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Bible Commentaries
1 Corinthians 2

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

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Verses 1-16

Justification by Jesus Christ, and Him Crucified In 1 Corinthians 2:1-16 Paul discusses how the Corinthians were saved, or justified. But he discusses it from the perspective of the Holy Spirit’s work in them since the underlying theme of this epistle is about the office and ministry of the Holy Spirit. In other words, Paul explains that the mystery of the Gospel, hidden in ages past, can only be understood by the Holy Spirit revealing it to us (1 Corinthians 2:10).

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

1 Corinthians 2:2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

1 Corinthians 2:2 Comments - Any preaching beyond Jesus was puffed up with pride (1 Corinthians 8:1).

1 Corinthians 8:1, “Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.”

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

1 Corinthians 2:3 Comments - Kenneth Hagin explains 1 Corinthians 2:3 to mean that Paul the apostle had a respect, an awareness of the awesomeness of God and of his responsibilities as a minister of God. Note the following quote out of his book Plans Purposes & Pursuits:

“Several days before our annual Campmeeting in 1987, I had a visitation from the Lord. As I relate that visitation, I share it with you in weakness and in reverence and in much trembling because of the awesomeness of God’s power and His presence. Paul, ‘I was with you in weakness, and in fear…’ (1 Corinthians 2:3). Of course, that didn’t mean he was afraid like you would be afraid of a rattlesnake or a tornado. Paul meant that he had a godly fear, an awe, and a reverence for God. It is with that same reverence that I now relate to that awesome visitation I had from the Lord the week before our Campmeeting.” [98]

[98] Kenneth Hagin, Plans Pursuits and Purposes (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c1988, 1993), 1-2.

Paul was not saying that he was afraid of men, or was weak and in bondage to fear. He had been in the presence of God and was walking in a Godly fear and awe as a result of God’s divine interventions in his life (see 2 Corinthians 12:2).

2 Corinthians 12:1, “It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.”

However, when we read Acts 18:9-10 we see the Lord telling Paul not to be afraid, but to speak and not hold his peace, and that no man would hurt him. Thus, we see a picture of Paul experiencing fear because of the hostile environment he was in.

Acts 18:9-10, “Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.”

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

1 Corinthians 2:4 “but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” - Comments How did Paul preach “in demonstration of the Spirit and of power”? Note 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. In 1 Corinthians 12:9 Paul says, “that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” This is how God’s power will move in our churches and lives today. Note how this divine power was at work in Paul’s life:

Acts 15:12, “Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.”

Acts 16:26, “And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed.”

Acts 19:11-12, “And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.”

Romans 15:19, “Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.”

Paul’s description of his preaching ministry among the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 2:4 serves as a witness to Paul’s office as an apostle. He will refer to his powerful ministry among them later in his second epistle.

2 Corinthians 12:12, “Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.”

Paul did not bring the house down in a show of excellent speech, but he brought the power down, that is, God’s power.

In one of Kenneth Hagin’s divine visitations with the Lord Jesus Christ, he was instructed by Jesus on the meaning of 1 Corinthians 2:4. The “demonstration of power” refers to the power gifts being in manifestation: special faith, working of miracles and gifts of healings. Those gifts demonstrate the power of the Holy Spirit. The Lord further instructed him that the “demonstration of Spirit” refers to the gifts of revelation (wisdom, knowledge, discerning of spirits) and of utterance (prophecy, tongues, interpretation of tongues). [99] Therefore, 1 Corinthians 2:4 not only says that Paul’s preaching was accompanied with signs and wonders, i.e., what we would call the power gifts. But, it also includes the other gifts in manifestation, which are the gifts of revelation and of utterance. The Holy Spirit manifests Himself through these ministry gifts.

[99] Kenneth Hagin, Plans Pursuits and Purposes (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c1988, 1993), 46, 127.

Illustration - While Jesus was teaching in the synagogue in Mark 1:21-28, He also healed a man with an unclean spirit. Thus, the people were amazed that His teachings were accompanied with miracles, thus saying that Jesus taught with authority.

