1 Corinthians 1:18-31

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BibleNew Testament1 Corinthians

18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
20 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?
21 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.
22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
24 But unto them which are 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 ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
27 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;
28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

The Wisdom of God

The Wisdom of the World

This passage is frequently quoted in justification of young-earth Pseudoscience. The assumption is that the speaker or writer is on God's side, and this is proved if anyone points out an error or weakness in his/her thinking (v.27). The corresponding inference is that anyone who rejects creationist pseudoscience is despising what God hath chosen, trying to be "mighty," and wanting to glory in God's presence.

A relatively polite example:


IT is interesting, and indeed impressive, that Daniel and his friends, and others “of the seed royal and of the nobles” (Daniel 1:3, R.V.) were “well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability to stand in the king’s palace” (verse 4). These attributes they had evidently acquired in the land of Israel, and the king was anxious to exploit their accomplishments, and even that they should be taught “the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans”.

The fact that these young men had education tells us that in the Israel of those days—this would have been during the reigns of worthy kings such as Josiah—some at least were given plenty to exercise and train their minds. In the time of Jesus and the apostles, similarly, there was rigorous tuition in the synagogue schools; like Moses, and like Daniel, Saul was learned in all the wisdom of his age, and it stood him in good stead in the Lord’s work.

So, in our age, the pursuit of knowledge and the understanding of science is not harmful in itself. Yet Paul places qualifications on the “wisdom of the world”, for “God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise” (1 Corinthians 1:27). There is a balance to be struck; it is still possible that, as Festus said of Paul, “much learning doth make thee mad” (Acts 26:24).

We trust this series has helped to put at least the natural sciences in perspective, and above all to illustrate the great majesty of the Creator’s work. . . . 

The aim of the series was to be even-handed with science and the scientist who, especially from certain religious communities, gets a ‘bad press’. . . . 

The Christadelphian, Vol 126, 1989

Another example

Bro Ron Cowie cites verses from this passage here to advise his audience:

Do not be intimidated by the subject, neither by the intellect of those who propound these contrary views.

An Alternative View