Gracefully Truthful

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Discover the original intent of Scripture. Make good application to our everyday lives.
Become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Read His Words Before Ours!

1 Corinthians 1:27-31

27 Instead, God has chosen what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen what is weak in the world to shame the strong. 28 God has chosen what is insignificant and despised in the world- what is viewed as nothing—to bring to nothing what is viewed as something, 29 so that no one may boast in his presence 30 It is from him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became wisdom from God for us—our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption 31 —in order that, as it is written: Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.

The Original Intent

1) In verse 27, what is Paul referencing by beginning with “instead”?

Practicing reading backwards to understand a verse or set of verses is extremely important in studying Scripture, but especially when we encounter a word like “therefore” or “instead” signaling how the previous writing ties directly to the next passage. Every time we open His Word, we should practice this study habit so it becomes our natural response to rightly understanding God’s Word.

Prior to this passage, in verse 18-26, Paul compares the world’s wisdom with God’s wisdom. With tongue-in-cheek, he speaks of God’s “foolishness”, which of course doesn’t exist, for nothing about God is foolish, but he uses this linguistic tool to make an emphatic point. Even if God did have a hint of foolishness about Him, it would still be infinitely wiser than humanity’s best wisdom. (verse 25) When Paul reaches verse 27, he intended the reader to recognize that God doesn’t follow the course of earthly wisdom. He turns worldly wisdom on its head, proving that only by divine wisdom and perspective, could it be conceivable for a holy God to rescue sinful humanity.

The Everyday Application

1) In verse 27, what is Paul referencing by beginning with “instead”?

God’s ways are not our ways. (Isaiah 55:8-9) The beauty of the Gospel is that it simply does not make sense to us. God calls the barren and broken of the world to serve as His champions of grace. Instead of calling the best and strongest, He invites the heavy laden and the weak to come to Him. (Matthew 11:282 Corinthians 12:9-10)

During His earthly ministry, Jesus actively chose to speak and live in unconventional and counter cultural ways. He ate with tax collectors and hung out with prostitutes to transform not only their earthly lives but also their heavenly position before God. (Luke 19:1-10Mark 2:13-17) He touched the forbidden and unclean lepers and, although a very real physical healing took place, spiritually healing was at the heart of His encounters. (Matthew 8:1-4) He intentionally sought out the outcast, the lonely, and the ostracized of society in order to minister to them, saying, “It is not those who are well who need a doctor, but those who are sick…”. (Mark 2:17)

In God’s wisdom, He sacrificed His own Son to make a way of salvation for sinners who neither deserved mercy nor could earn righteousness. He designed for Holiness to take the punishment for the wretched in order that light could enter the darkness of this world, and that none could boast, insisting they had somehow contributed to their salvation. (John 3:14-21) The lost in the world, those without the Light of Christ living inside them, stumble over God’s righteousness and wisdom out of rebellion, rejecting it as ludicrous. But when we submit to His wisdom, we recognize God and the rightness of His ways (Hosea 14:9), which brings about our humility and repentance.

The Original Intent

2) What does God view as important and how is it described by Paul in verses 27-30?

Paul explains that God has chosen what seems foolish in this world to shame the wise and He’s chosen what is weak to shame the strong for the purpose of humanity to realize they cannot save themselves. (Romans 3:10)

No amount of worldly wisdom, strength, generosity, or human ability can save us from our sins. Yet, in our own pride we assume we can save ourselves. (
Psalm 10:3-4) But, God’s definition of wisdom and strength points all glory and boasting to Himself because Only He can save; our rescue comes from Christ alone. (1 Corinthians 1:21)

The Everyday Application

2) What does God view as important and how is it described by Paul in verses 27-30?

God intentionally chooses what the world views as weak to share His truths. In one encounter found in the Gospel of Luke, the rich leaders of the city were dropping money into the offering by the bag full. Then a poor widow gave what little she had, and Jesus noticed. 

Human convention would watch that scene and applaud the leaders for their generosity because the amount they gave was seemingly so significantYet, Jesus commended the widow for her small amount, because her sacrifice was more significant than the surplus of the wealthy. He called on the people of the city to emulate her, a poor widow. (Luke 2:1-4) Jesus did not look at the amount given but the heart behind the gift. (Psalm 51:16-17)

Throughout history, God chooses the smallest, the weakest, and what the world sees as incapable to champion His purposes. (Matthew 18:1-5)

The Original Intent

3) According to verses 28-31 what is the purpose of God’s different perspective?

God desired to bring what the world deemed as nothing into a place of honor and glory. Paul describes the heart and mind of humanity in this passage by highlighting our tendency to boast about our knowledge and our strengths. Paul pits this against Christ’s entrance into the world and the incredible humility He displayed. Christ, being both fully God and fully man, having all wisdom and knowledge and power, defied all human logic by laying it down, putting on flesh, and dwelling with humanity.

Jesus embodied the pure wisdom that comes from above (James 3:13-18) which stands in stark opposition to human wisdom; this humble manner of living by God’s wisdom is to be imitated by all who are in Christ. (Philippians 2:5-11) He became our standard from which to boast. If we boast, we boast about Him and how He saved us. (1 Corinthians 1:31)

The Everyday Application

3) According to verses 28-31 what is the purpose of God’s different perspective?

Ultimately. God wants His people to be set apart and accomplish His purposes in His power, wisdom, and strength. God’s grace is sufficient for this work, and as Paul says in his second letter to the Corinthians, God’s power is made perfect in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Only in our brokenness, and our recognition of it, are we positioned to fully rely on God. In our self-sufficient world full of self-promotion, self-ambition, and self-centeredness the idea of humility and sacrifice is foolishness, but in that foolishness God’s purposes are championed. Our spiritual barrenness requires reconciliation with the one true God and Jesus provided a way for this as He gave Himself up for us. (2 Corinthians 5:16-21)

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Mandy Farmer
Mandy Farmer
1 month ago

 God calls the barren and broken of the world to serve as His champions of grace. 

This is a reminder to me as I look at a new year trying to figure out what I can / should do in my writing. I feel unworthy and unable but God has called me to write!

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