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First Letter to the Corinthians Chapter 2
In the 2nd, 3rd and 4th chapters of the letter Paul uses the divisions in the church to explain
some fundamental principles of discipleship. Becoming a follower of Jesus is a life
changing process. Making a public commitment to follow Jesus and being baptized is the
start and not the end of the process. He explains that the process involves:
 developing a faith that depends on the power of God not the wisdom of men
 moving from a physical view of life to a spiritual view
 replacing the natural human pride with humility
 thinking of apostles as servants not leaders.
He makes it clear to the members of the church in Corinth that they are in the early stages
of the process with a long way to go.
The three chapters not only explain the underlying causes of the divisions, they prepare
the ground for the criticism of the unacceptable behaviour which follows in the later
chapters.
Read 1 Corinthians 2. 1 – 5
Paul starts his explanation by going back to his first arrival in Corinth five years earlier.
He makes a distinction between the human and the divine. He arrived in Corinth from
Athens having failed to get sufficient response to establish a church in that city. When he
approached Corinth he was concerned that he may get a similar negative result. He came
to them in weakness and in fear of failure. What they saw was someone who spoke with
confidence and assurance, but this was a demonstration of the Spirit’s power. Their faith
was not founded on human wisdom nor human eloquence.
Read 1 Corinthians 2. 6 – 10
Paul distinguishes here between basic facts, such as Jesus Christ and him crucified (verse
2) and what the facts mean. He also distinguishes between those who cannot understand
the wisdom and those who are able to understand because they have moved along the
road of discipleship.
Verse 7 this wisdom was not understood in former times, but is now revealed V 10.
Verse 9 See Isaiah 64 v 4. Isaiah understood the process of spiritual growth and he knew
that he did not understand what lay in the future – the mystery. Part of Godly wisdom is
knowing what you do not know.
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Read 1 Corinthians 2. 11-16
The believers in Corinth received the gospel not from the wisdom of men, but from God.
Paul explains this by using the example of individuals thinking and planning in their own
minds. No one knows what someone is thinking, or is being planned, unless that person
tells someone else. It doesn’t matter how clever, smart, intelligent, or wise a person is, it
is impossible to find out what someone else is planning, unless that person says what it is.
V 13 We speak not in words taught us by human wisdom, but in words taught by the
Spirit.
If someone claims that they have worked out what God requires, or will do, by
intellectual brilliance, it is a false claim.
V 14 to accept the gospel also requires the Spirit of God.
A person whose life is confined to physical and material things does not understand
spiritual things. Anything beyond the physical and material is foolishness.
V15 The person who recognizes that life is more than the physical and material cannot be
judged by those who do not recognize this. Paul quotes Isaiah 40 v 13.
Read Isaiah 12 v 12 – 14 The question Isaiah is raising is: ‘who knows what God is
thinking and planning?’ Paul explains that Christ knows and therefore he is able to say:
“ We have the mind of Christ.”
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