1 Corinthians 2:13
Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) Not in the words.—Not only the gospel truths themselves, but the very form and manner in which those truths are taught is the result of spiritual insight.

Comparing spiritual things with spiritual.—Better, explaining spiritual things in spiritual language; really only another more pointed form of stating what he has just said. The word translated here “comparing” in our Authorised version is used in the sense of expounding or teaching in the LXX. (Genesis 40:8; Genesis 40:16; Daniel 5:12), especially of dreams, where the dream is, so to speak, “compared” with the interpretation. So here, the spiritual things are “compared” with the spiritual language in which they are stated. Another meaning—explaining spiritual things to spiritual men—has been suggested, but that adopted would seem to be the more simple and natural. This second interpretation, would make these words the introduction to the remark which follows about “the spiritual man,” but it involves a use of the word in which it is not found elsewhere in the New Testament.

2:10-16 God has revealed true wisdom to us by his Spirit. Here is a proof of the Divine authority of the Holy Scriptures, 2Pe 1:21. In proof of the Divinity of the Holy Ghost, observe, that he knows all things, and he searches all things, even the deep things of God. No one can know the things of God, but his Holy Spirit, who is one with the Father and the Son, and who makes known Divine mysteries to his church. This is most clear testimony, both to the real Godhead and the distinct person of the Holy Spirit. The apostles were not guided by worldly principles. They had the revelation of these things from the Spirit of God, and the saving impression of them from the same Spirit. These things they declared in plain, simple language, taught by the Holy Spirit, totally different from the affected oratory or enticing words of man's wisdom. The natural man, the wise man of the world, receives not the things of the Spirit of God. The pride of carnal reasoning is really as much opposed to spirituality, as the basest sensuality. The sanctified mind discerns the real beauties of holiness, but the power of discerning and judging about common and natural things is not lost. But the carnal man is a stranger to the principles, and pleasures, and actings of the Divine life. The spiritual man only, is the person to whom God gives the knowledge of his will. How little have any known of the mind of God by natural power! And the apostles were enabled by his Spirit to make known his mind. In the Holy Scriptures, the mind of Christ, and the mind of God in Christ, are fully made known to us. It is the great privilege of Christians, that they have the mind of Christ revealed to them by his Spirit. They experience his sanctifying power in their hearts, and bring forth good fruits in their lives.Which things we speak - Which great, and glorious, and certain truths, we, the apostles, preach and explain.

Not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth - Not such as human philosophy or eloquence would dictate. They do not have their origin in the devices of human wisdom, and they are not expressed in such words of dazzling and attractive rhetoric as would be employed by those who pride themselves on the wisdom of this world.

But which the Holy Ghost teacheth - That is, in the words which the Holy Spirit imparts to us. Locke understands this as referring to the fact that the apostles used "the language and expressions" which the Holy Spirit had taught in the revelations of the Scriptures. But this is evidently giving a narrow view of the subject. The apostle is speaking of the whole course of instruction by which the deep things of God were made known to the Christian church; and all this was not made known in the very words which were already contained in the Old Testament. He evidently refers to the fact that the apostles were themselves under the direction of the Holy Spirit, in the words and doctrines which they imparted; and this passage is a full proof that they laid claim to divine inspiration. It is further observable that he says, that this was done in such "words" as the Holy Spirit taught, referring not to the doctrines or subjects merely, but to the manner of expressing them. It is evident here that he lays claim to an inspiration in regard to the words which he used, or to the manner of his stating the doctrines of revelation. Words are the signs of thoughts; and if God designed that his truth should be accurately expressed in human language, there must have been a supervision over the words used, that such should be employed, and such only, as should accurately express the sense which he intended to convey.

Comparing spiritual things with spiritual - πνευματικοῖς πνευματικὰ συγκρίνοντες pneumatikois pneumatika sugkrinontes. This expression has been very variously interpreted; and is very difficult of explanation. LeClerc renders it "speaking spiritual things to spiritual men." Most of the fathers rendered it: "comparing the things which were written by the Spirit of the Old Testament with what is now revealed to us by the same Spirit, and confirming our doctrine by them." Calvin renders the word "comparing" by "fitting," or adapting ("aptare"), and says that it means "that he adapted spiritual things to spiritual people, while he accommodated words to the thing; that is he tempered that celestial wisdom of the Spirit with simple language, and which conveyed by itself the native energy of the Spirit." Thus, says he, he reproved the vanity of those who attempted to secure human applause by a turgid and subtle mode of argument.

