World's Wisdom vs. God's Wisdom

"For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not
God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that
believe." 1 Corinthians 1:21

    Some in the church in Corinth were trying to make
the Gospel intellectually respectable. Their preoccupation with the
wisdom of this world made them sensitive to those aspects of the
Christian message which were offensive to the philosophers.

    There was no thought of their abandoning the
faith, only of redefining it so that it would be more palatable to the

    Paul came down hard on this attempt to marry the
world's wisdom to God's. He knew only too well that the achieving of
intellectual status would result in a loss of spiritual power.

    Let's face it! There is that about the Christian
message that is scandalous to Jews and foolish to Gentiles. And not
only that - most Christians are not what the world would call wise,
mighty or noble. Sooner or later we have to face up to the fact that
instead of belonging to the intelligentsia, we are foolish, weak, base,
despised - in fact, we are nobodies as far as the world is concerned.

    But the wonderful thing is that God uses that
message, which seems to be foolish, in saving those who believe. And
God uses non-persons like us to accomplish His purposes. In choosing
such unlikely instruments, He confounds all the pomp and pretension of
this world, eliminates any possibility of our boasting, and insures
that He alone gets the credit.

    This is not to say that there is no place for
scholarship. Of course there is. But unless that scholarship is
combined with deep spirituality, it becomes a deadening and dangerous
thing. When scholarship sits in judgment on the Word of God, claiming,
for instance, that some writers used more reliable sources than others,
it represents departure from the truth of God. And when we court the
approbation of scholars like that, we are vulnerable to all their

    Paul did not come to the Corinthians with
excellence of speech or of wisdom. He determined to know nothing among
them but Jesus Christ and Him crucified. He knew that power lay in the
simple, straightforward presentation of the Gospel, not in occupation
with knotty problems or unprofitable theories, or in the worship of