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  • JAMIESON-FAUSSET-BROWN - 1CORINTHIANS 2
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    CHAPTER 2

    1Co 2:1-16. PAUL'S SUBJECT OF PREACHING, CHRIST CRUCIFIED, NOT IN WORLDLY, BUT IN HEAVENLY, WISDOM AMONG THE PERFECT.

    1. And I--"So I" [CONYBEARE] as one of the "foolish, weak, and despised" instruments employed by God (1Co 1:27, 28); "glorying in the Lord," not in man's wisdom (1Co 1:31). Compare 1Co 1:23, "We."
    - when I came-- (Ac 18:1, &c.). Paul might, had he pleased, have used an ornate style, having studied secular learning at Tarsus of Cilicia, which STRABO preferred as a school of learning to Athens or Alexandria; here, doubtless, he read the Cilician Aratus' poems (which he quotes, Ac 17:28), and Epimenides (Tit 1:12), and Menander (1Co 15:33). Grecian intellectual development was an important element in preparing the way for the Gospel, but it failed to regenerate the world, showing that for this a superhuman power is needed. Hellenistic (Grecizing) Judaism at Tarsus and Alexandria was the connecting link between the schools of Athens and those of the Rabbis. No more fitting birthplace could there have been for the apostle of the Gentiles than Tarsus, free as it was from the warping influences of Rome, Alexandria, and Athens. He had at the same time Roman citizenship, which protected him from sudden violence. Again, he was reared in the Hebrew divine law at Jerusalem. Thus, as the three elements, Greek cultivation, Roman polity (Lu 2:1), and the divine law given to the Jews, combined just at Christ's time, to prepare the world for the Gospel, so the same three, by God's marvellous providence, met together in the apostle to the Gentiles [CONYBEARE and HOWSON].
    - testimony of God--"the testimony of Christ" (1Co 1:6); therefore Christ is God.

    2. The Greek implies, "The only definite thing that I made it my business to know among you, was to know Jesus Christ (His person) and Him crucified (His office)" [ALFORD], not exalted on the earthly throne of David, but executed as the vilest malefactor. The historical fact of Christ's crucifixion had probably been put less prominently forward by the seekers after human wisdom in the Corinthian church, to avoid offending learned heathens and Jews. Christ's person and Christ's office constitute the sum of the Gospel.

    3. I--the preacher: as 1Co 2:2 describes the subject, "Christ crucified," and 1Co 2:4 the mode of preaching: "my speech . . . not with enticing words," "but in demonstration of the Spirit."
    - weakness--personal and bodily (2Co 10:10; 12:7, 9; Ga 4:13).
    - trembling--(compare Php 2:12). Not personal fear, but a trembling anxiety to perform a duty; anxious conscientiousness, as proved by the contrast to "eye service" (Eph 6:5) [CONYBEARE and HOWSON].

    4. my speech--in private.
    - preaching--in public [BENGEL]. ALFORD explains it, My discourse on doctrines, and my preaching or announcement of facts.
    - enticing--rather, "persuasive."
    - man's wisdom--man's is omitted in the oldest authorities. Still "wisdom" does refer to "man's" wisdom.
    - in demonstration of . . . Spirit, &c.--Persuasion is man's means of moving his fellow man. God's means is demonstration, leaving no doubt, and inspiring implicit faith, by the powerful working of the Spirit (then exhibited both outwardly by miracles, and inwardly by working on the heart, now in the latter and the more important way only, Mt 7:29; Ac 6:10; Heb 4:12; compare also Ro 15:19). The same simple power accompanies divine truth now, producing certain persuasion and conversion, when the Spirit demonstrates by it.

    5. stand in . . . wisdom of men--rest on it, owe its origin and continuance to it.

    6, 7. Yet the Gospel preaching, so far from being at variance with true "wisdom," is a wisdom infinitely higher than that of the wise of the world.
    - we speak--resuming "we" (preachers, I, Apollos, &c.) from "we preach" (1Co 1:28), only that here, "we speak" refers to something less public (compare 1Co 2:7, 13, "mystery . . . hidden") than "we preach," which is public. For "wisdom" here denotes not the whole of Christian doctrine, but its sublimer and deeper principles.
    - perfect--Those matured in Christian experience and knowledge alone can understand the true superiority of the Christian wisdom which Paul preached. Distinguished not only from worldly and natural men, but also from babes, who though "in Christ" retain much that is "carnal" (1Co 3:1, 2), and cannot therefore understand the deeper truths of Christianity (1Co 14:20; Php 3:15; Heb 5:14). Paul does not mean by the "mystery" or "hidden wisdom" (1Co 2:7) some hidden tradition distinct from the Gospel (like the Church of Rome's disciplina arcani and doctrine of reserve), but the unfolding of the treasures of knowledge, once hidden in God's counsels, but now announced to all, which would be intelligently comprehended in proportion as the hearer's inner life became perfectly transformed into the image of Christ. Compare instances of such "mysteries," that is, deeper Christian truths, not preached at Paul's first coming to Corinth, when he confined himself to the fundamental elements (1Co 2:2), but now spoken to the "perfect" (1Co 15:51; Ro 11:25; Eph 3:5, 6). "Perfect" is used not of absolute perfection, but relatively to "babes," or those less ripe in Christian growth (compare Php 3:12, 15, with 1Jo 2:12-14). "God" (1Co 2:7) is opposed to the world, the apostles to "the princes [great and learned men] of this world" (1Co 2:8; compare 1Co 1:20) [BENGEL].
    - come to naught--nothingness (1Co 1:28). They are transient, not immortal. Therefore, their wisdom is not real [BENGEL]. Rather, translate with ALFORD, "Which are being brought to naught," namely, by God's choosing the "things which are not (the weak and despised things of the Gospel), to bring to naught (the same verb as here) things that are" (1Co 1:28).

