1st Corinthians 1:17b through the end of the chapter.

Dear Chris,

next part.

Your comments on my answer to the question of how do I understand 1:17b.

Before I start, let me give an overview of where I will be going.

I will seek to answer your points and questions, and raise some up for you.

If I miss anything, or if I am unclear, I will be glad to work those things out.

It seems to me that you have missed the flow of the Apostle’s thinking, even though you certainly did not miss him in many places. But it only takes one wrong step to head down the wrong path.

So my goal is to seek to explain where I see that misstep was. And I see it as not understanding that Paul is taking the Corinthians back to their Christian beginnings, to show them how they started and then he will build on that to show them how they should be living.

Now that idea, how we are to live out Jesus in our lives should start every day with the Gospel. So When you see sanctification in 1:18 through 2, you are right. Sanctification always starts and has its base the Gospel. For it is in the Gospel we learn how bankrupt we are, how we deserve nothing from God but condemnation, and yet how blessed we are by His love and mercy.

These truths bring us to both humility and joy with the result that we desire to walk in the Spirit.

Unless necessary I will only be quoting your replies to me.

You replied to me:

<<< I will wait to discuss chapter two when we get there. But think about this—I agree that Paul is talking about his preaching in 1:17 (that he doesn’t use the wisdom of men to preach the Gospel) and that since he didn’t use the wisdom of the world to preach to them–their faith rests on the Gospel (2:5). If 1:17 is about Paul’s preaching (not by the wisdom of men), by your own words then the parallel passage’s usage of the wisdom of men refers to what Paul did not preach and therefore not the hearers way of understanding. So I agree with you here. If this so, 2:5 is already cleared—which was the impetus of starting this study. To put it another way, I am not seeing you draw out of the passage the assumptions you are making about the individual has no part in relating to God—not in justification or in sanctification. Sanctification is the whole point of this letter. Why would a key aspect—maybe the summary of Paul’s opening and foundational points be about something else? >>>

Not so fast my friend.

You are not seeing it for at least one reason: I only gave you an overview. As to now, there are questions I have asked, and points I have made that you have not addressed.

Likewise we see two different ways Paul is talking about the usage of worldly wisdom. One way is in speech directed at others to persuade them. The other way it is used is in making decisions based on input received.

We read then:

For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void. For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

And here we see the two ways. Communication requires a speaker and a listener. In the section of 1:17b through the end of 2, Paul is putting forth two types of people. The one type uses worldly wisdom to both speak and to listen. Or to teach and to learn. Or to persuade and decide. Paul declares he is not like those types speakers, or teachers, or persuaders for he doesn’t use that type of wisdom. But his audience, those he preaches to, in a sense, lives by that type of wisdom. That is how they listen, and learn, and grasp concepts. They do so by worldly wisdom. Except of course those God has called.

So Paul is not taking for granted what the Corinthians understand of his apostolic way, or at least he is reminding them, as we read in chapter 2: “And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God.” Most people are followers, as it stands to reason that it so. So within the Corinthian church, there were those who led like minded or weak minded people to embrace their own worldly wise understanding, and cling solely to Paul or Peter or Apollos. These men lead the others by speaking to them in a worldly wise way. And the followers decide to follow them by using their worldly wise way of discernment.

But be assured that Paul has both of these users of worldly wisdom in mind as he seeks to correct God’s people. Now why is that? Because both speakers and listeners were using worldly wisdom to live out church life. Now who is it that hears Paul preach and thinks the Gospel foolishness? Those whose are unsaved and thus those whose wisdom is worldly. To go back to the definition previously established: “This so-called wisdom views life from the limited viewpoint of this world rather than from heaven’s vantage point.”

Now Christians like you and I can slip into such thinking. That is why this letter is valuable to every believer. It tells us that we weren’t saved by that kind of preaching OR choosing, so we are wrong to walk in that kind of wisdom.

