1 CORINTHIANS 2
2:1-5 Practicing What He Preached
Paul practiced what he preached. He not approach the Corinthians with a message of human wisdom, as he puts it “eloquence or superior wisdom” and “wise and persuasive words”. He did not rely on verbal pyrotechnics or rhetoric. This must have been a conscious choice, because he said “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified”.
What did he preach?
-the testimony about God
-Jesus Christ and him crucified
Acts 18:5 says he devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. He must have used the same basic message for the Gentiles, preaching the message of the cross.
In Galatians 6:14, Paul said “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”
Paul had confidence in God’s word. He was surely aware of Isaiah 55:11 where God said “so is my word that goes out of my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
He also knew Jeremiah 23:28-29, where God said “let the one who has my word speak it faithfully…is not my word like fire…and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?”
Paul also had a humble attitude: he came in weakness, fear and trembling.
-He did not have physical attractiveness on which to rely.
-He had a burden to carry the message to them. He relied on God, rather than his own strength and power.
-He might also have been a little afraid of what he had found. He had already been attacked by a mob in Philippi, then beaten by the authorities and thrown in prison. They had left Thessalonica when a mob was formed there. The Corinthian Jews had beaten Sosthenes. Acts 18:9 records the Lord speaking to Paul in a vision or dream, telling him not to be afraid because the Lord had many people in that city and no one would attack or harm him.
Paul’s gospel preaching and humble attitude were accompanied by something special: a demonstration of the Spirit’s power. The Bible does not tell us what that was, but it was so that their faith would rest on God’s power rather than man’s wisdom. I think it was that, through Paul’s plain preaching, the Holy Spirit moved and brought the Corinthians to repentance and faith.
If our faith rests on men, two things can happen. One is that another man may come along with superior arguments and destroy your faith. Someone is trying this every day. The second is that the man you built your faith upon may fall or be removed, resulting in the loss of your faith or damage to it.
2:6-10 Spiritual Wisdom
Paul rejected human wisdom, but he preached the wisdom of God to the mature. He means the spiritually mature. See Hebrews 5:11-6:3. Ephesians 4:13 calls it attaining the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Paul called it “God’s secret wisdom”. Only the spiritually mature\complete could understand it. It was secret in that it was hidden until the time of the apostles and is still hidden from those who do not believe (because it is revealed by the Spirit). Although it was hidden for a long time, Paul tells us God had destined it for our glory before time began. Then, he began to reveal it through the Holy Spirit.
Romans 16:25-26 says the proclamation of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known.…”
In Ephesians 3:4, Paul said “In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
So, God planned from eternity to bring salvation through Christ and to include the Gentiles in salvation and into his people, but did not fully reveal his plan until the time of the apostles. He referred to Isaiah 64:4 to make his point. Humanity did not through its wisdom and knowledge conceive what God had prepared. (I always like God’s explanation of our inability to discern his thoughts in Isaiah 55:8: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord, as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”) But God revealed it to the apostles, who taught it to the church, and we have it today.
In contrast, Verse 8 tells us that none of the rulers of that age understood God’s wisdom. The proof is that they crucified Christ, the Lord of glory. Had they understood, they would have realized Christ offered his followers a greater glory than any ruler could obtain on earth.
2:10b-13 The Work of the Spirit
We are given a glimpse here of the work of the Spirit.
-searches all things, even the deep things of God
-he knows the thoughts of God
-He is received by Believers so that they may understand what God has freely given us
-He is from God
-He taught Paul spiritual truth in spiritual words
This passage portrays the Spirit as God, a full part of the Trinity, knowing the Father and helping us to understand Him.
2:14 The Natural Man
The man who has not believed in Christ and received the Holy Spirit cannot accept or discern spiritual things. They are foolishness to him. John 1:5 says “the light shines in the darkness, but the darkness did not understand it.” There is no need to teach or debate spiritual truths with the lost person, he or she cannot understand them. They need the message of the gospel. Jesus said “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw our pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.” (See Matthew 7:6.)
2:15-16 The Spiritual Man
In contrast to the Natural Man, the Spiritual Man can judge in all things. He has the mind of Christ. By having the mind of Christ, and being indwelt with the Holy Spirit, he has the proper discernment. The Natural Man cannot judge him, for he does not have the proper mind with which to do it.