Rev. Andrew Jagow, pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church in Alexandria, Virginia, joins host Rev. AJ Espinosa to study 1 Corinthians 2.
“The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, […] but we have the mind of Christ.” People use a lot of the same words that Christians use: love, faith, spirit, heaven—but do they use them with the same meaning? In 1 Corinthians 2 Paul builds on his argument against conventional wisdom and power, re-defining these words in a Christian sense. But he’s not being countercultural to win a culture war. There’s a pastoral concern here: the Corinthians have a blind spot for the love of prestige & authority, infecting their theology like an invisible virus. As Christ’s cross shows, God’s power doesn’t need to impress in order to love its enemies. Christian wisdom doesn’t need to come from renowned experts to save lives.
Thy Strong Word is a daily in-depth study of the books of the Bible with host Rev. AJ Espinosa and guest pastors from across the country. Thy Strong Word is graciously underwritten by the Lutheran Heritage Foundation and produced by the LCMS Office of National Mission.
1 Corinthians 2
Proclaiming Christ Crucified
2 And I, when I came to you, brothers,[a] did not come proclaiming to you the testimony[b] of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men[c] but in the power of God.
Wisdom from the Spirit
6 Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. 7 But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—
10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.[d]
14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
- 1 Corinthians 2:1 Or brothers and sisters
- 1 Corinthians 2:1 Some manuscripts mystery (or secret)
- 1 Corinthians 2:5 The Greek word anthropoi can refer to both men and women
- 1 Corinthians 2:13 Or interpreting spiritual truths in spiritual language, or comparing spiritual things with spiritual
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. esv.org