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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(1 Corinthians: Chapter 2)

2:1 {Not with excellency of speech or of wisdom} (\ou kath'
huperochēn logou ē sophias\)
. \Huperochē\ is an old word from the
verb \huperechō\ (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). {The mystery of God} (\to mustērion tou
. So Aleph A C Copt. like 2:7, but B D L P read
\marturion\ like 1:6. Probably {mystery} is correct. Christ
crucified is the mystery of God (Col 2:2). Paul did not
hesitate to appropriate this word in common use among the mystery
religions, but he puts into it his ideas, not those in current
use. It is an old word from \mueō\, to close, to shut, to
initiate (Php 4:12). This mystery was once hidden from the ages
(Col 1:26), but is now made plain in Christ (1Co 2:7; Ro
. The papyri give many illustrations of the use of the
word for secret doctrines known only to the initiated (Moulton
and Milligan's _Vocabulary_)

2:2 {For I determined not to know anything among you} (\ou gar
ekrina ti eidenai en humin\)
. Literally, "For I did not decide to
know anything among you." The negative goes with \ekrina\, not
with \ti\. Paul means that he did not think it fit or his
business to know anything for his message beyond this "mystery of
God." {Save Jesus Christ} (\ei mē Iēsoun Christon\). Both the
person and the office (Lightfoot). I had no intent to go beyond
him and in particular, {and him crucified} (\kai touton
. Literally, {and this one as crucified} (perfect
passive participle)
. This phase in particular (1:18) was
selected by Paul from the start as the centre of his gospel
message. He decided to stick to it even after Athens where he was
practically laughed out of court. The Cross added to the
\scandalon\ of the Incarnation, but Paul kept to the main track
on coming to Corinth.

2:3 {I was with you} (\egenomēn pros humas\). Rather, "I came to
you" (not \ēn\, 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
. 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 \phobos\ (fear) and \tromos\ (trembling) combined
in 2Co 7:15; Php 2:12; Eph 6:5.

2:4 {Not in persuasive words of wisdom} (\ouk en pithois sophias
. This looks like a false disclaimer or mock modesty, for
surely the preacher desires to be persuasive. This adjective
\pithos\ (MSS. \peithos\) has not yet been found elsewhere. It
seems to be formed directly from \peithō\, to persuade, as
\pheidos\ (\phidos\) is from \pheidomai\, to spare. The old Greek
form \pithanos\ 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 \pithanologia\ 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. {But
in demonstration}
(\all' en apodeixei\). In contrast with the
{plausibility} just mentioned. This word, though an old one from
\apodeiknumi\, to show forth, occurs nowhere else in the New
Testament. {Spirit} (\pneuma\) here can be the Holy Spirit or
inward spirit as opposed to superficial expression and {power}
(\dunamis\) is moral power rather than intellectual acuteness
(cf. 1:18).

2:5 {That your faith should not stand} (\hina hē pistis humōn mē
. Purpose of God, but \mē ēi\ 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.

2:6 {Among the perfect} (\en tois teleiois\). 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 \teleios\ 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. {Of this world} (\tou aiōnos
. This age, more exactly, as in 1:20. This wisdom does
not belong to the passing age of fleeting things, but to the
enduring and eternal (Ellicott). {Which are coming to naught}
(\tōn katargoumenōn\). See on ¯1:28. Present passive participle
genitive plural of \katargeō\. The gradual nullification of these
"rulers" before the final and certain triumph of the power of
Christ in his kingdom.

2:7 {God's wisdom in a mystery} (\theou sophian en mustēriōi\).
Two points are here sharply made. It is God's wisdom (note
emphatic position of the genitive \theou\)
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. See on ¯2:1 for mystery.
It is not certain whether {in a mystery} is to be taken with
{wisdom} or {we speak}. The result does not differ greatly,
probably with {wisdom}, so long a secret and now at last revealed
(Col 1:26; 2Th 2:7). {That hath been hidden} (\tēn
. See Ro 16:25; Col 1:26; Eph 3:5. Articular
perfect passive participle of \apokruptō\, more precisely
defining the indefinite \sophian\ (wisdom). {Foreordained before
the worlds}
(\proōrisen pro tōn aiōnōn\). This relative clause
(\hēn\) defines still more closely God's wisdom. Note \pro\ with
both verb and substantive (\aiōnōn\). Constative aorist of God's
elective purpose as shown in Christ crucified (1Co 1:18-24).
"It was no afterthought or change of plan" (Robertson and
. {Unto our glory} (\eis doxan hēmōn\). "The glory of
inward enlightenment as well as of outward exaltation"

