Paul. What a guy. I stand in awe of the kind of thinking and experience that leads to this kind of statement:
…my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:4,5, ESV)
I wonder how long it took him to learn to say that and mean it. He was clever enough that he could have used the plausible words of wisdom of the philosophers of his day. But instead of fabulous rhetorical techniques he had learned to use simple speech. Instead of adapting and ‘improving’ the message’, he just delivered what he was given.
I find this to be so counter-cultural. So against the grain. So much so that it would be easy to dismiss: ‘Ah, but Paul, if you were in my situation…’ etc etc.
Paul had learned that the heart of man will run after all kinds of impressive things. Paul feared that people would trust him. He may even have feared that he might want people to trust him!
True saving faith has God and his work as the object.
So Paul, though in the forefront of proclamation, paradoxically, must be in the background. Surely, only God can do this in a preacher.