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2. Wisdom From the Spirit

And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. 2For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 3And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. 4And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 6Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: 7But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 12Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

6. We speak wisdom Lest he should appear to despise wisdom, as unlearned and ignorant men (Acts 4:13) condemn learning with a sort of barbarian ferocity, he adds, that he is not devoid of that wisdom, which was worthy of the name, but was esteemed as such by none but competent judges. By those that were perfect, he means not those that had attained a wisdom that was full and complete, but those who possess a sound and unbiased judgment. For תם, which is always rendered in the Septuagint by τελειος means complete 112112     “Thus we read, (Genesis 25:27,) that Jacob was איש תם, “a perfect man,” i.e. without any manifest blemish. See also Job 1:1, 8. The corresponding word תמים, is frequently applied to the sacrificial victims, to denote their being without blemish Exodus 12:5; Leviticus 1:3. — Ed He twits, however, in passing, those that had no relish for his preaching, and gives them to understand that it was owing to their own fault: “If my doctrine is disrelished by any of you, those persons give sufficient evidence from that very token, that they possess a depraved and vitiated understanding, inasmuch as it will invariably be acknowledged to be the highest wisdom among men of sound intellect and correct judgment.” While Paul’s preaching was open to the view of all, it was, nevertheless, not always estimated according to its value, and this is the reason why he appeals to sound and unbiased judges, 113113     “Il ne s’en rapporte pas a vn chacvn, mais requiert des luges entiers;” — “He does not submit the case to every one, but appeals to competent judges.” who would declare that doctrine, which the world accounted insipid, to be true wisdom. Meanwhile, by the words we speak, he intimates that he set before them an elegant specimen of admirable wisdom, lest any one should allege that he boasted of a thing unknown.

Yet not the wisdom of this world He again repeats by way of anticipation what he had already conceded — that the gospel was not human wisdom, lest any one should object that there were few supporters of that doctrine; nay more, that it was contemned by all that were most distinguished for intellect. Hence he acknowledges of his own accord what might be brought forward by way of objection, but in such a way as not at all to give up his point.

The princes of this world By the princes of this world he means those that have distinction in the world through means of any endowment, for sometimes there are persons, who, though they are by no means distinguished by acuteness of intellect, are nevertheless held in admiration from the dignity of the station which they hold. That, however, we may not be alarmed by these imposing appearances, the Apostle adds, that they come to nought, or perish. For it were unbefitting, that a thing that is eternal should depend upon the authority of those who are frail, and fading, and cannot give perpetuity even to themselves: “When the kingdom of God is revealed, let the wisdom of this world retire, and what is transient give place to what is eternal; for the princes of this world have their distinction, but it is of such a nature as is in one moment extinguished. What is this in comparison with the heavenly and incorruptible kingdom of God?”


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