1.] I also (as one of the ἡμεῖς of ch. 1 Corinthians 1:23, and also with reference to the preceding verse, ὁ καυχ. ἐν κυρ. καυχάσθω) when I came to you, brethren, came, not with excellency of speech or wisdom announcing (pres. part., not fut.,—as in ref., and in Xen. Hell. ii. 1. 29, ἐς τὰς ἀθήνας ἔπλευσεν ἀγγέλλουσα τὰ γεγονότα. The time taken in the voyage is overlooked, and the announcement regarded as beginning when the voyage began) to you the testimony of (concerning) God.
1–5.] Accordingly, Paul did not use among them words of worldly wisdom, but preached Christ crucified only, in the power of the Spirit.
2.] For I did not resolve to know any thing (hardly = ἔκρινα εἰδέναι οὐδέν, as E. V., but meaning, “the only thing that I made it definitely my business to know, was”) among you, except Jesus Christ (His Person) and Him (as) crucified (His Office). It would seem that the historical facts of redemption, and especially the crucifixion of Christ, as a matter of offence, had been kept in the background by these professors of human wisdom. “We must not overlook, that Paul does not say ‘to know any thing of or concerning Christ,’ but to know HIM HIMSELF, to preach HIM HIMSELF. The historical Christ is also the living Christ, who is with His own till the end of time: He works personally in every believer, and forms Himself in each one. Therefore it is universally CHRIST HIMSELF, the crucified and the risen One, who is the subject of preaching, and is also Wisdom itself: for His history evermore lives and repeats itself in the whole church and in every member of it: it never waxes old, any more than does God Himself;—it retains at this day that fulness of power, in which it was revealed at the first foundation of the church.” Olshausen.
3.] κἀγώ, and I, coupled to ἦλθον in 1 Corinthians 2:1, and ἐγώ repeated for emphasis, the nature of his own preaching being the leading subject-matter here. The weakness and fear and much trembling must not be exclusively understood of his manner of speech as contrasted with the rhetorical preachers, for ὁ λόγος μου κ. τὸ κήρυγμά μου follow in the next verse,—but partly of this, and principally of his internal deep and humble persuasion of his own weakness and the mightiness of the work which was entrusted to him. So in Philippians 2:12-13, he commands the Philippians, μετὰ φόβου κ. τρόμου τὴν ἑαυτῶν σωτηρίαν κατεργάζεσθε, θεὸς γάρ ἐστιν ὁ ἐνεργῶν ἐν ὑμῖν. The ἀσθένεια may have reference to the παρουσία σώματος ἀσθενής of 2 Corinthians 10:10. Chrys., al., understand it of persecutions: but in the places to which he refers, it has a far wider meaning,—viz. infirmities, including those resulting from persecution.
4.] And (not adversative, as Olsh., but following naturally on the weakness, &c., just mentioned—‘as corresponding to it’) my discourse and my preaching ( λόγος of the course of argument and inculcation of doctrine, κήρυγμα of the announcement of facts. This (De W.) is better than with Olsh. to understand λ. as his private, κ. his public discourse: see Luke 4:32, and ὁ λόγος τ. σταυροῦ, ch. 1 Corinthians 1:18) was not in (did not consist of, was not set forth in, see ref.) persuasive ( πειθός = πιθανός, πειστήριος, πειστικός in Greek. The var. readings have been endeavours to avoid the unusual word, which however is analogically formed from πειθώ, as φειδός from φείδομαι, as Meyer) words of wisdom ( ἀνθρωπίνης, a gloss, but a correct one. “Corinthia verba, pro exquisitis et magnopere elaboratis, et ad ostentationem nitidis,” Wetst.), but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: i.e. either, taking the genitives as objective, demonstration having for its object, demonstrating, the presence or working of the Spirit and Power of God (so Estius, Billroth, al., and the gloss ἀποκαλύψει):—or, taking them subjectively, demonstration (of the truth) springing from the Spirit and Power of God (so most Commentators. I prefer the latter. It can hardly be understood of the miracles done by the Spirit through him, which accompanied his preaching (Chrys, al., Olsh.), for he is here simply speaking of the preaching itself.
