OceanSide church of Christ
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GIVE AN ANSWER
I Corinthians 2:9, Inspiration, not Heaven
Victor M. Eskew
Those who attend funeral services hear many sections of Scripture repeated at different funerals. One familiar text is I Corinthians 2:9. “But as it is written, 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.” Those who use this text at a funeral apply it to the beauties and splendor that we will one day see in heaven.
Those who apply this text to heaven have inappropriately pulled the passage from its context. In the verse that follows I Corinthians 2:9, Paul states that the things that were unknown are now revealed. “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit…” (I Cor. 2:10). This text has absolutely nothing to do with heaven; it has everything to do with the revelation of God’s divine will to man.
Prior to the first century, man had only the Old Testament. The plan of God to redeem man and how that would be accomplished was not fully revealed in the Old Law. There were hints, and shadows, and prophecies about that which was to come, but the plan was a mystery to man. At that time, eye had not seen and ear had not heard and the heart of man did not know the things God had prepared for them that love him (I Cor. 2:9). God, however, did not intend for the mystery to remain concealed forever. The New Testament of Jesus Christ unlocked the mystery to mankind. Some have said that the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. The process whereby this was accomplished involved what is known as “inspiration.”
In I Corinthians 2:9-13, Paul reveals to us the “how” of inspiration, how that which was formerly unknown was made known. “But God hath revealed them (the unknown things of verse 9) unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the Spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (I Cor. 2:10-13).
Each of us should rejoice because we have God’s complete revelation in hand. The mystery of God has been revealed to us by His Spirit, and it is recorded for us in the New Testament of Jesus Christ. Truly, we have been blessed!