1 Corinthians 2:6 MEANING

1 Corinthians 2:6
(6) Howbeit we speak wisdom.--Nevertheless, there is a wisdom in the gospel. The assertion is in the Greek a more striking contrast to 1 Corinthians 2:4 than appears in the English. In the original (1 Corinthians 2:4) the word is "wisdom," and not "man's wisdom," as in the English. Thus the statement here is a verbal contradiction of that in 1 Corinthians 2:4. In using the plural "we," St. Paul implies that he did not stand alone among the Apostles in the method of his teaching.

Them that are perfect--i.e., those who are grown up, and not "babes" (1 Corinthians 3:1; see also 1 Corinthians 14:20). The "wisdom" of the gospel is that deep spiritual truth which only those whose spiritual natures have been trained and cultivated were capable of understanding. This "wisdom," however, the Apostle had not taught the Corinthians; he had only taught them the alphabet of Christianity, for they were still but "babes"--they were still only "fleshly" (1 Corinthians 3:3). That the Apostle himself not only grasped the higher truths which he designates the "wisdom" of the gospel, but taught them gladly when there were hearers capable of appreciating them, is evident from many passages in the Epistles to the Romans, Colossians, and Ephesians, where he unfolds the "mysteries" of the gospel. (See Romans 11:25; Romans 16:25.)

Yet not.--Better, a wisdom, however, not of this world.

That come to nought.--Better, which are being brought to nought, the reference here being, not to the inherent transitoriness of human wisdom and teachers, but to the fact that they are being brought to nought by God's rejection of them, and His choice of the "weak" things as the means of spreading the gospel (1 Corinthians 1:28).

Verses 6-16. - The apparent foolishness is the only wisdom. Verse 6. - Howbeit. In this passage he shows that in reality a crushing irony lay in his description of the gospel as being, in the world's judgment, "weak" and "foolish." It was the highest wisdom, but it could only be understood by the perfect. Its apparent folly to the Corinthians was a proof of their blindness and incapacity. Among the perfect. The word either means

(1) the mature, the full grown, as opposed to babes in Christ (1 Corinthians 3:1); or

(2) the fully initiated into the mysteries of godliness (ἐποπται 2 Peter 1:16). A wisdom not of this world; literally, of this seen. The word kosmos means the world in its material aspect; aeon is read for the world in its moral and intellectual aspect. "The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God" (1 Corinthians 3:19). Nor of the rulers of this world. Some have taken these "rulers" to be the same as "the world rulers of this darkness," i.e. the evil spirits, in Ephesians 6:12 (John 13:27; Luke 22:53). Ignatius (?) seems to have understood it thus; for he adopted the strange notion that "the prince of this aeon" (i.e. Satan) had been deceived and frustrated by the incarnation from a virgin, and the death on the cross (Ignat., 'Ad. Ephesians,' 19). It means more probably "wisdom," as understood by Roman governors and Jewish Sanhedrists, who treated the Divine wisdom of the gospel with sovereign contempt (Acts 4:27). That [who] come to nought; literally, who are being done away with. Amid all the feebleness of the infant Church, St. Paul saw empires vanishing before it.

2:6-9 Those who receive the doctrine of Christ as Divine, and, having been enlightened by the Holy Spirit, have looked well into it, see not only the plain history of Christ, and him crucified, but the deep and admirable designs of Divine wisdom therein. It is the mystery made manifest to the saints, Col 1:26, though formerly hid from the heathen world; it was only shown in dark types and distant prophecies, but now is revealed and made known by the Spirit of God. Jesus Christ is the Lord of glory; a title much too great for any creature. There are many things which people would not do, if they knew the wisdom of God in the great work of redemption. There are things God hath prepared for those that love him, and wait for him, which sense cannot discover, no teaching can convey to our ears, nor can it yet enter our hearts. We must take them as they stand in the Scriptures, as God hath been pleased to reveal them to us.Howbeit we speak wisdom,.... Though the wise philosophers among the Gentiles accounted the Gospel foolishness; and though the apostle, by an ironical concession, had called the ministry of it the foolishness of preaching, and the foolishness of God, and had thought best, for wise reasons, to deliver it in a plain and simple manner, without the embellishments of human wisdom; yet he vindicates it from the charge of folly: it was not folly, but wisdom, which he and his fellow ministers preached, and that of the highest kind, as appears from what follows. Though it was not esteemed so by all men, yet

among, or with

them that are perfect; adult, at age, opposed to babes and children; such who have their understandings enlightened by the spirit of wisdom and revelation; who have their senses exercised to discern between divine and human wisdom; and who are perfect in a comparative sense, having more spiritual knowledge and understanding than others; for none, in the present state of things, are absolutely perfect in knowledge; they that know most, know but in part: now to such the Gospel and the doctrines of it appear to be the highest wisdom; for the apostle's sense is not that he and other Gospel ministers preached the more sublime doctrines of it to a select set of persons that had more judgment and a better understanding of things than others: if this could be thought to be the apostle's meaning, he might be supposed to allude to a custom among the Jews, not to deliver the sublime things of the law, but to persons so and so qualified.

"Says R. Ame (r), they do not deliver the secrets of the law, but to him who has the five things or characters in Isaiah 3:3''

So they did not suffer the first chapter of Genesis and the visions of Ezekiel to be read until thirty years of age (s); and from them the Pythagoreans took their notion of not declaring their mysteries but to "perfect ones", the word here used (t); but the apostle's sense is, that to such that were perfect, and even to everyone that had the least degree of spiritual knowledge, the Gospel was wisdom. Some refer this clause not to persons, but things; and so the Arabic version reads it, "we speak wisdom concerning things that are perfect"; as the things of the Gospel are, such as a plenteous redemption, perfect righteousness, full pardon, plenary satisfaction, and complete salvation and happiness:

yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: meaning not the idolatry, superstition, curious and magic arts introduced by demons, which principalities and powers, with all their works, are spoiled and destroyed by Christ; but either the political wisdom and crafty schemes of the civil governors of the world, against Christ and his Gospel, who were by this time most, if not all of them, dead; or the vain philosophy of the wise and learned among the Gentiles, who every day were less and less in vogue, through the quick and powerful spread of the Gospel; or rather the highest pitch of wisdom and knowledge in divine things, which the doctors and Rabbins among the Jews attained to in the age before the Messiah's coming; called "this world" in distinction from the times of the Messiah, which in Jewish language was, "the world to come", as Dr. Lightfoot observes; who with all their wisdom were confounded and brought to nought by the superior wisdom of the Gospel.

(r) T. Bab. Chagiga, fol. 13. 1.((s) Hieron. prefat. in Ezekiel & ad Paulin. Tom. III. fol. 3. 2. (t) Hierocles in Pythag. Carmin. p. 302.

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