5.] ᾖ ἐν, may be grounded on,—owe its origin and stability to. “The Spirit is the original Creator of Faith, which cannot be begotten of human caprice, though man has the capability of hindering its production: and it depends for its continuance on the same mighty Spirit, who is almost without intermission begetting it anew.” Olshausen.
6.] δέ contrasts with the foregoing.
λαλ.] viz. ‘we Apostles:’ not ‘I Paul,’—though he often uses the plur. with this meaning:—for, ch. 1 Corinthians 3:1, he resumes κἀγώ, ἀδελφοί.
ἐν τ. τελείοις] among the perfect,—when discoursing to those who are not babes in Christ, but of sufficient maturity to have their senses exercised (Hebrews 4:14) so as to discern good and evil. That this is the right interpretation the whole following context shews, and especially ch. 1 Corinthians 3:1-2, where a difference is laid down between the milk administered to babes, and the strong meat to men. The difference is in the matter of the teaching itself: there is a lower, and there is a higher teaching. So Erasm., Estius, Bengel, Rückert, Meyer, De Wette, al. On the other hand, Chrys., Theodoret, Theophyl., Calv., Grot., Olsh., al., understand the difference to be merely in the estimate formed of the same teaching according as men were spiritual or unspiritual, interpreting ἐν τ. τελείοις, ‘in the estimation of the perfect,’ which is philologically allowable, but plainly irreconcileable with the whole apologetic course of the chapter, and most of all with the οὐκ ἠδυνήθην κ. τ. λ. of ch. 1 Corinthians 3:1, where he asserts that he did not speak this wisdom to the Corinthians.
We are then brought to the enquiry,—what was this σοφία? “Meyer limits it too narrowly to consideration of the future kingdom of Christ. Rückert adds to this, the higher views of the divine ordering of the world with respect to the unfolding of God’s kingdom,—of the meaning of the preparatory dispensations before Christ, e.g. the law,—of the manner in which the death and resurrection of Christ promoted the salvation of mankind. According to 1 Corinthians 2:12, the knowledge of the blessings of salvation, of the glory which accompanies the kingdom of God, belongs to this higher species of teaching. Examples of it are found in the Epistle to the Romans, in the setting forth of the doctrine of justification,—of the contrast between Christ and Adam,—of predestination (compare μυστήριον, Romans 11:25), and in the Epistles to the Eph. and Col. (where μυστήρ. often occurs) in the declarations respecting the divine plan of Redemption and the Person of Christ: nay, in our Epistle, ch. 15. Of the same kind are the considerations treated cf. Hebrews 4:11 ff.” De Wette.
But a wisdom not of this world,—not, as E. V., “not the wisdom of this world,” which loses the peculiar force of the negative:—so in Romans 3:21-22, we have δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ πεφανέρωται … δικαιοσύνη δὲ θεοῦ διὰ πίστ. ἰησοῦ χρ. See instances of the usage in note there.
The ἄρχοντες are parallel with the σοφοί, δυνατοί, εὐγενεῖς, of ch. 1 Corinthians 1:26, and are connected with them expressly by the τῶν καταργουμένων, referring to ἵνα τὰ ὄντα καταργήσῃ, ch. 1 Corinthians 1:28. They comprehend all in estimation and power, Jewish or Gentile. ἄρχοντας δὲ αἰῶνος ἐνταῦθα οὐ δαίμονάς τινας λέγει, καθώς τινες ὑποπτεύουσιν· ἀλλὰ τοὺς ἐν ἀξιώμασι, τοὺς ἐν δυναστείαις, τοὺς τὸ πρᾶγμα περιμάχητον εἶναι νομίζοντας, φιλοσόφους κ. ῥήτορας κ. λογογράφους· καὶ γὰρ αὐτοι ἐκράτουν, κ. δημαγωγοὶ πολλάκις ἐγίνοντο.
Chrys. Hom. vii. p. 50.
