1 Corinthians, #3, Chapter two

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8/17/2010 - pastorlorraine
    1 Corinthians #3, Chapter two

    Paul came in humbleness to preach the gospel.  He sought only to know the crucified Christ better.  In verses 1 & 2, Paul tells us that he wasn’t an eloquent speaker, nor did he have superior wisdom.  He only sought one thing and that was to know the crucified Christ better— and as a result to preach him better.

    Paul had arrived in Corinth upset about what had happened to him in Athens and Thessolonica, so he felt that his preaching to them might not have been his best.  He thought he had not been wise or persuasive. Paul was always concerned about the churches he had started.  Now, as he wrote this letter he was doubly concerned about the Corinthians.  For the background into what happened in Thessolonica and Athens, see Acts 17.

    In spite of what might have been Paul’s shortcomings, his words to them were a demonstration of the Spirit’s power.  The Holy Spirit can use even those who do not speak well to proclaim the message of Jesus Christ.  In verse 5, Paul explains that this way the faith of his listeners does not rest on his wisdom or any man’s wisdom, but on God’s power.

    Verses 6-10   Paul seems to change what he is saying in verse 6, because he says “We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.”  
    Paul’s problem with the Corinthians was that they thought of themselves as spiritual people, but they were not spiritual. They were more of the “party spirit.”  It is like telling someone not that your are an American, but that you are a Democrat or Republican.  Imagine being in a foreign country, and someone asks your nationality and you give the name of your political party here in the United States instead of your citizenship.

    Paul speaks of the wisdom of this age and the rulers of this age.  It was the wisdom and rulers of “this age” that put Jesus to death on the cross. Verse 9 is a loose translation of Isaiah 64:4.  (Since ancient times no one has heard,  no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.) We don’t understand the things of God except by the Spirit of God, and we don’t have the Spirit of God without faith in the Son Jesus Christ. God reveals the hidden truths to us by his Spirit.

    Verses 11-16   When Paul speaks of the man without the Spirit he means the unsaved man.  This is what Jude wrote on this same topic, “17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, ‘In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.’ 19 These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.”

    Paul explained that his teaching to them came not from words taught to him by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit.  Those teachings expressed spiritual truths in spiritual words. (Verse 13) A person without the Spirit will not accept the spiritual truths, because it is just foolishness to him.  That is why a Christian and a non-Christian will react differently to someone speaking to them about right and wrong.  Both men might agree that they should not steal, but the Christian will think it is wrong because it is against the law of God and God will be displeased with him if he steals.  The non-Christian (or even carnal-minded Christians) will not steal because he might get caught and punished, even though he doesn’t see what’s wrong with getting what he wants.  The difference is the indwelling Spirit which works in the life of the believer.

    Verse 15– The spiritual man is not subject to any man’s judgment because he is judged only by God who knows the hearts of all people.  In verse 16, Paul asks the rhetorical question quoted from Isaiah 40:13, “For who has known the mind of the Lord that we may instruct him?”  Then, he answers his own question with the words, “But we have the mind of Christ.”
In verse 16, Paul seems to be speaking of himself and the other apostles.  They have been given the mind of Christ so that they can speak and write the message of God.  In John 15:15 Jesus spoke these words to his disciples, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”   The church has always taught that what the apostles said was what God says.  I like to think of it this way: The Word of God is true, the words written here are not necessarily true in the exact way they are written because of the various translations etc.