First Corinthians 2:6-16


Paul begins to describe the “wisdom” that is God’s and is available to the spiritual man.

The Corinthian’s wisdom was mere appearance, style and conceptual.

God’s wisdom is real, with substance and is from the age that is coming.


The Corinthians had dismissed Paul and his message because it was “foolishness” to them.

They felt this way because they did not perceive Paul’s “wisdom”.

These people are described as:

a)      “sanctified” (1:2),

b)      “given grace” (1:4), 

c)      “not lack any spiritual gift” (1:6),

d)      “brothers” (1:26; 2:1),

e)      “in Christ Jesus” (1:30)

They are indeed the “spiritual” ones: “God has revealed it to us by his Spirit”.

 But, Paul can not talk to them as spiritual (3:1) because they can not understand.

They are “spiritual” but they are acting “unspiritual”.



1)      6-10, God’s wisdom is presented by contrasting those who understand and those who do not.

2)      10-13, Why do some perceive it and others do not?  It is the presence of the Spirit.

3)      14-16,  Explains things as the spiritual and the natural.  Text verse Isaiah 40:13


The Conclusion

The natural man can not hear the message of God as wisdom but the spiritual man (the saved man, with the Spirit of God) can hear, understand and make correct judgments.


The Problem

The Corinthians are the spiritual men, but they are not hearing nor understanding the wisdom of God so they are making incorrect judgments.  They are evaluating wisdom and life just like the natural, unbeliever.


Some Confusing Words
These verses are difficult to interpret.  This is true because proper interpretation is based on accurately defining and applying the words Paul uses.  In these 10 verses Paul uses some very “heavy” words.  These words must properly be interpreted or else all kinds of strange doctrine and applications will arise.  Some of the difficult words are:

a)      Wisdom (Sophia)

b)      mystery  (musterion)

c)      hidden (apokrupto)

d)      rulers of this age (archon toutou aion)

e)      deep things of God (bathos theos)

f)        Spiritual man (anakrino)

g)      Natural man (psuchikos anthropos)

h)      The mind of Christ (nous christos)


Paul may be using the Corinthians vocabulary but applying his own “spiritual” meaning.


The Spirit

The Spirit of God and his presence is everything to Paul.
The Sprit is the one who got them saved.

The Sprit is the one who makes the spiritual.

The Spirit is the one who reveals the “wisdom” of God to them.

The Spirit is the one who empowers them to live the Christ like-life.


On the contrary, the lack of the Spirit is why the natural man has no hope of understanding the wisdom of God.



σοφιαν           δε           λαλουμεν       εν            τοις      τελειοις                σοφιαν         δε      ου

wisdom    Howbeit        we speak    among    them that are perfect     the wisdom    yet     not


του     αιωνος    τουτου   ουδε   των    αρχοντων    του   αιωνος τουτου των   καταργουμενων
of this  world                    nor   of the princes      of this   world                   that come to nought


“However” – “de” means “but” indicates both a switch in focus but still a continuation of the argument.


“We” – Paul switches from singular “I” (2:1, 2, 3, 4) to the plural “we” (2:6, 7,13)

1)      The first reason for this is to claim “wisdom” for him and his group.  Though the Corinthians think that they have wisdom, Paul is saying “my group” do have a message of wisdom”

2)      The second reason is that after having destroyed what they call wisdom, Paul is introducing them to a new group that has true wisdom.  It is like saying, if you are really interested in wisdom I know a group that has what you are looking for.

“Wisdom” is left undefined here.  For a definition we must return to:

1)      The opening line of the argument in 1:18, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power (or ‘wisdom’ see 1:19) of  God.”

2)      Paul’s definition of his message in 1:23, “We preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block . . .foolishness. . . .the wisdom of God.”

3)      The result of his preaching in 1:30, “It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God.”

“The Mature” –“teleiois” – means “having attained the end or purpose, full-grown, mature, adult, perfect”.

