Wisdom of the world

Reading through First Corinthians today…did an exercise with a class I teach. We examined this passage.

18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”[c]
20Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.
26Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before him. 30It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”[

It is amazing how often in these few verses Paul alludes to ‘wisdom’ and foolishness’. Almost every verse.
It is also clear that he is quite disparaging about the wisdom of the world, even though at one point he may have even quoted Plato.

How does this stack up with us in our efforts to become ‘all things to all people’. What I am thinking about in my mind is this…. do we sometimes pander to how people in society think in our mission and church endevours?

I am not having a go at churches here….at all…..just musing through some things.

At some point….the truth that true wisdom is found in Christianity and Christ….and what appears to be wisdom to the world….is very often said to be foolishness…needs to be said. Obviously grace, love, community, service and kindness are the most important things to display…….but then so is true wisdom.

One thought on “Wisdom of the world”

  1. Hi Mark, agree totally. We need to communicate the message as clearly and meaningfully (for the listener) as we can – and demonstrate it – but at the end of the day people will get offended by it. It is offensive by its nature.

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