Grotius accords with the fathers, and renders it, "explaining those things which the prophets spake by the Spirit of God, by those things which Christ has made known to us by his Spirit." Macknight renders it: "explaining spiritual things in words taught by the Spirit." So Doddridge - The word rendered "comparing" συγκρίνοντες sugkrinontes, means properly "to collect, join, mingle, unite together"; then "to separate or distinguish parts of things and unite them into one"; then "to judge of the qualities of objects by carefully separating or distinguishing"; then "to compare for the purpose of judging," etc. Since it means to compare one thing with another for the purpose of explaining its nature, it comes to signify to "interpret," to "explain;" and in this sense it is often used by the Septuagint as a translation of the Hebrew word פתר phathar, "to open, unfold, explain." (See Genesis 40:8, Genesis 40:16, Genesis 40:22; Genesis 41:12, Genesis 41:15); also of פרשׁ paarash, "to explain"; and of the Chaldee peshar, Daniel 5:13, Daniel 5:17. See also Daniel 2:4-7, Daniel 2:9,Daniel 2:16, Daniel 2:24, Daniel 2:26, Daniel 2:30, Daniel 2:36, Daniel 2:45; Daniel 4:3-4, Daniel 4:6,Daniel 4:16-17; Daniel 5:7-8, Daniel 5:13, Daniel 5:16, Daniel 5:18, Daniel 5:20; Daniel 7:16, in all which places the noun σύγκρισις sugkrisis, is used in the same sense. In this sense the word is, doubtless, used here, and is to be interpreted in the sense of "explaining, unfolding." There is no reason, either in the word used here, or in the argument of the apostle, why the sense of comparing should be retained.

Spiritual things - πνευματικὰ pneumatika. Things, doctrines, subjects that pertain to the teaching of the Spirit. It does not mean things "spiritual" in opposition to "fleshly;" or "intellectual" in opposition to things pertaining to "matter;" but spiritual as the things referred to were such as were performed, and revealed by the Holy Spirit - his doctrines on the subject of religion under the new dispensation, and his influence on the heart.

With spiritual - πνευματικοῖς pneumatikois. This is an adjective; and may be either masculine or neuter. It is evident, that some noun is understood. That may be either:

(1) ανθρωποις anthrōpois, "men" - and then it will mean "to spiritual men" - that is, to people who are enlightened or taught by the Spirit and thus many commentators understand it; or,

(2) It may be λόγοις logois, "words" - and then it may mean, either that the "spiritual things" were explained by "words" and illustrations drawn from the writings of the Old Testament, inspired by the Spirit - as most of the fathers, and many moderns understand it; or that the "things spiritual" were explained by-words which the Holy Spirit then communicated, and which were adapted to the subject - simple, pure, elevated; not gross, not turgid, not distinguished for rhetoric, and not such as the Greeks sought, but such as became the Spirit of God communicating great, sublime, yet simple truths to people.

It will then mean "explaining doctrines that pertain to the Spirit's teaching and influence in words that are taught; by the same Spirit, and that are suited to convey in the most intelligible manner those doctrines to men." Here the idea of the Holy Spirit's present agency is kept up throughout; the idea that he communicates the doctrine, and the mode of stating it to man - The supposition that λόγοις logois, words, is the word understood here, is favored by the fact that it occurs in the previous part of this verse. And if this be the sense, it means that the words which were used by the apostles were pure, simple, unostentatious, and undistinguished by display - such as became doctrines taught by the Holy Spirit, when communicated in words suggested by the same Spirit.

