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Bible Commentaries

The Expositor's Greek Testament
1 Corinthians 2

 

 

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Verse 1

1 Corinthians 2:1. κἀγὼ ἐλθὼνἦλθον: “And I at my coming … came”: the repeated vb(288) draws attention to Paul’s arrival,—to the circumstances and character of his original work at Cor(289) The emphasis of κἀγώ—“And I”—may lie in the correspondence between the message and the messenger—both “foolish” and “weak” (1 Corinthians 1:25 : so Ed(290)); but the form of the sentence rather suggests allusion to the nearer 1 Corinthians 1:26—“As it was with you, brothers, to whom I conveyed God’s call, so with myself who conveyed it; you were not wise nor mighty according to flesh, and I came to you as one without wisdom or strength”. Message, hearers, preacher matched each other for folly and feebleness! “I came not in the way of excellence— καθʼ ὑπεροχήν, cum eminentia (Bz(291))—of word or wisdom,”—not with the bearing of a man distinguished for these accomplishments, and relying upon them for his success: this clause is best attached to the emphatic ἦλθον, which requires a descriptive adjunct (so Or(292), Cv(293), Bz(294), Hf(295): cf. 1 Corinthians 2:3); others make it a qualification of καταγγέλλων. Paul’s humble mien and plain address presented a striking contrast to the pretensions usual in itinerant professors of wisdom, such as he was taken for at Athens.— ὑπεροχή, from ὑπερέχω (Philippians 2:3; Philippians 3:8; Philippians 4:7), to overtop, outdo. For λόγου σοφίας, see note on σοφία λόγου (1 Corinthians 1:17).

The manner of Paul’s preaching was determined by its matter; with such a commission he could not adopt the arts of a rhetorican nor the airs of a philosopher: “I came not like a man eminent in speech or wisdom, in proclaiming to you the testimony of God”.— τ. μαρτύριον τ. θεοῦ (subjective gen(296): cf. note on 1 Corinthians 1:6) = τ. εὐαγγέλιον τ. θεοῦ (Romans 1:2, 1 Thessalonians 2:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:13, etc.; cf. 1 John 5:9 f.), with the connotation of solemnly attested truth (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:18 f.); P. spoke as one through whom God was witnessing. κηρύσσω (1 Corinthians 1:23), denoting official declaration, gives place to καταγγέλλω, signifying full and clear proclamation (see parls.).— καταγγέλλων, pr(297) ptp(298), “in the course of preaching”; cf. 2 Corinthians 10:14.


Verse 1-2

1 Corinthians 2:1-2 say how P. did not come, vv, 3–5 how he actually did come, to Cor(303)


Verses 1-5

1 Corinthians 2:1-5. § 6. PAUL’S CORINTHIAN MISSION, Paul has justified his refusing to preach ἐν σοφίᾳ λόγου on two grounds: (1) the nature of the Gospel, (2) the constituency of the Church of Cor(287); it was no philosophy, and they were no philosophers. This refusal he continues to make, in pursuance of the course adopted from the outset. So he returns to his starting-point, viz., that “Christ sent” him “to bring good tidings,” such as neither required nor admitted of “wisdom of word” (1 Corinthians 1:17).


Verse 2

1 Corinthians 2:2. οὐ γὰρ ἔκρινά τι (or ἔκρινα τὶ) εἰδέναι κ. τ. λ.: “For I did not determine (judge it fit) to know anything (or, know something) among you, except (or, only) Jesus Christ, and Him crucified”. This explains Paul’s unadorned and matter-of-fact delivery.— οὐ negatives ἔκρινα, not εἰδέναι (the rendering “I determined not to know” contravenes the order of words); nor is there any instance of οὐ coalescing with κρίνω as in οὔ φημι (nego) and the like—these interpretations miss the point: had P. chosen another subject, he might have aimed at a higher style; he avoided the latter, “for” he did not entertain the former notion. His failure at Athens may have emphasised, but did not originate the Apostle’s resolution to know nothing but the cross: cf. Galatians 3:1, 1 Thessalonians 4:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:9 f., Acts 13:38 f., relating to earlier preaching. For the use of ἔκρινα (statui, Bz(299)) as denoting a practical moral judgment or resolution, cf. 1 Corinthians 7:37, 2 Corinthians 2:1. Ev(300) renders τὶ εἰδέναι (thus accented), “to be a know-something” (aliquid scire)—to play the philosopher—according to the well-known Attic idiom of Plato’s Apol., § 6, and passim, where οἴεται τὶ εἰδέναι = δοκεῖ σοφὸς εἶναι; cf. 1 Corinthians 8:2, and the emphatic εἶναι τὶς ( τὶ); also 1 Corinthians 3:7, Galatians 2:6; Galatians 6:3, Acts 5:36. This rendering accounts well for εἰδέναι, and gives additional point to the ὑπεροχὴ of 1 Corinthians 2:1 : P. brought with him to Cor(301) none of the prestige of the professional teachers, who claimed to “know something”; Christ and the cross—this was all he knew. For εἰ μὴ in the corrective sense “only,” demanded by this interpretation, see 1 Corinthians 7:17.— εἰδέναι is to possess knowledge, to be a master; γινώσκειν (1 Corinthians 1:21), to acquire knowledge, to be a learner. On ἐσταυρωμένον (pf. ptp(302), of pregnant fact), cf. notes to 1 Corinthians 1:17; 1 Corinthians 1:23.


