Friday, February 9, 2018

The Apostle by Chapter | 1 Corinthians Chapter 2

By Sam Nobles

In Acts 17, the Apostle Paul went to Mars Hill in the city of Athens and gave a thesis to the men of Athens by referring to their poets, philosophy, and culture. Based on Paul’s other encounters, the success of his message was minimal at best. Only a handful of the people there believed that day. While one salvation would have been worth it, most of the people mocked him.

Could it be that things did not go well for Paul because he never mentioned Jesus Christ crucified? Even though Paul speaks of the resurrection on Mars Hill, he never specifically mentions Jesus crucified and resurrected. Could this attempt to be philosophical and professional be the reason that no church was established in Athens? Whether or not that is the truth will not be known on this side of heaven, but what is known is that in Paul’s next stop in Corinth his methods changed radically. He abandoned the philosophical speech and talked about the cross and resurrection, with power and wisdom from the Spirit. The result was that many responded and a church was planted.

Power (v.1-5)
Paul did not mimic the teachers of Corinth who depended on their intellect; Paul’s faith was in the Lord, not himself. Paul’s message was one that came by demonstration of the Spirit of God. It wasn't man's wisdom. I believe that there is, in the ministry of teaching and preaching the Word, that the Holy Spirit speaks through man in a way that man cannot. I often listen to my sermons and I enjoy them. I know that sounds weird, but I listened to one of my messages the other day and I really enjoyed it. Most of the way through I kept saying to myself, “Did I say that? Man, that's great stuff.” Why were my words a surprise to me? Because it was a demonstration of the Spirit of God moving through the teaching and preaching of the Word.

Wisdom (v.6-16)
The true wisdom of God comes to believers through the Spirit of God. I always encourage a person to ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate their mind and understanding before reading the Bible. Why? The natural man cannot know the things of the Spirit. He cannot receive them; he cannot know them because they are spiritually discerned (v.9-11). In the same way a deaf man cannot enjoy the symphony or a blind man, the beauty of the sunset; the natural man cannot receive or know the things of the Spirit, because he lacks the faculty by which these things are known.  The natural man lacks the Spirit of God living in him.

Scripture to Claim:
“and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:4-5 ESV)

Chuck Smith, New Testament Study Guide: Matthew Through Revelation/Verse by Verse (Costa Mesa, CA: Word for Today, 2005).

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