Bible blog 1720

I am commenting on the Corinthian correspondence of St. Paul  in the order in whichnImthink it was written. 1st Corinthians was written after Paul had been informed of cliques within the Corinthian assembly, led by people who were proud of their religious knowledge.

The daily headlines are remindersbofnthenworld we live in.


This, rather than the sexual behaviour of the clergy is called a defeat for humanity.

This, rather than the sexual behaviour of the clergy is called a defeat for humanity.

1 Corinthians 2 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

2 As for me, brothers, when I arrived among you, it was not with surpassing eloquence or wisdom that I came announcing to you the previously concealed truth about God; 2 for I had decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus the Messiah, and even him only as someone who had been executed on a stake as a criminal. 3 Also I myself was with you as somebody weak, nervous and shaking all over from fear; 4 and neither the delivery nor the content of my message relied on compelling words of “wisdom” but on a demonstration of the power of the Spirit, 5 so that your trust might not rest on human wisdom but on God’s power.

6 Yet there is a wisdom that we are speaking to those who are mature enough for it. But it is not the wisdom of this world or of this world’s leaders, who are in the process of passing away. 7 On the contrary, we are communicating a secret wisdom from God which has been hidden until now but which, before history began, God had decreed would bring us glory. 8 Not one of this world’s leaders has understood it; because if they had, they would not have executed the Lord from whom this glory flows. 9 But, as the Bible says,

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard
and no one’s heart has imagined
all the things that God has prepared
for those who love him.”
10 It is to us, however, that God has revealed these things. How? Through the Spirit. For the Spirit probes all things, even the profoundest depths of God. 11 For who knows the inner workings of a person except the person’s own spirit inside him? So too no one knows the inner workings of God except God’s Spirit. 12 Now we have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit of God, so that we might understand the things God has so freely given us. 13 These are the things we are talking about when we avoid the manner of speaking that human wisdom would dictate and instead use a manner of speaking taught by the Spirit, by which we explain things of the Spirit to people who have the Spirit. 14 Now the natural man does not receive the things from the Spirit of God — to him they are nonsense! Moreover, he is unable to grasp them, because they are evaluated through the Spirit. 15 But the person who has the Spirit can evaluate everything, while no one is in a position to evaluate him.

16 For who has known the mind of The Lord?
Who will counsel him?
But we have the mind of the Messiah!

Paul uses the example of his own physical and rhetorical weakness to insist that the power of the Gospel of Jesus is not caused by natural preference but by God’s spirit. This distinction is so central to Paul’s theology that it’s worthwhile spending some time looking at what he means by it. 

The most direct thing Paul says about the Spirit is his comparison between the human spirit and God’s sprit: just as the spirit of a person knows the true depths of that person, so God’s Spirit comprehends and expresses the depths of the divine person. It is not something extraneous to God, a good gift to deserving humans, but God’s own being made available. God never gives less than Godself.

The merely natural person, limited by the perspective of what Paul calls the “flesh”, is always in danger of “executing the Lord of glory” whereas those who trust in the executed Lord are open to receive the Spirit that contradicts worldly power. Paul has much to say about how the Spirit  comes through the crucified Jesus, but in this passage he simply emphasises the utter dislocation between God’s Spirit and the merely natural spirit of humanity. It is not that God’s sprit is supernatural; rather that the human spirit wants to have supernatural power, whereas God’s spirit is expressed in what human beings think is weakness and nonsense: the execution stake of Jesus.

This is the heart of Paul’s teaching. It is not easily grasped.

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