Verse 3

1 Corinthians 2:3. “In weakness”: cf. 1 Corinthians 1:25; 1 Corinthians 1:27; also 2 Corinthians 10:10; 2 Corinthians 13:3 f. This condition was bodily—the Cor(304) had received an impression of Paul’s physical feebleness; but the phrase expresses, more broadly, his conscious want of resources for the task before him (cf. 2 Corinthians 2:16; 2 Corinthians 3:5). Hence he continues, “and in fear and in much trembling”—the inward emotion and its visible expression (see parls.). P. stood before the Cor(305) at first a timid, shaken man: on the causes see Introd., ch. 1

For γίνομαι ἐν (versari in), to be in a state of, cf. parls.— πρὸς ὑμᾶς qualifies the whole foregoing sentence: “I was weak, timid, trembling before you (when I addressed you)”: ἐγενόμηνπρὸς ὑμᾶς might be construed together, ἐγενόμην becoming a vb(306) of motion—“I came to (and was amongst) you in weakness,” etc. (Ed(307), as in 1 Corinthians 16:10); this would, however, needlessly repeat 1 Corinthians 2:1.


Verse 4

1 Corinthians 2:4. “And my word and my message:” λόγος recalls 1 Corinthians 1:18; κήρυγμα, 1 Corinthians 1:21; 1 Corinthians 1:23 (see notes). The former includes all that Paul says in proclaiming the Gospel, the latter the specific announcement of God’s will and call therein.

οὐκ ἐκ πιθοῖς σοφίας λόγοις, “not in persuasive words of wisdom”: the adj(308) πιθός (= πιθανός, see txtl. note), from πείθομαι, analogous to φιδός from φείδομαι. “Words of wisdom,” substantially = “wisdom of word” (1 Corinthians 1:17); that expression accentuating the matter, this the manner of teaching—“exquisita eloquutio, quæ artificio magis quam veritate nitatur et pugnet” (Cv(309)). For the unfavourable nuance of πιθός, see Colossians 2:4 ( πιθανολογία), also Galatians 1:10, Matthew 28:14. Eusebius excellently paraphrases (Praep. Ev(310), i., 3), τὰς μὲν ἀπατη λὰς κ. σοφιστικὰς πιθανολογίας παραιτούμενος). “With a contemptuous touch of irony that reminds one of Socrates in the Gorgias and Apology [cf. Ev(311), as previously cited, on τὶ εἰδέναι, he disclaims all skill in rhetoric, the spurious art of persuading without instructing, held nevertheless in high repute in Cor(312) But when the Ap. speaks of the demonstration of the Spirit, he soars into a region of which Socrates knew nothing. Socr. sets σοφία against πειθώ; the Ap. regards both as being on well-nigh a common level, from the higher altitude of the Spirit” (Ed(313)); since the time of Socrates, however, Philosophy had sunk into a πιθανολογία.— ἀπόδειξις, “the technical term for a proof drawn from facts or documents, as opposed to theoretical reasoning; in common use with the Stoics in this sense” (Hn(314)); see Plato, Theæt., 162 E, and Arist., Eth. Nic., i., 1; ii., 4, for the like antithesis (Ed(315)).

ἀποδ. πνεύματος καὶ σοφίας gathers up the force of the δύναμιν θεοῦ of 1 Corinthians 1:24, and ἐγένετο σοφία f1κ. τ. λ. of 1 Corinthians 1:30 (see notes); the proof of the Gospel at Cor(316) was experimental and ethical, found in the new consciousness and changed lives that attended its proclamation: cf. 1 Corinthians 6:11, 1 Corinthians 9:1, 2 Corinthians 3:1 ff., 1 Thessalonians 2:13 ( λόγος θεοῦ, ὃς κ. ἐνεργεῖται ἐν ὑμῖν τ. πιστεύουσιν).— πνεύματος καὶ δυνάμεως are not objective gen(317) (in ostendendo Spiritum, etc.), but subjective: the Spirit, with His power, gives the demonstration (similarly in 1 Corinthians 12:7, see note); cf. 1 Corinthians 2:10; 1 Corinthians 2:12, 2 Corinthians 3:3-18, Romans 8:16; Romans 15:19, for Paul’s thoughts on the testimonium Spiritus sancti; also John 15:26, 1 John 5:6 f.— δύναμις, specially associated with πνεῦμα after Luke 24:49 (see reff. for P.), is certainly the spiritual power that operates as implied in 1 Corinthians 1:30, 1 Corinthians 6:11, but not to the exclusion of the supernatural physical “powers” which accompanied Apostolic preaching (see note on ἐβεβαιώθη, 1 Corinthians 1:6; also 1 Corinthians 12:1; 1 Corinthians 12:7-11, And the combination of Romans 15:17 ff.): “latius accipio, nempe pro manu Dei potente omnibus modis per apostolum se exserente” (Cv(318)). The art(319) is wanting with πνεύματος, though personal, after the anarthrous ἀποδείξει, according to “the law of correlation” (Wr(320), p. 175: contrast this with 1 Corinthians 12:7, also the double art(321) of 1 with the anarthrous phrase of 1 Corinthians 1:18). The prpl(322) clause affirms not the agency by which, but the sphere of action in which, Paul’s word operated.

Supply to this verse ἐγένετο from the ἐγενόμην of 1 Corinthians 2:3.


Verse 5

1 Corinthians 2:5. The Apostle’s purpose in discarding the orator’s and the sophist’s arts was this: “that your faith might not rest in wisdom of men, but in (the) power of God”. The κἀγὼ ἦλθον of 1 Corinthians 2:1 dominates the paragraph; P. lives over again the experience of his early days in Cor(323); this purpose then filled his breast: so Hf(324), Gd(325), with the older interpreters; most moderns read into the ἵνα the Divine purpose suggested by 1 Corinthians 1:27-31. Paul was God’s mouthpiece in declaring the Gospel; he therefore sought the very end of God Himself, viz., that God alone should be glorified in the faith of his hearers (1 Corinthians 1:31; cf. 1 Corinthians 1:15). Had he persuaded the Cor(326) by clever reasonings and grounded Christianity upon their Greek philosophy, his work would have perished with the wisdom of the age (see 6, also 1 Corinthians 1:19, 1 Corinthians 3:19 f.).

