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Saturday, July 20th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
1 Corinthians 2

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

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Verses 1-16

Chapter 2

And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God ( 1 Corinthians 2:1 ).

Paul didn't come as one of the Corinthian philosophers, trying to stand in the streets and persuade them by the brilliant oratory to believe and to accept Jesus Christ. I wonder where the place of oratory is in the pulpit. It's interesting how that we so often admire the great orators in the pulpit. But I often wonder if oratory has any place in the pulpit at all. It surely didn't in Paul's pulpit. "When I came to you, I came not with the excellency of speech or of wisdom, as I declared unto you the testimony of God."

For I determined not to know anything among you, except Jesus Christ, and him crucified ( 1 Corinthians 2:2 ).

Oh, the common bond by which we are all brought together, Jesus Christ, Him crucified. That's all I want to know.

And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling ( 1 Corinthians 2:3 ).

Now Paul had just come from some very upsetting experiences. While he was in Galatia he was wanting to go into Asia, but the Spirit was forbidding him, and Paul was too sick to get out of bed. And so finally, he heard the call, a man from Macedonia saying, "Come over and help us." And so he headed over to Macedonia to obey the heavenly vision. And when he arrived in Philippi, as he was preaching, they grabbed him and threw him in jail; beat him. And there in the dungeon at midnight the Lord shook the prison and opened the doors. Paul left Philippi, went down to Thessalonica, and there as he preached they had a riot. So he left Thessalonica . . . sly, really, to get out of there, because they were waiting for him. And he went down to Berea. And there a big ruckus was stirred up, and so he left Berea and headed down to Athens. And there on Mars Hill he was mocked as he sought to proclaim to them the truth of Jesus Christ. And he comes to Corinth now a broken man in weakness, trembling, in fear.

And my speech and my preaching [he said,] was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in the demonstration of the Spirit and power ( 1 Corinthians 2:4 ):

It wasn't really man's wisdom. My speech was a demonstration of the power of God and of the Spirit of God working. I believe that there is, in the ministry of the word, oftentimes the gift of prophecy, the gift of word, of wisdom, and the word of knowledge that is being exercised from the pulpit. And because of this, I often listen to my own tapes and am benefited by them and I enjoy them. I know that sounds weird, but I heard my radio program the other day and I really enjoyed it. Good message. And I said, did I say that? Man, that's great, that's rich. Why? Because it was preaching and the preaching was the demonstration of the Spirit and power of God. As there was the anointing and the prophecy, the word of wisdom, and the word of knowledge coming forth.

And so Paul's ministry to those in Corinth wasn't the enticing words of man's wisdom, the demonstration of the Spirit and power.

That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but it should stand in the power of God. Howbeit we speak wisdom among them which are fully matured: yet not the wisdom of this world, that comes to nothing: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory ( 1 Corinthians 2:5-8 ).

So that true wisdom, the wisdom which is of God, the wisdom by which He speaks to those who are matured in their Christian walk and experience.

But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those that love him ( 1 Corinthians 2:9 ).

Now, this is probably one of the most misquoted scriptures in the Bible because people stop there. And they say, "Well, heaven is going to be so glorious . . . 'Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, it hasn't even entered into your heart the things that God has prepared for you.' Oh, He is so glorious." But the next verse says,

But God has revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God ( 1 Corinthians 2:10 ).

So these things that the world does not know, now he's talking about the eyes of the world, the ears of the world, the hearts of the people in the world, they have no concept, no idea of the things that God has for us who love Him. "But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God."

For what man knoweth the things of man, except the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God ( 1 Corinthians 2:11 ).

So here the Spirit of God is attributed with the same omniscience that God possesses, knowing the things of God.

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God ( 1 Corinthians 2:12 ).

And so God has given us the Spirit to teach us, and you have need, John said, "That no man should teach you but that unction that you have received, it will teach you all things" ( 1 John 2:20 ). "But the Comforter," Jesus said, "which is the Holy Ghost whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance whatsoever I have commanded you" ( John 14:26 ).

