And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
1 Corinthians 2:1-5
In this interesting paragraph, Paul moves his discussion of wisdom away from the Corinthian congregation, and onto himself as an example to illustrate his point about division and fragmentation. If we just take it at face value, he makes some great observations that we should take to heart. Yet his real point requires that we recall who is writing this.
Paul has called himself a Jew among Jews, a Pharisee with the very best education. In earthly terms, Paul is entitled to boast a bit, because he can back it up; he has a lot to boast about. As I mentioned earlier, Paul was the smartest and best educated man in most any room he entered, but he wasn’t running around Corinth showing it off. In modern terms, there wasn’t any swagger about him.
In spite of his accomplishments, in spite of his position as an Apostle, Paul was humble.
Yet it wasn’t always that way. Recall that as a Pharisee, he not only participated in Stephen’s murder, but he took persecution on a road trip. Yet on that famous journey of terror, he met Jesus Christ face-to-face and everything changed for him.
Apparently, the change Paul experienced in attitude had not yet taken hold in Corinth. If you or I were members of the Corinthian church and we were hearing his letter read for the first time, might we not ask ourselves whether or not such a change had taken hold of us?
As 21st century Christians, might we not ask ourselves if we have undergone such a change today?