1 Corinthians 2:1-5 Paul is still working on the thought he started in chapter 1. The importance of the gospel is Christ, not our wisdom is presenting it. And he was careful to keep Christ out front so the people wouldn’t look to Paul as anything special. Unfortunately, they did anyway. It is a trap of human nature to focus on what we can see.
6-8 “…we speak wisdom among those who are mature…the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages…none of the rulers of this age knew…”
Not some hidden knowledge, but the awareness and understanding to see God’s message of redemption which He began in the Garden and completed in Christ. Once you have received Christ, the Holy Spirit allows you to see all that God has done through the ages to redeem us to Himself. As Paul will say elsewhere, foolishness to men, but life to those who are saved by it.
12 “…we have received…the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God”
Makes the point I referred to earlier. The Holy Spirit is a comforter, but He also instructs us in understanding the Word of God. That’s one of the things that is hard for an unsaved person to understand. You can’t really understand the scripture without the help of the Holy Spirit, but you have to trust Him before you can receive Him. It’s not show me and I’ll believe, it’s believe and you’ll be shown.
13-16 Makes the point for verse 12.
1 Corinthians 3:1 “…babes in Christ”
Not enough to just receive Christ for the complete Christian walk. You have to grow. Healthy people can’t stay babies their entire lives. You grow by feeding on the Word of God and working with the Holy Spirit to understand it. The older you get, the less important petty things will seem.
10 “…let each one take heed how he builds on it”
We must be careful to rightly divide the word of truth. Christ must always be the focus of any teaching. And it must always match with what God has revealed in His word.
12 “…gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw”
Your works here are made of these materials. When you stand before Christ, they will be run through fire to determine whether they are worthy or worthless. The metals and stones will stand the test of fire, but the wood, hay, and straw will be burned away. I see it as you’ll be given the truly worthy materials from your life, those things done for Christ and His glory, with which to fashion your crowns to present as gifts to Him. Make sure you have plenty of gold, silver, and precious stones saved up.
15 “If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”
The idea is, although all of your works are burned up, you yourself will be saved. Paul is speaking here to followers of Christ and to the works of their lives. If we live for ourselves and have nothing to show for it, that doesn’t change our status as redeemed children of God. But how sad to stand before Christ one day with nothing to show for the wonderful gift of life which He has given us. Some say this teaches you can live like you want and still go to Heaven. That’s incorrect and not the context of the verse. We get to Heaven by the grace of God and redemption of Christ alone. Works have nothing to do with it. If you are truly a redeemed child of God, you can live as you please. But the verse clearly teaches that your works will be destroyed as worthless. You will reach Heaven, but will have no rewards to present to Christ.
21 “…let no one boast in men…”
All of the works of even the wisest of men will one day fail. Only those things done through Christ will stand the test of time.
I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word. May it accomplish what He desires. Please feel free to comment or post questions. Thanks for reading!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.