2:8 {Knoweth} (\egnōken\). Has known, has discerned, perfect
active indicative of \ginōskō\. They have shown amazing ignorance
of God's wisdom. {For had they known it} (\ei gar egnōsan\).
Condition of the second class, determined as unfulfilled, with
aorist active indicative in both condition (\egnōsan\) and
conclusion with \an\ (\ouk an estaurōsan\). Peter in the great
sermon at Pentecost commented on the "ignorance" (\kata agnoian\)
of the Jews in crucifying Christ (Ac 3:17) as the only hope for
repentance on their part (Ac 3:19). {The Lord of glory} (\ton
Kurion tēs doxēs\)
. Genitive case \doxēs\, means characterized by
glory, "bringing out the contrast between the indignity of the
Cross (Heb 12:2) and the majesty of the Victim (Lu 22:69;
" (Robertson and Plummer). See Jas 2:1; Ac 7:2; Eph 1:17;
Heb 9:5.

2:9 {But as it is written} (\alla kathōs gegraptai\). Elliptical
sentence like Rom 15:3 where \gegonen\ (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 \ha\ (which things) occurs as the direct object
(accusative) with \eiden\ (saw) and \ēkousan\ (heard), but as the
subject (nominative) with \anebē\ (entered, second aorist active
indicative of \anabainō\, to go up)
. {Whatsoever} (\hosa\). A
climax to the preceding relative clause (Findlay). {Prepared}
(\hētoimasen\). First aorist active indicative of \hetoimazō\.
The only instance where Paul uses this verb of God, though it
occurs of final glory (Lu 2:31; Mt 20:23; 25:34; Mr 10:40; Heb
and of final misery (Mt 25:41). But here undoubtedly
the dominant idea is the present blessing to these who love God
(1Co 1:5-7). {Heart} (\kardian\) here as in Ro 1:21 is more
than emotion. The Gnostics used this passage to support their
teaching of esoteric doctrine as Hegesippus shows. Lightfoot
thinks that probably the apocryphal _Ascension of Isaiah_ and
_Apocalypse of Elias_ were Gnostic and so quoted this passage of
Paul to support their position. But the next verse shows that
Paul uses it of what is now {revealed} and made plain, not of
mysteries still unknown.

2:10 {But unto us God revealed them} (\hēmin gar apekalupsen ho
. So with \gar\ B 37 Sah Cop read instead of \de\ of Aleph
A C D. "\De\ is superficially easier; \gar\ 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 (\apekalupsen\, 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. {Through the Spirit} (\dia tou
. The Holy Spirit is the agent of this definite
revelation of grace, a revelation with a definite beginning or
advent (constative aorist), an unveiling by the Spirit where
"human ability and research would not have sufficed" (Robertson
and Plummer)
, "according to the revelation of the mystery" (Ro
, "the revelation given to Christians as an event that
began a new epoch in the world's history" (Edwards). {Searcheth
all things}
(\panta eraunāi\). This is the usual form from A.D. 1
on rather than the old \ereunaō\. The word occurs (Moulton and
Milligan's _Vocabulary_)
for a professional searcher's report and
\eraunētai\, searchers for customs officials. "The Spirit is the
organ of understanding between man and God" (Findlay). So in Ro
8:27 we have this very verb \eraunaō\ again of God's searching
our hearts. The Holy Spirit not merely investigates us, but he
searches "even the deep things of God" (\kai ta bathē tou
. _Profunda Dei_ (Vulgate). Cf. "the deep things of Satan"
(Re 2:24) and Paul's language in Ro 11:33 "Oh the depth of
the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God." Paul's point is
simply that the Holy Spirit fully comprehends the depth of God's
nature and his plans of grace and so is fully competent to make
the revelation here claimed.

