1 Cor. 2:1 I came...not with excellency of speech [but with] the testimony of God
Dallin H. Oaks
"I conclude with an example from the life of the Apostle Paul. During his ministry he was exposed to ample light-mindedness, idle thoughts, and trivial things. In Athens he observed that 'all the Athenians and strangers which were there [in the market] spent their time in nothing else, but ... to tell, or to hear some new thing' (Acts 17:21). Paul's determination to focus on powerful ideas is evident in one of his letters to the Saints in Corinth. He had not come 'with excellency of speech or of wisdom,' he reminded them. 'For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified' (1 Cor. 2:1-2).
"Let us follow the commandments of God and the examples of his servants. Let us focus our teachings on those great and powerful ideas that have eternal significance in promoting righteousness, building up the children of God, and helping each of us toward our destiny of eternal life." ("Powerful Ideas," Ensign, Nov. 1995, 27)
1 Cor. 2:2 I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified
Derek A. Cuthbert
"I have always been impressed that, although Paul was a very learned man, after his conversion he declared: 'For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.' (1 Cor. 2:2.) These thoughts came to mind when, on a recent visit to Ghana, I heard Dr. Emmanuel Kissi, a prominent surgeon and now the district president, teach the simple truths of the gospel in the district conference meetings.
"Yes, we need to strive for the simplicity of a child, and raise our own children to have simple, unshakable testimonies of Jesus Christ. Then they will not fall prey to those temptations which would divert them from the strait and narrow way. As Elder Matthew Cowley used to say, 'Life should be beautifully simple. And then it will be simply beautiful.'" ("The Meaning of Maturity," Ensign, Nov. 1982, 54)
"I think of the words of the apostle Paul when he said that he determined to know nothing but Jesus and him crucified. (See 1 Cor. 2:2.) That doesn't mean that he didn't know the old prophets or appreciate them, but a new day had come.
"The Son of God had come, of whom the prophets had spoken, and then he said: '... for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!' (1 Cor. 9:16.)
"In that same sense, we know nothing but the restoration of the gospel, that it was brought by the Son of Man himself, so that there is no separation from the prophets of this dispensation, and woe be unto us if we share not these marvelous truths with the world!" ("The True Church," Ensign, July 1972, 116)
Harold B. Lee
"I think nothing could get you into deep water quicker than to answer people on [Church policy], when they say, 'What does the Church think?' and you want to be smart, so you try to answer what the Church's policy is. Well, you're not the one to make the policies for the Church. You just remember what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians. He said, 'For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified' (1 Corinthians 2:2). Well now, as teachers of our youth, you're not supposed to know anything except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. On that subject you're expected to be an expert. You're expected to know your subject. You're expected to have a testimony. And in that you'll have great strength. If the President of the Church has not declared the position of the Church, then you shouldn't go shopping for the answer." (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 451.)
1 Cor. 2:7 we speak the wisdom of God...which God ordained before the world
We know less of the doctrine of foreordination than we think. While we understand that the Lord's servants are foreordained to accomplish certain mortal tasks, the doctrine of foreordination is more comprehensive than that. Indeed, the very doctrines of the kingdom were foreordained in the heavenly councils above. This should not really come as a surprise since the evidence is all around us. How else would the many doctrines of the kingdom fit together so well-as if pieces of an intricate puzzle? Wasn't the puzzle's picture painted long before the doctrinal pieces were doled out?
One of the best examples of this comes from the writings of Mormon, who said, 'charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up...' (Moroni 7:45) Yet the student might quickly recognize these as the words of Paul in 1 Cor. 13, 'Charity sufferth long, and is kind; charity envieth not...is not puffed up...' (1 Cor. 13:4) Mormon didn't have the writings of Paul so he could not have copied them. Then to whom should we give credit for these words, Paul or Mormon? Obviously Paul taught them first but it is apparent that 'the wisdom of God' regarding charity was 'ordained before the world' was. Hence, the doctrinal script was already written. Paul merely conveyed a portion of that heavenly document. Mormon did the same thing by the power of the Holy Ghost.
Indeed, God's plan unfolds according to how he ordained it before the foundation of the world. The mission of His Son was 'prepared from before the foundation of the world' (Moses 5:57); the laws of the gospel were 'decreed in heaven before the foundations of the world' (DC 130:20); the ordinances of the gospel were 'instituted from before the foundation of the world' (DC 124:33); and the doctrines of the gospel, with all the mysteries of godliness, were prepared from before the foundations of the world. Why were they prepared? Paul says it was 'unto our glory.'
