Faith In First Corinthians, Part 3: It’s Not the Preacher’s Ability that Saves, It’s the Power of God By The Preaching of The Cross To Those Who are Being Saved:Volume 5, Number 44
Created Date: July 19, 2022
Posted Date: July 19, 2022
In Part 1 (V5-N42) we noted that the preaching of the cross is foolishness to those who are lost in their sins and bound for hell, but it is the power of God to those who are being saved,. Paul then asks rhetorically: “Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” and he answers “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” . That study also noted the Greek Word translated “foolishness” in both verse 18 and 21 is mori’a (G3372 or G3472), found only 5 times in the NT, all in the first 3 chapters of 1 Corinthians; defined as “foolishness, silliness, absurdity.” It’s worthwhile to read carefully each verse in which mori’a appears:
• “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18.
• “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” 1 Corinthians 1:21.
• “But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;”.
• “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”.
• “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.”.
Another form of the Greek word mori’a is moros’ (G3374) translated “foolish, fool & foolishness,” which occurs 4 times in 1 Corinthians. (Our English word moron is derived therefrom.)
• “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”.
• “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;”.
• “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.”.
• “We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honorable, but we are despised.”.
These verses cast doubt on the efficacy of advanced degrees in our teachers and ministers. Lest this statement leave a bad taste in those who may have higher degrees, please consider the following verse:
“For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:”. Note the two words “are called” are in italics, which means they are not in the original. Several Bible commentators submit the following interpretation for this verse, and I agree: “Here it means the way ye were called, i.e., the kind of persons whom God sent to call you. Hence instead of "are called" as in Authorized Version and Revised Version, the ellipsis should be supplied thus: "not many are wise", etc. Apollos was an eloquent man, , but as to Paul, his speech was regarded as contemptible, ; . The following verses confirm this interpretation: “And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another. For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” .
The Greek word summimetes (G4831) is only found once in the NT. It means “a co-imitator, an imitator of others” but is translated “followers together” in: “Brethren, be followers together of me (Paul), and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.” Paul makes it clear that we are to follow him as he followed Christ. And, just previous to this verse, Paul disclosed what he thought of his former wisdom and advanced worldly education and status: “Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:” .