NOT WITH EXCELLENCY OF SPEECH OR OF WISDOM

1Co 2:1-2  “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”

Paul did not simply take it upon himself to preach Jesus to the Corinthians. He was compelled by the Lord to do so (Act 18:5). Neither did he take it upon himself to remain there for over a year. The Lord spoke to Paul and encouraged him in his ministry to the brethren at Corinth (Act 18:9-11). In the phrase “when I came to you” Paul is reminding them that this was the will and work of God.

As servants today, we need to spread the gospel of Jesus as we are pressed in the spirit. We need to expect God to open doors for us to bear witness of Him. When those doors are opened, we need to be ready to step through them. We should study the word of God (2Ti 2:15) and be ready to give an answer for our hope (1Pe 3:15).  However, we need to take heed to the manner in which we give that answer.

The scripture indicates that Paul was a well-educated man, having been brought up under Gamaliel who was a doctor of the law (Act 5:34, 22:3). He was a man who had held the esteem of the high priest (Act 9:1-2). Yet, he came to the Corinthians refusing to rely on any authority other than God. He came, not as the student of Gamaliel, but as the humble servant of God. In this manner, he was able to preach unto them the evidence of the true and living God.

Paul recognized something about himself that we, too, need to take into account in ourselves. It is in our nature to like to point out the times that we were clever or did well in an endeavor. We want others to think well of us and our abilities. It takes a purposeful effort on our part to keep ourselves out of the equation.

Paul makes a point of letting the brethren know that he was making a conscious decision to keep self out of the picture. We, too, need to make a conscious effort to keep self out of the way. Jesus told us this was necessary (Mat 16:24), and Paul pointed out in the Galatian letter that this was not something done lightly (Gal 5:24). While determining what “not to know” is important, it is even more vital to determine what we will know (tell).

When we come to declare the testimony of God, we must declare Jesus Christ and Him alone. We must bear witness to Him and His crucifixion. We should gladly tell of His life and all that He accomplished on His way to the cross. We should tell what He did and suffered on that cross. The resurrection story cannot be told without acknowledging our crucified Lord. How wondrous it should be to us that we do not tell this as though we are repeating a story read in a book but as an experience that we have lived through faith!

May God grant us the courage to know nothing before His children other than Jesus Christ and Him crucified!

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