Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, December 2nd, 2023
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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Bible Commentaries
1 Corinthians 2

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

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Verses 1-16

  1. INTRO:
    1. Prayer: “Not by my might, nor by my power, but by the Spirit!” Lord, forgive us for not using the good mind You have given us. Please help us to think, talk, & live more & more like You.
    2. Why do some people spiritually “get it” & others don’t? Why can some animals see better at night than humans?
    3. The tapetum lucidum[TaPETEem LuCEEdum] (Latin "bright tapestry") is a layer of tissue in the eye of many animals. It acts almost like a mirror at the backs of their eyes. It reflects visible light back through the retina, increasing the light available to the photo-receptors. This improves vision in low-light conditions. Their eyes shine back with bright, white light. The tapetum lucidum contributes to the superior night vision of some animals.
      1. We humans do not have this layer in our retinas. If you shine a flashlight in a person's eyes at night, you don't see any sort of reflection.
      2. The flash on a camera is bright enough, however, to cause a reflection off of the retina - what you see is the red color from the blood vessels nourishing the eye.
      3. Key? These nocturnal animals are equipped with something others aren’t.
        1. What are Christians equipped with that all unbelievers aren’t?
    4. What is the difference between Blind Flying & Flying Blind?
      1. Blind Flying means - ignorantly moving forward never knowing when you are going to hit something.
      2. Flying Blind means - using instruments for flying an aircraft because you cannot see through clouds or mists etc.
        1. Flying by the seat of your pants means - is when your hope is in hope; or your faith is in faith; which makes about as much sense as sleeping rocks dreaming!
    1. Winston Churchill advised, "If you have an important point to make, don't try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit it once. Then come back and hit again." (Pile driver at our frwy entrance)
      1. Paul does that here…his point?…Christ & Him crucified!
      2. Paul slams down his pile driver & hits it once…The Power of God; again…The Wisdom of God; again…The Spirit of God; again…The Spiritual Discernment of God; again…The Mind of God.
    2. #1 The POWER of God! (1-5)
    3. (1) Paul came armed to Corinth with that crazy/foolish sounding gospel (1:18).
      1. He didn’t depend on eloquence & intellectual brilliance. [though he had both]
        1. Paul knew: art, music, philosophy, culture, the poets, & about his world around him, but when it came to presenting the gospel he had a 1-track-mind!
      2. You can have both, even use both, just don’t depend/rely on either!
    4. Here in Murrieta today...the gospel still “works”! - It still is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes...as Paul said in Romans 1:16.
    5. CM saints...we must find the task of evangelism too big for us; humanly impossible!
      1. Your faith must be in the power of God! (read 5)
    6. #2 The WISDOM of God! (6-11)
    7. (7) Handcrafted for the saved: This involves God’s wise plan to bring believers into the glories of heaven. (8) Hidden from the unsaved: Had they known the truth, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
    8. (8) Spiritual depth perception comes from experiential knowledge of God, not just intellectual comprehension of truths about Him. (Swindoll)
    9. (9) Paul refers to Is.64:4. Neither Scripture is speaking of Heaven, 1st of all.
      1. The context has nothing to do with heaven.
      2. The context (vs.10,11) plainly refers it to spiritual insights that were once a mystery or hidden (7) but are now revealed(10,11).
        1. Some of those blessings are described in Eph.1:3-14 where the blessings of salvation were prepared by the Father, carried out by the Son, and applied by the Spirit. (Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (1 Co 2:9–10). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.)
    10. (10) 2-sided wisdom: Wisdom is like an Iceberg.
      1. Visible - Human wisdom; what is tangible/touchable; what is learned of our natural world through observation and experimentation. In preaching it is what can be explained/heard/understood.
      2. Invisible - Gods Wisdom; this is the deep side; where God takes the word & plumbs it down under the surface currents to where He can minister it to our hearts & souls.