    7. wisdom of God--emphatically contrasted with the wisdom of men and of this world (1Co 2:5, 6).
    - in a mystery--connected in construction with "we speak": We speak as dealing with a mystery; that is not something to be kept hidden, but what heretofore was so, but is now revealed. Whereas the pagan mysteries were revealed only to a chosen few, the Gospel mysteries were made known to all who would obey the truth. "If our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost" (2Co 4:3), "whom the God of this world hath blinded." Ordinarily we use "mystery" in reference to those from whom the knowledge is withheld; the apostles, in reference to those to whom it is revealed [WHATELY]. It is hidden before it is brought forward, and when it is brought forward it still remains hidden to those that are imperfect [BENGEL].
    - ordained--literally, "foreordained" (compare 1Co 2:9), "prepared for them that love Him."
    - before the world--rather, "before the ages" (of time), that is, from eternity. This infinitely antedates worldly wisdom in antiquity. It was before not only the wisdom of the world, but eternally before the world itself and its ages.
    - to our glory--ours both now and hereafter, from "the Lord of glory" (1Co 2:8), who brings to naught "the princes of this world."

    8. Which--wisdom. The strongest proof of the natural man's destitution of heavenly wisdom.
    - crucified . . . Lord of glory--implying the inseparable connection of Christ's humanity and His divinity. The Lord of glory (which He had in His own right before the world was, Joh 17:4, 24) was crucified.

    9. But--(it has happened) as it is written.
    - Eye hath not seen, &c.--ALFORD translates, "The things which eye saw not . . . the things which God prepared . . . to us God revealed through His Spirit." Thus, however, the "but" of 1Co 2:10 is ignored. Rather construe, as ESTIUS, "('We speak,' supplied from 1Co 2:8), things which eye saw not (heretofore), . . . things which God prepared . . . But God revealed them to us," &c. The quotation is not a verbatim one, but an inspired exposition of the "wisdom" (1Co 2:6, from Isa 64:4). The exceptive words, "O God, beside (that is, except) Thee," are not quoted directly, but are virtually expressed in the exposition of them (1Co 2:10), "None but thou, O God, seest these mysteries, and God hath revealed them to us by His Spirit."
    - entered--literally, "come up into the heart." A Hebraism (compare, Jer 3:16, Margin). In Isa 64:4 it is "Prepared (literally, 'will do') for him that waiteth for Him"; here, "for them that love Him." For Isaiah spake to them who waited for Messiah's appearance as future; Paul, to them who love Him as having actually appeared (1Jo 4:19); compare 1Co 2:12, "the things that are freely given to us of God"

    10. revealed . . . by . . . Spirit--The inspiration of thoughts (so far as truth essential to salvation is concerned) makes the Christian (1Co 3:16; 12:3; Mt 16:17; Joh 16:13; 1Jo 2:20, 27); that of words, the PROPHET (2Sa 23:1, 2; 1Ki 13:1, 5), "by the word of the Lord" (1Co 2:13; Joh 20:30, 31; 2Pe 1:21). The secrets of revelation are secret to some, not because those who know them will not reveal them (for indeed, the very notion of revelation implies an unveiling of what had been veiled), but because those to whom they are announced have not the will or power to comprehend them. Hence the Spirit-taught alone know these secrets (Ps 25:14; Pr 3:32; Joh 7:17; 15:15).
    - unto us--the "perfect" or fully matured in Christian experience (1Co 2:6). Intelligent men may understand the outline of doctrines; but without the Holy Spirit's revelation to the heart, these will be to them a mere outline--a skeleton, correct perhaps, but wanting life [WHATLEY, Cautions for the Times, 14], (Lu 10:21).
    - the Spirit searcheth--working in us and with our spirits (compare Ro 8:16, 26, 27). The Old Testament shows us God (the Father) for us. The Gospels, God (the Son) with us. The Acts and Epistles, God (the Holy Ghost) in us [MONOD], (Ga 3:14).
    - deep things of God-- (Ps 92:5). His divine nature, attributes, and counsels. The Spirit delights to explore the infinite depths of His own divine mind, and then reveal them to us, according as we are capable of understanding them (De 29:29). This proves the personality and Godhead of the Holy Ghost. Godhead cannot be separated from the Spirit of God, as manhood cannot be separated from the Spirit of man [BENGEL].

    11. what man, &c.--literally, "who of men knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of that man?"
    - things of God knoweth no man--rather, "none knoweth," not angel or man. This proves the impossibility of any knowing the things of God, GOTO NEXT CHAPTER - D. J-F-B INDEX & SEARCH

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