13. also—We not only know by the Holy Ghost, but we also speak the "things freely given to us of God" (1Co 2:12).

which the Holy Ghost teacheth—The old manuscripts read "the Spirit" simply, without "Holy."

comparing spiritual things with spiritual—expounding the Spirit-inspired Old Testament Scripture, by comparison with the Gospel which Jesus by the same Spirit revealed [Grotius]; and conversely illustrating the Gospel mysteries by comparing them with the Old Testament types [Chrysostom]. So the Greek word is translated, "comparing" (2Co 10:12). Wahl (Key of the New Testament) translates, "explaining (as the Greek is translated, Ge 40:8, the Septuagint) to spiritual (that is, Spirit-taught) men, spiritual things (the things which we ourselves are taught by the Spirit)." Spirit-taught men alone can comprehend spiritual truths. This accords with 1Co 2:6, 9, 10, 14, 15; 1Co 3:1. Alford translates, "Putting together (combining) spirituals with spirituals"; that is, attaching spiritual words to spiritual things, which we should not do, if we were to use words of worldly wisdom to expound spiritual things (so 1Co 2:1, 4; 1Pe 4:11). Perhaps the generality of the neuters is designed to comprehend these several notions by implication. Comparing, or combining, spirituals with spirituals; implying both that spiritual things are only suited to spiritual persons (so "things" comprehended persons, 1Co 1:27), and also that spiritual truths can only be combined with spiritual (not worldly-wise) words; and lastly, spirituals of the Old and New Testaments can only be understood by mutual comparison or combination, not by combination with worldly "wisdom," or natural perceptions (1Co 1:21, 22; 2:1, 4-9; compare Ps 119:18).

Reason and all practice directeth men to speak and write of subjects in a style and phrase fitted to the matter about which they write or discourse. Our subjects, saith the apostle, were sublime, spiritual subjects; therefore I did not discourse them like an orator, with an excellency of speech or of wisdom, ,{ as 1 Corinthians 2:1} or with the enticing or persuasive words of man’s wisdom, ( as he had said, 1 Corinthians 2:4), nor with words which man’s wisdom teacheth, ( which is his phrase here), but with words which the Holy Ghost hath taught us, either in holy writ, or by its impressions upon our minds, where they are first formed.

Comparing spiritual things with spiritual; fitting spiritual things to spiritual persons who are able to understand them, or fitting spiritual language to spiritual matter, speaking the oracles of God as the oracles of God, 1 Peter 4:11; not declaiming like an orator, nor arguing philosophically like an Athenian philosopher, but using a familiar, plain, spiritual style, giving you the naked truths of God without any paint or gaudery of phrase.

Which things also we speak,.... Namely, the things which have not been seen by the eye, heard by the ear, or understood by the heart of man; the things God has prepared for his people; the deep things of God; the things of God which are only known to the Spirit; the things that are freely given to them of God, and made known to them by the Spirit of God: these things are spoken out, preached, and declared to the sons of men,

not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth; which are learned in the schools of the philosophers, put together by human art, and "in the taught words of human wisdom", as the clause may be rendered; such as are taught and acquired by human learning, so artificially formed in their order and structure as to work upon the affections of men, captivate the mind, and persuade to an assent.

But which the Holy Ghost teacheth; or "in the taught" words "of the Holy Ghost"; in the language of the Scriptures, edited by the Spirit of God; or such as the Holy Spirit taught them, suggested to them, directed them to the use of; for he not only supplied them with matter, but furnished them with words, with proper and spiritual oratory:

comparing spiritual things with spiritual; the things of the Spirit of God, the doctrines of the Gospel, with the spiritual writings of the Old Testament, whereby their truth and harmony are demonstrated; speaking as the oracles of God, and prophesying or preaching according to the analogy of faith; and adapting spiritual words to spiritual truths, clothing them with a language suitable and convenient to them, not foreign and flourishing, but pure, simple, and native; or accommodating and communicating spiritual things, as to matter and form, to spiritual men; which sense the Arabic version favours and confirms, such being only capable of them; and with these there is no need to use the eloquence, oratory, wisdom, and words of men.

