First Corinthians 2:1-5
The division of these verses:
a) 1:18-25 – the message of the cross (text verse Isaiah 29:14)
b) 1:26-31 – the people who heard the message (text verse Jeremiah 9:3-24)
c) 2:1-5 - the person who brought the message
d) 2:6-16 – what really is spiritual and what really is wisdom (text Isaiah 64:4)
The Corinthians are currently relying on powerful messages (1:18-25) to powerful people (1:26-31) or messages of great wisdom (1:18-25) to people with great wisdom (1:26-31).
The other thing they were looking to besides a great a message of worldly wisdom and worldly power and to their own worldly self sufficiency was a great messenger with great wisdom and power.
God’s message didn’t match the world’s message.
The people God called (the Corinthians) didn’t match the people the world seeks.
Now, the messenger God used (Paul) was not the messenger the world would seek an audience with.
Section 2:1-5 is made up of two parts:
1) 2:1-2 “and I come to you” (kagw elqwn proV umaV) – speak of the content of his message (similar to 1:17-25)
2) 2:3-5 “and I in weakness and in fear and in trembling much” (kagw en asqeneia kai en fobw kai en tromw pollw ) –
speak of the man and his style of preaching
These things combined prove it was not man (man’s power, man’s wisdom, man’s presence) that changed the Corinthians.
Yet, a change did take place. There was a power and a wisdom that manifested in the Corinthian church.
It was clearly not that of man, but of God himself.
Verse begins with “and I” making Paul’s argument continue to include his own experience
“Brothers” is used again to draw attention to Paul’s third point.
The second point began with “brothers” at 1:26.
Paul came with no reliance on his wisdom or on his own power.
The circumstances surrounding the Corinthians receiving the gospel had been stripped of anything that man could boast in.
The Greek says:
Came not according to excellence of speech or of wisdom announcing
hlqon ou kaq ‘uperochn logou h soqiaV kataggellon
to you the testimony of God
‘umin to marturion tou qeou
The NIV combines “excellence of speech” with “excellence of wisdom” to make “eloquence or superior wisdom”
The NIV makes “excellence” an adjective for “wisdom”
‘uperochn Or “excellence” means prominence, superiority, excellency
logos or “speech” and refers here to an trained orator with an oratory education
soqiaV or “wisdom” refers to cleverness in the speaking or in the presentation.
“Proclaim” – Paul did proclaim a message and so there was the use of speaking skills and a level of wisdom, but these were not the basis of his message.
“For” begins this verse which means it explains why Paul did not rely on speaking skills or cleverness in his presentation.
Paul knew the Word of God and the Truth of the Gospel could do its own work.
A fancy presentation would be a distraction later in their lives if they thought it was some fancy stage presentation or formula that made the change in their lives.
See Acts 16:16 – Satan planned to enter the church later.
“Resolved” means to judge, to decide. It emphasizes a deliberate act of the
will. Paul decided not to fall into this
trap when he arrived at
He had learned at:
1) Thessalonica – 1 Th. 2:1-10 (verse 5)
See Acts 16, 17, 18
“much trembling” – “tromoV” the word points to the anxiety of mind that arises out of a sense of his insufficiency and an understanding
of the infinite importance of his work.
“demonstration” means “demonstration, argumentation, proof. In Greek rhetoric the word indicates a compelling decision
demanded by the presupposition or premises (the obvious conclusions Paul had brought the Corinthians to realize.).
The “spirit’s power” is not in the form of signs and wonders but in the realm of logic, reasoning, persuasion.
The Corinthians came to faith without the power of man’s wisdom or speaking ability.
The result was that from that point on the Corinthians (and, Paul) would not be tempted to look for men but trust in God.
In this current age the Corinthians had the chance to look beyond what is seen and live by what is not seen.