Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


1 Corinthians 2:6

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

We speak wisdom among them that are perfect - By the εν τοις τελειοις, among those that are perfect, we are to understand Christians of the highest knowledge and attainments- those who were fully instructed in the knowledge of God through Christ Jesus. Nothing, in the judgment of St. Paul, deserved the name of wisdom but this. And though he apologizes for his not coming to them with excellency of speech or wisdom, yet he means what was reputed wisdom among the Greeks, and which, in the sight of God, was mere folly when compared with that wisdom that came from above. Dr. Lightfoot thinks that the apostle mentions a fourfold wisdom.

  1. Heathen wisdom, or that of the Gentile philosophers, 1 Corinthians 1:22, which was termed by the Jews יונית חכמה chokmah yevanith, Grecian wisdom; and which was so undervalued by them, that they joined these two under the same curse: Cursed is he that breeds hogs; and cursed is he who teaches his son Grecian wisdom. Bava Kama, fol. 82.
  • Jewish wisdom; that of the scribes and Pharisees, who crucified our Lord, 1 Corinthians 2:8.
  • The Gospel, which is called the wisdom of God in a mystery, 1 Corinthians 2:7.
  • 4. The wisdom, του αιωνος τουτου, of this world; that system of knowledge which the Jews made up out of the writings of their scribes and doctors. This state is called הזה העולם haolam hazzeh, this or the present world; to distinguish it from הבא העולם haolam habba the world to come; i.e. the days of the Messiah. Whether we understand the term, this world, as relating to the state of the Gentiles, cultivated to the uttermost in philosophical learning, or the then state of the Jews, who had made the word of God of no effect by their traditions, which contained a sort of learning of which they were very fond and very proud, yet, by this Grecian and Jewish wisdom, no soul ever could have arrived at any such knowledge or wisdom as that communicated by the revelation of Christ. This was perfect wisdom; and they who were thoroughly instructed in it, and had received the grace of the Gospel, were termed τελειοι, the perfect. This, says the apostle, is not the wisdom of this world, for that has not the manifested Messiah in it; nor the wisdom of the rulers of this world - the chief men, whether philosophers among the Greeks, or rabbins among the Jews (for those we are to understand as implied in the term rulers, used here by the apostle) these rulers came to nought; for they, their wisdom, and their government, were shortly afterwards overturned in the destruction of Jerusalem. This declaration of the apostle is prophetic. The ruin of the Grecian superstition soon followed.

    Albert Barnes
    Notes on the Whole Bible

    How be it - But δε deThis commences the “second” head or argument in this chapter, in which Paul shows that if human wisdom is missing in his preaching, it is not devoid of true, and solid, and even divine wisdom - Bloomfield.

    We speak wisdom - We do not admit that we utter foolishness. We have spoken of the foolishness of preaching 1 Corinthians 1:21; and of the estimate in which it was held by the world 1 Corinthians 1:22-28; and of our own manner among you as not laying claim to human learning or eloquence; but we do not design to admit that we have been really speaking folly. We have been uttering that which is truly wise, but which is seen and understood to be such only by those who are qualified to judge - by those who may be denominated “perfect,” that is, those who are suited by God to understand it. By “wisdom” here, the apostle means that system of truth which he had explained and defended - the plan of salvation by the cross of Christ.

    Among them that are perfect - ( ἐν τοῖς τελείοις en tois teleios). This word “perfect” is here evidently applied to Christians, as it is in Philemon 3:15, “Let us therefore as many as be perfect, be thus minded.” And it is clearly used to denote those who were advanced in Christian knowledge; who were qualified to understand the subject; who had made progress in the knowledge of the mysteries of the gospel; and who thus saw its excellence. It does not mean here that they were sinless, for the argument of the apostle does not bear on that inquiry, but that they were qualified to understand the gospel in contradistinction from the gross, the sensual, and the carnally minded, who rejected it as foolishness. There is, perhaps, here an allusion to the pagan mysteries, where those who had been fully initiated were said to be perfect - fully instructed in those rites and doctrines. And if so, then this passage means, that those only who have been fully instructed in the knowledge of the Christian religion, will be qualified to see its beauty and its wisdom. The gross and sensual do not see it, and those only who are enlightened by the Holy Spirit are qualified to appreciate its beauty and its excellency.

    Not the wisdom of the world - Not that which this world has originated or loved.