In every church or group there will be false teachers who are a step up in the ways of worldly wisdom and they use their persuasive powers to lead astray others who are not trained to think critically.

And right after 2:5 who does Paul immediately refer to:

Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory…”

Paul immediately, even as he did in 1:17-18, juxtaposes his preaching on salvation with listeners who use worldly wisdom to interpret life.

How then can I say this except bluntly? The Word is telling us that there are people that hear the Gospel without the wisdom to properly grasp its significance. And that truth is in direct opposition, or better yet, is directly opposed by the doctrine of prevenient grace.

So the question looms large. If we start with PG, how do these unsaved, unbelievers, decide on whether to have faith in God or not, since the wisdom they possess is worldly?

I can’t prove a negative. But since my doctrine says that men don’t choose faith, but choose God because of faith, I have an answer on how unsaved unbelievers decide on whether they choose to follow Jesus as Lord or not. It depends on whether God has shown Himself to them or not, or whether or not they have experience the shining of God’s glory in the face of Jesus into their innermost being or not. With that understanding, I can ask why should we boast only on the Lord? And the answer is, that we boast only on the Lord because it is because of Him [and no other additional reason] that we are in Christ and saved in Him.

I can only imagine what hoops you might seek to jump through to make a way for PG enabled free choice to make the difference. But no matter how small you seek to make the difference be, the difference will always exist. You don’t deny that, and in fact you embrace that. And specifically that difference is that man apart from God but also in conjunction with God has to make the difference in his own destiny.

Now choice implies responsibility. Responsibility in making right choices implies wisdom. And in our passage from 1:17b through chapter 2, Paul is contrasting two types of wisdom: God’s versus the world’s. In this passage, when the world decides or chooses, they proclaim the Gospel foolishness and reject it, even killing the Gospel Man. But when speaking of Godly wisdom, the Word says God chooses. He chooses some over others, And that those He chooses or calls [synonymous in this passage] they are a people of faith who have Jesus as their wisdom.

And from this very base or foundation, that begun with their salvation, Paul moves on ahead to teach that people to reject the idea that they should be using worldly wisdom to live by since that is not how they were birthed. But because they were birthed by God who chose them and has given them Christ as their power and wisdom, so then should they walk in that way.


<<< Up to this point I agree with what you say—not that I think Paul is exclusively talking about justification. But even in sanctification, what you said above is applicable.

So you agree that God is doing the choosing and God is doing the calling? And this applies to sanctification as well? Since you are going to go verse by verse, I will wait until then to dispute you on this.


<< Paul does not say “that it is zero part man, but all God.” I really hope you don’t keep inserting your conclusion at every step of this process. Look at it this way. Paul says specific things. But in this passage he does not say what you said he said. You are inserting a theological position on the passage. One aspect, as is borne out in my discussion later on, is that this section is not a flat out description of the conversion experience. So unless you are saying here that not just in justification but also in sanctification that there is ‘zero part man’ “but all God’ than your analysis is off kilter on that point as well. If salvation includes all of justification, sanctification, and glorification, are you saying man has no part at all in any of it? Maybe you should begin by proving the passage here is limited to justification—see my notes below. >>>.

Isn’t your conclusion that Paul is talking about sanctification in 1:18 through 2:5? And yet you inserted your conclusion before you went through the verses. It seems a little hypocritical of you then to complain. From my vantage point you are inserting a theological position on the passage. And furthermore you are imposing your understanding of the passage onto my position. So since you are saying later on that this passage speaks to sanctification as well, then my analysis is off kilter since sanctification includes part man.

I do not mind correcting you on my position because that means I get to witness again to the truth God has laid on my heart. But you seem to get bent out of shape over such things when done to you, such things as you just did to me.

This passage is NOT talking about sanctification. There, that was easy (-:.

