God’s Word of Wisdom
1 Corinthians 1:18-31: The wisdom and power of God sets up a dichotomy whereby the worldly standards of wisdom and power are rejected. Paul reminds the Corinthians of their own humble social status, and that God chooses what the world looks down on and reverses the social order (see 1 Samuel 2:1-10; Psalm 18:27; Luke 1:51-53; James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5-6).
Christ the Power and the Wisdom of God
18For the message about Christ’s death on the cross is nonsense to those who are being lost; but for us who are being saved it is God’s power. 19 The scripture says,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise
and set aside the understanding of the scholars.”
20 So then, where does that leave the wise? or the scholars? or the skillful debaters of this world? God has shown that this world’s wisdom is foolishness!
21 For God in his wisdom made it impossible for people to know him by means of their own wisdom. Instead, by means of the so-called “foolish” message we preach, God decided to save those who believe. 22Jews want miracles for proof, and Greeks look for wisdom. 23As for us, we proclaim the crucified Christ, a message that is offensive to the Jews and nonsense to the Gentiles; 24but for those whom God has called, both Jews and Gentiles, this message is Christ, who is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For what seems to be God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and what seems to be God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.
26Now remember what you were, my friends, when God called you. From the human point of view few of you were wise or powerful or of high social standing. 27God purposely chose what the world considers nonsense in order to shame the wise, and he chose what the world considers weak in order to shame the powerful. 28He chose what the world looks down on and despises and thinks is nothing, in order to destroy what the world thinks is important. 29This means that no one can boast in God’s presence. 30But God has brought you into union with Christ Jesus, and God has made Christ to be our wisdom. By him we are put right with God; we become God’s holy people and are set free. 31 So then, as the scripture says, “Whoever wants to boast must boast of what the Lord has done.”
Today’s Key Verse: 1 Corinthians 1:30a
God has brought you into union with Christ Jesus, and God has made Christ to be our wisdom.
Why does Paul say that Christ’s death on the cross is “God’s power” (verse 18)? What is the “foolish” message that Paul preaches (verse 21) and why does he say it is foolish? To whom is the message foolish? To whom is the message good news? Why does Paul say that Christ is our wisdom (verse 30)? Paul says that “whoever wants to boast must boast of what the Lord has done” (verse 31). What does this mean for you?
God of power and wisdom, remind me of all that you have done so that I may proclaim the good news of your salvation and boast about your wondrous deeds and gracious love. Keep me humble and faithful so that I glorify you in all I say and do. Amen.
1 Corinthians 2:1-16: Paul’s message centers around Christ crucified, and he contrasts the wisdom of the world with God’s “secret wisdom.”