Mark 1:27, “And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.”

In the Gospel of Mark, we see many stories where Jesus wrought signs and miracles while preaching and teaching the people.

1 Corinthians 2:5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

1 Corinthians 2:1-5 Comments - Paul’s Method of Preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 describes Paul’s method of preaching the Gospel to the Gentile churches. He came to them in weakness and fear and the simple message of Christ and His crucifixion. Although Paul was educated in Jewish law and traditions prior to his conversion, the Lord sent him far away to preach to the Gentiles (Romans 11:13, Galatians 2:8, 1 Timothy 2:7, 2 Timothy 1:11). Had he been sent to the Jews, he would have tended to trust in his education and understanding of their traditions in converting them to Christ. He was instead sent to the Gentiles so that his trust and dependence was totally upon God and his message was the simple Good News of Christ and His Crucifixion and Resurrection. For Paul, the power of the Holy Spirit rested in this message. In contrast, Peter, who was unlearned in the Jewish educational system (Acts 4:13), was sent by God as an apostle to the Jews (Galatians 2:8). Therefore, Peter had to trust in the Lord to preach to the Jews.

Romans 11:13, “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:”

Galatians 2:8, “(For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)”

1 Timothy 2:7, “Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.”

2 Timothy 1:11, “Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.”

Acts 4:13, “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”

1 Corinthians 2:6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:

1 Corinthians 2:4-6 Comments The Role of Signs and Miracles - In 1 Corinthians 2:4-6 Paul tells the believers that when he first came and preached to them, God confirmed his words with signs and miracles (1 Corinthians 2:4-5). Then he says that God speaks in a different way to mature believers by using words of divine wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:6). My experience as a minister has shown me that God often works in the lives of those who first hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and in the lives of new converts by working signs and miracles as a means of bringing them closer to the knowledge of God. But to the mature Christians He speaks by the Holy Scriptures and with dreams and vision although He often uses these mature Christians to proclaim the Gospel to this world by allowing signs and miracles to flow through them in order to be a witness to confirm their preaching. But God speaks differently to these two types of Christians in much the same way that we speak to our children on a different level according to their age.

1 Corinthians 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

1 Corinthians 2:7 “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom” Comments (1) - God has always spoken in proverbs or parables and dark sayings. Note:

Psalms 49:4, “I will incline mine ear to a parable: I will open my dark saying upon the harp .”

Psalms 78:2, “I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old .”

Proverbs 1:6, “To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings .”

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

2 Peter 3:16, “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood , which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”

Only the Holy Spirit can give us true understanding. Why does God not reveal His parables to the wicked? Note:

Mark 4:11-12, “And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.”

God does not reveal His whole counsel to the wicked because then they would become accountable to live by it. This would bring greater judgment upon their heads on the Day of Judgment. Therefore, in God's grace and mercy, He allows them to live their lives in ignorance so that their judgment will be less. This is why Paul describes God’s wisdom as hidden, as a mystery.

Comments (2) - There are a number of mysteries mentioned by Paul in his New Testament epistles regarding our salvation that are not clearly understood; there is the mystery of Christ and His relationship to the Church (Ephesians 5:32), of His indwelling presence in every believer (Colossians 1:27), of the resurrection of the saints (1 Corinthians 15:51), and of the incarnation of Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 3:16).

Ephesians 5:32, “This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”

Colossians 1:27, “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:”