<<< I really did not follow your thoughts on how you understand 1:17b. I think my question was too vague, sorry. Let me spell out what I am looking for—and in doing so I can hopefully relay my understanding of your position and you can correct my thoughts where they have gone astray. It seems like the last paragraph on the parable of the sower/seeds is disjointed. So could you rewrite it with a little more clarity?.

Here I will quote that paragraph, and then try to make it clear.

+++++++++From a different writer, we can see this played out. In the parable of the soils, some received the word with gladness but fell away, the weeds and thorns choking out the life. There the cross of Christ, the word heard and received as made void. There wasn’t the power of God unto salvation. Many people ‘try’ Jesus and church, but fall away. They have a form of godliness, but not the power. But how is it that we have the power? How is it that we produce fruit? We have the power. We grasp the Gospel in our understanding, that it is not about our strength, but His, so we learn to lean on Him. It is not about how we think should be done, but about how God wants them done, so we turn to the Word and the Spirit. It is not about how good we are, but that we find our worth in Him and in His love for us.  ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

In the parable of the soils, some received the Word with gladness, but the seed of life in them was overcome by the cares and concerns of the world. The question is why? In many people’s lives, they try church but they lose their commitment. What they have is not as strong as what the world has. And the world wins. Now we could say that they lost because they freely choose to lose, but that is not what the Scripture is saying. Who chooses cares and concerns or weeds and thorns over joy and peace? Not a person with wisdom, true wisdom that is. So this goes back to salvation and how it comes about. Does one believe because of their own choice or because they experienced God? Or if one has experienced God is he not enough to be of more value to a person than the cares and concerns of life? My answer is that those who experience God value Him above life. He is just that wonderful and awesome. And those who ‘try’ God can not value Him properly at all, and their human efforts to live for God will always fail.

Please understand that I am not judging anyone who chooses God. For all Christians chose to serve God. And all that experience Him value Him above life. But such esteem is both present and complete and yet grown into [sanctification]. God continues to heal us of our brokenness which resides in our minds and hearts and bodies. Our body being healed on that Day. What I am talking about is not the doctrinal disagreement between us but that which unites us in His Body. We have experienced God and continue to experience Him via the Spirit. Thus we highly value Him. We ascribe Him worthy of all glory.

But when those who ‘accept’ Jesus do so with worldly wisdom it renders the power of the cross void. They have no power unto salvation. They look back at their ‘Christian’ days and basically see the message as foolishness: “Been There, Tried That, Didn’t Work.” The seed never produced fruit because the ground of their life remained where it was before: walking in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. [Eph. 4]

And that is the condition of each person in the world UNLESS and UNTIL God shines His glory into their heart and saves them.

This is how I see you seeing this. The Gospel is preached and many people hear it. Most of them do not fully grasp its implications for it is not a plausible answer to the way they see life. For the Greeks the message of the cross seems like foolish talk, its value is hidden in darkness for Satan holds them captive; so they dismiss it. But for those God has chosen, he turns the light on and they see it for what it really is—and since they see it for what it really is they accept it, trust it—trust God—they believe and are justified. .

Well almost. Thanks for trying to get me right. You have the order wrong. Trust [faith] precedes acceptance. Acceptance is faith in action [believing]. It is a logical order, not a temporal order. I would say that faith and believing and accepting and justification happen basically simultaneously. To speak of it in a pictorial way, we might look at 2nd Cor. 4 to aid us: And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

So pictorially and thus using a series of pictures to show logical order.

1] Man is blind to the truth of the Gospel. He can’t see its glory. Or God’s.

2.] God shines Christ into the eyes of His heart.

3.] Man sees the glory of God in Jesus.

4.] Man has faith. [God has shown Himself trustworthy and man’s great need and His love for man in that need]

5.] Man in his belief believes by choosing: by accepting Jesus as Lord and confessing and repenting. God justifies.

Why does man believe? Because of his faith.

Why does man have faith? Because of God’s light shining.

Why is man justified? Because he believes.

For the unbeliever, the one perishing:

1.] He is blind to the glory of the Gospel.

