1 Corinthians 2:11


Tuesday, 15 April 2014

For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 1 Corinthians 2:11

Paul is tying what he just said in with this thought. He has been writing about the wisdom of God which has been hidden and unknown to man until it was revealed by the Spirit of God. If the Spirit of God had not revealed these things (which are now found in the proclamation of the prophets and apostles, and which speak of the work of Christ – all as recorded in Scripture) we never would have been able to discern them. They belonged alone to God, in His eternal mind.

To show us something more easily understandable, he uses the thoughts of the individual man as a comparison. Nobody can get truly get into another man’s thoughts. All we can do is make deductions about what someone is thinking, but we can never know for sure the details and sum of his mind. The same is true with God. He has created, and we can make deductions about Him from His creation, but we can never fully attain to the thoughts of God – and we surely cannot speak for Him about what His thoughts are.

Only can the spirit in a man know the things of that man and in like manner, only the Spirit of God can know “the things of God.” Unless the man reveals his thoughts to another, they remain his alone. As this is true with someone just like us, and it is true with all humans who have ever lived, how much more God! Unless God reveals His intentions to us we cannot ever probe those things which are hidden in Him.

Paul is going to continue with this thought in the verses ahead, but it is important to remember that what He has been speaking about, and what he will continue to speak about, is the message of the gospel. He is not indicating that we have something available to us that is unavailable to others. He is not saying that because we have the Spirit, we are able to obtain a level of spiritual knowledge that others cannot. Nor is he saying that we can now “speak for God” in prophetic utterances. He is clearly explaining how the message of the gospel was unknown until it was known and that it is God’s incomparable way of bringing salvation to man.

Later, when speaking of those who are not in Christ, he will explain why they cannot perceive the gospel. It is not because they don’t have it available to them, but because they don’t have faith to receive it. When faith is exercised, they will receive the Spirit and the gospel will suddenly make sense.

Life application: Faith in the gospel is not a step into darkness, it is stepping into God’s revealed light. This light is found in the Bible which contains the words of the prophets and apostles. These words proclaim Jesus Christ. The things of God necessary for salvation have been revealed by the Spirit of God to us. Let us continue to read and cherish this treasure of wisdom and love all our days.

Lord God, I don’t need to climb the highest mountain to find You. I don’t need to cross oceans or walk in the hot and arid desert to get close to You. And I don’t need to sell all my possessions and give the money to the poor to be pleasing to You. What I need is to fix my eyes and thoughts on Jesus and place my faith in Him. And You have revealed Him to me in Your word. Thank You for Your word which shows me Your love for us in Your Son. Thank You. Amen.



1 Corinthians 2:10


Monday, 14 April 2014

But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 1 Corinthians 2:10

“But God” is given as a contrast to “the rulers of this age” who are emblematic of all the learned, wise, noble, mighty, etc. These people may have worldly advantages over others, but apart from understanding the work of Christ, they are devoid of the most important knowledge of all. Despite everything they can accomplish, they cannot attain, the precious facets of the “wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory.”

However, those who hear and receive the message can attain them because He “has revealed them to us through His Spirit.” Again, a verse arises which is often manipulated and used in a way which is unintended by Paul. This verse is not speaking about a sudden illumination in the individual concerning a spiritual revelation apart from the Bible. Rather the Bible is the key to  understanding these things because it was authored by the Spirit for our benefit.

Albert Barnes wisely notes the following three points concerning what is being relayed in this verse –

“(1) That people by nature are not able to discover the deep things of God – the truths which are needful to salvation.
(2) that the apostles were inspired by the Holy Spirit; and if so, then the Scriptures are inspired.
(3) that all Christians are the subjects of the teaching of the Holy Spirit; that these truths are made known to them by his illumination; and that but for this, they would remain in the same darkness as other men.”

God spoke in times past through the apostles and prophets concerning the truths of Christ. As Peter explains in his second epistle to us that, “knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:20, 21

These writings are, as Jesus Himself says, what testify to Him. It is the Bible which is to be our standard concerning all spiritual matters. To rely on the Holy Spirit for spiritual matters without reading and knowing the Bible is a category mistake. It can only lead to bad theology which will, by necessity, devolve into heresy.

Because the Spirit is the one who guided the prophets and apostles as they wrote, we have the very depths of the wisdom of God revealed to us in the Bible. And the reason is given by Paul – “For the Spirit searches all things, yes the deep things of God.” Everything within the Godhead is available to the Spirit of God.

This tells us a few things about the Spirit:

1) He has all the knowledge of God (omniscience)
2) Only God is omniscient
3) Therefore, He is, like the Father and the Son, an independent Person within the Godhead; but in no way separate – thus the doctrine of the Trinity is confirmed.

