Boletim dos Obreiros

Preaching the Word as a Message Revealed

Preaching the Word as a Message Revealed

1 Corinthians 2:10-16

Much confusion, bizarre interpretations and erroneous assessments occur about the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Work of God, making it ineffective. Interestingly, the Lord Jesus, when setting  the commission of the disciples to the glorious expansion of the Gospel message, left notoriously clear this would only happen after they received the "power" of the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49, Acts 1: 8). And that's exactly what happened in the early church in Acts 2, at the first notable preaching of the Gospel in Jerusalem, pronounced by the apostle Peter, with unparalleled results.

The Gospel is essentially in its content and in its exposure, a "revealed message." And for that alone it produces effective results of true conversion of the sinner, and the completion of the humanly incomprehensible new birth.

Let's see what Paul teaches us in the text above, on this precious topic:

Words taught by the Holy Spirit - (vs. 10-13)

The Gospel is the message of God for the salvation of man, involving the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14, 1 Peter 1:2).

In verse 10, Paul says that "to us did God reveal them." We must recognize that everything comes from God. We are not saved because of some skill or wisdom of our own, but because it pleased God to reveal it to us. The revelation is "through His Spirit." This expression shows the necessity of having the Spirit's guidance to understand the things of God.

As someone understands his companion through the participation of a spirit that is common to them (v. 11), so man can only understand God through the fellowship of the Spirit of God (v. 11).

The Revelation is done by the Holy Spirit. The term "searches" does not mean "to seek information". It's the way of saying that He "penetrates all things." There is nothing that is beyond His knowledge.

In particular, Paul specifies the "deep things of God". It means "unfathomable things" (in the deep sea). It is impossible to have someone who knows the intimate recesses of the Divine counsel. But the Holy Spirit knows and has revealed the truths which Paul speaks of.

In verse 11, Paul emphasizes that only the spirit of man himself can know what goes on inside him. From outside other men can only guess. But the spirit of man does not make conjectures. Likewise no one other than God can know what happens within God except the Spirit of God Himself. This means that the Spirit of God knows God inside. This text ascribes full divinity to the Spirit. What the Spirit reveals is the truth of God.

In verses 12 and 13, Paul highlights:

1) The indwelling of the Spirit in the believer - "we have received ... the Spirit who is from God.” The wise pagans have the "spirit of the world." We have the Spirit of God. The spirit of the world is human reason which governs the world;

2) Freely given to us - Paul states "the things that have been freely given to us by God”, that is, the revelation of God was given to us completely in the past, by the redemptive Work of Christ, with ever present effectiveness;

3) That we might know - In verse 10, Paul says that the Spirit searches all things, and in verse 11, that the things of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. However, our knowledge of these things is only possible through the Spirit of God in us.

4) That we might also speak - In verse 13, Paul shows that the Christian receives this knowledge to pass it on. The activity of the Spirit through us includes the provision of the words employed, beyond the supply of general ideas. It is a kind of wisdom in everything different, containing different conceptions and so being expressed in a different way. The Spirit helped the writers to find the right words to convey spiritual concepts. The expression "comparing" (sugkrinō = gr) has the sense of "combining" not exactly "interpreting." Within the scope of this spiritual wisdom there is opportunity for comparing a part with another. The term "spiritual things with spiritual" (pneumatikos = gr), has the sense of combining spiritual things (spoken words) with spiritual things (the truths expressed).

The essentiality of spiritual discernment - (vs. 14-16)

Spiritual discernment is a striking evidence of our spiritual maturity. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned.

In verse 14, Paul speaks of the "natural man." In him there is no Spirit of God to enable him to understand. He was not born again. He therefore has limitations.

The expression “natural” (psuchikos = gr) refers to animal life. It does not properly mean "sinfulness", but indicates lack of spiritual discernment. It refers to a man whose horizon is limited by the things of life. The man of wisdom of the world.

The expression "does not receive" has the sense of "welcome". The natural man does not welcome the things of the Spirit, refusing them or rejecting them. Such a man is not equipped to discern the activity of the Spirit of God. It is "foolishness" to him. He is in no condition to "know the things of God, because they are spiritually discerned.”

The term “to discern" (anakrinō = Gr) has the sense of "preliminary examination" prior to the main hearing, ie, "to examine" or "to evaluate".

We see, then, in verse 15, that only the "spiritual man" is in a condition of forming judgment of all things. The "natural man" is man as an intelligent being, but fallen, and man as a spiritual being (regenerated by the Spirit) (pneumatikos = Gr), has in him the Spirit of God, who gives him the ability to judge all things under a true light - the light of truth. Paul does not say that the "spiritual man" has different natural gifts from those the "natural man” has. It is not a question of natural gift, but of the operation of the Spirit of God within him. When the Spirit enters the life of a man everything changes. One new thing that appears is the ability to make the right judgment. This does not mean that man is now somehow bigger than before, but it is because the Spirit of God equips him.

The term "to judge" is the same verb as "to discern" of the previous verses, and "judged" in the same verse. The spiritual principle is the basis of the judgment of the "spiritual man" of what men call secular as well as sacred. The "spiritual man" cannot be judged by the "natural man" for the same reason he can judge all things. He has the Spirit of God and the "natural man" does not. As the "natural man" cannot know spiritual things (v. 14) he cannot judge the spiritual man.

In verse 16, Paul introduces an interesting question: "Who has known the mind of the Lord?" Only the Spirit of God knows the depths of God (v. 11), so it is impossible for the "natural man" to understand such deep things and to have knowledge of the man in whom is the Spirit. That is why Paul says that "we have the mind of Christ." It does not mean that the Christian is able to understand all the thoughts of Christ. But, yes, it means that the Spirit dwelling in him reveals Christ. Thus, the "spiritual man" does not see things from the perspective of the man of the world. He sees them from the perspective of Christ, because Christ dwells in him by faith (Colossians 3:16).

Conclusion: It is time for us to take more seriously the extraordinary importance of the indispensable role of the Holy Spirit in the preaching of the Gospel, as a "revealed message," both with respect to its content as to its exposure, so that the wonderful results of the authentic conversion of the sinner and the experience of the new life may continue to happen.