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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.

15. But the spiritual man judgeth all things. Having stripped of all authority man’s carnal judgment, he now teaches, that the spiritual alone are fit judges as to this matter, inasmuch as God is known only by his Spirit, and it is his peculiar province to distinguish between his own things and those of others, to approve of what is his own, and to make void all things else. The meaning, then, is this: “Away with all the discernment of the flesh as to this matter! It is the spiritual man alone that has such a firm and solid acquaintance with the mysteries of God, as to distinguish without fail between truth and falsehood — between the doctrine of God and the contrivances of man, so as not to fall into mistake. 135135     “En cest endroit“ — “In this matter.” He, on the other hand, is judged by no man, because the assurance of faith is not subject to men, as though they could make it totter at their nod, 136136     “Pour estre ou n’estre point selon qu’il leur plaira;” — “So as to be or not to be, according as it shall please them.” it being superior even to angels themselves.” Observe, that this prerogative is not ascribed to the man as an individual, but to the word of God, which the spiritual follow in judging, and which is truly dictated to them by God with true discernment. Where that is afforded, a man’s persuasion 137137     “Et foy;” — “And faith.” is placed beyond the range of human judgment. Observe, farther, the word rendered judged: by which the Apostle intimates, that we are not merely enlightened by the Lord to perceive the truth, but are also endowed with a spirit of discrimination, so as not to hang in doubt between truth and falsehood, but are able to determine what we ought to shun and what to follow.

But here it may be asked, who is the spiritual man, and where we may find one that is endowed with so much light as to be prepared to judge of all things, feeling as we do, that we are at all times encompassed with much ignorance, and are in danger of erring: nay more, even those who come nearest to perfection from time to time fall and bruise themselves. The answer is easy: Paul does not extend this faculty to everything, so as to represent all that are renewed by the Spirit of God as exempt from every kind of error, but simply designs to teach, that the wisdom of the flesh is of no avail for judging of the doctrine of piety, and that this right of judgment and authority belong exclusively to the Spirit of God. In so far, therefore, as any one is regenerated, and according to the measure of grace conferred upon him, does he judge with accuracy and certainty, and no farther.

He himself is judged by no man. I have already explained on what ground he says that the spiritual man is not subject to the judgment of any man — because the truth of faith, which depends on God alone, and is grounded on his word, does not stand or fall according to the pleasure of men. 138138     “N’est point suiete au plaisir des hommes, pour estre ou n’estre point, selon qu’ils voudront;” — “It is not subject to the pleasure of men, so as to be, or not to be, according as they shall choose.” What he says afterwards, that

the spirit of one Prophet is subject to the other Prophets,
(1 Corinthians 14:32,)

is not at all inconsistent with this statement. For what is the design of that subjection, but that each of the Prophets listens to the others, and does not despise or reject their revelations, in order that what is discovered to be the truth of God, 139139     “La pure verite du Seigneur;” — “The pure truth of the Lord.” may at length remain firm, and be received by all? Here, however, he places the science of faith, which has been received from God, 140140     “Mais yci il establit et conferme la science de roy, laquelle les eleus recoyuent de Dieu;” — “But here he establishes and confirms the science of faith, which the elect have received from God.” above the height of heaven and earth, in order that it may not be estimated by the judgment of men. At the same time, ὕπ ᾿ οὐδενός may be taken in the neuter gender as meaning — by nothing, understanding it as referring to a thing, and not to a man. In this way the contrast will be more complete, 141141     “Et expresse;” — “And exact.” as intimating that the spiritual man, in so far as he is endowed with the Spirit of God, judgeth all things, but is judged by nothing, because he is not subject to any human wisdom or reason. In this way, too, Paul would exempt the consciences of the pious from all decrees, laws, and censures of men.


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