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Please explain Paul's statement in 1 Corinthians 2.9: "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". Is Paul referring to heavenly things here which we cannot possibly enter into now?

This is usually how this verse is regarded, but we believe such a use of the passage is incorrect. Here is a case of not taking into consideration the immediate context and separating v.9 from v.10. Firstly, the passage makes clear that Paul uses Isaiah 64.4 to show that the things of God cannot be entered into with the natural intellect. They are outside the knowledge of man naturally. This is the great point Paul is emphasising in the context, for he goes on to make clear to the Corinthians that the Spirit of God has been given "that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God" (v.12). The Holy Spirit is the great teacher and enlightener of divine truth even of the truths that an Old Testament prophet could not enter into.

Secondly, there is a wider thought than this because we have the contrast between an Old Testament prophet and a New Testament apostle. What was hidden prior to New Testament times is now revealed by the Holy Spirit, for while Isaiah stopped with the recognition of man's inability to understand the things prepared by God for them that wait for Him, the inspired apostle can say, "But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit". This teaches that, contrary to the feeling that the deep things of God, because they are deep, should be left alone, the believer will rather appreciate that all God has communicated can be enjoyed now by means of the Holy Spirit who indwells us.

1 Corinthians 2.9, then, is not telling us that God withholds something from us. Neither is it telling us that the believer should continue in ignorance of spiritual things, for immediately following v.9 Paul goes on to show that the Spirit of God reveals these things. It is surely the difference between Old Testament times and New Testament times and ought to provoke in us a real appreciation of the privileged position we have in this dispensation. The passage is speaking, not of unknown blessings we cannot enter into now, but of a storehouse of truth which the Spirit of God can reveal.

John J Stubbs

Did the lame man who sat at the gate of the Temple have faith, or was this a unique case to display the power given to apostles, for a time, to heal? There is no indication of the man calling for Peter and John to heal him (Acts 3.1-11).

Luke records that "many wonders and signs were done by the apostles" (Acts 2.43) and now, in the opening section of ch.3, he gives to us a specific example - the healing of the man who "was lame from his mother's womb" (3.2); we later learn that "the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed" (4.22). However, this was not a unique case.

It is true that there is no specific reference to this man's faith in vv.1-11 of ch.3. However, it has to be acknowledged that it took faith to respond to the words of Peter: "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk" (3.6). Peter, in addressing "all the people" who had run "together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's" (3.11), says, "And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong...yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all" (3.16). It has been suggested that the words "through faith in his name" refer to the faith of Peter and John, but the words that follow confirm that the man himself believed.

It is evident that not only was the man healed physically but he was saved spiritually. Peter, having said to the people, "by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole" (4.10), then goes on to add, "Neither is there salvation in any other" (4.12). The proof of the man's salvation is that he was not only "walking, and leaping" but also "praising God" (3.8). Presumably, Peter and John were going to the temple to pray [NB it is Luke who tells us that, after the ascension of the Lord Jesus, the disciples "were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God" (Lk 24.53)] and the man associates himself with them, "and entered with them into the temple" (3.8). Also the man was not ashamed to identify himself with the apostles when before the Jewish council, "the man which was healed standing with them" (4.14). He had certainly exercised faith.

David E West


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