Summary: a study of the book of 1st Corinthians chapter 1 verses 18 through 31
1 Corinthians 1: 18 – 31
It’s God’s Way, Or No Way
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” 20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence. 30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— 31 that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.”
So to begin our study let me start off by telling a joke. Are you kidding me?
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
So how do all current Preachers feel by starting off with jokes? Paul tells us all the importance of the position of the man who should just teach ‘The word of the cross.’ This contrasts with the ‘wisdom of word’. The latter signifies an emphasis on wisdom, revealed in many ways, in many forms, and made effective through the speaking of words, mere words. But the former has in mind only one word, a unique word, a powerful word, God’s word, in one sense spoken before the foundation of the world, but finally spoken through God’s unique act in the crucifixion of His Christ. The emphasis is on God’s own word, made effective through the cross. Through it God Who had already spoken in eternity, had acted and was bringing about His final purpose. Wisdom has its usefulness and its value, but before wisdom was the word. ‘In the beginning was the Word’, when God spoke through His Word and it was done. It is only His word that has effective power. His word was spoken at the beginning of creation, and now God has spoken again to bring about His new creation through the most amazing word from God that the world has ever seen.
Paul will say in chapter 2 verse 2 that all he cares about is ‘I determined to know nothing among you but Jesus Christ, and Him crucified’. For man to try to improve on it by entertainment is ridiculous. I truly pray for all the popular TV personalities that they ‘understand’ this important and vital truth. Many measure their success and riches to believe that they are in the right. The taking of a personal inventory is the ultimate benefit for their eternal well being.
Our Holy God takes weak and what appears to be foolish men to offer hope to the world – not the ‘Joe Cool’ teachers. Through their words all the divine power would be unleashed. As Paul says elsewhere in the book of 2 Corinthians chapter 5 verse 19, ‘All things are of God Who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation, to wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not reckoning their trespasses unto them, and having committed to us the word of reconciliation’
The word of the cross is the word of reconciliation with God, sent out by God and spoken by God, and brought about through what Christ has done in bearing our sin, and offered through the mouths of His people. That is why Paul will later say in chapter 5 verse 7, is expressed in terms of Christ as the Passover Lamb sacrificed for us, foreshadowed so long before, and now covering us with His shed blood that we may partake of Him; in terms of ‘the Lord Jesus’ as the One Who has replaced the old covenant and has sealed the new covenant with His shed blood; in terms of Christ as the One Who died for our sins, was buried and was raised again on the third day, and we are reminded that we are ‘bought with a price’ and are thus His, and that we are ‘washed, that is, made holy and declared to be in the right’ in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the word of salvation.