How can finite human beings communicate and have a relationship with an infinite being?
For me, I Corinthians 2 is a chapter about rich communication to establish a personal relationship—how God, who is not bounded by time or space or a human brain, can communicate with each one of us in a personal, profound and spiritual way through the Holy Spirit who is part of God’s being.
When we accept Christ’s love and forgiveness, we receive God’s Spirit in us. The communication can begin between our spirit that knows our thoughts and the Spirit of God that knows God’s thoughts. God set up this communication between Him and us to be personal and unique for each of us without the need for an interpreter.
To put this in perspective and allow this profound truth the impact it deserves, I think about how limited and frustrating human communication can be. For example, in conversations with others in the English language, I recall many miscommunications because I did not hear or understand each spoken word or understand the intended communications. As the listener, I drew conclusions about the speaker’s thoughts without further inquiry or comment and many times I was wrong. When the conclusions were wrong, the speaker became frustrated or upset. So too as a speaker, I found it frustrating when a listener told me what the listener believed I was thinking and yet was completely off the mark.
Consider how complicated our deep understanding of others can be when multiple languages are involved in the communication. In the same example, I thought I understood the person speaking another language without the need for an interpreter only for me to realize that one word I misheard had changed the entire message. Or consider with an interpreter there can be inherent language differences that do not translate well.
Human communications can be hurtful even between two like-minded people communicating in the same language. But, for spiritual communications, God established a method for intimate, constant relationship-building communication between two radically different beings when He set up the spiritual communication between Himself and each of us. With this method, God’s Spirit communicates directly and personally to our own spirit using spiritual words that our own spirit uniquely understands because of who we are and how God wired us. God’s Spirit communicates truths about God and knows what words to say to each of us personally. How awesome and magnificent God is to open up this path of communication to each of us!
By the power of God’s Spirit in us, we not only understand the spiritual communication from God but we are also given the understanding and words to use when we communicate with others. Paul relied on the Holy Spirit to know when to use plain words or persuasive speech or to speak with words of wisdom. Paul also modeled for us how to present the gospel when we are in a weak human condition to allow the Holy Spirit to show God’s power in him.
Our human intellect cannot discern spiritual matters except through the illumination we receive from the Holy Spirit’s communication with our spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, none of us would be able to comprehend the truth of God. Each of us, in turn, can show how we are illuminated by God’s Spirit and trust that the words we use from God’s Spirit will truly communicate with others.