1 Corinthians 15:51, “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,”

1 Timothy 3:16, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”

The classical writers reveal that the concept of sacred mysteries being utters as divine oracles was practiced in the ancient world. Regarding the use of oracles, the ancient Greeks regarded divine oracles as a form of worship until the time of the Persian war (490-479 B.C.). [100] The temple of Apollo located at Delphi was famous in the ancient world for delivering oracles to men by those in a trance, or they interpreted dreams or patterns in nature. [101] The Greek historians Herodotus (484-425 B.C.) [102] and Plutarch (A.D. 46-100) [103] mention this place of oracles in their writings. While the Romans as a nation did not regard oracles as a religious practice, this custom continued within the Empire, but not without the contempt of the Romans. [104] This practice was later outlawed under the Roman emperor Theodosius (A.D. 379-385). [105] King Saul’s visit to the witch of Endor shows its popularity among ancient eastern cultures (1 Samuel 28:7-25). The damsel who prophesied over Paul and Barnabas in Philippi is an example of the proliferation of divination in the New Testament times (Acts 16:16-24). The Sibylline Oracles, [106] a collection of Greek oracles compiled by Jews and Christians in the early centuries before and after Christ, reflect the widespread popularity that the Sibyl prophetesses held in ancient Greek and Roman history. Regarding the concept of “mysteries” ( μυστη ́ ριον ) revealed through oracles, Plutarch, writing about the Pythian priestesses who prophesied at Delphi, speaks of “interpreters of the sacred mysteries.” [107] Thus, when Paul refers to the mysteries hidden from the ages being revealed to the Church (Romans 16:25, 1 Corinthians 2:7, Ephesians 1:9; Ephesians 3:3-4; Ephesians 3:9; Ephesians 6:19, Colossians 1:26; Colossians 2:2; Colossians 4:3, 1 Timothy 3:9), or when Luke, Paul, and Peter speak of the “oracles” ( λόγιον ) (G3051) of God (Acts 7:38, Romans 3:2, Hebrews 5:12, 1 Peter 4:11), they are speaking in a cultural language that the Greeks and Romans understood, where pagans frequently sought oracles through divine utterance at the temples to reveal hidden mysteries for their lives.

[100] C. H. Prichard, “Oracle,” in A Dictionary of the Bible, vol. 3, ed. James Hastings (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1901), 629.

[101] R. F. Youngblood, F. F. Bruce, R. K. Harrison, and Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, rev. ed. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004), “Oracle.”

[102] Herodotus writes, “…and he [Dorieus] asked the Spartans for a company of folks, whom he took away as colonists; he neither enquired of the oracle at Delphi in what land he should plant his settlement, nor did aught else that was customary…” ( Histories 5.42) See Herodotus III, trans. A. D. Godley, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, 1938), 46-47.

[103] Plutarch tells us that the Sibylline prophetesses of Delphi used poetic verses with their prophecies, saying, “…for when we drew near that part of the rock which joins to the senate-house, which by common fame was the seat of the first Sibyl that came to Delphi from Helicon, where she was bred by eh Muses…Serapio made mention of certain verses of hers, wherein she had extolled herself as one that should never cease to prophesy even after her death…” ( Wherefore the Pythian Priestess Now Ceases to Deliver Her Oracles in Verse 9) He later writes, “…but I am constrained to claim your first promise, to tell me the reason wherefore now the Pythian prophetess no longer delivers her oracles in poetic numbers and measures…and also the temple of Tellus, to which the oracle appertained, and where the answers were delivered in verses and song.” ( Wherefore the Pythian Priestess Now Ceases to Deliver Her Oracles in Verse 17) See William W. Goodwin, Plutarch’s Essays and Miscellanies, vol. 3 (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1911), 77, 86-87.

[104] The Roman poet Lucan (A.D. 39-65) reflects the contempt for such oracles by the Romans when he writes, “They had now come to the Temple, the only one which among the Libyan nations the uncivilized Garamantes possess. There stands Jupiter, the foreteller of destiny, as they relate; but not either brandishing the lightnings or like to ours, but Ammon with crooked horns.” ( Pharsalia 9.593-598) See H. T. Riley, The Pharsalia of Lucan (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1853), 359.

[105] C. H. Prichard, “Oracle,” In A Dictionary of the Bible, ed. James Hastings (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1901), 629.

[106] The Sibylline Oracles, trans. H. C. O. Lanchester, in The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English With Introductions and Critical and Explanatory Notes to the Several Books, vol. 2, ed. R. H. Charles (electronic edition), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004).

