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The Holy Spirit or Human Wisdom?  Which has God chosen to use?

1 Corinthians chapter 2:1 - 5
"1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God.
2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling.
4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,
5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God."  NKJV

Today what the Apostle Paul avoided is advocated and normally used to perform evangelism and edification of the church.  Some think persuasive speech [having the power to induce action or belief] or intellectual pursuits such as a higher degree of education can fulfill these needs.  Is this true or has God chosen to use other means?

Paul declares in verse 4 that "my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,"  It is notable that Paul avoided using language filled with human wisdom what was calculated to persuade his hearers.  Paul avoided the use of such language because Christ sent him "to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect." 1 Corinthians 1:17 NKJV.  Paul was a highly educated man who possessed great human wisdom and yet he specifically chose not to use his intellectual prowess.  Yet today these means are touted as desirable and necessary to evangelize and edify the church.

Can and does God used men of high education to perform his work?  Of course God can use anyone in anyway he desires to perform his will because he is a sovereign God.  God chose to use a dumb donkey to thwart a mad prophet.  "but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet."  2 Peter 2:16 NKJV.  God used a raven to feed Elijah in l Kings 17:26.  God closed the mouths of lions to protect in Daniel in Daniel 6:22.  God commanded lice to cover man and beast in Exodus 8:16.  Jesus commanded the weather in Mark 4:39.  There is no doubt that God can use anyone or anything he chooses to use in any way he chooses.  The question is not what God is able to do but what has God chosen to do.

"For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe."  1 Corinthians 1:21 NKJV.  This text states plainly  that God did not choose human wisdom to proclaim the gospel of Christ.  It is not through higher educational degrees that God works but through the foolishness of preaching without human wisdom.

God had a reason for not using human wisdom for the preaching of the gospel.  "For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.  But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;  and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,  that no flesh should glory in His presence."  1Corithians 1:26-29 NKJV.  God did not want anyone to bask in their wisdom or be glorified by those who hear.  Those who boast of their pastor's education instead of the Christ of the gospel are engaging in glorifying the flesh. 

"For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect."  1 Corinthians 1:17 NKJV.  Using man's wisdom to evangelize is much worse than boasting.  Using wisdom draws attention away from the cross of Christ and can cause the message of the cross to lose its effect.  Why would anyone choose human wisdom to evangelize the lost?

Persuasive speech combined with wisdom was not Paul's method because it is not God's method.  Since this is absolutely true then what is God's way?  "For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.  I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling.  And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God."  1 Corinthians 1:2-5 NKJV.  As above we repeat the Paul's preaching was not with persuasive words of human wisdom.  Rather his preaching was a demonstration of the Spirit and the power therefrom.  The reason he chose this method was because this is the manner in which God chose to reveal Christ in the gospel.  The reason God so chose and Paul chose to obey God was to establish faith in the power of God instead of the wisdom of men.  God did not choose the persuasive wisdom of man. 

Faith in Christ is not the result of persuasive words of human wisdom but is the result of the work of the Holy Spirit.  "But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him."  But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.  For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by GodThese things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual." 1 Corinthians 2:9-13 NKJV.

In chapter one of 1 Corinthians Paul repeatedly declares that God's revelation of Christ to man is not in "persuasive words of man's wisdom."  Now in chapter two Paul repeats that the things he preaches is "not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches".  Paul invokes the name of God's Spirit five times in the verses quoted above. 

Why is it so difficult for some to accept the fact that only God's Holy Spirit gives understanding and brings salvation to the sinner?  Why do so many preachers decide to use the excellency of human wisdom for evangelism and edification?  Why do so many Bible colleges and theological seminaries teach reliance upon human wisdom to understand God's word?   "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."  1 Corinthians 2:14 NKJV.  The natural man who does not have the Spirit of God considers the simplicity of the gospel as foolishness.  The natural man cannot know the things of the Spirit of God.

Having a good education is worthy but the preaching of the gospel and the saving of men's souls is not the work of education.  God has used less educated men to preach the gospel.  "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus."  Acts 4:13 NKJV.  One of the most powerful preachers since the first century was Charles Haddon Spurgeon whose formal education was limited to Newmarket Academy.  He had no college education or degree which shows that God also uses those with less education.  One of the most effective preachers of the 20th century was A.W. Tozer who had only an 8th grade education.  It is not education, which is man's wisdom, but the work of the Holy Spirit of God that enlightens the sinner to the gospel of Christ which is God's wisdom.  It is God's Spirit that gives faith to the sinner so that he may believe the gospel.  Those who emphasize the use of education, which is the wisdom of man, are not following God's way as shown in God's word.  Only the Holy Spirit can give understanding into the things of God.
Home      Beliefs      Contact Us      God's Love     When Death Comes     Faith Alone      Spirit or Wisdom?      Spirit or Tradition? 

  Jesus' return different views part 1      Jesus' return hermeneutics part 2      Jesus' return history of 1st advent part 3      

Jesus' return part 4       Who is Your God?      Christ or Caesar?       Will God Accept You?      Audio Recording     Church Music

©2019 - 2020 thegospelworks.org  All rights reserved