to God's glory. Believing God's word as it is written.
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Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.
The Holy Spirit
or Human Wisdom? Which has God chosen to use?
1 Corinthians chapter 2:1 - 5
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.
For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ
and Him cruciﬁed.
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." NKJV
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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 God. These 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.
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.
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.
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.
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