Paul, in this chapter, continues to teach that the gospel does not need the wisdom of men. It is far above the wisdom of men, it is made known to men only by the Spirit of God and it can only be known and discerned by spiritual men (Vs. 14, 15).
(Vs.1.) 'When I came to Corinth to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ' (the gospel, which is called 'the testimony of God' because it bears a testimony to his love, grace and mercy in giving his beloved Son to be our Saviour and Redeemer), 'I did not preach this message in lofty words of eloquence, or human philosophy, or man's wisdom' (Acts 18:5).
(Vs. 2.) Though Paul was well educated in Jewish learning, had a good knowledge of Greek literature and was capable of conversing with almost anyone on current thoughts and issues, he was resolved to make nothing, the subject of his ministry and message "save Jesus Christ, and him crucified". That which was the greatest offence to others was the most delightful to him because salvation comes only through and by the obedience and death of Christ (Gal. 6:14; 2:20, 21).
(Vs. 3.) By "weakness" Paul may mean his bodily presence (2 Cor. 10:10; 12:7-9) or his humble and lowly existence among them, for he worked with his hands to minister to his necessities (Acts 18:3), not exerting his office nor authority as an apostle of Christ (2 Cor. 11:5-9; I Cor. 9:1-14). By "fear and trembling" I doubt that the apostle meant that he was afraid of what men would do to him, though I am sure he was concerned about the violence and persecution that threatened his life (Acts 18:9-11). It may be that he refers to the greatness and awfulness of the ministry in which he was engaged. He was deeply concerned that he preach the truth of God and that men receive the truth (Rom. 9:1-3; 10:1).
(Vs. 4.) As Paul determined, so he acted! His subject matter was not nature, arts, sciences, philosophy, nor dry morality, but salvation from sin through the crucified Christ. So his style of preaching, his language and his messages were delivered, not in human logic, wisdom and persuasion, but in the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit (John 6:44, 45). It is not by human wisdom, wit, or will that the gospel is believed and received, but by the regeneration and revelation of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3, 5; 1:12, 13; Matt. 16:15-17).
(Vs. 5.) This is the key statement - the conclusion of the whole matter. Paul knew that conviction of sin, a revelation of Christ crucified, risen and enthroned, saving faith in Christ alone (apart from merit or works) and a living, vital union with Christ are heart works performed in individuals by the power of God. When this work is accomplished by his Spirit and by his power, the confidence and assurance of the believer are not in the preacher, nor in his persuasion, nor in his personality, but in Christ alone (Phil. 3:3).
(Vs. 6, 7.) "But lest you think that the gospel of Christ is unworthy of regard and notice because of the simplicity of it or the lowliness of its ministers and its followers, I declare that the gospel of the crucified Redeemer is the highest wisdom a man can imagine. It is the very wisdom of God, and those who are mature in faith recognize it as such." This gospel is not the philosophy, plan and wisdom of this world, nor of the leaders and rulers of this world (which wisdom is foolishness and will mean nothing); but it is the setting forth of the eternal wisdom, grace and mercy of God, which was given us in Christ before the world began. This redemptive plan was hidden in promises, prophecies and types, but is now revealed in Christ (Heb. 1:1-5).
(Vs. 8.) None of this world's rulers, religious leaders, nor philosophers saw the wisdom of God in Christ, or they would never have crucified the Lord of glory. There is no neutral state regarding the person and work of Christ. It is either foolishness, or it is the wisdom and power of God! (1 Cor. 1:18; Matt. 12:30.)