1 Cor. 2:9 Eye hath not seen nor ear heard ...the things which God hath prepared for them that love him
"...when you kneel around the altar in the Holy Temple of God and have sealed upon you kingdoms and thrones and principalities and powers and dominions and exaltation, you can receive blessings that you could not purchase with all the wealth of this world-and these are not idle words. They are the things that God has prepared for them that love him.
"No wonder Paul, who was caught up into the third heaven, and the paradise of God, and saw things he was not permitted to write, said, 'Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.' (1 Cor. 2:9 .)" (October 29, 1963, BYU Speeches of the Year, 1963 11.)
Spencer W. Kimball
"You are heirs to great fortunes, for eternal life is the greatest gift.
"What will you do with it? You are entitled to a kingdom or a queendom. You are princesses and princes. Do you prize your inheritance? Will you abdicate and relinquish your heavenly rights to all that is your due? Do you but realize what the Lord has in store for you? Do you know what you could discard in a moment of carelessness and heedlessness? The Lord told his servants:
'. . . Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.' (1 Cor. 2:9.)
"The king's highway-the royal road to eternal joys and exaltation-is a hard road, full of sacrifices and restrictions and hard work. The way is narrow but it is straight, well-marked, and strongly-beamed. But if you get off course, the dot and dash tapping gets dimmer and fainter till it fades out entirely.
"The permanent kingdom is yours, not for the asking, but for the earning." (February 15, 1966, BYU Speeches of the Year, 1966 17.)
Neal A. Maxwell
"We are not now ready for all things the Lord has prepared in the City of God for them that love Him. (See 1 Cor. 2:9.) Our present eyes are unready for things which they have not yet seen, and our ears are not prepared for the transcending sounds and music of that city.
"The trek will be proving and trying. Faith, patience, and obedience are essential (see Mosiah 23:21; Abr. 3:25), but he who completes the journey successfully will be immeasurably added upon. (see Abr. 3:26.) And he who does not will have subtracted from the sum of his possibilities.
"When we arrive home, we shall be weary and bruised. But at last our aching homesicknesses will cease. Meanwhile, our mortal homecomings are but faint foreshadowings of that Homecoming!" ("Called and Prepared from the Foundation of the World," Ensign, May 1986, 36)
Neal A. Maxwell
"The best mortal music we have heard will be surpassed by the sounds of celestial chords we shall hear there. The most beautiful art and scenery experienced in the here and now of this earth will have scarcely prepared us for the beauties we shall see then and there.
"The pain of the judgment will be followed by the overwhelming blessings the living and loving Father has prepared for us. Those who hear the words 'Well done, thou good and faithful servant, . . . enter thou into the joy of thy lord' (Matthew 25:21), will be filled with unspeakable joy. Those so adjudged can say of their own tiny trek, 'It is finished,' and yet so much will have just begun!
"We will be home, and the promise to us is that God will land our souls, yea, our immortal souls, 'at the right hand of God in the kingdom of heaven, to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and with Jacob, and with all our holy fathers, to go no more out.' (Helaman 3:30.) Never again will we be really away from Him!" (Things As They Really Are [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978], 118-119.)
George Q. Cannon
"In our present condition we cannot conceive of these things because they are beyond our comprehension. But we have a foretaste of that glory given unto us in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit when it rests upon us. You have felt, no doubt, many times in your lives as though you were filled to overflowing and had no room for another drop of happiness. The peace and love of God have filled your hearts. Of course, we are but mortal beings at the present time, and we are not prepared for that glory and immortality that God has in store for us. But we will grow up to it, and we will be prepared for it when it comes." (Gospel Truth: Discourses and Writings of President George Q. Cannon, selected, arranged, and edited by Jerreld L. Newquist [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 84.)
1 Cor. 2:10 God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things
Richard G. Scott
"Humility is essential to the acquiring of spiritual knowledge. To be humble is to be teachable. Humility permits you to be tutored by the Spirit and to be taught from sources inspired by the Lord, such as the scriptures. The seeds of personal growth and understanding germinate and flourish in the fertile soil of humility. Their fruit is spiritual knowledge to guide you here and hereafter.
"A proud individual cannot know the things of the Spirit. Paul taught this truth, saying:
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned' (1 Cor. 2:11, 14).