2.] He rejects it.

Why does man reject the Gospel? Because he doesn’t believe it is valuable to him. He sees no glory for himself in it.

Why not? Because he is blind to its truths, its glory , and to the glory of God.

And while I am at it…

Why does man need the Gospel? Because he has sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.

Why does man sin? Because he chooses to act selfishly.

Why is man condemned? Because he sins, choosing to do wrong when he knows what is right.

In this sense, the cross of Christ is effective just as God designed it to be. Those who reject it do so because God has not chosen them—and those who accept it do so because God has chosen them. So whether the message of the cross is rejected or accepted—it is effective in its purpose (to push away the non-elect who think it foolish and to bring in the elect who now see it as the power of God). .

Here you swing and miss big. You confuse and mix things. Man is in a state of condemnation because he has chosen to do what he knows is wrong. That condemnation has nothing to do with the cross. Those who never hear the Gospel stand condemned for their sins. The purpose of the cross is never condemnation. Neither is condemnation ever the purpose of mercy. John 3 tells us: For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Unsaved man is already judged, before the cross, and even if the cross comes into their life.

If this is so—and this is what Paul believed, why would he ever make such a statement that if he, Paul, used cleverness of speech, or in other words, worldly wisdom, in trying to convert the elect, the cross of Christ would be make void? How is it made void if those who are chosen are saved and those who think it foolishness, the unchosen, reject it? Or in other words, sorry this is so long, what difference does it make how Paul preached it? Why is how he preached it—and we are defining this as initial salvation stuff and not the whole range of salvation coverage—make any difference to that internal revelation the elect person gets from God (who gives the grace and faith and the person perforce responds appropriately)? .

Let me break this down by question and/or point.

If this is so—and this is what Paul believed, why would he ever make such a statement that if he, Paul, used cleverness of speech, or in other words, worldly wisdom, in trying to convert the elect, the cross of Christ would be make void?.

For two reasons, at least. One is that false teachers and people using false Gospels use clever speech to seek to persuade men to trust in false gospels. The second is to give them and us an understanding of why the guy who was in the pew next to us stopped coming. It gives us information about the nature of salvation. The Gospel doesn’t appeal to the worldly wisdom a man has, but cleverness of speech does. But when the speaker gussies up the Gospel message with cleverness of speech and worldly wisdom, he changes the truth of it into a lie.

How is it made void if those who are chosen are saved and those who think it foolishness, the unchosen, reject it?.

Because the world sees how ineffective this so called Gospel [which they can’t discern from the true Gospel] is. And it fills up the churches with unbelievers masking as believers. Thus there is no power in that type of speech to save. So while the orator might use some of the same language, he is not preaching the Gospel.

It is made void in that situation. God will make it clear to those he is saving at the right time.

Or in other words, sorry this is so long, what difference does it make how Paul preached it? Why is how he preached it—and we are defining this as initial salvation stuff and not the whole range of salvation coverage—make any difference to that internal revelation the elect person gets from God (who gives the grace and faith and the person perforce responds appropriately)? ..

The grace that brings faith only comes when the Gospel is preached, not when it is improperly preached. The elect to be saved needs a sound word in order to ground his faith in the reality of his understanding.

And yes he responds perforce because he desires Jesus above all else. Another way of saying that is that since he believes in His heart in Jesus, he most willingly responds by confessing Him as Lord.

In my understanding, if what is taught is based on worldly wisdom, whether it is about justification or sanctification, it will have an insufficient base to make true changes in the life of the believer (since this whole letter is about sanctification). The changes we need are not based on our strength or being conformed to the world system (its wisdom). See Rom 12:1-2. We need to rely on the unworldly wisdom of our God and Savior choosing the cross as the method of our change—we too must die to ourselves (living sacrifices) to be transformed and serve God properly. We should treat others better than ourselves just as Christ Jesus modeled by leaving heaven and dying on the cross. Phil.2:1ff. To live a life of sacrifice by meeting the needs of others even at the expense of our own needs (love) is foolishness to the world. More to the point of 1 Cor.1-4, we should not boast about connections to “wise” leaders as the expense of other believers because we miss the whole point of holy loving living—as revealed in the rest of the letters to the Corinthians..