[107] Plutarch writes, “The interpreters of the sacred mysteries acted without any regard to us, who desired them to contract their relation into as few words as might be, and to pass by the most part of the inscriptions.” ( Wherefore the Pythian Priestess Now Ceases to Deliver Her Oracles in Verse 2) See William W. Goodwin, Plutarch’s Essays and Miscellanies, vol. 3 (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1911), 70.

Romans 16:25, “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,”

1 Corinthians 2:7, “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:”

Ephesians 1:9, “Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:”

Ephesians 3:3-4, “How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)”

Ephesians 3:9, “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:”

Ephesians 6:19, “And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,”

Colossians 1:26, “Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:”

Colossians 2:2, “That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;”

Colossians 4:3, “Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:”

1 Timothy 3:9, “Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.”

Acts 7:38, “This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:”

Romans 3:2, “Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.”

Hebrews 5:12, “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.”

1 Peter 4:11, “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”

The reference to pillars and foundations of the Church in 1 Timothy 3:15 suggests that Paul had in mind the ancient Greek and Roman temples with their practice of divination, and that he compares this pagan scene of worship to the New Testament Church and the Holy Scriptures, which serve as its pillars and foundation.

1 Corinthians 2:7 which God ordained before the world unto our glory Word Study on “before the world” - The phrase “before the world” in the Greek text reads ( προ ̀ τω ͂ ν αι ̓ ω ́ νων ). Strong says the Greek word αιω ́ ν (G165) used in this phrase means, “age, perpetuity, the world, a (Jewish) Messianic period (present or future).” The Enhanced Strong says it is used 128 times in the New Testament and is translated in the KJV as “ever 71, world 38, never + 3364 + 1519 + 3588 6, evermore 4, age 2, eternal 2, misc 5.” Therefore, the phrase “before the world” literally means “before the ages.” The word “ages” is used in the plural form in this verse and is a commonly used phrase within the New Testament. It reveals to us that God has divided human history into ages, which we call “dispensations” in today’s theology. Romans 2:8 tells us that in this present age Jesus Christ was crucified. Thus, a careful study of Scriptures would reveal to us these divisions of ages that God has ordained in history of redemption for mankind.

1 Corinthians 2:8 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 2:8 Comments - It is important to note that the devil knows the Scriptures, seen from the fact that He quotes them to Jesus in His Temptation, but he does not understand them. For example, Paul testifies to the ignorance of Satan and his demons when he writes, “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 2:8) The Word of God can only be revealed by the Holy Ghost.

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

1 Corinthians 2:9 Comments - The receiving of what God has prepared for us is not only for one day in the future, but it is for the here and now, for this life. Bless His Holy Name! In addition, we also see that God not only has prepared for us a great ministry in this life, but that He has prepared for us a great ministry in eternity, a work that we carry on throughout eternity.

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

1 Corinthians 2:10 “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit” - Comments - Divine revelation is the disclosure of who God is and what He is doing in His divine plan of redemption. This impartation of wisdom and revelation to men comes from the Father and is given to the Holy Spirit, who are one, and is imparted unto us by the Holy Spirit who dwells within in us. This is what Paul was saying when he said that “God has revealed them unto us by His Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2:10).

The pronoun “them” has been added to the English sentence and is not a part of the original Greek text; however, it is implied within the context of these verses. The antecedent for the word “them” in 1 Corinthians 2:10 is found in the previous verse, “the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9) Thus, divine wisdom and revelation is not for the world, which has no access to God by His Spirit. They cannot receive it nor understand divine revelation (1 Corinthians 2:14).

1 Corinthians 2:14, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

Paul prays in Ephesians 1:17 that “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:” Jesus said that He would send the Comforter, who will teach us all things. This teaching is done by divine impartation.

John 14:26, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

John the apostle writes that the anointing within us will teach us the truth. This is done by divine impartation.

1 John 2:27, “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”

“by his Spirit” The UBG3 rd ed. reads “by the spirit.” However, the context supports the translation that it is a reference to the Holy Spirit and not the spirit of man, referring “the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:11).

