Vincent's Word Studies, by Marvin R. Vincent, , at sacred-texts.com
1 Corinthians 2:1
With excellency (καθ ὑπεροχὴν)
Lit., according to elevation or superiority. The noun occurs only here and Ti1 2:2, where it is rendered authority. The phrase expresses the mode of his preaching. For similar adverbial phrases, see καθ ὑπερβολήν exceedingly or according to excess, Rom 8:13; κατὰ κράτος mightily or according to might, Act 19:20. Construe with declaring.
Rev., proclaiming. See on Jo1 1:5; see on Act 17:23. Authoritative proclamation is implied. The word is found only in the Acts and in Paul.
Some of the best texts read μυστήριον mystery. So Rev. See on Rom 11:25.
1 Corinthians 2:2
Emphatic. That which would be the main stumbling-block to the Corinthians he would emphasize.
1 Corinthians 2:3
I was with you (ἐγενόμην πρὸς ὑμᾶς)
I was is rather I became. I fell into a state of weakness, etc., after I had come among you. With you, i.e., in intercourse with. See on with God, Joh 1:1. The implication is that his condition grew out of the circumstances in which he found himself in Corinth.
1 Corinthians 2:4
In demonstration (ἐν ἀποδείξει)
Only here in the New Testament. Lit., a showing forth.
1 Corinthians 2:6
Emphatic. Lest his depreciation of worldly wisdom should expose him and his companions to the charge of not preaching wisdom at all, he shows that they do preach wisdom, though not of a worldly kind, among matured Christians.
Them that are perfect (τοῖς τελείοις)
American Rev., them that are full-grown. Paul's term for matured Christians. See Eph 4:13, where a perfect (τέλειον) man is contrasted with children (νήπιοι, Eph 4:14). So Co1 14:20 : "In malice children, in understanding men (lit., perfect);" Phi 3:15. "This wisdom is the Christian analogue to philosophy in the ordinary sense of the word" (Meyer), and the perfect to whom he delivered it would recognize it as such.
That come to nought (καταργουμένων)
The A.V. states a general proposition, but the Greek present participle a fact in process of accomplishment: which are coming to nought. So Rev.
1 Corinthians 2:7
In a mystery
Connect with we speak. See on Mat 13:11; see on Rom 11:25. The in (ἐν) has a kind of instrumental force: by means of a mystery; i.e., by delivering a doctrine hidden from the human understanding and revealed to us by God.
1 Corinthians 2:8
Lord of glory
The Lord whose attribute is glory. Compare Psa 29:1; Act 7:2; Eph 1:17; Jam 2:1.
1 Corinthians 2:9
Eye hath not seen, etc.
From Isa 64:4, freely rendered by Septuagint. The Hebrew reads: "From of old men have not heard, not perceived with the ear, eye has not seen a God beside Thee who does (gloriously) for him who waits on Him." Septuagint, "From of old we have not heard, nor have our eyes seen a God beside Thee, and Thy works which Thou wilt do for those who wait for mercy." Paul takes only the general idea from the Old-Testament passage. The words are not to be limited to future blessings in heaven. They are true of the present.
Have entered (ἀνέβη)
Lit., went up. See on Act 7:23. Compare Dan 2:29, Sept.
See on Rom 1:21.
1 Corinthians 2:10
See on Joh 5:39. Not, searcheth in order to discover; but of the ever active, accurate, careful sounding of the depths of God by the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 2:11
See on Rom 8:4. The things of God can be recognized only by the highest element of the human personality. They have not entered into the heart (καρδία, see on Rom 1:21), but into the spirit, which is the highest and principal point of contact with the Spirit of God.
1 Corinthians 2:12
The spirit of the world (τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ κόσμου)
For this use of πνεῦμα, see on Rom 8:4, under 7. Κόσμος world, is used with the ethical sense. See on Joh 1:9, under 4, e, The phrase means the principle of evil which animates the unregenerate world; not the personal spirit of evil or Satan, since Paul does not use πνεῦμα spirit, elsewhere in the personal sense of an evil spirit. See note on Eph 2:2.
Of God (ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ)
Lit., from God: proceeding forth from Him. "God in us reveals God in our nature" (Edwards).
1 Corinthians 2:13
Not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth
Lit., not in the taught words of human wisdom. Compare Plato: "Through love all the intercourse and speech of God with man, whether awake or asleep, is carried on. The wisdom which understands this is spiritual; all other wisdom, such as that of arts and handicrafts, is mean and vulgar" ("Symposium," 203).
Which the Spirit teacheth (ἐν διδακτοῖς πνεύματος)
Lit., in the taught (words) of the Spirit. Taught; not mechanically uttered, but communicated by a living Spirit.
