Becoming Fools That We May Be Wise

John W. Hedge
Longview, Texas

The title to this article sounds odd, doesn't it? On this point the apostle said: "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" (I Cor. 3:18.) The statement indicates that however wise one may seem to be as respects "this world," he knows nothing about spiritual matters; and he must assume the role of an uninformed person before he becomes wise in such matters. Not many persons who have "wised up" in things of "this world" are willing to assume the role of "fools," and yet the apostle tells us that "the world by (it's) wisdom knew not God" (I Cor. 1:21.) Being unwilling to grant that they are "fools" in spiritual matters, will explain why some people are "ever learning, but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth." In the revelation of God's will by the Holy Spirit as found in the New Testament, God did thereby set at naught "the wisdom of this world." Only the individuals who comes to be informed of what God would have them to believe, do, and be, as set forth in this divine revelation are regarded as being wise in the sight of God. If any man refuses this light in which to walk as he lives in the world, the statement, "Let him that is ignorant be ignorant," will apply. The apostle placed emphasis on this point where he declares: "If any man thinks himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things I write unto you are the commandments of God" (I Cor. 14:37, 38.)

One of the most difficult problems confronting the preachers and teachers of God's revelation to man is in getting people to realize their need of a knowledge of the Truth as found in that revelation. Many people, both Christians and non-Christians, give "lip service" only in saying that the Bible is God's revelation to us. If the Bible is our guide from earth to heaven then we need to know how to study it, and best of all how to rightly apply its truth to our lives. All of our efforts put forth in gospel meetings, in our Bible studies, in the distribution of religious tracts and papers -- all, of this indicates our need for more knowledge of spiritual matters. The blessing of our Lord rests upon those who "hunger and thirst after righteousness." If we assume the role of "know-it-alls", that there is nothing new and helpful in attending religious services and studying God's word, then are we headed for the spiritual cemetery. Dead Christians and churches may well be traced to those who are not willing to admit their lack of a full and complete knowledge of God's word. Men and women who have spent many years as students of God's word still find new things for their spiritual growth and interest therein. It is a fountain that never runs dry and from it flows the water of life. The truly great men of "this world"--men, who have "wised up" in the affairs of government, have found great delight and help in studying it. None has ever been cursed as a result of teaching it to others--no lives have ever been corrupted as a result of heeding its teachings. But look at the wrecked lives, and the blasted hopes of those who have turned from its teachings. We all need to become fools that we might be made wise through diligent study and application of God's word.

December 2, 1971