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1st Corinthians Chapter II

THE design of this chapter is the same as the concluding part of 1 Co 1:17-31, to show that the gospel does not depend for its success on human wisdom, or the philosophy of men. This position the apostle further confirms,

(1.) 1 Co 2:1-5, by a reference to his own example, as having been successful among them, and yet not endowed with the graces of elocution, or by a commanding address; yet,

(2.) lest it should be thought that the gospel was real folly, and should be contemned, he shows in the remainder of the chapter, 1 Co 2:6-16, that it contained true wisdom; that it was a profound scheme—rejected, indeed, by the men of the world, but see to be wise by those who were made acquainted with its real nature and value, 1 Co 2:5-16.

The first division of the chapter 1 Co 2:1-5 is a continuation of the argument to show that the success of the gospel does not depend on human wisdom or philosophy. This he proves,

(1.) by the fact that when he was among them, though his preaching was attended with success, yet he did not come with the attractions of human eloquence, 1 Co 2:1.

(2.) This was in accordance with his purpose, not designing to attempt anything like that, but having another object, 1 Co 1:2.

(3.) In fact, he had not evinced that, but the contrary, 1 Co 2:3,4.

(4.) His design was that their conversion should not appear to have been wrought by human wisdom or eloquence, but to have been manifestly the work of God, 1 Co 2:5.

Verse 1. And I, brethren. Keeping up the tender and affectionate style of address.

When I came to you. When I came at first to preach the gospel at Corinth, Ac 18:1, etc.

Came not with excellency of speech. Came not with graceful and attractive eloquence. The apostle here evidently alludes to that nice and studied choice of language, to those gracefully formed sentences, and to that skill of arrangement in discourse and argument, which was so much and object of regard with the Greek rhetoricians. It is probable that Paul was never much distinguished for these, (comp. 2 Co 10:10) and it is certain he never made them an object of intense study and solicitude. Comp. 1 Co 2:4,13.

Or of wisdom. Of the wisdom of this world; of that kind of wisdom which was sought and cultivated in Greece.

The testimony of God. The testimony or the witnessing which God has borne to the gospel of Christ by miracles, and by attending it everywhere with his presence and blessing. In 1 Co 1:6, the gospel is called "the testimony of Christ;" and here it may either mean the witness which the gospel bears to the true character and plans of God, or the witnessing which God had borne to the gospel by miracles, etc. The gospel contains the testimony of God in regard to his own character and plans; especially in regard to the great plan of redemption through Jesus Christ. Several MSS., instead of "testimony of God," here read "the mystery of God." This would accord well with the scope of the argument; but the present reading is probably the correct one. See Mill. The Syriac version has also mystery.

{a} "came not" 1 Co 2:4,13

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