Stumblingblocks& Foolishness (1 Cor 1:20-29)

20  Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom;
23 but we preach  Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness,
24 but to those who are the 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 consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;
27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,
28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are,
29 so that no man may boast before God.

1 Corinthians 1:20-29 (NASB)


Here we have a discourse on the qualitative difference between human knowing and God’s way views things.

Corinth was a seaport in southern Greece on the gulf of Corinth. Believers three were strongly influenced by both Jewish and Greek cultures.

A key segment here is verses 22 and 23:

22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom;
23 but we preach  Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness,


When Jesus came, the Jews were expecting for a sign. The sign they were asking for was a conquering messiah to free them from foreign rule.

But, instead of a mighty King, Jesus came as a humble servant to teach men by example and died an ‘ignoble’ death on the cross. This made the acceptance of the Gospel problematical to many Jews (a stumbling block).

The Greeks loved philosophical discussions, particularly about the natural world (math, animal classification, etc.) and philosophies. Winning an argument by intricate logic was their view of victory. But most of the ‘arguments’ concerning Jesus as messiah came from the Jewish culture and seemed irrelevant to their discussions.

The Corinthians are known to have been argumentative (Greek influence). I can imagine them getting heated, particularly with Jews mixing with Greeks.

Paul pointed out to the Corinthians that both approaches miss the point. The central point of Christianity is the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. Until that truth is accepted, neither the Jewish approach nor the Greek approach is likely to bring one to salvation.

But, once one has a personal relationship with Christ, the stumbling block becomes a steppingstone leading to Christ, and the examination of nature becomes a study of God’s creation.
 

CPerkins

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There are many lessons that can be earned in this particular passage of scripture. Another lesson is, we are taught that there is a clear difference between the understanding that comes from God and the understanding that the Greeks built. One puffs up and the other edifies which can seem foolish to the world as we grow in the understanding that comes from God.
 
I absolutely love this post in its entirety and appreciate the message in this statement:

The Greeks loved philosophical discussions, particularly about the natural world (math, animal classification, etc.) and philosophies. Winning an argument by intricate logic was their view of victory.

Remembering also that Scribes, along with the Pharisees, were
present at the attempt to stone the adulteress. Scribes were to be
accurate in their transcribing of historical events and laws. Yet,
they omitted that both the adulterer and adulteress were to be stoned.
How many times do I omit something in order for my case to look
more convicting?

There lies the importance of just letting Jesus do His work and I stick
to accuracy in my own life for His glory. I judge you and you judge me
at our respective peril. Individual relationship, individual relationship.

Thank you, Siloam!
 
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There are many lessons that can be earned in this particular passage of scripture. Another lesson is, we are taught that there is a clear difference between the understanding that comes from God and the understanding that the Greeks built. One puffs up and the other edifies which can seem foolish to the world as we grow in the understanding that comes from God.

I would not call modern research, which stemmed from Greek thought as puffing ones self up (although many who try to wring funding are self-important) so much as narrow in their views.

Modern research is mostly very reductive. There is a saying that the sciences learn more and more about less and less until the expert is one who knows absolutely everything about absolutely nothing. What is missing is that the believers in the sciences are reluctant to express what the things of creation tell us about the creator. The faith world then regards the pronouncements of the sciences as humanistic. I understand how this occurs. It is not that the sciences are humanistic (they are studies of the world the Lord made) but our descriptions of it and the application we draw.

But this passage also addresses the faith community (Jews requiring or asking for a sign). I see a reflection of this in our faith community today. We look for the second coming. In some churches there are few sermons that preach about Christians in the world today in any manner other than what signs we should note that heralds the return of Christ. There seems to always be a local Bible study on Jeremiah or Daniel or Revelation or on the Rapture.

The problem is not the doctrine of the Second Coming, any more than the problem with the sciences is they are inherently man centered. But we have been in the end times since Pentecost (or, at least since the canon of Scripture was established). Believers since that time always have believed that the return is immanent, meaning withing the lives of those then living.

What is missing in both cases is Christ crucified and raised. What that means for us where God placed us in the time and place we find ourselves. How do we live the love that Paul was advocating to the Corinthians.
 
I would not call modern research, which stemmed from Greek thought as puffing ones self up (although many who try to wring funding are self-important) so much as narrow in their views.

Modern research is mostly very reductive. There is a saying that the sciences learn more and more about less and less until the expert is one who knows absolutely everything about absolutely nothing. What is missing is that the believers in the sciences are reluctant to express what the things of creation tell us about the creator. The faith world then regards the pronouncements of the sciences as humanistic. I understand how this occurs. It is not that the sciences are humanistic (they are studies of the world the Lord made) but our descriptions of it and the application we draw.

But this passage also addresses the faith community (Jews requiring or asking for a sign). I see a reflection of this in our faith community today. We look for the second coming. In some churches there are few sermons that preach about Christians in the world today in any manner other than what signs we should note that heralds the return of Christ. There seems to always be a local Bible study on Jeremiah or Daniel or Revelation or on the Rapture.

The problem is not the doctrine of the Second Coming, any more than the problem with the sciences is they are inherently man centered. But we have been in the end times since Pentecost (or, at least since the canon of Scripture was established). Believers since that time always have believed that the return is immanent, meaning withing the lives of those then living.

What is missing in both cases is Christ crucified and raised. What that means for us where God placed us in the time and place we find ourselves. How do we live the love that Paul was advocating to the Corinthians.
For anyone who reads this thoughtfully there is a lot of wisdom packed into your post. Very nice!
 

CPerkins

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Senior Moderator
I would not call modern research, which stemmed from Greek thought as puffing ones self up (although many who try to wring funding are self-important) so much as narrow in their views.

Modern research is mostly very reductive. There is a saying that the sciences learn more and more about less and less until the expert is one who knows absolutely everything about absolutely nothing. What is missing is that the believers in the sciences are reluctant to express what the things of creation tell us about the creator. The faith world then regards the pronouncements of the sciences as humanistic. I understand how this occurs. It is not that the sciences are humanistic (they are studies of the world the Lord made) but our descriptions of it and the application we draw.


1 cor 8:1 Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. (KJV)

The highly educated can begin to see themselves as very important (puffing). Knowledge is not bad in and of itself, it's how it's used. Just as alcohol and other things are not bad of themselves, but misused as in excessive drinking then it is bad.

Ps 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever. (KJV) Here fear of the Lord is tied to the application of the ten commandments (which speak of love). This fear leads to wisdom which is built on knowledge. This only a clue to Godly wisdom or understanding which can be better understood as one investigates further.

Exercising love Paul tells us in 1 Cor 8:1 edifies those around us. Applying what we learn in God's word we can edify, build up those around us.

The knowledge of men tends toward puffing up. The knowledge of God's word can puff up. It is the application of that knowledge, humility as we recognize the source of all knowledge and the spirit we approach all things in.
 
Puffing ones self up of the educated (and often the less educated) happens across all areas of knowledge, including areas of faith. It is not so much a matter of what the subject is, or how much is correctly of incorrectly known. When we see ourselves as an authority rather than a brother willing to share knowledge we cross the line and become lovers of our own understanding.
 
Puffing ones self up of the educated (and often the less educated) happens across all areas of knowledge, including areas of faith. It is not so much a matter of what the subject is, or how much is correctly of incorrectly known. When we see ourselves as an authority rather than a brother willing to share knowledge we cross the line and become lovers of our own understanding.
BOOM! Sticky this somewhere. Love it, brother.
 
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