Confraternity Bible: New Testament and Supplemental Commentary

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1 CORINTHIANS - Chapter 2

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1 Corinthians 2

Supplemental Commentary:

I.  PARTY SPIRIT  1, 10 -- 4, 21 (continued)

2, 1-5:  Paul's Method of Preaching.  In Christ God bears witness of His love for man.    2.  Paul preached Christ, His Messiasship and divinity, His power and virtue, His ministry and Church, but at the center of all His cross.  The Corinthians needed this approach for humility and sobriety.    3.  Paul had been weakened and disquieted by persecution in Macedonia, indifference at Athens, and the reputation of the Corinthians.    4 f.  Faith is not based on external oratorical argumentation but on conviction given through the internal power of the Spirit.

2, 6-16:  True Wisdom.    6.  The wisdom of the spiritually mature touches on more difficult doctrines, as the priesthood of Christ (Heb. 5, 11 -- 6, 3), and embraces more profound knowledge of truths already learned in the catechism.  Religious knowledge can and should keep pace with sound mental development.  The rulers of this world: "world" or "era" implies present time and visible universe.  The rulers may be the leaders of thought, such as philosophers, but Paul probably also refers to the devil.  The devil has not dominion, but "this world" as opposed to the "world to come" is largely evil.  The leader of the forces of evil is the devil who has gained a large following among men of the world.    7.  This wisdom was God's secret, but is now revealed and can be known with His help.    8.  Cf. 6.  Here probably political leaders and the devil.  Pilate and the Jewish leaders would not have crucified Christ if they had not blinded themselves to His wisdom.  The devil would not have instigated the crucifixion had he realized that the death on the cross meant the eventual ruin of all diabolical power.    10-16.  The spirit is the soul, the principle of life.  It is used of man's intellectual soul.  But in the Old Testament it is used particularly of God who is pure intelligence.  The Holy Spirit who dwells in the soul of the just gives him a new sharing of the divine life, of the divine mind, a superior intellect and will.  Paul usually calls this elevated soul the spirit.  The one who possesses it is spiritual.  The spiritual man, i.e., every Christian, receives at baptism, (a) the Spirit, i.e., the divine indwelling appropriated in the Holy Trinity to the Third Person, and (b) the spirit, i.e., the elevated intellect which knows now by faith and is to see later by the beatific vision.

By contrast the merely natural man is called sensual (14) or carnal (3, 1) because his fallen nature so often manifests itself as merely animal life, intent upon things of the body.  He has intelligence but does not show it.  So also the Christian who does not live according to the spirit, is called sensual and carnal.    14-16.  The eye is not naturally able to perceive infra-red rays.  God could give it this power.  So also the spiritual man in addition to his natural knowledge is able to know things beyond the powers of a merely natural man.  He has more fully the mind of Christ, which is the supreme mind of God ("the Lord").

Confraternity Bible:

Paul's Method of Preaching  1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with pretentious speech or wisdom, announcing unto you the witness to Christ.  2 For I determined not to know anything among you, except Jesus Christ and him crucified.  3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling.  4 And my speech and my preaching were not in the persuasive words of wisdom, but in the demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith might rest, not on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.

True Wisdom  6 Wisdom however, we speak among those who are mature, yet not a wisdom of this world nor of the rulers of this world, who are passing away.  7 But we speak the wisdom of God, mysterious, hidden, which God foreordained before the world unto our glory, 8 a wisdom which none of the rulers of this world has known; for had they known it, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory.  9* But, as it is written,
"Eye has not seen nor ear heard,

Nor has it entered into the heart of man,

What things God has prepared for those who love him." 
10 But to us God has revealed them through his Spirit.  For the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.  11 For who among men knows the things of a man save the spirit of the man which is in him?  Even so, the things of God no one knows but the Spirit of God.  12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the spirit that is from God, that we may know the things that have been given us by God.  13 These things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in the learning of the Spirit, combining spiritual with spiritual.  14 But the sensual man does not perceive the things that are of the Spirit of God, for it is foolishness to him and he cannot understand, because it is examined spiritually.  15* But the spiritual man judges all things, and he himself is judged by no man.  16 For "who has known the mind of the Lord, that he might instruct him?"  But we have the mind of Christ.


9: Isa. 64, 4.

15: The spiritual man can judge things both of nature and of the spirit, but the spirituality of a spiritual man cannot be judged by a merely natural man, who does not possess the spirit.