When Paul says that the Spirit “searches all things” it doesn’t mean that He is looking for something. The word erauna is used. It indicates a continuous, complete, and detailed knowledge and enlightenment of “the deep things of God.” Those things that are to be revealed by God in the Bible are from the eternal mind of God. Though some parts of the Bible were penned by Moses and some by John 1500 years later, and many authors in between them, they reflect a wisdom that is fixed, firm, unchanging, complete, accurate, harmonious, etc.

Because this is so, let us take special care to pay attention in our church gatherings. If something is spoken or taught that contradicts any portion of the Bible, then it cannot be of God. If God says that no more than three may speak in tongues and there must be an interpreter, then any presentation of tongues which doesn’t match this is not of the Holy Spirit.

The Bible explicitly states that women are not to teach or have authority over men. Therefore, if a church has a female pastor, though she may be knowledgeable, eloquent, or uplifting, she is not being directed by the Spirit and the meeting is not authorized by God. In our pursuit of God, we must allow God to be God and be attentive to His words lest we be found disobedient.

Life application: God has spoken and His word is written, other than what is recorded there, what more do we need for the development and practice in our spiritual life? The answer can only be, “Nothing.”

Lord God, if the Bible is Your word, then surely it is sufficient to instruct me in all aspects of my spiritual life. What more do I need than what You have spoken? Surely You have given sufficient instructions for those things. So Lord, help me to understand Your word and be obedient to it. To Your glory I pray. Amen.

1 Corinthians 2:9


Sunday, 13 April 2014

But as it is written:

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
1 Corinthians 2:9

This is one of the many verses which is more often than not misapplied by those who quote it. It is not speaking of the future state of the Christian in heaven. From the surrounding context, we see that it is speaking of the same continuous thought which Paul has been writing about for quite a while – the wisdom of God displayed in the gospel message.

Turning again to Scripture, Paul loosely cites Isaiah 64:4 –

“For since the beginning of the world
Men have not heard nor perceived by the ear,
Nor has the eye seen any God besides You,
Who acts for the one who waits for Him.”

“But” surely confirms the analysis of the preceding verse which indicated that if the rulers of this age knew that Jesus’ crucifixion would prove that He is Lord, they would never have crucified Him; thus they would have attempted to thwart God’s plans. The “rulers of this age” were mentioned twice, in verses 6 and 7, as being those who lived by “the wisdom of this age” which is referred to in detail in chapter 1. Paul is giving a contrast to that very notion, one hinted at in the Old Testament.

Paul speaks of “the things which God has prepared for those who love him.” It is evident that the “rulers of this age” didn’t love Him and continued to fight against Him during Paul’s time; and for the most part, they still do to this day. Therefore, it is likely that had they known the fullness of the plan of Christ in advance, they would have worked to undermine it. But God kept the details hidden, veiled in seemingly obscure passages within the Old Testament. They only become evident in hindsight.

Even those who love Him were unable to clearly see what was coming. Jesus explained much of His work to the apostles and yet they couldn’t understand what He was saying. The plan was so incredible that it could never have been comprehended. Even after the resurrection, Thomas doubted the words of the other apostles, seeking tangible proof before he would believe.

The true blessedness of the gospel is set apart then for those who have not seen but still believe. It is by grace through faith that we are reconciled to God. The many wondrous facets of the gospel then are “the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. It is the current state of the believing soul that is being referred to in this verse, not the future heavenly state.

Life application: In order to avoid misusing verses, ensure that the context of the verses you cite is always considered. By doing this, the hearer won’t be misdirected by an improper use of what God intends.

Heavenly Father, there is no more wondrous state for me to consider than the one I find myself in now. I am a sinner saved by grace, having faith in the work of another – a sinless Lamb. The eternal wonder of heaven’s glory cannot be more astonishing than the place in which I now find myself… reconciled to You through the work of Jesus. Thank You for my Lord, Amen.



1 Corinthians 2:8


Saturday, 12 April 2014

…which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 1 Corinthians 2:8

Paul is continuing the thought from the previous verse which said, “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory,…”

This “wisdom of God” was hidden from the eyes of the “rulers of this age,” both Jew and Gentile. Paul says that if they, in fact knew what was coming, “they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” And yet, this is exactly what was needed in order for we as humans to be saved from our sins. There had to be a perfect Substitute to take our place.

The question then arises, “What does it mean that if they had ‘known, they would not have’ done what they did?” The reason this is important is because it can be looked at from two different perspectives:

1) If they knew that Jesus was the incarnate Word, the Son of God, they wouldn’t have dared to crucify Him, knowing who He truly was.

2) If they knew that His crucifixion would prove that He is Lord, they would never have crucified Him; thus they would have attempted to thwart God’s plans.

