Day 50…1 Corinthians 2:

January 11, 2011 at 2:42 PM Leave a comment

1 Corinthians 2: Holy Spirit gives wisdom

The Corinthians were confusing the Gospel by creating artificial standards of faith. They were using wisdom as the gauge. The more wisdom someone claimed, the more spiritual that person became. For Paul, the Gospel–God’s wisdom–was a pool of clear water. Believers were urged to go deeper, but they would find living water no matter how deep they dove.

v.1-2, Paul starts this chapter reminding the believers that when he came to them (the first time, when he founded the church) he didn’t use lofty words” and “impressive wisdom” to tell them of God’s secret plan [the Gospel once hidden now revealed]. Paul could have used brilliant intellectual arguments to overwhelm and impress his audience but he chose not to because that would have undermined the Gospel itself. So Paul chose to only tell them of Jesus Christ who was crucified for the world’s sin [& resurrected] and “forget everything except…” him. Simply put Paul let the simple message of the Gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit to move in the hearts and minds of the Corinthians–not his ability to be eloquent or persuasive.

v.3-5, When Paul mentions that he came in “weakness–timid and trembling” he is talking about his attitude, it wasn’t fearful, but full dependance on God for this very important task of bringing the Gospel to this wicked and idolatrous city. Paul’s confidence was not in his keen intellect or debating ability but in his knowledge that the Holy Spirit was helping and guiding him. Paul even goes as far to say his “message and preaching were very plain” not using “clever and persuasive speeches.” Again to say to he wanted the Gospel and their faith would “not trust in human wisdom but in the power of God.”

v.6-7, Paul goes on to say, however, when he is with “mature believers” he does speak with “words of wisdom”, just not the world’s wisdom but the wisdom that only comes from God–”mystery of God” which is God’s offer of salvation to all people made available on through Jesus’ death on the cross & resurrection. The mature believers were not those who had advanced training but those who had accepted the Gospel (salvation) contrasted by those who rejected it. The mystery” NLT or secret” NIV plan Paul speaks of is a secret because only through God’s wisdom and the insight given by his Spirit can people begin to comprehend it. Attempting to understand this plan with human wisdom and philosophical discussions will take people nowhere. Only through the Holy Spirit can it be revealed. This plan was created by God “before the world began”, before Adam and Eve sinned, before everything was created, God created this plan that he would bring some to “glory”.

v.8-10, This secret plan had not been revealed to the “rulers [Pharisees, Sadducees, King Herod] of this world”, and if it had they would not have crucified our glorious Lord.” If these rulers truly had known who Jesus was and the eternal consequences of rejecting him, they wouldn’t have crucified him. But the irony is they thought they were getting ride of this nuisance, but by crucify Jesus they were carrying out God’ plan! Then Paul paraphrases some passages from the Old Testament (Isaiah 52:15; 64:4 & 65:17)

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”

Paul’s point is that human senses and understanding cannot begin to comprehend what God had “prepared” for them. “Those who love him” are believers (past and present). And the only way any of these things “deep secrets”–God’s profound nature and wonderful plan, can be revealed is through the Holy Spirit.

v.11, Paul points out that no one can fathom the “thoughts” of anyone else, except they themselves. And that shows us that we need the Holy Spirit to understand the “thoughts of God.” Or the only way to know God is to know the Holy Spirit (one and the same, part of the the Holy Trinity).

v.12, 15-16, BELIEVERS: “we” have not rec’d the “spirit of the world”--human effort & philosophy, but the Holy Spirit. This doesn’t mean the spirit of the world is equal to the Holy Spirit but it points out that the Holy Spirit’s wisdom and power come from God, not from any earthly source. We have rec’d God’s Spirit so that “we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us”–salvation through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Paul explains that the Gospel was not given with “words of human wisdom” because no human wisdom can explain God’s wisdom. In order for humans to speak the Spirit’s message, believers must speak “words given to us by the Spirit” and only “using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truth.” In other words, when we tell others of the Gospel message we trust the Holy Spirit to speak the spiritual truths into the hearts and minds of those listening. Because believers have the Holy Spirit they are able to evaluate (discern) all things–make right judgments about spiritual matters such as salvation or God’s future blessings. But they are not to be “evaluated by others” –unbelievers don’t have any authority by which to judge what Christians believe.

Paul uses Isaiah 40:13 to show that a Christian is not subject to unbelievers judgment about spiritual matters: “Who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?” Paul contrasts this quote with a statement to say believer “understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.”–through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, believers can understand spiritual truths (begin to know God’s thoughts, talk with him, expect his answers to prayers, etc) because we have access to the mind of Christ.

v.13-14, UNBELIEVERS: But people who aren’t spiritual” can’t fathom or fully understand God and that the Holy Spirit lives in all believers. They “can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit.” The spiritual truths all sound “foolish to them.” They “can’t understand it.” Everything that is spiritual (the Gospel, Jesus’ death and resurrection) remain foolishness to the unbeliever because the in order to comprehend these things you need the Holy Spirit.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO ME? Paul has taught me that when I tell others the Gospel message (or my testimony) it is not how or what I say that brings unbelievers to Christ. It is the work and power of the Holy Spirit only! I need to trust the Holy Spirit to speak the spiritual truths into the hearts and mind of those I am sharing with.

WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT IT? I am so thankful that my human wisdom can’t bring people to Christ and that I have to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit, because as Paul says I don’t want to trust in human wisdom–my wisdom–but I want to rely only on the power of God to do so! I need to be reminded of this over and over again.

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Entry filed under: Journey Thru the Bible.

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