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Bible Commentaries
1 Corinthians 2

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New TestamentZerr's N.T. Commentary

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Verse 1

1Co 2:1. The vanity of worldly wisdom is still the main subject of this part of Paul's epistle. He verifies his attitude on the matter by referring to the work which he did when he brought the Gospel to them, recorded in Act 18:1-11. Speech and wisdom mean the same as "utterance" and "knowledge" in chapter 1:5.

Verse 2

1Co 2:2. Know is from EIDO, and the definitions and explanations of Thayer occupy nearly two pages in his lexicon, which indicates the wide range of its meaning. In the present verse it has the sense of "to pay attention, observe; have regard for, cherish." It means that Paul determined not to be concerned about anything but the story of the cross, with its offered mercies to the children of men.

Verse 3

1Co 2:3. Even an inspired man may feel anxious and insufficient for certain tasks. In Act 18:9 Paul seemed to have some of these signs of personal weakness, for the Lord saw fit to encourage him and tell him to "be not afraid, but speak." In this great center of worldly learning, he trembled lest he might not do the work justice. However, he determined to depend solely on the Lord's help and wisdom.

Verse 4

1Co 2:4. Speech means the language to be used, and preaching denotes the public proclamation of that language. Paul asserts that neither of these items of communication was counted on to persuade the hearer because of its wisdom from man. Instead, he depended on the power imparted to him by the Holy Spirit to be so efficient that its true worth would be demonstrated or made to become manifest.

Verse 5

1Co 2:5. Whatever means that would be used to enlist men in the service of the Lord, would need to be relied on as a motive for remaining faithful. The wisdom of man is changeable, and if this faith was based on such a foundation, it would fall as soon as the wisdom of man was exposed.

Verse 6

1Co 2:6. The notes at chapter 1:18 should be consulted again. Perfect is used in the same sense as called in chapter 1:24. Those who accept the Gospel from the heart will see in it a genuine wisdom that is beyond all comparison with that of the world. Princes of this world means the leaders among the philosophers of Greece.

Verse 7

1Co 2:7. Mystery is from MUSTERION, which Thayer defines at this place, "a hidden purpose or counsel," then explains it to mean, "In the N. T., God's plan of providing salvation for men through Christ, which was once hidden but now is revealed." The word does not necessarily mean something that is complicated and beyond the understanding of ordinary men. As long as anything is not known it is a mystery, regardless of its character. Hence a popular theory that the Gospel is today a mystery and cannot be understood by uninspired persons, is erroneous and calculated to hinder people from studying God's word. Before the world denotes that God planned the salvation of man even before the age of human existence. Not that any certain man was ordained to be saved, but the scheme by which all men might be saved if they would.

Verse 8

1Co 2:8. None of the princes of this world knew because it had not been revealed. Those who crucified Christ did not realize he was the Lord of glory (Luk 23:34).

Verse 9

1Co 2:9. This verse has been perverted in song and speech for years, and made to mean that the story of divine love for man, including the reward that is to be given to God's servants, is still a mystery that is to be revealed at some future time. That idea is not even any part of the meaning of the passage. The eye, ear and heart of man means the natural senses of the human being. No man living, even among the wise sages of the so-called learned world, could discover through his human faculties what the Lord had in store for the faithful.

Verse 10

1Co 2:10. This verse must be considered in connection with the preceding one. Since the natural mental faculties could not discover these great spiritual truths, it was necessary to give a revelation of them, and that was done by the Spirit bestowed in great measure upon the apostles and 'other New Testament writers.

Verse 11

Verse 11. The spirit of a man knows what his thoughts are, and likewise the Spirit of God knows the thoughts of Him. Being an intelligent and supernatural being, this Spirit could communicate between God and man and carry the thoughts of the former to the mind of the latter, thus making him acquainted with the truths that his human philosophy and wisdom could not discover.

Verse 12

1Co 2:12. Spirit of the world refers to the matter of human philosophy that has been under consideration through many verses. The spirit which is of God is the source of divine inspiration, and by receiving such a spirit it would reveal the things that are gifts from God. This is the same thought as shown in verses 9, 10.

Verse 13

1Co 2:13. While the apostle used the language of humanity (Rom 6:19), he did not form it on the basis of man's wisdom as the philosophers taught it. Instead, he was guided in the selection of terms by the Holy Ghost, so that he would use such of the words of man's language as had a spiritual bearing, in order that they would convey the ideas that were in keeping with the thoughts of the Spirit, Comparing might well be rendered "expressing," meaning that Paul expressed spiritual thoughts with such words as would impart the desired ideas.

Verse 14

14 1Co 2:14. Natural is from PSUCHIKOS, and literally means the animal part of man. In a sentence like our verse, Thayer says it means, "governed by the sensuous nature with its subjection to the appetite and passion." A man thus interested in the things only that will gratify his fleshly desires, will not receive and appreciate the things offered by the Spirit of God, for they are not composed of matters that would give carnal pleasure. Hence they will seem foolish in his estimation so that he will not know or realize their real worth. They are spiritually discerned. They can be discerned or their true value be recognized only by those who take a spiritual interest in them, seeking only that which will impart spiritual benefits.

Verse 15

1Co 2:15. He that is spiritual--he who does take such a spiritual view of these subjects coming through the Spirit of God, as set forth in the preceding verse, will be able to realize what they mean, which is denoted by the phrase judgeth ["discerneth"] all things. He himself is judged ["discerned"] of no man. The last word means the natural man described in verse 14. Such a man will not recognize the spiritual truths possessed by the man described in the first phrase of this verse.

Verse 16

1Co 2:16. No man can know how to instruct the Lord (verse 11), therefore all spiritual information must travel the other way--from the Lord to man. Paul claims that such a flow of instruction had taken place in that he had the mind of Christ.
Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 2". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/1-corinthians-2.html. 1952.
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