And so God has given to us the Spirit that we might freely know the things of God as He instructs our hearts in the ways of God. And that is why I always encourage a person, before you start reading the Bible, pray, "Oh, God, let your Holy Spirit illuminate my mind and my understanding to your truth as I read."

Did you ever read the Bible and finish the page and then think, "What did I read?" And you realize that your mind was somewhere else. You don't remember a word that you read off of that page. Your mind was probably in some carnal pursuit, and here you're trying to read something of the Spirit.

But then you'll say, "Oh Lord, now help me to understand this," and you'll read it again and how the whole thing just comes alive and begins to minister to your heart in such a powerful way. You're now seeing things that you didn't see before. You're now understanding things you didn't understand before. It just sort of jumps off the page and begins to burn in your heart. The glorious work of the Holy Spirit in teaching us the way of righteousness and truth.

Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teaches, but with the Holy Spirit teaching; comparing the spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned ( 1 Corinthians 2:13-14 ).

So the natural man is at a decided disadvantage, because he cannot know the things of the Spirit. He cannot receive them; he cannot know them because they are spiritually discerned.

The deaf man cannot enjoy the symphony, the blind man cannot enjoy the beauty of the sunset. Why? Because he lacks the faculties by which these things are appreciated. So, in the same logic, the natural man cannot receive or know the things of the Spirit, because he lacks the faculty by which these things are known. He lacks the Spirit. And lacking the Spirit, it's impossible for him to know the things of the Spirit.

But [in contrast to the natural man] he that is spiritual discerns all things, yet he himself is discerned of no man ( 1 Corinthians 2:15 ).

Or another translation, "He that is spiritual understands all things though he is not understood my man."

Now the natural man cannot understand your love for the Word of God. He cannot understand your love for the people of God. He cannot understand your love for the things of God. They're foolishness unto him. What do you do for fun? And the natural man is just at a loss to understand. He walks away and says, "I don't know, he's crazy. He talks about the Lord all the time, something's wrong."

He which is spiritual, he understands things though he is not understood by the natural man, no man understands him. And that, of course, makes for difficult relationships sometimes. When these kids come and accept the Lord and then they go home and begin to share the things of the Spirit with their parents, all of a sudden there's lost communication.

For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ ( 1 Corinthians 2:16 ).

What does he mean by that? When he was writing to the Philippians he said, "Let this mind be in you which also was in Christ Jesus, who though He was in the form of God, and thought it not robbery or something to be grasped to be equal with God, yet He humbled Himself and took upon Himself the form of a man and came in the likeness as a man, as a servant, obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" ( Philippians 2:5-8 ). The mind that was in Christ was the mind that was willing to step down, a mind of humility. "We have the mind of Christ," Paul said. That mind which doesn't exalt itself or its own wisdom, but that mind that submits to God and to the will and the authority of God.

We have the mind of Christ. Oh God, help us that we might indeed possess the mind of Christ, that that mind, that mental attitude that Jesus had, will be our mental attitude. That of not lording over one another, but serving one another in love.

Next we'll go onto the third and fourth chapters as we deal with the carnal man. We see three men: the natural man, the spiritual man, next we get the third one, the carnal man, and he's the one in trouble.

May the Lord give you a beautiful week. May you walk in the Spirit. May you be led by the Spirit. May you be taught by the Spirit, that you might this week experience that enriching of your life in Christ, become a spiritual plutocrat, just wealthy, luxuriously wealthy in the things of the Lord and in the things of the Spirit as God ministers to you out of those infinite resources of His love and grace, wisdom, and mercy. May you grow in grace and in knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. May this be a special week of the work of God's Spirit in your life, conforming you into the image of His Son. May you give place and time for God to work in your life. In Jesus' name. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 2". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/1-corinthians-2.html. 2014.
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