March 19, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.’ Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.”—1 Corinthians 1:19–21 (NIV)
Have you ever met someone that you’d describe as a know-it-all—someone who seems to have an answer or explanation for everything . . . all the time! Oh, and they have a tendency to disagree whenever they’re incorrect! Well, today’s passage of Scripture addresses the heart behind wisdom and intelligence in light of the gospel.
You would think that having knowledge of everything in the universe, both seen and unseen, would make you worth knowing. However, for most of us, the opposite is true when meeting a know-it-all. Why? Well for starters, we know this person doesn’t know everything, even if they know a lot. Next, there tends to be a certain tone of condescension to their all knowingness. Finally, they typically refuse to listen to any knowledge or wisdom that refutes their own.
So, why is Paul calling out the philosophers, the teachers of the law, or any wise person here? Well, these are the individuals to whom society tends to depend on regarding matters of religion, romance, politics, and life in general. They are praised for being “wise and Intelligent,” but are more often than not the most avid deniers of the gospel message.
There’s a sense of pride that comes with having knowledge and being regarded as intelligent by others. We’re all susceptible to the lure of wanting to be “all-knowledgeable.” Read Genesis 3 and take a look at original sin in the Garden of Eden. Satan deceived Adam and Eve about the truth behind the command God had given them.
Sometimes, the simplest truths are the hardest to accept and the biggest lies are the easiest to believe. One of the simplest and most condensed forms of truth comes in John 3:16 (NIV), which says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”.
God loves YOU!
The entire Bible is filled with this simple truth, and yet worldly wisdom comes up with a million reasons as to why you shouldn’t believe it. It’s tragic to believe that someone could amass so much knowledge and yet never understand the simple truth that God loves them. The gospel has always been and will always be the truth about how God loves you and made a way for you to be restored and reconciled through a relationship with Him.
Pause: Consider any areas in your mind or in your heart that refuse the simple truth that God loves you.
Practice: Read John 3:16 replacing the words “the world” with your name.
Pray: God, I pray You would help me to accept Your love for me. Help me to embrace the knowledge and wisdom of Your Word and the gospel message; to know that the gospel is Your power to save me and it’s Your wisdom and intelligence by design. Amen.
John Madge has been on staff with Calvary for over 4 years, serving as the Digital Systems Manager in the Communications Department. In 2019, he went on his first mission trip with Calvary Chapel to Hungary in order to support local missionaries and churches and share the gospel with locals. John enjoys living an active lifestyle through sports, fitness, and the occasional Zumba class. He has a deep desire for others to know the love of God in Christ Jesus and is a huge mental health advocate. He also hopes to be fluent in Spanish one day.