τῶν καταργ.] who are (being) brought to nought, viz. by God making choice of the weak and despised, and passing over them, ch. 1 Corinthians 1:28; not said of their transitoriness generally, as Chrys., Theophyl., Rückert,—nor of their power being annihilated at the coming of Christ (Grot., Meyer, al.),—nor as Olsh., of their having indeed crucified Christ, but of their being καταργούμενοι by His Resurrection and the increase of His Church.
6–16.] Yet the Apostles spoke wisdom among the perfect, but of a kind higher than the wisdom of this world; a wisdom revealed from God by the Spirit, only intelligible by the spiritual man, and not by the unspiritual ( ψυχικός). The Apostle rejects the imputation, that the Gospel and its preaching is inconsistent with wisdom, rightly understood: nay, shews that the wisdom of the Gospel is of a far higher order than that of the wise in this world, and far above their comprehension.
7.] But we speak GOD’S wisdom (emphasis on θεοῦ:—the wisdom which God possesses and has revealed) in a mystery ( ἐν μυστ. does not belong to τὴν ἀποκεκ., as Theodoret and Grot., which must be τὴν ἐν μυστ. ἀποκ.,—nor to σοφίαν, as Beza, Bengel, which though not absolutely, yet certainly here, seeing τὴν ἀποκεκρ. immediately follows, would require the art., τὴν ἐν μυστ.,—but to λαλοῦμεν,—‘we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery,’ i.e. as handling a mystery, dealing with a mystery. So τὴν σύνεσίν μου ἐν τῷ μυστ. τ. χριστοῦ, Ephesians 3:4.
Estius and the Romanists, taking the connexion rightly, have wrested the meaning to support the disciplina arcani which they imagine to be here hinted at, explaining ἐν μυστ., “non propalam et passim apud omnes, quia non omnes ea capiunt, sed … secreto et apud pauciores, scilicet eos qui spirituales et perfecti sunt,” Est.), which has been (hitherto) hidden (see Romans 16:25; ref. Col.):—which God foreordained (nothing need be supplied, as ἀποκαλύπτειν, or the like, after προώρισεν) before the ages (of time) to (in order to, the purpose of this preordination) our glory (our participation in the things which He has prepared for them that love Him, 1 Corinthians 2:9; δόξα, as contrasted with the bringing to nought of the ἄρχοντες).
8.] ἥν is in apposition with the former ἥν, and does not refer to δόξαν, as Tert(1) contra Marc(2), 1 Corinthians 2:6, vol. ii. p. 483,—“subjicit de gloria nostra, quod eam nemo ex principibus hujus ævi scierit …,” for this would be departing from the whole sense of the context, which is, that the wisdom of God was hidden from men.
εἰ γὰρ ἔγν. κ. τ. λ., is a proof from experience, that the rulers of this world, of whom the Jewish rulers were a representative sample, were ignorant of the wisdom of God. Had they known it, they would not have put to a disgraceful death ( ὁ σταυρὸς ἀδοξίας εἶναι δοκεῖ, Chrys.) Him who was the Lord of glory (reff.),—i.e. who possesses in his own right glory eternal, see John 17:5; John 17:24.
These words are not a parenthesis, but continue the sense of the foregoing, completing the proof of man’s ignorance of God’s wisdom;—even this world’s rulers know it not, as they have shewn: how much less then the rest.
9 f.] But (opposition to 1 Corinthians 2:8) as it is written, The things which eye saw not, and ear heard not, and which came not up (reff.) upon heart of man, how many things God prepared for them that love Him, to us God revealed through His Spirit. There is no anacoluthon (as De W.) nor irregularity of construction, as some suppose, supplying after ἀλλά, λαλοῦμεν (Estius, &c.) or γέγονεν (Theophyl., Grot., al.); the δέ in the consequent clause after ὅς in the antecedent, which has occasioned these suppositions, is by no means unexampled;—so Herod. iii. 37, ὃς δὲ τούτους μὴ ὀπώπεε, ἐγὼ δέ οἱ σημανέω,—and Soph. Philoct. 86, ἐγὼ μὲν οὓς ἂν τῶν λόγων ἀλγῶ κλύειν, λαερτίου παῖ, τοὺς δὲ καὶ πράσσειν στυγῶ. See Hartung, Partikellehre, i. 184 f.
