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Not in the Wisdom of Men


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and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. —1 Corinthians 2:4–5

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[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 be in the wisdom of men. To be is used here as meaning to consist His meaning, then, is, that the Corinthians derived this advantage from his having preached Christ among them without dependence on human wisdom, and relying solely on the Spirit’s influence, that their faith was founded not on men but on God. If the Apostle’s preaching had rested exclusively on the power of eloquence, it might have been overthrown by superior eloquence, and besides, no one would pronounce that to be solid truth which rests on mere elegance of speech. It may indeed be helped by it, but it ought not to rest upon it. On the other hand, that must have been most powerful which could stand of itself without any foreign aid. Hence it forms a choice commendation of Paul’s preaching, that heavenly influence shone forth in it so clearly, that it surmounted so many hindrances, while deriving no assistance from the world. It follows, therefore, that they must not allow themselves to be moved away from his doctrine, which they acknowledge to rest on the authority of God. Paul, however, speaks here of the faith of the Corinthians in such a way as to bring forward this, as a general statement. Let it then be known by us that it is the property of faith to rest upon God alone, without depending on men; for it requires to have so much certainty to go upon, that it will not fail, even when assailed by all the machinations of hell, but will perseveringly endure and sustain every assault. This cannot be accomplished unless we are fully persuaded that God has spoken to us, and that what we have believed is no mere contrivance of men. While faith ought properly to be founded on the word of God alone, there is at the same time no impropriety in adding this second prop,—that believers recognize the word which they hear as having come forth from God, from the effect of its influence.

Calvin’s Commentaries Volume XX, Commentary on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians (Baker Books, 2009), 1:101.



Posted 2019·07·10 by David Kjos
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Posted in: 1 Corinthians · Calvin’s Commentaries: 1 Corinthians · John Calvin · Preaching

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