Summary: In today's lesson we learn that God's wisdom is superior to the world's wisdom.
We continue our study in The First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians in a series I am calling Challenges Christians Face.
One of the challenges that Christians face is a clear understanding that God’s wisdom is superior to the world’s wisdom. Let’s learn about this in a message I am calling, “Shun Worldly Wisdom.”
Let’s read 1 Corinthians 3:18-23:
18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” 20 and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” 21 So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. (1 Corinthians 3:18–23)
A story is told about a theological student who came to the great nineteenth century preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon one day. The student was very concerned that he could not understand the meaning of certain verses in the Bible.
Apparently, Spurgeon replied kindly but firmly, “Young man, allow me to give you this word of advice. Give the Lord credit for knowing things you don’t understand.”
We all struggle to understand certain verses or parts of the Bible, don’t we? And God’s wisdom is far superior to ours, isn’t it? Job said in Job 12:13, “With God are wisdom and might; he has counsel and understanding.”
When the Bible talks about wisdom it is talking about living in light of God’s truth. Wisdom is the “ability to judge correctly and to follow the best course of action, based on knowledge and understanding.” The apostle Paul declared that the message of the cross is foolishness to the Greeks and a stumbling block to the Jews. But to those who believe, said Paul, this “foolishness of God” is in fact “the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18–25).
Against the wisdom of God Paul contrasted “the wisdom of this world” (1:20; 3:19), “human wisdom” (2:4), “the wisdom of men” (2:5), “the wisdom of this age” (2:6), and “man’s wisdom” (2:13).
The biblical concept of wisdom, therefore, is quite different from the world’s view of wisdom, which sought through philosophy and human rational thought to determine the mysteries of existence and the universe. The first principle of biblical wisdom is that people should humble themselves before God in reverence and worship, obedient to his commands.
In the passage we are looking at today (3:18-23), the apostle Paul brings his first argument to a conclusion. He wants the Corinthian believers to understand that God’s wisdom is superior to the world’s wisdom.