1 Corinthians: Chapter 2, Introduction
The apostle, in this chapter, pursues the same argument as before, that the Gospel needed not the wisdom and art of men: this he illustrates by his own example; and then he extols the Gospel above all the wisdom of men; and observes how it comes to be made known to men, even by the Spirit of God: hence it follows, that it is to be taught in his words, and not in the words of men; and that it can be only known and judged of by the spiritual, and not by the natural man. He instances in himself, and in his own ministry, when at Corinth, where he preached the Gospel in a plain and simple manner, without using the ornaments of speech, and human wisdom, (1 Corinthians 2:1).
His reason was, because he had determined with himself to preach not himself, but a crucified Christ, (1 Corinthians 2:2).
His manner of behaviour is more largely declared, (1 Corinthians 2:3) that he was so far from being elated with his human literature, and priding himself with that, and making use of it in an ostentatious way, that he was attended with much weakness, fear, and trembling.
And his discourses were not adorned with the flowers of rhetoric, but were delivered with the power, evidence, and demonstration of the Spirit, (1 Corinthians 2:4).
And his end and view in this method of preaching were, that the faith of his hearers should not be ascribed to human wisdom, but to a divine power, (1 Corinthians 2:5) but lest the Gospel should be thought meanly and contemptibly of, because of the plain dress in which it appeared, the apostle affirms it to be the highest wisdom, as those who had the most perfect knowledge of it could attest.
A wisdom superior to the wisdom of this world, or of its princes, since that comes to nothing, (1 Corinthians 2:6).
The excellency of which he expresses by various epithets, as the wisdom of God, mysterious wisdom, hidden wisdom, ancient wisdom, ordained before the world began, for the glory of the saints, (1 Corinthians 2:7).
A wisdom unknown to the princes of the world, who otherwise would not have been concerned in the crucifixion of Christ, (1 Corinthians 2:8).
And that this far exceeds the capacity of men, and could never have been found out by them, he proves, (1 Corinthians 2:9), by a testimony out of (Isaiah 64:4).
And then proceeds to show how it comes to be known by any of the sons of men, that it is by the revelation of the Spirit of God, (1 Corinthians 2:10).
Which is illustrated by the nature of the spirit of man within him, which only knows the things of a man; so in like manner only the Spirit of God knows the things of God, and can make them known to others, (1 Corinthians 2:11).
And in this way he observes, that he and others became acquainted with these things; namely, by receiving not the spirit of the world, which at most could only have taught them the wisdom of the world, but the Spirit of God, whereby they knew their interest in the blessings of free grace, published in the Gospel, (1 Corinthians 2:12).
And seeing the Gospel is made known by the Spirit of God, it should be delivered, not in the words of man’s wisdom, but in the words of the Holy Spirit, as the apostle affirms he and other ministers did deliver it, returning to his former argument, (1 Corinthians 2:13).
And also it follows from hence, that the things of the Gospel, which the Spirit reveals, cannot be known and received by the natural man, who has no discerning of them, and so no value for them, (1 Corinthians 2:14).
And can only be discerned, judged, and approved of by spiritual men, (1 Corinthians 2:15).
And who are not to be judged by natural and carnal men, because they have not the mind of Christ, and so cannot instruct them; but spiritual men have it, such as the apostle and others, (1 Corinthians 2:16).
John Gill (1697-1771) was a Strict and Particular Baptist preacher and theologian. He was appointed the Pastor of Goat Yard Chapel, Horsleydown, Southwark, serving this position for fifty-one years. He was the first Baptist to write an exhaustive systematic theology, setting forth High-Calvinistic views and a clear Baptist polity which became the backbone for the churches subscribing to them. John Hazelton wrote of him:
”[Augustus] Toplady held in high regard Dr. John Gill (1697-1771), and applied to him and to his controversial writings what was said of the first Duke of Marlborough—that he never besieged a town that he did not take, nor fought a battle that he did not win. Gill's book on the Canticles is a beautiful and experimental exposition of Solomon's Song; his "Cause of God and Truth" is most admirable and suggestive; and his "Body of Divinity" one of the best of its kind. His commentary upon the Old and New Testament is a wonderful monument of sanctified learning, though it has been so used as to rob many a ministry of living power. It is the fashion now to sneer at Gill, and this unworthy attitude is adopted mostly by those who have forsaken the truths he so powerfully defended, and who are destitute of a tithe of the massive scholarship of one of the noblest ministers of the Particular and Strict Baptist denomination. The late Dr. Doudney rendered inestimable service by his republication, in 1852, of Gill's Commentary, printed at Bonmahon, Waterford, Ireland, by Irish boys. Gill was born at Kettering, and passed away at his residence at Camberwell, his last words being: "O, my Father! my Father!" For fifty-one years, to the time of his death, he was pastor of the Baptist Church, Fair Street, Horselydown, and was buried in Bunhill Fields. His Hebrew learning was equal to that of any scholar of his day, and his Rabbinical knowledge has never been equalled outside Judaism. His "Dissertation Concerning the Eternal Sonship of Christ" is most valuable, and this foundation truth is shown by him to have been a part of the faith of all Trinitarians for about 1,700 years from the birth of our Lord. In His Divine nature our blessed Lord was the co-equal and co-eternal Son of God, and as such He became the Word of God. The Scriptures nowhere intimate that Christ is the Son of God by office, or that His Sonship is founded on His human nature. This is not a strife about words, but is for our life, our peace, our hope. Dr. Gill's pastoral labours were much blest; to the utmost fidelity he united real tenderness, and at the Lord's Supper he was always at his best.
"He set before their eyes their dying Lord—
How soft, how sweet, how solemn every word!
How were their hearts affected, and his own!
And how his sparkling eyes with glory shone!"