1 Corinthians 2:6-16 (New International Version)
6We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" 10but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. 14The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment: 16"For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ.
Most of the time verse 9 in the above quoted passage has been taken out of context and presented as a way of helping us have hope in the life which is to come as being far beyond anything that we could ever hope to imagine in this present life. This is true, of course, but I think the passage gives us even greater good news of present possibilities of experiencing "the deep things of God" right here and now in a way which is above and beyond what we could ever conceive!
Paul speaks of "God's secret wisdom" in contrast to "the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing." (verses 6, 7). God's secret wisdom has been hidden from those who live in "the spirit of the world" and this was proven beyond a shadow of a doubt when Jesus, the God-Man, came to this world and was crucified. Many who took part in this rejection, mockery, and crucifixion of Jesus were very well-educated in the best knowledge and wisdom that could be offered by the religious and philosophical systems of the time. Yet, they did not recognize the Giver of all wisdom when He was made flesh and dwelt among us. He was the Word that the Greek philosophers had been talking about so much. He was the Messiah that Moses and all of the Old Testament prophets had foretold. A thorough education in both of these religious and philosophical belief systems did not produce people wise enough to recognize the Word made flesh (John 1:1-14).
I have a concern that with all of the "head knowledge" that is available today in science, theology, technology, human behavior, religion, spirituality, etc., that we might somehow miss out on "the deep things of God" that Paul speaks of in verse 11. Would it not be sad that all of our information about God, religion, and spirituality be merely information and nothing more than that! I see a great danger of this very thing happening.
How will we ever be able to begin to understand "the deep things of God"? I like the way verses 14-16 are translated in The Amplified Version of the Bible:
14But the natural, nonspiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them [of progressively recognizing, understanding, and becoming better acquainted with them] because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated. 15But the spiritual man tries all things [he examines, investigates, inquires into, questions, and discerns all things], yet is himself to be put on trial and judged by no one [he can read the meaning of everything, but no one can properly discern or appraise or get an insight into him]. "16For who has known or understood the mind (the counsels and purposes) of the Lord so as to guide and instruct Him and give Him knowledge?" But we have the mind of Christ (the Messiah) and do hold the thoughts (feelings and purposes) of His heart.
"The deep things of God" cannot be understood merely by human efforts, no matter how well-meaning these efforts may be. It takes the revelation of the Spirit of God to reveal the depths of God to us. Those who depend solely upon human education and "trying to figure it all out" through mental processes will simply see the deep things of God as mere nonsense or making "no sense" at all for God's ways and man's ways are not on the same plane. Only by having "the mind of Christ", which is a gift of the Holy Spirit, can we ever discern the deep things of God. We need not expect that those or cling to the wisdom of this age will ever understand.
The greatest joys of life come to us as we begin to dig deep at the wells of salvation and to partake of the depths of the Kingdom of God. Many times we will not be able to explain what is revealed to us in words nor should we even try. Sufficient it is most of the time just to somehow treasure in our hearts the revelations of God that come to us and let our light shine before others without feeling the need for explanations which often get in the way of the witness of our life itself.
[Written by Tom Durst on February 12, 2005. This is an going series of articles from my spiritual journey sent to those who personally request them via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Your comments are especially invited. Let me know if these articles are helpful in your walk with God.] Journey 14