Summary: Message 3 in our exposition of 1 Corinthians commenting on the work of the Holy Spirit in Paul's ministry.
Chico Alliance Church
Pastor David Welch
“The Power and Wisdom of the Spirit Working Through Paul”
Address and Introduction (Greeting and Thanksgiving) 1:1-9
I. Reproof for fleshly behavior 1-6
II. Response to questions and issues 7-16
I. Reproof for fleshly behavior 1-6
A. Reproof concerning divisions 1-4
1. Opening appeal for unity 1:10-17
a) Encouraged them to unity 1:10
• Keep on speaking the same thing
• Stop letting divisions continue among you
• Be restored to the same thinking and judgment
b) Exposed their disunity
c) Confronted their man-centered focus
2. The Biblical foundation for Unity 1:18-4:5
a) The priority of Christ and the cross 1:18-31
• Stop focusing on mere men with their limited power and wisdom.
• God established Christ and the crucifixion as the focal point of the universe.
• God deliberately uses the weak things of the world to keep the focus on Christ.
• If you are going to speak or boast or unify around someone, let it be about Christ!
b) The Power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit 2:1-3:4
(1) The Holy Spirit’s teaching ministry through Paul 2:1-5
(2) The Holy Spirit’s enlightening ministry in believers 2:6-3:4
The Holy Spirit and Paul
AND I came declaring the testimony of God (as one of those weak instruments boasting the Lord)
with superiority of words or human wisdom
I determined not to know anything except Christ and Him crucified (perfect tense)
and I was with you in personal weakness, fear and much trembling
My message and preaching were
in persuasive speech or human wisdom
in demonstration of the Spirit and power
Your faith would rest (exist, be)
on man’s wisdom
on God’s power
There are some lessons here both for teachers and learners speakers and listeners.
Paul described his ministry in Corinth by the power of the Holy Spirit. He first described the point of His visit. He then described the manner of his teaching both from a negative and positive aspect. The “AND I” connects this argument to the previous indicating that Paul consider Himself a perfect example of how God uses weak things. Paul included himself in the group he mentioned in chapter 1.
For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 1 Cor. 1:26
He goes on to contrast his weakness with the preferred manner of the hot “preacher or orator or philosopher” of the day. The Corinthians were drawn to those who would dispense all manner of human wisdom and speculation. Wisdom being the application of data to life; the accepted way of thinking and living. Therefore you can have the human or fleshly way of doing things and living and the revealed way of doing things from God.
Man’s wisdom -vs- God’s wisdom
James contrasted man’s wisdom with God’s wisdom.
Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3:13-18
Today we might consider wisdom a word-view. It is our conception of why things are the way they are and how they should be according to God’s revelation. The Corinthians were drawn to those whose words tickled the ears and pleased the mind. Paul went to Corinth from Athens “declaring the testimony of God.”
“declaring” = solemnly declare, tell, report to a group, preach,
to announce, with focus upon the extent to which the announcement or proclamation extends—‘to proclaim throughout, to announce, to speak out about.’
This was a word derived from the Greek word for “angel” as a messenger or announcer of God. What did Paul declare? Paul went to Corinth to declare the “testimony of God”.
There is some argument as to the actual original text here. Some Mss have the word “mystery” (musterion) and others the word “testimony (marturion). Most translators consider the word “testimony of God” to be the most likely original word. The term “mystery of God” will come up later in the chapter. Paul went to Corinth to declare the words which God had given to Him. His passion was God’s testimony concerning life and truth.
The truth of God was his message. What about his manner or method of preaching?