1 Corinthians 2:6
Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
Jump to: AlfordBarnesBengelBensonBICalvinCambridgeChrysostomClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctExp GrkGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsICCJFBKellyKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWMeyerParkerPNTPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBVWSWESTSK
(6) Howbeit we speak wisdom.—Nevertheless, there is a wisdom in the gospel. The assertion is in the Greek a more striking contrast to 1Corinthians 2:4 than appears in the English. In the original (1Corinthians 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 1Corinthians 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 perfecti.e., those who are grown up, and not “babes” (1Corinthians 3:1; see also 1Corinthians 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” (1Corinthians 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 (1Corinthians 1:28).

1 Corinthians 2:6-8. Howbeit, we speak wisdom — Yea, the truest and most excellent wisdom: for the subject matter of our preaching is the most wise contrivance and counsel of God concerning the salvation of mankind by Christ crucified, which will be acknowledged to be the highest wisdom, though not by learned philosophers, yet by humble, sincere, and well- instructed Christians. Such are here meant by them that are perfect — That is, perfectly enlightened by the Word and Spirit of God, and renewed by his grace, so as to have attained to a maturity of Christian knowledge and experience: being no longer children, but men in understanding, (1 Corinthians 14:20,) having arrived at spiritual manhood, called, Ephesians 4:13, the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. See also Hebrews 5:14; Hebrews 6:1, where τελειοι, perfect, is taken in the same sense, and is rendered, of full age, and signifies those who no longer need to be fed with milk, being able to digest strong meat, having, by reason of use, or habit, their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. What the apostle here calls wisdom, includes, as Macknight justly observes, “the doctrine concerning the person and offices of Christ, treated of in his epistles to the Ephesians and Colossians; the justification of sinners by faith counted to them for righteousness, explained in his epistle to the Romans; the rejection and resumption of the Jews, foretold in the same epistle; the coming and destruction of the man of sin, foretold 2 Thessalonians 2.; the priesthood, sacrifice, and intercession of Christ, explained in his epistle to the Hebrews; and the resurrection of the dead, foretold in this epistle: in short, the whole doctrine of the gospel, taken complexly.” Yet not the wisdom of this world — The wisdom admired and taught by the men of this world, such as that which teaches men how to manage their temporal affairs properly, in order to their living comfortable lives upon earth, and the various branches of human learning. Nor of the princes — Or rulers; of this world — The wisdom admired and sought by the great politicians of the age, whether Jews or Gentiles; that come to naught — Both they, and their wisdom, and the world itself. But — Being taught of God to despise the transient vanities which delude the generality of mankind; we speak the wisdom of God — Infinitely more worthy, surely, of the attentive consideration and regard of all rational and immortal beings, than the short-lived wisdom of this world: in a mystery — Such as no creature could discover without supernatural revelation, Ephesians 3:9-10, and which was especially kept secret from the wise and learned of the world, 1 Corinthians 2:8 : even the hidden wisdom — Hidden formerly under holy mysteries and Jewish types, and but darkly revealed to and by the prophets; and altogether unknown to the heathen: which God ordained before the world — Purposed from everlasting to reveal in the gospel; unto our glory — To bring us to glory by the saving knowledge of it: glory arising from the glory of our Lord, and then to be revealed when all worldly glory vanishes. So far is this wisdom from coming to naught, like worldly wisdom! Which none of the princes of this world knew — Whether Jewish or heathen; for had they known it — Had they understood this wisdom, and known that the only way to attain happiness was to receive in faith, love, and new obedience, Jesus of Nazareth, as the true Messiah and only Saviour, and the great truths of his everlasting gospel; surely they would not have crucified — Punished as a slave; the Lord of glory — The glorious Head of his church and of the world, the final Judge of men and angels, and the author of eternal salvation to all that obey him, Hebrews 5:9. The giving Christ this august title, peculiar to Deity, plainly shows him to be, in union with the Father and the Holy Spirit, the true God. Thus the Father is styled, the Father of glory, Ephesians 1:17, and the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of glory, 1 Peter 4:14. The application of this title to all the three, shows that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are the God of glory, as the only true God is called, Psalm 29:3, Acts 7:2.

