Summary: The true condition of the Corinthian believers was that they were still engrossed with human, earthly wisdom. We can spend a lifetime accumulating human knowledge and still not learn how to have a personal relationship with God.
THOUGHTS ABOUT THE PASSAGE:
Knowledge is exploding at such a rate—more than 2000 pages a minute—that even Einstein couldn’t keep up. In fact, if you read 24 hours a day, from age 21 to 70, and retained all you read, you would be one and a half million years behind when you finished. How can it be, in a world where half the things a man knows at 20 are no longer true at 40—and half the things he knows at 40 hadn’t been discovered when he was 20? (Campus Life, Feb., 1979).
It is interesting to see how Paul approached this problem of division in the church. First, he pointed to the unity of Christ: there is one Saviour and one body. Then he reminded them of their baptism, a picture of their spiritual baptism into Christ’s body (v. 17). The true condition of the Corinthian believers was that they were still engrossed with human, earthly wisdom. We can spend a lifetime accumulating human knowledge and still not learn how to have a personal relationship with God. The content of Paul’s message in this letter was the good news of Jesus Christ, thought to be foolish because they were perpetually looking for some material sign. Many Greeks earnestly sought after wisdom through reasoning that would appeal to the intellect.
Paul illustrates his point by using an illustration from Isa. 24:19. The great stress in these verses is upon the activity of God. The emphasis of the Apostle here is not upon the act of preaching but upon the content of preaching. The message of Christ’s death for sins sounds foolish to those who don’t believe. Death seems like the end of the road. However, Jesus did not stay dead. His resurrection demonstrated his power even over death. This sounds so simple that many people refuse to accept it. However, the people who simply accept Christ are actually the wisest of all because they alone will live in eternity. Because the Jews were looking for power and great glory, they stumbled at the weakness of the cross. Rather than a testimony of weakness, the cross is a tremendous instrument of power! After all, the “weakness of God” (in the cross) is stronger than men (v. 25).
Paul declares that no amount of human knowledge can replace Christ’s work on the cross. Lord help me to always trust in you and not in my own knowledge about you.