The Second Letter of Clement of Rome to the Corinthians

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Introduction

Based on public domain translations, put forth by Joseph Barber Lightfoot (1889), Charles H. Hoole (1885), Kirsopp Lake (1912), and Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson (1867).

Following the chapter and verse numeration put forth by Archbishop William Wake in the early 18th century.

Revised into modern English by Jesse ben Yosef.

All content copyright (C) 2016 by Torah Driven Life Publications.

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Chapter One

1:1 Brethren, we should regard Yeshua the Messiah, as of God, “as the judge of both the living and the dead.” 1 1:2 We should not regard our Salvation as a menial thing, for when we think menial things of Him, we should expect also to receive menial things. 1:3 Those who listen as if they are hearing menial things are in error, as we ourselves are in error, not knowing from where, by whom, and to where we were called, and how many things Yeshua the Messiah endured to suffer for our sakes.

1:4 What can we possibly to do to repay Him? What fruit is worthy to repay His own gift to us? 1:5 How many mercies do we owe Him? He bestowed the light upon us; He spoke to us, as a father speaks to His sons, and saved us while we were perishing. 1:6 What praise will we give to Him? With what will we repay Him for the things we received? 1:7 We were maimed in our understanding, and worshiped stocks and stones, gold, silver, and bronze, the works of men; our whole life was nothing but death. 1:8 While we were wrapped in darkness and oppressed by this thick mist in our vision, we recovered our sight, putting off by His will the cloud within which we were wrapped. 1:9 For He has had mercy on us, and in His compassion He saved us, having beheld in us much error and perdition, even when we had no hope of salvation, except for that which comes from Him. 1:10 He called us before our existence, and from nothing He willed us to come into being.

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Chapter Two

2:1 “Rejoice, you barren who does not bring forth. Cry out loud, you who have not travailed with child; for more plentiful are the children of the desolate than of she who has a husband.” 2 2:2 He spoke about us when He said, “Rejoice, you barren who does not bring forth.” For our Assembly was barren before children were given to her. 2:3 Then He said, “Cry out loud, you who have not travailed with child.” By this He means that like women in travail, we should not grow weary of offering up our prayers in abundance to God. 2:4 And then He said, “More plentiful are the children of the desolate than of she who has a husband.” By this He means that although our people at one time seemed desolate and forsaken by God, we now, having believed, have become more plentiful than those who are considered to have God. 3

2:5 Another Scripture says, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” 4 By this He means that it is just to save those who are perishing; 2:6 for this indeed is a great and marvelous work, not to establish the things which are standing, but to establish those which are falling. 2:7 In this way the Lord willed to save the things which were perishing. And He saved many, coming and calling us when we were perishing.

2:8 He has bestowed such great mercy on us! First of all, we, who are living, should not offer sacrifices to gods that are dead, or pay them with worship. 2:9 It is through Him that we have known the Father of Truth. How will we show that we indeed know Him, but by not denying Him through whom this knowledge has been attained? 2:10 For He Himself says, “Whoever confesses Me, I will confess him before the Father.” 5 For this then is our reward if we confess Him through whom we were saved. 2:11 By what means do we confess Him? When we do the things which He said, not being disobedient to His commandments, and honoring Him not only with our lips, but with our whole heart and mind. For He also said in Isaiah, “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.” 6

2:12 Let us not only call Him our Lord; this alone will not save us, for He said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord!’ will be saved, but he who does righteousness.” 7 2:13 So then, brethren, let us confess Him in our works: by loving one another; by not committing adultery; by not speaking evil one against another; by not envying, but by being temperate, merciful, and kind. 2:14 Let us also have a mutual sense of one another’s sufferings, and not be covetous; but let us confess Him by our good works, and not by the contrary. 2:15 We also should not fear men, but God. For this cause, if you do these things, the Lord has said, “Though you are gathered together with Me in My bosom, and do not do My commandments, I will cast you away, and will say to you, ‘Depart from Me, I do not know where you have come from; you are workers of lawlessness.’” 8

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Chapter Three

3:1 Brethren, let us forsake our sojourn in this world and do the will of He who called us. Let us not be afraid to depart out of this world. 3:2 For the Lord said, “You will be like lambs in the midst of wolves.” 9

And Peter responded to Him, “What then, if the wolves should tear the lambs?”

