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1 Corinthians: The Church the World Needs | The Way of Wisdom
October 10, 2021
1 Corinthians 2:6-13
6Yet 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. 7But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—
10these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that per- son, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
In v.6-13, Paul continues to contrast the two kinds of wisdom available to the Corinthians: The wisdom of the world that seeks to operate by means of human achievements and longs for power and control and the wisdom of God, which Paul begins to unpack in this passage and is not a human achievement, but a gift from the Spirit that draws us more deeply into the life of God.
To discover and experience Jesus Christ in our midst
To cultivate mutually encouraging relationships
To participate in God’s mission to the world
Lord Jesus, we long to know you better. As we make our way in this world, we search for signs that you are with us. Give us a glimpse of your glorious presence, and show us your ways. May our lives ring out the marvelous message of your goodness, your mercy, and your love. Amen.
Responsive Prayer—Psalm 90:12-17
12So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
13Return, O Lord! How long? Have pity on your servants!
14Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
15Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil.
16Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children.
17Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!
1. Looking at the Bible: What does the text say?
Read the text twice. Each time listen carefully and notice what grabs your attention.
In your reading and hearing of this passage, does it remind you of any other part of Scripture?
Paul bookends this passage with the terms "mature" and "spiritual." What do you think he means by those terms?
What do you think the difference is between wisdom and knowledge/information?
2. Looking at Jesus: Paul has spent much of his time in the beginning of this letter discussing the wisdom of the cross. In v.8, he says the rulers of this age do not understand the secret and hidden wisdom of God because if they had they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. Paul suggests that the rulers of the age didn't have the wisdom to see Jesus.
As we seek to grow in wisdom, what are ways that we can learn to see Jesus?
How does God make the secret and hidden wisdom known to us?
Application Question: Why is it so difficult at times to see Jesus at work in our lives? What role does community play in helping one another grow in seeing Jesus?
3. Looking at our Hearts: In v.9, Paul is likely quoting Isaiah and telling the Corinthians basically you can't imagine what God has prepared for you. Paul wants them with great joy to see that God by his Spirit is revealing himself to us.
What are the ways God reveals himself to us as Paul indicates in v.10?
Why is it that oftentimes our hearts are not stirred to awe and wonder at the promise of God's revealing Spirit.
Application Question: Share a time or occasion where God was revealed to you by his Spirit. It doesn’t have to be a “miracle moment” per se, it could be a conversation with a friend, an insight reading the Bible, or something that might seem “mundane” (I assure you, it’s not!).
4. Looking at our World: What are we to hope for?
Paul takes great hope that the wisdom he imparts on the Corinthians is not human wisdom but wisdom taught by the Spirit.
Given the division and mess that the church in Corinth is in, how might God's work of the Spirit give Paul hope?
Paul here talks about spiritual people and the Holy Spirit. What criteria should be used when applying the word "spiritual" to people or events?
View Study Guide Notes
Question 1: Leader Notes: There is so much here to explore. Maturity (v.6), the secret and hidden wisdom of God (v.7), the role of the Holy Spirit (v.11-12) all offer opportunities for interesting conversation and/or wild theological speculation. Wisdom would suggest keeping the group discussion from going too far down any of these avenues, because Paul’s main point is to talk about the wisdom of God, what it is and how we receive it. Should you tackle the fourth question here about the difference between wisdom and information/knowledge, you might lead them to see that wisdom entails a willingness to receive and to listen in sensitivity to “the other,” and the will to apply it.
Question 2: God is “hiding in plain sight” as he was on the cross, but the world so often misses him. John 1:11 tells us he came to his own and his own did not receive him. Godly wisdom seeks after the God who promises to be with us by the power of his Spirit. This is a good opportunity, drawing from v.8, to talk about how and why we don’t see Jesus. It’s not because he doesn’t want to be found (see v.12), it’s that we can’t or oftentimes don’t want to see him.
Question 3: Picking up from the previous section God is “hidden” because we don’t want to find him. Our hearts grow cold and our eyes are blind to his power and presence in our lives. But in v. 9-11 Paul wants us to live with great anticipation at what God will reveal to us. Growing in wisdom and maturity means learning to see that this promise of revelation takes many forms. God reveals himself to us in his creation, in his Word, in his community (the church) and in one another.
Question 4: God’s revelation, things freely given to us by God, is an act of generosity. God’s Spirit is a gift of generosity. As we grow in the wisdom of God, we will grow in our generosity as well. Paul is generous with the message of the cross. He doesn’t want to withhold this message from anyone but continues to offer it to anyone who will listen. You can lead your group to depart with the same hope Paul had because God’s Spirit is at work and God isn’t hiding from us but revealing himself to us day after day. May we have the eyes of faith to see!