Spiritual Wisdom vs. Worldly Wisdom 1st Corinthians 2:1-16

1st Corinthians Bible Study Vernon L. Harper

The scripture Content for this message is found in 1st Corinthians 2:1-16

All of humanity can be divided into two groups. Those who pursue spiritual wisdom and those who pursue worldly wisdom. In truth there exist only spiritual wisdom, worldly wisdom is the deceptive counterfeit. Just as darkness does not exist of its own but is only the absence of light so worldly wisdom is what exist when Godly wisdom is abandoned.

Godly Wisdom is the discerning of what is good, right and prudent through the spirit of the living God. In other words, Godly wisdom is the ability to follow the spirit of God through the thousands of choices and decisions in life. This is the only way to express a Godly life into creation. When our lives through wisdom produce the fruit of the spirit, we begin to affect our surroundings for God.

In 1st Corinthians 2:1-5 Paul reminds the Corinthian church that when he first came to them, he didn’t use polished speaking skills or wise sayings but relied completely on the spirit's power. He describes himself as being timid and week and his message very plain in that first meeting. Our Christian lives depends completely on the spirits power. Our salvation, just as it was with the Corinthians, always begins with the demonstration of the spirits power. If our salvation begins with, or drifts into, a mere mental assent to the existence of God then our faith relies on our own understandings and not the power of God. Paul reminds the Corinthians that the spirit of the living God is all important to their Christian life.

In verses 6-9 the Apostle Paul shifts gears by letting the Corinthians know that there is a progression of growth in spiritual wisdom. Paul states that among the mature believers he teaches this wisdom and that this wisdom is different from the wisdom that belongs to this world and its big shots. This wisdom Paul speaks of is making plain the mystery of God.

A mystery can only be grasped through spiritual discernment and never through mental understanding. Through this reason a mystery will always remain a mystery to those without the spirit of God. In first Timothy 3:16 we read: “Great is the mystery of Godliness…” The scripture does not read: Great was the mystery...” A mystery will remain a mystery because it can only be understood through the revelation of the spirit of God. Anyone relying on worldly understanding will never understand it.

In verses 10-14 Paul tells the Corinthians that it is by God’s spirit that He has chosen to reveal the mystery of the things God has given to us. We receive the understanding of our salvation and God’s work through Jesus Christ by His spirit. These mysteries are revealed to God’s spirit filled believers and no one else. And when these mysteries are taught, they can only be truly taught by spirit filled believers. Paul tells them that the words that he speaks when he teaches are words that he is given from the spirit, and that those who do not have the spirit can not understand them because these spiritual words can only be spiritually discerned.

In verses 15 and 16 Paul completes the idea by telling the Corinthians that a spiritual person can evaluate everything through the spirit, but others cannot evaluate or question the faith of the spirit filled believer. Our faith cannot be questioned by the wisdom of this world because it lacks the discerning spirit of the living God. For this reason, those who are considered wise in this world will always believe the wisdom of God to be nonsense. However, the wisdom of God can never be nonsense to the believer because we have the revelation of God’s mystery through God’s spirit and through that same spirit, we have the mind of Christ.


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