Chapter two continues Paul’s exposition on the wisdom of God versus the wisdom of this world. Unlike the philosophers of his day, Paul did not ride into town offering great secrets and eloquent speeches, catering to those who could pay the most money (1 Corinthians 2:1-5). In fact, he did just the opposite. His message was simple and clear: “Jesus Christ…crucified.” Rather than great oratory and “persuasive words of wisdom,” Paul preached “in weakness and in fear and with much trembling,” yet his message was accompanied “with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power,” i.e., signs and wonders and miracles (2 Corinthians 12:12). This way when they believed, it would be in Christ, not Paul.
However, none of this means that Christianity has no wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:6-16). On the contrary, true wisdom and knowledge is not available without the proper fear of God (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10). This wisdom and knowledge is not accessible even to “the rulers of this age,” as revealed in the fact that they murdered God’s Son. With the indwelling Spirit of God comes access to the very mind of God, “so that we may know the things that are freely given to us by God.” Making a clear distinction between saved and unsaved people, Paul taught that only true believers can understand spiritual things. Unbelievers can grasp only the words, but not the meaning.1 Again, these things “are foolishness” to the unbeliever, but the believer has the very “mind of Christ” himself. It is through the full knowledge of Christ that we are given “everything necessary for life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3), the very message Paul needed the Corinthians to hear.
- This is why it is important for Christians to not try to change the world on the basis of morals and ethics instead of the gospel. The only biblical command for unbeliever is to believe the gospel. Only believers have the power to live out God’s standards in this world. ↩