1 Corinthians Chapter 1: God’s Wisdom and the Crucified Christ
Key verses: (1 Corinthians 1:22–31)
22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
26 Brothers and sisters, 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. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things — and the things that are not — to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him.30 It 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. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
Most of the inhabitants of Corinth were focused on self, not on spiritual matters. They relied on their own knowledge and wisdom. not on divine wisdom. The Jews sought supernatural signs from God, while the Greeks greatly valued intellectual knowledge and wisdom.
Paul emphasized in this letter to the Corinthians that man’s way of thinking did not correspond well to God’s way of thinking. The Christians of the time had a much simpler message: that the only true sign and the only true wisdom were personified in Christ and His resurrection.
In this passage, Paul is driving home the concept that man’s wisdom is inferior to God’s in the poetic words of verse 25: “The foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.”
He then reminds the newly formed Christian community that not many of them were wise even by human standards (v. 26). God did not call to salvation many who were wise, noble and strong by worldly standards but instead often called those who were foolish, weak and common, who trusted in Jesus as their Savior and Lord.
A Moment to Reflect:
Your own salvation may have come over an extended period of time during which you were struggling and seeking answers to questions about the meaning and purpose of your life. Or perhaps it came more spontaneously as you realized God’s amazing grace in your life at a time of personal crisis. In any event, my guess is that it didn’t come as a result of your own satisfaction with your personal wisdom, strength or success. In that context, does Paul’s message to the Corinthians resonate with you?