Comparing spiritual things with spiritual (πνευματικοῖς πνευματικὰ συγκρίνοντες)
Notice the paronomasia. See on Rom 1:29, Rom 1:31. The dispute on this verse arises over the meanings of συγκρίνοντες, A.V., comparing, and πνευματικοῖς spiritual. As to the latter, whether the reference is to spiritual men, things, or words; as to the former, whether the meaning is adapting, interpreting, proving, or comparing. The principal interpretations are: adapting spiritual words to spiritual things; adapting spiritual things to spiritual men; interpreting spiritual things to spiritual men; interpreting spiritual things by spiritual words. Συγκρίνοντες occurs only here and Co2 10:12, where the meaning is clearly compare. In classical Greek the original meaning is to compound, and later, to compare, as in Aristotle and Plutarch, and to interpret, used of dreams, and mainly in Septuagint. See Gen 40:8. The most satisfactory interpretation is combining spiritual things with spiritual words. After speaking of spiritual things (Co1 2:11, Co1 2:12, Co1 2:13), Paul now speaks of the forms in which they are conveyed - spiritual forms or words answering to spiritual matters, and says, we combine spiritual things with spiritual forms of expression. This would not be the case if we uttered the revelations of the Spirit in the speech of human wisdom.
1 Corinthians 2:14
The natural man (ψυχικὸς ἄνθρωπος)
See on Rom 11:4, on the distinction between ψυχή soul, life, and πνεῦμα spirit. The contrast is between a man governed by the divine Spirit and one from whom that Spirit is absent. But ψυχικὸς natural, is not equivalent to σαρκικός fleshy. Paul is speaking of natural as contrasted with spiritual cognition applied to spiritual truth, and therefore of the ψυχή soul, as the organ of human cognition, contrasted with the πνεῦμα spirit, as the organ of spiritual cognition. The man, therefore, whose cognition of truth depends solely upon his natural insight is ψυχικός natural, as contrasted with the spiritual man (πνευματικός) to whom divine insight is imparted. In other words, the organ employed in the apprehension of spiritual truth characterizes the man. Paul therefore "characterizes the man who is not yet capable of understanding divine wisdom as ψυχικός, i.e., as one who possesses in his ψυχή soul, simply the organ of purely human cognition, but has not yet the organ of religious cognition in the πνεῦμα spirit" (Dickson). It is perhaps impossible to find an English word which will accurately render ψυχικός. Psychic is simply the Greek transcribed. We can do no better than hold by the A.V. natural.
Receiveth not (οὐ δέχεται)
Not, does not understand, but does not admit them into his heart; thus, according to New Testament usage, when the word is used in connection with teaching. See Luk 8:13; Act 8:14; Act 11:1; Th1 1:6; Jam 1:21.
Not merely seem. To him they are.
Neither can he know (καὶ οὐ δύναται γνῶναι)
Rev., more strictly, and he cannot know. "It is an utter perversion of such statements to maintain that there is in the natural man any organic, constitutional incapacity of spiritual perception requiring to be created in them by the Holy Spirit .... The uniform teaching of Scripture is that the change effected in regeneration is a purely moral and spiritual one" (Brown).
Rev., judged. Used only by Luke and Paul, and by the latter in this epistle only. By Luke, mostly of judicial examination: Luk 23:14; Act 4:9; Act 12:19; Act 24:8; Act 28:18. Of examining the Scriptures, Act 17:11, but with the sense of proving or coming to a judgment on. The fundamental idea of the word is examination, scrutiny, following up (ἀνά) a series of objects or particulars in order to distinguish (κρίνω). This is its almost universal meaning in classical Greek. At Athens it was used technically in two senses: to examine magistrates with a view to proving their qualifications; and to examine persons concerned in a suit, so as to prepare the matter for trial, as a grand jury. The meaning judged is, at best, inferential, and the Rev. inserts examined in the margin. Bishop Lightfoot says: "Ανακρίνειν is neither to judge nor to discern; but to examine, investigate, inquire into, question, as it is rightly translated, Co1 9:3; Co1 10:25, Co1 10:27. The apostle condemns all these impatient human praejudicia which anticipate the final judgment, reserving his case for the great tribunal, where at length all the evidence will be forthcoming and a satisfactory verdict can be given. Meanwhile the process of gathering evidence has begun; an ἀνάκρισις investigation is indeed being held, not, however, by these self-appointed magistrates, but by one who alone has the authority to institute the inquiry, and the ability to sift the facts" ("On a Fresh Revision of the New Testament"). See, further, on Co1 4:3, Co1 4:4.
1 Corinthians 2:16
See on Rom 7:23. The understanding of the Lord. The divine counsels or purposes which are the results of the divine thought. See on Rom 11:34.
See on proving, Act 9:22.