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"Honoring God in the Morning"

 1 Corinthians 2:1-3:4
“for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, ‘I am of Paul,’ and another, ‘I am of Apollos,’ are you not carnal?” –1 Corinthians 3:3-4

Paul uses himself as a prime example of a person who is used and blessed by God while still directing all the credit toward God rather than himself. Paul points to the amazing results he had in starting the church at Corinth. He makes it clear that the results were not because of him. All he did was avoid depending upon human resources. Instead he demonstrated the amazing power of God revealed in the gospel that transforms lives (2:1-5).

Paul explained that his teaching was not the result of human wisdom or learning. It was just the opposite. What he and others such as Peter and Apollos taught was the result of simply receiving God’s revelations concerning God and transcending truth given to them by the power of the Holy Spirit (2:10-13). Their teaching was nothing they could or would take credit for.

He then points out that even though these Corinthians may have been impressed with themselves, they were in fact spiritual babies, living only on milk. The envy, strife, and division directly linked to their immaturity as Christians proved this. They were not as wise and spiritual as they thought. Their lives revealed that they were actually learning very little, as was evidenced by their prideful boasting against one another. Paul believed it was not enough to “glory” in great teachers or in how much information you could repeat. God is glorified by lives that have obviously been transformed by truth. What mattered then was how much the Corinthians were able to integrate what they’d been taught into their lives in a way that resulted in bringing a living example of what God’s glorious truth and life had done to transform them (3:1-4).

This type of relationship to truth, of course, should be of great concern for us all. It is serious self-delusion to think we are “spiritual” simply because we take a stance on certain theological positions; positions we often defend with nothing but limit human wisdom and narrow minds. It is only when we encounter the life-transforming work of the Holy Spirit through the truth He illuminates that we can know or build anything of lasting eternal value. This type of spiritual knowledge produces the power to remove pride and replace it with the nature of Christ. This truth has begun its work when it delivers us from envy, strife, and division and replaces them all with love and humility. Until we see genuine results like this in our lives, we should face the fact that we are still living on baby’s milk.




1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.


6 However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
9 But as it is written:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,Nor have entered into the heart of manThe things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself isrightly judged by no one. 16 For >“who has known the mind of the Lspan style="font-variant: small-caps" class="small-caps">ord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.



1 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; 3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? 4 For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal?




v. 1 When I Came - These events are recorded in Acts 18.
Excellence of Speech - This refers to the trained speaking style of the famous Greek orators. To some degree it seems Paul did seek to follow that approach in Athens just prior to His arrival in Corinth. However, it met with little success and it seems that Paul became all the more committed to a clear and biblically based presentation of the gospel (Acts 17:16-34, esp. 28).
Of Wisdom - Man’s wisdom based upon philosophical conclusions is in opposition to the wisdom that is the result of the scriptures.
Testimony of God - Testimony (“marturiun”, Gk.) means to be a witness. The thought here is that Paul was committed to restrict his preaching and teaching to those things that were attested to in scripture. When this was written it would have included Old Testament and gospels as well as what God had revealed to Paul directly as an apostle.
v. 2 I Determined - This strong resolve to confine his teaching to that which is directly connected to Jesus Christ may have become more firmly solidified because of his experiences in Athens.
Him Crucified - Even though the message of the cross was offensive to both Jews and Greeks, Paul was determined to plainly and clearly proclaim Christ’s death as the only means of mankind being able to resolve the curse, bondage, and penalty of sin.
v. 3 In Weakness and Fear - Paul proclaimed the gospel with a deep personal consciousness of his own natural inabilities and inner fears. It is for this reason that Jesus dealt directly with this fear so that it would not become a hindrance in reaching people in Corinth with the gospel (Acts 18:9-10). As Paul would later write in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, he honestly recognized his own limitations, but he also understood he would find an overwhelming provision of God’s enabling grace for what God called him to do.
v. 4 Demonstration of the Spirit - Paul proclaimed the gospel with faith that God would confirm its reliability in the life of each hearer who accepted God’s promises contained in the gospel. The Holy Spirit was present to convict people of their sin as well as to make real the cleansing power of Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death for mankind upon the cross. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit was the one who brought about rebirth of a person, accompanied with His infilling that would empower the believer in their walk and service for Christ.


