As Paul explains how the Corinthian church’s misunderstanding of the Christian message is the source of their dissension, he engages four arguments. In his fourth argument in verses 6-16 of chapter 2, he discusses how the Holy Spirit is the agent who makes the message of the cross acceptable to human beings; that natural men cannot receive it by natural means, so they should not expect a perfectly crafted sermon to have any power in and of itself. If the Holy Spirit is the agent of regeneration through the message preached, then what does it matter who the person is who delivers that message.
As we come to the last three verses of his fourth argument, we again come to a portion of Scripture that has been misunderstood and misused by some in the church. But the point of the argument in this text is that those “without the Spirit,” are so dead, that unless the Holy Spirit does an antecedent work in their heart, they are completely unable to understand or receive spiritual things, and it is foolish to think that any argument can bring them to faith. How humbling to know that our minds are so incapable of grasping the Gospel, and that the only reason we can and do is because we have been given the mind of Christ!