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1 Corinthians 2:9

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

But, as it is written - The quotation is taken from Isaiah 64:4. The sense is continued here from verse seven, and λαλουμεν, we speak, is understood - We do not speak or preach the wisdom of this world; but that mysterious wisdom of God, of which the prophet said: Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for them that love him. These words have been applied to the state of glory in a future world; but they certainly belong to the present state, and express merely the wondrous light, life, and liberty which the Gospel communicates to them that believe in the Lord Jesus Christ in that way which the Gospel itself requires. To this the prophet himself refers; and it is evident, from the following verse, that the apostle also refers to the same thing. Such a scheme of salvation, in which God's glory and man's felicity should be equally secured, had never been seen, never heard of, nor could any mind but that of God have conceived the idea of so vast a project; nor could any power but his own have brought it to effect.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

But as it is written - This passage is quoted from Isaiah 64:4. It is not quoted literally; but the sense only is given. The words are found in the apocryphal books of Elijah; and Origen and Jerome supposed that Paul quoted from those books. But it is evident that Paul had in his eye the passage in Isaiah; and intended to apply it to his present purpose. These words are often applied by commentators and others to the future life, and are supposed by them to be descriptive of the state of the blessed there. But against the supposition that they refer directly to the future state, there are insuperable objections:

(1) The first is, that the passage in Isaiah has no such reference. In that place it is designed clearly to describe the blessedness of those who were admitted to the divine favor; who had communion with God; and to whom God manifested himself as their friend. That blessedness is said to be superior to all that people elsewhere enjoy; to be such as could be found no where else but in God. See Isaiah 64:1, Isaiah 64:4-5, Isaiah 64:8. It is used there, as Paul uses it, to denote the happiness which results from the communication of the divine favor to the soul.

(2) the object of the apostle is not to describe the future state of the redeemed. It is to prove that those who are Christians have true wisdom 1 Corinthians 2:6-7; or that they have views of truth, and of the excellence of the plan of salvation which the world has not, and which those who crucified the Lord Jesus did not possess. The thing which he is describing here, is not merely the happiness of Christians, but their views of the wisdom of the plan of salvation. They have views of that which the eyes of other people have not seen; a view of wisdom, and fitness, and beauty which can be found in no other plan. It is true that this view is attended with a high degree of comfort; but the comfort is not the immediate thing in the eye of the apostle.

(3) the declaration in 1 Corinthians 2:10, is conclusive proof that Paul does not refer to the happiness of heaven. He there says that God has revealed these things to Christians by his Spirit. But if already revealed, assuredly it does not refer to that which is yet to come. But although this does not refer directly to heaven, there may be an application of the passage to a future state in an indirect manner, which is not improper. If there are such manifestations of wisdom in the plan here; if Christians see so much of its beauty here on earth; and if their views so far surpass all that the world sees and enjoys, how much greater and purer will be the manifestations of wisdom and goodness in the world of glory.

Eye hath not seen - This is the same as saying, that no one had ever fully perceived and understood the value and beauty of those things which God has prepared for his people. All the world had been strangers to this until God made a revelation to his people by his Spirit. The blessedness which the apostle referred to had been unknown alike to the Jews and the Gentiles.

Nor ear heard - We learn the existence and quality of objects by the external senses; and those senses are used to denote any acquisition of knowledge. To say that the eye had not seen, nor the ear heard, was, therefore, the same as saying that it was not known at all. All people had been ignorant of it.

Neither have entered into the heart of man - No man has conceived it; or understood it. It is new; and is above all that man has seen, and felt, and known.

The things which God hath prepared - The things which God “has held in reserve” (Bloomfield); that is, what God has appointed in the gospel for his people. The thing to which the apostle here refers particularly, is the wisdom which was revealed in the gospel; but he also intends, doubtless, to include all the provisions of mercy and happiness which the gospel makes known to the people of God. Those things relate to the pardon of sin; to the atonement, and to justification by faith; to the peace and joy which religion imparts; to the complete and final redemption from sin and death which the gospel is suited to produce, and which it will ultimately effect. In all these respects, the blessings which the gospel confers, surpass the full comprehension of people; and are infinitely beyond all that man could know or experience without the religion of Christ. And if on earth the gospel confers such blessings on its friends, how much higher and purer shall be the joys which it shalt bestow in heaven!