    Nor of the princes of this world - Perhaps intending chiefly here the rulers of the Jews; see 1 Corinthians 2:8. They neither devised it, nor loved it, nor saw its wisdom; 1 Corinthians 2:8.

    That come to naught - That is, whose plans fail; whose wisdom vanishes; and who themselves, with all their pomp and splendor, come to nothing in the grave; compare Isaiah 14. All the plans of human wisdom shall fail; and this which is originated by God only shall stand,

    Matthew Henry
    Concise Bible Commentary
    Those who receive the doctrine of Christ as Divine, and, having been enlightened by the Holy Spirit, have looked well into it, see not only the plain history of Christ, and him crucified, but the deep and admirable designs of Divine wisdom therein. It is the mystery made manifest to the saints, Col 1:26, though formerly hid from the heathen world; it was only shown in dark types and distant prophecies, but now is revealed and made known by the Spirit of God. Jesus Christ is the Lord of glory; a title much too great for any creature. There are many things which people would not do, if they knew the wisdom of God in the great work of redemption. There are things God hath prepared for those that love him, and wait for him, which sense cannot discover, no teaching can convey to our ears, nor can it yet enter our hearts. We must take them as they stand in the Scriptures, as God hath been pleased to reveal them to us.
    Ellen G. White
    Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 482

    “I was with you,” Paul continues, “in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: but we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” TM 482.1

    In the next words the apostle brings to view the true source of wisdom for the believer: “God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.... Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” TM 482.2

    Read in context »
    Ellen G. White
    Selected Messages Book 3, 151.1

    Monday, November 19, 1883—Look to Him and Live .—How many are making laborious work of walking in the narrow way of holiness. To many the peace and rest of this blessed way seems no nearer today than it did years in the past. They look afar off for that which is nigh; they make intricate that which Jesus made very plain. He is “the way, the truth, and the life.” The plan of salvation has been plainly revealed in the Word of God; but the wisdom of the world has been sought too much, and the wisdom of Christ's righteousness too little. And souls that might have rested in the love of Jesus, have been doubting, and troubled about many things. 3SM 151.1

    Read in context »
    Ellen G. White
    SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6 (EGW), 1084

    “And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.” Paul was a very great teacher; yet he felt that without the Spirit of God working with him, all the education he might obtain would be of little account. We need to have this same experience; we need to be afraid of ourselves. We need individually to sit at the feet of Jesus, and listen to His words of instruction (Manuscript 84, 1901). 6BC 1084.1

    1-4. See EGW on Acts 17:34. 6BC 1084.2

    1-5 (Acts 9:3-6; 22:3, 4). Instruction for the Church Today—[1 Corinthians 2:1-5 quoted.] Paul was not an unlearned man, but the preaching of Christ was a new gospel to him. It was a work entirely different from that he had engaged in when he hunted the believers from place to place and persecuted them even “unto the death.” But Christ had revealed Himself to Paul in a remarkable manner at his conversion. At the gate of Damascus the vision of the Crucified One changed the whole current of his life. The persecutor became a disciple, the teacher a learner. 6BC 1084.3

    Read in context »
    Ellen G. White
    The Acts of the Apostles, 250-1

    Though Paul had a measure of success in Corinth, yet the wickedness that he saw and heard in that corrupt city almost disheartened him. The depravity that he witnessed among the Gentiles, and the contempt and insult that he received from the Jews, caused him great anguish of spirit. He doubted the wisdom of trying to build up a church from the material that he found there. AA 250.1

    As he was planning to leave the city for a more promising field, and seeking earnestly to understand his duty, the Lord appeared to him in a vision and said, “Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: for I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.” Paul understood this to be a command to remain in Corinth and a guarantee that the Lord would give increase to the seed sown. Strengthened and encouraged, he continued to labor there with zeal and perseverance. AA 250.2

    The apostle's efforts were not confined to public speaking; there were many who could not have been reached in that way. He spent much time in house-to-house labor, thus availing himself of the familiar intercourse of the home circle. He visited the sick and the sorrowing, comforted the afflicted, and lifted up the oppressed. And in all that he said and did he magnified the name of Jesus. Thus he labored, “in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.” 1 Corinthians 2:3. He trembled lest his teaching should reveal the impress of the human rather than the divine. AA 250.3

    Read in context »
    More Comments