1 Corinthians 2 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of 1 Corinthians 2)

Verse 1

[1] And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.

And I accordingly came to you, not with loftiness of speech or of wisdom - I did not affect either deep wisdom or eloquence.

Declaring the testimony of God — What God gave me to testify concerning his Son.

Verse 2

[2] For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

I determined not to know anything — To wave all my other knowledge, and not to preach anything, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified - That is, what he did, suffered, taught. A part is put for the whole.

Verse 3

[3] And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.

And I was with you — At my first entrance.

In weakness — Of body, 2 Corinthians 12:7 And in fear - Lest I should offend any.

And in much trembling — The emotion of my mind affecting my very body.

Verse 4

[4] And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:

And my speech in private, as well as my public preaching, was not with the persuasive words of human wisdom, such as the wise men of the world use; but with the demonstration of the Spirit and of power - With that powerful kind of demonstration, which flows from the Holy Spirit; which works on the conscience with the most convincing light, and the most persuasive evidence.

Verse 5

[5] That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

That your faith might not be built on the wisdom or power of man, but on the wisdom and power of God.

Verse 6

[6] Howbeit 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:

Yet we speak wisdom — Yea, the truest and most excellent wisdom.

Among the perfect — Adult, experienced Christians. By wisdom here he seems to mean, not the whole Christian doctrine, but the most sublime and abstruse parts of it. But not the wisdom admired and taught by the men of this world, nor of the rulers of this world, Jewish or heathen, that come to nought - Both they and their wisdom, and the world itself.

Verse 7

[7] But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

But we speak the mysterious wisdom of God, which was hidden for many ages from all the world, and is still hidden even from "babes in Christ;" much more from all unbelievers.

Which God ordained before the world — So far is this from coming to nought, like worldly wisdom.

For our glory — Arising from the glory of our Lord, and then to be revealed when all worldly glory vanishes.

Verse 8

[8] Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

Had they known it — That wisdom.

They would not have crucified — Punished as a slave.

The Lord of glory — The giving Christ this august title, peculiar to the great Jehovah, plainly shows him to be the supreme God. In like manner the Father is styled, "the Father of glory," Acts 7:2.

Verse 9

[9] But 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.

But this ignorance of theirs fulfils what is written concerning the blessings of the Messiah's kingdom. No natural man hath either seen, heard, or known, the things which God hath prepared, saith the prophet, for them that love him. Isaiah 64:4

Verse 10

[10] But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

But God hath revealed — Yea, and "freely given," 1 Corinthians 2:12.

Them to us — Even inconceivable peace, and joy unspeakable.

By his Spirit — Who intimately and fully knows them.

For the Spirit searcheth even the deep things of God — Be they ever so hidden and mysterious; the depths both of his nature and his kingdom.

Verse 11

[11] For 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.

For what man knoweth the things of a man — All the inmost recesses of his mind; although men are all of one nature, and so may the more easily know one another.

So the things of God knoweth no one but the Spirit — Who, consequently, is God.

Verse 12

[12] Now 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.

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world — This spirit is not properly received; for the men of the world always had it. But Christians receive the Spirit of God, which before they had not.

Verse 13

[13] Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

Which also we speak — As well as know.

In words taught by the Holy Spirit — Such are all the words of scripture. How high a regard ought we, then, to retain for them! Explaining spiritual things by spiritual words; or, adapting spiritual words to spiritual things - Being taught of the Spirit to express the things of the Spirit.

Verse 14

[14] But 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.

But the natural man — That is, every man who hath not the Spirit; who has no other way of obtaining knowledge, but by his senses and natural understanding.

Receiveth not — Does not understand or conceive.

The things of the Spirit — The things revealed by the Spirit of God, whether relating to his nature or his kingdom.

For they are foolishness to him — He is so far from understanding, that he utterly despises, them Neither can he know them - As he has not the will, so neither has he the power.

Because they are spiritually discerned — They can only be discerned by the aid of that Spirit, and by those spiritual senses, which he has not.

Verse 15

[15] But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

But the spiritual man — He that hath the Spirit. Discerneth all the things of God whereof we have been speaking.

Yet he himself is discerned by no man — No natural men. They neither understand what he is, nor what he says.

Verse 16

[16] For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

Who — What natural man.

We — Spiritual men; apostles in particular.

Have — Know, understand.

The mind of Christ — Concerning the whole plan of gospel salvation. Isaiah 40:13