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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
1 Corinthians 2

 

 

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Verse 1

1 Corinthians 2:1. κᾀγω, and I) The apostle shows, that he was a suitable instrument in carrying out the counsel and election of God.— οὐ) This word is not construed with ἦλθον, but with the words that follow.— λόγου σοφίας, of speech or of wisdom) Speech follows wisdom, a sublime discourse [follows] a sublime subject.— καταγγέλλων ὑμῖν τὸ μαρτύριον, declaring [announcing] unto you the testimony) Holy men do not so much testify, as declare the testimony, which God gives.— τὸ μαρτύριον τοῦ θεοῦ, the testimony of God) in itself most wise and powerful. The correlative is, faith, 1 Corinthians 2:5.


Verse 2

1 Corinthians 2:2. οὐ γὰρ ἔκρινα, for I determined not) Although I knew many other things, yet I so acted, as if I did not know them. If a minister of the Gospel however abstains from the things, in which he excels, in order that he may simply preach Christ, he derives the highest benefit from them. The Christian doctrine ought not, for the sake of scoffers and sceptics, and those who admire them, to be sprinkled and seasoned with philosophical investigations, as if in sooth it were possible to convince them more easily by means of natural theology. They, who obstinately reject revelation, will not be gained by any reasonings from the light of nature, which only serves the purpose of instructing in the first rudiments of (theological) education.— ἔκρινα) This word with its compounds is often used by Paul in this epistle to the Corinthians, 1 Corinthians 2:13, etc., 1 Corinthians 4:3, etc., 1 Corinthians 11:29; 1 Corinthians 11:31-32; 1 Corinthians 11:34.— ἰησοῦν χριστὸν, Jesus Christ) Paul well knew, how little the world esteemed this name.(16)


Verse 3

1 Corinthians 2:3. καὶ ἐγὼ, and I) The antithesis is, my speech, 1 Corinthians 2:4; and, to know, 1 Corinthians 2:2. For he describes the subject [1 Corinthians 2:2, to know Christ crucified], the preacher [1 Corinthians 2:3, and I], the mode of speaking [1 Corinthians 2:4, my speech—not with enticing words].— ἀσθενείᾳ, in weakness) It is opposed to, power [1 Corinthians 2:4]. We must not suppose that the apostle’s state of mind was always pleasant and quite free from all perturbations, 2 Corinthians 7:5; 2 Corinthians 11:30; Galatians 4:13.— καὶ ἐν φόβῳ καὶ ἐν τρὁμῳ πολλῷ, and in fear and in much trembling) This is a proverbial saying, and denotes the fear, which abounds to such a degree as even to fall upon the body and its gestures and movements, Mark 5:33; Ephesians 6:5; Philippians 2:12; LXX., Deuteronomy 11:25. So Isaiah 19:16, LXX., ἔσονται ἐν φόβῳ καὶ ἐν τρόμῳ, “They shall be in fear and trembling.”(17) The world admires any thing but this [the very contrary to all this].— ἐγενόμην,) I began to be, with you, towards you.


Verse 4

1 Corinthians 2:4. λόγος, speech) in private.— κήρυγμα, preaching) in public.— πειθοῖς) enticing, a very appropriate term, to which the antithesis is in demonstration. Didymus quotes this passage, Lib. 2 de Spir. S. Jerome translates πειθοῖς λόγοις, with persuasions,(18) so that there should be an apposition, πειθοῖς λόγοις [ πειθοῖς being regarded as a noun]. It comes in this view from πειθὼ, to which πειθή is a kindred form. Hesychius has πειθή, πεισμονὴ, πίστις.— σοφίας, of wisdom) He explains in the following verses, what the wisdom is, of which the speeches and arguments are to be set aside.


Verse 5

1 Corinthians 2:5. σοφίᾳ, in the wisdom) and power.— δυνάμει, in the power) and wisdom.


Verse 6

1 Corinthians 2:6. σοφίαν δὲ λαλοῦμεν, but we speak wisdom) He returns, as it were after a parenthesis, to what he had slightly mentioned at 1 Corinthians 1:23-25 : we speak, contains by implication an epanalepsis(19) of the words, we preach [ch. 1 Corinthians 1:23]; but we speak refers to something secret, as appears from comparing 1 Corinthians 2:7; 1 Corinthians 2:13; we preach, to something public; for wisdom here denotes not the whole of the Christian doctrine, but its sublime and secret leading principles. There is also an antithesis of the past tense, 1 Corinthians 2:1, etc. [came—determined, etc.], and of the present in this passage [we speak].— ἐν τοῖς τελείοις) in the case of [“penes perfectos;” as far as concerns] them that are perfect, at Corinth or elsewhere. Construe with, we speak. The knowledge of God and Christ is the highest knowledge. Comp. ἐν, 1 Corinthians 14:11 [ λαλῶν ἐν ἐμοὶ βάρβαρος,—a barbarian, unto me] Philippians 1:30.(20) Not only worldly and natural men are opposed to the perfect, even to the end of the chapter, but also carnal men and babes, ch. 3 at the beginning; Hebrews 5:14; Hebrews 5:13.— οὐοὐδὲ, not—nor) God is opposed to the world, 1 Corinthians 2:7; the apostles, to the princes of the world, 1 Corinthians 2:8, etc.— ἀρχόντων, of the princes) 1 Corinthians 1:20. Paul uses a word of wide signification, in which he comprehends men of rank both among the Jews and Greeks.— τῶν καταργουμένω ν, who come to nought) 1 Corinthians 1:19; 1 Corinthians 1:28. This epithet applies to the princes of the world, and to the world itself; whence it is evident, that the wisdom of the world is not true, because it does not lead men to immortality.


