1 Corinthians 2


“And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human 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 with great fear and 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 human wisdom, but on God’s power.” 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

Paul reminds the Corinthian Christians of the source of the Gospel. Paul first came to Corinth in 51 AD (cf. Acts 18:1ff). As Paul communicated with the Corinthians regarding the Gospel message it was not performed with any grand oratory skills, excellence of speech, and neither was it filled with the wisdom of this world.

He’s obviously learned from his mistake in Athens. Acts 17:22-31. That which Paul preached was the testimony of God (divine revelation – wisdom defined).

Paul’s only interest while in Corinth was to preach Jesus. While others spend their time learning various religious practices and philosophies of men Paul focused on God’s divine revelation. The cross of Christ is again emphasized as the central theme of the Gospel, 1 Corinthians 1:18.

Though Paul knew not how the Corinthians would receive the message of the Gospel, he preached (with fear, weakness and trembling). As our voice today quivers with heart-thumping trembling we preach to others hoping they will be receptive.

That which separated the message Paul proclaimed from the philosophers of his day was the matter of confirmation. The philosophers persuaded men with swelling oratory and appeals to human wisdom. The apostle Paul persuaded the Corinthians with miraculous manifestations of the Spirit.

The purpose of such work was to confirm faith in the Corinthians, Mark 16:17-20 / Hebrews 2:3. The Corinthians had apparently slipped back into their old ways of hearing the tones and talents of speakers rather than looking to the confirming miracles that accompanied the apostles in their preaching.

“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. No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery 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 Lord of glory.” 1 Corinthians 2:6-8

God’s wisdom is identified, revealed, and understood. This wisdom was spoken by the apostles and prophets, Ephesians 3:1-5. This Gospel is for those who are “mature” ‘teleios’, ‘the perfect, i.e. the more intelligent, ready to apprehend divine things’, 1 Corinthians 2:6.

The despised of this earth are viewed by God as perfect and therefore enjoy fellowship with Him, 1 Corinthians 1:19 / 1 John 1:5ff. This perfection is made possible by the grace of God, Ephesians 2:8 / Hebrews 10:1ff. God’s view of his redeemed is ‘mature’ man’s view of the redeemed is depicted in the words “despised… week… foolish,” 1 Corinthians 1:27ff.

The word “mystery,” musterion means the secret counsels which govern God in dealing with the righteous, which are hidden from ungodly and wicked men but plain to the godly.

In the New Testament God’s plan of providing salvation for men through Christ, which was once hidden but now is revealed, Romans 16:25 / 1 Corinthians 2:7. At a point in the past, God’s wisdom remained “hidden” but is now revealed for all to know, Ephesians 3:1ff / 1 Peter 1:20.

God “foreordained before the worlds” this Gospel message for our glory. Foreordained, ‘proorizo’ means to determine beforehand. Though God had predetermined to reveal a saving Gospel message to man it was delivered over a long period of time in bits and pieces.

It could not be fully understood until completely revealed, 1 Peter 1:10-12. The revealed message has the power to bring us glory with God.

Jesus is indeed the “Lord of glory.” This statement assumes the deity of Jesus. The rulers of this world had no knowledge of Jesus and proved this to be the case by killing him on the cross. Once again, this verse shows that the wisdom of man is antithetical to that of the wisdom of God.

“However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” —the things God has prepared for those who love him—these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.” 1 Corinthians 2:9-13

Paul quotes from two sources, Isaiah 64:4 and Isaiah 65:17. The point is man could never conceive nor perceive the wisdom of God lest it was revealed. Verse 10 tells us that God has revealed His wisdom and therefore all can know of the efficacy of the saving blood of Jesus Christ.

The word “revealed,” ‘apokalupto’ is a key term. It means to uncover, to disclose, reveal, to reveal one’s whole mind, to be disclosed, made known. Clearly, God has revealed His mind (the wisdom of God) and intended for man to understand.

The mind of God was revealed, “through the Spirit.” The Holy Spirit is a member of the Godhead, Colossians 2:9, whose work is revealing the mind of God to the apostles and prophets. Jesus had proclaimed that this would be the Holy Spirit’s work, John 16:13-15 and Paul confirmed these words in Ephesians 3:1-5.

As a member of the Godhead, the Spirit is a different individual that shares the same purpose with the Father and Jesus as is indicated by, John 17:21 and here 1 Corinthians 2:10. The Holy Spirit, as part of the Godhead, “searches the deep things of God.”

That is, He investigates and understands, by His omniscience, all the knowledge of the Godhead and then reveals these things. The word “God”, ‘Theos’ is comprised of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Paul uses an illustration to get across the point of revelation. No man can know what is in my mind unless I tell the matter. Likewise, no man can know the mind of God lest the Holy Spirit revealed the mind of God.

The point is clear, Paul is not saying that the Holy Spirit inhabits the body of God in some mysterious way. Paul is rather saying that we cannot know the things of the Godhead lest the word of God be revealed by the Spirit. Revelation then is a work of the Holy Spirit.

The “spirit of the world” appears to be a phrase indicating human reason as opposed to that which has been revealed by the Holy Spirit, “the spirit which is from God,” i.e., divine revelation. Paul spoke of this in 1 Corinthians 1:18ff.

