1 Corinthians 2
“And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-2)
Paul was an educated man. He could have sat with any educated person of his day and spoken with them. And probably could have spoken above most men. Yet he is telling the Corinthians that he didn’t come to them to impress them with his words. But he came to proclaim the name of Jesus and to tell them of Jesus’ death on a cross and what that would mean to those that believe.
“And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:3-5)
I love how Paul puts this. He is letting them know that yes he was fearful to come to them but not because he may not be smart enough or that he might not be able to find the words to impress them. But he knew that the importance of his task was to point them to Jesus. He wanted to speak to them displaying the Spirit and power in his life so that they would not be impressed with him but that they would be impressed by God!
Words and wisdom were apparently very important to the Corinthians. Paul is telling them in verses 6-9 that the wisdom of God is different from the wisdom of the times. In verse 6 he says “Yet, among the mature we do impart wisdom”. The commentary I read said that there are two thoughts here, Paul could be talking about saved vs. unsaved, or mature Christian vs. new Christian. At any rate, Paul says the wisdom that he comes to impart upon them is the wisdom of God. It is not the wisdom of the world. There is a difference.
“None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” (1 Corinthians 2:8)
The rulers of this age did not understand the wisdom of God. We also are surrounded by people who do not understand the wisdom of God. We wonder at times why people don’t just get it. Why are christians persecuted, why our conservative values seem to remain under attack? Well this would be a big part of the why? The people who are persecuting christian values simply do not understand because they have wisdom of this world and not the wisdom of God. If the rulers back in Paul’s day had understood, they never would have crucified Jesus. If the people of this day who are attacking Christian values understood they would not be persecuting and attacking our values. But we shouldn’t be surprised by the fact that they do not understand.
“But as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him’” (1 Corinthians 2:9)
This is the good news of this chapter. God has plans for us, big plans that even our hearts cannot imagine. Our main job, our main purpose here is to love him.
What is really cool here is the that the Spirit that is God is also the Spirit that lives in us. God reveals the things He wants for us and our purposes and our plans by the Spirit that is living in us. We can’t comprehend what God purposes for us or what God plans for us without the Spirit living in us.
“Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.” (1 Corinthians 2:12-13)
We will be able to comprehend what God plans for us as we learn to comprehend the Spirit that lives in us.
“The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. …… For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:14, 16)
We have to stop being offended by the people who do not “get it”, the ones who do not understand what we have because they can’t understand what we have. We can only understand what we have, because He has given us the mind of Christ so that we can.
Oh Lord, thank you for the wisdom that You impart to us only through your Spirit. Help us to know when we encounter the “natural man” that we have a wisdom that they do not have so that we will come back at them in love. Help us to show them Christ crucified in us and not to come at them with lofty words.