Whence is the citation made? Origen says, ‘In nullo regular libro invenitur, nisi in secretis Eliæ prophetæ,’ a lost apocryphal book:—Chrys., Theophyl., give the alternative, either that the words are a paraphrase of Isaiah 52:15, οἷς οὐκ ἀνηγγέλη περὶ αὐτοῦ ὄψονται, κ. οἳ οὐκ ἀκηκόασι συνήσουσι, or that they were contained in some lost book, of which Chrys. argues that there were very many,— καὶ γὰρ πολλὰ διεφθάρη βιβλία, καὶ ὀλίγα διεσώθη. Jerome, Ep. lvii. (ci.), ad Pammachium, de optimo genere interpretandi, 9, vol. i. p. 314, says, “Solent in hoc loco apocryphorum quidam deliramenta sectari, et dicere quod de Apocalypsi Heliæ testimonium sumptum sit: cum in Esaia juxta Hebraicum ita legatur: A seculo non audierunt, nec auribus perceperunt, oculus non vidit, Deus, absque te, quæ præparas tu expectantibus te. Hoc LXX multo aliter transtulerunt: A seculo non audivimus, neque oculi nostri viderunt Deum absque te: et opera tua vera, et facies expectantibus te misericordiam. Intelligimus, unde sumptum sit testimonium: et tamen Apostolus non verbum expressit e verbo, sed παραφραστικῶς eundem sensum aliis sermonibus indicavit.” I own that probability seems to me to incline to Jerome’s view, especially when we remember, how freely St. Paul is in the habit of citing. The words of Isaiah 64:4, are quite as near to the general sense of the citation as is the case in many other instances, and the words ἐπὶ καρδίαν οὐκ ἀνέβη may well be a reminiscence from Isaiah 65:17, not far from the other place, οὐ μὴ ἐπέλθῃ αὐτῶν ἐπὶ τὴν καρδίαν. Such minglings together of clauses from various parts are not unexampled with the Apostle, especially when, as here, he is not citing as authority, but merely illustrating his argument by O. T. expressions.
10. τὸ πνεῦμα] the Holy Spirit of God—but working in us and with our Spirits, Romans 8:16. “Sufficiat nobis Spiritum Dei habere testem: nihil enim tam profundum est in Deo quo non penetret.” Calvin.
ἐραυνᾷ] a word of active research, implying accurate knowledge: so Chrys., οὐκ ἀγνοίας, ἀλλʼ ἀκριβοῦς γνώσεως ἐνταῦθα τὸ ἐρευνᾷν ἐνδεικτικόν.
τὰ βάθη] see reff. There is a comparison here between the Spirit of God and the spirit of a man, which is further carried out in the next verse. And thus as the spirit of a man knows the βάθος of a man, all that is in him, so the Spirit of God searches and knows τὰ βάθη, the manifold and infinite depths, of God—His Essence, His Attributes, His Counsels: and being τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἐν ἡμῖν, besides being τὸ πν. τοῦ θεοῦ (De Wette well observes that the Apostle purposely avoids using the expression τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἐν αὐτῷ of the Spirit of God, keeping the way open for the expression in 1 Corinthians 2:12, τὸ πν. τὸ ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ), teaches us according to our capacity, those depths of God.
11.] For who among MEN knoweth the things of a MAN ( τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, generic, see reff.
The emphasis is on ἀνθρώπων and ἀνθρώπου, as compared with θεοῦ) except the spirit of a man which is in him? Thus the things of God also none knoweth, except the Spirit of God. We may remark, (1) that nothing need be supplied (as βάθη) after τά in each case, see reff. (2) that the comparison here must not be urged beyond what is intended by the Apostle. He is speaking of the impossibility of any but the Spirit of God conferring a knowledge of the things of God. In order to shew this, he compares human things with divine, appealing to the fact that none but the spirit of a man knows his matters. But further than this he says nothing of the similarity of relation of God and God’s Spirit with man and man’s spirit: and to deduce more than this, will lead into error on one side or the other. In such comparisons as these especially, we must bear in mind the constant habit of our Apostle, to contemplate the thing adduced, for the time, only with regard to that one point for which he adduces it, to the disregard of all other considerations.
