1CORINTHIANS 2:1-16 (NIV – UK)
1 And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
God’s wisdom revealed by the Spirit
6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 However, as it is written:
‘What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived’ [Isaiah 64:4] – the things God has prepared for those who love him –
10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for,
‘Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’ [Isaiah 40:13]
THE SPIRIT OF THE WORLD VS THE SPIRIT OF GOD
‘Didn’t we do wisdom yesterday?’ We might wonder why Paul is so intent on speaking about true wisdom. It seems clear that there were problems with this in the Corinthian church, but is it relevant to us? The answer is a firm and resounding yes – and it’s important!
Following Jesus brings us a very special privilege – wisdom and understanding from God. Paul sets up two opposing sides – the spirit of the world and the Spirit of God. The spirit of the world is just that – of the world – and so can only know the things of this world, not of God. The Spirit of God, on the other hand, ‘searches all things, even the deep things of God’ (v. 10). If we want to know the spiritual things, if we want to know God, we cannot rely on human wisdom to get us there – we must only rely on the Spirit of God.
The spirit and wisdom of the world knocks on our door every day. It presents itself to us at all times in a wide range of imaginative ways. That was a challenge for the Christians in Corinth, and that is a challenge for us today. Saying ‘no’ to the wisdom of the world can cause friction, bring hardship, and cause difficulties for us. It can be extremely difficult to be counter-cultural, to be seen as foolish, to constantly say ‘no’ to the wisdom of the world – but it is essential if we want to be close to God.
Jesus’ followers have received ‘the Spirit who is from God’ (v. 12). Our challenge is to be obedient to Him, and not the world, so that we can know more and more the deep things of God.
Question: Can you identify any areas in your life where you experience friction with the world?