on 1-corinthians 2 :16
For who hath known the mind of the Lord - Who that is still an animal man can know the mind of God? so as to instruct him, viz. the spiritual man, the same that is spoken of, 1 Corinthians 2:15. But the words may be better understood thus: How can the animal man know the mind of the Lord? and how can any man communicate that knowledge which he has never acquired, and which is foolishness to him, because it is spiritual, and he is animal? This quotation is made from Isaiah 40:13.
But we have the mind of Christ - He has endowed us with the same disposition, being born again by his Spirit; therefore we are capable of knowing his mind and receiving the teachings of his Spirit. These teachings we do receive, and therefore are well qualified to convey them to others.
The words, that he may instruct him, ὁς συμβιβασει αυτον, should be translated that he may teach It: that is, the mind of God; not instruct God, but teach his mind to others. And this interpretation the Hebrew will also bear.
Bishop Pearce observes: "The principal questions here are,, what συμβιβασει signifies, and what αυτον is relative to. The Hebrew word which the Septuagint translate by these two is יודיענו yodiennu: now, since ידיע yodia signifies as well to make known as to know, (and indeed this is the most frequent sense of it in the Old Testament), the suffix (postfix) נו nu, may relate to a thing, as well as to a person; and therefore it may be rendered not by him, but by it, i.e. the mind of the Lord. And in this sense the apostle seems to have used the words of the Seventy; for, if we understand αυτον here to be the relative to Κυριου, Lord, this verse contains no reason for what went before; whereas, if it be a relative to νουν, mind, it affords a reason for what had been said before, 1 Corinthians 2:14." The true translation of the passage, as used by the apostle, appears to be this: For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he should Teach It? And this translation agrees with every part of the context, and particularly with what follows.
1. This chapter might be considered a good model for a Christian minister to regulate his conduct by, or his public ministry; because it points out the mode of preaching used by St. Paul and the apostles in general. This great apostle came not to the people with excellency of speech and of wisdom, when he declared unto them the counsel of God. They know little, either of the spirit of St. Paul or the design of the Gospel, who make the chief excellence of their preaching to consist in the eloquence of language, or depth of human reasoning. That may be their testimony, but it is not God's. The enticing words of man's wisdom are seldom accompanied by the demonstration and power of the Holy Spirit.
2. One justly remarks, that "the foolishness of preaching has its wisdom, loftiness, and eloquence; but this consists in the sublimity of its truths, the depth of its mysteries, and the ardour of the Spirit of God." In this respect Paul may be said to have preached wisdom among those which were perfect. The wisest and most learned men in the world, who have seriously read the Bible, have acknowledged that there is a depth and height of wisdom and knowledge in that book of God which are sought in vain any where else: and indeed it would not be a revelation from God were it not so. The men who can despise and ridicule this sacred book are those who are too blind to discover the objects presented to them by this brilliant light, and are too sensual to feel and relish spiritual things. They, above all others, are incapable of judging, and should be no more regarded when employed in talking against the sacred writings than an ignorant peasant should be, who, not knowing his alphabet, pretends to decry mathematical learning.
3. A new mode of preaching has been diligently recommended, - "Scriptural phraseology should be generally avoided where it is antiquated, or conveys ideas inconsistent with modern delicacy." St. Paul did not preach in the words which man's wisdom teacheth- such words are too mean and too low for a religion so Divine. That which the Holy Spirit alone can discover, he alone can explain. Let no man dare to speak of God in any other way than he speaks of himself in his word. Let us take care not to profane his truths and mysteries, either by such low and abject ideas as are merely human, or by new and worldly expressions altogether unworthy of the Spirit of God.
4. It is the glory of God, and ought to be ours, not to be acceptable to carnal men. The natural man always finds some pretense to excuse himself from believing, by looking on the mysteries of religion as being either too much above man or too much below God; the spiritual man judges them to be so much the more credible, the less credible they are to the natural man.
The opposition, contempt, and blindness of the world, with regard to the things of God, render all its judgments concerning them liable to exception: this blindness in spiritual things is the just punishment of a carnal life. The principal part of the above is extracted from the reflections of the pious Quesnel.
on 1-corinthians 2 :16
For who hath known ... - This passage is quoted from Isaiah 40:13. The interrogative form is a strong mode of denying that anyone has ever known the mind of the Lord. The argument of Paul is this, "No one can understand God. No one can fully comprehend his plans, his feelings, his views, his designs. No one by nature, under the influence of sense and passion, is either disposed to investigate his truths, or loves them when they are revealed. But the Christian is influenced by God. He has his Spirit. He has the mind of Christ; who had the mind of God. He sympathizes with Christ; he has his feelings, desires, purposes, and plans. And as no one can fully understand God by nature, so neither can he understand him who is influenced by God, and is like him; and it is not to be wondered at that he regards the Christian religion as folly, and the Christian as a fool.
The mind of Christ - The views, feelings, and temper of Christ. We are influenced by his Spirit.
Remarks On 1 Corinthians 2
1. Ministers of the gospel should not be too anxious to be distinguished for excellency of speech or language, 1 Corinthians 2:1. Their aim should be to speak the simple truth, in language pure and intelligible to all. Let it be remembered, that if there ever was any place where it would be proper to seek such graces of eloquence, it was Corinth. If in any city now, or in any refined and genteel society it would be proper, it would have been proper in Corinth. Let this thought rebuke those, who, when they preach to a frivilous and fashionable auditory, seek to fill their sermons with ornament rather than with solid thought; with the tinsel of rhetoric, rather than with pure language. Paul was right in his course; and was wise. True taste abhors meretricious ornaments, as much as the gospel does. And the man who is called to preach in a rich and fashionable congregation, should remember, that he is stationed there not to please the ear, but to save the soul; that his object is not to display his talent or his eloquence, but to rescue his hearers from ruin. This purpose will make the mere ornaments of rhetoric appear small. It will give: seriousness to his discourse; gravity to his diction; unction to his eloquence; heart to his arguments; and success to his ministry.
2. The purpose of every minister should be like that of Paul, to preach Christ and only him crucified. See the note on 1 Corinthians 2:2.
3. If Paul trembled at Corinth in view of dangers and difficulties; if he was conscious of his own weakness and feebleness, then we should learn also to be humble. He is not much in danger of erring who imitates the example of this great apostle. And if he who had received a direct commission from the great Head of the church, and who was endowed with such mighty powers, was modest, unassuming, and diffident, then it becomes ministers of the gospel now, and all others to be humble also. We should not, indeed, be afraid of people; but we should be modest, humble, and lowly; much impressed, as if conscious of our mighty charge; and anxious to deliver just such a message as God will approve and bless.
Would I describe a preacher, such an Paul,
Were he on earth, would hear, approve, and own,
Paul should himself direct me. I would trace.
His master-strokes, and draw from his design.
I would express him simple, grave, sincere;
In doctrine uncorrupt; in language plain;
And plain in manner, decent, solemn, chaste,
And natural in gesture: much impress'd.
on 1-corinthians 2 :16
2:16 Who - What natural man. We - Spiritual men; apostles in particular. Have - Know, understand. The mind of Christ - Concerning the whole plan of gospel salvation. Isaiah 40:13