1 Corinthians 2 Study Notes


2:1-2 Paul reminded the Corinthian believers that his message was never based on worldly wisdom, but on the offensive message of Christ . . . crucified.

2:3-5 Paul’s preaching was not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with power as demonstrated by the saving power of the Holy Spirit. Your faith refers to all who had embraced the gospel by faith. Their conversion and corporate identity in the body of believers were a result of God’s power.

2:6-9 God’s supernatural wisdom was understood by those who were enabled to see it through the Spirit’s illumination.

2:6-7 The phrase hidden wisdom in a mystery refers to a secret openly revealed by God—the secret being the gospel message that the Lord of glory is truly the Christ crucified.

2:8 The rulers of this age did not recognize Jesus as the Lord of glory. Their lack of recognition resulted in his crucifixion, and this in turn became the basis of the gospel. So paradoxically our acceptance was made possible by Christ’s rejection.

2:9 Paul validated this revelation of the “hidden wisdom” by quoting two OT texts (Is 52:15; 64:4).

2:10 Depths of God refers to the deepest wisdom that God’s Spirit reveals to believers. This highest wisdom, as understood from the previous context and throughout the letter, is Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, “and him crucified” (v. 2).

2:11 Paul used an analogy of the lesser to the greater. Just as the human spirit (Gk pneuma) within a person knows what the person is thinking, so also the Spirit (Gk pneuma) of God knows the thoughts of God.

2:12 Paul declared that with the reception of the Spirit . . . from God, a person understands that “Christ and him crucified” (v. 2) is actually the highest wisdom.

2:13 Spiritual reception is brought about by the Spirit’s revelation to spiritual people (Gk pneumatikoi; lit “spiritual ones”). “Spiritual people” is probably equivalent to “those capable of understanding” (i.e., “mature”) in v. 6.

2:14 The person without the Spirit does not receive what comes from God’s Spirit. That person not able to know the gospel that “comes from God’s Spirit” because that person considers it foolishness. It is the Spirit who convicts and reveals. Throughout chaps. 1-2, “foolishness” is always a reference to “Christ and him crucified,” or the gospel, the wisdom of God.

2:15-16 The spiritual person can discern everything with respect to this wisdom. The spiritual person’s discernment is an understanding of the deep things of God freely given to the believer. The “spiritual person” is examined by the Lord as Judge to determine how faithful he has been in living and proclaiming the gospel (4:4-5). That the spiritual person cannot be evaluated by anyone means he does not need to be concerned about negative human evaluations of the gospel because such a person has the right perspective—the mind of Christ. Paul validated his statement in v. 15 by appealing to Is 40:13. With respect to spiritual things, the person without the Spirit does not have the capability to instruct those who have the mind of Christ.