Paul declares himself only the weak Instrument but Christ Crucified the Power of God
1 Corinthians 2:1-5 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. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. KJV
Paul continues his purpose of reminding these Corinthian believers that he did not come to them lifting himself up before them at any time. Paul did not speak to them out of his great learned mind (which Paul was very intelligent) having studied under the instruction of one of the Jews finest and most brilliant teachers as recorded for us by Dr. Luke with these words, Acts 22:3 I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day. KJV Paul was one of the highest ranking Pharisees in the Sanhedrin before his conversion to Christ, but after his encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ, Paul counted all of his educational learning as dung compared to knowing Christ intimately and the power of His Resurrection and the fellowship of Christ sufferings (Philippians 3:10). Paul found all of his excellency in Christ and not in any human wisdom he had or that he perceived to have by the testimony of other people, even well-meaning people.
Paul could have boasted, bragged, and blew a trumpet vaunting his Apostleship in their presence, as many of the Greek philosophers would almost always do when addressing an audience of people waiting to hear what so-called profound things that had to speak about. Paul was different from the proud, presumptuous, and pompous human stoics and epicureans and other great thinkers of that day scattered about throughout the Gentile cities. Paul despite his vast human knowledge (having the equivalency in education of several PHD’s) had one message and one message period and it was Jesus Christ Crucified. Paul declared himself to be “determined” to know of or speak of nothing besides this truth and reality to the men and women of Corinth. This English word “determined” is translated from the Greek word krino which means to decide (mentally or judicially); to prefer; to resolve; to conclude. Paul completely under the guidance and direction of God the Holy Spirit discerned that no methods of human persuasion or clever words of great swelling speech (as the false apostles did, 2 Peter 2:18) was ever going to flow from his lips when speaking to those in Corinth who were without Christ.
Paul now even exposes to them what they at the time may have never perceived about what was going on within him as he declared the gospel of the death, burial, and resurrection from the dead of Christ to them in Corinth, but our Lord Jesus saw Paul’s turmoil within and He reassured Paul with these words, Acts 18:9-10 And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for I have many people in this city.” NKJV Paul writes to them expressing and revealing his most inner conflicts that were raging and warring within him as he declares to them that he was in their presence “in weakness” and “in fear” and “in much trembling”. The Greek word translated for weakness is astheneia which means feebleness (of body or mind); malady, sickness, infirmity, or disease; even moral frailty. Paul was no doubt always in constant physical pain and suffering from numerous diseases from his many beatings and imprisonments for Christ Sake and he most likely had vision problems and problems with his hands because he was not able to physically (with his own hands) write all of the epistles or letters. The Greek word translated for fear is phobos which is perhaps where we get our English word phobia from and phobos means alarm, dread, fright, or terror. The Greek word translated for trembling is tromos which means a trembling or quaking with fear with fear and trembling, used to describe the anxiety of one who distrusts his ability completely to meet all requirements, but religiously does his utmost to fulfill his duty.
Paul unlike the proud, arrogant, and cocky false apostles and prophets who peddled the “Word of God” for gain and money was always genuinely concerned with the eternal souls of the men and women he confronted with the truth about their sinful hearts and this was always a daunting responsibility for this man Paul, who considered himself to be the lowest of all of our Lord Jesus’ True Apostles. Paul relied on God the Holy Spirit to govern his words and the Spirit produced the transformation of hearts and lives in each one of them individually and the evidence of their faith was not manifested in Paul convincing them to believe with persuasive words, but the evidence of their faith was wrought or produced by the Spirits Power and Fruit which produced goodness (where before only evil reigned), righteousness (where before only unrighteousness, lawlessness, and sin abounded daily), and holiness (where before only impurity, immorality, and irreverence to God ruled) (Ephesians 5:9).
“Paul came to Corinth from Athens, where he had sought to win his hearers by a studied and philosophical discourse as best adapted to their needs. But as he entered Corinth, he appears to have deliberately determined that his theme would be the crucified Lord, and expressed in the simplest phrases. When we speak the truth as it is in Jesus, the Spirit is ever at hand to enforce our testimony by His demonstration and power.” F. B. Meyer
“The men of Lystra looked on him (Paul) to be the heathen god Mercury, come down to them in the form of a man, because he was the chief speaker, Acts 14:12. Nor did he want courage nor resolution to go through his work; he was in nothing terrified by his adversaries. Yet he was no boaster. He did not proudly vaunt himself, like his opposers. He acted in his office with much modesty, concern, and care. He behaved with great humility among them; not as one grown vain with the honour and authority conferred on him, but as one concerned to approve himself faithful, and fearful of himself, lest he should mismanage in his trust. Observe, None know the fear and trembling of faithful ministers, who are zealous over souls with a godly jealousy; and a deep sense of their own weakness is the occasion of this fear and trembling. They know how insufficient they are, and are therefore fearful for themselves. But, though Paul managed with this modesty and concern, yet he spoke with authority: In the demonstration of the Spirit and of power. He preached the truths of Christ in their native dress, with plainness of speech. He laid down the doctrine as the Spirit delivered it; and left the Spirit, by his external operation in signs and miracles, and his internal influences on the hearts of men, to demonstrate the truth of it, and procure its reception.” Matthew Henry
“Paul was never ashamed of opening up his heart or his inner man (the real him) and inviting people inside to see what things were going on within him, the good, the bad, and the ugly.” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…