12.] ἡμεῖς δέ carries on the ἡμῖν δέ of 1 Corinthians 2:10.
τὸ πν. τ. κόσμ.] Not merely, the mind and sentiments of unregenerate mankind, ‘sapientia mundana et sæcularis,’ as Estius, al., but the Spirit (personally and objectively taken) of the world, = τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ νῦν ἐνεργοῦν ἐν τοῖς υἱοῖς τῆς ἀπειθείας, Ephesians 2:2, where it is strictly personal.
τὸ πν. τὸ ἐκ τ. θ.] Not only, ‘the Spirit of God,’ but the Spirit which is FROM God,—to shew that we have received it only by the will and imparting of Him whose Spirit it is. And this expression prepares the way for the purpose which God has in imparting to us His Spirit, that we may know the things freely given to us by God, i.e. the treasures of wisdom and of felicity which are the free gifts of the gospel dispensation, = ὅσα ἡτοίμασεν ὁ θεὸς τοῖς ἀγαπῶσιν αὐτόν, 1 Corinthians 2:9.
13.] καί, also; τὰ χαρισθ. ἡμῖν, we not only know by the teaching of the Holy Ghost, but also speak them, not in words (arguments, rhetorical forms, &c.) taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit. The genitives are governed by διδακτοῖς in each case: see ref., and cf. Pind. Olymp. ix. 153: τὸ δὲ φυᾷ κράτιστον ἅπαν. πολλοὶ δὲ διδακταῖς ἀνθρώπων ἀρεταῖς κλέος ὥρουσαν ἑλέσθαι· ἄνευ δὲ θεοῦ κ. τ. λ.
πνευμ … πν. συγκρ.] interpreting spiritual things to the spiritual. So Theophyl. altern., πνευματικοῖς ἀνθρώποις τὰ πνευματικὰ συγκρίνοντες καὶ διαλύοντες· οὗτοι γὰρ μόνοι δύνανται χωρεῖν ταῦτα. And very nearly so as regards συγκρίνοντες Chrysostom and Grotius; only they take πνευματικοῖς not masc. but neuter, ‘by spiritual things:’ ὅταν πνευματικὸν καὶ ἄπορον ᾖ, ἀπὸ τῶν πνευμακῶν τὰς μαρτυρίας ἄγομεν. οἷον λέγω, ὅτι ἀνέστη ὁ χριστός, ὅτι ἀπὸ παρθένου ἐγεννήθη. παράγω μαρτυρίας κ. τύπους κ. ἀποδείξεις, τοῦ ἰωνᾶ, κ. τ. λ. Chrys. Hom. vii. p. 55. ‘Exponentes ea quæ Prophetæ Spiritu Dei acti dixere, per ea quæ Christus suo Spiritu nobis aperuit.’ Grot. Meyer denies that συγκρίνω ever means to interpret: but evidently the LXX do so use it in Genesis 40:8, ἐνύπνιον εἴδομεν, καὶ ὁ συγκρίνων οὐκ ἔστιν αὐτό. See also Genesis 40:16; Gen_40:22, and Daniel 5:12, Theodotion (where the LXX have συγκρίματα ἀπέδειξε). Erasmus, Beza, Calvin, De Wette, and Meyer render it, ‘fitting, or attaching, spiritual words to spiritual things.’ And so I gave and defended it in my earlier editions. It seems to me now more natural to take πνευματικοῖς as masculine, and as leading to the introduction of the two men, the ψυχικός, and the πνευματικός, immediately after.
14.] He now prepares the way for shewing them that he could not give out the depths of this spiritual wisdom and eloquence to them, because they were not fitted for it, being carnal (ch. 1 Corinthians 3:1-4).
