Simple Gospel, Simple Genius (1 Corinthians 2:1-2)

1 Corinthians 2:1-2 (ESV)

1 And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.


            The apostle Paul is thought by many to have been one of the great geniuses of his time. Paul had the ability to match wits with any philosopher of his day. In fact, just before Paul came to Corinth he had stood before the Greeks in Athens and shown that he was at least their intellectual equal.


            It is interesting, then, that Paul, just after leaving Athens went to Corinth. There, as Paul declares above, he did not preach based on his own wisdom. Paul did not use flowery speech or rhetorical devices of the day. Paul did not constantly fill his speech with complex arguments that the uninitiated could not understand. No, Paul very intentionally kept his message simple.


            The context of the above passage still flows from Paul’s point in chapter 1 that the Corinthians should not separate from one another based on following Paul, Peter, Apollos, or some other teacher. There is one gospel. Paul had even pointed out that God had saved these people through the message which seems foolish to the supposedly wise. And the people God saved were not the smartest of the smart, but were ordinary folks who could only boast in the Lord, not in their own abilities.


            In the light of Paul’s continuing argument, he declares that, when he arrived, he preached a very simple gospel. Paul told them about Jesus Christ and him crucified. Of course, this is Paul’s way of saying that he preached a very simple message of what this all means. Paul told the simple gospel, and he watched as God, by the power of God’s Holy Spirit, brought people to spiritual life.


            So, have you ever thought that you have nothing to present to others? Have you ever believed that you lack the eloquence or rhetorical skill to do any good for the kingdom of God? Have you ever thought that you must leave evangelism to those trained in philosophy and apologetics? Think again. Paul preached a simple gospel in Corinth. It was that simple gospel message that God used to save many people in a bustling city of the first century. And, if you will be faithful to tell others about Jesus Christ and him crucified, who knows that God might not empower your message to see people saved today.