God promised Paul he would not be harmed while ministering in Corinth (Acts 18:9-10). The Jews dragged Paul before the local authorities but were unable to do him physical harm. Paul’s case was not even taken up by the Roman court (18:12). This precedent established that the “religion” of the Jewish Messiah was still to be considered a Jewish matter (Acts 18:15). Paul’s preaching could go on unhindered in Corinth! This left Paul with the amazing opportunity of an extended ministry in one area without persecution from the Jews.
In his first letter to the Corinthians Paul described his feelings at this time. He wrote of feelings of weakness, trembling, and fearfulness, (2 Cor. 2:3-4). Paul used this surprisingly transparent admission to remind the Corinthian Christians of how God established their church. He explained to them that this was the standard way God established churches. God used a weak instrument (Paul) to carry a powerful message (the gospel). Paul wanted the Corinthians to learn humility. If we compare Acts 18 and 1 Cor. 1 and 2 we can draw some meaningful applications Faith Bible Church.
Not Brilliant Enticing Words (1 Cor. 1-2)
The Corinthians were easily impressed! They loved to find a celebrity and drop a name. Apparently they also thought highly of human wisdom and what it claimed to produce. Paul reminds them that he did not come to them with elegantly prepared oratory. He didn’t use his words to somehow entice them into listening and believing. Acts 18:4 tells us he did in Corinth exactly what he did everywhere else: “…he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and Greeks.” Lofty, brilliant, superior speech (1 Cor. 2:1), and relying on human wisdom (1 Cor. 2:1), so that the people would be “enticed” (1 Cor. 2:4), was not an option for Paul.
He plainly tells them that God has destroyed the wisdom of the wise, (1 Cor. 1:19). This means mankind can never know the one true God through limited human wisdom (1:21, think Aristotle or Socrates, the Stoics and Epicureans). Mankind can only find the truth through the proclamation of revelation, (1:21-23 and 2:2). This enabled Paul to be successful in Corinth! He relied on the power of God’s Spirit rather than some crafty words, (1 Cor. 2:4). Paul didn’t want their faith to be rooted in his speech or wisdom. He wanted their faith to rest in the power of God alone. “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” (2 Cor. 4:7)