Verse 7

1 Corinthians 2:7. ἐν μυστηρίῳ, τὴν ἀποκεκρυμμένην, in a mystery, [even] the hidden [wisdom]) It is concealed before it is brought forward, and when it is brought forward, it still remains hidden to many, namely to those that are imperfect.— προώρισεν, ordained before) The allusion is to hath prepared, 1 Corinthians 2:9.— πρὸ, before) therefore it does not come to nought, 1 Corinthians 2:6. This wisdom very far surpasses worldly wisdom in antiquity.— αἰώνων, the ages [of the world]) in the plural. The antithesis to it is, of this world, 1 Corinthians 2:6.— εἰς, unto) that it may be our glory; comp. the following verse, and glorying, 1 Corinthians 1:31.— δόξαν) glory, from the Lord of glory; 1 Corinthians 2:8, afterwards to be revealed, at the time when the princes of the world shall come to nought. It is an antithesis to, mystery.


Verse 8

1 Corinthians 2:8. ἣν, which) a reference to wisdom.— οὐδεὶς τῶν ἀρχόντωνἔγνωκεν, none of the princes—knew) none, almost none, nay, none at all, as [quâ] a prince. The antithesis to this predicate is in the but 1 Corinthians 2:9; to the subject, in the but 1 Corinthians 2:10.— τὸν κύριο, the Lord) who surpasses all princes.— ἐσταύρωσαν) The cross, the punishment of slaves. It was with this the Lord of glory was slain.


Verse 9

1 Corinthians 2:9. ἀλλὰ, but) viz. it has happened, comp. Romans 15:3; Romans 15:21, and 1 Corinthians 1:31.— καθὼς, as) He shows that the princes of the world knew not wisdom.— ὀφθαλμὸς) Isaiah 64:4, in the LXX., ἀπὸ τοῦ αἰῶνος οὐκ ἠκούσαμεν, οὐδε οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ ἡμῶν εἰδον θεὸν πλήν σου, καὶ τὰ ἔργα σου, ποιήσεις τοῖς ὑπομενοῦσιν ἔλεος. “Since the beginning we have not heard, nor have our eyes seen any god besides Thee and Thy works, which Thou wilt do to them that wait for mercy.”— , which) what eye hath not seen are those things, which God hath prepared.— ὀφθαλμὸς, οὖς, the eye, the ear) of man.— οὐκ ἀνέβη) neither have ascended [entered], that is, have not come into the mind.— ἡτοίμασεν, prepared) Hebr. יעשה, he will do; what was future in the time of Isaiah, had been actually accomplished in the time of Paul. Hence the one was speaking to them that were waiting for Him [Isaiah 64:4], the other to men that love [Him, who has appeared, 1 John 4:19]: comp. things that are freely given, 1 Corinthians 2:12, by the grace of the New Testament, the fruits of which are perfected in eternity.—[Romans 8:28; James 2:5.]


Verse 10

1 Corinthians 2:10. ἡμῖν) to us, apostles.— ἀπεκάλυψε, hath revealed) an antithesis to, hidden [wisdom, 1 Corinthians 2:7]. Comp. Isaiah 45:19; Isaiah 45:15; Psalms 51:8, and again Luke 10:21.— πἁντα, all things) 1 Corinthians 2:9.— τὰ βάθη, the deep things) very much hidden, Psalms 92:6; not merely those things, which believers search out, 1 Corinthians 2:9 (10) and 12, in both at the end. The deep things of God, even of His divine nature, as well as of His kingdom.


Verse 11

1 Corinthians 2:11. τίς γὰρ οἴδεν ἀνθρώπων τὰ τοῦ ἀνθρέπου; For who among men knoweth the things of a man?) The Alexandrian MS. and it alone omits ἀνθρώπων, and yet Artem. Part I. cap. 47 desires it to be marked with a stroke as spurious.(21) But this variety of cases, viz. among, or of men, of man, of a man, is extremely appropriate to the purpose of the apostle here; for he notices the similarity of nature, which appears to give men the mutual knowledge of each other’s feelings as men, and yet does not give it; how much less will any one know God without the Spirit of God?— τὰ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, the things of a man), the things that are within him.— τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, the spirit of that man). The Article τὸ evidently denotes the spirit peculiar to man, not that entering into him from any other quarter.— τὸ ἐν αὐτῷ, which is in him) The criterion of truth, the conscious nature in man (conscience).— οὐδεὶς) not one, of all outside of [excepting] God. Not even his fellow-man knows a man; God is One alone, [having no fellow] and known to Himself alone.— τὸ πνεῦμα, the Spirit) The Godhead cannot be separated from the Spirit of God, as manhood cannot be separated from the spirit of man.


