What is the oldest recorded commentary on the 12th chapter of Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians? Plenty of people have written commentaries on this chapter, many times biased by their own doctrinal views and assumptions regarding the gifts of the Spirit, but I'm especially interested in the content of the oldest recorded commentary on the chapter in the history of the Church.

  • 1
    Chrysostom, in the fourth century, wrote commentaries on almost every single book in the New Covenant.
    – user46876
    Commented Jul 20, 2021 at 16:04

1 Answer 1


The answer seems indeed to be John Chrysostom (meaning Golden Mouth), the famous fourth century church father, theologian, liturgist, and preacher, who wrote commentaries on almost every single book in the New Covenant, the main reason for this residing in the fact that none of the previous systematical exegetical works contain a commentary on the two Pauline epistles addressed to the Corinthians, specifically. Philip Schaff's main edition of the church fathers can be found listed in both chronological and alphabetical order, together with a large appendix.

If one is curious about what the fathers of the preceding three centuries had to say on the topic, I recommend the following method:

  • The nine volumes of the pre-Nicene fathers can be opened/saved in pdf format (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9).
  • By expanding the Indexes section from the Table of Contents menu on the left, we can access an Index of Scripture Reference.
  • Scrolling, we arrive at the page corresponding to First Corinthians, containing chapter and verse numbers in link format.
  • A simple click on any of these links leads to the page containing the reference.
  • Alternately, one can simply press Ctrl + F , and type in 1 cor. xii.
  • Regardless of the specific search method employed, there are no more than a few such passages pertaining to the twelfth chapter, for each of the nine volumes.
  • 1
    Not sure why this is the accepted answer when Tertullian also commented on 1 Corinthians 12, about 200 years earlier
    – Alex
    Commented Jul 28, 2021 at 15:14

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