The disowned σοφία ἀνθρώπων is the σοφ. τ. κόσμου of 1 Corinthians 1:10 (see note) in its moral character, a σοφ. σαρκική (2 Corinthians 1:12)—“wisdom of men” as opposed to that of God,— ἀνθρωπίνη, 1 Corinthians 2:13. Yet not God’s wisdom, but primarily His power (see notes on 1 Corinthians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 1:24; 1 Corinthians 1:30) supplied the ground on which P. planted his hearers’ faith. All through, he opposes the practical to the speculative, the reality of God’s work to the speciousness of men’s talk. The last ἵνα clause of this long passage corresponds to the first, ἵνα μὴ κενωθῇ σταῦρος τ. χριστοῦ (1 Corinthians 1:17). ἐν should be construed with (consistat in, Bz(327)) rather than πίστις, pointing not to the object of faith but to its substratum: for this predicative ἐν—“should be (a faith) in,” etc.—cf. 1 Corinthians 4:20, Ephesians 5:18, Acts 4:12.

SUMMARY. Thus the Apostle’s first ministry at Cor(328), in respect of his bearing (1 Corinthians 2:1), theme (2), temper (3), method (4), governing aim (5), illustrated and accorded with the Gospel, as that is a message from God through which His power works to the confounding of human wisdom by the seeming impotence of a crucified Messiah (1 Corinthians 1:17 b–31).


Verse 6

1 Corinthians 2:6. σοφίαν δὲ λαλοῦμεν κ. τ. λ.: “(there is) a wisdom, however, (that) we speak amongst the full-grown”. The anarthrous, predicative σοφίαν asserts that to be “wisdom” which in ironical deference to the world has been styled “folly” (1 Corinthians 1:21 ff.). ἐν τοῖς τελείοις, the mature, the initiates (opp(329) to νήπιοι, παιδία, 1 Corinthians 3:1, 1 Corinthians 14:20; see parls.) = πνευματικοὶ in contrast with the relatively σάρκινοι (1 Corinthians 3:1; cf. note on μυστήριον, 1 Corinthians 2:7). “The curtain must be lifted with a caution measured by the spiritual intelligence of the spectators, ἐπόπται” (Ev(330)). This τελειότης the Cor(331) had by no means reached; hence they failed to see where the real wisdom of the Gospel lay, and estimated its ministers by worldly standards. ἐν signifies not to, nor in relation to, but amongst the qualified hearers—in such a circle P. freely expounded deeper truths. λαλέω (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:7; 1 Corinthians 2:13), to utter, speak out: P. uses the pl(332) not thinking of Sosthenes in particular (1 Corinthians 1:1), but of his fellow-preachers generally, including Apollos (1 Corinthians 1:23, and 1 Corinthians 15:11, etc. 1 Corinthians 3:6, 1 Corinthians 4:6).

The “wisdom” uttered in such company is defined first negatively: “but a wisdom not of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, that are being brought to nought”. For αἰών, see note to 1 Corinthians 1:20; it connotes the transitory nature of the world-powers (1 Corinthians 1:19; 1 Corinthians 1:28; cf. 1 Corinthians 7:31, 2 Corinthians 4:18; also 1 John 2:17, 1 Peter 1:24 ff.). The ἄρχοντες τ. αἰῶνος τούτου were taken by Marcion, Or(333), and other ancients, to be the angelic, or demonic (Satanic), rulers of the nations—sc. the “princes” of Daniel 10-12, and Jewish angelology, the κοσμοκράτορες τ. σκότους τούτου of Ephesians 6:12 (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:4, Ephesians 2:2, John 12:31; John 14:30; John 16:11—where ἄρχων is applied to Satan; also Galatians 3:19, Acts 7:53, touching the office of angels in the Lawgiving): so Sm(334), after F. C. Baur—“the angels who preside over the various departments of the world, the Law in particular, but possess no perfect insight into the counsels of God, and lose their dominion—from which they take their name of ἀρχαί (= ἄρχοντες)—with the end of the world (1 Corinthians 15:24)”; see also, at length, Everling, Die Paulin. Angelologie u. Dämonologie, pp. 11 ff. But these super-terrestrial potentates could not, without explanation, be charged with the crucifixion of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:8); on the other hand, 1 Corinthians 1:27 ff. shows P. to be thinking in this connexion of human powers. Unless otherwise defined, οἱ ἄρχοντες denotes “the rulers” of common speech, those, e.g., of Romans 13:3, Luke 23:35. On τῶν καταργουμένων, see note to 1 Corinthians 1:17 ( κενόω), 1 Corinthians 1:28, 1 Corinthians 15:24, and other parls. The Jewish rulers, whose overthrow is certain and near (1 Thessalonians 2:16, Romans 9:22; Romans 9:11), are aimed at, as being primarily answerable for the death of Jesus (cf. Acts 13:27 f.); but P. foresaw the supersession of all existing world-powers by the Messianic kingdom (1 Corinthians 15:24; cf. Romans 11:15, Acts 17:7); the pr(335) ptp(336), perhaps, implies a “gradual nullification of their potency brought about by the Gospel” (El(337)). P. cannot have meant by οἱ ἄρχοντες the leaders of thought (as Thd(338), Thp(339), Neander suppose, because of the association with σοφία); he held a broad, practical conception of wisdom (sagacity) as shown in power; the secular rulers, wise in their own way but not in God’s, must come to nought. Statecraft, equally with philosophy, failed when tested by the cross.


Verses 6-9

1 Corinthians 2:6-9. § 7. THE GOSPEL CONSIDERED AS WISDOM. So far Paul has been maintaining that his message is a “folly,” with which “wisdom of word” is out of keeping; yet all the while he makes it felt that it is wisdom in the truest sense—“God’s wisdom,” convicting in its turn the world of folly. If relatively the Gospel is not wisdom, absolutely it is so,—to persons qualified to understand it. This P. now proceeds to show (1 Corinthians 2:6 to 1 Corinthians 3:2 : cf. Introd. to Div. II.). The message of the cross is wisdom to the right people (§ 7), qualified to comprehend it (§ 8).


