1 Corinthians 2:1-16 . PAUL'S SUBJECT OF PREACHING, CHRIST CRUCIFIED, NOT IN WORLDLY, BUT IN HEAVENLY, WISDOM AMONG THE PERFECT.
9. But--(it has happened) as it is written.
Eye hath not seen, &c.--ALFORD translates, "The things which eye saw not . . . the things which God prepared . . . to us God revealed through His Spirit." Thus, however, the "but" of 1 Corinthians 2:10 is ignored. Rather construe, as ESTIUS, "('We speak,' supplied from 1 Corinthians 2:8 ), things which eye saw not (heretofore), . . . things which God prepared . . . But God revealed them to us," &c. The quotation is not a verbatim one, but an inspired exposition of the "wisdom" ( 1 Corinthians 2:6 , from Isaiah 64:4 ). The exceptive words, "O God, beside (that is, except) Thee," are not quoted directly, but are virtually expressed in the exposition of them ( 1 Corinthians 2:10 ), "None but thou, O God, seest these mysteries, and God hath revealed them to us by His Spirit."
entered--literally, "come up into the heart." A Hebraism (compare, Jeremiah 3:16 , Margin). In Isaiah 64:4 it is "Prepared (literally, 'will do') for him that waiteth for Him"; here, "for them that love Him." For Isaiah spake to them who waited for Messiah's appearance as future; Paul, to them who love Him as having actually appeared ( 1 John 4:19 ); compare 1 Corinthians 2:12 , "the things that are freely given to us of God"
10. revealed . . . by . . . Spirit--The inspiration of thoughts (so far as truth essential to salvation is concerned) makes the Christian ( 1 Corinthians 3:16 , 12:3 , Matthew 16:17 , John 16:13 , 1 John 2:20 1 John 2:27 ); that of words, the PROPHET ( 2 Samuel 23:1 2 Samuel 23:2 , 1 Kings 13:1 1 Kings 13:5 ), "by the word of the Lord" ( 1 Corinthians 2:13 , John 20:30 John 20:31 , 2 Peter 1:21 ). The secrets of revelation are secret to some, not because those who know them will not reveal them (for indeed, the very notion of revelation implies an unveiling of what had been veiled), but because those to whom they are announced have not the will or power to comprehend them. Hence the Spirit-taught alone know these secrets ( Psalms 25:14 , Proverbs 3:32 , John 7:17 , 15:15 ).
unto us--the "perfect" or fully matured in Christian experience ( 1 Corinthians 2:6 ). Intelligent men may understand the outline of doctrines; but without the Holy Spirit's revelation to the heart, these will be to them a mere outline--a skeleton, correct perhaps, but wanting life [WHATLEY, Cautions for the Times, 14], ( Luke 10:21 ).
the Spirit searcheth--working in us and with our spirits (compare Romans 8:16 Romans 8:26 Romans 8:27 ). The Old Testament shows us God (the Father) for us. The Gospels, God (the Son) with us. The Acts and Epistles, God (the Holy Ghost) in us [MONOD], ( Galatians 3:14 ).
deep things of God--( Psalms 92:5 ). His divine nature, attributes, and counsels. The Spirit delights to explore the infinite depths of His own divine mind, and then reveal them to us, according as we are capable of understanding them ( Deuteronomy 29:29 ). This proves the personality and Godhead of the Holy Ghost. Godhead cannot be separated from the Spirit of God, as manhood cannot be separated from the Spirit of man [BENGEL].
11. what man, &c.--literally, "who of men knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of that man?"
things of God knoweth no man--rather, "none knoweth," not angel or man. This proves the impossibility of any knowing the things of God, save by the Spirit of God (who alone knows them, since even in the case of man, so infinitely inferior in mind to God, none of his fellow men, but his own spirit alone knows the things hidden within him).
12. we . . . received, not . . . spirit of . . . world--the personal evil "spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience" ( Ephesians 2:2 ). This spirit is natural in the unregenerate, and needs not to be received.
Spirit which is of God--that is, which comes from God. We have received it only by the gift of God, whose Spirit it is, whereas our own spirit is the spirit that is in us men ( 1 Corinthians 2:11 ).
that we might know . . . things . . . freely given . . . of God--present experimental knowledge, to our unspeakable comfort, of His deep mysteries of wisdom, and of our future possession of the good "things which God hath prepared for them that love Him" ( 1 Corinthians 2:9 ).
