“And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God.”
And I, brethren, when I came to you,
Paul harks back to when he first came to Corinth. He did not come with philosophy, but he came with an announcement of a message. He depended on God’s system of transcendent objective truth rather than man’s perspective approach to truth.
did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom
Paul did not come to Corinth with “excellence of speech or of wisdom.” “Excellence” carries the ideas of preeminence, rising above. Paul did not seek to rise above Corinthian culture by trying to outshine them with the rhetoric of philosophical display. All that appears impressive, but it is vacuous compared to God’s mighty revelation in the Bible.
declaring to you the testimony of God.
The word “declaring” means to announce, declare, make known, proclaim publicly, publish. A witness for Christ is to present the facts of the gospel stated in the Bible and his experience with those facts. A witness in court is not supposed to presume, speculate, or suppose. Paul witnessed the resurrection of Christ and the revelation of half the books of the New Testament. That is what he shared with the Corinthians. He did not speculate about philosophical theories about life. He came with the testimony of God and nothing more.
Focus on the facts of scripture gives stability to the Christian life.
Evangelicals today are impressed with the latest and greatest idea to come along. These new machinations always sound very impressive. Like a pendulum, these phases of philosophy come and go. Some evangelicals today buy into a philosophy whereby no one can know anything for sure (postmodernism).
The reason Christians buy into these philosophies is that they look at them through the eyes of their culture. Our culture is rift with relativism and pluralism. Culture blinds them to stark statements of scripture. They reinterpret and make scripture in the likeness of culture (deconstructing the Bible).
2 Co 4:2, But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
1 Ti 4:1-2, 13, 1Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, …. 13Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.