Verse 7

1 Corinthians 2:7. “(We speak … a wisdom not of this world …) but ( ἀλλά, of diametrical opposition) a wisdom of God, in (shape of) a mystery.”— ἐν μυστηρίῳ qualifies λαλοῦμεν, rather than σοφίαν (as Hn(340), Ev(341), Lt(342) read it—“couched in mystery”), indicating how it is that the App. do not speak in terms of worldly wisdom, and express themselves fully to the τέλειοι alone: their message is a Divine secret, that the Spirit of God reveals (1 Corinthians 2:10 f.), while “the age” possesses only “the spirit of the world” (1 Corinthians 2:12). Hence to the age God’s wisdom is uttered “in a mystery” and remains “the hidden (wisdom)”; cf. 2 Corinthians 4:4; also Matthew 13:13 ff. ( ἐν παραβολαῖςλαλῶ), Luke 10:21 f.: λαλῶ ἐν μυστηρίῳ = ἀποκρύπτω.— μυστήριον (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:51) has “its usual meaning in St. Paul’s Epp.,—something not comprehensible by unassisted human reason” (El(343); for a full account see Ed(344), or Bt(345), on the term). The Hellenic “mysteries,” which flourished at this time, were practised at night in an imposing dramatic form; and peculiar doctrines were taught in them, which the initiated were sworn to keep secret. This popular notion of “mystery,” as a sacred knowledge disclosed to fit persons, on their subjecting themselves to prescribed conditions, is appropriated and adapted in Bibl. Gr(346) to Divine revelation. The world at large does not perceive God’s wisdom in the cross, being wholly disqualified; the Cor(347) believers apprehend it but partially, since they have imperfectly received the revealing Spirit and are “babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1 ff.); to the App., and those like them (1 Corinthians 2:10 ff.), a full disclosure is made. When he “speaks wisdom among the ripe,” P. is not setting forth esoteric doctrines diff(348) from those preached to beginners, but the same “word of the cross”—for he knows nothing greater or higher (Galatians 6:14)—in its recondite meaning and larger implications,—as, e.g., in 1 Corinthians 15:20-27 of this Ep. (where he relents from the implied threat of 1 Corinthians 3:1 ff.), in Romans 5:12-21; Romans 11:25 ff., or Colossians 1:15 ff., Ephesians 5:22-32.— τὴν ἀποκεκρυμμένην expands the idea of ἐν μυστηρίῳ (see parls.): P. utters, beneath his plain Gospel tale, the deepest truths “in a guise of mystery”—“that (wisdom) hidden away ( ἀπὸ τ. αἰώνων, Colossians 1:26), which God predetermined before the ages unto ( εἰς, aiming at) our glory”. That the Gospel is a veiled mystery to many accords with past history and with God’s established purpose respecting it; “est occulta ante-quam expromitur: et quum expromitur, tamen occulta manet multis, imperfectis” (Bg(349)). The “wisdom of God” now revealed, was destined eternally “for us”—“the believers” (1 Corinthians 1:21), “the called” (1 Corinthians 1:24), “the elect” (1 Corinthians 1:27 ff.), “those that received the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10 ff.), as men who fulfil the ethical conditions of the case and whom “it has been God’s good pleasure to save” (1 Corinthians 1:21); see the same thought in Ephesians 1:4 ff. This δόξα is not the heavenly glory of the saints; the entire “ministry of the Spirit” is ἐν δόξῃ and carries its subjects on ἀπὸ δόξης εἰς δόξαν (2 Corinthians 3:8-18); His ἀπαρχὴ effects a glorious transformation, by which the base things of the world put to shame its mighty (1 Corinthians 1:27 ff.), and “our glory” overthrows “the rulers of this world” (1 Corinthians 2:6), “increasing as theirs wanes” (Lt(350)), cf. Romans 8:30. This present (moral) glory is an “earnest” of “that which shall be revealed” (Romans 8:18 f.). For προώρισεν, marked out beforehand, see parls., and notes to Romans 8:29 f.


Verse 8

1 Corinthians 2:8. ἣν οὐδεὶς κ. τ. λ.: “which (wisdom) none of the rulers of this age has perceived”—all blind to the significance of the rise of Christianity.— ἔγνωκεν, a pf., approaching the pr(351) sense (novi) which f1οἶδα had reached, but implying, as that does not, a process—has come to know, won the knowledge of.— οἱ ἄρχοντες κ. τ. λ., repeated with emphasis from 1 Corinthians 2:6sc. “the rulers of this (great) age,” of the world in its length of history and fulness of experience (see 1 Corinthians 10:11, and note; cf. Ephesians 1:10; Ephesians 3:5, Romans 16:25 f.). The leaders of the time showed themselves miserably ignorant of God’s plans and ways in dealing with the world they ruled; “for if they had known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory”. The Lord of glory is He in whom “our glory” (1 Corinthians 2:7) has its manifestation and guarantee—first in His earthly, then in His heavenly estate (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:43; 1 Corinthians 15:49).— τῆς δόξης, gen(352) of characterising quality (cf. Ephesians 1:17, Acts 7:2). This glory of the Son of God the disciples saw (John 1:14); of it believers now partake (Romans 8:29 f.), and will partake in full hereafter (2 Corinthians 3:18, Philippians 3:21, etc.), when it culminates in a universal dominion (1 Corinthians 15:23-29, Philippians 2:9 ff., Hebrews 1). Paul’s view of Christ always shone with “the glory of that light” in which he first saw Him on the road to Damascus (Acts 22:11). Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin, Pilate and the Roman court (cf. Acts 13:27 f., 1 Timothy 6:13) saw nothing of the splendour clothing the Lord Jesus as He stood before them; so knowing, they could not have crucified Him. The expression κύριος τῆς δόξης is no syn(353) for Christ’s Godhead; it signifies the entire grandeur of the incarnate Lord, whom the world’s wise and great sentenced to the cross. Their ignorance was a partial excuse (see Luke 23:34, Acts 13:27); but it was guilty, like that of Romans 1:18 f. The crucifiers fairly represented worldly governments. Mark the paradox, resembling Peter’s in Acts 3:15 : “Crux servorum supplicium—eo Dominum gloriæ affecerunt” (Bg(354)). The levity of philosophers in rejecting the cross of Christ was only surpassed by the stupidity of politicians in inflicting it; in both acts the wise of the age proved themselves fools, and God thereby brought them to ruin (1 Corinthians 1:28). For εἰἄν, stating a hypothesis contrary to past fact (the modus tollens of logic), see Bn(355) § 248; and cf. 1 Corinthians 11:31.


