Power versus Talk

I was just doing my devotions and part of my annual Bible reading plan had me in 1 Corinthians and I stumbled across this lovely verse:
For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. ( 1 Cor. 4:20 )
Now was mildly stumped by this verse at first. What is this power that Paul is speaking of as he describes the kingdom of God? It seemed somewhat intangible and mystical to me. Thus, with my interest in this verse that I wanted to understand further, I looked to one of the best Bible commentators of all time: John Calvin. He had this to say about this verse:
We have already seen that the preaching of the gospel is of such a nature, that it is inwardly replete with a kind of solid majesty. This majesty shows itself, when a minister strives by means of power rather than of speech — that is, when he does not place confidence in his own intellect, or eloquence, but, furnished with spiritual armor, consisting of zeal for maintaining the Lord’s honor — eagerness for the raising up of Christ’s kingdom — a desire to edify — the fear of the Lord — an invincible constancy — purity of conscience, and other necessary endowments, he applies himself diligently to the Lord’s work. Without this, preaching is dead, and has no strength, with whatever beauty it may be adorned.
Preaching is dead without the power of God. The eloquent orators that frequented Corinth and their skill in public speaking and prose was not the chief characteristic that those with the Gospel were to display, indeed Paul and his fellow workers in most cases were not majestic in their words. Paul notes the chief characteristic of the kingdom of God: power. It is not of well-spoken preachers, but of the very power that God manifests as the Gospel spreads and bears fruit.

This is of particular importance to me I reckon. I will be preaching in a few weeks at my own church and as a first-timer, well, I really needed to hear this.

Preachers, speak not in the power of your words! Do not think the kingdom of God will spread by your fanciful talk! It indeed only spreads and has been furthered by the very power of God, not man. That is what I am telling myself, I hope it might be an accurate, Biblical, and helpful reminder to you who do preach.

1 comment:

  1. So true Trevor, so true. May we all strive to let our words be yet another vessel to convey what our actions are already telling the world!