True Wisdom: A Basis for Unity

Key Verse: “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.”
—I Corinthians 2:12

Selected Scripture:
I Corinthians 2:1, 2, 4-13, 15, 16

PAUL’S MESSAGE CAN best be understood as a meditation on Christ as the power and wisdom of God. To the Corinthians, who had split into factions behind their favorite leaders, Paul emphasized that such conduct was totally inappropriate to the character of the Gospel that he proclaimed. He stated that God’s power and wisdom were shown, once and for all, through “Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” (I Cor. 2:2) Likewise, Paul minimized himself and his own preaching, saying that his speech was not eloquent or persuasive by human standards. (vss. 1,4) What a wise course of action Paul took by proclaiming the Gospel in a way to divert the church’s attention away from his skill as a teacher, and redirect it solely to “the power of God.”—vs. 5

Paul carefully points out that the wisdom he preached was only to those who were mature, and it was not “the wisdom of this world.” (vs. 6) Furthermore, Paul states that God’s supreme wisdom is cloaked in mystery, hidden from this world. This mystery was the cross of Jesus Christ. Before the world and its creation, God ordained the cross as the means for our glory, the means of our salvation.—vs. 7

Paul continues to elaborate upon the idea that no one can truly understand God and his ways unless they have received the Spirit that comes from God. (vs. 14) This is the thought of our Key Verse. Nevertheless, let no one misunderstand Paul in his use of the terms “spirit” and “spiritual,” which are not referring to outward practices and words that simply give a pious or devotional appearance. Rather, Paul is saying that to live in the Spirit means that our lives have been illuminated by new standards that are radically different from those by which the world in general lives and makes decisions.

Through the power and influence of God’s Holy Spirit, the church develops “the mind of Christ” (vs. 16), by which they can perceive and act in conformity with God’s will. To discern and do God’s will in this way is not the result of logic or education. (vs. 13) It owes nothing to any natural insight or special achievement on our part. It is not subject to correction by this world’s fallen standards of judgment. Only through the leading of God’s Spirit has the church true wisdom, the wisdom that “searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.”—vs. 10

This wisdom that comes to those possessing God’s Holy Spirit is described by the Apostle James as “first pure [holy], then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” (James 3:17) This wisdom must be the starting point for unity. For one must first become united with God before they can expect to achieve wisdom on any other front. That is why it is of such importance. Whenever there is a lack of unity among the brotherhood we must look inwardly first, examining ourselves: are we practicing the world’s wisdom, or that of our Father, under the influence of his Spirit.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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