Verse 9

1 Corinthians 2:9 confirms by the language of Scripture ( καθὼς γέγραπται) what has just been said. The verse is open to three different constructions: (1) It seems best to treat the relatives, , ὅσα, as in apposition to the foregoing ἣν clauses of 1 Corinthians 2:7-8 (the form of the pronoun being dictated by the LXX original), and thus supplying a further obj(356) to the emphatically repeated λαλοῦμεν of 1 Corinthians 2:6-7 : “but (we speak), as it is written, things which eye,” etc. (so Er(357), Mr(358), Hn(359), Al(360), Ed(361), El(362), Bt(363)). (2) Hf(364), Ev(365), after Lachmann, prefix the whole sentence to ἀπεκάλυψεν of 1 Corinthians 2:10; but this subordination requires the doubtful reading δέ (for γάρ) in 1 Corinthians 2:10, to which it improperly extends the ref(366) of the formula καθὼς γέγραπται, while it breaks the continuity between the quotation and the foregoing assertions (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:19; 1 Corinthians 1:31). (3) Bg(367), D.W(368), Gd(369), Lt(370), and others, see an anacoluthon here, and supply ἐστίν, factum est, or the like, as a peg for the ver. to hang upon, as in Romans 15:3—“But, as it is written, (there have come to pass) things which eye,” etc. This, however, seems needless after the prominent λαλοῦμεν, and weakens the concatenation of 1 Corinthians 2:6-9. The ἀλλὰ follows on the οὐδεὶς of 1 Corinthians 2:8, as ἀλλὰ in 1 Corinthians 2:7 (see note) on the οὐ of 1 Corinthians 2:6. The entire sentence may be thus arranged:—

λαλοῦμεν θεοῦ σοφίαντ. ἀποκεκρυμμένην,

ἢν προώρισεν θεὸς κ. τ. λ.,

ἢν οὐδεὶς τ. ἀρχόντωνἔγνωκν κ. τ. λ

ἀλλὰ ὀφθαλμὸς οὐκ εἶδεν

ὅσα ἡτοίμασεν θεὸς τ. ἀγαπῶσιν αὐτόν.

The words cited do not appear, connectedly, in the O.T. Of the four clauses, the 1James , 2 nd, and 4th recall Isaiah 64:4 f. (Hebrews , Isaiah 64:3 f.)—after the Hebrew text; the 3rd occurs in a similar strain in Isaiah 65:17 (LXX, 16); see other parls. In thought, as Hf(371) and Bt(372) point out, this passage corresponds to Isaiah 64 : in P. God does, as in Isaiah He is besought to do, things unlooked for by the world, to the confusion of its unbelief; in each case these things are done for fit persons—Isaiah’s “him that waiteth for Him,” etc., being translated into Paul’s “those that love Him”; ἐποίησεν is changed to ἡτοίμασεν, in conformity with προώρισεν (1 Corinthians 2:7). A further analogy appears between the “terrible things in righteousness” which the prophet foresees in the coming theophany, and the καταργεῖν that P. announces for “the rulers of this world”. Clement of Rome (ad Cor(373), xxxiv. 8) cites the text briefly as a Christian saying, but reverts from Paul’s τ. ἀγαπῶσιν to the Isaianic τ. ὑπομένουσιν αὐτόν, manifestly identifying the O. and N.T. sayings.

Or(374) wrote (on Matthew 27:9), “In nullo regulari libro hoc positum invenitur, nisi in Secretis Eliæ prophetæ”—a lost Apocryphum; Jerome found the words both in the Ascension of Isaiah and the Apocalypse of Elias, but denies Paul’s indebtedness to these sources; and Lt(375) makes out (see note, ad loc(376)) that these books were later than Paul. Origen’s suggestion has been adopted by many expositors, but is really needless; this is only an extreme example of the Apostle’s freedom in adopting and combining O.T. sayings whose substance he desires to use. The Gnostics quoted the passage in favour of their method of esoteric teaching.

ὅσα, of the last clause, is a climax to of the first—“so many things as God prepared for those that love Him”: cf. a Cor. 1 Corinthians 1:20, Philippians 4:8, for the pronominal idiom.—In ἡτοίμασεν κ. τ. λ. Paul is not thinking so much of the heavenly glory (see note on δόξα, 1 Corinthians 2:7), as of the magnificence of blessing, undreamed of in former ages, which comes already to believers in Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:5-7).— τ. ἀγαπ. αὐτὸν affirms the moral precondition for this full blessedness (cf. John 14:23)—a further designation of the ἅγιοι, πιστεύοντες, κλητοί, ἐκλεκτοὶ of chap. 1.


Verse 10

1 Corinthians 2:10 to 1 Corinthians 3:2. § 8. THE REVEALING SPIRIT. The world’s rulers committed the frightful crime of “crucifying the Lord of glory,” because in fact they have only “the spirit of the world,” whereas “the Spirit of God” informs His messengers (1 Corinthians 2:10-12), who communicate the things of His grace in language taught them by His Spirit and intelligible to the spiritual (1 Corinthians 2:13-16). For the like reason the Cor(377) are at fault in their Christian views, being as yet but half-spiritual men (1 Corinthians 3:1-3).


