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|New American Bible|
2002 11 11
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When I came to you, brothers, proclaiming the
mystery of God, 1 I did not come with sublimity of words or
For I resolved to know nothing while I was with
you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
I came to you in weakness 2
and fear and much trembling,
and my message and my proclamation were not
with persuasive (words of) wisdom, 3 but with a
demonstration of spirit and power,
so that your faith might rest not on human
wisdom but on the power of God.
4 Yet we do speak a wisdom to those who are
mature, but not a wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age who are
Rather, we speak God's wisdom, 5
mysterious, hidden, which God predetermined before the ages for our glory,
and which none of the rulers of this age 6
knew; for if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of
But as it is written: "What eye has not
seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God
has prepared for those who love him,"
this God has revealed to us through the
Spirit.For the Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God.
Among human beings, who knows what pertains to
a person except the spirit of the person that is within? Similarly, no one
knows what pertains to God except the Spirit of God.
We have not received the spirit of the world
but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the things freely
given us by God.
And we speak about them not with words taught
by human wisdom, but with words taught by the Spirit, describing spiritual
realities in spiritual terms. 7
Now the natural person 8
does not accept what pertains to the Spirit of God, for to him it is
foolishness, and he cannot understand it, because it is judged spiritually.
The spiritual person, however, can judge
everything but is not subject to judgment 9 by anyone.
For "who has known the mind of the Lord,
so as to counsel him?" But we have the mind of Christ.
1  The mystery of God: God's
secret, known only to himself, is his plan for the salvation of his people; it
is clear from ⇒ 1 Cor 1:18-25;
⇒ 2:2, ⇒ 8-10 that this
secret involves Jesus and the cross. In place of mystery, other good
manuscripts read "testimony" (cf ⇒ 1 Cor 1:6).
2  The weakness of the crucified
Jesus is reflected in Paul's own bearing (cf 2 Cor 10-13). Fear and much
trembling: everential fear based on a sense of God's transcendence permeates Paul's
existence and preaching. Compare his advice to the Philippians to work out
their salvation with "fear and trembling"
(⇒ Philippians 2:12), because God is at work in them
just as his exalting power was paradoxically at work in the emptying,
humiliation, and obedience of Jesus to death on the cross
(⇒ Philippians 2:6-11).
3  Among many manuscript readings
here the best is either "not with the persuasion of wisdom" or
"not with persuasive words of wisdom," which differ only by a nuance.
Whichever reading is accepted, the inefficacy of human wisdom for salvation is
contrasted with the power of the cross.
[⇒ 2:6-⇒ 3:4] Paul now
asserts paradoxically what he has previously been denying. To the Greeks who
"are looking for wisdom" (⇒ 1 Cor 1:22),
he does indeed bring a wisdom, but of a higher order and an entirely different
quality, the only wisdom really worthy of the name. The Corinthians would be
able to grasp Paul's preaching as wisdom and enter into a wisdom-conversation
with him if they were more open to the Spirit and receptive to the new insight
and language that the Spirit teaches.
5 [7-10a] God's wisdom: his plan for
our salvation. This was his own eternal secret that no one else could fathom,
but in this new age of salvation he has graciously revealed it to us. For the
pattern of God's secret, hidden to others and now revealed to the Church, cf
also ⇒ Romans 11:25-36;
⇒ 16:25-27; ⇒ Eph 1:3-10;
⇒ 3:3-11; ⇒ Col 1:25-28.
6  The rulers of this age: this
suggests not only the political leaders of the Jews and Romans under whom Jesus
was crucified (cf ⇒ Acts 4:25-28) but also the
cosmic powers behind them (cf ⇒ Eph 1:20-23;
⇒ 3:10). They would not have crucified the Lord of
glory: they became the unwitting executors of God's plan, which will
paradoxically bring about their own conquest and submission
(⇒ 1 Cor 15:24-28).
7  In spiritual terms: the Spirit
teaches spiritual people a new mode of perception (⇒ 1 Cor
2:12) and an appropriate language by which they can share their
self-understanding, their knowledge about what God has done in them. The final
phrase in ⇒ 1 Cor 2:13 can also be translated
"describing spiritual realities to spiritual people," in which case
it prepares for ⇒ 1 Cor 2:14-16.
8  The natural person: see the
note on ⇒ 1 Cor 3:1.
9  The spiritual person . . . is
not subject to judgment: since spiritual persons have been given knowledge of
what pertains to God (⇒ 1 Cor 2:11-12), they share
in God's own capacity to judge. One to whom the mind of the Lord (and of
Christ) is revealed (⇒ 1 Cor 2:16) can be said to
share in some sense in God's exemption from counseling and criticism.
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