In Acts 2:36, it states this, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

Knowing this even after the resurrection, they still rejected him for the most part, though many believed. So the question remains open. What does it mean that if they knew the outcome of the cross of Christ, they wouldn’t have crucified Him? These people were utterly and completely ignorant of the wisdom of God revealed in Christ, but today the “wise” of the world have heard the message of Christ and they still reject it. In fact, from time to time someone will utter the immensely stupid words, “When Jesus comes back, kill Him again.”

If Jesus is to come back, it implies a few things: 1) He is alive (and thus over 2000 years old in His humanity); 2) He really came out of the grave, having prevailed over death; 3) Death cannot hold him (see Acts 2:24) and so “killing Him again” is utterly ridiculous; 4) He must be God incarnate; 5) If He is God incarnate, then the words of the Bible which testify about Him must be true; 6) He then is the only way to be saved.

And yet, despite these logical deductions, His rule and authority are still rejected! Thus, it is not inconceivable that Paul is saying that rather than not crucifying Christ because they would have loved Him, instead they may not have crucified Him in order to thwart the plans God had to exalt Him because of His work; in essence they would have hated what the cross meant, just as the world hates it and fights against it today.

The leaders of Israel knew Him to be a man of God, they saw His miracles, they heard His words, and yet they rejected Him. But the very rejection that they planned was a part of God’s own plans for them, or for anyone who would be willing to drop their fists, humble their hearts, and call on this wonderful Lord of glory. This is the amazing thing about the work of God in Christ. Even those who participated in His crucifixion could only be saved because of His crucifixion. What an amazing demonstration of the wisdom of God in Christ.

Life application: Never underestimate the hardness of the human heart. Those who reject Christ are at enmity with God. Even knowing who Jesus is and what He did for us, many hate Him all the more. Be ready to defend your faith, proclaim it boldly, and sometimes to do so many times. With witness, prayer, and perseverance even the hardest heart may soften.

Heavenly Father, my prayer today is for those who have heard of Your immense love in the giving of Your Son and who have yet to receive this beautiful gift. Help me to be a strong witness of the great change that can take place in even the hardest heart. Be glorified in calling them to Yourself through Jesus. This is my prayer to You this day. Amen.


1 Corinthians 2:7


Friday, 11 April 2014

But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory… 1 Corinthians 2:7

“But” is given to contrast “the wisdom of this age” and also “the rulers of this age” which he had just mentioned. Those so noted are, despite their high status now, those “who are coming to nothing.” Many arguments and philosophies come and go which attempt to answer how we got here, why we are here, what our purpose is, and even how we can control our surroundings and our destiny. But without including God in the equation, the ruminations are futile and ultimately lack true wisdom because they lack the final answers. Understanding this, Paul says “But…”

On the other hand, and completely different from their futile contemplations, “we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery.” As noted in the preceding verse, “we” is speaking of the true believer in Christ. It is not speaking of the “mature” in Christ, nor the “learned” in Christ, but all Christians. This is because all Christians possess the necessary starting point and finishing point of all wisdom – Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word. This then is not referring to “deep knowledge” but simply the gospel message which Paul has been referring to all along and which is summed up in verse 2:2 – “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”

It is true that there is much deep and intellectual study which can be obtained from the Bible and the many disciplines it reveals, but every one of those disciplines finds its true meaning and fullness in Christ. Apart from Jesus, the most intellectual person on earth can pick up the Bible and find interesting things – interesting patterns of many sorts for example, but they cannot be properly understood without knowing Christ personally.

Because of this, Paul calls it “the wisdom of God in a mystery.” A “mystery” in the Bible is something that was once concealed, but is now revealed. It is not something attainable only to certain enlightened people, but something which is attainable to all who are found in Christ; that Christ died for our sins and was resurrected for our justification.

This truth is “the hidden wisdom of God ordained before the ages for our glory.” And this is the “mystery” which is rejected by those who think that they have all of the great answers available without God. They become so blinded by their own intellect, power, understanding, or nobility that they cannot see the work of Jesus for what it truly is. And thus, they are excluded from the wisest information of all. And yet, it is wisdom that truly even a young child can grasp. This wisdom from God turns the world upside down. This is the wisdom from God which Paul speaks of.

Life application: Don’t get sidetracked by folks who use Paul’s terminology concerning the wisdom of God to place themselves above others as if they have secrets others can’t perceive. Paul always brings his theology back to the cross of Jesus Christ. If you have this knowledge, and have accepted Jesus’ work based on it, then you have the most important knowledge of all.

Lord, I know that big computers can track my every phone call, my every text and email, and even my location. If a crummy machine made by man can do this, how much more You, who created all things, must know about me – my every fault, my heart’s desire, my thoughts in the night. It is both terrifying and uplifting at the same time. Apart from You there must be terror at such knowledge. In Christ, You have washed away the bad and are attentive to the needs. My God! How great You are.  Thank You for Jesus who covers my sin and reconciles me to You. Amen.