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.How be it - But δε de. This commences the "second" head or argument in this chapter, in which Paul shows that if human wisdom is missing in his preaching, it is not devoid of true, and solid, and even divine wisdom - Bloomfield.

We speak wisdom - We do not admit that we utter foolishness. We have spoken of the foolishness of preaching 1 Corinthians 1:21; and of the estimate in which it was held by the world 1 Corinthians 1:22-28; and of our own manner among you as not laying claim to human learning or eloquence; but we do not design to admit that we have been really speaking folly. We have been uttering that which is truly wise, but which is seen and understood to be such only by those who are qualified to judge - by those who may be denominated "perfect," that is, those who are suited by God to understand it. By "wisdom" here, the apostle means that system of truth which he had explained and defended - the plan of salvation by the cross of Christ.

Among them that are perfect - (ἐν τοῖς τελείοις en tois teleios). This word "perfect" is here evidently applied to Christians, as it is in Philippians 3:15, "Let us therefore as many as be perfect, be thus minded." And it is clearly used to denote those who were advanced in Christian knowledge; who were qualified to understand the subject; who had made progress in the knowledge of the mysteries of the gospel; and who thus saw its excellence. It does not mean here that they were sinless, for the argument of the apostle does not bear on that inquiry, but that they were qualified to understand the gospel in contradistinction from the gross, the sensual, and the carnally minded, who rejected it as foolishness. There is, perhaps, here an allusion to the pagan mysteries, where those who had been fully initiated were said to be perfect - fully instructed in those rites and doctrines. And if so, then this passage means, that those only who have been fully instructed in the knowledge of the Christian religion, will be qualified to see its beauty and its wisdom. The gross and sensual do not see it, and those only who are enlightened by the Holy Spirit are qualified to appreciate its beauty and its excellency.

Not the wisdom of the world - Not that which this world has originated or loved.

Nor of the princes of this world - Perhaps intending chiefly here the rulers of the Jews; see 1 Corinthians 2:8. They neither devised it, nor loved it, nor saw its wisdom; 1 Corinthians 2:8.

That come to naught - That is, whose plans fail; whose wisdom vanishes; and who themselves, with all their pomp and splendor, come to nothing in the grave; compare Isaiah 14. All the plans of human wisdom shall fail; and this which is originated by God only shall stand,

6, 7. Yet the Gospel preaching, so far from being at variance with true "wisdom," is a wisdom infinitely higher than that of the wise of the world.

we speak—resuming "we" (preachers, I, Apollos, &c.) from "we preach" (1Co 1:28), only that here, "we speak" refers to something less public (compare 1Co 2:7, 13, "mystery … hidden") than "we preach," which is public. For "wisdom" here denotes not the whole of Christian doctrine, but its sublimer and deeper principles.

perfect—Those matured in Christian experience and knowledge alone can understand the true superiority of the Christian wisdom which Paul preached. Distinguished not only from worldly and natural men, but also from babes, who though "in Christ" retain much that is "carnal" (1Co 3:1, 2), and cannot therefore understand the deeper truths of Christianity (1Co 14:20; Php 3:15; Heb 5:14). Paul does not mean by the "mystery" or "hidden wisdom" (1Co 2:7) some hidden tradition distinct from the Gospel (like the Church of Rome's disciplina arcani and doctrine of reserve), but the unfolding of the treasures of knowledge, once hidden in God's counsels, but now announced to all, which would be intelligently comprehended in proportion as the hearer's inner life became perfectly transformed into the image of Christ. Compare instances of such "mysteries," that is, deeper Christian truths, not preached at Paul's first coming to Corinth, when he confined himself to the fundamental elements (1Co 2:2), but now spoken to the "perfect" (1Co 15:51; Ro 11:25; Eph 3:5, 6). "Perfect" is used not of absolute perfection, but relatively to "babes," or those less ripe in Christian growth (compare Php 3:12, 15, with 1Jo 2:12-14). "God" (1Co 2:7) is opposed to the world, the apostles to "the princes [great and learned men] of this world" (1Co 2:8; compare 1Co 1:20) [Bengel].