To break it down.

In my understanding, if what is taught is based on worldly wisdom, whether it is about justification or sanctification, it will have an insufficient base to make true changes in the life of the believer (since this whole letter is about sanctification). .

If the whole letter is about sanctification, then why did you mention justification at all? Of course the purpose of the letter is about sanctification, but there is two types of sanctification. One is the setting apart from the world and the other is the learning to be set apart from the world. The first deals with salvation and justification – being born again. The second deals with learning to walk as jesus did -being conformed to Him.

The second precedes the first. Paul begins in the beginning to show how the walk started and thus its base. From there he shows us how to keep walking in that same way.

More to the point of 1 Cor.1-4, we should not boast about connections to “wise” leaders as the expense of other believers because we miss the whole point of holy loving living—as revealed in the rest of the letters to the Corinthians...

Well that is in there, to be sure. But if that is all you see, you are missing a lot.

<<< Sorry if I was unclear. I was feeding off an earlier question about the difference between knowledge and wisdom which you answered just fine. But in responding to what you have written above, there is a mixed bag of reactions. Looking at verse 18ff, many times Paul is talking about the content of what is being shared—whether it is worldly wisdom or whether it is the foolishness of preaching the cross. There is an aspect of what/how the message is shared—not necessarily the way kind of wisdom the hearer possesses. .

If the problem at the Corinthian church was just a three vocal people claiming to be of Paul or Peter or Apollos, then Paul wouldn’t have used the term “divisions.” Nor would he have any need to bother even speaking of what/how of what the three divisive leaders were saying. In fact he would be writing a whole different letter. So what was happening? There were vocal people using worldly wisdom speech to divide the people AND then there was the people using worldly wisdom understanding choosing which vocal leader to follow. Leaders and followers using worldly wisdom. Regressing back to their pre-salvation ways.

What worldly wisdom does is sit in judgment on the Word of God. Leaders without followers aren’t leaders. Talking and listening is implied. Just like in the world then and today. If no one listens to a divisive soul, no division happens. So v. 17 which speaks about preaching is followed by v.18 which speaks about the hearers reaction. Vs. 4-5 in 2 speak about preaching, and then Paul speaks about a reaction to the Gospel. 1:21 speaks about the foolishness of the message. But is it really foolishness? No that is the understanding of the hearers. V.23 speaks to preaching and the next verse to the understanding of what was preached.

v.17 Paul preached the Gospel (content-the cross of Christ)

not in cleverness of speech -or the wisdom of men- (this could refer to content or style of preaching) [nothing to do with how the hearers used their “wisdom” to “get” it..

Not in 17b

18the Word of the cross (content-the Gospel) is to those perishing—foolishness. This means it does not make sense when evaluating the Gospel of Jesus being crucified with the cultural wisdom—It is not plausible to the person on the street—it makes no sense to them..

Yeah. But you just said: “There is an aspect of what/how the message is shared—not necessarily the way kind of wisdom the hearer possesses.

So why is it not plausible to them? Because of the wisdom they possess. Why are you contradicting yourself?

But to those being saved—the revelation of the Gospel—the preaching of the cross—is the power of God. Note how this lines up well with Rom.1:16. Paul says there that the Gospel, the good news about Jesus’ death and resurrection, IS the power of God for salvation. And note, salvation means more than just justification (for certainly if Paul wanted to limit our thinking to just justification here [Rom.1:16] he would have just said justification, a word he uses later in his letter to Romans). Note the tense in 1 Cor.1:18—to those being saved. Salvation here is not about justification. Being saved actually indicates sanctification (we were saved=justification, will be saved=glorification). I don’t think Paul made such stark delineations anyway—it was all one big ongoing event=salvation..