{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 1Co 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.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Corinthians 2:13. Having thus in 1 Corinthians 2:10-12 given the proof of that ἡμῖν δὲ ἀπεκάλ. κ.τ.λ[401], the apostle goes on now to the manner in which the things revealed were proclaimed, passing, therefore, from the εἰδέναι τὰ χαρ. to the λαλεῖν of them. The manner, negative and positive, of this λαλεῖν (comp 1 Corinthians 2:4) he links to what has gone before simply by the relative: which (namely, τὰχαρισθ. ἡμ.) we also (in accordance with the fact of our having received the Spirit, 1 Corinthians 2:12) utter not in words learned of human wisdom (dialectics, rhetoric, etc.), but in those learned of the Spirit. The genitives: ἀνθρωπ. σοφ. and πνεύματος, are dependent on διδακτοῖς (John 6:45). See Winer, pp. 182, 178 [E. T. 242, 236]. Pflugk, a[403] Eur. Hec. 1135. Comp Pindar, Ol. ix. 153: πολλοὶ δὲ διδακταῖς ἀνθρώπων ἀρεταῖς κλέος ὤρουσαν ἑλέσθαι· ἄνευ δὲ θεοῦ κ.τ.λ[405], comp Nem. iii. 71. Sophocles, El. 1Co 336: τἀμὰ νουθετήματα κείνης διδακτά. It is true that the genitives might also be dependent upon ΛΌΓΟΙς (Fritzsche, Diss. II. in 2 Cor. p. 27); but the context, having διδακτοῖς πνεύματος, is against this. To take ΔΙΔΑΚΤΟῖς (with Ewald) as meaning, according to the common classical usage, learnable, quae doceri possunt (see especially Demosth. 1413. 24; Plato, Prot. p. 319 B: οὐ διδακτὸν εἶναι μηδʼ ὑπʼ ἀνθρώπων παρασκευαστὸν ἀνθρώποις), does not agree so well with 1 Corinthians 2:4; 1 Corinthians 2:15.

The suggestio verborum, here asserted, is reduced to its right measure by διδακτοῖς; for that word excludes all idea of anything mechanical, and implies the living self-appropriation of that mode of expression which was specifically suitable both to the divine inspiration and to its contents (“verba rem sequuntur,” Wetstein),—an appropriation capable of being connected in very different forms with different given individualities (Peter, Paul, Apollos, James, etc.), and of presenting itself in each case with a corresponding variety.

ΠΝΕΥΜΑΤΙΚΟῖς ΠΝΕΥΜΑΤΙΚᾺ ΣΥΓΚΡΊΝΟΝΤΕς] connecting[407] spiritual things with spiritual, not uniting things unlike in nature, which would be the case, were we to give forth what was revealed by the Holy Spirit in the speech of human wisdom, in philosophic discourse, but joining to the matters revealed by the Spirit (πνευματικοῖς) the speech also taught by the Spirit (πνευματικά),—things consequently of like nature, “spiritualibus spiritualia componentes” (Castalio). So in substance also Erasmus, Beza, Calvin, Balduin, Wolf, Baumgarten, Kling in the Stud. und Krit. 1839, p. 437, de Wette, Osiander, Maier, etc., and rightly, since this sense suits the connection singularly well, and does not in any degree clash with the classical use of συγκρίνειν (Valckenaer, p. 134 f.; Porson, a[408] Med. 136). Plato has it frequently in this meaning, and in contrast to διακρίνειν. See Ast, Lex. Plat. III. p. 290 f. Other commentators, while also taking πνευματ. as neuter, make συγκρίνειν, explicare, namely, either: explaining the N. T. doctrine from the types of the O. T. (Chrysostom and his successors[409]), or: “exponentes ea, quae prophetae Spiritu Dei acti dixere, per ea, quae Christus suo Spiritu nobis aperuit” (Grotius, Krebs), or: “spiritualibus verbis spiritualia interpretantes” (Elsner, Mosheim, Bolten, Neander). But the first two of these renderings are against the context, and all the three are against the usus loquendi; for συγκρίνειν is never absolutely interpretari, either in profane Greek (in which, among later writers, as also in 2 Corinthians 10:12, Wis 7:29; Wis 15:18, 1Ma 10:71, it very often means to compare; comp Vulgate: comparantes, and see Lobeck, a[411] Phryn. p. 278) or in the LXX. With the latter it is indeed the common word for the interpretation of dreams (פתר, see Genesis 40:8; Genesis 40:16; Genesis 40:22; Genesis 41:12; Genesis 41:15; Daniel 5:12); but in such cases (comp the passages from Philo, where ΔΙΑΚΡΊΝΕΙΝ occurs, in Loesner, p. 273) we have to trace it back to the literal signification of judging,[413] namely, as to what was to be indicated by the vision in the dream (comp κρίνειν τὸ σημαινόμενον τῶν ὀνειράτων in Josephus, Antt. ii. 2. 2, also the Ὀνειροκριτικά of Artemidorus). The meaning, to judge, however, although instances of it may be established in Greek writers also (Anthol. vii. 132; Polybius, xiv. 3, 7, xii. 10. 1; Lucian. Soloec. 5), would be unsuitable here, for this reason, that the phrase πνευματικοῖς πνευματικά, both being taken as neuter, manifestly, according to the context, expresses the relation of matter and form, not the judging of the one πνευματικόν by the other (Ewald), notwithstanding that Luther, too, adopts a similar interpretation: “and judge spiritual things spiritually.” Lastly, it is incorrect to take πνευματικοῖς as masculine, and render: explaining things revealed by the Spirit to those who are led by the Spirit (the same as τελείοις in 1 Corinthians 2:6; comp Galatians 6:1). This is the view of Pelagius, Sedulius, Theophylact (suggested only), Thomas, Estius, Clericus, Bengel, Rosenmüller, Pott, Heydenreich, Flatt, Billroth, Rückert. To the same class belongs the exposition of Hofmann, according to whom what is meant is the solution of the problem as to how the world beyond and hereafter reveals and foreshows itself in what God’s grace has already bestowed upon us (1 Corinthians 2:12) in a predictive sign as it were,—a solution which has spiritual things for its object, and takes place for those who are spiritual. But the text does not contain either a contrast between the world here and that hereafter, or a problematic relation of the one to the other; the contrast is introduced into τὰ χαρισθέντα in 1 Corinthians 2:12, and the problem and its predictive sign are imported into συγκρίνοντες.[416] Again, it is by no means required by the connection with 1 Corinthians 2:14 ff. that we should take πνευματικοῖς as masculine; for 1 Corinthians 2:14 begins a new part of the discourse, so that ψυχικὸς ἄνθρωπος only finds its personal contrast in ὁ δὲ πνευματικός in 1 Corinthians 2:15. Tittmann’s explanation (Synon. p. 290 f., and comp Baur) comes back to the sense: conveying (conferentes) spiritual things to spiritual persons, without linguistic precedent for it.