come to naught—nothingness (1Co 1:28). They are transient, not immortal. Therefore, their wisdom is not real [Bengel]. Rather, translate with Alford, "Which are being brought to naught," namely, by God's choosing the "things which are not (the weak and despised things of the Gospel), to bring to naught (the same verb as here) things that are" (1Co 1:28).

Lest what the apostle had seemed to speak before in defamation of wisdom, should reflect upon the gospel, and give some people occasion to justify against it their impious charge of folly, the apostle here something corrects himself, affirming that he and the rest of the apostles spake

wisdom, and what would be so judged by such as were perfect; not absolutely, for so there is no man perfect, but comparatively, that is, persons who have their senses exercised to discern betwixt good and evil, Hebrews 5:14, or such as are of a true, sound judgment, and are able to discern what is true wisdom. To such, saith the apostle,

we speak wisdom; and it needs must be so; for wisdom being a habit directing men to use the best means in order to the best end, the salvation of men’s souls being the best end, that doctrine which directs the best means in order to it, must necessarily be wisdom, and the purest and highest wisdom.

Yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought; but, saith he, not what the philosophers, or cunning men, or politicians of the world count wisdom; for all their wisdom is of no significancy at all, in order to the best end, the salvation of men’s souls, and it will all vanish, and come to nothing at last.

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.

{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 Php 3:15: so that perfect is contrasted with weak.

(f) Those that are wiser, richer, or mightier than other men are.

1 Corinthians 2:6. Wisdom, nevertheless (unphilosophical as my discourse among you was), we deliver among the perfect.

λαλοῦμεν] we speak it out, hold it not back. That the plural does not refer to Paul alone (so usually), but to the apostolic teachers in general, is clear from the καὶ ἐγώ in 1 Corinthians 3:1, which introduces the particular application of the plural statement here.

ἐν means nothing else than in, surrounded by, among, coram; λαλεῖν ἐν corresponds to the λαλεῖν with the dative in 1 Corinthians 3:1. We must therefore reject not only the rendering for the perfect (Flatt, with older expositors), which is in itself linguistically untenable (for even in such passages as those cited by Bernhardy, p. 212, the local force of ἐν should be retained), but also the explanation: according to the judgment of the perfect (Grotius, Tittmann, de Spir. Dei mysterior. div. interprete, Lips. 1814, in the Syn. N. T. p. 285), which would have to be referred, with Billroth, to the conception of among, since the corresponding usage of ἐν ἐμοί, ἐν σοί, in the sense, according to my or thy view, applies exclusively to these particular phrases (Bernhardy, p. 211).

The τέλειοι (comp on Ephesians 4:13), who stand in contrast to the ΝΉΠΙΟΙ ἘΝ ΧΡΙΣΤῷ, are those who have penetrated beyond the position of beginners in Christian saving knowledge to the higher sphere of thorough and comprehensive insight. The σοφία, which is delivered to these, is the Christian analogue to philosophy in the ordinary sense of the word, the higher religious wisdom of Christianity, the presentation of which (1 Corinthians 12:8) is not yet appropriate for the beginners in the faith (1 Corinthians 3:1-2). The form of this instruction was that of spiritual discourse (1 Corinthians 2:13) framed under the influence of the holy πνεῦμα, but independent of the teachings of philosophic rhetoric; and its matter was the future relations of the Messianic kingdom (1 Corinthians 2:9; 1 Corinthians 2:12) in their connection with the divine counsel of redemption and its fulfilment in Christ, the μυστήρια τῆς βασιλείας τῶν οὐρανῶν (Matthew 13:11),—that, which no eye hath seen, etc. Comp Bab. Sanhedr. f. xcix. 1 : “Quod ad mundum futurum: oculus non vidit, O Deus, praeter te.” The definitions now given[350] respecting the σοφία Θεοῦ are the only ones that neither go beyond the text, nor are in the least degree arbitrary, while they comprehend also the doctrine of the κτίσις as regards its Messianic final destination, Romans 8,—that highest analogue to the philosophy of nature. It may be gathered, however, with certainty from 1 Corinthians 3:1-2, that we are not to think here of any disciplina arcani. With the main point in our view as a whole,—namely, that σοφία denotes that higher religious wisdom, and τέλειοι those already trained in Christian knowledge, grown up, as it were, to manhood,

