First Corinthians Chapter Two
This week’s Bible study will entail all of First Corinthians chapter two, since there are only 16 verses anyway. Still in all, there are quite a bit of Spiritual nourishment packed into these 16 verses, including what the apostle Paul calls “God’s secret wisdom”. So let’s begin chapter two, commencing at verse one.
“When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” [I Corinthians 2: verses 1-5 NIV]
Paul is writing this letter after having already established the church at Corinth. That is why the first sentence is in the past tense. The other thing that there seems to be abundant evidence of is Paul’s apparent humility, such as when he writes, “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” Paul was the primary founding father of this particular church. As such Paul could have established a cult of personality around himself based on his authority as evangelist and leader. But he chose not to do so. This speaks volumes about the high level of Paul’s integrity, including his marked refusal to abuse his authority even though he probably could have if he had wanted to. Paul then continues his train of thought in verse 6.
“We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the King of Glory. However, as it is written: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him’ – but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit.” (I Corinthians 2: verses 6-10 NIV)
“We speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.” God destined His secret wisdom for each of us since before the dawn of prehistory. From before the time when we were first formed in our mother’s womb, God’s secret wisdom was imparted to us by God. As Paul wrote, “’No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him’ – but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit.” We can achieve all Godly knowledge by the revelation of His Spirit. We come to know the revelation of God’s Spirit, first by prayer and fasting, and second by how we treat others. But prayer and fasting, which are of the utmost importance in our walk with Christ, are topics for another discussion. For now, let’s continue today’s study where we left off at verse 10.
“The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment: ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord, that they may instruct Him?’ But we have the mind of Christ. [I Corinthians 2: verses 10-16 NIV]
“’No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him’ – but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit.” When our lives are over and we make it to heaven, we simply cannot imagine how magnificent it will be to live there with the Lord forever without end. We will find ourselves surrounded by beauty beyond compare that will last forever. I would not be able to describe heaven to you unless it was revealed to me by the Holy Spirit, and if you try to imagine what heaven will be like, whatever your mind can conceive of is there by the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit, not of your own imagination. That is why Paul wrote, “We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.”
But people who do not have the Spirit can’t possibly do this, as Paul writes, “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” So if you ever find yourself in a group of people who put down Christians or who talk disparagingly about them, you now know where that kind of talk comes from. Remarks such as those go far beyond the mere opinions of humankind. Instead, they reveal an utter contempt for God, and by extension all that God has created, which includes ourselves as well as all others. The Bible also warns us that in the last days there will be “scoffers” among us who will inquire sarcastically, “Where is this Jesus that you said was coming back? Don’t you think He would have come back by now?” But we as Christians are to ignore this kind of foolish talk as we keep our eyes on the prize, which is Jesus crucified, risen, and ascended to heaven to be seated at His Father’s right hand. Besides, as Paul writes, “we have the mind of Christ.”
To have the mind of Christ is to obtain God’s secret wisdom that I started our study off with today. They go hand in hand together. This is a worthwhile goal for any of us to achieve. So I want to encourage each and every one of you to find a way to incorporate this into your life. You won’t achieve it all at once, so be sure and give yourself plenty of time to get acclimated to this new way of living. Remember that practice makes perfect. If you approach your Christian values in this manner you will find yourself with a much healthier outlook on life in general. And the peace of Christ, which is beyond all human understanding and comprehension, will be with you all. Amen!