13. also--We not only know by the Holy Ghost, but we also speak the "things freely given to us of God" ( 1 Corinthians 2:12 ).
which the Holy Ghost teacheth--The old manuscripts read "the Spirit" simply, without "Holy."
comparing spiritual things with spiritual--expounding the Spirit-inspired Old Testament Scripture, by comparison with the Gospel which Jesus by the same Spirit revealed [GROTIUS]; and conversely illustrating the Gospel mysteries by comparing them with the Old Testament types [CHRYSOSTOM]. So the Greek word is translated, "comparing" ( 2 Corinthians 10:12 ). WAHL (Key of the New Testament) translates, "explaining (as the Greek is translated, Genesis 40:8 , the Septuagint) to spiritual (that is, Spirit-taught) men, spiritual things (the things which we ourselves are taught by the Spirit)." Spirit-taught men alone can comprehend spiritual truths. This accords with 1 Corinthians 2:6 1 Corinthians 2:9 1 Corinthians 2:10 1 Corinthians 2:14 1 Corinthians 2:15 , 1 Corinthians 3:1 . ALFORD translates, "Putting together (combining) spirituals with spirituals"; that is, attaching spiritual words to spiritual things, which we should not do, if we were to use words of worldly wisdom to expound spiritual things (so 1 Corinthians 2:1 1 Corinthians 2:4 , 1 Peter 4:11 ). Perhaps the generality of the neuters is designed to comprehend these several notions by implication. Comparing, or combining, spirituals with spirituals; implying both that spiritual things are only suited to spiritual persons (so "things" comprehended persons, 1 Corinthians 1:27 ), and also that spiritual truths can only be combined with spiritual (not worldly-wise) words; and lastly, spirituals of the Old and New Testaments can only be understood by mutual comparison or combination, not by combination with worldly "wisdom," or natural perceptions ( 1 Corinthians 1:21 1 Corinthians 1:22 , 1 Corinthians 2:1 1 Corinthians 2:4-9 ; compare Psalms 119:18 ).
14. natural man--literally, "a man of animal soul." As contrasted with the spiritual man, he is governed by the animal soul, which overbears his spirit, which latter is without the Spirit of God ( Jude 1:19 ). So the animal (English Version, "natural") body, or body led by the lower animal nature (including both the mere human fallen reason and heart), is contrasted with the Spirit-quickened body ( 1 Corinthians 15:44-46 ). The carnal man (the man led by bodily appetites, and also by a self-exalting spirit, estranged from the divine life) is closely akin; so too the "earthly." "Devilish," or "demon-like"; "led by an evil spirit," is the awful character of such a one, in its worst type ( James 3:15 ).
receiveth not--though they are offered to him, and are "worthy of being received by all men" ( 1 Timothy 1:15 ).
they are foolishness unto him--whereas he seeks "wisdom" ( 1 Corinthians 1:22 ).
neither can he--Not only does he not, but he cannot know them, and therefore has no wish to "receive" them ( Romans 8:7 ).
15. He that is spiritual--literally, "the spiritual (man)." In 1 Corinthians 2:14 , it is "A [not 'the,' as English Version] natural man." The spiritual is the man distinguished above his fellow men, as he in whom the Spirit rules. In the unregenerate, the spirit which ought to be the organ of the Holy Spirit (and which is so in the regenerate), is overridden by the animal soul, and is in abeyance, so that such a one is never called "spiritual."
judgeth all things--and persons, by their true standard (compare 1 Corinthians 6:2-4 , 1 John 4:1 ), in so far as he is spiritual. "Discerneth . . . is discerned," would better accord with the translation of the same Greek ( 1 Corinthians 2:14 ). Otherwise for "discerned," in 1 Corinthians 2:14 , translate, "judged of," to accord with the translation, "judgeth . . . is judged" in this fifteenth verse. He has a practical insight into the verities of the Gospel, though he is not infallible on all theoretical points. If an individual may have the Spirit without being infallible, why may not the Church have the Spirit, and yet not be infallible (a refutation of the plea of Rome for the Church's infallibility, from Matthew 28:20 , John 16:13 )? As the believer and the Church have the Spirit, and are yet not therefore impeccable, so he and the Church have the Spirit, and yet are not infallible or impeccable. He and the Church are both infallible and impeccable, only in proportion to the degree in which they are led by the Spirit. The Spirit leads into all truth and holiness; but His influence on believers and on the Church is as yet partial. Jesus alone, who had the Spirit without measure ( John 3:34 ), is both infallible and impeccable. Scripture, because it was written by men, who while writing were infallibly inspired, is unmixed truth ( Proverbs 28:5 , 1 John 2:27 ).
16. For--proof of 1 Corinthians 2:15 , that the spiritual man "is judged of no man." In order to judge the spiritual man, the ordinary man must "know the mind of the Lord." But "who of ordinary men knows" that?
that he may instruct him--that is, so as to be able to set Him right as His counsellor (quoted from Isaiah 40:13 Isaiah 40:14 ). So the Septuagint translates the Greek verb, which means to "prove," in Acts 9:22 . Natural men who judge spiritual men, living according to the mind of God ("We have the mind of Christ"), are virtually wishing to instruct God, and bring Him to another mind, as counsellors setting to right their king.
we have the mind of Christ--in our degree of capability to apprehend it. Isaiah 40:13 Isaiah 40:14 refers to JEHOVAH: therefore, as it is applied here to Christ, He is Jehovah.