Erasmus, Castalio, Estius, Bengel, Semler, Stolz, as well as Pott, Usteri, Schrader, Rückert, de Wette, Osiander, Ewald, Neander, Maier, Hofmann, accord. Chrysostom, however, Theophylact, Theodoret, Luther, Calvin, Beza, Grotius, Rosenmüller, and others, including Tittmann, Flatt, Billroth, and Olshausen, understand by the τέλειοι the Christians generally, or the true Christians, to whom the apostle’s doctrine (σοφίαν λέγει τὸ κήρυγμα καὶ τὸν τρόπον τῆς σωτηρίας, τὸ διὰ σταυροῦ σωθῆναι, τελείους δὲ τοὺς πεπιστευκότας, Chrysostom), appeared as wisdom, not as folly. “Ea dicimus quae plena esse sapientiae judicabunt veri ac probi Christiani,” Grotius. But 1 Corinthians 3:2 is decisive against this view; for there γάλα denotes the instruction of beginners as distinguished from the σοφία (βρῶμα). Comp the appropriate remarks of Castalio on this passage.

σοφίαν δὲ οὐ τ. αἰῶν. τ.] wisdom, however, which does not belong to this age (δέ, as in Romans 3:22; Romans 9:30; Galatians 2:2; Php 2:8), which is not, like the Jewish and Hellenic philosophy, the product and intellectual property of the pre-Messianic age. Comp 1 Corinthians 1:20. Αἰῶνος τούτου σοφίαν ὀνομάζει τὴν ἔξω, ὡς πρόσκαιρον καὶ τῷ αἰῶνι τούτῳ συγκαταλυομένην, Theophylact.

οὐδέ] also (in particular) not.

τῶν ἀρχ. τ. αἰῶν τ.] These are the rulers generally (comp Acts 13:27), the dominant powers (proceres) of the pre-Messianic time among Jews and Gentiles. But to say that Paul’s meaning is that he does not teach politics (Grotius), is to limit his words in a way foreign to the connection; he affirms generally that the σοφία in question is a wisdom to which holders of temporal power are strangers. Comp 1 Corinthians 2:8. It is a mistake to explain the ἄρχ. τ. αἰῶν. τ. as referring either to influential philosophers and men of learning[355] (Theodoret, Theophylact, and others, including Pott; comp Neander: “the intellectual rulers of the ancient world”), or to the demons, connecting it with 2 Corinthians 4:4, John 12:31 (Marcion, Origen, some writers referred to by Chrysostom and Theophylact, also Ambrosiaster, Estius, Bertholdt), both of these interpretations being incompatible with the words, and forbidden by 1 Corinthians 2:8; or lastly, to the Jewish archontes alone (Cameron, Hammond, Vorstius, Lightfoot, Locke, Stolz, Rosenmüller), which is contrary to the general character of the expression, and not required by 1 Corinthians 2:8 (see on 1 Corinthians 2:8).