v. 6 Who are Mature - Mature in Greek is “teleius” and refers to a completely developed or whole thing. Paul indicates that it is maturity in Christ that enables a person to understand the truths of God’s word. Paul points out in this section that this is why nonbelievers had such trouble with what he taught (2:6-8) as well as immature babes who were Christians.
Wisdom of this Age - In this verse, Paul contrasts the wisdom based upon a biblical foundation with the wisdom of an age that is in rebellion to God and under the influence of Satan, who is referred to as the god of the age in 2 Corinthians 4:4.
Rulers of this Age - Paul points out that the leaders who are the source of influence upon the masses of mankind are themselves under the sway of a wisdom that is sourced in rebellion against God. Therefore, any action they take produces results that run in opposition to the true wisdom of God.
Coming to Nothing - Paul reminds his readers that those who appear as very powerful and influential in developing man’s views on life and God will one day be seen of people as no account.
v. 7 Hidden Wisdom - This points to the source of God’s wisdom as being revealed by divine revelation. The fallen world is sinfully blind to God’s divine nature and wisdom.
God Ordained - Paul’s preaching was based on wisdom which has its source in what God had decided to do for fallen mankind before time began. God, who knows all things, past, present, and future, knew man would fall. Therefore, God had already planned to provide complete forgiveness and restoration in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Our Glory - Paul shows here that one of the main results of God’s plan was that He would bring about a means of restoring man’s glory. Beyond resorting glory, God even elevates it beyond its prior limits before the fall (Rom. 5:2, 16:25-26; Eph. 3:9).
v. 8 Would not Have - Obviously, if the Jewish leaders had truly seen Jesus as their promised Messiah they would have known He did not deserve death. Likewise, if the Roman government leaders had understood that Jesus was the incarnation of God sent to redeem all people from sin, they would not have sanctioned His execution.
Lord, O Glory - This was a term for God in the Old Testament. The fact that Jesus is given this title is just one of many references to Jesus being seen as God by the New Testament writers.
v. 9 Eye has not - Paul uses Isaiah 64:4; 65:17 as a reference to the fact that the things that God purposed to do through the provisions of the cross are beyond the natural perception of mankind.
v. 10 But has Revealed - As Paul stated in v. 7, the wise purposes of God are imperceptible to the natural man.
By His Spirit - The believer’s relationship to God through the Holy Spirit opens up the ability for receiving and understanding the wonderful things God has made available for those He has redeemed (Eph. 2:1).
v. 11 Except the Spirit - Paul points out that just as the spirit of man inhabits the deepest aspects of a human being, so likewise, the Holy Spirit obviously knows the deepest aspects of God. Because the same Spirit that dwells within God’s essence also dwells in the spirit of the born-again believer, the believer now has access to know the wisdom of God that transcends the faculties of fallen men who are spiritually dead.
v. 12 We Have Received - Paul reminds these believers that regardless of how much of God’s wisdom they are seeking, it is still available as the Spirit dwells within them.
Freely Given - The understanding and experience of the provisions of God in the believer’s salvation are not based upon personal merit or position, but solely by grace. Therefore, it’s true that every believer has as much of God and His ways as he wants because it is equally available to all.
v. 13 Comparing Spiritual Things - The integration and application of spiritual truth is facilitated by comparing and relating these various truths to one another. This results in proper conclusions that enable people to experience the wisdom that is freely available to all believers.
v. 14 The Natural Man - This is a term for a person who is not born of the Spirit and thereby is unable to have the relationship with the Holy Spirit.
v. 15 Judge all Things - The person who is in a vital relationship with the Holy Spirit has all they need to be able to discern truth from error and God’s wisdom from the. That is why John could say in 1 John 2:27, "the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you, but as this same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide, in Him."
v. 16 Mind of Christ - Paul first states that it should be an obvious conclusion that God’s ways go beyond the ability of finite man to fully understand. However, because the believer is given a new nature that is in harmony with the heart and mind of God, he has the capacity to embrace and understand things beyond their natural and finite limitations.



v. 1 Spiritual - This word is used in various ways in the New Testament. It can be used to refer to the spiritual world in contrast to the physical, to all believers who are born of the Spirit (Rom. 8:9-19), or, as it is used here, a mature believer versus one who is immature in regard to the things of God.
Carnal - “Sarkenos” (Gk.) This is different than the Greek word in 2:14, which is translated natural and refers to the person who is not born of the Spirit. Here the word is in reference to the part of the fallen nature that is sourced in sin, which is still a force to be reckoned with in the life of the believer. In Romans 7:15-23, Paul expressed his own struggle with this carnal nature.
Babes in Christ - Paul describes the Corinthian believers carnality as resulting in a prolonged spiritual immaturity. This process of spiritual growth is to be expected, and Paul is not the only New Testament writer to mention it. John refers to it in 1 John 2:13, as little children, young men, and fathers.
v. 2 Milk - The truths of God will always begin with the most easily digestible aspects for the new Christian. Paul is referring to the same way babies are nourished, since milk is a very easy thing for the infant child to digest. An example is the truth of surrounding love. It is much easier to accept that God loves you unconditionally than it is to accept that love is also that which motivates a believer to live a life that is pleasing to God.
Neither Yet - Paul is observing that these believers had become stunted in their growth because of their carnal approach to life.
v. 3 Envy and Strife - In James 3:13-14 the strife that results from carnal wisdom is said to be "earthly, sensual, demonic" in its origin.
Mere Man - Paul points out that it should be an obvious conclusion to these believers that they should not approach life in the same way as those who are rooted in Adam. Paul teaches quite clearly in Romans that the believer who is born again is a new creation and is identified in his humanity as originated in Adam and in Christ (Rom. 5:12-21). That is why once a person is in Christ, we are all seen as equal and of the same origin in Christ, and there are no longer distinctions based on race or gender (Gal. 3:28).
v. 4 I am of Paul - Because of the different ministry gifts and the calling of those who had brought spiritual influence upon these believers, men such as Paul and Apollos were being singled out and recognized for their unique ministries. It seems that people then began to identify with whatever emphasis these teachers represented and then elevated that position above other teachings.
Apollos - He had made a major impact upon the Corinthian church after Paul’s departure from the city. He was noted as a gifted speaker, which would have been in contrast to Paul who was not known as an eloquent speaker (Acts 18:27-28)


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