2:11 {Knoweth} (\oiden, egnōken\). Second perfect of root \id-\,
to see and so know, first perfect of \ginōskō\, to know by
personal experience, has come to know and still knows. See First
John for a clear distinction in the use of \oida\ and \ginōskō\.
{The spirit of man that is in him} (\to pneuma tou anthrōpou to
en autōi\)
. The self-consciousness of man that resides in the man
or woman (generic term for mankind, \anthrōpos\). {The Spirit of
(\to pneuma tou theou\). Note the absence of \to en autōi\.
It is not the mere self-consciousness of God, but the personal
Holy Spirit in his relation to God the Father. Paul's analogy
between the spirit of man and the Spirit of God does not hold
clear through and he guards it at this vital point as he does
elsewhere as in Ro 8:26 and in the full Trinitarian benediction
in 2Co 13:13. \Pneuma\ in itself merely means breath or wind as
in Joh 3:8. To know accurately Paul's use of the word in every
instance calls for an adequate knowledge of his theology, and
psychology. But the point here is plain. God's Holy Spirit is
amply qualified to make the revelation claimed here in verses

2:12 {But we} (\hēmeis de\). We Christians like {us} (\hēmin\) in
verse 10 of the revelation, but particularly Paul and the other
apostles. {Received} (\elabomen\). Second aorist active
indicative of \lambanō\ and so a definite event, though the
constative aorist may include various stages. {Not the spirit of
the world}
(\ou to pneuma tou kosmou\). Probably a reference to
the wisdom of this age in verse 6. See also Ro 8:4,6,7; 1Co
11:4 (\the pneuma heteron\). {But the spirit which is of God}
(\alla to pneuma to ek theou\). Rather, "from God" (\ek\), which
proceeds from God. {That we might know} (\hina eidōmen\). Second
perfect subjunctive with \hina\ to express purpose. Here is a
distinct claim of the Holy Spirit for understanding
(Illumination) the Revelation received. It is not a senseless
rhapsody or secret mystery, but God expects us to understand "the
things that are freely given us by God" (\ta hupo tou theou
charisthenta hēmin\)
. First aorist passive neuter plural
articular participle of \charizomai\, to bestow. God gave the
revelation through the Holy Spirit and he gives us the
illumination of the Holy Spirit to understand the mind of the
Spirit. The tragic failures of men to understand clearly God's
revealed will is but a commentary on the weakness and limitation
of the human intellect even when enlightened by the Holy Spirit.

2:13 {Which things also we speak} (\ha kai laloumen\). This
onomatopoetic verb \laleō\ (from \la-la\), to utter sounds. In
the papyri the word calls more attention to the form of utterance
while \legō\ refers more to the substance. But \laleō\ 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). {Not in words which man's wisdom teacheth} (\ouk en
didaktois anthrōpinēs sophias logois\)
. Literally, "not in words
taught by human wisdom." The verbal adjective \didaktois\ (from
\didaskō\, to teach)
is here passive in idea and is followed by
the ablative case of origin or source as in Joh 6:45, \esontai
pantes didaktoi theou\ (from Isa 54:13), "They shall all be
taught by God." The ablative in Greek, as is well known, has the
same form as the genitive, though quite different in idea
(Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 516). So then Paul claims the help of
the Holy Spirit in the utterance (\laloumen\) of the words,
"which the Spirit teacheth (\en didaktois pneumatos\), "in words
taught by the Spirit" (ablative \pneumatos\ as above). Clearly
Paul means that the help of the Holy Spirit in the utterance of
the revelation extends to the words. No theory of inspiration is
here stated, but it is not _mere_ human wisdom. Paul's own
Epistles bear eloquent witness to the lofty claim here made. They
remain today after nearly nineteen centuries throbbing with the
power of the Spirit of God, dynamic with life for the problems of
today as when Paul wrote them for the needs of the believers in
his time, the greatest epistles of all time, surcharged with the
energy of God. {Comparing spiritual things with spiritual}
(\pneumatikois pneumatika sunkrinontes\). Each of these words is
in dispute. The verb \sunkrinō\, originally meant to combine, to
join together fitly. In the LXX it means to interpret dreams (Ge
40:8,22; 41:12)
possibly by comparison. In the later Greek it
may mean to compare as in 2Co 10:12. In the papyri Moulton and
Milligan (_Vocabulary_) give it only for "decide," probably after
comparing. But "comparing," in spite of the translations, does
not suit well here. So it is best to follow the original meaning
to combine as do Lightfoot and Ellicott. But what gender is
\pneumatikois\? Is it masculine or neuter like \pneumatika\? If
masculine, the idea would be "interpreting (like LXX) spiritual
truths to spiritual persons" or "matching spiritual truths with
spiritual persons." This is a possible rendering and makes good
sense in harmony with verse 14. If \pneumatikois\ be taken as
neuter plural (associative instrumental case after \sun\ in
, the idea most naturally would be, "combining
spiritual ideas (\pneumatika\) with spiritual words"
(\pneumatikois\). This again makes good sense in harmony with the
first part of verse 13. On the whole this is the most natural
way to take it, though various other possibilities exist.