1 Corinthians 2:10 Comments - The natural man does not know God (1 Corinthians 2:9). He must be born again in order to receive revelation and understanding of who He is (1 Corinthians 2:10)

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

1 Corinthians 2:12 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 “that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God” Isaiah 2:12 explains why God has pour out His Spirit upon men; for the Holy Spirit is the means by which we learn about those things which God has given to us. We must learn the spiritual truths of God's Word as the Spirit reveals them to us. These divine truths do not come automatically at our conversion experience. How do we learn them? The first part of this verse tells us; because we have received “the spirit which is of God.” Also, 1 Corinthians 2:10 says the same thing. We could never know he deep things of God without His assistance.

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

The “deep things of God” mentioned in verse 10 are freely given to us by God.

Scripture References - Note Ephesians 1:17-23 and Ephesians 4:7-8, “But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.”

1 Corinthians 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

1 Corinthians 2:13 “comparing spiritual things with spiritual” Comments - Scholars give a number of different translations on this phrase.

ASV, “Which things also we speak, not in words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teacheth; combining spiritual things with spiritual words. (Or interpreting spiritual things to spiritual men )

Darby, “which also we speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, communicating spiritual things by spiritual means.”

Rotherham, “Which we also speak not in words taught of human wisdom, but in such as are taught of the Spirit, by spiritual words, spiritual things, explaining .”

RSV, “And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who possess the Spirit ”

YLT, “which things also we speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Holy Spirit, with spiritual things spiritual things comparing ,”

Note verse 14, “because they are spiritually discerned.” Thus, the context supports the discernment of spiritual things. Thus, scholars have two interpretations of this phrase, either “to spiritual men” or “with spiritual words”.

When we read 1 Corinthians 2:13 in the Greek, it becomes clearer when we add the necessary implied words following the logical thoughts that are implied. My interpretation would be to say, “which things also we are speaking, not with words taught by man’s wisdom, but with (words) taught by (the Holy) Spirit, interpreting spiritual (things) with spiritual (words).”

1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth 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 2:14 Comments - The phrase “natural man” can refer either the lost sinner or the saved Christian who has not yet renewed his carnal mind with the Holy Scriptures. This man is “natural” in the sense that not only do lost men think in the natural mind, but carnal-minded Christians can also think and reason like the lost man does. So, this verse is not limited to the lost man’s way of thinking, but it can apply to the carnal Christian also. In 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 Paul tells the Corinthians that they are “carnal,” which essentially the same thing.

1 Corinthians 2:15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

1 Corinthians 2:15 Comments For Christians who are mature in Christ and are able to walk in spiritual discernment, he begins to understand the events in the lives of those around him. He perceives why problems come into the lives of certain people. Yet, the unbeliever and immature believer are at a loss as to these things. 1 Corinthians 2:15 refers to the natural man when it says, “yet he himself is judged by no man.” The natural man has little or no spiritual discernment in his life.

Scripture References - Note:

Proverbs 28:5, “Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things.”

1 Corinthians 2:16 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 “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him?” Comments - 1 Corinthians 2:16 is a quote from Isaiah 40:13, “Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counselor hath taught him?” ( KJV), or “Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, or as His counselor has informed Him?” ( NASB)

Note in the quote from Isaiah 40:13 that the Old Testament Hebrew phrase “the Spirit ( רוּח ) (H7307) of the Lord” becomes parallel to the Greek phrase “the mind ( νοϋς ) of Christ.” Because of the context of this passage BDAG believes the word νοϋς refers to what Paul usually calls “spirit” because this person’s mind is filled with the Spirit (see BDAG νοϋς 4).

Paul quotes this Old Testament verse again in Romans 11:34, “For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?”

