The Epistle of I CORINTHIANS
1. And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony [mystery] of God.
Literal: And I having come to you, brethren, came not according to excellency of word or wisdom, announcing to you the mystery of God.
Take a good look at this verse and you'll see something you've never seen before. We can see why the great mystery was kept secret for so long a period of time after Pentecost. The reason Paul could tell only some believers in the Corinthian Church about Christ and the great mystery is because the majority of believers were not spiritually mature enough to accept this truth. They could not be taught the mystery that it is Christ in you, the hope of glory. This is a great truth. The Church is alive because of the resurrection and not the crucifixion and also because of the new birth that came on Pentecost. Yet most people today can't go beyond Jesus Christ and his crucifixion. Almost every church's center point is the alter and the cross. Paul states this point in the next verse.
2. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
Literal: For I decided not to know anything among you, except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
He could not teach the mystery because the believers were babes in Christ and were not spiritually mature. You must remember this when sharing the Word with others. THIS IS THE REASON THE MYSTERY WAS NOT TAUGHT UNTIL A LONG PERIOD OF TIME AFTER PENTECOST.
3. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.
Literal: And I, in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, was with you.
4. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
Literal: And my word and my preaching was not with enticing or persuasive words of man's (human) wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit (pneuma) and of power (the nine manifestations).
This is also the figure of speech HENDIADYS where two words are used but only one thing is meant. The literal of the words 'of the spirit and of power' is "of the spirit and of the power of the spirit".
5. That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
Literal: That your faith (pistis - believing) might be built not upon human wisdom, but on the power of God.
6. Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor the princes of this world, that come to nought:
Literal: Howbeit (however) we speak wisdom among them that are perfect, yet not the wisdom of this world or of this age, nor of the princes (rulers) of this age, that come to nought.
This word 'perfect' (teleioi) is referring to a small handful of Christian believers who were mature and spiritually grown up as opposed to babes in Christ or carnal Christians. To those few 'teleioi', [initiated ones], Paul could speak the wisdom of God regarding the great mystery (musterion) -- "even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:" . . . . as stated in the next verse.
The word 'nought' means 'to render inactive or useless' and remember that this is referring to the princes or rulers of this age. 'Nought' means to cause to cease; do away with; put an end to.
This information should be very enlightening to you as to why the mystery was not revealed immediately after the day of Pentecost. Paul shared the fullness of the mystery only to the mature believers -- those of full age -- the completely initiated ones. God waits for people to believe. God knew that believers, up to this point, lacked spiritual maturity to believe and apply the great mystery of Christ in you, the hope of glory. So it was not revealed until God knew that someone would believe it. God gave every man free will to believe or not to believe.
In this verse there is also the figure of speech called INCONGRUITY regarding the word 'perfect'. This is where one word is changed for another only remotely connected with it. Here, the word 'perfect' (teleios) receives its true meaning, initiated from the Greek mysteries, where it was used of one who had been initiated into the greatest secrets of the Greek religion.
7. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
Literal: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predetermined before the ages for our glory.
This 'mystery' is Christ in you. This is also supported in the epistle of Romans.
Romans 16: 25 -- Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began.
8. Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
Literal: Which none of the princes (Satan plus devil spirits) of this world knew: for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
They would have preferred Christ in one place than living in every born again believer. Every believer is capable of doing the work that Christ did and a believer can also lead people to the new birth. The adversary would never have crucified Jesus Christ if he knew the mystery. When Satan crucified Jesus Christ, he brought an unsolvable problem to himself.
9. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
Literal: But according as it has been written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God prepared for them that love Him.
New English Translation -- But in the words of Scripture, Things beyond our seeing, things beyond our hearing, things beyond our imagining, all prepared by God for those who love Him.
This is a QUOTATION from Isaiah.
Isaiah 64: 4 -- For since the beginning of the world, men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.
10. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
Literal: But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
The word 'deep' means 'depth' which is used as a metaphor to mark greatness or quantity or secret unrevealed purposes. We are able to perceive God by the spirit in us which was made available by His only begotten Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Natural man, who does not have the spirit from God within him, cannot know God (see verse 14), but we can, for we have His spirit by which He may reveal Himself to us. Remember that speaking in tongues makes this spirit sharper and stronger so that God can reveal even more about Himself to us and we then receive more revelation to help us live the more than abundant life. YOU MUST SPEAK IN TONGUES IN YOUR PRIVATE PRAYER LIFE. The more you speak in tongues in your private prayer life, the more dynamic your life will be here on earth. Then God can reveal great mysteries to us which allows us to counter every move of the adversary because we know things that, by our senses, we could never know. Keep it simple and remember, when you do your very best, God does the rest. He is here right now with you helping and guiding you. When you walk by the spirit, there is a surprise around every corner. Could there be a greater way to live? Never! God's blessings are genuine and everlasting -- the world's way is counterfeit and temporary.
11. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
Literal: New English Translation -- Among men, who knows what a man is but the man's own spirit within him? In the same way, only the Spirit of God knows what God is.
This first reference to 'spirit' in this verse is a usage of the word pneuma which refers to the heart -- the innermost part of the being while the second usage is referring to God Himself.
12. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
Literal: Now we have received, not the spirit of the world (devil spirits), but the spirit (Christ in you) which is of God, so that we may know all that God of His own grace has given us.
The second part of this verse in the Interlinear is "that we might know the things by God granted to us." These things are given to us by favor.
13. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
Literal a) Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but (words) which the Spirit teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
Literal b) (According to the Interlinear) -- "Which also we speak, not in words taught of human wisdom, but in those taught of the Holy Spirit, communicating spiritual things by spiritual means".
The latter part of this verse is a figure of speech called MANY INFLECTIONS -- "comparing spiritual things with spiritual". This is the repetition of the same part of speech in different inflections. In the Greek it is translated "pneumatikois pneumatika sunkrinontes" -- "to spiritual persons spiritual things declaring." In English, it is translated "declaring spiritual things to spiritual persons."
14. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Literal: But the man of body and soul (not born again) cannot perceive or understand the things of God, for they make no sense to him and can only be understood by a person who has the spirit of God within.
This verse talks about our ability to perceive God by the spirit in us which was made available by Jesus Christ. Natural man, who does not have the spirit from God within him, cannot know God. The 'natural man' is the man of body and soul -- five senses only, no spirit. The word 'discerned' could be defined as 'understood'. We cannot know anything about the spiritual world by way of the senses. Spiritual things from the spiritual world may be known in this world only by the spirit which dwells in us. Then, and only then, can the spirit relate impressions and truths to us about the spiritual world and make them logical. Then we have the God-given ability within us, making known to us things about the spiritual world. This is a great truth. The spirit can make things logical to us where otherwise, we would never understand, with the five senses, the things of God.
Regarding the natural world and the spiritual world, two entirely different sets of laws are in existence. When you walk with God and renew your mind, the spiritual world supersedes (takes the place of or replaces) the natural world. You now live your life by a completely different set of laws. The old set of laws and logic are the old man ways. You are living by a completely new set of laws which govern the spiritual world and these laws REPLACE the laws of the natural world.
Natural man cannot know spiritual matters because they are spiritually discerned (understood). Having summed up the situation in one verse of Scripture, God couldn't have stated Himself more clearly. Because the things of God are spiritual, they must be known by the spirit. That is why the Word says that spiritual things are foolishness to the natural, scientific man. The natural man goes by his reason -- by what he can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch and not by the revealed Word of God.
15. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
Literal: But he that is spiritual can discern (perceive; detect) all things, yet he himself is discerned (investigated, perceived, to make distinctions) of no man.
This word discerned means 'investigate'. We are to live peaceably and act peaceably and therefore not be under investigation by men. Men are not to be able to come to a decision concerning us, but we are, according to what the Word says, able to come to a decision concerning men.
New English Translation -- A man gifted with the Spirit can judge the worth of everything, but is not himself subject to judgement by his fellow-men.
New International Version (NIV) -- The spiritual man can make judgements about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgement.
American Standard Version (ASV) -- But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, and he himself is judged of no man.
You should be able to understand this verse by now. You are able to discern all things because you live by spiritual laws and the spirit of God within you makes you ABLE to perceive all things. However, natural man cannot do this since he lives in the natural world and therefore cannot understand spiritual things. He does not have the ability to perceive anything spiritual so he cannot perceive you.
16. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
Literal: Interlinear -- For who did know the mind (nous) of the Lord. Who shall instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
That is true if we are renewing our minds to the Word.
Isaiah 40: 13, 14 -- Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counseller hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgement, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?
No one can instruct God but He instructs us as to how to live this life. He created life and we should believe that He knows the best way to live it. That is why you should study His Word diligently and apply it to the very best of your ability. We must study His Word, His thoughts, just like Jesus Christ did and then we will have the mind of Christ and manifest the more than abundant life.