Then Yeshua said to Peter, “The lambs have no cause after they are dead to fear the wolves. You likewise should not fear those who kill you, and are not able to do anything to you; rather, fear He who, after you are dead, has power over soul and body, to cast them into the fires from Gehenna.” 10

3:3 You know, brethren, that the sojourn of the flesh in this world is short, and for just a little while, but the promise of the Messiah is great and marvelous, enduring to the end of the kingdom is to come, and bringing eternal life. 3:4 What then can we do to obtain them, but walk in holiness and righteousness? Consider these worldly things as foreign to us, and do not desire them, for when we desire to obtain these things we fall away from the righteous path. 3:5 For the Lord said, “No servant can serve two masters.” 11 If we desire to serve both God and mammon, it is unprofitable for us. “For what advantage is it, if a man gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” 12

3:6 Now this age and the future are two enemies. 13 The first speaks of adultery, defilement, avarice, and deceit, but the other bids farewell to these. 3:7 We cannot be friends with both of them, but must bid farewell to the first and hold companionship with the other. Let us consider that it is better to hate the things which are here, because they are crude, temporary, and perishable, and to love the things which are there, for they are good and imperishable. 3:8 If we do the will of the Messiah, we will find rest; but if we disobey His commandments, then nothing will deliver us from eternal punishment. For the Scripture says in Ezekiel, “Though Noah, Job, and Daniel should rise up, they will not deliver their children from the captivity.” 14 3:9 If even such righteous men as these cannot deliver their own children by their righteous deeds, with what confidence will we, if we do not keep our baptism pure and undefiled, enter into the kingdom of God? Who will be our advocate, unless we are found having holy and righteous works?

3:10 So then, my brethren, let us strive, knowing that the contest is close at hand. While many resort to the corruptible contests, not all are crowned, but only those who have toiled hard and contended bravely. 3:11 Let us contend, that we all may be crowned. Let us contend in the straight course, the race that is incorruptible. Let us contend it in such great numbers, that we may all be crowned- and if we cannot all be crowned, let us at least come near to the crown.

3:12 We ought to know this, that he who contends in the corruptible contest, if he is found behaving unfairly, is first flogged, and is then removed and driven out of the race course. What do you think? What will be done to he who has dealt corruptly with the contest of incorruption? 3:13 Concerning those who have not kept the seal, the prophet said, “Their worm will not die, and their fire will not be quenched; they will be a spectacle for all to see.” 15 3:14 Let us therefore repent while we are on earth; for we are like clay under the hands of the craftsman. 16 The potter, if he makes a vessel, and it becomes twisted or crushed in his hands, he reshapes it again; but if he has already put it into the fiery oven, he will no longer mend it. 3:15 In this way, while we are in this world, let us yet repent with our whole heart of the evil things which we have done in the flesh, that we may be saved by the Lord, while we still have time for repentance. 3:16 After we have departed from this world we can no longer make confessions or repentance.

3:17 Brethren, if we have done the will of the Father, having kept the flesh pure, and have guarded the commandments of the Lord, we will receive eternal life. As the Lord said in the Besorah, “If you did not keep that which is little, who will give to you that which is great? For I say to you that he who is faithful in the least, is also faithful in much.” 17 3:18 By this He means to keep the flesh pure, and the seal unstained, so that we may receive life

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Chapter Four

4:1 Let none among you say that the flesh will not be judged, or that it will not rise again. Consider in what state you were saved, or in what state you received sight, if not while you were in the flesh. 4:2 Instead, we ought to guard the flesh as a temple of God; for in the same manner as you were called in the flesh, so will you come also to judgment in the flesh. Although He was first the Word, our Lord the Messiah saved us by becoming flesh, and so also called us in this same way. We likewise will receive our reward in the flesh.

4:3 Let us love one another, that we may come to the kingdom of God. While we have time to be healed, let us place ourselves in the hands of God the physician, giving Him what is due Him. 4:4 And what is due Him? Repentance from a sincere heart; for He discerns all things beforehand, and knows what is in our heart. 4:5 Let us give Him eternal praise, not from our lips only, but also from our heart, that He may receive us as sons. For the Lord also said, “These are my brethren: those who do the will of My Father.” 18

4:6 My brethren, let us do the will of the Father who called us, that we may live. Let us pursue virtue, and forsake evil inclinations that would lead us into sin. Let us flee from wickedness, lest evil overtakes us. 4:7 If we are diligent in doing good, peace will pursue us. Yet the man who is easily swayed by human fears, and prefers to enjoy the things of this world, rather than the pursue the promises of what is to come, will be unable to attain happiness. 4:8 For they do not know the great torment that enjoying the things of this world brings, and what delights exist in the promise which is to come. 4:9 It would have been tolerable had they been doing these things alone by themselves, but they have continued to teach evil to innocent souls, not knowing that they will receive a double condemnation, both them and those who hear them.

