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The Scriptorium

Not That, This!

We have the Spirit; let's live that way. 1 Corinthians 2

1 Corinthians 2 (7)

Pray Psalm 147.19, 20.

He declares His word to Jacob,
His statutes and His judgments to Israel.
He has not dealt thus with any nation;
And as for His judgments, they have not known them.
Praise the LORD!

Sing Psalm 147.19, 20.
(St. Anne: Our God, Our Help in Ages Past)
His Word He to His Church bestows—His promises and Law.
No other nation God thus knows: Praise Him with songs of awe!

Review 1 Corinthians 2.1-16; meditate on verses 10-12.

1. What does the Spirit do?

2. Why has He been given to us?


It’s not that the church doesn’t need gifted leaders, able theologians, or articulate preachers. We need all these. And we need every member of the church to embrace the gifts and calling God has appointed them, looking only to Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith (Heb. 12.1-3) and relying on His Word and Spirit.

What we do not need is what the Corinthians had devolved into—Christian tribes beating their own drums, rallying around their own chiefs, and scorning those who did not measure up to their view of the faith. By turning away from the vision of Jesus, suffering and risen and exalted in glory, and by listening to the words of men rather than the Spirit of Christ, the churches had departed from God’s plan and were in danger of becoming irrelevant—or worse.

But, to their credit, they knew something was not right, and they sent a team over to Ephesus to receive Paul’s counsel so that they could get back in step with the Spirit.

The Spirit teaches us through the Word so that we might understand the wonders and promises God has in store for us (v. 10). Those who are merely “natural” men will not listen to the Spirit. They prefer the words of mere men. But the words of mere men cannot assure us that the words we’re hearing are the Word of God. For that we need the Spirit and the Word God has revealed to us through Him (vv. 11, 12).

In 1 Corinthians 2 Paul deftly winds up his exposé of the Corinthians’ schismatic behavior by offering a series of comparisons: his example, their practice; the natural person, the spiritual person; the one who is taught by God’s Spirit and the one who is not. It’s as if he is saying to them, “Not that, this!” Not tribalism but unity. Not playing the world’s game, but living God’s way. Not in the spirit of mere men, but in the Spirit of God.

Not that, this. It’s good counsel for our own walk with and work for the Lord.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deut. 29.29).

“But God has revealed them” (1 Cor. 2.10).
What is it that God has revealed?
“The things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Cor. 2.9).
What things are these? And why are they a secret?
Well, they just seem like a secret because only those who love God can know them.
And what we know is His amazing love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness.
And through this amazing love we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit to help us unpack the hidden treasures found in His Word and works.

This is the same Holy Spirit Who has been from eternity:
“The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep.
And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” (Gen. 1.2).

This is the same Jesus Who has been from eternity:
“Who has ascended into heaven, or descended?
Who has gathered the wind in His fists?
Who has bound the waters in a garment?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is His name, and what is His Son’s name,
if you know?” (Prov. 30.4).

Not everyone believes these truths. But you do, because God has revealed them to you through His Spirit.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1.1).
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God” (Jn. 1.1, 2).

Not everyone believes these truths. But you do, because God has revealed them to you through His Holy Spirit.
“No one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God” (1 Cor. 2.11) and you.

Not everyone believes these truths. But you do, because God has revealed them to you through His Spirit.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3.16).
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5.8).

Not everyone believes these truths. But you do, because God has revealed them to you through His Spirit.
“Set your hearts on all the words which I testify among you today, which you shall command your children to be careful to observe—all the words of this law.” Reading the Word of God and keeping the Law of God is “not a futile thing for you, because it is your life, and by this word you shall prolong your days…” (Deut. 32.46, 47).
“If you love Me, keep My commandments” (Jn. 14.15).
“You are My friends if you do whatever I command you” (Jn. 15.14).
“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (Jms. 2.26).

These secret things have been revealed to us “that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God” (1 Cor. 2.12). “This!”

For reflection
1. God reveals His secrets to us who believe in Him. Why would He do this? How should we respond?

2. What do these secret things enable us to know and do?

3. What can you do to encourage your fellow believers to seek more of the secret things God wants to reveal to us?

No one can know the things of God, but his Holy Spirit, who is one with the Father and the Son, and who makes known Divine mysteries to his church. This is most clear testimony, both to the real Godhead and the distinct person of the Holy Spirit. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on 1 Corinthians 2.10-16

Pray Psalm 147.1-7.
Give thanks to God for His many excellent gifts. Praise Him for His many virtues. Call on Him to build His Church into one unified Body of believers in Jesus, humbly serving one another and the world in His Name.

Sing Psalm 147.1-7.
(St. Anne: Our God, Our Help in Ages Past)
Praise God, for it is good to sing loud praises to the LORD!
With joy our songs of praise we bring to God and to His Word.

The LORD builds up His Church and He His people gathers in.
The broken hearts He tenderly repairs and heals their sin.

He counts the stars, He knows the name of every chosen soul;
His pow’r is great, and great His fame Who understands us whole.

The humble God exalts above; the wicked He casts down.
Sing thanks to this great God of love; let songs of praise abound.

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.

Support for Scriptorium comes from our faithful and generous God, who moves our readers to share financially in our work. If this article was helpful, please give Him thanks and praise.

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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.
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