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Monday, September 25th, 2023
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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1 Corinthians 2

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

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Verse 1

1) "And I, brethren," (Greek kago adelphoi) "and brethren" or "beloved ones" - This is a personal, intimate, direct address and approach to the Corinth church members and other churches to whom the circulatory letter was addressed.

2) "When I came to you." (Greek elthon pros humos) "Coming to or approaching you all of my own accord," (or when I came.)

3) "Came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom." (Greek elthon ou kath huperchen logou he sophias) I came not according to excellence of language or of wisdom," (of this world order.)

4) "Declaring unto you the testimony of God." (Greek katangelon humin) "announcing or declaring to you all" (Greek to marturion) "the testimony of God." Note, while the Corinthian brethren had been contentious about the speech, wisdom, and personalities of Paul, Cephas, Apollos, and Christ, Paul would have them to understand the motives of true men of God were to declare the gospel of God in Christ, by Divine wisdom and help, not by human cunning, art, or wisdom apart from God.

Verse 2

1) "For I determined." (Greek gar ekrina) "For I made a decision, judgment, or determined". Men’s actions, as Christians and ministers of Christ, are of their own will, volition, choice or decision, not by compulsion.

2) "Not to know anything among you." (Greek ou ti eidenai) "Not to know or perceive anything." (Greek en humin) "Among you" . . . Paul determined not to present himself, his Greek, Hebrew, or Latin or philosophy as a basis of being known among the brethren. Acts 20:18-27.

3) "Save Jesus Christ." (Greek ei me iesoun Christon) "If not or except Jesus Christ." This indicates Paul’s sincere desire to present Jesus Christ, not himself or his own wisdom and person (Galatians 6:14; 1 Corinthians 10:24).

4) "And him crucified." (Greek kai touton estauromenon) "And this one having been crucified." Galatians 2:20; Titus 3:5; 1 Corinthians 1:17; 1 Corinthians 1:31.

Verse 3

1) "And I was with you." (Greek kago en) "And I" (was with or in the midst or among you).

2) "In weakness." (Greek en estheneia) "In weakness or physical sickness." Paul was heir to afflictions or depravity and of sickness as others all are, Job 14:1; 2 Corinthians 11:29-30; 2 Corinthians 12:9).

3) "And in fear." (Greek kai en phobo) "And in fear or anxiety." Paul was moved with Godly fear or reverence and confronted Jews in the Corinth synagogue where some were saved. He was driven out and went to the private home of Justus next door, Acts 18:11.

4) "And in much trembling." (Greek kai en tromo pollo) "And in much trembling" - (Greek egenomen pros humas) "I was in close colleague or fellowship with you all."

Persecution causes God’s children to draw close together as a) flocks when attacked by wolves, b) or quail when disturbed by an hawk, or c) geese when disturbed by an owl.

God’s "be not afraid I am with thee" gave Paul courage, Acts 18:9-10; Acts 27:22-25; Proverbs 1:7.

Verse 4

1) "And my speech and my preaching," (Kai ho logos mou) "and the speech or language of me" (kai to kerugma mou) "and the proclamation or preaching of me." Paul speaks of his manner of preaching by which he had appealed to the Corinthians.

2) "Was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom." (Greek ouk en peithois) "not (was) with enticing or persuasive (logis sophias) "words of (man’s) wisdom." Though Paul later wrote, "being crafty, I caught you with guile," "becoming all things to all men that he might by all means save some," he did not do this without dependence on the Holy Spirit, 2 Corinthians 12:16; 1 Corinthians 9:22.

3) "But in demonstration of the Spirit and of power." (Greek alla en apodeiksei pneumatos) "But in demonstration of Spirit" (nature or kind) -(Greek kai dunameos) "and of power" (of Holy Spirit). Paul simply asserts that his labors and achievements among the Corinthian brethren had been by the "dynamics" of the Holy Spirit, not by his linguistic and polemic powers.

Crispus, chief ruler of the Jewish Synagogue, and Gaius, and the household of Stephanas, and many others had been saved at Corinth through the Spirit empowered preaching of Paul, but not by his human wisdom or language cunning, Acts 18:8; 1 Corinthians 1:14-16. Apart from the work of the Holy Spirit no speech or labor can be blessed of God, Zechariah 4:6; Proverbs 1:23; John 4:24; 1 John 5:6.

Verse 5

1) "That your faith." (Greek hina he pistis humon) "In order that, (purpose clause) the faith of you" (all) - Paul did not deliver academic, "Rabbi-like addresses" in presenting Jesus Christ, lest their faith should be in him - the preacher, instead of Jesus Christ.

2) "Should not stand in the wisdom of men." This he did in order that they should not take their stand (Greek en sophia anthropon). "in the wisdom of (Generic) men", humanity, in depravity.