4:10 Let us therefore serve God in a pure heart, and we will be righteous; but if we do not serve Him, we will be miserable for disbelieving the promise of God. 4:11 For the word of prophecy says, “Miserable is the double-minded, who doubt in their heart, and say, ‘These things we have heard of old in the days of our fathers, yet we have waited day after day and seen none of them.’” 19 4:12 You fools! Compare yourselves to a tree, or a vine. It first sheds its leaves, and then comes a shoot; after this, a sour berry, and then a fully ripe grape. 20 Likewise, “Though My people had tumults and afflictions, afterward they will receive good things.” 21 4:13 My brethren, let us not be double-minded, but endure patiently in hope, that we may also obtain our reward. For He, who promised to pay to each man the according to his works, is faithful. 4:14 If we have therefore wrought righteousness in the sight of God, we will enter into His kingdom, and will receive the promises of “what no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what has never come upon the mind on man.” 22

4:15 Let us theresfore wait, hour by hour, for the Kingdom of God, in love and in righteousness, since we do not know the day of His appearing.

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Chapter Five

5:1 Now the Lord Himself, being asked by a certain person 23 when His kingdom would come, said, “When two shall be one, and that which is without is as that which is within; and the male with the female, neither male nor female.” 24

5:2 Now, “two are one” when we speak the truth one to another, and there is, without hypocrisy, one soul in two bodies. 5:3 By “the outside as the inside,” He means that He calls the soul “the inside,” and the body “the outside.” Just as your body is visible, let also your soul be seen by its good works. 5:4 And by “the male with the female, neither male or female,” 25 he calls our anger “the male,” and our lust “the female.” 5:5 When therefore a man has come to such a place that he is not subject to either one of these– both of which, through the prevalence of custom, and an evil education, cloud and darken reason– 5:6 but rather, having dispelled the mist arising from them, and being full of shame, shall unite both his soul and spirit through repentance in the obedience of reason; then, as Paul says, “there is in us neither male nor female.” 26 27 5:7 “When you do these things,” He said, “the Kingdom of My Father will come.” 28

5:8 Brethren, let us repent at once. Let us be sober to that which is good, for we are burdened with folly and wickedness. Let us wipe out from among us our former sins, repent sincerely, and be saved. 5:9 Let us not be pleasers of men. Let us not desire to please only one another, but also, by our righteousness, those who are on the outside, so that the Name of the Lord may not be blasphemed because of us. 5:10 For the Lord said, “My Name is blasphemed among all the nations in every way.” 29 Again, “Woe to him who causes My Name to be blasphemed.” How is it blasphemed? “Because you do not do the things which I desire.” 30

5:11 Those of the nations, when they hear from our mouths the oracles of God, marvel at them for their beauty and greatness. When they discover that our works are not worthy of the words which we speak, they turn themselves to blasphemy, reducing the oracles of God to an idle story and a delusion. 5:12 They hear from us that God said, “There is no credit for you if you love those who love you, but there is credit for you if you love your enemies and those who hate you.” 31 5:13 When they hear these things, I declare that they marvel at the goodness of these words; but when they see that not only do we not love those who hate us, but that we do not even love those who love, they turn us to ridicule, and the Name is blasphemed.

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Chapter Six

6:1 Brethren, if we do the will of God our Father, we will be of the first Assembly, for it is spiritual, and was created before the sun and the moon. 6:2 But if we do not the will of the Lord, we will be of the Scripture that says, “My house has become a den of robbers.” 32 Let us therefore choose to be part of the Assembly of life, that we may be saved.

6:3 I believe you know that the Living Assembly is the body of the Messiah. For the Scripture says, “God made man, male and female.” 33 The “male” is the Messiah, and the “female” is the Assembly. 6:4 For both the Writings and the Apostles plainly declare that the Assembly does not exist now for the first time, but has been in existence since the beginning. 6:5 She was spiritual, as Yeshua was also spiritual, though He was physically manifested in the last days that He might save us. 6:6 Now the Assembly, being spiritual, was made manifest in the flesh of the Messiah, signifying to us that if any one of us will persevere in the flesh and not bring corruption upon it, he will receive it in the Holy Spirit, 6:7 for this flesh is the counterpart and copy of the spirit.

