Devotional/Reflection: Having implored the Corinthian church to agree with one another in verses 10-17, Paul now clarifies that which is central to their unity–the cross of Christ. He warns them against the wisdom of the world, a wisdom which leads only to death. We are constantly bombarded in our culture with worldly wisdom. We are told what to think, what to believe, how to live, and more, and we are confronted with this worldly wisdom in every imaginable way–movies, Facebook, radio, commercials, and books. Some Christians feel the pressure and want to hide away from the world; but Paul and the rest of Scripture doesn’t allow for this option. We need to be familiar with the wisdom of the world so we can make refute it, correct it, and make sure we don’t fall into it ourselves. Despite the alarming number of different philosophies proliferated in our culture, there is one problem at the heart of them all–they cannot deal with the problem of sin and our separation from God. Only one thing can deal with the problem of sin, and that is the cross of Christ. But the cross is folly to a world obsessed with celebrity and self-worship. The idea today, just as it was for Paul’s audience, that God would take on human flesh so that he could die, was not only unattractive, it was utterly foolish. And those of us who proclaim this message will likely be considered foolish, too. Consequently, many try to make the gospel more palatable; they try to make it more acceptable. But Paul’s point is precisely that the gospel isn’t merely acceptable; it is a polarizing message; it shouldn’t be easily acceptable, for an easily acceptable “fix” looks nothing like what Jesus did to eradicate sin, conquer death, and make a way for us to dwell in the presence of God. In the wisdom of God, it pleased God to bring about salvation through His foolishness–and if the foolishness of God is how He chooses to save us, I’ll gladly bear the name without shame.
- Describe a time when someone thought you were foolish because of your faith in Christ. How did you respond?
- Read Isaiah 29 and discuss why Paul might choose verse 14 from that passage to support his point.
- What are some examples of the wisdom of the world? In what ways has God made this wisdom foolish?
- What are your stumbling blocks to fully believing and living out the gospel?
- What does Paul mean by speaking of the weakness and foolishness of God?
Scripture Memory: “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”–1 Corinthians 1:18