1 Corinthians 2:6-3:4 Exploring the Passage

Below are some preliminary questions to assist in the study of this passage. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download).

1. What does the apostle Paul tell us about the wisdom he speaks? See 1 Corinthians 2:6-7 (printed below)

We do, however, speak wisdom to the mature; but not a wisdom that belongs to present age, nor to the rulers of this age who are passing away. (7) On the contrary, we speak God’s secret wisdom, the wisdom that has been hidden, which God ordained before the ages for our glory. (1 Corinthians 2:6-7)

In verse 6 the apostle Paul assures the Corinthians—especially those who were enamored with the wisdom of this world—that he also speaks wisdom. However, the wisdom that the apostle speaks is “not of this present age.” That is to say, it is not the type of wisdom found in this world and taught by the intellectuals of this world. The basic premise of their wisdom taught that “man is the measure (or, the center) of all things” (such was the explicit teaching of the Greek philosophers). But in contrast to this view, the biblical view is that God is the center of all things (note Romans 11:36). Indeed, as Paul declares in verse 7, he is speaking “God’s wisdom.” This divine wisdom is “secret,” or “mysterious”—that is to say, because it relates to the kingdom of God it is mysterious to us as we still live in this present earthly realm, it is not fully clear and completely comprehensible to us in our present state (note 1 Corinthians 13:12).

2. To whom does Paul impart this wisdom? See 1 Corinthians 2:6 (printed above under question #1)

In verse 6 Paul declares, “We…speak wisdom to the mature.” The apostle Paul is presenting a wisdom that is so awesome—belonging to a different, higher realm—that it can only be comprehended and appreciated by those who are spiritually mature.

3. What was the level of the Corinthian church’s spiritual maturity? See 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 (printed below)

Yet, brothers, I was not able to address you as spiritual men; I had to address you as worldly men, as infants in Christ. (2) I fed you with milk, not with solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, you are still not able to receive it, (3) for you are still worldly. Since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly and are you not living like men? (1 Corinthians 3:1-3)

Paul informs the Corinthians that on an earlier occasion he could not address them as spiritually mature Christians, he had to address them as “worldly men, as infants in Christ”—they were spiritually immature, they were still “worldly” (literally, “fleshly”) in their thinking and conduct. Paul laments the fact that the Corinthians are “still worldly” (verse 3). The evidence of their spiritual immaturity—the evidence of the fact that they are “still worldly” (that they are still “of the flesh”)—is their attitude and conduct towards one another. Their lives were filled with “jealousy and quarreling” that created factions among them (verses 3-4). Note that the Word of God defines spiritual maturity not in terms of biblical and theological knowledge, but in terms of Christ-like character.

4. How does God reveal to His people the things He has prepared for them? See 1 Corinthians 2:10-12 (printed below)

But God has revealed these things to us by the Spirit; for the Spirit fathoms all things, even the deep things of God. (11) Who among men knows the thoughts of another man, except that man’s own spirit that is within him? In the same way, no one knows the things of God, except the Spirit of God. (12) Now we did not receive the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God; so that we might know the things that have been graciously given to us by God. (1 Corinthians 2:10-12)

The things God has prepared for His people He also reveals to His people—and He reveals these things to us by His Holy Spirit. Just as no one but the individual himself knows the thoughts of his heart, so only the Spirit of God knows the mind of God (verse 11). Because God wants to share His heart and plans with His people, He has given us the Holy Spirit to communicate the things of God to us (verse 12).

5. How does the world view the Christian (see 1 Corinthians 2:15b printed below?) What makes us different from the world in our thinking and outlook (see 1 Corinthians 2:16b printed below?)

…he who is spiritual comprehends all things, yet he himself is not comprehended by anyone. (1 Corinthians 2:15b)

…we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16b)

The spiritual man—the Christian, and in particular, the spiritually mature Christian—”comprehends all things.” That is to say, he has insight into and some degree of understanding with regard to the things of God (verse 15). But the spiritual man himself is comprehended, or understood, by no one (verse 15b). The more deeply you become connected to the life of Christ and the things of God, the more of an enigma you will become to the people of this world (note John 3:8 and 1 Peter 4:4). What makes the Christian an enigma to the world is the fact that “we have the mind of Christ” (verse 16). That is to say, we know and share in the thoughts and plans and purposes of Christ our Savior (note John 15:15).