No man, therefore, when he has defiled this copy, will receive his share in the original. This is therefore what He means, brethren, “Guard the flesh, that you may partake of the spirit.” 34

6:8 If we say that the flesh is the Assembly, and the spirit is the Messiah, then he who treats his flesh with disdain also disdains the Assembly. Such a one as this will not partake of the spirit, which is the Messiah. 6:9 So excellent is the life and immortality which this flesh can receive as its reward if the Holy Spirit it is joined to it! No man can explain or speak of those things which the Lord has prepared for His elect.

6:11 I do not think that I have given any trivial advice concerning self control, for whoever follows my advice, and does not forsake it, will save both himself and me, his councilor. 35 For it is no trivial reward to convert a wondering and perishing soul to salvation. 36 6:12 For this is the recompense we are able to pay to God who created us, if he who speaks and hears does so with faith and love. 6:13 Let us abide in the things in which we believed, in righteousness and holiness, that with confidence we may boldly ask God, who says, “While you are still speaking, I will say, ‘Behold, I am here.’” 37 6:14 This word is the token of a great promise, for the Lord says of Himself that “He is more ready to give than he who seeks.” 38

16:15 Seeing then that we are partakers of such great kindness, let us not grudge one another the obtaining of so many good things; for just as the pleasure is great which these words bring to those who have done them, so also in equal measure the condemnation is great upon those who have been disobedient.

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Chapter Seven

7:1 So, then, brethren, having received no small occasion to repent, while we have opportunity, let us turn to God who called us, while we have One to receive us. 7:2 For if we renounce these indulgences and conquer our soul by refusing to fulfill its evil desires, then we will be partakers of the mercy of Yeshua. 7:3 You know that the day of judgment comes, even now, as a burning oven; the powers of the heavens will melt, and all the earth will melt as lead in the fire. 39 Then both the private and the public works of men will appear.

7:4 Charitable giving is a good thing, even as repentance from sin. Fasting is better than prayer, but charitable giving is better than both. “Love covers a multitude of sins,” 40 7:5 but prayer out of a good conscience delivers from death. Blessed is every man who is found full of these, for charitable giving lifts off the burden of sin.

7:6 Let us repent with our whole heart, so that none of us perish by the way. If we have been commanded, and commit ourselves, to tear men away from idols, and to instruct them, how much more is it wrong that a soul who already knows God should perish! 7:7 Let us help one another, that we may lead the weak to be upright concerning that which is good, for the purpose that we may all be saved. Let us convert and admonish one another. 7:8 Let us not think to give heed and believe now only, while we have departed home, let us remember the commandments of the Lord, and not permit ourselves to be dragged off the other way by our worldly lusts. 7:9 Rather, let us more frequently strive to go forward in the commandments of the Lord, that we, being unified in mind, may be gathered together to life.

7:10 For the Lord said, “I come to gather together all the nations, tribes, and languages.” 41 By this He speaks of the day of His appearing, when He will come and redeem us, each man according to his works. 7:11 The unbelievers will see His glory and might, and they will be amazed when they see the kingdom of the world given to Yeshua. 7:12 They will say, “Woe to us, for You were, and we did not know! We did not believe, nor did we obey the elders when they told us of our salvation.” 7:13 Their worm will not die, and their fire will not be quenched, and they will be a spectacle for all flesh to see. 42

7:14 He speaks of the day of judgment, when men will see those among us who live wicked lives and deal falsely with the commandments of Yeshua the Messiah. 7:15 But the righteous, who have done good and endured torments, and have hated the pleasures of the soul, will behold those who have gone astray and denied Yeshua by their words or deeds. 7:16 The righteous see that the wicked will be punished with grievous torments in unquenchable fire, and will give glory to God, and will say, “There will be hope for he who has served God with his whole heart!”

7:17 Let us be found among those who give thanks, among those who have served God, and not among the wicked who are judged. 7:18 For I myself, being a sinner in every way, not yet free of temptation, but still amidst the tools of the devil, most diligently follow after righteousness; that while I fear the judgment to come, I might succeed in at least coming near to it.

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Chapter Eight

8:1 Brothers and sisters, after the God of Truth has been heard, I read to you an appeal for you to acknowledge the things which are written, for in doing this you might save both yourselves and he who reads them in your midst. 8:2 I ask of you as a reward that you repent with your whole heart, and give yourselves both salvation and life; in doing this, we will set a goal for the youth who desire to pursue the study of piety and the goodness of God.