    11. Charles Spurgeon told the story about a woman who said to Joseph Turner while he was painting (famous landscape painter, 1700’s), “Why do you put such extravagant colors into your pictures? I never see anything like them in nature.” - “Don’t you wish you did, Madam?” he said.2
      1. It was a sufficient answer. He saw them, even if she did not!
        1. In a similar way, believers in Christ can see many spiritual truths that unbelievers simply cannot recognize. When we are born again, the indwelling Holy Spirit gives us understanding of the “deep things of God” (2:10).
        2. With the help of the Spirit, we can apprehend the truths of the Word of God and appreciate their beauty and significance.
        3. We can see wonderful things in Scripture that are completely unnoticed by those who are flying spiritually blind.
      2. Like the psalmist, we should pray, “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law” (Ps.119:18).
        1. Scriptural insight is available only to those with spiritual eyesight.
      3. The Spirit of God enables the people of God to understand the Word of God.
    12. blank What has God revealed to you (in scripture)?
      1. Lately? In your devotions? I’m talking deep spiritual insights [at least deep to you; ohhh!]
        1. I.e. Eccentric (out of + center) [Jesus comes on the scene & says He is the center!]
          1. Gal.2:20 (msg) I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me.
    13. (11) You can learn things about me by observing me or by what people say about me; but you can’t know what is going on in my mind or my spirit unless I choose to reveal it to you.
      1. Only I know what I’m thinking! (besides my wife she’s pretty good at it)
      2. Likewise, only the Spirit of God knows the mind of God.
    14. So far Paul has used his pile driver twice: Power & Wisdom.
      1. Remember the Jews sought Signs signs(power) & the Greeks wisdom(1:22).
      2. Both power & wisdom can be found in Jesus (1:24).
      3. Wisdom & Power must go together for a balanced Christian Diet!
    15. #3 The SPIRIT of God! (12)
    16. (12) French scientists have succeeded in causing chickens to sound like quail. Researchers took tissue from the part of the Japanese quail brain thought to control the bird’s call, and they implanted it in the brains of 5 chicken embryos. The experiment worked. Researchers say the hatched chicks sounded like quail.
      1. Here’s a far greater miracle: God has “implanted” the mind of Christ in those who have accepted His Son as their Savior.
      2. Vs.12 tells us that the Spirit of God has taken up residence in us.
        1. In some mysterious way we now have a capacity for divine wisdom that no scholarly degree or natural experience could ever provide.
        2. Having the mind of Christ enables us to see life increasingly from God’s perspective.
      3. This doesn’t mean that we can think on God’s level and instruct Him (v.16). But it does mean that we have a new capacity to think and talk and act more and more like Christ Himself.
        1. God wants his children to be “in the know” not “in the dark.”
    17. #4 The SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT of God! (13-15)
    18. (14) The Natural Man is unsaved, he belongs to the world…& is happy in it.
      1. He can’t received the things of the Spirit (the Word) because he doesn’t have spiritual discernment.
      2. The natural man can enjoy reading the majesty of the Old King James language of scripture; admire & feel the charm of the stories; even have a feeling of religiosity as he reads it. But he can’t “know” the scriptures!
    19. The Spiritual Man is a believer who is controlled by the Spirit.
      1. He is a man of discernment & is able to judge & evaluate things with God’s insights.
    20. #5 The MIND of God! (16)
    21. The believer has the mind of Christ!
      1. Phil.2:5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.
      2. 1 Pet.4:1 since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also w/the same mind
        1. This means that the Spirit, through the Word, helps the believer think as Jesus thinks.
        2. True faith stands on the rock of Revelation not on the sands of human philosophy! (Alan Redpath, The Royal Route to Heaven.)
    22. If the natural man can’t understand anything of the Spirit...how will this changed your evangelism? (pray more)
      1. “The church has never had better machinery, yet it also has never been so helplessly ineffective in meeting the problem of its day.” (Alan Redpath)
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 2". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/1-corinthians-2.html. 2017.
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