Verse 10

1 Corinthians 2:10. The true reading, ἡμῖν γάρ (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:26), links this ver. to the foregoing by way of illustration: “For to us (being of those that love Him) God revealed (them), through the Spirit”: cf. 1 Corinthians 1:18, 1 Corinthians 8:3, 1 Corinthians 13:2, 1 John 4:7; also ἀπεκαλύφθη τ. ἁγίοις ἀποστόλοις κ. τ. λ., Ephesians 3:5, indicating the like ethical receptivity. ἀπεκάλυψεν echoes ἐν μυστηρίῳ and τ. ἀποκεκρυμμένην (1 Corinthians 2:7), signifying a supernatural disclosure (see notes on 1 Corinthians 1:7, 1 Corinthians 14:6); cf. esp. Romans 16:25, κατὰ ἀποκάλυψιν μυστηρίου, and Ephesians 1:17 in connexion with 1 Corinthians 2:6 f. above. The tense (aor(378)) points to the advent of Christianity, “the revelation given to Christians as an event that began a new epoch in the world’s history” (Ed(379)).—The Spirit reveals,—“for the Spirit investigates everything ( πάντα ἐραυνᾷ), even the depths of God”: He discloses, for He first discoversοὐκ ἀγνοίας, ἀλλʼ ἀκριβοῦς γνώσεως τὸ ἐρευνᾶν δεικτικόν (Cm(380)). The phrase describes an Intelligence everywhere active, everywhere penetrating (cf. Psalms 139:1-7). For the complementary truth concerning the relation of Father and Spirit, see Romans 8:27. The Spirit is the organ of mutual understanding between man and God. P. conceives of Him as internal to the inspired man, working with and through, though immeasurably above his faculties (see 1 Corinthians 3:16, Romans 8:16; Romans 8:26, etc.). τὰ βάθη (pl(381) of noun βάθος) are those inscrutable regions, below all that “the eye sees” and that “comes up into the heart of a man” (1 Corinthians 2:9), where God’s plans for mankind are developed: cf. Romans 11:33 ff., Ephesians 1:9 ff; Ephesians 3:18, and by contrast Revelation 2:24. These deep-laid counsels centre in Christ, and are shared by Him (Matthew 11:27, John 5:20; John 17:10; John 17:25); so that it is one thing to have the Spirit who “sounds the deeps of God” and to “have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16). The like profound insight is claimed, in virtue of his possessing the Holy Spirit, by the writer of the Wisdom of Solomon (1 Corinthians 2:7), but in a ὑπεροχὴ λόγου καὶ σοφίας that goes to discredit the assumption; cf. also Sirach 42:18. The attributes there assigned to the half-personified “Wisdom,” N.T. theology divides between Christ and the Spirit in their several offices towards man. The “Spirit” is apprehended in Wisdom under physical rather than, as by Paul, under psychological analogies.


Verse 11

1 Corinthians 2:11. “For amongst men, who knows ( οἶδεν) the things of the man, except the spirit of the man that is within him? So also the things of God none has perceived ( ἔγνωκεν), except the Spirit of God.” Far from being otiose, ἀνθρώπων is emphatic: P. argues from human to Divine personality; each heart of man has its secrets ( τὰ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου); “nor even the dearest soul, and next our own, knows half the reasons why we smile or sigh”; there is a corresponding region of inner personal consciousness with God ( τὰ τοῦ θεοῦ). As the man’s own spirit lifts the veil and lights the recesses penetrable by no reasoning from without, so God’s Spirit must communicate His thoughts,—or we shall never know them. This reserve belongs to the rights of self-hood. Paul’s axiomatic saying assumes the personality of God, and man’s affinity to God grounded therein. P. does not in this analogy limit the ἅγιον πνεῦμα by human conditions, nor reduce Him to a mere Divine self-consciousness ( τὸ ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ, 1 Corinthians 2:12, guards us against this); the argument is a minori ad majus (as in Galatians 3:15, Romans 5:7, Luke 11:13), and valid for the point in question. The Ap. ascribes to a man a natural πνεῦμα (cf. 1 Corinthians 5:5, 1 Thessalonians 5:23), which manifests itself in νοῦς and συνείδησις (Romans 2:15; Romans 7:25, etc.; see Cr(382) on these terms), akin to and receptive of the πνεῦμα θεοῦ; but not till quickened by the latter is the πνεῦμα ἀνθρώπου regnant in him, so that the man can be called πνευματικός (see note on 1 Corinthians 2:15).—On οἶδεν, as diff(383) from ἔγνωκεν, see note to 1 Corinthians 2:8 : “while οἶδα is simple and absolute, γινώσκω is relative, involving more or less the idea of a process of examination” (Lt(384)): “no one has got to know τὰ τοῦ θεοῦ”—has by searching (1 Corinthians 2:10) found Him out (Job 11:7; Job 23:9, etc.; John 17:25)—only His own Spirit knows, and therefore reveals Him.