τῶν καταργ.] which are done away with, i.e. cease to subsist (1 Corinthians 1:28, 1 Corinthians 15:24; 2 Thessalonians 2:8; 2 Timothy 1:10; Hebrews 2:14), namely, when Christ returning establishes His kingdom. Comp Revelation 16-19. This reference is implied in the context by the emphatic repetition of ΤΟῦ ΑἸῶΝΟς ΤΟΎΤΟΥ. The expedient of explaining it into: “Whose power and influence are broken and brought to nought by the gospel,” Billroth (comp Flatt and Rückert), rationalizes the apostle’s conception, and does not even accord with history.

The present participle, as in 1 Corinthians 1:18. Comp 2 Corinthians 3:7.

[350] Comp. Rückert, who, as respects the matter, is of opinion that it includes the higher views regarding the divine plan of the world in relation to the development of the kingdom of God, and especially to the providential government of the Jewish people; regarding the import of the divine ordinances and appointments before Christ, for example, of the law in reference to the highest end contemplated—the kingdom of God; regarding the way and manner in which the death and resurrection of Christ bear upon the salvation of the world; as well as regarding the changes yet in the womb of the future, and, in particular, the events which are linked with the second coming of the Lord. Similarly, and still more in detail, Estius. According to de Wette, portions of this wisdom are to be found in the Epistle to the Romans, in the discussions on justification, on the contrast between Christ and Adam, and on predestination; in the Epistles to the Ephesians and Colossians, in the indications there given as to the divine plan of redemption and the person of Christ; in our Epistle, chap. 15; views of the same kind in Hebrews 7-10, comp. 1 Corinthians 4:11 ff. Osiander makes this σοφία to consist in the deeper dogmatic development of the gospel as regards its historical foundations and its eternal consequences reaching on to the consummation of the kingdom of God. Comp. Ewald, p. 139, according to whom its contents turn upon the gospel as the centre and cardinal point of all divine-human history, and for that very reason touch all the problems both of history as a whole, and of the creation. Hofmann rightly includes also the final glory of believers.

[355] These are not even included (in opposition to Chrysostom and others, including Osiander), although the ἄρχοντες may have accepted their wisdom, played the part of patrons to them, etc.

1 Corinthians 2:6-16. Wisdom, however, we deliver among the perfect; but it is a higher wisdom revealed to us by the Spirit, which therefore only those filled with the Spirit, and not the sensuous, apprehend.

Paul having, in 1 Corinthians 1:17-31, justified the simple and non-philosophical method of proclaiming the gospel from the nature of its contents, and having now, in 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, applied this to himself and his own preaching among the Corinthians, there might be attributed to him the view that what the preachers of the gospel set forth was no σοφία at all,—a supposition which, in writing to the Corinthians above all, he could not safely leave uncontradicted. He now shows, accordingly, that among ripened Christians there is certainly a σοφία delivered, but not a philosophy in the common, worldly sense, etc.

1 Corinthians 2:6-9. § 7. THE GOSPEL CONSIDERED AS WISDOM. So far Paul has been maintaining that his message is a “folly,” with which “wisdom of word” is out of keeping; yet all the while he makes it felt that it is wisdom in the truest sense—“God’s wisdom,” convicting in its turn the world of folly. If relatively the Gospel is not wisdom, absolutely it is so,—to persons qualified to understand it. This P. now proceeds to show (1 Corinthians 2:6 to 1 Corinthians 3:2 : cf. Introd. to Div. II.). The message of the cross is wisdom to the right people (§ 7), qualified to comprehend it (§ 8).

6. Howbeit we speak wisdom] Is there, then, no wisdom possible for a Christian? no sphere for the exercise of those faculties of the intellect which we received from God? the hearer may say. Certainly, says the Apostle, (for to say otherwise would be to contradict the Jewish Scriptures, especially Proverbs 1-9), but it must take as its starting-point the truths revealed by Christ, and it will be proportionate, not to the secular knowledge or intellectual power of the inquirer, but to his moral and spiritual attainments, that is, to his proficiency in the doctrine of Christ.

among them that are perfect] Perfect, i.e. full-grown, that which has reached its end. The great majority of the Corinthians were at present babes in Christ (ch. 1 Corinthians 3:1). Their notion of wisdom was earthly—argument, disputation, “free inquiry.”