2:14 {Now the natural man} (\psuchikos de anthrōpos\). 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 \pneuma\ and
\pneumatikos, psuchē\ and \psuchikos, sarx\ and \sarkinos\ and
\sarkikos\. 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 {Spirit, Soul, and
. The papyri furnish so many examples of \sarx, pneuma\,
and \psuchē\ that Moulton and Milligan make no attempt at an
exhaustive treatment, but give a few miscellaneous examples to
illustrate the varied uses that parallel the New Testament.
\Psuchikos\ is a qualitative adjective from \psuchē\ (breath of
life like \anima\, life, soul)
. Here the Vulgate renders it by
_animalis_ and the German by _sinnlich_, the original sense of
animal life as in Jude 1:19; Jas 3:15. In 1Co 15:44,46 there
is the same contrast between \psuchikos\ and \pneumatikos\ as
here. The \psuchikos\ man is the unregenerate man while the
\pneumatikos\ man is the renewed man, born again of the Spirit of
God. {Receiveth not} (\ou dechetai\). Does not accept, rejects,
refuses to accept. In Ro 8:7 Paul definitely states the
inability (\oude gar dunatai\) of the mind of the flesh to
receive the things of the Spirit untouched by the Holy Spirit.
Certainly the initiative comes from God whose Holy Spirit makes
it possible for us to accept the things of the Spirit of God.
They are no longer "foolishness" (\mōria\) to us as was once the
case (1:23). Today one notes certain of the _intelligentsia_
who sneer at Christ and Christianity in their own blinded
ignorance. {He cannot know them} (\ou dunatai gnōnai\). He is not
able to get a knowledge (ingressive second aorist active
infinitive of \ginōskō\)
. His helpless condition calls for pity
in place of impatience on our part, though such an one usually
poses as a paragon of wisdom and commiserates the deluded
followers of Christ. {They are spiritually judged} (\pneumatikōs
. Paul and Luke are fond of this verb, though
nowhere else in the N.T. Paul uses it only in I Corinthians. The
word means a sifting process to get at the truth by investigation
as of a judge. In Ac 17:11 the Beroeans scrutinized the
Scriptures. These \psuchikoi\ men are incapable of rendering a
decision for they are unable to recognize the facts. They judge
by the \psuchē\ (mere animal nature) rather than by the \pneuma\
(the renewed spirit).

2:15 {Judgeth all things} (\anakrinei panta\). The spiritual man
(\ho pneumatikos\) is qualified to sift, to examine, to decide
rightly, because he has the eyes of his heart enlightened (Eph
and is no longer blinded by the god of this world (2Co
. 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. {He himself is judged of no man} (\autos de hup'
oudenos anakrinetai\)
. Men will pass judgment on him, but the
spiritual man refuses to accept the decision of his ignorant
judges. He stands superior to them all as Polycarp did when he
preferred to be burnt to saying, "Lord Caesar" in place of "Lord
Jesus." He was unwilling to save his earthly life by the worship
of Caesar in place of the Lord Jesus. Polycarp was a
\pneumatikos\ man.

2:16 {For who hath known the mind of the Lord} (\Tis gar egnō
noun Kuriou;\)
. Quotation from Isa 40:13. {That he should
instruct him}
(\hos sunbibasei auton\). This use of \hos\
(relative {who}) is almost consecutive (result). The
\pneumatikos\ man is superior to others who attempt even to
instruct God himself. See on ¯Ac 9:22; 16:10 for \sunbibazō\, to
make go together. {But we have the mind of Christ} (\hēmeis de
noun Christou echomen\)
. As he has already shown (verses 6-13).
Thus with the mind (\nous\. Cf. Php 2:5; Ro 8:9,27). Hence Paul
and all \pneumatikoi\ men are superior to those who try to shake
their faith in Christ, the mystery of God. Paul can say, "I know
him whom I have believed." "I believe; therefore I have spoken."

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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(1 Corinthians: Chapter 2)