But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”. -1 Corinthians 2:9 ESV
This verse helps us understand that we should know our Bible. The Bible is God’s instruction manual for living on this planet, in this tabernacle. The Bible itself tells us the value of the WORD OF GOD, of the Bible, itself. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness”. (2 Timothy 3:16 ESV) The NLT (New Living Translation) has a more explanatory wording; All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. (2 Timothy 3:16 NLT) This is what the letter of 1 Corinthians is all about. Acts 18 tells us that Paul went to Corinth, and he spent some time there teaching and building the church. He was there for about 1.5 years and then went to Ephesus. After about 3 years in Ephesus, Paul received word that the church in Corinth was ‘sinning’, they were missing the mark and setting up divisions in the church. This letter was a letter to remind the church what was true, make them realize what they were doing wrong, it was to teach them what is true and make them realize what they were doing wrong. It was in Corinth that Paul got the Spiritual understanding that He was going to preach to the Gentiles. Paul devoted himself fully to the word, testifying to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ. But when they opposed and insulted him, he shook out his garments and told them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent of it. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” (Acts 18:5b-6) Most people would have fled Corinth, because of the resistance and the attacks from supposed friend and foe- but Paul was a Spiritual man, not a natural man so He did what the Spirit informed him, not what His flesh desired. Acts 18:9-10 shows us that Paul was a Spiritual man. A man who followed the Spirit of the LORD and NOT the Spirit of the flesh. “One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking; do not be silent. For I am with you and no one will lay a hand on you, because I have many people in this city.” So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching the word of God among the Corinthians. (Acts 18:9-11) Paul had the mind of Christ, instead of the mind of man. How about you? Are you thinking like the WORLD, or are you following after God?
Leader, what is interesting about today’s verse is that it is one of those misunderstood scriptures. It is professed to mean one thing, but it means something totally different than what most understand. Before we get to the meaning of today’s scripture, let’s note something else important about Paul and about understanding your Bible. I think it is great to memorize scripture. It is awesome and a powerful tool when one can quote scripture book, chapter, and verse. However, what is more important than knowing the ADDRESS of Scripture, is knowing the MEANING of Scripture. It is more important to LIVE THE WORD, then to be able to RECITE THE WORD by book, chapter, and verse. Whenever someone is quoting the Old Testament, they always say, “It is written”. This is one of the many times where Paul quotes the essence of what the WORD SAYS without getting a specific scripture verbatim, or “Word for Word”. It is more important to KNOW THE BIBLE and be able to properly apply, than to memorize letters and numbers where to find those words. Ellicott’s Commentary on todays scripture notes: “Although the words given here are not to be found in the same sequence in any passage in the Old Testament, still there are phrases scattered through the writings of Isaiah (see Isaiah 64:4; Isaiah 65:17; see also Isaiah 62:15), which would easily be joined together in memory and resemble even verbally the passage as written here by the Apostle. This is not the only place in which St. Paul would seem to thus refer to the Old Testament scriptures (see 1Corinthians 1:19-20) when he is not basing any argument upon a particular sentence in the Scriptures, but merely availing himself of some thoughts or words in the Old Testament as an illustration of some truth which he is enforcing. The quotation as it stands is not found in the Old Testament, Paul is in essence ‘paraphrasing’ an underlying message of scripture that He has accumulated with His deep understanding and study of the scripture. This is another instance of a ‘loose general reminiscence’ (see 1 Corinthians 14:21; Romans 9:33), by Paul. As Saint Jerome, the Latin translator of the Bible, from Hebrew put it. “Non verbum e verbo expressit,”. Also, this verse to most is talking about a future blessing to those who believe in God. That is without a doubt true, but this is NOT what this scripture is talking about- it has been mis-applied. Pulpit Commentary says: “Neither have entered into the heart of man; literally, things which have not set foot upon the heart. The general thought is that God’s revelations (for the immediate reference is to these, and not to future bliss) pass all understanding. The quotation of these words as referring to heaven is one of the numberless instances of texts inaccurately applied”.
Conduit, this verse is about the MIND OF CHRIST vs the mind of man, the Spiritual man vs the natural man, and the SPIRIT OF THE LORD vs the SPIRIT of the world. The message is picked up in Chapter 1 and continues through the first 3 chapters as one solid weave! It is written: The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. As the Scriptures say, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent. “So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended, and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense. But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength. (1 Corinthians 1:18-25) No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God—his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began. But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord. (2 Corinthians 7-8) Stop deceiving yourselves. If you think you are wise by this world’s standards, you need to become a fool to be truly wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say, “He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness.” And again, “The LORD knows the thoughts of the wise; he knows they are worthless.” (1 Corinthians 3:18-20) If God hasn’t Elected them, or called them then the things of God will sound like a fable to them. They CANNOT understand the things of the SPIRIT when they are living in the FLESH! Virgin birth, Sinful nature of man, Redemption, Justification, the CROSS, the blood of Jesus, the Trinity, Jacob’s Trouble, Repentance, Sanctification…these are mere fables to the NATURAL MAN! It is time to decide; Liked by man or Pleasing to God? The Lord, or the World? Wise by God’s standard or by man’s standard? Today is the day of decision!