1 Corinthians 2:5
That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
2:1-5 Christ, in his person, and offices, and sufferings, is the sum and substance of the gospel, and ought to be the great subject of a gospel minister's preaching, but not so as to leave out other parts of God's revealed truth and will. Paul preached the whole counsel of God. Few know the fear and trembling of faithful ministers, from a deep sense of their own weakness They know how insufficient they are, and are fearful for themselves. When nothing but Christ crucified is plainly preached, the success must be entirely from Divine power accompanying the word, and thus men are brought to believe, to the salvation of their souls.That your faith - That is, that your belief of the divine origin of the Christian religion.

Should not stand - Greek, "should not be;" that is, should not rest upon this; or be sustained by this. God intended to furnish you a firm and solid demonstration that the religion which you embraced was from Him; and this could not be if its preaching had been attended with the graces of eloquence, or the abstractions of refined metaphysical reasoning. It would then appear to rest upon human wisdom.

In the power of God - In the evidence of divine power accompanying the preaching of the gospel. The power of God would attend the exhibition of truth everywhere; and would be a demonstration that would be irresistible that the religion was not originated by man, but was from heaven. That power was seen in changing the heart; in overcoming the strong propensities of our nature to sin; in subduing the soul; and making the sinner a new creature in Christ Jesus. Every Christian has thus, in his own experience, furnished demonstration that the religion which he loves is from God, and not from man. man could not subdue these sins; and man could not so entirely transform the soul. And although the unlearned Christian may not be able to investigate all the evidences of religion; although he cannot meet all the objections of cunning and subtle infidels, although he may be greatly perplexed and embarrassed by them, yet he may have the fullest proof that he loves God, that he is different from what he once was; and that all this has been accomplished by the religion of the cross.

The blind man that was made to see by the Saviour John 10, might have been wholly unable to tell how his eyes were opened, and unable to meet all the cavils of those who might doubt it, or all the subtle and cunning objections of physiologists, but of one thing he certainly could not doubt, that "whereas he was blind, he then saw;" John 10:25. A man may have no doubt that the sun shines, that the wind blows, that the tides rise, that the blood flows in his veins, that the flowers bloom, and that this could not be except it was from God, while he may have no power to explain these facts; and no power to meet the objections and cavils of those who might choose to embarrass him. So people may know that their hearts are changed; and it is on this ground that no small part of the Christian world, as in everything else, depend for the most satisfactory evidence of their religion. On this ground humble and unlearned Christians have been often willing to go to the stake as martyrs - just as a humble and unlearned patriot is willing to die for his country. He loves it; and he is willing to die for it. A Christian loves his God and Saviour; and is willing to die for his sake.

5. stand in … wisdom of men—rest on it, owe its origin and continuance to it. Faith properly signifieth our assent to a thing that is told us, and because it is told us. If the revelation be from man, it is no more than a human faith. If it be from God, and we believe the thing because God hath revealed it to us, this is a Divine faith. So as indeed it is impossible that a Divine faith should rest in the wisdom of men. If we could make gospel propositions evident to the outward senses, or evident to such principles of reason as are connatural to us, or upon such conclusions as we make upon such principles, yet no assent of this nature could be faith, which is an assent given to a Divine revelation purely because of such revelation. An assent other ways given may be sensible demonstration, or rational demonstration, or knowledge, or opinion; but Divine faith it cannot be, that must be bottomed in the power of God. Nor ought any thing more to be the care of the ministers of the gospel than this, as to call men to believe, so to endeavour that their faith may

