Proclaiming Christ (1 Corinthians 2:4–5) - Radical

Proclaiming Christ (1 Corinthians 2:4–5)

“And my speech and my message were not implausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”
– 1 Corinthians 2:4–5

That is such a powerful statement. Not only when we think about preaching, but when we think about sharing the gospel in our lives. But let’s think about both though together. So Paul is saying, “When I came into Corinth sharing the gospel and proclaiming the gospel in different settings, my aim was not to impress with plausible words of human wisdom, not to impress with all kinds of lofty rhetoric.” That’s what he described back in verse one of this chapter.

Resting in the Wisdom and Power of God

“My speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

So his aim was not to be this most eloquent speaker and we know from other parts, even of Paul’s letters to the church at Corinth, that there are a lot of people who didn’t think he was that great a speaker and well, just ask Eutychus too in Acts, chapter 20. Put Eutychus right to sleep in a way that killed him. Thankfully Paul raised him from the dead. But that’s a whole nother story. The whole picture here is Paul said, “I didn’t come with words that were trying to impress you.” So when you’re sharing the gospel, the aim is not to impress people or I just think about my role as a pastor. I think about other pastors, teachers of God’s word. The goal is never to impress with great words.

That’s not the goal because the problem is if that’s the goal and that’s what we do, then people will start to put their faith and their trust in the words of man and what we manufacture, what we bring up and Paul says, “No, I want your faith not to rest on the wisdom of men. I want your faith to rest in the power of God.” So just to proclaim the gospel powerfully, clearly, plainly, not to dress it up with all kinds of human wisdom, eloquence, but just to proclaim it plainly and let God show His power to do that.

1 Corinthians 2:4–5 Encourages Sharing the Word

So in our lives on a daily basis, just to speak the word, the gospel of God plainly to people around us and trust God to show his power and then in the church when a pastor is teaching on a Sunday or in this or that class or group or whatever it might be, someone teaching the Word, teaches the Word, let’s sure that we are not exalting human eloquence and filling a talk with all kinds of human wisdom. No. Put it aside.

Let’s proclaim the truth of God’s word plainly and clearly so that people might trust in that Word, not our words, so that people might trust in His power, not our eloquence, so the people might trust in God, not in us. So God, we pray for this. We pray for our personal interactions with other people today, tomorrow, that You would help us to speak Your word, help us to speak about Your grace, about Your love. Help us to speak about Jesus and as we do, just speak plainly about You and the gospel.

1 Corinthians 2:4–5 Prays for All Peoples to Trust in the Power of God’s Word

God, we pray that You would bring people to trust in Your power and the power of Your word. Please, oh God, do this. Infuse this kind of agenda into our daily schedule, speaking the word of God, sharing the word of God and as we do, seeing Your power at work and then, oh God, in our churches, for me as a pastor, for other pastors, for anyone who teaches Your word, help us, God, to minimize our thoughts, to put aside human wisdom, to not work to impress with eloquence in this way or that way.

Help us to plainly communicate Your word and we pray that You would show your power so that people’s faith rests in You alone because their faith doesn’t need to be in me, doesn’t need to be an any other pastor, doesn’t need to be in any other teacher of Your word. Our faith, their faith needs to be in use. So God help us to teach Your word in a way that causes people to put their faith in You. Help us to live our lives today and tomorrow in such a way that causes other people to put their faith in You. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

David Platt

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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