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Not with excellency of speech or of wisdom
(ου καθ' υπεροχην λογου η σοφιας). Hυπεροχη is an old word from the verb υπερεχω (Php 4:7
) and means preeminence, rising above. In N.T. only here and 1Ti 2:2
of magistrates. It occurs in inscriptions of Pergamum for persons of position (Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 255). Here it means excess or superfluity, "not in excellence of rhetorical display or of philosophical subtlety" (Lightfoot).
For I determined not to know anything among you
(ου γαρ εκρινα τ ειδενα εν υμιν). Literally, "For I did not decide to know anything among you." The negative goes with εκρινα,
not with τ. Paul means that he did not think it fit or his business to know anything for his message beyond this "mystery
45614561 I was with you (εγενομην προς υμας). Rather, "I came to you" (not ην, was). "I not only eschewed all affectation of cleverness or grandiloquence, but I went to the opposite extreme of diffidence and nervous self-effacement" (Robertson and Plummer). Paul had been in prison in Philippi, driven out of Thessalonica and Beroea, politely bowed out of Athens. It is a human touch to see this shrinking as he faced the hard conditions in Corinth. It is a common feeling of the most effective preachers. Cool complacency is not the mood of the finest preaching. See φοβος (fear) and τρομος (trembling) combined in 2Co 7:15; Php 2:12; Eph 6:5 .
Not in persuasive words of wisdom
(ουκ εν πιθοις σοφιας λογοις). This looks like a false disclaimer or mock modesty, for surely the preacher desires to be
persuasive. This adjective πιθος (MSS. πειθος) has not yet been found elsewhere. It seems to be formed directly from πειθω,
to persuade, as φειδος (φιδος) is from φειδομα, to spare. The old Greek form πιθανος is common enough and is used by Josephus
(Ant. VIII. 9. 1) of "the plausible words of the lying prophet" in 1Ki 13
. The kindred word πιθανολογια occurs in Col 2:4
for the specious and plausible Gnostic philosophers. And gullible people are easy marks for these plausible pulpiteers. Corinth
put a premium on the veneer of false rhetoric and thin thinking.
45634563 That your faith should not stand (ινα η πιστις υμων μη η). Purpose of God, but μη η is "not be" merely. The only secure place for faith to find a rest is in God's power, not in the wisdom of men. One has only to instance the changing theories of men about science, philosophy, religion, politics to see this. A sure word from God can be depended on.
Among the perfect
(εν τοις τελειοις). Paul is not here drawing a distinction between exoteric and esoteric wisdom as the Gnostics did for their
initiates, but simply to the necessary difference in teaching for babes (3:1) and adults or grown men (common use of τελειος
for relative perfection, for adults, as is in 1Co 14:20; Php 3:15; Eph 4:13; Heb 5:14
). Some were simply old babes and unable in spite of their years to digest solid spiritual food, "the ample teaching as to
the Person of Christ and the eternal purpose of God. Such 'wisdom' we have in the Epistles to the Ephesians and the Colossians
especially, and in a less degree in the Epistle to the Romans. This 'wisdom' is discerned in the Gospel of John, as compared
with the other Evangelists" (Lightfoot). These imperfect disciples Paul wishes to develop into spiritual maturity.
God's wisdom in a mystery
(θεου σοφιαν εν μυστηριω). Two points are here sharply made. It is God's wisdom (note emphatic position of the genitive θεου)
in contrast to the wisdom of this age. Every age of the world has a conceit of its own and it is particularly true of this
twentieth century, but God's wisdom is eternal and superior to the wisdom of any age or time. God's wisdom is alone absolute.
2:1 for mystery. It is not certain whether
(εγνωκεν). Has known, has discerned, perfect active indicative of γινωσκω. They have shown amazing ignorance of God's wisdom.
But as it is written
(αλλα καθως γεγραπτα). Elliptical sentence like Rom 15:3
where γεγονεν (it has happened) can be supplied. It is not certain where Paul derives this quotation as Scripture. Origen
thought it a quotation from the Apocalypse of Elias and Jerome finds it also in the Ascension of Isaiah. But these books appear to be post-Pauline, and Jerome denies that Paul obtained it from these late apocryphal books. Clement
of Rome finds it in the LXX text of Isa 64:4
and cites it as a Christian saying. It is likely that Paul here combines freely Isa 64:4; 65:17; 52:15
in a sort of catena or free chain of quotations as he does in Ro 3:10-18
. There is also an anacoluthon for α (which things) occurs as the direct object (accusative) with ειδεν (saw) and ηκουσαν
(heard), but as the subject (nominative) with ανεβη (entered, second aorist active indicative of αναβαινω, to go up).
But unto us God revealed them
(ημιν γαρ απεκαλυψεν ο θεος). So with γαρ B 37 Sah Cop read instead of δε of Aleph A C D. "Δε is superficially easier; γαρ
intrinsically better" (Findlay). Paul explains why this is no longer hidden, "for God revealed unto us" the wonders of grace
pictured in verse
9. We do not have to wait for heaven to see them. Hence we can utter those things hidden from the eye, the ear, the heart
of man. This revelation (απεκαλυψεν, first aorist active indicative) took place, at "the entry of the Gospel into the world,"
not "when we were admitted into the Church, when we were baptized" as Lightfoot interprets it.
(οιδεν, εγνωκεν). Second perfect of root ιδ-, to see and so know, first perfect of γινωσκω, to know by personal experience,
has come to know and still knows. See First John for a clear distinction in the use of οιδα and γινωσκω.
(ημεις δε). We Christians like
Which things also we speak
(α κα λαλουμεν). This onomatopoetic verb λαλεω (from λα-λα), to utter sounds. In the papyri the word calls more attention
to the form of utterance while λεγω refers more to the substance. But λαλεω in the N.T. as here is used of the highest and
holiest speech. Undoubtedly Paul employs the word purposely for the utterance of the revelation which he has understood. That
is to say, there is revelation (verse
10), illumination (verse
12), and inspiration (verse
13). Paul claims therefore the help of the Holy Spirit for the reception of the revelation, for the understanding of it, for
the expression of it. Paul claimed this authority for his preaching (1Th 4:2
) and for his epistles (2Th 3:14
Now the natural man
(ψυχικος δε ανθρωπος). Note absence of article here, "A natural man" (an unregenerate man). Paul does not employ modern psychological
terms and he exercises variety in his use of all the terms here present as πνευμα and πνευματικοσ, ψυχη and ψυχικοσ, σαρξ
and σαρκινος and σαρκικος. A helpful discussion of the various uses of these words in the New Testament is given by Burton
in his New Testament Word Studies, pp. 62-68, and in his
Judgeth all things
(ανακρινε παντα). The spiritual man (ο πνευματικος) is qualified to sift, to examine, to decide rightly, because he has the
eyes of his heart enlightened (Eph 1:18
) and is no longer blinded by the god of this world (2Co 4:4
). There is a great lesson for Christians who know by personal experience the things of the Spirit of God. Men of intellectual
gifts who are ignorant of the things of Christ talk learnedly and patronizingly about things of which they are grossly ignorant.
The spiritual man is superior to all this false knowledge.
For who hath known the mind of the Lord
(Τις γαρ εγνω νουν Κυριου;). Quotation from Isa 40:13
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