Paul ‘s Message at His First Coming
1 Cor. 2:1-5
In this chapter we can read the personal experience of Paul and his testimony on how he started the
Lord’s work in Corinth. I’m very sure lots of people who are called to serve by the Lord Jesus Christ
has experienced the same. Starting a ministry is not always easy but as long as we rely on the Lord,
we can always be sure of heavenly help and empowerment as we proclaim the gospel or the good
news of salvation to the lost world.
I. His Approach (1 Cor. 2:1)
A. Paul came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom.
1. Paul did not use eloquence of speech.
2. He did not show them oratorical skills or brilliant reasoning power.
3. His speech is simple, straight forward and direct to the point.
4. His aim was not no please or entertain or show people how smart he is knowing
so many things that others doesn’t know.
5. He did not use the wisdom of this world so people will look more on the
message which he is telling not on him as the messenger.
6. He came to them proclaiming the testimony of God. He preached the gospel in
7. Wisdom here in verse 1 is “Sophia” in Greek which means worldly or natural
wisdom of man.
8. Testimony of God is the life of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. This would
include all the facts that the apostle Paul have known about the Lord particularly
his death, burial, and resurrection from the dead.
9. The story of the Lord may have been shocking, unrealistic, unbelievable,
impossible, too good to be true, foolishness, but Paul did not come there for any
other reason but to see them hear about Christ, be saved, and grow spiritually.
B. His Message (1 Cor. 2:2)
1. The main purpose was to preach “Jesus Christ” and “Him Crucified”.
2. Christ paid the penalty of our sins on the cross and that is the central message of
Paul to all unbelievers in Corinth. They must understand and believe the gospel,
otherwise, there is nothing more to say to them.
3. Imagine if the apostles had not preached the doctrine of the Cross, and had not
made Christ crucified the great theme of their ministry, you and I would never
have heard of Christianity at all and we are still on our sins.
4. If the apostles have not preached the Cross, and taught that our salvation is
accomplished through the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, their preaching would
have been forgotten and in vain and we are still lost. Christ crucified is a truth
that will never go wrong.
5. So sad to see and hear modern day preachers telling people about how to be
happy. Health, wealth, and prosperity gospel has replaced the old story of Jesus
Christ dying to the cross to save mankind from their sins.
6. Some preachers are expert in preaching topics which people love to hear. They
refuse to tell the people messages that they need to hear.
7. I personally heard a very eloquent pastor preaching for almost an hour but
never mentioned the name of Jesus. A lot of people have been impressed by his
story of being a successful pastor in his place of residence where he alone has
the biggest building but his congregation are all living in poverty and dwelling in
Illustration 1: Preach the Gospel
“The gospel is God’s message of mercy to humanity. “It contains an exhibition of the plan, and the
only plan, of salvation. It sets forth the person, the work, and the offices of Christ, and urges all to
whom it comes to accept Christ as their God and Savior, and to devote themselves to His worship
and service; and it assures those who do so that they shall never perish, but shall have eternal life. In
one sense it is everyone’s duty, provided he or she has received the knowledge of the gospel, to
preach it, to make it known to others. “The commission and command— ‘Go into all the world and
preach the gospel to every creature’ (Mark 16:15)—is given not to the apostles exclusively, but to
the whole church and all its members. Every member has the right and the obligation to make
known this great salvation to his fellow humans.” – Charles Hodge
II. His Humility (1 Cor. 2:3)
A. Though Paul was one of the chosen Apostle of Christ, yet he came to them as a
B. Before he came to Corinth, he was beaten and imprisoned in Philippi (Acts 16:22-
24), driven away out of Thessalonica and Berea, and scoffed in Athens (Acts 17:10,
C. The beatings mixed with verbal abuses must have contributed to his physical
weakness. In that weakness, however, he was strengthened (2 Cor. 12:9, 10). God
uses the weak things.
D. The fear that Paul displayed was one of reverence and terror of God. This is a trait
that may be lacking in many servants nowadays. The trembling that Paul felt was the
feeling of inadequacy, incapability, and insufficiency to do the work God has given
him. He doesn’t have the self-confidence, and this led him to tremble with holy fear.
E. The word for “tremble” is “a trembling or a quaking with fear” is used to describe
the anxiety of one who distrusts his own ability to completely do the job. Though he
has a very good training as a Pharisee under the famous teacher Gamaliel yet he
doubts himself. Indeed, Paul was a very humble man.
F. The apostle Paul was probably the most gifted Christian that has ever walked upon
the face of planet earth, yet he felt inadequate for his job.
III. His powerful Preaching (1 Cor. 2:4)
A. Paul’s preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom. He did not use
enticing words to convince and to make the people listen and believe.
B. It was in demonstration of the spirit and of power. It was an exhibition of proof. His
message was spoken in the authority of the Holy Spirit who showed the people that
the gospel which Paul was preaching is true.
C. The words of Paul were presented with power or “Dunamis” in Greek. It was a
miraculous power. “Dunamis” is where we get the English word dynamite.
D. Paul came to the Corinthians in weakness, fear, and much trembling so that the
power of God might be demonstrated. If Paul ‘s human skills were foremost in his
preaching, Paul ‘s power would be shown. But when Paul came in weakness
proclaiming a message that seems foolish and men were converted, it was evident it
was the result of the supernatural power of God and not the merely human power
of Paul. His weakness was not a hindrance to the demonstration of God ‘s power
but the means through which God ‘s power was displayed. God ‘s power is
manifested through human weakness
E. By his Holy Spirit empowerment, Paul won many souls for Christ, and established
churches throughout the Roman Empire.
Illustration 2: All God’s Giants Have Been Weak Men
Hudson Taylor, founder of the China Inland Mission, knew the secret of strength through weakness.
Complimented once by a friend on the impact of the mission, Hudson answered, “It seemed to me
that God looked over the whole world to find a man who was weak enough to do His work, and
when He at last found me, He said, ‘He is weak enough—he’ll do.’ All God’s giants have been weak
men who did great things for God because they reckoned on His being with them.”
Our Daily Bread, May 13, 1996
Illustration 3: Frustrated Prison Psychiatrist
Charles Colson tells of a frustrated prison psychiatrist who exclaimed, “I can cure a person’s
madness, but not his badness.” The only way to make bad people good is to expose them to the
gospel. Even Charles Darwin, the man who contributed so much to evolutionistic thinking, admitted
this. He wrote to a minister: “Your services have done more for our village in a few months than all
our efforts for many years. We have never been able to reclaim a single drunkard, but through your
services I do not know that there is a drunkard left in the village!”
Later Darwin visited the island of Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of South America. What he
found among the people was horrifying—savagery and bestiality almost beyond description. But
when he returned after a missionary had worked among the people, he was amazed at the change in
them. He acknowledged that the gospel does transform lives. If fact, he was so moved by what he
saw that he contributed money to the mission until his death. – Charles Colson
IV. His main point (1 Cor. 2:5)
A. What the apostle Paul wants is that the faith of the Corinthians should not be
grounded upon human wisdom. He wanted their faith to be truly grounded on Christ
Jesus who died for them.
B. His goal was for men and women to trust in Jesus Christ for salvation and to become
His followers, His disciples.
Paul’s dependence in Christ and Christ alone, together with his humility made him won
people to Christ and enabled him to establish churches in many places. Would you be a
humble servant of Christ also?