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Geneva Study Notes
1 Corinthians Chapter 2

1 Corinthians 2:1
2:1 And {1} I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with
    excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the
    {a} testimony of God.

 (1) He returns to 1 Corinthians 1:17, that is to say, to his own
     example: confessing that he did not use among them either
     excellency of words or enticing speech of man's wisdom, but
     with great simplicity of speech both knew and preached
     Jesus Christ crucified, humbled and abject, with regard to
     the flesh.
     (a) The Gospel.

1 Corinthians 2:2
2:2 For I {b} determined not to know any thing among you, save
    Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

    (b) I did not profess any knowledge but the knowledge of
        Christ and him crucified.

1 Corinthians 2:3
2:3 And I was with you in {c} weakness, and in fear, and in much

    (c) He contrasts weakness with excellency of words, and
        therefore joins with it fear and trembling, which are
        companions of true modesty, not such fear and trembling
        as terrify the conscience, but such as are contrary to
        vanity and pride.

1 Corinthians 2:4
2:4 And my speech and my preaching [was] not with enticing words
    of man's wisdom, {2} but in {d} demonstration of the Spirit
    and of power:

 (2) He turns now to the commendation of his ministry, which he
     had granted to his adversaries: for his strength and power,
     which they knew well enough, was so much the more excellent
     because it had no worldly help behind it.
     (d) By "demonstration" he means such a proof as is made by
         reasons both certain and necessary.

1 Corinthians 2:5
2:5 {3} That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men,
    but in the power of God.

 (3) And he tells the Corinthians that he did it for their great
     profit, because they might by this know manifestly that the
     Gospel was from heaven.  Therefore he privately rebukes
     them, because in vainly seeking to be noticed, they
     willingly deprived themselves of the greatest help of their

1 Corinthians 2:6
2:6 {4} Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are {e} perfect:
    yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the {f} princes of
    this world, that come to nought:

 (4) Another argument taken from the nature of the thing, that
     is, of the Gospel, which is true wisdom, but known only to
     those who are desirous of perfection: and it is unsavoury
     to those who otherwise excel in the world, but yet vainly
     and frailly.
     (e) They are called perfect here, not who had already
         gotten perfection, but those who are striving for it,
         as in Philippians 3:15: so that perfect is contrasted
         with weak.
     (f) Those that are wiser, richer, or mightier than other
         men are.

1 Corinthians 2:7
2:7 {5} But we speak the wisdom of God in a {g} mystery, [even]
    the hidden [wisdom], {6} which God ordained before the world
    unto our glory:

 (5) He shows the reason why this wisdom cannot be perceived by
     those excellent worldly intellects: that is, because it is
     indeed so deep that they cannot attain to it.
     (g) Which men could not so much as dream of.
 (6) He takes away an objection: if it is so hard, when and how
     is it known?  God, he says, determined with himself from
     the beginning, that which his purpose was to bring forth at
     this time out of his secrets, for the salvation of men.

1 Corinthians 2:8
2:8 {7} Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had
    they known [it], they would not have crucified the {h} Lord
    of glory.

 (7) He takes away another objection: why then, how comes it to
     pass that this wisdom was so rejected by men of the
     highest authority, that they crucified Christ himself?
     Paul answers: because they did not know Christ such as he
     (h) That mighty God, full of true majesty and glory: now
         this place has in it a most evident proof of the
         divinity of Christ, and of the joining of the two
         natures in one in him, which has this in it, that
         which is proper to the manhood alone is confirmed of
         the Godhead joined with the manhood.  This type of
         speech is called, by the old fathers, a making common
         of things belonging to someone with another to whom
         they do not belong.

1 Corinthians 2:9
2:9 {8} But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,
    neither have entered into the {i} heart of man, the things
    which God hath prepared for them that love him.

 (8) Another objection: but how could it be that those
     intelligent men could not perceive this wisdom?  Paul
     answers: because we preach those things which surpass all
     man's understanding.
     (i) Man cannot so much as think of them, much less
         conceive them with his senses.

1 Corinthians 2:10
2:10 {9} But God hath revealed [them] unto us by his Spirit: for
     the Spirit {k} searcheth all things, yea, the deep things
     of God.

