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Study to Grow


By Doug Bell


1 Corinthians 2;

1 ¶ And I, when I came to you, brothers,

I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

6¶ Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. 7 But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

*****

Two weeks ago we spoke of what the Gospel is and is not. Paul continues the same subject this week. But not as much on the subject of the Gospel itself, but the man delivering that message!

What do most people think of when thinking of someone who is a great Preacher? Billy Graham, R. C. Sproul, C. H. Spurgeon? And what do all of these men have in common? They were all great orators, stately men who had a presence in the pulpit. Educated men who studied the Bible all of their lives, And who had Seminary Degrees (or started such schools). And in most Southern Baptist Churches they wouldn’t even look at a prospect today, unless he had a degree from one of our seminaries. And it’s getting to the place where they will not look at someone without a doctorate!

Let’s compare this to the Apostle Paul;

  • A great Orator? NO! vs. 3 “And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling,” 1 Samuel 16:7b “For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”


  • Stately men who had a presence? NO! In Galatians 4:

13 “You know it was because of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you at first,

14 and though my condition was a trial to you, you did not scorn or despise me, but received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus.

15 What then has become of your blessedness? For I testify to you that, if possible, you would have gouged out your eyes and given them to me.”


Commentators disagree on what they believe was Paul’s ‘thorn in the flesh’. But, we do know that he had an eye disease. It may have been malaria or in his day and time, it may be just nearsightedness. Yet, Whatever it was, it was a trial for Paul and for the people who saw him.


  • Educated? Yes, not in Christianity. But, in Judaism! Acts 22: 3 ¶ “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as all of you are this day.”


  • Now, there are those who believe that during Paul’s three years he spent in Arabia he was getting the same training from Jesus that the other Apostles had gotten earlier. Galatians 1:

15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace,

16 was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone;

17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.

18 ¶ Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days.”

I think you are getting the idea I’m trying to make. What we need today are not necessarily charismatic, handsome, or even the most educated leaders (I am Not anti-education, I have a seminary degree myself). Instead, we NEED men who love God and are filled with the Spirit of God! vs. 4 “and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

Let me give you an illustration: “A man I had been witnessing to for years at work finally became a Christian (not necessarily because of me). And he was rejoicing in the Lord and so proud of his church that he invited me to come and listen to his new preacher. I went and immediately, after this man began to speak, I realized he probably didn’t have more than a third grade education. I thought to myself, this guy is horrible and my friend should be in a place where he can learn, not in it an uneducated small country church. But as I continued to listen to that man, his diction, use of ain’t, and slow thinking began to fade away. And it wasn’t long before I too, was transported into the presence of God.”

Why is this! The Apostle told us in the last chapter; 1 Corinthians 1:

26 ¶ For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.

27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;

28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are,

29 so that no human beingfn might boast in the presence of God.

30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,

31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.


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