Herein we see the purpose of divine revelation and once again it goes against those among us who would say we cannot know the truth. God has revealed His mind to us through the workings of the Holy Spirit, Acts 2:1-4 / Hebrews 1:1-2 / 2 Peter 1:21.

Apparently the originator of the plural pronoun “we” and “us”, 1 Corinthians 2:10, is the apostles who delivered the teachings of the Holy Spirit to mankind. Here, once again, is a contrast between human reasoning and divine revelation! Revelation 22:10.

With human reason comes inconsistency of perceived truth. Truth is determined by the individual and therefore truth is different for each individual. The man who follows this ideology has effectively isolated himself from others.

Man becomes autonomous and can clamour about any law that violates his perceived truth. Not so with the one who follows one set of divine revelation. We, the saints of God are united in divine truth!

“The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:14-16

The word “natural man,” ‘psuchikos anthropos’ means concerned with the life only, animal, the natural man. Combining this definition with the individual who considers the spiritual words of divine revelation foolishness, here and in 1 Corinthians 1:18 it is apparent that the “natural man” is one who is dependent upon human reasoning as his rule of life.

The verse makes absolute since then. Why can the “natural man” not know divine revelation? Easy, because he has no interest in gaining knowledge of the divine and therefore can in no way know them while in this state of ignorance! Such a one is “spiritually judged.”

The word “judged,” ‘anakrino’ means to scrutinize, i.e. (by implication) investigate, interrogate, determine, ask, question, discern, examine, judge, search.

The point is clear, the non-spiritually minded individual who depends on human reasoning for autonomous truth cannot know divine truth because knowledge of divine truth comes by scrutiny, investigation, interrogation and examination of divine revelation. This is an endeavour that the worldly-minded individual will not take the time to do.

Who is the true fool then? The Book of Proverbs contrasts the foolish with the wise. It is the foolish who have no desire for righteousness while it is the disposition of the wise to seek after it and apply it to their lives.

The individual who searches out the Scriptures through investigation, interrogation and examination will know divine truth, 2 Timothy 2:15.

Such an individual cannot, in divine reality, be judged by the one who depends upon human reason for self-truth. The world may judge the Christian as being a religious fanatic or one who puts false hopes in a future heaven; however, it matters not in all reality.

Humanism reveals the mind of the natural man clearly. The Humanist manifesto II of 1973 states, “Traditional theism, especially faith in the prayer-hearing God, assumed to love and care for persons, to hear and understand their prayers, and to be able to do something about them, is an unproved and outmoded faith. Salvationism, based on mere affirmation, still appears as harmful, diverting people with false hopes of heaven hereafter. Reasonable minds look to other means for survival.”

No matter what man may say or come up with it will never change one word of God’s. The firm foundation of God will always stand and there will always be men and women who lovingly hold to it, 2 Timothy 2:19. If we Christians have the “mind of Christ” we inferentially can know His divine revelation.

The word “Lord”, ‘kurios’ is used in this verse as opposed to “God,” ‘Theos’ in verse 12. Kurios is defined as “supreme in authority”. Kurios is used 687 times in the New Testament and is applied to the godhead as is Theos, Revelation 22:5-6 / Revelation 22:20-21.

The purpose of the verse is clear. The humanist does not and cannot know the mind of God and can in no way instruct God who created him in truth. Those who examine and investigate the word of God know divine revelation and can in no way be judged by the humanist.

The mind of Christ is the mind of the Kurios and therefore we see the deity of Christ! These things being truth regarding divine revelation, the Christian must not worry about what the humanist thinks about him. Truth reveals the humanist error and he too shall bow before the Lord at the end of times, Philippians 2:10.


Paul writes to the Corinthians that they may be “blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 1:8. The current state of the Corinthian brethren is revealed in chapter one.

They were divided due to a faulty view of the gospel message. Paul sets out to clear up the nature of the gospel. The word of God was not to be treated as a set of philosophies delivered by favoured individuals, Acts 17:21.

Paul explains that truth is “not in words which man’s wisdom teaches”, 1 Corinthians 2:13. The “word of the cross”, 1 Corinthians 1:18) will more readily be accepted by the perceived weak, foolish and poor of the world.

Those who are despised by the rich and powerful see the true nature of the Gospel. The message of the cross was confirmed in their mind by the “demonstration of the Spirit and power,” 1 Corinthians 2:4.

The perfect, mature, 1 Corinthians 2:6 will continue to receive the preaching of Jesus. The glorious gospel “revealed through the Spirit” is received of the spiritual man that the world considers foolish and despised, 1 Corinthians 2:10ff.

Chapter two sets forth the contrast between the true foolish (the natural man) and the wise (the spiritual man). The natural man is only interested in the things of this life. He cannot know the will of God because he rejects investigation, examination and searching of the scriptures.

Though the Corinthians had at one time obeyed the gospel unto sanctification many apparently found themselves with the same mind as those of the world regarding the gospel message.

Chapter three will reveal more of said symptoms of the overall problem of division in the church in Corinth. That problem is a lack of spiritual knowledge and understanding. Such a condition has always and always will have a destroying effect on God’s people, Hosea 4:1 / Hosea 4:6.

Go To 1 Corinthians 3



"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"