1 Corinthians 2:1-6

In 1 Corinthians 2:1-6 Paul reminds the church that he didn’t come in his own power or might. He came as an instrument of God to proclaim truth. Paul’s arrival in Corinth is described in Acts 18. He ministered in Corinth for more than a year and a half, supporting himself by tent making. “And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom.” Paul didn’t come as a philosopher or a salesman; he came as a witness. He just delivered God’s truth. Paul was certainly a man who could reason and debate persuasively, but he didn’t use that approach in preaching the gospel. He just preached Jesus.

Paul could have taught on lots of topics. He was a Pharisee and teacher of the law. But he chose to focus on one truth – Jesus Christ. There was no other agenda or focus. It was Jesus. “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” In taking this approach, Paul understood he didn’t cater to what his audience wanted. But he wasn’t there to win a popularity contest. He was there to spread the gospel and preach Jesus. So there was no other option. He was not going to water down his message by talking about anything else. Jesus or Jesus – those were the choices.

Paul may seem like a guy that has it all together, but he’s clear that there was some fear and trembling in his efforts to teach the church. He knew it would not be popular, but he also knew it was all that mattered. “And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” Without Jesus the rest of scripture is of no consequence. God’s plan is completely built upon the Cross and Jesus sacrifice on it.

Preaching strategies centered on the wisdom of men – around emotion, entertainment and human personality – may yield response, but not results for the kingdom of God. That doesn’t mean the rest of scripture and God’s truth are ignored. Paul used them to drive home the message of the gospel. “Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away.” Just because Paul would not cater to the Corinthian love of human wisdom does not mean that his message had no wisdom. It just wasn’t the focus. There was only one focus – Christ crucified – and the goodness that comes with that!

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