1 Corinthians 2:16 “But we have the mind of Christ” - Comments - The statement “but we have the mind of Christ” is a summary of 1 Corinthians 2:1-16, just as Roman 1 Corinthians 8:1 is the summary of the preceding passage in Romans 7:1-25. Paul has just explained to us in the preceding verses that the Holy Spirit knows the mind of God and that the Holy Spirit is always revealing to us God’s mind. We have the mind of Christ because the Holy Spirit dwells in us, so that we have now become spiritually minded. We have the mind of Christ as we live each day and hear the voice of the Spirit of God directing our lives, even in times when we are not aware of his prompting (1 Corinthians 2:10). This phrase is simply a summary of what Paul has just stated.

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

This statement does not mean that we automatically know all that God wants us to know, and should not exclude the fact that we must seek the Lord daily to know His will. We must wait on Him daily to hear his voice giving us leadership, although we certainly hear his prompting during our work day.

We do have the mind of Christ! Where is Christ’s mind in us? It is in our spirit. We have to renew our mind to think like Jesus’ mind. Even a newborn believer has Christ’s mind, in his spirit. For years I wondered if this phrase was saying our mind has become Christ’s mind, but I knew this could not be true, because we, as Christians, can be carnal minded.

Rick Joyner writes:

“It is a basic spiritual truth that no one person, or group, has all of the truth. What we have must be joined to what the Lord gives to the rest of His body, if we are to have the whole truth. This is stated in the Lord’s prayer the night before He was crucified:

“The glory which Thou hast given Me I have given to them; that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected in unity , that the world may know that Thou didst send Me, and didst love them, even as Thou didst love Me (John 17:22-23).

“The word that is translated ‘perfected’ in this scripture could have been translated ‘completed.’ Either way, the Lord has established that the only way that we can fulfill our purpose is to be properly joined to the whole body of Christ. This is why Paul did not write that ‘I have the mind of Christ,’ but rather, ‘. . . we have the mind of Christ’ (1 Corinthians 2:16 b). No one person can contain His mind. It takes the coming together of the whole body for us to have his mind, or to reveal His ways.” [108]

[108] Rick Joyner, “True Unity” [on-line] , accessed 31 January 2001; available from http://www.eaglestar.org/word4weekmain.htm: Internet.

You may ask, “If I have the mind of Christ, why am I not thinking like Christ?” Because Christ Jesus’ mind is in your spirit, not your mind. You must renew your mind. But God has already recreated your spirit the moment you were born again (2 Corinthians 5:17).

2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

1 Corinthians 2:15-16 Comments The Spiritual and the Natural Man - A Spirit-filled man is able to understand and evaluated all things, but the natural man cannot evaluate the spiritual man. This is because the spiritual man has understanding from God (the mind of Christ). Hence the quote, because no one can know and instruct God, nor can this natural man instruct a man with the mind of God.

In Matthew 7:1-6 Jesus teaches us about judging our neighbour. We are to avoid being critical of our neighbour (1 Corinthians 7:1-4). Instead, we are to live a lifestyle of godliness so that we can speak words of wisdom and advice into the lives of others (1 Corinthians 7:5). If they reject what we have to offer, we are not to push Christian teachings into their face, lest they become offended at God’s Word and further bring judgment upon themselves (1 Corinthians 7:6). Rather, we are to discern their hearts and help those who will accept our ministry (1 Corinthians 7:6). This is why Paul wrote to the church at Corinth and told them that he that is spiritual is to judge (or discern) all things while not being found guilty of sin and judged by others (1 Corinthians 2:15). That is, we are supposed to live a godly lifestyle without sin by being mature enough to be able to discern between good and evil in our lives as well as those around us.

Solomon made a similar statement in Proverbs 9:8, “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.” We are to correct those who are in error. If they are rebellious, the burden to correct them is not upon us. However, we are to have enough discernment to recognize when someone is receptive to correction, and offer such in a spirit of love. Solomon as well said, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” (Proverbs 27:6) If we speak the truth in love when correcting others, we may initially wound someone’s heart, but such wounds in the lives of the humble will quickly heal.

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 2". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/1-corinthians-2.html. 2013.
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