Note the weighty collocation: πνεύματος, πνευματικοῖς, πνευματικά.

[401] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[403] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[405] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[407] Not proving, as Theodore of Mopsuestia takes it: διὰ τῶν τοῦ πνεύματος ἀποδείξεων τὴν τοῦ πνεύματος διδασκαλίαν πιστούμεθα.

[408] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[409] So, too, Theodoret: ἔχομεν γὰρ τῆς παλαιᾶς διαθήκης τὴν μαρτυρίαν, καὶ διʼ ἐκείνης τὴς καινὴν βεβαιοῦμεν· πνευματικὴ γὰρ κἀκείνηκαὶ διὰ τῶν τύπων δείκνυμεν τὴν ἀλήθειαν. Several of the older interpreters follow the Greeks in substance, including Calovius, who, on the ground of this passage, declares himself against the explanation of Scripture from profane writers!

[411] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[413] Hence, in Daniel 5:16 (in the history of the mysterious writing on the wall, which had to be judged of with respect to its meaning): δύνασαι κρίματα συγκρῖναι, thou canst pronounce, utterances of judgment. Comp. the phrase, recurring more than once in that same story of Belshazzar, in Daniel 5 : τὴν σύγκρισιν γνωρίζειν, or: ἀναγγέλλειν: to make known or declare the judgment (as to what that marvellous writing might signify).

[416] Hofmann expounds as if Paul had written in ver. 12 f.: τὰ ἤδη νῦν ὑπὸ τ. Θ. χαρισθέντα ἡμῖν, σημεῖα ὄντα τῶν μελλόντων, ἃ καὶ συγκρίνομενπνευματικοῖς πνευματικὰ λαλοῦντες. Comp. on the latter expression, Maximus Tyrius, xxii. 4 : συνετὰ συνετοῖς λέγων.

1 Corinthians 2:13. ἃ καὶ λαλοῦμεν—the vb[395] of 1 Corinthians 2:6-7 (see note): there opposed to μυστήριον, here to εἰδῶμεν (cf. John 3:11)—“which things indeed we speak out”; knowing these great things of God, we tell them (cf. John 18:20; also 2 Corinthians 4:2 ff., Luke 12:2 f., Acts 26:16). P. has no esoteric doctrines, to be whispered to a select circle; if the τέλειοι and πνευματικοὶ alone comprehend his Gospel, that is not due to reserve on his part. “The καὶ λαλοῦμεν makes it clear that P. does not mean (in 1 Corinthians 2:6 and 1 Corinthians 3:1 f.) to distinguish two sorts of Gospel; his preaching has always the entire truth for its content, but expressed suitably to the growth of his hearers” (Hn[396]).

