; it connotes special concern or care.

 ἀλλʼ ἢ ἐπὶ τὸν πραῢν καὶ ἡσύχιον καὶ τρέμοντά μου τὰ λόγιὰ

except upon the one who is meek and quiet and trembles at my words



[1] Hebrews 12:1 (SBLGNT)

Τοιγαροῦν καὶ ἡμεῖς, τοσοῦτον ἔχοντες περικείμενον ἡμῖν νέφος μαρτύρων, ὄγκον ἀποθέμενοι πάντα καὶ τὴν εὐπερίστατον ἁμαρτίαν, διʼ ὑπομονῆς τρέχωμεν τὸν προκείμενον ἡμῖν ἀγῶνα,

Hebrews 12:1 (ESV)

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

James 1:21 (SBLGNT)

21 διὸ ἀποθέμενοι πᾶσαν ῥυπαρίαν καὶ περισσείαν κακίας ἐν πραΰτητι δέξασθε τὸν ἔμφυτον λόγον τὸν δυνάμενον σῶσαι τὰς ψυχὰς ὑμῶν.

James 1:21 (ESV)

21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

1 Peter 2:1 (SBLGNT)

Ἀποθέμενοι οὖν πᾶσαν κακίαν καὶ πάντα δόλον καὶ ὑποκρίσεις καὶ φθόνους καὶ πάσας καταλαλιάς,

1 Peter 2:1 (ESV)

So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.

[2] Jeremiah 9:22–23 (LXX)

22 Τάδε λέγει κύριος Μὴ καυχάσθω ὁ σοφὸς ἐν τῇ σοφίᾳ αὐτοῦ, καὶ μὴ καυχάσθω ὁ ἰσχυρὸς ἐν τῇ ἰσχύι αὐτοῦ, καὶ μὴ καυχάσθω ὁ πλούσιος ἐν τῷ πλούτῳ αὐτοῦ, 23 ἀλλ̓ ἢ ἐν τούτῳ καυχάσθω ὁ καυχώμενος, συνίειν καὶ γινώσκειν ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι κύριος ποιῶν ἔλεος καὶ κρίμα καὶ δικαιοσύνην ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, ὅτι ἐν τούτοις τὸ θέλημά μου, λέγει κύριος.