8:3 Let us not be displeased and vexed, though we can be fools, whenever anyone admonishes us and turns us aside from unrighteousness to righteousness. 8:4 For sometimes, while we indeed commit evil deeds, we do not perceive it due to our double-mindedness and unbelief in our heart, and we are darkened in our understanding by our vain lusts.

8:5 Let us practice righteousness, that we may be saved to the very end. Blessed are those who obey these ordinances. Though they may endure affliction for a short time in this world, they will gather the immortal fruit of the resurrection. 8:6 Let not the righteous be grieved if he is miserable in our present days, for a blessed time awaits him. He will live again, resurrected with our fathers, and will rejoice throughout a sorrowless eternity.

8:7 Do not allow the sight of the unrighteous possessing wealth, nor the sight of the servants of God straightened, to trouble your mind. Instead, brothers and sisters, let us simply have faith. 8:8 We are trained by the present life, that we may be crowned with the future. No righteous man reaps fruit instantly, but rather he must wait for it; 8:9 for if God had compensated the righteous instantly, then we would be training ourselves only to appear righteous, but not actually be righteousness. 8:10 Although we would have appeared to be righteous, we would not been pursuing that which is righteous after all, merely that which is profitable. 8:11 For this cause Divine judgment overtakes a spirit that is not just, and burdens it with chains.

8:12 To the only God invisible, the Father of truth, who sent forth the Savior and Prince of immortality to us, through whom also He made manifest to us the truth and the heavenly life. To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

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Footnotes

1 Acts 10:42.

2 Isaiah 54:1, Galatians 4:27.

3 “The desolate” is a reference to the lost sheep of the House of Israel, whom Yeshua came to redeem. “She who has a husband” is a reference to the House of Judah, i.e. the Jews.

4 Matthew 9:13, Luke 5:32.

5 Matthew 10:32, Luke 12:8.

6 Isaiah 29:13.

7 Matthew 7:21.

8 The full quotation is most likely from the Besorah according to the Hebrews, but the latter half is also found in Matthew 7:23 and Luke 13:27.

9 Matthew 10:16

10 Matthew 10:28, Luke 12:4-5

11 Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:13

12 Matthew 16:26

13 “The two ages” is another expression of “the two ways” found in the Didache 1-5.

14 Ezekiel 14:14, 20.

15 Isaiah 66:24.

16 Compare Wisdom 15:7 and Romans 9:21-22.

17 Luke 16:10-12.

18 Matthew 12:50.

19 Probably quoting an apocryphal book, known to Clement, but otherwise lost to us. See James 1:8, Hebrews 6:4, and 2 Peter 3:3-4.

20 A similar teaching is presented in 1 Clement 11:13.

21 Probably quoting an apocryphal book, known to Clement, but otherwise lost to us.

22 Isaiah 64:4, 1 Corinthians 2:9. See also Thomas 17.

23 The disciple asking the question here is Salome, according to Clement of Alexandria, referencing the Gospel the Egyptians. (Stromata, Book 3, 9:64)

24 This saying is not a direct quotation from any canonical text, but was preserved in the Besorah according to Thomas. (Saying 22)

25 The interpretation that follows is taken from Wake’s translation of Codex Alexandrinus. Codex Hierosolymitanus contains a substantially different reading, given as follows: “…He means that a brother, seeing a sister, should have no thought of her as a female; and that a sister, seeing a brother, should have no thought of him as a male.”

26 Galatians 3:28.

27 Due to several missing leaves, Codex Alexandrinus is lacking from 5:7 through the end of the text.

28 Concluding the citation (and answer to Salome’s question) from the Gospel of the Egyptians.

29 Direct quote of Romans 2:24; see also Isaiah 52:5, Ezekiel 36:20.

30 Probably a Clementine exegesis on Romans 2:24, Isaiah 52:5, and Ezekiel 36:20.

31 Probably referencing Luke 6:32-36.

32 Jeremiah 7:11.

33 Genesis 1:27.

34 An unknown saying, probably passed down through word of mouth / tradition.

35 Paul used similar advice in 1st Timothy 4:16.

36 See James 5:19-20.

37 Isaiah 58:9

38 Not a direct quote from any known Scripture.

39 A pastiche of apocalyptic elements, drawn partially from 2 Peter 3:10-12.

40 1 Peter 4:8

41 Isaiah 66:18.

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