Verse 12

1 Corinthians 2:12. ἡμεῖς δέ, “But we”: cf. the emphatic ἡμῖν of 1 Corinthians 2:10 (see note) and the ἡμεῖς δὲ of 1 Corinthians 1:23, standing in contrast with the σοφοὶ and δυνατοὶ of the world. The κόσμος whose “spirit” the App. “did not receive,” is that whose “wisdom God has reduced to folly” (1 Corinthians 1:20 f.), whose “rulers crucified the Lord” (1 Corinthians 2:8), its spirit is broadly conceived as the power animating the world in its antipathy to God (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:4, Ephesians 2:2, John 12:31, etc., 1 John 4:1-6). Others (Est., Cv(385), Bz(386), Hn(387), Sm(388)) read the phrase in a more abstract—perhaps too modern—sense, “sapientia mundana et sæcularis,” or “the world-consciousness” (Hf(389)), or “l’esprit de l’humanité … ce que les Païens appellent la muse et qui se concentre dans les génies” (Gd(390)).—“(Not the spirit of the world we received), but the Spirit which is from (issues from: ἐκ, antitheton ἐν, Bg(391)) God” (compare ὡς ἐκ θεοῦ, 2 Corinthians 2:17); the phrase recalls the teaching of Jesus in John 14:26; John 15:26; see also Romans 5:5, Galatians 4:6. “The spirit of the world” breathes in men who are a part of the world; “the Spirit that is from God” visits us from another sphere, bringing knowledge of things removed from natural apprehension (see Isaiah 55:9). ἐλάβομεν implies actual, objective receiving (taking), as in 1 Corinthians 3:8, 1 Corinthians 11:23, etc.— ἵνα εἰδῶμεν κ. τ. λ. (see note on οἶδα, 1 Corinthians 2:11; and cf. the emphatic οἶδα of 2 Corinthians 5:1, 2 Timothy 1:12)—a bold word here—“that we may know (certo scire, Cv(392)) the things that by God were bestowed in His grace upon us”. τὰ χαρισθέντα, aor(393) ptp(394), points to the historic gifts of God to men in Christ, which would have been idle boons without the Spirit enabling us to “know” them: cf. Ephesians 1:17 ff., ἵνα δωῇπνεῦμαεἰς τ. εἰδέναι. χαρίζομαι (to deal in χάρις: see note on χάρισμα, 7), to grant by way of grace, in unmerited favour (cf. esp. Romans 8:32, Galatians 3:18).


Verse 13

1 Corinthians 2:13 asserts the correspondence of Apostolic utterance and thought; in 1 Corinthians 2:14 P. passes to the correspondence of men and things. Other meanings are found for συνκρίνω, and πνευματικοῖς may be masc. as well as neut.; thus the following variant renderings are deduced: (1) comparing sp. things with sp. (Vg(414), E.V(415), Ed(416))—forming them into a correlated system; (2) interpreting, or proving, sp. things by sp.sc. O.T. types by N.T. fulfilments (Cm(417) and Ff(418)); (3) adapting, or appropriating, sp. things to sp. men (Est., Olshausen, Gd(419)), with some strain upon the vb(420); (4) interpreting sp. things to sp. men (Bg(421), Rückert, Hf(422), Stanley, Al(423), Sm(424)). The last explanation is plausible, in view of the sequel; but it misses the real point of 1 Corinthians 2:13, and is not clearly supported by the usage of συνκρίνω, which “means properly to combine, as διακρίνω to separate” (Lt(425)).


Verse 14

1 Corinthians 2:14. With the App. all is spiritual—words and thoughts; for this very reason men of the world reject their teaching: “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God” (cf. Romans 8:5; John 15:18-21, 1 John 4:5).—Of the vbs. for receiving, λαμβάνω (1 Corinthians 2:12) regards the object, δέχομαι the manner and spirit of the act—to welcome (see parls.); there is no receptivity—“non vult admittere” (Bg(426)). ψυχικός, in all N.T. instances, has a disparaging sense, being opposed to πνευματικός (as ψυχὴ is not to πνεῦμα), and almost syn(427) with σάρκινος or σαρκικός (1 Corinthians 3:1 f.). The term is in effect privative μόνην τ. ἔμφυτον καὶ ἀνθρωπίνην σύνεσιν ἔχων (Cm(428)), “quemlibet hominem solis naturæ facultatibus præditum” (Cv(429)),—positive evil being implied by consequence. Adam’s body was ψυχικόν, as not yet charged, like that of Christ, with the Divine πνεῦμα (1 Corinthians 15:44-49. syn(430) with χοϊκός, and contrasted with ἐπουράνιος). “The word was coined by Aristotle (Eth. Nic., III., x., 2) to distinguish the pleasures of the soul, such as ambition and desire for knowledge, from those of the body ( ἡδοναὶ σωματικαί).” “Similarly Polybius, and Plutarch (de Plac. Phil., i. 9 ψυχικαὶ χαραί, σωματικαὶ ἡδοναί). “Contrasted with the ἀκρατής, the ψυχικὸς is the noblest of men. But to the πνευματικὸς he is related as the natural to the supernatural” (Ed(431): see Cr(432), s. v.). This epithet, therefore, describes to the Cor(433) the unregenerate nature at its best, the man commended in philosophy, actuated by the higher thoughts and aims of the natural life—not the sensual man (the animalis of the Vg(434)), who is ruled by bodily impulse. Yet the ψυχικός, μὴ ἔχων πνεῦμα (Judges 1:19), may be lower than the σαρκικός, where the latter, as in 1 Corinthians 3:3 and Galatians 5:17; Galatians 5:25, is already touched but not fully assimilated by the life-giving πνεῦμα.— μωρία γὰρ αὐτῷ κ. τ. λ., rendered by Krenkel (Beiträge, pp. 379 ff.), “For folly belongs (cleaves) to him, and he cannot perceive that he is spiritually searched” (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:24 ff., ἀνακρίνεται)—an ingenious and grammatically possible translation, but not consistent with the emphatic ref(435) of μωρία in ch. 1 to the world’s judgment on the Gospel, nor with the fact that “the things of God” ( σοφία θεοῦ, πνευματικά) are the all-commanding topic of this paragraph. We adhere therefore to the common rendering: “For to him they are folly; and he cannot perceive (them), for (it is) spiritually (that) they are tried”—and he is unspiritual. For γνῶναι, see note on ἔγνωκεν (1 Corinthians 2:8).— ἀνακρίνω must be distinguished from κρίνω, to judge, deliver a verdict; and from διακρίνω, to discern, distinguish diff(436) things; it signifies to examine, inquire into, being syn(437) on the one side with ἐραυνάω of 1 Corinthians 2:10, and on the other with δοκιμάζω of 1 Thessalonians 5:21 (see parls.; also Lt(438) ad loc(439), and in his Fresh Revision3, pp. 69 ff.): “ ἀνάκρισις was an Athenian law-term for a preliminary investigation—corresponding mutatis mutandis to the part taken in English law-proceedings by the Grand Jury” (cf. Acts 25:26). The Gospel appears on its trial before the ψυχικοί; like the Athenian philosophers, they give it a first hearing, but they have no organon to test it by. The inquiry is stultified, ab initio, by the incompetence of the jury. The unspiritual are out of court as religious critics; they are deaf men judging music.