[395] verb

[396] C. F. G. Heinrici’s Erklärung der Korintherbriefe (1880), or 1 Korinther in Meyer’s krit.-exegetisches Kommentar (1896).

The mode of utterance agrees with the character of the revealing Spirit: οὐκ ἐν διδακτοῖς ἀνθρωπίνης σοφίας λόγοις, ἀλλʼ ἐν διδακτοῖς κ.τ.λ. “(which things we speak out), not in human-wisdom-taught words, but in (words) Spirit-taught”

Verba rem sequuntur (Wetstein). The opposed gens, depend on διδακτοῖς, denoting agent with vbl[397] adj[398]—a construction somewhat rare, but cl[399] (so in John 6:45, Isaiah 54:13; diff[400] in 1Ma 4:7, διδακτοὶ πολέμου); they are anarthrous, signifying opposite kinds of wisdom.—διδακτὸς in earlier Gr[401] meant what can or ought to be taught; later, what is taught (cf. γνωστός, Romans 1:19). Paul affirms that his words in matters of revelation, as well as thoughts, were taught him by the Spirit; he claims, in some sense, verbal inspiration. In an honest mind thought and language are one, and whatever determines the former must mould the latter. Cor[402] critics complained both of the imperfection of Paul’s dialect (2 Corinthians 10:10 : see 1 Corinthians 2:1 above) and of the poverty of his ideas; here is his rejoinder. We arrive thus at the explanation of the obscure clause, πνευματικοῖς πνευματικὰ συνκρίνοντες,—combining spiritual things with spiritual, wedding kindred speech to thought (for the ptp[403] qualifies λαλοῦμεν): so Er[404], Cv[405], Bz[406], D.W[407], Mr[408], Hn[409], Lt[410], El[411], Bt[412]; “with spiritual phrase matching spiritual truth” (Ev[413]).

[397] verbal.

[398] adjective.

[399] classical.

[400] difference, different, differently.

[401] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

[402]
Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[403] participle

[404] Erasmus’ In N.T. Annotationes.

[405] Calvin’s In Nov. Testamentum Commentarii.

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

[407].W. De Wette’s Handbuch z. N. T.

[408]
Meyer’s Critical and Exegetical Commentary (Eng. Trans.).

[409] C. F. G. Heinrici’s Erklärung der Korintherbriefe (1880), or 1 Korinther in Meyer’s krit.-exegetisches Kommentar (1896).

[410] J. B. Lightfoot’s (posthumous) Notes on Epp. of St. Paul (1895).

[411] C. J. Ellicott’s St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians.

[412] J. A. Beet’s St. Paul’s Epp. to the Corinthians (1882).

[413] T. S. Evans in Speaker’s Commentary.

13. comparing spiritual things with spiritual] These words have been interpreted in several ways. (1) Wiclif renders them “maken a liknesse of (i.e. explaining) spyritual things to goostli men.” (2) The Vulgate and English versions render the Greek word by compare. (3) Some interpret, explaining spiritual things in spiritual ways; (Luther so renders it). (4) Another explanation is, explaining spiritual things by spiritual, i.e. interpreting the Revelation of God by the inward promptings of the spirit. The first would seem preferable and most agreeable to the context, for St Paul is speaking of the doctrine he delivered, which he says is unintelligible to the natural man, but capable of being brought home to the understanding of him who possesses spiritual qualifications.

1 Corinthians 2:13. Καὶ, also) Thus the phrases, we might know and we speak are joined.—διδακτοῖς, taught) consisting of doctrine and instruction. The word σοφίας with λόγοις is not to be resolved into an epithet; wisdom is the gushing fountain of words.—ἀλλʼ ἐν, but in) an immediate antithesis; nor can it be said, that the apostles compared merely the natural power of speech, as distinguished on the one hand from art, and on the other, from the Spirit.—διδακτοῖς) διδαχῇ[22] by the teaching, which the Holy Spirit[23] furnishes through us seems to be a better reading. That doctrine comprehends both wisdom and words.—πνευματικοῖς πνευματικὰ, spiritual things to [with; Engl. Vers. and Vulg.] spiritual) We interpret [But Engl. Vers. and Vulg. comparing) spiritual things and spiritual words in a manner suitable to spiritual men, 1 Corinthians 2:6; 1 Corinthians 2:15, so that they may be willing and able to receive them; συγκρίνω, ΣΎΓΚΡΙΜΑ, ΣΎΓΚΡΙΣΙς, are frequently used by the LXX. for example, in respect to the interpretation of dreams, Genesis 40, 41; Dan. 2 4 5 7.