"Since it requires much personal effort to gain and use worthwhile knowledge, you cannot endlessly sample from every fascinating arena of life. Therefore, you should select carefully a few vital areas where you can focus energy to learn and share vital truths. I know that to gain knowledge of great worth requires extraordinary personal effort. This is particularly true when our desire is to obtain spiritual knowledge. President Kimball said it this way:
"The treasures of both secular and spiritual knowledge are hidden ones-but hidden from those who do not properly search and strive to find them. ... Spiritual knowledge is not available merely for the asking; even prayers are not enough. It takes persistence and dedication of one's life. ... Of all treasures of knowledge, the most vital is the knowledge of God" (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, pp. 389-90)." ("Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge," Ensign, Nov. 1993, 87)
JST 1 Cor. 2:11 the things of God knoweth no man, except he has the Spirit of God
"We never can comprehend the things of God and of heaven but by revelation. We may spiritualize and express opinions to all eternity, but that is no authority." (Kent P. Jackson, Joseph Smith's Commentary on the Bible, 159)
Marion G. Romney
"The principle of revelation is the key which opens the mind and spirit of man to an understanding of the gospel. There is no other key to such knowledge. Thinkers have philosophized poets have dreamed; and scientists have experimented; but only God speaks with a sure knowledge of all truth.
"Some years ago I listened to a lecturer who argued long and deviously and came to the conclusion that there was no such thing as religious knowledge. Within his premises, he was right. He had no religious knowledge, and he could not obtain any because he had ruled out revelation." (Conference Report, April 1964, Afternoon Meeting 123.)
Spencer W. Kimball
"We must remember that neither God nor his gospel can be found and understood through research alone. The skeptic will some day learn to his sorrow that his egotism robbed him of much joy and growth. The things of God-and often the things of his earth-cannot be understood by the spirit of man, but are understood only through the Spirit of God. (See 1 Cor. 2:11.)" ("Seek Learning Even by Study and Also by Faith," Ensign, Sept. 1983, 6)
Ezra Taft Benson
"There are 'hidden treasures' of knowledge-truths beyond the reach of reason alone. Paul recognized this basic truth when writing to the Corinthians. He said: 'For what man knoweth the things of man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.' (1 Cor. 2:11.)
"Will you value and take advantage of the opportunity to tap these unseen but very real spiritual powers? Will you with Lincoln before Gettysburg and Washington at Valley Forge humble yourselves before Almighty God in fervent prayer? May you say, with a former president of one of our land-grant colleges and an eminent scientist: 'Men who search out truth are prayerful. They stand with uncovered heads before the unknown. They know their insignificance before the eternal fount of knowledge. . . . Manly men who really love truth, are proud to pray to God for help and guidance. They get down on their knees. . . . To win knowledge of the unseen, to obtain a testimony of truth, one must pray without ceasing. It must be the first and the last act of the day.' Will you value this practice and seek throughout your lives the blessings of daily secret prayer?" (So Shall Ye Reap, compiled by Reed A. Benson [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1960], 153 - 154.)
1 Cor. 2:14 the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit
"Note that Paul does not say that the natural man simply does not know the things of God; he says the natural man cannot know them. The things of the Spirit are just as real as the things of the earth, but they are in a different sphere, and fallen man's ability to perceive and understand them is so limited that he can comprehend them only by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost." (Robert J. Matthews, A Bible! A Bible! [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1990], 163.)
"How difficult it is to teach the natural man, who comprehends nothing more than that which he sees with the natural eye! ... Talk to him about angels, heavens, God, immortality, and eternal lives, and it is like sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal to his ears; it has no music to him; there is nothing in it that charms his senses, soothes his feelings, attracts his attention, or engages his affections, in the least; to him it is all vanity." (Robert L. Millet, "Putting Off the Natural Man: 'An Enemy to God,' " Ensign, June 1992, 8)
Bruce R. McConkie
"To carnal men, and even to those among us whose souls are not attuned to the Infinite, these promises may seem as the gibberish of alien tongues, but to those whose souls are afire with the light of heaven they will be as a bush that burns and is not consumed." ("Thou Shalt Receive Revelation," Ensign, Nov. 1978, 61)
Elder A. Theodore Tuttle
"I had a bright, but confused, young man in my office just last week. His problem may be typical of this generation's searching, doubting youth. He believed only that which can be proved. It seemed easy for him to accept and believe the discoveries and conclusions of the scientist, but he was having difficulty believing revealed knowledge. I explained to him that there are different kinds of knowledge, some more readily discernible than others, but that spiritual matters must needs be discerned by the spirit.