Verse 15

1 Corinthians 2:15. “But the spiritual man tries (tests) everything”—a maxim resembling, perhaps designedly, the Stoic dicta concerning “the wise man”. Paul sees “in the πνεῦμα, the Divine power creatively working in the man and imparted to him, the κριτήριον for the right estimate of persons and things, Divine and human. The Stoa on its part was intently concerned ‘to know the standard according to which man is judged by man’ (Arrian-Epictetus, II., xiii., 16) … it found this criterion in the moral use of Reason.… The Christian believer and the Stoic philosopher both practise an ἀνακρίνειν; both are conscious of standing superior to all judgment from without; but the ground of this superiority, and the inferences drawn from it, are equally opposed in the two cases. The Stoic’s judgment on the world leads him, under given conditions, to suicide (‘The door stands open,’ Epict.): the Christian’s judgment on the world leads to the realisation of the victory of the children of God” (Hn(440)).— πάντα (not every one, but neut. pl(441)) is quite general—everything; cf., for the scope of this faculty, 1 Corinthians 6:2 f., 1 Corinthians 10:15, 1 Thessalonians 5:21, 1 John 2:20 f., 1 Corinthians 4:1, Revelation 2:2. Aristotle (Eth. Nic., III., iv.) says of σπουδαῖος (the man of character), ἕκαστα κρίνει ὀρθῶς, καὶ ἐν ἑκάστοις τἀληθὲς αὐτῷ φαίνεταιὥσπερ κανὼν καὶ μέτρον αὐτῶν ὤν; Plato, De Rep., iii., 409 (442) (quoted by Ed(443)), ascribes the same universally critical power to ἀρετή. Paul’s πνευματικὸς judges in virtue of a Divine, all-searching Presence within him; Aristotle’s σπουδαῖος, in virtue of his personal qualities and attainments. Paul admirably displays in this Ep. the powers of the πνευματικὸς as ἀνακρίνων πάντα. There are, of course, limits to the exercise of the ἀνακρίνειν, in the position and opportunities of the individual.

αὐτὸς δὲ ὑπʼ οὐδένος ἀνακρίνεται, “while he himself is put on trial by none,”—since none other possesses the probe of truth furnished by the πνεῦμα τὸ ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ; the πνευματικὸς stands on a height from which he overlooks the world, and is overlooked only by God. The statement is ideal, holding good of “the spiritual man” as, and so far as, he is such. Where a Christian is σάρκινος (1 Corinthians 3:1), his spiritual judgment is vitiated; to that extent he puts himself within the measure of the ψυχικός (cf. 1 John 3:1; 1 John 4:5). If μέν, after ἀνακρίνει, be genuine, it throws into stronger relief the superiority of the man of the Spirit to unspiritual judgment: he holds the touchstone and is the world’s trier, not the world his. This exemption P. will claim for himself, on further grounds, in 1 Corinthians 4:3 ff.— ἀνακρίνω, used by P. nine times in this Ep., and in no other, was probably a favourite expression with the over-weening Cor(444)—like “criticism” to-day.


Verse 16

1 Corinthians 2:16. Of the three clauses of Isaiah 40:13, P. adopts in Romans 11:34 the 1James , 2 nd, here the 1James , 3 rd; in both instances from the LXX (which renders the Heb. freely), in both instances without the καθὼς γέγραπται of formal quotation.— ὃς συνβιβάσει αὐτόν (qui instructurus sit eum, Bz(445): on the rel(446) pron(447) with fut(448) ind(449) of contemplated result, see Krüger’s Gr(450) Sprachl., I., § 53, 7, Anm. 8; Bn(451), § 318) indicates the Divine superiority to creaturely correction, which justifies the enormous claim of 1 Corinthians 2:15 b.— συνβιβάζω means (1) to bring together, combine (Colossians 2:2, etc.); (2) to compare, gather, prove by putting things together (Acts 16:10); (3) widened in later Gr(452) to the sense to teach, instruct. The prophet pointed in evidence of God’s incomparable wisdom and power to the vastness of creation, wherein lie unimaginable resources for Israel’s redemption, that forbid despair. Here too the νοῦς in question is God’s infinite wisdom, directing man’s salvation through inscrutable ways (1 Corinthians 2:6-9); but the Apostle’s contention is that this “mind” inspires the organs of revelation (1 Corinthians 2:10 ff.), and its superiority to the judgment of the world is relatively also theirs (1 Corinthians 2:14 ff.). Paul translates the νοῦν κυρίου of Isaiah into his own νοῦν χριστοῦ; to him these minds are identical (cf. Matthew 11:27, John 5:20, etc.). Such interchanges betray his “innermost conviction of the Godhead of Christ” (El(453)).— νοῦς serves his turn better than the literal πνεῦμα of the original (ruach); the intellectual side of the πνεῦμα is concerned, the θεῖον ὄμμα (see note on νοῦς, 1 Corinthians 1:10). For the emphatic ἡμεῖς, cf. 1 Corinthians 2:10; 1 Corinthians 2:12, and notes; for the anarthrous nouns, note on 1 Corinthians 2:4; νοῦν χ. is quasi-predicative—“it is Christ’s mind—no other—that we have”.— ἔχομεν is not to be softened into perspectam habemus, novimus (Gr(454)): Christ lives and thinks in the πνευματικός (1 Corinthians 6:17, 2 Corinthians 13:3 ff., etc.; John 15:1-8); the unio mystica is the heart of Paul’s experience.

 


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Bibliography Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 2:4". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/1-corinthians-2.html. 1897-1910.

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Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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