For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.
Jump to: Barnes • BI • Calvin • Clarke • Chry • Darby • Gill • GSB • Guzik • Homiletics • JFB • MHC • MHCW • PNT • PUL • WES • TSKMatthew 3:2); meaning here, probably, the power or authority which was to be exercised in the government and discipline of the church. Or it may refer to the manner in which the church had been established. "It has not been set up by empty boasting; by pompous pretensions; by confident assertions. Such empty boasts would do little in the great work of founding, governing, and preserving the church and unless people have some higher powers than this they are not qualified to be religious teachers and guides."
But in power -
(1) In the miraculous power by which the church was established - the power of the Saviour and of the apostles in working miracles.
(2) in the power of the Holy Spirit in the gift of tongues, and in his influence on the heart in converting people; see the note at 1 Corinthians 1:18.
but in power: in internal powerful godliness; for true godliness is a powerful thing; faith is powerful, and so is love; and so is prayer, and preaching; and so is all religion, internal and external, where there is the life and truth of grace, and that in exercise. But I rather think the Gospel is here meant, often in Scripture called the kingdom of God, and the doctrines of it, the mysteries of the kingdom; because it is a message from the King of kings; the means of setting up the kingdom or grace in the heart; its subjects are things concerning the kingdom of God; it is what has brought life and immortality, or an immortal life to light; and gives the best account of the invisible glories of the heavenly state, and points out the saints' meetness for it, and title to it; declaring that except a man is born again, and has a better righteousness than his own, even that of Christ's, he shall neither see nor enter into the kingdom of heaven. Now the Gospel is not in "word"; though it lies in the word of God, the Scriptures of truth: and treats of the essential word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ; and cannot be preached without words, even the words of men; yet is not to be preached with wisdom of words, with enticing words of man's wisdom, or in the words which man's wisdom teacheth; nor does the efficacy of it lie in, or depend upon the words of the preacher, or on mere moral persuasion: for whenever it is effectual, it comes not "in word only, but also in power"; 1 Thessalonians 1:5 and by "power" is meant, not a power of working miracles the first preachers of the Gospel had, and by which it was greatly confirmed; nor a godly life and conversation which that enforced upon, and engaged both ministers and people to; but the powerful efficacy of the Spirit, attending the preaching of the Gospel to the quickening of dead sinners, the enlightening of blind eyes, and unstopping of deaf ears; the softening of hard hearts, the delivering of persons from the slavery of sin and Satan, the transforming and renewing of them both inwardly and outwardly; and to the comforting, enlivening, strengthening, and establishing of the saints; all which can never be ascribed to the persuasive language of men, but to the power of God; and which is the more apparent when it is observed what mean and despicable instruments in the eyes of men are made use of: what the doctrines are that are preached, not being of man, nor agreeably to his carnal reason, but esteemed foolishness by him; and the manner in which they are propagated, not in a carnal way, by outward force, but by the foolishness of preaching: and the opposition made to it both by the enmity of man's heart unto it, by the men of the world, and by Satan and his principalities and powers.For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. For in the kingdom of God it is not words or professions which avail, but the power of God in the heart.Verse 20. - The kingdom of God. The Christian life, with all its attainments and all its hopes. Is not in word, but in power. It is not a matter of profession, or of eloquence, or of phrases, but of transforming efficacy. St. Paul always appeals for the corroboration of his authority to the signs and power of the Spirit (2 Corinthians 10:45; Romans 15:19; 1 Thessalonians 1:5), to the "demonstration" of which he has already referred (1 Corinthians 2:4).
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