1 Corinthians 2:1-2
Posted December 17, 2012
Proclaiming Christ Crucified
2 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.
These 2 verses give us incredible insight into the apostle Paul’s outlook on ministry and in particular, his method and message.
First, Paul speaks to his method & what it was not! When he came to the Corinthians, his proclamation was not primarily about the “packaging”. Many commentators have noted that Paul was most likely alluding to the sophists of the day. The sophists were teachers and intellectuals who gathered followers using rhetoric and philosophy, but primarily centered more around the orator’s abilities instead of the message itself. While Paul was often culturally flexible, in this case, he refused to play the sophist’s game because he felt it took away from the message itself. We learn that Paul was willing to restrict certain methods of ministry within culture to preserve the message. Paul wanted those hearing his message to walk away thinking more about Christ and less about Paul.
Next, Paul speaks to his message & what it was: namely, Jesus Christ and him crucified. It almost sounds too simple, too basic, but this couldn’t be further from the truth! All of Paul’s messages had a “cruciform” shape to them, always shaped by the cross and attempting to lead people to it. The cross is never something any of us move past, but rather something that impacts how we view everything in life. The cross is the very thing that God opens our eyes to in the first place, but also becomes the lens by which we see all else in life. In the book “The Cross and Christian Ministry”, DA Carson writes, “He (Paul) cannot long talk about Christian joy, or Christian ethics, or Christian fellowship, or the Christian doctrine of God, or anything else, without finally tying it to the cross. Paul is gospel-centered; he is cross-centered.” The message of the cross is not defined by the way it’s presented or how it makes us feel, but rather its content: Christ and his cross.
This week week’s song and artwork come by way of Houston, Texas. Singer/songwriter & worship leader Gatlin Elms (www.gatlinelms.com) wrote the song, and his friend, graphic designer, videographer, and bandmate Neil Sandoz created the artwork. Neil talks about the artwork, his intent, and the collaborative effort for it here:
”At first, I was going to design something for the whole two verses but really got caught up on the last phrase. Actively deciding to know nothing except the Gospel is a place we all need to find ourselves and base our lives around. My fiancee has a 16 yr old brother (Will Byargeon http://instagram.com/WillByargeon) who has been really getting into design and photos. I love his work so I had him use some stuff he's taken and give me a solid texture base. As I worked through the verse by (hand)writing it out, I ended up using parts that seemed directionally human and contrasted them against bold words that seem only possible through the work of the spirit. That was my thought on the bolder font verses the more temporary feeling handwriting.”