1 Corinthians 2:6. Σοφίαν δὲ λαλοῦμεν, but we speak wisdom) He returns, as it were after a parenthesis, to what he had slightly mentioned at 1 Corinthians 1:23-25 : we speak, contains by implication an epanalepsis[19] of the words, we preach [ch. 1 Corinthians 1:23]; but we speak refers to something secret, as appears from comparing 1 Corinthians 2:7; 1 Corinthians 2:13; we preach, to something public; for wisdom here denotes not the whole of the Christian doctrine, but its sublime and secret leading principles. There is also an antithesis of the past tense, 1 Corinthians 2:1, etc. [came—determined, etc.], and of the present in this passage [we speak].—ἐν τοῖς τελείοις) in the case of [“penes perfectos;” as far as concerns] them that are perfect, at Corinth or elsewhere. Construe with, we speak. The knowledge of God and Christ is the highest knowledge. Comp. ἐν, 1 Corinthians 14:11 [ὁ λαλῶν ἐν ἐμοὶ βάρβαρος,—a barbarian, unto me] Php 1:30.[20] Not only worldly and natural men are opposed to the perfect, even to the end of the chapter, but also carnal men and babes, ch. 3 at the beginning; Hebrews 5:14; Hebrews 5:13.—οὐΟὐΔῈ, not—nor) God is opposed to the world, 1 Corinthians 2:7; the apostles, to the princes of the world, 1 Corinthians 2:8, etc.—ἀρχόντων, of the princes) 1 Corinthians 1:20. Paul uses a word of wide signification, in which he comprehends men of rank both among the Jews and Greeks.—τῶν καταργουμένωΝ, who come to nought) 1 Corinthians 1:19; 1 Corinthians 1:28. This epithet applies to the princes of the world, and to the world itself; whence it is evident, that the wisdom of the world is not true, because it does not lead men to immortality.

[19] See App. Where the same word or words are in the beginning of a preceding member, and in the end of a following member; thus marking a parenthesis; as here, from 1 Corinthians 1:23-25, to 1 Corinthians 2:6.

[20] “The same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me,” ἑν ἐμοι. So here, “we speak in the case of the perfect.”—ED.

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. 1 Corinthians 2:6Wisdom

Emphatic. Lest his depreciation of worldly wisdom should expose him and his companions to the charge of not preaching wisdom at all, he shows that they do preach wisdom, though not of a worldly kind, among matured Christians.

Them that are perfect (τοῖς τελείοις)

American Rev., them that are full-grown. Paul's term for matured Christians. See Ephesians 4:13, where a perfect (τέλειον) man is contrasted with children (νήπιοι, Ephesians 4:14). So 1 Corinthians 14:20 : "In malice children, in understanding men (lit., perfect);" Philippians 3:15. "This wisdom is the Christian analogue to philosophy in the ordinary sense of the word" (Meyer), and the perfect to whom he delivered it would recognize it as such.

That come to nought (καταργουμένων)

The A.V. states a general proposition, but the Greek present participle a fact in process of accomplishment: which are coming to nought. So Rev.

1 Corinthians 2:6 Interlinear
1 Corinthians 2:6 Parallel Texts

1 Corinthians 2:6 NIV
1 Corinthians 2:6 NLT
1 Corinthians 2:6 ESV
1 Corinthians 2:6 NASB
1 Corinthians 2:6 KJV

1 Corinthians 2:6 Bible Apps
1 Corinthians 2:6 Parallel
1 Corinthians 2:6 Biblia Paralela
1 Corinthians 2:6 Chinese Bible
1 Corinthians 2:6 French Bible
1 Corinthians 2:6 German Bible

Bible Hub

1 Corinthians 2:5
Top of Page
Top of Page