 (9) A question: if it surpasses the capacity of men, how can it
     be understood by any man, or how can you declare and preach
     it?  By a special enlightening of God's Spirit, with which
     whoever is inspired, he can enter even into the very
     secrets of God.
     (k) There is nothing so secret and hidden in God, but the
         Spirit of God penetrates it.

1 Corinthians 2:11
2:11 {10} For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the {l}
     spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God
     knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

 (10) He sets it forth in comparison, which he spoke by the
      inspiration of the Sprit.  As the power of man's intellect
      searches out things pertaining to man, so does our mind by
      the power of the Holy Spirit understand heavenly things.
      (l) The mind of man which is endued with the ability to
          understand and judge.

1 Corinthians 2:12
2:12 Now we have received, not the {m} spirit of the world, but
     the spirit which is of God; {11} that we might {n} know the
     things that are freely given to us of God.

     (m) The Spirit which we have received does not teach us
         things of this world, but lifts us up to God, and this
         verse teaches us the opposite of what the papists
         teach: what faith is, from where it comes, and from
         what power it originates.
 (11) That which he spoke generally, he confines now to those
      things which God has opened to us of our salvation in
      Christ: so that no man should separate the Spirit from the
      preaching of the word and Christ: or should think that
      those fanciful men are governed by the Spirit of God, who
      wandering besides the word, thrust upon us their vain
      imaginations for the secrets of God.
      (n) This word "know" is taken here in its proper sense
          for true knowledge, which the Spirit of God works in

1 Corinthians 2:13
2:13 {12} Which things also we speak, not in the words which
     man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth;
     {o} comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

 (12) Now he returns to his purpose, and concludes the argument
      which he began in verse six 1 Corinthians 2:6, and it is this:
      the words must be applied to the matter, and the matter
      must be set forth with words which are proper and
      appropriate for it: now this wisdom is spiritual and not
      from man, and therefore it must be delivered by a spiritual
      type of teaching, and not by enticing words of man's
      eloquence, so that the simple, and yet wonderful majesty of
      the Holy Spirit may appear in it.
      (o) Applying the words to the matter, that is, that as we
          teach spiritual things, so must our type of teaching
          be spiritual.

1 Corinthians 2:14
2:14 {13} But the {p} 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 {q}
     spiritually discerned.

 (13) Again he anticipates an offence or stumbling block: how does
      it come to pass that so few allow these things?  This is
      not to be marvelled at, the apostle says, seeing that men
      in their natural powers (as they call them) are not endued
      with that faculty by which spiritual things are discerned
      (which faculty comes another way) and therefore they
      consider spiritual wisdom as folly: and it is as if he
      should say, "It is no marvel that blind men cannot judge
      of colours, seeing that they lack the light of their eyes,
      and therefore light is to them as darkness."
      (p) The man that has no further light of understanding,
          than that which he brought with him, even from his
          mother's womb, as Jude defines it; Jude 19.
      (q) By the power of the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 2:15
2:15 {14} But he that is spiritual {r} judgeth all things, yet
     {15} he himself is judged of {s} no man.

 (14) He amplifies the matter by opposites.
      (r) Understands and discerns.
 (15) The wisdom of the flesh, Paul says, determines nothing
      certainly, no not in its own affairs, much less can it
      discern strange, that is, spiritual things.  But the
      Spirit of God, with which spiritual men are endued, can by
      no means be deceived, and therefore be reproved by any
      (s) Of no man: for when the prophets are judged of the
          prophets, it is the Spirit that judges, and not the

1 Corinthians 2:16
2:16 {16} For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may
     {t} instruct him? But we have {u} the mind of Christ.

 (16) A reason from the former saying: for he is called
      spiritual, who has learned that by the power of the
      Spirit, which Christ has taught us.  Now if that which we
      have learned from that Master could be reproved by any
      man, he must be wiser than God: whereupon it follows that
      they are not only foolish, but also wicked, who think that
      they can devise something that is either more perfect, or
      that they can teach the wisdom of God a better way than
      those knew or taught who were undoubtedly endued with
      God's Spirit.
      (t) Lay his head to his, and teach him what he should do.
      (u) We are endued with the Spirit of Christ, who opens to
          us those secrets which by all other means are
          unsearchable, and also any truth at all.

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