By Daniel H. King
Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians reflects the Greek interest in wisdom as it pertains to the revelation of divine truth made known in the gospel. Paul said that “Greeks seek after wisdom” (1 Cor. 1:22). Indeed they did. But cannot the same be said of the modern American? We today pride ourselves in the fact that we know more than people have ever known before, that is, in the way of factual data. We know more about history (there is more of it!). We know more about science. Our modes of transportation and communication are more sophisticated than ever before. Our educational systems utilize the very best of human achievement in the inculcation of knowledge. And, we pride ourselves in all this.
We are dreadfully like the Greeks! They were the most advanced thinkers of the ancient world. And they knew it. They were proud about it, so much so that this attitude made them resist the gospel of Christ. The same may be said of many of us. We think we are so smart that we are not willing to bow our intellects and our hearts to allow that God may know more than we do.
The humble Paul dealt with this difficulty on their part with care for their souls but little concern for their pride. He knew this needed to be resisted, even fettered, before any real headway could be made toward making of them the pliable clay that God needed to form them into the image of the carpenter of Nazareth.
He wrote: “We received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is from God; that we might know the things that were freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teacheth; combining spiritual things with spiritual words” (1 Cor. 2:12-13). What he indicated here that is of such great import for us (as for them), is the following:
1. It is possible to know the things of God. God has made His truth available. It is accessible to human beings. Some people (agnostics) think that the truth is unattainable; it is for them an eternal search for that which is beyond man’s reach. But Paul declares it may be known by feeble human creatures, simply because God saw to it that man could know it.
2. It has been made known in words. Since words are the vehicles of human ideas, God saw fit to reveal Himself and His will in man’s mode of communication. Had He not done so, it would yet have remained outside the reach of the human mind to know and to obey.
3. The words were selected by the Spirit. If man had chosen the precise wording of the communication without divine aid, then the “Word of God” would have forever remained under suspicion. It would have been, in reality, the “word of man.” But God made provision for inspiration to remove all doubt of the veracity and truth worthiness of the revelation of his will.
When we today read the Bible we ought to manifest the respect that is due this revelation of the divine wisdom. This Book is the product of God’s careful supervision. If we would profit from any part of it, however, we must lay aside our pride. “Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For seeing that in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom knew not God. (1 Cor. 1:20-21).
Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 6, p. 168
March 15, 1984