“World” is “aionos” – “age, eternal, the course and current of this world’s affairs, the world;         specially (Jewish) a Messianic period (present or future)

“Rulers”– “archonton” – “first (in rank or power) -- chief (ruler), magistrate, prince, ruler”

            In context here we should think of these rulers as being the natural men of government

and power.  Look at verse 2:8 and here we see “rulers” who if they had understood the

wisdom of God by the Spirit of God they would not have killed Jesus Christ but would

instead have embraced him.

1)      2 Cor. 4:4, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers. . .”

2)      Ephesians 3:10, “rulers” = “archais”,  “authorities”= “ekousiais”

3)      Daniel 10:20

“Coming to nothing” καταργουμενων   katargeo    to be (render) entirely idle (useless),               literally or figurative.  To put out of commission, to remove from power. 

This verb is in the Present Tense which indicates a process that is already in progress.

Passive Voice means that God is the one who is causing it to happen even today.



Verse 7 explains the nature of God’s wisdom and why it was not understood

Verse 8 gives an example of the result of the rulers (representing the wise men) of this age



αλλα      λαλουμεν      σοφιαν         θεου       εν    μυστηριω    την    αποκεκρυμμενην

But         we speak    the wisdom   of God    in    a mystery              even the hidden


  ην                   προωρισεν        ο θεος       προ     των  αιωνων    εις    δοξαν     ημων
wisdom which    ordained           God       before    the world       unto     glory        our

“God’s Wisdom” is compared by contrast to the “wisdom of this age” of verse 2:6.

“God’s Wisdom” is described in four ways:

1)      “mystery” is something that has always been true and was known to God, but not yet revealed to men through history or revelation.  Mysteries are understood by the Spirit of God.

2)      “has been hidden” –refers to the mystery of God’s wisdom.  God’s wisdom (message of Christ, crucified Christ, Jesus Christ) was hidden.  This verb is in the perfect tense which means this wisdom has been hidden since eternity until now.

a.       Verse 2:8 tells us this mystery is still hidden today to the world’s wise men and rulers.

3)      “destined for our glory before time began”  

a.       “destined” refers to God’s plan and purpose

b.      “our glory” refers to the ultimate end, the eschatological goal of salvation which is to be with Jesus in his glory.

4)      “None of the rulers of this age understood.”

a.       This helps establish the who “us” or “we” are by comparing to “them”

b.      The Corinthians are in the “we” group but are thinking and understanding like the “them” group.


The Point:  By not understanding what was hidden by God the rulers (in their wisdom) acted foolishly and killed the Lord of Glory.  By doing so the rulers of this age actually began the process of eliminating themselves and their current age and began the glorification of us who believe and the ultimate establishment of a kingdom that will completely nullify their world, wisdom, values, etc.



Scriptural support from the Old Testament is provided by the Jewish sage.

The point of this verse from Isaiah 64:4 is that people of this age do not understand what God accomplished in Christ.

People of this age who do not understand God’s wisdom do not know what God has done for those of this age who do understand his wisdom.


Other translations of 2:9-





But as Scripture says: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him."(GOD'S WORD®)


But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.


but as it is written, Things which eye saw not, and ear heard not, And which entered not into the heart of man, Whatsoever things God prepared for them that love him.


But as it says in the holy Writings, Things which the eye saw not, and which had not come to the ears or into the heart of man, such things as God has made ready for those who have love for him.


but according as it is written, Things which eye has not seen, and ear not heard, and which have not come into man's heart, which God has prepared for them that love him,


but as it is written, Things which eye saw not, and ear heard not, And which entered not into the heart of man, Whatsoever things God prepared for them that love him.


But--to use the words of Scripture--we speak of things which eye has not seen nor ear heard, and which have never entered the heart of man: all that God has in readiness for them that love Him.


But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.


But as it is written, "Things which an eye didn't see, and an ear didn't hear, which didn't enter into the heart of man, these God has prepared for those who love him."


but, according as it hath been written, 'What eye did not see, and ear did not hear, and upon the heart of man came not up, what God did prepare for those loving Him -- '


This is a combination of Isaiah 64:4 and 65:16


2:10-13 The emphasis is on the means of this understanding or revelation - The Spirit

2:14-16 But, those who it is revealed to are not forgotten or out of the picture - The Spiritual Man.