Or, and, or also, being could refer to the process of justification whereby one hears and grasps the truth and responds. But rather being saved refers to the process of salvation where first we are born again in the spirit, and as we live out our lives, we are renewed in our mind and then at resurrection our mind renewal is completed and our body is made new. Or it could mean that at justification we are saved from the penalty of sin, and as we grow in grace, we are being saved from the power of sin which completes at glorification. But however one looks at it, the word used for “being saved” means what the word in Romans 1;16 means. And it is speaking of the whole deal from justification to glorification.

Which brings up what Paul is meaning here of his use of the term Gospel, and the word of the cross. There is nothing here limiting his speech to referring exclusively to justification. The Gospel is not limited to justification and then no longer in play when we move on to sanctification. The Gospel is applicable to the ongoing Christian life—right through glorification and the New Jerusalem..

What an unjustified leap. Need I remind you of what you just said?

18the Word of the cross (content-the Gospel) is to those perishing—foolishness. This means it does not make sense when evaluating the Gospel of Jesus being crucified with the cultural wisdom—It is not plausible to the person on the street—it makes no sense to them..

Paul limits his own speech by the context. The word of the cross is foolishness to those perishing. Which by your own words indicates that those perishing are unbelievers. Thus he sets forth a contrast in how the world hears the Gospel and how those being saved hear the Gospel. That you arbitrarily assume that “being saved” must include sanctification speaks to your bias. In this verse, Paul is speaking about justification from sins. Every time I sin and repent, I look to the cross. And so have I heard the testimony of others doing the same. In the cross is the power to overcome sin and to be freed from its control. It reminds us that we are justified despite the evidence of our weakness.

Again, Paul is talking to believers about a problem of disunity in their fellowship. Even mentioning baptism is not sufficient to limit this passage to the justification event. Paul preached and his preaching was more than just justification. The use of baptism is significant because a) the Corinthians made baptism a doctrinal issue—which is not borne out later in the letter—so unlikely; or b) those following Apollos or Cephas were baptized by that leader–maybe. More


than likely it is c) Paul’s use here is to point the believers to the person to whom they were baptized in—in the name or authority of Christ Jesus—as his followers—not Paul’s disciple or Peter’s or Apollos’. .

The evidence is baptism. The evidence is in 2:1. The evidence is in the contrast that is blatant in verse 18 and is carried on throughout the rest of the chapter. What you are doing is spinning it to conform to your system.

But how easily you forget to mention your s outright or defend it from the charge levied by me against it, for I said that this verse ALONE is enough to chuck the idea of PG.

So I will remind you again of your own words:

the Word of the cross (content-the Gospel) is to those perishing—foolishness. This means it does not make sense when evaluating the Gospel of Jesus being crucified with the cultural wisdom—It is not plausible to the person on the street—it makes no sense to them.

And since it makes no sense to them, how can they from the heart choose to embrace it as life giving? And why would they repent over what they consider as implausible? Think. Pray. Trust the Spirit. You are not making sense at all.

If the person in the street, in evaluating the Gospel, thinks it is implausible and foolish, how can he be saved? The church has witnessed the Gospel to him so the Word is present. What’s missing? Walk me through it. Now if you had said the person on the street knows the Gospel as true and just doesn’t want it, that would be your doctrine, but your doctrine not just matching up with the Word.

The problem it seems is that you don’t understand revelation. Its not like God speaks to us and we are in any way cognizant of it. So then we can’t just choose to apply worldly wisdom to it. We hear the Gospel message and we either believe it or we don’t. We reject it if it seems foolish to us. And when a person does so, it shows that God has not revealed His Son in them. Paul knew what the Christian ‘sect’ believed and persecuted them for it. It was foolishness to him. He thought he knew better. But when he had an experience with Jesus, boom, he was a believer.