"My young friend held to that old statement, 'Seeing is believing.' There is one realm, however, where it works the other way: Believing is seeing! The Lord hides some choice truths behind obstacles that will melt only before the warmth of faith." (Conference Report, April 1966, Afternoon Meeting 144.)
Neal A. Maxwell
"When some scoff at the reality of underlying spiritual purposes for the human family, they are scoffing at perspectives which are 'spiritually discerned' (1 Corinthians 2:14). Such people resemble Galileo's provincial friends who spurned the invitation to look through his mind-expanding telescope for fear of what they would see!" (That Ye May Believe [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1992], 180.)
Boyd K. Packer
"A man might take a stone and, in order to verify precisely what it is, subject it to a test to identify slate or sandstone. After conducting these tests, he may conclude his research with the statement: 'I did not discover that it was a diamond.'
"His conclusion, though accurate, has nothing to do with whether or not it is a diamond. Nor will it ever be verified by using the wrong formula. There may be a thousand tests he can apply and come to the same conclusion.
"After, and only after, he subjects the stone to the correct formula can he know for sure. Until then, his conclusion, 'I did not discover it to be a diamond,' is relatively useless information.
"There has, over the years, been an endless procession of those who would examine these revelations by every formula save the right one. Each becomes evidence, as Paul said, 'the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.' (1 Cor. 2:14.)
"These scriptural diamonds, as we have described them, will stand the test. As surely as a man may determine whether a purported diamond is genuine by subjecting it to well-known tests for diamonds, the scriptures may be subjected to well-known tests for scriptures.
"To apply it, one must, of necessity, move from criticism to spiritual inquiry." ("We Believe All That God Has Revealed," Ensign, May 1974, 95)
1 Cor. 2:16 we have the mind of Christ
Dallin H. Oaks
"The Apostle Paul said that persons who have been converted 'have the mind of Christ' (1 Cor. 2:16). I understand this to mean that those who have been converted begin to see things as our Savior sees them and to hear and follow His voice instead of the voice of the world. Persons with 'the mind of Christ' will do things in His way instead of by the ways of the world." (Henry B. Eyring, ed., On Becoming a Disciple Scholar [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1995], 94.)
Neal A. Maxwell
"If one 'mind[s] the things of the flesh' (Rom. 8:5), he cannot 'have the mind of Christ' (1 Cor. 2:16) because his thought patterns are 'far from' Jesus, as are the desires or the 'intents of his heart' (Mosiah 5:13). Ironically, if the Master is a stranger to us, then we will merely end up serving other masters. The sovereignty of these other masters is real, even if it sometimes is subtle, for they do call their cadence." ("Swallowed Up in the Will of the Father," Ensign, Nov. 1995, 22)
Neal A. Maxwell
"Real disciples are also, precept by precept and experience by experience, becoming ever more like the Master they serve. We can neither be the woman nor the 'man of Christ' (Hel. 3:29) unless we are coming to have the 'mind of Christ' (1 Cor. 2:16)." ("Overcome ... Even As I Also Overcame," Ensign, May 1987, 70)
Neal A. Maxwell
"The gospel requires us to yield our minds as well as bend our knees. Minds are often more arthritic than knees. No wonder we are to seek to obtain the 'mind of Christ' (1 Corinthians 2:16). Yielding intellectually, but only partially, is often the problem. There is the intellectual equivalent of Ananias and Sapphira's holding back a portion of their money (see Acts 5:1-11). Such holding back may be motivated by a mistaken notion that by so doing a person somehow preserves his individuality or demonstrates his God-given agency." (That Ye May Believe [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1992], 101.)
Chieko N. Okazaki
"Both the New Testament and the Doctrine and Covenants talk about the importance for members of the Church to be 'of one heart and of one soul' or of 'one mind.' (Acts 4:32; D&C 45:65-66). Sometimes we think this means that we have to look alike, sound alike, talk alike, dress alike, and have the same number of children. I think what it really means, above all, is that we need to love the Savior with all our hearts. At that point, we will have the 'mind of Christ' (1 Cor. 2:16) to unite us in soul with others. As we think about situations and problems, the frustratingly complex ethical and moral dilemmas will become clearer and simpler because we will know what Jesus would do in a given case, and we can do what he would do, just as he was able to do what the Father would have done in his place." (Disciples [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1998], 147.)