3) "But in the power of God." (Greek alla en dunamei theou) "but in dynamic power of God". The Holy Spirit is that dynamic power:

a) The Holy Spirit convicts – John 16:10-11.

b) The Holy Spirit quickens – John 6:63.

c) The Holy Spirit gives life – 2 Corinthians 3:6.

d) The Holy Spirit leads – Romans 8:14.

e) The Holy Spirit helps our infirmities –Romans 8:26.

f) The Holy Spirit makes the Resurrection real – Romans 8:11.

With trust in God and dependence on the Holy Spirit to furnish changing power in the lives of men, Paul pursued his witnessing ministry until death, Galatians 5:25.

Verse 6

1) "Howbeit we speak wisdom," (Greek sophian de laloumen) "but wisdom we speak". The "we" refers to true believers in general from the Corinth church and their colleague brethren from other churches, but more specifically Paul was asserting that he and his missionary companions spoke with Spiritual wisdom.

2) "Among them that are perfect," (Greek entois teleiois) "among the perfect or mature ones" those with spiritual comprehension. As the world by wisdom did not comprehend or spiritually discern Jesus, so they rejected Paul and his helpers, John 1:5; John 1:10.

3) "Yet not the wisdom of this world." (Greek de ou tou aionos). "Yet not of this age." They did not speak forth the wisdom of the Rabbis, or the Grecian philosophers, or the laws of the Romans.

4) "Nor of the princes of this world." (Greek oude ton archonton tou aionos toutou). "Neither of the leaders, rulers, or princes of this age," such as Herod, Pilate, Felix, or Agrippa. Tradition holds that each came to a fateful end.

5) "That come to nought." (Greek ton katorgoumenon). "Of the ones being brought to naught." The rich young ruler "turned and went away sorrowfully" from Jesus, Matthew 19:16-22.

Many Bible students believe that it was he who "in hell lifted up his eyes in torments," the formerly "clothed in purple and fine linen," robes of royalty, Luke 16:19-24.

Verse 7

1) "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery." At least Paul, Peter, and Luke, missionary helpers and companions of Paul, wrote, unveiled, and disclosed former mysteries to Christian brethren.

1) Paul, 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; Ephesians 3:3-10; 1 Timothy 3:16.

2) Peter, 1 Peter 1:18-19; If Pe 3:16-18.

3) Luke, Acts 2:16-24; Acts 15:15-18,

2) "Even the hidden wisdom." (Greek ten a ’ pokekrumenen) (that is) "the having been hidden, concealed, or veiled" (Greek musterio) "mystery" 1) First, that the Redeemer should appear in the flesh and 2) Second, that He should establish the church from among the Gentiles, Daniel 2:44-45; Ephesians 3:9-12.

3) "Which God ordained." (Greek proorisen ho theos) "which (mystery) God set in order". Peter tells of this, as well as Paul, 1 Peter 1:18-19; 1 Timothy 3:16; Ephesians 1:4-14. True saints of God, members of His church, glory in His revealed mysteries in Christ and the Church, Matthew 13:10-11; Matthew 13:34-35; Matthew 13:51.

4) "Before the world unto our glory." (Greek pro ton aionon) "before the ages" (eis doksan hemon) "unto or with reference to the glory of us." God in His wisdom provided for our salvation and service 1) Jesus as our redeemer, foretold in types and shadows in the Old Testament and 2) the Church also included in His plans to provide a program of worship and service for us in the Gentile age, though hidden or veiled to the masses to whom it did not belong, Matthew 26:30-32; Zechariah 13:7; Matthew 28:16-20; .Daniel 2:44-45; Ephesians 3:4-11; Ephesians 5:23; Ephesians 5:32.

Verse 8

1) "Which none of the princes of this world knew." (Greek hen oudeis ton archonton tou aionos toutou egnoken) "Which (mystery) not one of the leaders, rulers, or princes of this age has known or comprehended." None recognized Jesus Christ either as the Son of God, as redeemer, or as the founder of the church, and her program of worship and work, Luke 19:10; Luke 22:30; John 18:36; Matthew 16:18-19.

2) "For had they known it." (Greek ei gar egnosan) "For if they had recognized". (Jesus and His church as the composite mystery formerly veiled from the wisdom of this world.)

3) "They would not have crucified the Lord of Glory." (Greek ouk anton kurion tes dokses estaurosan). The crucifixion of the Lord of Glory was initiated and effected after the order of the worldly wisdom of rulers, leaders, or princes of this world or sinful age.

