PLUS Resource: 6 Prayers for When You Are Fighting Anxiety

1 Corinthians 1

SUMMARY.--Greetings to the Church. Thanksgiving for the Grace of God. An Exhortation to Unity. Schisms Rebuked. The Sin of Honoring Human Leaders Instead of Christ. The Preaching of the Cross the Power of God to Salvation. Not the Worldly Wise and Proud, but the Humble and Lowly Converted.

      18-21. The preaching of the cross. The gospel of a Crucified Savior. To them that perish. Those who are unregenerate. Is foolishness. The Greek philosopher and the Jewish scribe scoffed at the thought of a Savior who had been crucified. They held that his crucifixion proved that he was not divine. Unto us who are saved. There are two sections of mankind--the unsaved and the saved. To the first, the cross is folly; to the second, the gospel of the Crucified One comes as the power of God. See Rom. 1:16 . To the unsaved, the cross is a pillar of cloud; to the saved, a pillar of light. 19. I will destroy the wisdom of the wise ( Isa. 29:14 ). By turning to the passage in Isaiah, its meaning is clear. God will put aside the wisdom and understanding of men; these will not save; but he will save by what the world called foolishness. 20. Where is the wise? The Greek philosophers. In Greek, the term "philosopher" means a lover of wisdom. The scribe? The scribes were the Jewish learned class. The disputer? etc. Probably the Greek teachers who "disputed daily" in the public places. Hath not God made foolish? etc. All their worldly wisdom is excluded from the gospel. 21. For . . . knew not God. Worldly wisdom did not search out the true God. Intellectual speculation had done its utmost, and failed. Hence it was rejected, and the Divine Wisdom chose by the foolishness of preaching to save, etc. That is, by preaching what the wise and puffed up of the this world called foolishness. They called the gospel foolishness.

      22-25. For the Jews require a sign. Not merely miracles, such as the apostles worked, but a sign from heaven ( Matt. 12:38 ). They said, "Let Christ come down from heaven, if he be risen." And the Greeks seek after wisdom. While the Jews asked for a sign from heaven, the Greeks demanded a well-argued system of philosophy ( Acts 17:18 ). 23. But we preach Christ crucified. Not merely Christ, but Christ Crucified; a Crucified Savior. Unto the Jews a stumbling-block. Because they had an entirely different conception of the Christ. Yet it was predicted that he should be "a stone of stumbling" ( Matt. 21:42 ). Unto the Greeks foolishness. It seemed to the Greeks that a being who died so ignominious a death could not be divine. 24. But to them which are called. But to those who obey the gospel call, whether Jews or Gentiles, the Crucified Christ is found to be the power of God, and the wisdom of God. The gospel not only is found to be mighty, but wise in meeting the wants of the soul. 25. The foolishness of God. In one thing that men call foolishness, in Christ Crucified, there is greater wisdom than in all the philosophers, and though it seemed weakness of God to let Christ be crucified, yet the Crucified Savior is mightier than all the strength of men. If folly and weakness be of God, these will be wiser and stronger than men.

      26-31. Not many wise men after the flesh. Paul now shows the weakness of the human instrumentality chosen to convert the world; not those the world called wise, not the mighty, not the noble, yet the work was moving on with wonderful power. 27. But God hath chosen the foolish things. Men whom the world would call foolish, with a gospel that it called foolishness; yet these "confounded the wise" and upturned the world's philosophies. 28. Base things. Those of lowly birth. Things which are not. People that the world would call "nobodies," and things that it counts as nothing. These are chosen to bring to nought things that are; the existing state of things; the pagan religions, governments, and civilization; these were to be overthrown through the influence of the gospel. 29. That no flesh should glory, etc. That it should be shown that the power was of God. 30. Who of God is made unto us wisdom. "Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God" ( verse 24 ), is wisdom to us. And righteousness. In him we are made righteous, and obtain sanctification and redemption. Christ is all of these to us. 31. He that glorieth, etc. ( Jer. 9:23 ). As Christ is our all, imparts every grace that we enjoy, and bestows every blessing, there is no ground for glorying in Paul, Apollos or Cephas, but in the Lord alone.

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