[22] The Germ. Ver. agrees to this reading, although the Greek editions have left the matter undecided.—E. B.

[23] The Germ. Vers., with the margin of Ed. 2, approves of the omission of the adjective, ἁγίον, more distinctly than the margin of the older edition.—E. B.

Διδακτοῖς is the reading of ABCD(Λ)G Orig. (B, according to Bartolocci, reads διδακτῷ). But fg, Vulg. Syr. read διδαχῇ. Ἁγίου is placed before or after πνενματος in the later Syr. and Rec. Text. But ABCD corrected later, G, Origen 1, 197b, Vulg. omit ἀγίον (Vulg. corrected by Victor has Sancti).—ED.

Verse 13. - Comparing spiritual things with spiritual. The meaning of this clause is very uncertain. It has been rendered, "Blending spiritual things with spiritual" (Kling, Wordsworth), i.e. not adulterating them with carnal admixtures (2 Corinthians 2:17; 1 Peter 2:22). "Interpreting spiritual things to spiritual men" (Bengel, Reichert, Stanley, margin of Revised Version; see Genesis 40:8; Daniel 5:12, LXX.). "Explaining spiritual things in spiritual words." This meaning the Greek will not bear, but Calvin and Beza get the same meaning by rendering it, "Adapting spiritual things to spiritual words." It is doubtful whether the Greek verb (sunkrinontes) can be rendered "comparing," which comes from the Vulgate, comparantes. Wickliffe has the version, "Maken a liknesse of spyritual things to goostli men, for a besteli man persuyved not through thingis." The commonest sense of the word in the LXX. is "interpreting" (Genesis 40:8, etc.), and the best rendering is, "Explaining spirituals to spiritual men." If it be supposed that the verb συγκρίνω acquired the sense of "comparing" in Hellenistic Greek (2 Corinthians 10:12; Wisd. 7:29 Wisd. 15:18), then the rendering of our Authorized Version may stand. 1 Corinthians 2:13Not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth

Lit., not in the taught words of human wisdom. Compare Plato: "Through love all the intercourse and speech of God with man, whether awake or asleep, is carried on. The wisdom which understands this is spiritual; all other wisdom, such as that of arts and handicrafts, is mean and vulgar" ("Symposium," 203).

Which the Spirit teacheth (ἐν διδακτοῖς πνεύματος)

Lit., in the taught (words) of the Spirit. Taught; not mechanically uttered, but communicated by a living Spirit.

Comparing spiritual things with spiritual (πνευματικοῖς πνευματικὰ συγκρίνοντες)

Notice the paronomasia. See on Romans 1:29, Romans 1:31. The dispute on this verse arises over the meanings of συγκρίνοντες, A.V., comparing, and πνευματικοῖς spiritual. As to the latter, whether the reference is to spiritual men, things, or words; as to the former, whether the meaning is adapting, interpreting, proving, or comparing. The principal interpretations are: adapting spiritual words to spiritual things; adapting spiritual things to spiritual men; interpreting spiritual things to spiritual men; interpreting spiritual things by spiritual words. Συγκρίνοντες occurs only here and 2 Corinthians 10:12, where the meaning is clearly compare. In classical Greek the original meaning is to compound, and later, to compare, as in Aristotle and Plutarch, and to interpret, used of dreams, and mainly in Septuagint. See Genesis 40:8. The most satisfactory interpretation is combining spiritual things with spiritual words. After speaking of spiritual things (1 Corinthians 2:11, 1 Corinthians 2:12, 1 Corinthians 2:13), Paul now speaks of the forms in which they are conveyed - spiritual forms or words answering to spiritual matters, and says, we combine spiritual things with spiritual forms of expression. This would not be the case if we uttered the revelations of the Spirit in the speech of human wisdom.

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