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The Scriptorium

Where to Rest Your Faith

In Jesus, of course. 1 Corinthians 2.3-5

1 Corinthians 2 (2)

Pray Psalm 119.36, 37.
Incline my heart to Your testimonies,
And not to covetousness.
Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things,
And revive me in Your way.

Sing Psalm 119.36, 37.
(Regent Square: Angels from the Realms of Glory)
To Your holy testimonies, turn my heart, O gracious LORD.
Let me covet nothing worthless; my delight is in Your Word.
O revive me! O revive me, in Your way, most holy LORD!

Read 1 Corinthians 2.1-5; meditate on verses 3-5.

1. What did Paul not rely on in his speech and preaching?

2. Why did he trust in the Spirit and power of God?

Paul continued pointing back to his own example when he was among the Corinthians. He certainly did not seek to vaunt himself or make his style, rhetoric, or erudition anything like a focus.

In his preaching and teaching, Paul did not rely on wordsmithery, but on the demonstration of the Spirit and power of God. I take this to mean that the Word of God was the primary content of his preaching and teaching. Perhaps this involved reading of long passages with brief comments and much cross-referencing and proof-texting. The Word, being from the Spirit, certainly demonstrates His power, for the Word is itself the power of God, the wellspring of life, and the key to knowing Jesus (Heb. 4.12; Jn. 6.63; Jn. 5.39).

That Paul depended primarily on the Scriptures is clear from other places in Acts (Acts 20.21, 28.23) as well as from his epistles. He did not ignore matters of grammar and style, but he did not rely on these to persuade his hearers. He let the Word and Spirit do their convicting, converting, transforming, and edifying work (see on, vv. 10-13).

It was on Jesus and His Word that Paul sought to have the Corinthians’ faith come to rest. Had they done so, the schism they were experiencing, and all the problems that came with division, might not have come to pass. Only the Word has power to sanctify and make us one in Jesus (Jn. 17.17, 21). The more we cling to the Word and take it into our soul, the better we will know Jesus, and will prefer knowing, loving, and serving Him to all else.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Paul is a study in how to deflect attention from oneself and onto the Lord.

He wrote to the Corinthians, sharing that when he was with them, he suffered from human weakness, fear, and with much trembling. He also said that his speech and preaching were not with persuasive words or full of human wisdom. “But in demonstration of the Spirit and of His power” (1 Cor. 2.3, 4). He also made mention of the reason for this: that their faith should not be put in him, or any of the other preachers and teachers, “but in the power of God” (1 Cor. 2.5). But in. Paul didn’t trust in himself, nor did he want them to trust in him, but only in the power of God and His Spirit.

“God has spoken once, twice I have heard this:
That power belongs to God” (Ps. 62.11).
“‘Not by [your] might nor by [your] power,
but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts” (Zech. 4.6).
“…strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power…” (Col. 1.11).

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels,
that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us” (2 Cor. 4.7).

We are called and chosen to go into our Personal Mission Field with this same But In mentality.
We dare not try anything on our own. We should take to heart the commercials that advise: “Do not try this at home; or this was done by a professional driver; or actor portrayal, not a real doctor.”

Since we know that we must seek the Holy Spirit’s power to live each moment of our day in the likeness of Jesus Christ, we will most gladly seek Him in His Word and talk to Him in prayer. Without Him we can do nothing (Jn. 15.5).

“For our gospel did not come to you in word only,
but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance,
as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake” (1 Thess. 1.5).

My faith has found a resting place, Not in device nor creed;
I trust the Ever-living One, His wounds for me shall plead.

My heart is leaning on the Word, The written Word of God,
Salvation by my Savior’s Name, Salvation through His blood.

I need no other argument, I need no other plea,
It is enough that Jesus died, and that He died for me.
(Lidie H. Edmunds, 19th century)

Indeed, that is where we rest our faith—not in ourselves, but in Him alone.

For reflection
1. How do you know that you are resting your faith entirely on Jesus alone?

2. What would signal you that you were beginning to lose that focus?

3. Whom will you encourage today to rest their faith entirely in Jesus and Jesus alone?

When nothing but Christ crucified is plainly preached, the success must be entirely from Divine power accompanying the word, and thus men are brought to believe, to the salvation of their souls.
Matthew Henry (1562-1714), Commentary on 1 Corinthians 2.1-5

Pray Psalm 119.38-40.
Pray that God will establish you in His Word. Ask Him to create in you a greater longing for all His Word, and especially that you might know Jesus there.

Sing Psalm 119.38-40 .
(Regent Square: Angels from the Realms of Glory)
Set me firmly in Your statutes, for Your servant, LORD, am I.
Fearing You in sweet devotion, let me live until I die.
Let no dread, let no reproach obscure Your judgments from my eye.

For Your holy precepts, Jesus, my whole heart longs earnestly,
for Your judgments all are good; Your Word is a delight to me!
In Your righteousness revive me! For Your goodness I would see!

T. M. and Susie Moore

The Church in Corinth was in need of revival. But there was much to be done before that would happen. The Church today is in need of revival, and the same is true for us. Our book, Revived!, can help us to discern our need for revival and lead us in getting there. Order your copy by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalteravailable free by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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