Now most of us don’t get knocked to the ground and made blind. But then most of us aren’t seeking to kill believers and living when the church just started either.

Likewise grace. The natural man has no idea of grace. God, in His grace, might be bringing the person through a personal hell in order to prepare the man’s soul for the Seed, but the man curses God in his troubles.

    1. God will destroy the wisdom of the wise. This is not referring to the common man—so therefore it is the respected philosopher, the orator, the one commanding influence because he has rhetorical skills. Wisdom isn’t knowledge as we have established. Worldly wisdom isn’t common sense—it is the wisdom the James passage you referred to as from the carnal aspect of man, the world system, and the demonic. (See 1 John 2:15-17.).

Oh, no common man has wisdom? He has not gome through any trying experiences in life and gained insight.? The orator has followers who buy into the wisdom proffered. Each person is either following another or just does whatever they think is right. Elitists tend to trump elitism. Its like an ego trip.

But once again I will remind you of your own words:

he Word of the cross (content-the Gospel) is to those perishing—foolishness. This means it does not make sense when evaluating the Gospel of Jesus being crucified with the cultural wisdom—It is not plausible to the person on the street—it makes no sense to them..

It sure seems like you are saying that the person on the street, which I just referred to as the common man, evaluates the Gospel with his own cultural wisdom.

Rather, “the wise” in v.19 refers to those who think they are wise and able to evaluate spiritual things. And when he gets to that Day, they will think that they have done much for God in His name but will find out that God never knew them.

Thus the ‘wise’ here refers to all those who set themselves up against God.

    1. How has God made foolish the wisdom of the world? By introducing his wisdom which is true wisdom, wisdom that leads to right living because one is in right relationship with God. The wisdom of the world doesn’t lead to God or right living..

okay. Also okay to v.21.

v.22-24 The preaching of the Gospel is a message about Christ—who is the power of God and the wisdom of God.


Notice here the separation between two types of people, the called and those not called. Why did you leave that out? Does that idea not fit into your system?

This is further evidence that these verses, from 1;17b through the end of 2 are speaking about justification/salvation.

To whom is Christ the power and wisdom of God, but only to the called. What then of the rest? Those not called? The cross is a place of stumbling, rock of offense, and foolishness.

We read of that more in detail in 1st Peter 2:4-10. There the Word echoes much of what is written in our passage. It speaks of those who reject Jesus and tells of those who are chosen, that we a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that we may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. That once we were not a people, but now we are the people of God; we had not received mercy, but now we have received mercy.

Peter quotes much of that from the OT and I think Paul had the same Scriptures in mind when later in this chapter he speaks of God chossing us.

But what does this tell us? It tells us that not all receive such mercy. And that is right in line with these three verses, 22-24. How can a person be saved without the mercy of God? How can he freely choose God if the Gospel is foolishness to him? The answer to both is, he can’t.

v.25-28 This further shows that Paul does not have the individual in mind—for he contrasts the believers lot in life to those who are wise, or mighty, and noble. God’s focus is on things the worldly wise folks look down on. Jesus said blessed are the poor, blessed are the meek, blessed are the mourners, blessed are those who hunger and thirst, who are persecuted… .

Simple asserting something does not make it true. But again, despite your own objections, you get back to the contrast in these verses between the saved and the unsaved. Where is sanctification in this passage? No where supported by you. Wanting something to be true and whether it is true or not are two different things.

Verse 25 lets us know that the ‘wise” men are less wise than the foolishness of God. Or they are not really wise at all. Thus there is no need to mark off those who are wiser in foolishness from others who are less wise in foolishness as you did in verse 19. 5th graders and 1st graders are so far in knowledge of Astrophysics than a rocket scientist, that speaking of their relative differences is hubris.

