Intro

This blog gains its name from the book Steele's Answers published in 1912. It began as an effort to blog through that book, posting each of the Questions and Answers in the book in the order in which they appeared. I began the project on Dec. 10, 2011. I completed it on July 11, 2015. Along the way, I began to also post snippets from Dr. Steele's other writings — and from some other holiness writers of his times. I still do that every once in a while.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Superabounding Grace

"But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound." — Rom. 5:20.

 Here St. Paul invents a term which he repeats in 2 Cor. 7, making the strong compound verb "superabound," the original of which is unique in both sacred and secular Greek (ὑπερπερισσεύω). Why these daring inventions by a man of fine literary taste, educated in the University of Tarsus, the greatest center of scholastic culture east of Athens? Classical authors usually abstain from the use of words coined by themselves, regarding them as barbarisms. Why did St. Paul deviate from a fundamental canon of rhetoric? The river of divine grace flowing through his soul was too full for its ordinary bed; it must overflow its banks, and cut for itself a broader channel, and become an Amazon for all the thirsty nations and generations. The constraint of the Holy Spirit caused these deviations from the standard of reputable use, and prompted this outburst of invented words. There is no other explanation. I want no other. This magnifies God's mercy and love. It shows how the richness of grace transcends the poverty of nature. In our second text (2 Cor. 7:4), "I superabound in joy," we have a phrase that matches St. Peter's "joy unspeakable and full of glory."

Why should so many persons in Christian lands, and some even in the Christian church, be eagerly running to earthly springs to slake their thirst, while the heavens are pouring down Niagaras of living water?

"Love divine, all love excelling,
Joy of heaven to earth come down."

Half-Hours With St. Paul, Chapter 17.