God’s Wisdom for Man’s Folly

MEMORY VERSE: “The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” —I Corinthians 1:18


THE caption of our lesson is meaningful in that it contrasts the importance of the wisdom which comes from God, through his Word, with the folly of human wisdom. This implies that human wisdom has no value in the spiritual life of those who are endeavoring to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Human wisdom is important in the fields of human endeavor, but is of little or no help in seeking the will of God, and in doing that will.

A college degree today does not help one to understand the divine plan of salvation as centered in Christ. It frequently leads away from faith in God and in his Word, however much it might help one to find his way in the jungle of today’s business world. A college education is not needed to understand the plan and will of the Lord, for the Author of the divine plan has purposely made it simple, and within the mental grasp of the uneducated. Besides, the simplicity of the Gospel, when understood, gives it a luster and beauty which worldly wisdom cannot match.

Our memory verse expresses a great truth, but to understand the extent to which the preaching of the cross of Christ seemed foolishness to those in Paul’s day who thought they possessed an abundance of wisdom one needs merely to remember that crucifixion at that time was considered to be only for vile criminals. So for one to profess their main theme as being that fact that their leader had been put to death by crucifixion would indeed seem like foolishness.

Certainly the wise of this world would not be able to understand how death by crucifixion would specially qualify one to be a leader among men. Thus “the wisdom of the wise” of Paul’s day would be blinded to the real truth of the Gospel. How true is Paul’s summary, which he introduced (vs. 19) by a quotation from the thought expressed in Isaiah 29:14: “For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”

Then Paul continues, “Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” (vs. 20) There were many in Paul’s day who considered themselves wise—some of them even mingling with the brethren. There are still many such in the world; so Paul did not mean that God suddenly destroyed, worldwide, and for all time, the false conception of true wisdom. But his plan of salvation through the crucified Christ calls for this destruction, and for the ultimate filling of the earth with a true knowledge of God. Then all will know the Lord, from the least to the greatest.

It is the purpose of what Paul ironically describes as “the foolishness of preaching” to acquaint those who have faith in him, and put their trust in him, with a knowledge that salvation is attained only through the crucified Christ. But human wisdom cannot understand this. The cross of Christ to the worldly-wise seems more like death than life. But how simple is the doctrine of redemption through the death and resurrection of Jesus! “But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ [is] the power of God, and the wisdom of God.”—vs. 24


The true wisdom of God is revealed by his Spirit, which inspired the writers of the Bible to record the Creator’s grand design for the blessing of all the families of the earth. Man, with all his vaunted wisdom, has never been able to know about the things which God prepared for those who love him, whether in this age or in the next age. He can use only his own thoughts, while the thoughts of God, revealed by his Spirit, remain hidden from him. Man’s knowledge of electronics will not help him to know the plan of God.

To know God’s plan one must humbly realize his own ignorance of the things contained in the mind of God, and be willing to have the things of God revealed to him in God’s own way. Paul observes, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God.”


Is worldly wisdom any aid in the understanding of the plan of God?

How can we know the things which God has prepared for us?

Dawn Bible Students Association
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