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Read Introduction to 1 Corinthians


2 “You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led. 3Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.”



You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols,

Many Corinthians were Gentiles (non-Jews) who believed in the mystery religions and pagan cults. The living God can speak, but “dumb” (speechless) idols cannot speak. As non-Christians, they were “carried away” to lifeless idols; that is, Satan held them captive to these idols by subjective and ecstatic means. Most people are suckers for religion. Satan carried them away by distorted religious ecstasy because they did not have propositions of the Word of God.

however you were led.

We can paraphrase the Greek of this phrase as “however you happen to be led.” On occasion, heathen oracles led at random without any controlling principle those who bowed to them. Rejection of revelation and acceptance of ecstasy put them into a subjectively random place without principle. Satan led them by a power foreign to their own objective determination. They permitted themselves to be led in a self-abandoned manner without the Word of God.



The “therefore” links “together (1) carried away” to ecstatic idolatry and (2) “led” by Satan without the will of the individual (by ecstasy). It also introduces two conclusions, one negative and the other positive.

I make known to you

The idea here is that Paul causes the Corinthians to recognize objective biblical truth on this issue. Objective truth always displaces ecstasy.

that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed,

Ecstatic utterances do not point to spirituality. Evidently, some of the Corinthians thought that if they spoke in ecstatic utterances, then that was spiritual. A test of spirituality is our view of Jesus. Anyone who condemns (“accursed”) Jesus leaves the heart and essence of Christianity. The idea of “accursed” is that Jesus was a malefactor or one justly condemned to death. The particular false doctrine here may have been Gnosticism. One view of Gnosticism believed that the physical body was evil. Since Jesus had a physical body, He was evil and accursed. John wrote First John against this error. Other New Testament books warn of this error as well.

and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.

No one can claim, “Jesus is Lord” except under the power of the Holy Spirit. To say that Jesus is “Lord” is to say that He is God. He was both truly God and a perfect man. No one can say that Jesus is Lord except through the instrumentality of the Holy Spirit. The word “by” is literally in; the Holy Spirit is the controlling agent. It is the role of the Holy Spirit to glorify or reveal Jesus.

Jn 16:13-14, 13However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.

Mt 7;21, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven


Spirituality originates in the Holy Spirit’s revelation of propositional truths and not in an ecstatic experience.


Christians need to beware of false, subjective spirituality. It is easy to haul our past subjective spirituality before becoming Christians into our view of spirituality as Christians. One criterion that will save us is the unmistakable objective mark that Jesus is Lord. If we distort the person and work of Christ, we distort Christianity.

Ignorance of extant, objective truth will put believers in a bad place spiritually. Any teaching that makes us (1) overly introspectively navel-gazing of the self or (2) passively and subjectively open to any teaching will put us in a seriously negative place spiritually. Objective truth always counters the subjective influences of the ecstatic idols of our day.