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Summary: There were among the Gentiles wise philosophers who considered the Gospel foolishness; and although the apostle, with tongue in cheek, had called the Gospel ministry the foolishness of preaching, and the foolishness of God, and even though he had . . .

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September 1, 2012

Lessons on First Corinthians

By: Tom Lowe

Lesson 2.5: Christians and Wisdom

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 2.6-2.16

1 Cor 2.6-16 (KJV)

6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:

7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

9 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.

10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

Commentary

6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:

Howbeit we speak wisdom

“Howbeit” is an archaic word that we no longer use, which means “nevertheless”. Here it is used to connect this verse with the verses that precede it, so when they are joined together we read: “…That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God; nevertheless we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:

There were among the Gentiles wise philosophers who considered the Gospel foolishness; and although the apostle, with tongue in cheek, had called the Gospel ministry the foolishness of preaching, and the foolishness of God, and even though he had decided for wise reasons, to mete it out in a plain and simple manner, without the trappings of human wisdom; nevertheless he absolves it from the charge of foolishness. He proved it was not foolishness, but wisdom, which he and his fellow ministers preached, and that it was the highest kind of wisdom, and that when the Holy Spirit went along with it there was power to change the hearts of men.

among or with

them that are perfect:

Who are “them that are perfect”? They are adults with good sense and maturity, as opposed to babes and children; they are men and women who have their understandings enlightened by the spirit of wisdom and revelation; who can tell the difference between divine and human wisdom; and who are perfect in a comparative sense, having more spiritual knowledge and understanding than others. However, there is no one, past, present or waiting to be born, that are absolutely perfect in the knowledge they own; and those that know the most only know part of what can be known. Now, it is to such as these that the Gospel appears to be the highest wisdom. But we should not think that the apostle and the other Gospel ministers preached the more awe-inspiring precepts of the faith to a select set of persons that had more judgment and a better understanding of things than others; because, if this was the apostle's meaning, he might be thought to allude to a custom among the Jews, to deliver the inspiring things of the law, only to persons with such and such qualifications. Therefore, they did not permit anyone under the age of thirty to read the first chapter of Genesis and the visions of Ezekiel until thirty years of age; and they took from the Pythagoreans their notion of declaring their mysteries only to the “teleioi”, which is the word used here for "perfect ones." But, that is not what the apostle means, because he preached the Gospel to the “perfect ones,” and to everyone that had the least degree of spiritual knowledge, because the Gospel itself was wisdom.

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