Christians and Wisdom: Part 3 of 6 (series: Lessons on 1 Co.)
by John Lowe
entered into the heart of man;
This clause is not in the original text; but is a phrase often used by the Jews, for “that which never came into a man's mind, was never thought of by him, or he never had the least notion, idea or concept of it.” Man cannot so much as think of them, much less conceive them with his senses. The heart was thought to be the place of understanding, but the things of God cannot enter the heart unless the Holy Spirit is already there, and He has prepared the heart to receive God’s word and shines the light of understanding on it. Once again, man lacks the intellectual and spiritual capacity to understand it on his own.
The things which God hath prepared for them that love him;
In the original text it is, "for him that waiteth for him"; the meaning is the same, since all those who hope in the Lord and wait for him, are in love with him; and the gist of the clause is, that God has prepared and laid up in his own breast, in his counsels and covenant, in the types, shadows, and sacrifices of the old law, in the promises and prophecies of the Old Testament, such doctrines and mysteries of grace that were never seen, heard, known, and understood by the Old Testament prophets and saints; and He has reserved for his people under the Gospel dispensation, a way to discover and understand them. Now, the Jews themselves will agree that these words belong to the “world to come”, which with them commonly signifies the “days of the Messiah”, which to them is still in the future; though here they interpret the phrase, "eye hath not seen", as the eye of the prophets: their words are these; “all prophesied not, but of the days of the Messiah; but as to the world to come, eye hath not seen, O God, besides thee.'' The interpretation is, “the eye of the prophets hath not been able to see it.”
To be sure, the mysteries of the Gospel are more clearly understood now, than by the prophets of the past.
10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
But God hath revealed them unto us
How can anyone come to know the doctrines of the Gospel, since this wisdom is hidden, mysterious, and unknown to the understanding of men? The answer is this: God has revealed them in his word (which is available to men, at least those who live in a free society) to private Christians and believers. Then it becomes the ministry of the Holy Spirit to give understanding to his people.
by his Spirit;
All three persons in the Godhead worked to design the revelations found within the Scriptures, and the internal revelation and application of the truths of the Gospel to the souls of men are also ascribed to Them. They are sometimes attributed to the Father of Christ—“And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven” (Matt 16:17; KJV); sometimes to Christ himself—“For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Gal 1:11-12; KJV); and sometimes to the Spirit of Christ—“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him” (Eph 1:17; KJV); and here revelation is attributed to the Father by the Spirit; it is the Spirit that gives the understanding.
for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God;
This is the Spirit of God, which spoke to the nation Israel through the prophets, who announced to the people the coming of the Messiah and revealed a vague outline of God’s plans; and now He has given to the apostles an abundance of heavenly truth. The Spirit searcheth all things does not presume that the Spirit is ignorant of any of these things, before he searches them, because the Spirit of God has complete and perfect knowledge of them. The "all things" the Spirit searches into, and has a perfect knowledge of, do not constitute everything which comes within the scope of his infinite understanding. The Holy Spirit has complete knowledge of everything pertaining to the Gospel of Christ, even the more mysterious and awe-inspiring issues, as well as the plain and easy doctrines. Only the Spirit of God can reveal the deep things of God: these are the purposes which have existed in His infinite wisdom and goodness from eternity past; and for the most part, it is what refers to creation, providence, redemption, and eternal glory—“O LORD, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep” (Psalms 92:5; KJV). The apostles were so completely convinced that the scheme of redemption proclaimed by the Gospel was
Divine, that they boldly declared that these things substantially surpassed the wisdom and comprehension of man. God had now, in a certain way, become manifest; His many attributes, which to the heathen world would have lain in obscurity forever, (for the world by wisdom knew not God), were now brought into the light by Jesus Christ, and emphasized by the gracious displays which He had made of himself. It was the Spirit of God and no-one else that could reveal these things; and it was the energy of that Spirit acting alone that could bring them all into effect—stamp and seal them as attributes and works of God. The apostles were as conscious of the source of their own inspiration as they were that they had consciousness at all; and what they spoke, they spoke under the inspiration and motivation of the Holy Ghost, who is fully competent to reveal that wisdom which had for ages been hidden in God—he knows all that God knows.
11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
This verse aims to illustrate two points: First, since no one knows the thoughts of a man except the man himself; likewise, no one knows the thoughts of God, except God himself. Therefore, no one but a divine person is competent to discern and announce a revelation of the thoughts and purposes of God. Second, just as every man does know his own thoughts, so the Spirit of God knows the thoughts of God. His knowledge of what is in God is equivalent to that which we know about the contents of our own consciousness. The comparisons that can be made to Scripture, however, are not to be pushed beyond the point which they are intended to illustrate. The point to be illustrated here is the knowledge of the Spirit. He knows what is in God, like we know what is in ourselves. It is not to be inferred from this that the Spirit of God has the same relation to God in other points that our spirits have to us.
For what man knoweth the things of a man,
The thoughts of a man's heart; the ideas of his mind, the schemes he draws up there, his plans, purposes, and intentions, can never be known by another man, or angels or devils or any other creature.
save the spirit of a man which is in him?
The things of a man mentioned above are the "deep things"—the hidden counsels, thoughts, plans, intentions—no other man can fully know them. By the spirit of a man cited here, Paul is referring to the human soul—or the intellect of man. The purpose of this clause is to illustrate the way in which man acquires knowledge of himself; and this is done by the very fascinating thought that no man can know his own mind, his own plans, and intentions, but himself—his own spirit. The essential idea is, that no man can know another; that his thoughts and plans can only be known by himself, or by his own spirit; and that unless he chooses to reveal them to others, they cannot ascertain them. But it is not to be thought that here he intends to convey the idea that there is a perfect resemblance between the relation which the soul of man bears to the man, and the relation which the Holy Spirit bears to God.
even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
There are two arguments drawn from these words that are proof of the divinity of the Holy Ghost:
1. Omniscience is attributed to him: He searches all things, even the deep things of God. He has exact knowledge of all things, and He enters into the very depths of God, and penetrates into his most secret revelations. Now, who can have such a thorough knowledge of God but God?
2. This verse seems to imply that the Holy Spirit is as much in God as a man’s mind is in himself. Now the mind of the man is obviously essential to him. He cannot be without his mind. But, can God be without his Spirit? He is as intimately one with God as the man’s mind is with the man. The man knows his own mind because his mind is one with himself. The Spirit of God knows the things of God because he is one with God. And since no man can find out what is in another man’s mind until he communicates and reveals it, so neither can we know the hidden plans and purposes of God until they are made known to us by his Holy Spirit. We cannot know them at all unless he divulges them to us; we cannot know or believe them for our salvation until he opens and enlightens the eye of the mind, and gives us saving faith in Christ.