Verse 12

1 Corinthians 2:12. τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ κόσμου, the spirit of the world) Ephesians 2:2.— ἐλάβομεν) The spirit of the world is not received; but they are always under its influence, who are of the world. We have received the Spirit of God.— ἐκ, from [God]) an antithesis to in [him, man], 1 Corinthians 2:11.


Verse 13

1 Corinthians 2:13. καὶ, also) Thus the phrases, we might know and we speak are joined.— διδακτοῖς, taught) consisting of doctrine and instruction. The word σοφίας with λόγοις is not to be resolved into an epithet; wisdom is the gushing fountain of words.— ἀλλʼ ἐν, but in) an immediate antithesis; nor can it be said, that the apostles compared merely the natural power of speech, as distinguished on the one hand from art, and on the other, from the Spirit.— διδακτοῖς) διδαχῇ(22) by the teaching, which the Holy Spirit(23) furnishes through us seems to be a better reading. That doctrine comprehends both wisdom and words.— πνευματικοῖς πνευματικὰ, spiritual things to [with; Engl. Vers. and Vulg.] spiritual) We interpret [But Engl. Vers. and Vulg. comparing) spiritual things and spiritual words in a manner suitable to spiritual men, 1 Corinthians 2:6; 1 Corinthians 2:15, so that they may be willing and able to receive them; συγκρίνω, σύγκρι΄α, σύγκρισις, are frequently used by the LXX. for example, in respect to the interpretation of dreams, Genesis 40, 41; Dan. 2 4 5 7.

διδακτοῖς is the reading of ABCD( λ)G Orig. (B, according to Bartolocci, reads διδακτῷ). But fg, Vulg. Syr. read διδαχῇ. ἁγίου is placed before or after πνενματος in the later Syr. and Rec. Text. But ABCD corrected later, G, Origen 1, 197b, Vulg. omit ἀγίον (Vulg. corrected by Victor has Sancti).—ED.


Verse 14

1 Corinthians 2:14. ψυχικὸς, the natural [animal] man) whatsoever and how great soever he may be, who is without the Spirit of God. Ephraim Syrus well remarks: “The apostle called men, who lived according to nature, natural, ψυχικοὺς; those who lived contrary to nature, carnal, σαρκικοὺς; but those are spiritual, πνευματικοὶ, who even change their nature into the spirit, i.e. conform their natural disposition to what is spiritual,” [ μεθαρμοζόμενοι τὴν φύσιν εἰς τὸ πνεῦμα], f. 92. So flesh and blood, Matthew 16:17, note.— οὐ δέχεται, does not receive) although they be offered, yet he does not wish to avail himself of the offer; comp. δέξασθε, receive. Here presently after there follows the corresponding phrase, he cannot. Comp. Romans 8:7. The reason is added to each [aetiology, en.], by the words, for, and because. [Each forms an antithesis to the mind of Paul expressed at 1 Timothy 1:15, faithful and worthy of all ACCEPTATION, πιστὸς καὶ πάσης ἀποδοχῆς ἄξιος.—V. g.]— τὰ τοῦ πνεῦματος,(24) the things of the Spirit) In like manner, the things of God, 1 Corinthians 2:11.— μωρία, folly) Whereas he seeks wisdom, 1 Corinthians 1:22.— οὐ δύναται, he cannot) he has not the spirit and the power.— γνῶναι, to know) the things of the Spirit of God.— πνευματικῶς) only spiritually.


Verse 15

1 Corinthians 2:15. ) There is great beauty here in the addition of the article [the spiritual man]; ψυχικὸς [a natural man] is without the article.— πάντα, all things) The neuter plural, as 1 Corinthians 2:9-14, all things of all men, and therefore also [he judges] all men. The Masc. is comprehended in the Neut. as Matthew 11:27.— αὐτὸς) he himself.— ὑπʼ οὐδενὸς, by no) natural man.


Verse 16

1 Corinthians 2:16. τίς, who) no one who is a mere man; comp. Jeremiah 23:18; Isaiah 40:13; the LXX., τίς ἔγνω νοῦν κυρίουὃς συμβιβάσει αὐτὸν.— ὃς, who) This is not the interrogative, but the relative, by which the force of the question, which is in the τίς, is extended [continued to the latter clause, ὃς συμβιβ. αὐτὸν], it means, and therefore.— νοῦν χριστοῦ, the mind of Christ) The Spirit of the Father and of the Son is the same.— ἔχομεν, we have) That is both more and less than to know: he who has the mind of Christ, judges [judicially decides upon] all things, and is judged by no man.

 


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Bibliography Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 2:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/1-corinthians-2.html. 1897.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, August 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20
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