The design of this chapter is to show that the gospel does not depend on the human wisdom or the philosophy of men.
Verse 1 – And I, brethren, when I came to you, I did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God.
Paul is referring to the first visit to Corinth during his second missionary journey when he founded the church at Corinth.
Verse 2 – For I determined not to know anything among you accept Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
Paul didn’t give any attention to the laws and traditions of the Jews except Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection – the Cross.
Verse 3 – I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling.
In weakness – in feebleness, not in my own power, and not trusting in my own strength. In fear and trembling – Paul was sensible in that he had many enemies to encounter.
Verse 4 – And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,
Verse 5 – that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
Paul was a brilliant scholar and he could have overwhelmed his listeners with intellectual arguments, instead he shared the message of Jesus Christ by allowing the Holy Spirit to guide his words. Any time the true gospel of Christ, that is led by the Holy Spirit is preached, there will be a demonstration of the spirit’s saving power.
The Gospel Is Heavenly Wisdom
Verse 6 – However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.
Those whose plans fail, whose wisdom vanishes, and who themselves, with all their pomp and splendor, come to nothing in the grave. However, all God’s wisdom and plans will stand.
verse 7 – But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory,
Verse 8 – which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
The rulers of this age: the high priest, king Herod, Pilate, the Pharisees and the Sadducee. Their ignorance arose from not understanding the prophecies, and from an unwillingness to be convinced that Jesus of Nazareth had been truly sent by God.
Had they seen the hidden wisdom in that plan – had they understood the glory of His character, the truth respecting His incarnation, and the fact that Jesus was the long-expected Messiah of the nation, they would not have crucified Him.
Verse 9 – But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” (Isaiah 64:4; 65:17)
This reference to Isaiah is not word for word, but the meaning is the same. “Eye has not seen” – this is the same as saying that no one had ever fully perceived and understood the value and beauty of those things which God has prepared for His people. The same is with ear has not heard by not hearing anything such as the gospel of Christ. God holds promises and things in reserve for those who love Him. The Bible says Christ came to give us an abundant life. We can’t imagine all the good things He has in store for “those who love Him.”
Verse 10 – But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.
If you are not a believer then you don’t have God’s Spirit and you are not going to understand the things of God. Only the believer can get revelation of the deep things of God.
verse 11 – For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.
Verse 12 – Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but he Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
The Holy Spirit is a person, He is Jesus. He should never be referred to as “It.” He is part of the God-head, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The Spirit knows all things just as Jesus knows all things, just as God knows all things.
Verse 13 – These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
If you have God’s Spirit, He will make you capable of understanding spiritual things.
Verse 14 – But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
The “natural man,” is the unbeliever. They do not have the Spirit of God, therefore they do not welcome, embrace, or receive what comes from God’s spirit. They are not able to understand the gospel unless the Spirit first convicts their heart and they receive Him.
Verse 15 – But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.
Verse 16 – For “Who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
Through the Holy Spirit, having the mind of Christ, we can begin to think as Christ thinks and know what the Spirit wills for our lives.