Notice again how simply ignore the idea of God choosing. Inconvenient of God to stick that in there? Is God choosing individuals here? Yup. He doesn’t choose groups when He is saving. So you asserting that this is not about individuals is without ground. In this case, the first readers of this letter each saw themselves in these words. And as we look ahead to other readers, like you and I, we can also see ourselves, individually in these words. It also is instructive for evangelism. [there I go bringing up the lost] because those despised by the world are more likely to be saved by God.

v.29-31 Who where is one’s boast? In their own ability to be clever? In their accumulated wealth of wisdom? In their strength to overcome sin? No their boast in the Lord, the one who is truly wise, truly strong, truly pure—righteous and holy. These verses do not speak to the issue of prevenient grace or irresistible grace. The nearest is this—that the word of the cross, the Gospel message, when shared—is the POWER of God for salvation (all three aspects) to those who not reject it based on human wisdom. .

Here you just run off the rails. The actual words used by Paul and thus God tell us that because God has chosen we have no boast.

Others, like you, say we have chosen God. That is a boast.

Paul adds on to that idea that we have no boast because God has chosen by telling us that it is by His doing we are in Christ Jesus. Not our choosing or our doing, but by God’s choosing and by God’s doing. Now we are in Christ Jesus by faith. So how is that God’s choosing and doing? Because we have faith by His choosing and doing and not by our choosing and doing. And because it is God, His choosing and His doing that we are chosen and in Christ Jesus, we are not to say that it is because we chose God, because that is contrary to the truth. We can say, to paraphrase 1st John, that we chose God because He first chose us.

All you have is assertions. You don’t even have a cohesive argument. So your summary above is just flat out wrong. You also have jumped from justification issues in your verse by verse commentary to sanctification and back to justification. Is your summary above about sanctification? Uh, no.

But you go on…

It seems to me you have to make a jump from justification to sanctification without anything Paul wrote in the end of chapter one and the beginning of chapter two to allow you to make that jump. If Paul is talking about living out the faith in chapter one (which makes sense to me since they are already believers) then this you wrote:.

What a jump I MADE? Maybe you should reread your own words and get back to me and tell me that yes indeed you have ants in your pants. (-:

Actually it is quite hard to figure out anything you are trying to say, as you keep contradicting yourself.

So let me reiterate my position. Paul is speaking not of sanctification in these verses, 17B through the end of 2, but of the contrast between unbelievers and believers and why some are justified and others reject the Gospel. That is a consistent thread that ties all these verses together. And since you bring up the beginning of chapter 2, let me point out to you what seems quite obvious:

Chapter 2 verse 1 speaks of when Paul came to the Corinthians. Now when he came to them, they were unsaved. And Paul was determined to know nothing among them but the Gospel truth that Jesus is indeed the Messiah and that He was crucified. Now as you know, paul didn’t write in chapters and verses. And his thoughts flow nicely as he tells the Corinthians that God chose them and they are in Jesus because of God’s doing alone [for their boast is only to be in Him], and that his Gospel message to them was simple as compared to the high and lofty speeches most persuaders and orators would give, and he did this so that their fairh could rest on God and His power and not on the wisdom of men.

Flow, nice and steady. Logical. No leaping required.

See, your conclusion is the same as mine. This passage is really about living in the power of the cross, recognizing God’s way as best and leaving our ego behind. You do recognize that there is .

Again you err. We agree that the main purpose of the LETTER is living in the power of the cross. But the passage under consideration is not yet there. It is the groundwork for the purpose. Paul takes them back to their conversion and explains to them the differences between what they were, a people of worldly wisdom and how they got saved, by God’s choice and God’s doing by His own wisdom, so that he can proceed on solid footing on why what he is going to tell them is true. In other words, he is not just telling them, ‘live this way’ but he is first telling them both WHY and HOW they are different than the way of living they were used to.

Your arguments were completely disjointed and inconsistent.

Give up the system and let the Word guide you into truth.

Your servant for Christ’ sake,



About parsonsmike

seriously into the Word of God
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