Had this worldly wisdom, so esteemed of men, been genuine, it would not have incited men to kill the Prince of Glory, Jesus Christ, and seek to destroy His church. He was hounded by men seeking to kill Him from Herod’s reign of His early childhood, from His early ministry in Nazareth when they sought to throw Him from an high cliff, all the way to Calvary. (Matthew 2:14-23; Luke 4:16; Luke 4:28-30; John 8:37-40; Acts 2:36-37; Acts 7:51-53). Concerning the church see also Matthew 16:18-19; Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 8:1; Philippians 3:6; 1 Timothy 3:15; Acts 26:9-11; Ephesians 3:21.

While our Lord was on the earth, in human wisdom, men neither received Him nor His church, and none still receives Him or His church today except by His Word and His Spirit – John 6:37; John 6:44; Romans 8:9.

Verse 9

1) "But as it is written". (Greek alla Kathos gegraptai). "But (strong adversative) "even as it is having been written." This alludes to God’s provision in physical and spiritual matters for His children, from the beginning of the world, Isaiah 64:9.

2) "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard." These are two of man’s most comprehensive media of learning, through visual and audio contact. Thru these media the Devil subtly beguiled Eve, Genesis 3:1-7. In like manner just Lot was ensnared by sin, 2 Peter 2:7-8. Yet, these media may glorify God, 1 John 1:1-4.

3) "Neither have entered into the heart of man." (Greek kai epi kardian) "and upon (the) heart of affections." (anthropou ouk anebe) "of man came not up" (or has not entered to impress).

4) "The things which God hat h prepared." (hosa hetoimasen ho theos) "how many (things) God has prepared or made ready". Tho man can not comprehend it, God is an exceeding "pre-provider" for those who love and serve Him. John 14:1; Of this Jesus promised and Paul wrote Ephesians 3:20.

5) "For them that love him." (Greek tois agaposin). "For the ones loving Him." The Lord not only prepares a place beyond present audio, visual, and affectionate comprehension of His loving one; but He also has rewards untold, awaiting them for their services, matters that the wisdom of this world can not grasp. Luke 6:35; 1 Corinthians 3:8; 2 John 1:8; Revelation 11:18; Revelation 22:12.

Verse 10

1) "But God hath revealed them to us by his Spirit." (Greek hemin gar apekalupsen ho theos). "For to us God revealed (these things). God has taken back the curtain of mystery for His children and made them to be able to see, hear, (Greek dia tou pneumatos) "through the Spirit," and comprehend through His Spirit and Word more of what was planned and provided for us from the beginning.


2) "For the Spirit searcheth all things." (to gar pneuma panta ereuna) "For the spirit searches, or looks over all. things" (all kind of things.) He is universal in searching work, above, upon and beneath the earth, sea, and land, Psalms 139:7-15.

3) "Yea the deep things of God." (Greek kai ta bathe tou theou) "even the deep (down) things of God." This is why it is revealed that inspiration of the Scriptures came by the Holy Spirit of God, to disclose things to men, never to be known from the mere wisdom of man through his limited, deranged, and depraved natural condition, Ephesians 2:1-3; Ephesians 2:12.

How do I know that I am God’s child? The Spirit communicates it to me through God’s Word and my heart, 1 John 4:13; Romans 5:5; Romans 8:16; Romans 8:26-27. How glorious is this revelation!

Verse 11

1) "For what man knoweth the things of a man." (tis gar oiden anthropon). "For who of men perceives or knows" (ta tou anthropou) "the things of a man". Rhetorically Paul is affirming that a man as a free moral agent, is the only person who can know the things of his own life, and these things are known through his spirit.

2) "Save the spirit of man which is in him"? (Greek ei me to pneuma tou anthropou to en auto) "if not or except the Spirit (part) of the man which is in him." Just as the spirit nature of man is his comprehensive essence of volitional knowledge and revelation, even so the spirit of God that begets the spirit of man is his source of true understanding."

3) "Even so the things of God knoweth no man." (houtos kai ta tou theou) "Just Iike this or even so the things of God" (oudeis egnoken) "not one has known." The world by wisdom, apart from the spiritual rebirth, does not know God or comprehend Divine things, 1 Corinthians 1:21.

4) "But the spirit of God." (ei me to pneuma tou theou) "except by the Spirit of God" - It is only by the aid of the Holy Spirit any human being can understand the things of God, Romans 8:9; Proverbs 1:22 indicates that it is by aid of the Holy Spirit God’s words are made known to men. This is true in conviction, conversion, and leadership in God’s work.

Verse 12

1) "Now we have received." (hemeis de elabomon) moreover we have received" (a present possession, and experience indicated as received by one’s own volition, will, or accord).

2) "Not the spirit of the world." (ou to pneuma tou kosmou) "not the spirit of the world," (depraved and deranged kind, apart from God).

3) "But the spirit which is of God." (alla) "but," strongest adversative of the Greek language (to pneuma to ek tou theou) "the Spirit which (is) from God" -this came in conviction, conversion and salvation, Jonah 2:9.

