Feb. 9, 2014 Epistle lection–1 Corinthians 2:1-12

1 Corinthians 2:1-12

Epistle lection for Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014

1Co 2:1 Κἀγὼ ἐλθὼν πρὸς ὑμᾶς, ἀδελφοί, ἦλθον οὐ καθ’ ὑπεροχὴν λόγου ἢ σοφίας καταγγέλλων ὑμῖν τὸ μαρτύριον[A] τοῦ θεοῦ. As for me, when I came to you, brothers [and sisters,] I did not come in accordance with excellence of speech or of wisdom when I was proclaiming to you the testimony [or in some texts, “mystery”] of God
1Co 2:2 οὐ γὰρ ἔκρινά τι εἰδέναι[B] ἐν ὑμῖν εἰ μὴ Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν καὶ τοῦτον ἐσταυρωμένον· For I made the judgement to recognize nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
1Co 2:3 κἀγὼ ἐν ἀσθενείᾳ καὶ ἐν φόβῳ καὶ ἐν τρόμῳ πολλῷ ἐγενόμην πρὸς ὑμᾶς[C], And I was in your presence in weakness, and in fear and in much trembling,
1Co 2:4 καὶ ὁ λόγος μου καὶ τὸ κήρυγμά[D] μου οὐκ ἐν πειθοῖ σοφίας[E] ἀλλ’ ἐν ἀποδείξει[F] πνεύματος καὶ δυνάμεως, and my speech and my preaching was not [done] in [words of] persuasion [from] wisdom, but in [a] demonstration of the Spirit and of power,
1Co 2:5 ἵνα ἡ πίστις ὑμῶν μὴ ᾖ ἐν σοφίᾳ ἀνθρώπων ἀλλ’ ἐν[G] δυνάμει θεοῦ. so that your faith might not be in [the] wisdom of humans, but in [the] power of God.
1Co 2:6 Σοφίαν δὲ λαλοῦμεν ἐν τοῖς τελείοις[H], σοφίαν δὲ οὐ τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου οὐδὲ τῶν ἀρχόντων[I] τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου τῶν καταργουμένων[J]· But we do speak a wisdom among the mature, a wisdom not of this age nor of the rulers of this age who are coming to an end;
1Co 2:7 ἀλλὰ λαλοῦμεν θεοῦ[K] σοφίαν ἐν μυστηρίῳ, τὴν ἀποκεκρυμμένην, ἣν προώρισεν[L] ὁ θεὸς πρὸ τῶν αἰώνων εἰς δόξαν ἡμῶν· Rather, we speak a wisdom of God in a hidden mystery, which God predestined before the ages for our glory,
1Co 2:8 ἣν οὐδεὶς τῶν ἀρχόντων τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου ἔγνωκεν, εἰ γὰρ ἔγνωσαν, οὐκ ἂν τὸν κύριον τῆς δόξης ἐσταύρωσαν[M]· which none of the rulers of this age recognized.  For if they had known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
1Co 2:9 ἀλλὰ καθὼς γέγραπται[N]· Ἃ ὀφθαλμὸς οὐκ εἶδεν καὶ οὖς οὐκ ἤκουσεν καὶ ἐπὶ καρδίαν ἀνθρώπου οὐκ ἀνέβη, ὅσα[O] ἡτοίμασεν ὁ θεὸς τοῖς ἀγαπῶσιν αὐτόν. But as it is written, “What [things] eye did not see and ear did not hear, and [what] did not arise upon [the] heart of a human being—what [or “all that”] God prepared for those who love him.”
1Co 2:10               ἡμῖν γὰρ ἀπεκάλυψεν ὁ θεὸς διὰ τοῦ πνεύματος, τὸ γὰρ πνεῦμα πάντα ἐραυνᾷ[P], καὶ τὰ βάθη[Q] τοῦ θεοῦ. For God revealed [this] to us through the Spirit, for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.
1Co 2:11               τίς γὰρ οἶδεν ἀνθρώπων τὰ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου εἰ μὴ τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ ἀνθρώπου τὸ ἐν αὐτῷ; οὕτως καὶ τὰ τοῦ θεοῦ οὐδεὶς ἔγνωκεν[R] εἰ μὴ τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ θεοῦ. For who of [all] people knows the things of someone except the spirit of the person [which resides] within him [or her]?  So also no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.
1Co 2:12               ἡμεῖς δὲ οὐ τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ κόσμου ἐλάβομεν ἀλλὰ τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ, ἵνα εἰδῶμεν[S] τὰ ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ χαρισθέντα[T] ἡμῖν· But we did not receive the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, so that we might know the things granted to us by God.

On the left is the SBL text (pretty close to the best Greek texts).  On the right is my translation–as literal as possible while maintaining at least roughly comprehensible English. (Words I’ve added that I think are implied in the text, but not actually present, are enclosed in [brackets].)  I’ve also added footnotes to the Greek text in places where I’ve offered brief comments.  The goal here is not to offer a complete commentary on the text, but simply to highlight some issues where looking at the original language may help to illumine what is going on overall here.  One of my purposes for this whole approach is to encourage those who are preaching and teaching the lectionary text to explore the original languages, and to give them a head start on what they might discover.


[A] Other manuscripts have μυστήριον “mystery.”  This is probably the better reading.

[B] The word could mean either “to know” or “to recognize”

[C] Or “I came to you”

[D] or “my message”

[E] Some textual variants here are knotty from a lexical perspective, but a substantive difference in meaning is not really at stake.

[F] The word occurs only here in the NT, so meaning is a little uncertain.  It could refer to miraculous events which “demonstrate” or “prove” the power of the Spirit, or it could (more likely) refer to preaching which relies on the Spirit’s power to be convincing proof, rather than on eloquence.

[G] Could either be “in the power of God” in the sense of “your faith might come to existence by means of the power of God,” or else “your faith might have the power of God as its object.”  I think that the former is more likely.  Otherwise Paul is just substituting another jazzy display for eloquence.

[H] An interesting word to show up here, particularly when Paul is tilting so hard against claims of superiority.  Cf. the other Pauline uses of this word in Rom 12:2; 1 Cor 13:10; 14:20; Phil 3:15; Col 1:28; 4:12.

[I] It’s not entirely clear from this text whether human rulers, or transcendent rulers are in view, though the word can have both of these connotations in the NT outside of Pauline usage.

[J] Note that the plural makes it clear that it is the rulers who are coming to an end; it is not “the age” which is in view here.

[K] I translated “of God” to keep the parallel with the genitives in the previous verse, but one might also render this as a genitive of source:  “wisdom from God.”

[L] The only use of the verb “predestine” in Paul where the object is not people.

[M] Contrary to fact conditional sentence—that’s why the tenses are rendered the way they are.

[N] A big debate on what Paul is quoting here—it’s not clear.

[O] not much difference in meaning in the textual variant here.

[P] Interesting image of the “searching” Spirit.

[Q] Cf. Rom 11:33 for an interesting parallel use of this word.

[R] Note the perfect form, literally “has come to know.”

[S]very close connection between the Spirit and knowledge in this entire section.

[T] of “freely given”

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