The Beginning of Wisdom

Updated: Jul 28

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” (1 Corinthians 1:25 NIV)


God must be telling me or reminding me something about His wisdom. I had yet to do my Bible study homework on 1 Corinthians by church on Sunday, and I knew that it was something about “Countercultural Unity.” I had completely forgotten that 1 Corinthians 1-4 have several paragraphs about God’s wisdom. The sermon at church last Sunday was on Solomon and what it means to be wise, as this Sunday’s scripture from Proverbs 1:7 explains: “Reverence for [often translated ‘fear of’] the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” I was pleasantly surprised and puzzled come Monday when I was hurriedly doing my Bible study homework, that that these two things would coincide. I guess I’ve finally learned that when things show up back to back, I should pay attention.


Some of the parallels that I noticed: The Corinthians were a worldly (1 Cor. 3:1), cosmopolitan people where “Jews looked for signs and Greeks look for wisdom” (1 Cor. 1:22). Like Solomon and the Jews, the Corinthians were called to be set apart—not to be like the world around them. On Sunday, the speaker also said that in the early church, Jesus was referred to as “God’s Wisdom in the Flesh.” This is also mentioned in 1 Corinthians 1:24, “But to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” Both touch on reverence for the Lord and recognizing that that God is the Creator of all and worthy of our reverence. Both my homework and the sermon showed that this reverence for and recognition of Jesus is just the beginning. And then, of course, through the course of the sermon, the speaker mentions 1 Corinthians.


I know the sermon goes on to talk about looking to those who are “foolishly learning to love,” as Jesus’s wisdom is a transformative love. Paul continues to write in 1 Corinthians about how God’s Wisdom is revealed by the Spirit, and I love the encouragement of these verses: “For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us” (1 Corinthians 2:11-12). Verse 16 states, “for ‘Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.”


I’ve had my head stuck in some form of a textbook for what seems like forever, striving for security, success, and to do something that matters—things that aren’t necessarily bad. But as the sermon and 1 Corinthians pointed out, God’s wisdom isn’t always the most obvious or most secure thing, as evidenced by what Jesus has done for us. Based on the verse above, things the world judges as foolish but are based on the wisdom of God can have the greatest eternal impact. The second half of that verse is sort of unfathomable, because how can an almighty God have a weakness? He doesn’t. Unlike Solomon, we have been given a helper, a guide in the Holy Spirit. We are not doing this alone. While I still have no idea what God’s trying to say to me, at least I’ve started at the beginning: reverently recognizing that God has a way that is wiser and stronger. Jesus will lead the way from there.

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