4) "That we might know the things " (Greek hina) "in order that" indicating purpose, (eidomen ta) "we might know or perceive the things."

5) "That are freely given to us of God." (hupo tou theou charisthenta hemin). "Freely or charismatically having been given to us of God." To know or comprehend salvation and its meaning, as begun through the Spirit and the things God has in store for us now, reserved for the future, as a prepared home, house, and rewards, one must realize that he can know such only through the Spirit of God. This is Paul’s message. Such invalidates glorying in fleshly wisdom, John 14:1; 2 Corinthians 5:1; 1 Corinthians 3:8.

Verse 13

1) "Which things also we speak." (Greek ha kai lauloumen) "which things we also speak." These are the things given us of or by his Spirit, such as Salvation, Faith, peace, hope and charity, Acts 4:20; Jeremiah 20:9.

2) "Not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth." (ouk en logois) "not in words" (didaktois anthropines sophias) "taught of human wisdom." The religious teachings of Paul and his missionary companions, he asserts, did not have their origin from schools or Rabbis of Gamaliel’s wisdom.

3) "But which the Holy Ghost teacheth." (alla) "But in contrast to human wisdom" (endidaktois) “in (words) taught (pnematos) "of the Spirit." Paul attributed his calling and message to Almighty God, Galatians 1:11-12.

4) "Comparing Spiritual things with Spiritual." (pneumatikois pneumatika sunkrinontos) "With spiritual things, spiritual things comparing." The Scriptures have their origin in God through men inspired of God, so that these Spirit guided men used spiritual things to compare spiritual things. Our Lord used the mystery parables and explained that so that the Spiritually discerning, His church disciples could understand what He taught. They still can, by comparing Scripture with Scripture in its contextual setting, Matthew 13:9-17.

Verse 14

1) "But the natural man". (psuchikos de anthropos) "but a natural man," a man of natural senses, unrenewed by the new birth, James 3:15; Judges 1:19; John 3:3; John 3:5. This natural man is contrasted in comprehension with the spiritual (pneumatikos) man.

2) "Receiveth not the things of the Spirit oi God." (ou dechetai ta tou pneumatos tou theou) "not receives things of the spirit of God." He receives not the joy of the Holy Spirit, the witness of the Spirit, the peace of the Spirit, or the three gifts of the Holy Spirit - faith, hope, and charity, 1 Corinthians 13:13.

3) "For they are foolishness unto him." (moria gar auto estin) "For they are folly, or of moronic nature, to him." Herod could not comprehend the interest of the wise men who sought the newborn Christ, nor could the leaders in Jerusalem understand the wisdom of the apostles, Matthew 2:1-13; Acts 4:13.

4) "Neither can he know them." (Kai ou dunatai .gnonai) "and he is not able to know (them)" (things of the Spirit). Acts 5:29-39.

5) "Because they are spiritually discerned." (Greek hoti pneumatikos anakrinetai) "because spiritually are they discerned or adjudged." As it takes an artist to discern art, a musician to discern good music, or a farmer to discern good farming, so it takes a spirit born and spirit discerning person to discern "signs of the times and the works of the Spirit." 2 Peter 3:18; 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

Verse 15

1) "But he that is spiritual" (Greek ho de pneumatikos) "But the spiritual man," the man who has been begotten of the spirit of God, John 3:3; John 3:5; 1 John 5:1.

2) "Judgeth all things." (anakrinei men panta) "discerns on one hand all things." Because he has the Spirit of God, the regenerated has the comprehension power toward all things revealed by God’s Spirit, even the world and angels, 1 Corinthians 6:2-3.

3) "Yet he himself is judged of no man." (Greek autos de hup oudenos anakrinetai) "moreover he himself (on the other hand) by no one is discerned or judged." The unspiritual is moronic in attempt to discern, evaluate, or pass judgment upon the spiritual, the saints of God, Colossians 2:16-17.

Verse 16

1) "For who hath known the mind of the Lord." (tis gar egno noun kuriou) "For who knew or has known the mind of the Lord." Isaiah 40:13, asks ’Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord?" Romans 11:34.

2) "That he may instruct him?" (Hos sumbebasei auton;) "Who will instruct Him?" God’s thoughts are higher than natural man so that the natural man, apart from the Holy Spirit, can not understand them, Isaiah 55:7; Isaiah 55:9.

3) "But we have the mind of Christ." Paul affirms that he, his missionary companions, and those saved, in Christ, have, hold, or contain the mind of Christ, 2 Corinthians 5:17. (Greek hemeis de noun Christou echomen). "But we, the mind of Christ, have or hold." Philippians 2:5; 2 Timothy 1:7.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 2". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/1-corinthians-2.html. 1985.
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