ψυχ. δὲ ἄνθ.] The animal man, as distinguished from the spiritual man, is he, whose governing principle and highest reference of all things is the ψυχή, the animal soul, αἰτία κινήσεως ζωικῆς ζώων, Plato, Definit. p. 411. In him, the πνεῦμα, or spirit, being unvivified and uninformed by the Spirit of God, is overborne by the animal soul, with its desires and its judgments,—and is in abeyance, so that he may be said to have it not;— ψυχικοὶ πνεῦμα μὴ ἔχοντες, ref. Jude. The ψυχή is that side of the human soul, so to speak, which is turned towards the flesh, the world, the devil: so that the ψυχικός is necessarily in a measure σαρκικός (ch. 1 Corinthians 3:3), also ἐπίγειος, and δαιμονιώδης, as in ref. James.
This general interpretation of ψυχικός must be adhered to, and we must not make it merely intellectual, as Theodoret,— ὁ μόνοις τοῖς οἰκείοις ἀρκούμενος λογισμοῖς,—Grot. “qui humanæ tantum rationis luce ducitur:”—Chrys.: ὁ τὸ πᾶν τοῖς λογισμοῖς τῆς ψυχῆς διδούς, καὶ μὴ νομίζων ἄνωθέν τινος δεῖσθαι βοηθείας,—nor merely ethical, as Erasm., Rosenmüller (‘qui cupiditatum sub imperio omnem vitam transigunt’), al.,—but embracing both these.
οὐ δέχεται, receives not, i.e. rejects, see reff.,—not, cannot receive, ‘non capax est,’ understands not, which is against the context,—for we may well understand that which seems folly to us, but we reject it, as unworthy of our consideration:—and it besides would involve a tautology, this point, of inability to comprehend, following by and by:—and he cannot know them ( τὰ τοῦ πνεύματος, the matter of our spiritual teaching, itself furnished by the Spirit) because they are spiritually (by the πνεῦμα of a man exalted by the Spirit of God into its proper paramount office of judging and ruling, and inspired and enabled for that office) judged of.
15.] But (on the contrary) the spiritual man (he, in whom the πνεῦμα rules: and since by man’s fall the πνεῦμα is overridden by the animal soul, and in abeyance, this always presupposes the infusion of the Holy Spirit, to quicken and inform the πνεῦμα—so that there is no such thing as an unregenerate πνευματικός) judges of all things (Meyer, reading τὰ πάντα, interprets it, ‘all spiritual things;’ but the ordinary rendering, ‘all things,’ is better: the Apostle is generalizing, and shewing the high position of the spiritual man, who alone can judge things by their true standard.
The acceptation of πάντα as masc. sing.,—“convincere potest quemlibet profanum,” as Rosenm.,—is against the context, which speaks of things, τὰ τοῦ πν.,—besides that πάντα would not be used absolutely, for ‘every man,’ but either πάντα ἄνθρωπον, as Colossians 1:28, or τὸν πάντα), but himself is judged of by none (who is not also πνευματικός, see ch. 1 Corinthians 14:29; 1 John 4:1, where such judgment is expressly attributed to Christian believers). καὶ γὰρ ὁ βλέπων, πάντα μὲν αὐτὸς καθορᾷ καὶ τοῦ μὴ βλέποντος, τὰ δὲ ἐκείνου τῶν μὴ βλεπόντων οὐδείς. Chrys. Hom. vii. p. 57.
16.] PROOF OF αὐτὸς δὲ ὑπʼ οὐδ. ἀνακρίνεται. In order for an unassisted man, not gifted from Christ, to judge the πνευματικός, he must know the νοῦς κυρίου, the intent and disposition of Christ; yea more, must be able to teach, to instruct, Christ—being not, as the πνευματικός,—taught by Him, he must have an independent wisdom of his own, which Christ has not:—and who is there, of whom this can be said? But we ( πνευματικοί, among whom he includes himself and the other Apostles) have (not a wisdom independent of Christ, nor do we know His mind, nor can we teach Him, but) the mind of Christ: the same mind, in our degree of apprehensiveness of it, by the imparting of His Spirit, which is in Him, and so can judge all things. The νοῦς κυρίου is the spiritual intent and designs of Christ.
κυρίου in the prophecy is spoken of JEHOVAH but in the whole of Isaiah 40, the incarnate Jehovah is the subject. The meaning of συμβιβάζω, to teach, belongs to the LXX: in the N. T. it is to conclude, to prove, to confirm, see reff.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 2". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany