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Friday, July 19th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
1 Corinthians 2

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Verse 1

1Co 2:1

1 Corinthians 2:1

And I, brethren, when I came unto you, came not with ex­cellency of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testi­mony of God.—Paul was not a man of commanding appear­ance or an eloquent speaker, further than the importance of his message and his anxiety to save gave him eloquence. He refers to these when he says that his opponents will say, “His letters, they say, are weighty and strong; but his bodily pres­ence is weak, and his speech of no account.” (2 Corinthians 10:10). God chose a man of this character to bear his testimony to the Gentiles that the salvation might be of God and not of human wisdom, learning, or eloquence.

Verses 1-5

1Co 2:1-5


1 Corinthians 2:1-5

1 Corinthians 2:1 And I, brethren, - He gives himself, the manner and contents of his preaching, as an example of how one should glory in the Lord (1 Corinthians 1:31) rather than in the flesh (1 Corinthians 1:29). when I came to you, - When he had come to Corinth to proclaim the gospel (Acts 18:1-18). came not with excellency of speech­ With superior oratorical power. There was more to his preaching than a display of rhetorical eloquence. That is, the power of the gospel did not depend upon the manner of delivery. or of wisdom, - Philosophical wisdom, of which the Greeks were so fond (1 Corinthians 1:22). That is, the contents of his preaching was more than mere human reasoning. We are not to conclude from this that Paul’s speech was inadequate or that his preaching was unintelligent and void of reason. This would miss his point absolutely. He probably spoke with some degree of eloquence (Acts 14:12), though not to the degree the Greeks ex­pected in their best orators (2 Corinthians 10:10), and, as is abundantly demonstrated in the book of Rom., he certainly spoke with profound wisdom. His point here is that the power of his message did not depend upon his manner of speech nor its contents upon philosophical reason. It was the revelation of God, not something created by the human intellect and given force by the tricks of superior speech. declaring unto you - Proclaiming unto you (NIV). the testimony of God. - The revelation of God. Some manuscripts have mystery instead of testimony. But the thought is basically the same regardless of which word was used by the apostle. It is the revelation of God (the gospel) which he proclaimed which is under consideration.

1 Corinthians 2:2 For I determined not to know anything among you, His resolution was that in his preaching he would know nothing except Christ crucified that is, neither the manner nor the contents of his preaching de­ pended upon rhetorical power or philosophical wisdom. This intent, or determination of mind, was formed long before he went to Athens (Acts 17:15-34), where some claim that his failure led him to change his approach when he reached Corinth. But this is not the case. In the first place, Paul did not fail in Athens. He preached the gospel there (and that is precisely what the Lord had commissioned him to do) and made some converts (Acts 17:34). Second, the contents of the gospel is of such nature that it cannot be changed, either then or now, and remain the gospel. Robertson (WP) observes that the expression means, "Literally, ’For I did not decide to know anything among you.’ The negative goes with ekrina. not with ti. Paul means that he did not think it fit or his business to know anything for his message beyond this ’mystery of God.’ " It was not his business to know anything else. Third, to preach Christ is to preach the gospel, and Paul preached that everywhere and all the time, at Athens, at Corinth, and everywhere else. save Jesus Christ, - Except Jesus Christ (RSV). and him crucified. - The death of Christ and its purpose, namely, the redemption of lost man by the sacrifice of Himself upon the tree. This was a stumbling-stone to the Jews and foolishness to the Greeks (1 Corinthians 1:23). Yet it was Paul’s theme - he made it the center, the cause, and the reason for everything he preached. Preaching is vital only because it points the lost to Christ as Savior (1 Corinthians 1:21; John 1:29). Faith is important because it is belief in Christ (John 8:24; Acts 8:36-39). Repentance is essential because it is a turning to Christ (Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30; 2 Corinthians 7:10). Preaching Scriptural baptism is preaching Christ because it puts one into Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13; Romans 6:3-4; Galatians 3:26-27). Proclaiming Christian living is preaching Christ because it is living for Christ (2 Peter 1:5-11). All these, and many more, Paul preached. Yet he preached nothing but Christ crucified. How may we harmonize these facts? Simply by observing that Paul preached Christ as the center or cause of preaching, faith, repentance, baptism, the Christian life, and everything else he preached. There is simply no way to preach Christ without preaching His will, as revealed in the gospeL

1 Corinthians 2:3 And I was with you - I came to you (NIV). in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. - The manner of his coming to them (with the gospel) was not with the rhetorical force or the philosophical wisdom the Greek mind expected from a public speaker. This, undoubtedly, was the source of his apprehension. Phillips renders it, "As a matter of fact, in myself I was feeling far from strong; I was nervous and rather shaky." But he had appeared before them in spite of his weakness, fear, and trembling because the Lord had promised to be with him (Acts 18:9-10). His point here is to show that the power of the gospel did not depend upon his bodily strength, his courage of mind, or his social confidence. The power was in the message itself, "Christ crucified" (v. 2).

1 Corinthians 2:4 And my speech and my preaching When I spoke and preached (Beck). This I have understood, at different times, in two ways: first, that which he spoke (meaning his message and its contents) and the manner by which he delivered it. Second, his personal teaching (from house to house, Acts 20:20) and his public proclamation. I formerly preferred the latter; I now prefer the former. was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, - That is, the power in his speaking and preaching was not in oratorical sophistication - not just the clever speech of human wisdom. but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: - but rather in evidence of Spirit and power (BV). Paul’s preaching was a demonstration of the power of God in the revelation of divine truth. That the power of Paul’s message was more than the persuasive words of a learned philosopher. It derived its power from the fact that it was the revelation of divine truth by the Holy Spirit - the truth as delivered by the Spirit (John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:13) and confirmed by the power of God (Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:1-4). Or as Williams translates it, his words were "attended with proof and power given by the Spirit."

1 Corinthians 2:5 That your faith - Subjective faith; belief in things divine, Jesus Christ and the revelation of His scheme to redeem. should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. - This gives the reason or pur­pose for his statement in v. 4. The faith produced by the preaching of Paul (and other inspired men) does not rest on the art of rhetorical speech, but on the will of God, revealed, confirmed, and delivered by His power through His Spirit. Thus all true faith, the kind that saves, rests on the revealed will of God rather than on human philosophies. The word of God is powerful (Hebrews 4:12), perfect (Psalms 19:6; James 1:25), complete (2 Timothy 3:16-17), always accomplishing its pur­ pose (Isaiah 55:10-11) and revealing all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3-4). The theories, traditions, and philosophies of men, religious or otherwise, are the arms of flesh (Jeremiah 17:5), blind leaders of the blind (Matthew 15:14; Luke 6:39), damnable heresies (2 Peter 2:1) which lead to the destruction of souls. The revelation of God produces saving faith (Romans 10:17); the wisdom of men nothing beyond the frail and limited knowledge of an unaided mind. We should therefore stop and seriously ponder the question, "Upon what does my faith rest, the revealed and immutable will of God or the fallible and changeable wisdom of men?"

Verse 2

1Co 2:2

1 Corinthians 2:2

For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.—This embraced his mission to the world, his teaching, his sufferings, death, burial, and resurrection, with all the teaching he gave to the world and sealed with his blood. No appeals of eloquence, no working upon the sympathies by death scenes other than that of Jesus. No human philosophy, but simply love of God to lost men, and the provisions made through Christ Jesus for salvation from sin, would Paul make. Of certain characters the Lord has said, “Their fear of me is a commandment of men which hath been taught them.” (Isaiah 29:13). These he would not ac­cept. The fear of Jehovah must rest upon the fear and love of God. The gospel is God’s wisdom for the salvation of the world. That is, the gospel according to God’s wisdom was the best thing to save man from his sins, and it was God’s power vested to save.

Verse 3

1Co 2:3

1 Corinthians 2:3

And I was with you in weakness, and in fear,—[The weakness of which he here speaks was not bodily weakness; for although elsewhere he speaks of himself as weak in body (2 Corinthians 10:10), and as suffering under bodily infirmity (Galatians 4:14), yet here the whole context shows that he refers to his state of mind.] His deportment was that of a man humble and distrustful of his powers, and with a fear lest his work should be vain.

and in much trembling.—[It was not the gospel he had to preach that made him tremble; he was not ashamed of that (Romans 1:16), neither was it fear of personal danger; but he was keenly sensitive of the weakness of his situation; he feared a failure similar to that in Athens; and trembling at the thought of the infinite importance of his work—that the salva­tion of so many men and women was dependent on so feeble an instrumentality.]

And my speech and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom,—His speech and preaching were without the persuasiveness of eloquence and worldly wisdom, but rested upon God, declared by the presence of his Spirit work­ing miracles.

but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:—The truth was revealed by the Spirit, and confirmed by the miracles per­formed and gifts imparted to them. Paul relied upon these to carry convictions to their hearts that what he taught was from God. The matter contained in the Gospels, the revela­tions made, are above human wisdom, and their adaptedness to the needs of the soul shows an origin from God.

Verse 5

1Co 2:5

1 Corinthians 2:5

that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.—These testimonies that God gave to the word spoken by Paul were relied on that their faith might not rest on the reasonings of man, but on the power of God, manifested by his Spirit.

Verse 6

1Co 2:6

1 Corinthians 2:6

We speak wisdom, however, among them that are full-grown:—Paul had been disavowing that he had spoken after the wisdom of the world; and now avows that what he had spoken was according to the wisdom of the full grown—those filled with the wisdom of God. [The full grown are those who have advanced beyond the position of beginners in the Christian life into the higher sphere of thorough and compre­hensive insight into its duties, privileges, and blessings. While admitting their knowledge (1 Corinthians 1:5), he appeals to their contentions (1 Corinthians 3:1), in proof that they were still babes in Christ, and therefore not prepared for solid food which is “for full-grown men, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14). Jesus himself teaches the principle of adaptation to the vari­ous stages in the Christian life, when he said to his sorrowing disciples: “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” (John 16:12).]

yet a wisdom not of this world, nor of the rulers of this world,—In this he keeps before them that what the world calls wisdom is foolishness with God and his servants.

who are coming to naught;—They must fall and their wis­dom perish.

Verse 7

1Co 2:7

1 Corinthians 2:7

but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, even the wis­dom that hath been hidden, which God foreordained before the worlds unto our glory:—The gospel is God’s wisdom for the salvation of man. It was provided before the world was —before man was created, it is generally interpreted—to bring man to glory. A mystery was not something that could not be explained or understood, but something unrevealed and unknown. The gospel before it was revealed in Christ was the mystery.

Verse 8

1Co 2:8

1 Corinthians 2:8

which none of the rulers of this world hath known:—The reference is to the Jewish and Roman rulers who engaged in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It was the world in its princes who rejected the Savior.

for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory:—Had they known and understood this mys­tery, they would not have committed the awful deed.

Verse 9

1Co 2:9

1 Corinthians 2:9

but as it is written,—This was done in fulfillment of the prophecy.

Things which eye saw not, and ear heard not, and which en­tered not into the heart of man, whatsoever things God pre­pared for them that love him.—The things spoken of in this passage that eye had not seen nor ear heard were the great blessings of salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord. Before he came no human being by human wisdom ever had any con­ception of what these blessings would be; but they are now revealed to us by the Holy Spirit through the New Testa­ment. Hence they are no longer mysteries, but matters of plain revelation.

Verse 10

1Co 2:10

1 Corinthians 2:10

But unto us God revealed them through the Spirit:—The Spirit who dwelt with and knew the mind of God came to the apostles, dwelt in them, and revealed God’s will to them.

for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.—The Spirit of God knew the deep, unrevealed things of God, and made them known to the apostles; and they, through their writings, have made them known to us.

Verses 10-13

1Co 2:10-13


1 Corinthians 2:10-13

1 Corinthians 2:10 But God hath revealed them - The things not seen, heard, nor conceived of v. 9, namely, the hidden wisdom (v. 7), the scheme of human redemption through Christ and His gospel. unto us - The apostles or chosen men through whom the revelation was made known (the spiritual man of v. 15). While this primarily has reference to those who received the revelation directly through the Spirit, indirectly it is true of us also they have been revealed to us through the word of truth spoken and written by the chosen men. by his Spirit: - The HS, whose work it was to reveal the truth to the apostles On. 16:13), to deliver the truth in its written form (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and to confirm it as truth by the manifestation of divine power (Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:1-4). for the Spirit searcheth all things, The Spirit finds out everything (Beck); or the Spirit fathoms everything (Goodspeed) in the sense that He sounds out the depths (d. Romans 8:27; Romans 11:33). yea, the deep things of God. The things that are hidden in the mind of God. The will of God for man was in the mind of God, unrevealed. Man, unaided, could not penetrate that mind and thus learn its contents. But the Spirit sounded out that which was beyond man’s scrutiny and has now revealed those hidden things. The essential point in vv. 9-10 is that man can know the will of God only by divine revelation the revelation that was given through chosen men by the Spirit of God. The Spirit carried them along (2 Peter 1:21), uttering through them the innermost secrets of God which pertained to man’s salvation.

1 Corinthians 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, Who knows what a man thinks (Beck) or who can penetrate the mind of another and know its innermost thoughts. No one. There are no authentic mind readers. save the spirit of man which is in him? Only the man himself can know what is in his mind. Before others can perceive his thought, he must in some way com­ municate it to them. even so - In the same way (NIV). the things of God His purposes, His plans, His will, especially that pertaining to the gospel plan of salvation. knoweth no man, Just as one man cannot know the mind of another, it is impossible for man to scrutinize the contents of the divine mind. The eye cannot see, the ear cannot hear, nor can the heart perceive the things of God apart from divine revelation. but the Spirit of God. - The Spirit of God knows the mind (the deep things, v. 10) of God just as the spirit of man knows the mind of man. He is thus fully qualified to sound out and reveal the things of God. The HS is here depicted as relating to the triune God (God the Father, God the Son, and God the HS) just as man’s spirit relates to his triune being (body, soul, and spirit). Here is the point made: in order for man to be saved, he must know the will of God. But the will of God is in the mind of God, and man, unaided, has no access to it. Thus for man to be saved the contents of the divine mind must, in some way, be conveyed to him. This (the manifestation of the divine mind by the HS) is what we call revelation. Revelation is therefore the work of the HS. He took the mind of God, clothed it in human words, and thus communicated it to the mind of man. Man can now know the will of God, not by his own wisdom, but by revelation the disclosure of the divine mind by the divine Spirit.

1 Corinthians 2:12 Now we -- The apostles or those through whom the revelation was delivered. It can be applied to all Christians only indirectly. have received, ­ That which follows is a contrast between human wisdom and divine revelation. not the spirit of the world, - The spirit which characterizes the present order of things, namely, the spirit of worldly wisdom and human philosophy. but the spirit which is of God; - I know not the rationale behind the small "s" in the KJV and ASV; the whole context shows that it should be Spirit, that is the HS, the Spirit who knows the deep things of God (v. 10) and whose func­ tion it was to reveal them to the mind of man (v. 13). This has no reference to the ordinary gift of the Spirit received by every Christian (Romans 8:9; Acts 2:38), but the miraculous gift given to the apostles to guide them into all truth. that we might know - That the things of God might be fully manifested to them, the apostles. the things that are freely given to us of God. The things pertaining to salvation, the gospel (Ephesians 3:3-6; 1 Peter 1:22-25). The same as the things God has prepared in v. 9. The HS knew the mind of God and He guided the apostles into the revelation of all truth essential to salvation (John 16:13). They spoke by divine authority because the Spirit was with them (John 16:7) and spoke through them (Matthew 10:20). What they delivered, orally or in written form, were the commandments of God (1 Corinthians 14:37). That message (the things of God) was complete (2 Timothy 3:14-17) and delivered once and for all to the saints (Judges 1:3). The revelation (now contained in the written words of the NT) was delivered through Spirit-guided men (2 Peter 1:19-21) and confirmed by the power of God (Hebrews 2:1-4). The apostles thus knew the things of God by direct revelation; we know them indirectly through the written word. What the apostles delivered to us was not the product of their own minds nor the systematic arrangement of their own wisdom. It was the revelation of God’s will to man.

1 Corinthians 2:13 Which things - The things freely given to us of God (v. 12), the hid­ den wisdom (v. 7), the things not seen, heard, or conceived but revealed to the apostles (vv. 9-10). also we speak, The apostles delivered only what had been revealed to them by the Spirit, that is, they spoke the things of God, not the things of man. not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, -- Not in words taught human wisdom (NIV). The philosophical wisdom of man was not the source of their words nor was the structure of the Christian system composed of human rhetoric. but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; -- But in words taught by the Spirit (NIV). The wisdom of man is revealed by the words of man; the wisdom (revelation) of God is disclosed in the words of God, words which the HS spoke through the apostles (and which are now recorded in the NT). Paul here again enforces his point that the will of God can­ not be known by human wisdom but must come by divine revelation. compar­ ing spiritual things with spiritual. - Combining spiritual things with spiritual words (ASV). While there are a number of ways this can be under­ stood, the thought seems to be best expressed by the ASV: the Spirit combines spiritual things (the things of God, His will) with spiritual words (words chosen by the Spirit). Williams translates it, "In this way fitting spiritual words to spiritual truths." The point is that the Spirit fits the spiritual ideas (the mind or will of God) to the words that sufficiently reveal them to the mind of man. While Paul does not use the word inspiration here (it appears only one time in the NT, 2 Timothy 3:16), he is discussing the method of revelation. And, in the final analysis, inspiration is the method by which revelation was delivered. How was the will of God (revelation) transmitted? It was delivered through Spirit-chosen (God-breathed) words. The Spirit took the mind of God and put it into words, and by the chosen words, spoken through chosen men, He conveyed to the human mind the thoughts or will of God. Even though the revelation was delivered through men, its source was not their wisdom nor their words. They spoke, not their own mind, but the mind of God (2 Corinthians 5:20; 1 Peter 1:10-12; 2 Peter 1:20-21). We refer to them as inspired men, but in fact, as this verse plainly shows, it was the words they spoke that were inspired (Spirit chosen), not the men through whom the words were spoken. Chosen men were directed by the HS to deliver the divine message the revelation of the will of God. Thus the method of revelation was inspiration - that is, the divine will was clothed in words chosen by the Spirit, which can mean nothing but verbal inspiration. The revelation of God does not depend, in any shape, form, or fashion, upon the wisdom of man. Nor was it affected by the ignorance and cultural limitations of the writers. It was delivered by the Spirit of God, who chose the words by which it was expressed.

Verse 11

1Co 2:11

1 Corinthians 2:11

For who among men knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of the man, which is in him?—No man knows the thing’s that are in man save the spirit dwelling in him which pervades his whole being and knows all the secrets and pur­poses of his heart, soul, and body.

even so the things of God none knoweth, save the Spirit of God.—The Spirit of God alone knows the mind and purposes of God and searches its deep things, just as none but the spirit of man which is in him knows the things of man.

Verse 12

1Co 2:12

1 Corinthians 2:12

But we received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is from God;—The apostles had received the spirit not of the world, but the Spirit that dwelt with and knew the mind of God.

that we might know the things that were freely given to us of God.—The Spirit of God was given to the apostles, that they might know the mind or will of God, and the things that are freely given to them in Christ Jesus. That is, the Spirit which had dwelt with and in God, and so knew his whole mind, was transferred to the apostles and revealed to them the things of God. The Spirit revealed to them the mind, will, and purposes of God with all the blessings freely given to men in Christ Jesus.

Verse 13

1Co 2:13

1 Corinthians 2:13

Which things also we speak,—The things they received of the Spirit they spoke to the world. This is the way others learned of these truths.

not in words which man’s wisdom teacheth,—They spoke them not in the words suggested by the wisdom of the world.

but which the Spirit teacheth;—The salvation of man was wholly of and from God. Man’s wisdom was not permitted to furnish words through which the mind of God was spoken. [The Spirit taught these things in words, and thus revealed them to the apostles who spoke them in the same words. So the Spirit guided them into the truth revealed (John 16:13).]

combining spiritual things with spiritual words.—They spake spiritual ideas in the terms or words of the Spirit. The Spirit chose words suitable to the spiritual truths made known.

Verse 14

1Co 2:14

1 Corinthians 2:14

Now the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God:—Man by his natural faculties, without revela­tion, could not learn the will of God; but in order that he might know it, the Spirit of God, who knows the things of God, was transferred to the apostles and made known to them God’s will, and they revealed it to the people. The natural man, then, is the man who has never heard the will of God, for he has no means of knowing till those who received the revela­tion make it known to him. Having once been revealed by the Spirit of God, it was committed to writing under the guid­ance of the Spirit, so that man may come to it and learn it. It means about the same as “seeing that in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom knew not God, it was God’s good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save them that believe.” (1 Corinthians 1:21).

for they are foolishness unto him;—The manifestations are without meaning to him.

and he cannot know them,—This does not mean that men to whom the revelation is declared by those possessing the Spirit cannot understand and obey it. It was revealed to the inspired men that they might teach it to others that they might understand and know the way of salvation.

because they are spiritually judged.—This endowment of the Spirit enabled the endowed to judge or discriminate whether things revealed were of God or not. Without this they could not.

Verses 14-16

1Co 2:14-16


1Co 2:14-16

1 Corinthians 2:14-16 To properly understand these verses it is imperative that both the context and Paul’s purpose be kept in view. From 1 Corinthians 1:18 through 1 Corinthians 2:16 he is show­ ing that the will of God can be learned only by divine revelation, not by human wisdom. This is not an indictment of human wisdom per se. The Scriptures have no argument with sound reason or true science when they are properly used ­ and they are properly used when utilized to learn, apply, and follow revelation. In fact, I believe that it is the will of God for us to learn all we are capable of learning (wherever the Bible has gone, advanced learning has followed close on its heels). But the fact remains that one may get all the degrees offered by all the institutions of higher learning in the world; he may advance in technology to the point where he can level the mountains, bridge the seas, dry up marshes, water the deserts, harness the atom, and explore the outer reaches of space; but if he is to know the will of God he must come to revelation, the gospel, as revealed by the Spirit. (Cf. 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 10:5.) Thus Paul’s objective here is to show the impossibility of knowing God’s plans and purposes by unaided in­tellectual processes. That knowledge comes only by divine revelation. And he is here (1 Corinthians 1:14-16) telling us that the revelation did not come through natural man (man without the aid of the Spirit) but through spiritual men (men through whom the Spirit worked to deliver the revelation). They are therefore a restatement of Paul’s total argument (as begun in 1 Corinthians 1:18), given in the form of a conclusion.

1 Corinthians 2:14-16 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. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man A man without revelation, an uninspired man, a man who has nothing but his natural ability to rely upon to determine the will of God. This has no reference to an unregenerated or worldly person per se, but rather to a man, any man, who has nothing but human wisdom to guide him. The natural man stands in contrast to the spiritual man of v. 15. If we made application of this today, it would be comparable to a man who has never seen or heard the Scriptures, a man who has no word from God. Certainly a man without the Bible cannot understand the things of God: for God has no other means today by which He reveals them. But the man with the Bible, the revelation of the things of God, can know them because they have been revealed. The Bible is not a mystery; it is the revelation of a mystery. receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: - He cannot conceive of them (v. 9). He does not receive them because he cannot know them and the reason he can­ not know them is that they have not been revealed to him. Paul’s intent (from 1 Corinthians 1:18) has been to show the impossibility of one knowing the hidden wisdom of God (the gospel) by human means alone. for they - The things of the Spirit. Foolish (or unknown) to hisforms of philosophical reasoning (1:23, 27-29). neither can he know them, Because they are hidden in the mind of God and without revelation he has no means of penetrating that mind. because they are spiritually discerned. -- They are sought out by the Spirit (v. 10) and revealed to man by divine revelation. And that revelation is delivered to us by inspiration in the written word of God.

1 Corinthians 2:15 But he that is spiritual--The spiritual man (RSV). The exact op­posite of the natural man of v. 14. Hence, the inspired man the man through whom the revelation is delivered, the instrument used by the Spirit to make known God’s will to man (1 Corinthians 14:37). Contextually the natural man is the man without revelation that is, he is not an instrument through whom revelation is delivered; the spiritual man is the one with revelation that is, he is the one through whom the HS reveals the will of God. The natural man has nothing but human wisdom to guide him; the spiritual man receives and delivers the revelation. It should be noted here that while revelation is delivered to us today in a different form (it is in the written word rather than in living men) the principle remains the same: man cannot know the will of God by his own wisdom; he must depend upon revelation, that which is found only in the inspired Scrip­ tures. judgeth all things, - Makes judgments about all things (NIV). He does so by revelation. Judge is from the same word as discern in v. 14. Thus this verse ascribes to inspired men precisely what is ascribed to the Spirit in v. 14. It has reference to apostolic authority to receive and proclaim the will of God (Matthew 10:20; Matthew 10:40; Matthew 16:19; 2 Corinthians 5:19-20). yet he himself is judged of no man. -- But he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment (NIV). That is, his message is not subject to ultimate examination by the human wisdom of the natural man; it is not on trial before philosophical wisdom. The revelation is given by the Spirit (through spiritual men) and man must either accept it or reject it; he cannot delve into the mind of God to examine or investigate it. This, of course, has reference to the source and method by which the original revela­ tion was received. Once it was delivered it could then be investigated by the natural man (1 John 4:10), but this is not Paul’s point here.

1 Corinthians 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may in­ struct him? - Quoted from Isaiah 40:13. The answer would be no man (Romans 11:33-35), That is, no man by his own wisdom can know the truth which is in the mind of God; consequently he cannot instruct others in that truth without divine revelation. But we The apostles or spiritual men. have the mind of Christ. Not in the sense of Philippians 2:5, but in the sense that the HS had re­vealed it unto them. Hence, they knew and preached the mind of Christ by revelation. They were His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20), His official spokesmen. What they said (under the direction of the Spirit) was bound upon all (Matthew 16:19; Matthew 18:18). What the spiritual men knew directly by revelation we can now know indirectly through the written word. They received the mind of Christ by revelation and they delivered that mind to us in the gospel. Thus when one knows the gospel he knows the mind of Christ.

Verse 15

1Co 2:15

1 Corinthians 2:15

But he that is spiritual judgeth all things,—He that is endowed with the Spirit discerns and discriminates what is of God, and teaches all things God reveals.

and he himself is judged of no man.—Those not endowed with the presence of the divine Spirit are not capable of discriminating and determining whether the things taught by the inspired men are of God or not. An inspired man alone could judge of the fidelity of inspired men in teaching the will of God. This refers to the original revelations. Men now test all teaching by the truths delivered by the inspired men. They instruct us to “believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1).

Verse 16

1Co 2:16

1 Corinthians 2:16

For who hath known the mind of the Lord,—Who, save those endowed with the Spirit of God, know the mind of the Lord? Those having the Spirit of God know his mind. The Spirit revealed it to them.

that he should instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.—This does not seem to make sense nor to harmonize with the context. How could knowing the mind of God ena­ble one to instruct God or Jesus? Adam Clarke translates it: “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he should teach it?” The nous, the Greek for mind, is masculine gender, and auton, translated him, is masculine, but might agree with it. This would give a clearer idea, but I believe the trouble is in the word translated to instruct. It is translated to instruct or teach only in this one place.

The word occurs in the following passages: “But Saul in­creased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews that dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is the Christ” (Acts 9:22); “Concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel unto them” (Acts 16:10); “From whom all the body fitly framed and knit together through that which every joint supplieth” (Ephesians 4:16); “That their hearts may be comforted, they being knit together in love” (Colossians 2:2); “From whom all the body, being supplied and knit together through the joints and bands, increaseth with the increase of God” (Colossians 2:19). In these passages it means to understand or know so as to be joined together with him.

In the passage before us, it means, “Who of you uninspired hath known the mind of God, so as to be joined together with him? But we inspired men so understand him that we are united in him in teaching his will, we are laborers together with God.” (1 Corinthians 2:9). The whole trend and meaning of the chapter is that none could know or teach the will of God by human wisdom. They were dependent upon the revelation made by God’s spirit through the apostles for a knowledge of his will, and only through receiving this could any become co-workers with him in saving men. This does not refer to the work of preaching what has been revealed.

Adam Clarke gives these judicious thoughts: “This chapter might be considered a good model for a Christian to regulate his conduct by, or his public ministry; because it points out the mode of preaching used by Paul and the apostles in general. This great apostle came not to the people with ex­cellency of speech, and of wisdom, when he declared unto them the counsel of God. They know little, either of the spirit of Paul, or the design of the gospel, who make the chief ex­cellence of their preaching to consist in the eloquence of lan­guage, or depth of human reasoning. That may be their testi­mony, but it is not God’s. The enticing words of man’s wis­dom are seldom accompanied by the demonstration and power of the Holy Spirit. One justly remarks that ‘the foolishness of preaching has its wisdom, loftiness, and eloquence; but it consists in the sublimity of its truths, the depths of its mys­teries, and the ardor of the Spirit of God.’ In this respect Paul may be said to have preached wisdom among those who are perfect,” or inspired.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on 1 Corinthians 2". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/1-corinthians-2.html.
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