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
Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 188

The little children should come especially close to nature. Instead of putting fashion's shackles upon them, let them be free like the lambs to play in the sweet, fresh sunlight. Point them to shrubs and flowers, the lowly grass and the lofty trees, and let them become familiar with their beautiful, varied, and delicate forms. Teach them to see the wisdom and love of God in His created works; and as their hearts swell with joy and grateful love, let them join the birds in their songs of praise. CT 188.1

Educate the children and youth to consider the works of the great Master Artist, and to imitate the attractive graces of nature in their character building. As the love of God wins their hearts, let them bring into their lives the beauty of holiness. So shall they use their capabilities to bless others and to honor God.—Special Testimonies On Education, 58-62; written May 20, 1896. CT 188.2

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Ellen G. White
Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 61

In order for us to reach this high ideal, that which causes the soul to stumble must be sacrificed. It is through the will that sin retains its hold upon us. The surrender of the will is represented as plucking out the eye or cutting off the hand. Often it seems to us that to surrender the will to God is to consent to go through life maimed or crippled. But it is better, says Christ, for self to be maimed, wounded, crippled, if thus you may enter into life. That which you look upon as disaster is the door to highest benefit. MB 61.1

God is the fountain of life, and we can have life only as we are in communion with Him. Separated from God, existence may be ours for a little time, but we do not possess life. “She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.” 1 Timothy 5:6. Only through the surrender of our will to God is it possible for Him to impart life to us. Only by receiving His life through self-surrender is it possible, said Jesus, for these hidden sins, which I have pointed out, to be overcome. It is possible that you may bury them in your hearts and conceal them from human eyes, but how will you stand in God's presence? MB 61.2

If you cling to self, refusing to yield your will to God, you are choosing death. To sin, wherever found, God is a consuming fire. If you choose sin, and refuse to separate from it, the presence of God, which consumes sin, must consume you. MB 62.1

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Ellen G. White
The Story of Redemption, 430-1

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away.” Revelation 21:1. The fire that consumes the wicked purifies the earth. Every trace of the curse is swept away. No eternally burning hell will keep before the ransomed the fearful consequences of sin. One reminder alone remains: our Redeemer will ever bear the marks of His crucifixion. Upon His wounded head, His hands and feet, are the only traces of the cruel work that sin has wrought. SR 430.1

“O Tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion.” Micah 4:8. The kingdom forfeited by sin, Christ has regained, and the redeemed are to possess it with Him. “The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever.” Psalm 37:29. A fear of making the saints’ inheritance seem too material has led many to spiritualize away the very truths which lead us to look upon the new earth as our home. Christ assured His disciples that He went to prepare mansions for them. Those who accept the teachings of God's Word will not be wholly ignorant concerning the heavenly abode. And yet the apostle Paul declares, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9. Human language is inadequate to describe the reward of the righteous. It will be known only to those who behold it. No finite mind can comprehend the glory of the Paradise of God. SR 430.2

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Ellen G. White
Fundamentals of Christian Education, 49

The youth should be learners for the next world. Perseverance in the acquisition of knowledge, controlled by the fear and love of God, will give them an increased power for good in this life, and those who have made the most of their privileges to reach the highest attainments here, will take these valuable acquisitions with them into the future life. They have sought and obtained that which is imperishable. The capability to appreciate the glories that “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,” will be proportionate to the attainments reached in the cultivation of the faculties in this life. FE 49.1

Those who will empty their hearts of vanity and rubbish, through the grace of God may purify the chambers of the mind, and make it a storehouse of knowledge, purity, and truth. And it will be continually reaching beyond the narrow boundaries of worldly thought, into the vastness of the Infinite. The justice and mercy of God will be unfolded to the moral perceptions. The grievous character of sin, with its results, will be discerned. The character of God, His love manifested in giving His Son to die for the world, and the beauty of holiness, are exalted themes for contemplation. These will strengthen the intellect, and bring man into close communion with the Infinite One.—The Review and Herald, June 21, 1877. FE 49.2

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