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May 15, 2020

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Bible Gem 313 - Wisdom and Foolishness (1 Cor 1:17-25)

April 7, 2019


For Christ didn't send me to baptize, but to preach the Good News—and not with clever speech, for fear that the cross of Christ would lose its power. 

The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. 

As the Scriptures say, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent." 

So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world's brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. 

Since God in His wisdom saw to it that the world would never know Him through human wisdom, He has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. 

It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. 

So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it's all nonsense. 

But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 

This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God's weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength. (1 Cor 1:17-25)  



Wisdom and foolishness, set in counter position. The wisdom of man is foolishness to God. Of course the reverse is true too, Man perceives the wisdom of God as foolishness. At least those out in the world who choose not to believe the Bible. As an ex atheist I now look back and think of the theories I once espoused in my attempts to reject the wisdom of God. Utter foolishness. It takes far more blind faith to believe evolution and all of its derivatives than it does to accept the Word of God. I don’t intend to list all the outlandish schemas men have come up with to explain away God. It is crazyness! 


Take note of this segment in the verses above: “As the Scriptures say, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent." 

So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world's brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish.”


The Greco-Roman world was heavily focused on intellectual debates and “wisdom”. It is little wonder that Paul’s writings and preaching sparked debate. It seems many considered him to be “nothing”.  Yet others thought his ideas and teaching were heavy but his personal presence was disappointing. Isn’t interesting how we are perceived? One of the greatest minds and deepest writers in history yet there are those who would rubbish him in the name of “higher wisdom”. 


Allow me to add something at this point which is troubling me. Tania and I have been travelling around New Zealand at the moment meeting our supporters, old and new. There is a recurring refrain that keeps coming up – the emerging church. At first I thought they were taking about the church in the emerging, developing world. The fact that the church in developing countries it rising up and taking its rightful place in evangelism and missions. But no! They are referring to a new brand of nonsense. Of so called higher wisdom - Dumbing down Christianity to avoid offending people. Hey people, the gospel is offensive, full stop. Paul makes this comment a number of times in the Corinthian letters. We are the smell of death to some and life to others. People get offended by God’s free gift of grace. It has always been the case. But don’t stop offering it. It is the only way to be right with God. Grit it out and be what God wants you to be – a witness to His saving grace. 


I know this first hand. My father was a drunkard, an alcoholic. My growing years were not “nice”. My mother was a fine living woman and had high moral fibre. My father became a Christian and for a while my mother rejected the gospel because my father had accepted it. He knew he was a sinner. My mother found the notion abhorrent. She became angry at me, using my full name, including my middle name when she was mad at me. “Ian Warren Vail are you calling me a sinner just like your father”. “Yes mum. We all are.” That was Paul’s point in Romans 3.

Rom 3:10  As it is written, "Not even one person is righteous. 

Rom 3:22  . . .  For there is no distinction, 

Rom 3:23  since all have sinned.


I realise the need to be culturally sensitive and sensitive to where an individual is at. But one still has speak the truth and call sin “sin”. The good news can’t be the good news until the bad news is understood. That makes the good news even better. In my opinion the Emerging Church is the new nonsense. It surprises me how many are getting on board with it. I realise me making such comments will lose me readers or followers. Frankly, do you think I care. Not one jot or tittle. The truth is the truth. Man’s wisdom or God’s foolishness – which will you choose?



Never quarrel with a fool. It lowers you to their level & the people listening may not be able to tell the difference!


Never quarrel with a fool. They will bring your down to their level and then beat you with experience.  


Wisdom is knowing the right thing to do. Character is doing it when you don’t feel like it. Rick Warren


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