not stand in the wisdom of men: nothing but a human faith can do so. This will show every conscientious minister the vanity of not proving what he saith from holy writ: all other preaching is but either dictating, as if men were to believe what the preacher saith upon his authority; or philosophizing, acting the part of a philosoplter or orator at Athens, not the part of a minister of the gospel. That your faith should not stand,.... "Or be in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God". The Spirit of God directed him, and he under his influence chose, and by his assistance pursued this way of preaching, with this view, and for this reason, that faith in Christ, and in the doctrines of his Gospel, which comes by hearing, might not be attributed to the force of human eloquence and oratory; or stand upon so sandy a foundation, as that which might, if that was the case, be puffed away by a superior flow and force of words; but that it might be ascribed, as it ought to be, to almighty power, stand in it, be supported by it, and at last be finished and fulfilled with it. {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 faith.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Corinthians 2:5. Aim of the divine leading, the organ of which the apostle knew himself to be, in what is set forth in 1 Corinthians 2:4 : in order that your faith (in Christ) may be based, have its causal ground (comp Bernhardy, p. 210), not on man’s wisdom, but on God’s power (which has brought conviction to you through my speech and preaching). That ἵνα introduces not his own (Hofmann), but the divine purpose, is clear from ἐν ἀποδείξει κ.τ.λ[346], in which Paul has stated how God had wrought through him. Comp ἽΝΑ in 1 Corinthians 1:31.

[346] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.1 Corinthians 2:5. The Apostle’s purpose in discarding the orator’s and the sophist’s arts was this: “that your faith might not rest in wisdom of men, but in (the) power of God”. The κἀγὼ ἦλθον of 1 Corinthians 2:1 dominates the paragraph; P. lives over again the experience of his early days in Cor[323]; this purpose then filled his breast: so Hf[324], Gd[325], with the older interpreters; most moderns read into the ἵνα the Divine purpose suggested by 1 Corinthians 1:27-31. Paul was God’s mouthpiece in declaring the Gospel; he therefore sought the very end of God Himself, viz., that God alone should be glorified in the faith of his hearers (1 Corinthians 1:31; cf. 1 Corinthians 1:15). Had he persuaded the Cor[326] by clever reasonings and grounded Christianity upon their Greek philosophy, his work would have perished with the wisdom of the age (see 6, also 1 Corinthians 1:19, 1 Corinthians 3:19 f.).

[323] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[324] J. C. K. von Hofmann’s Die heilige Schrift N.T. untersucht, ii. 2 (2te Auflage, 1874).

[325] F. Godet’s Commentaire sur la prem. Ép. aux Corinthiens (Eng. Trans.).

[326] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

The disowned σοφία ἀνθρώπων is the σοφ. τ. κόσμου of 1 Corinthians 1:10 (see note) in its moral character, a σοφ. σαρκική (2 Corinthians 1:12)—“wisdom of men” as opposed to that of God,—ἀνθρωπίνη, 1 Corinthians 2:13. Yet not God’s wisdom, but primarily His power (see notes on 1 Corinthians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 1:24; 1 Corinthians 1:30) supplied the ground on which P. planted his hearers’ faith. All through, he opposes the practical to the speculative, the reality of God’s work to the speciousness of men’s talk. The last ἵνα clause of this long passage corresponds to the first, ἵνα μὴ κενωθῇ ὁ σταῦρος τ. Χριστοῦ (1 Corinthians 1:17). ἐν should be construed with (consistat in, Bz[327]) rather than πίστις, pointing not to the object of faith but to its substratum: for this predicative ἐν—“should be (a faith) in,” etc.—cf. 1 Corinthians 4:20, Ephesians 5:18, Acts 4:12.

[327] Beza’s Nov. Testamentum: Interpretatio et Annotationes (Cantab., 1642).

SUMMARY. Thus the Apostle’s first ministry at Cor[328], in respect of his bearing (1 Corinthians 2:1), theme (2), temper (3), method (4), governing aim (5), illustrated and accorded with the Gospel, as that is a message from God through which His power works to the confounding of human wisdom by the seeming impotence of a crucified Messiah (1 Corinthians 1:17 b–31).

[328] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.1 Corinthians 2:5. Σοφίᾳ, in the wisdom) and power.—δυνάμει, in the power) and wisdom.Verse 5. - In the power of God. So in 2 Corinthians 4:7 he says that the treasure they carried was "in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us."
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