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1 Corinthians 1:18-25 & meaning...


word of the cross is foolishness to those who are dying, but to us who are saved it is the power of God. 

1 Corinthians 1:18


1 Corinthians 1 [15.] so that no one should say that I had baptized you into my own name. (I also baptized the household of Stephanas; besides them, I don’t know whether I baptized any other.) For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Good News—not in wisdom of words, so that the cross of Christ wouldn’t be made void. For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are dying, but to us who are saved it is the power of God. For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,

    I will bring the discernment of the discerning to nothing.”[a]

1 Corinthians 1 [20.] Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the lawyer of this world? Hasn’t God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For seeing that in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom didn’t know God, it was God’s good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save those who believe. For Jews ask for signs, Greeks seek after wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified; a stumbling block to Jews, and foolishness to Greeks, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 

1 Corinthians 1 [25.] Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For you see your calling, brothers, that not many are wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, and not many noble; but God chose the foolish things of the world that he might put to shame those who are wise. God chose the weak things of the world, that he might put to shame the things that are strong; and God chose the lowly things of the world, and the things that are despised, and the things that are not, that he might bring to nothing the things that are: that no flesh should boast before God. [30.] Because of him, you are in Christ Jesus, who was made to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, “He who boasts, let him boast in the Lord.”[b]


a. 1 Corinthians 1:19 Isaiah 29:14.

b. 1 Corinthians 1:31 Jeremiah 9:24.


  • The Message of the Cross:

Paul begins by highlighting the central theme of Christianity: the message of the cross. He acknowledges that this message is considered foolishness to those who are perishing. In the eyes of the world, the idea of salvation through the death of a crucified man seems absurd and irrational. Yet, to those who are being saved, the cross is the power of God unto salvation.

  • God's Wisdom vs. Human Wisdom:

Paul contrasts the wisdom of God with the wisdom of the world. He acknowledges that the world's wisdom, represented by the Greeks who seek after knowledge and the Jews who seek after signs, falls short when it comes to understanding God's plan of salvation. The wisdom of the world is ultimately futile and unable to comprehend the mysteries of God.

  • The Foolishness of God:

Paul provocatively declares that the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. This statement turns conventional wisdom on its head. The very things that the world considers foolish and weak are, in fact, the means by which God accomplishes His purposes.

  • The Paradox of the Cross:

Paul emphasizes the paradoxical nature of the cross. To the world, it is foolishness and weakness, but to those who believe, it is the power and wisdom of God. The cross stands as a symbol of God's unfathomable love and His redemptive plan for humanity. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God demonstrates His power to save and reconcile all things to Himself.

  • Christ, the Wisdom and Power of God:

Ultimately, Paul points to Christ as the embodiment of God's wisdom and power. In Christ, the seemingly foolish and weak are revealed to be wiser and stronger than anything the world has to offer. Through His death and resurrection, Christ defeats sin, death, and the powers of darkness, ushering in a new era of salvation and redemption.

  • The Call to Faith:

Paul concludes by affirming that God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom and His weakness is stronger than human strength. He reminds the Corinthians (and us) that God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, and what is weak in the world to shame the strong. God's ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts. Therefore, our response should be one of humility, faith, and trust in the wisdom and power of God.


Isaiah 55:8-9: God declares that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways higher than our ways.

Proverbs 3:5-6: encourages us to trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding.

In summary, 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 challenges us to reevaluate our understanding of wisdom and power in light of the message of the cross. It calls us to embrace the paradoxical nature of God's wisdom, which transcends human understanding and transforms our lives. May we heed Paul's words and embrace the foolishness of the cross, for in it we find the power and wisdom of God unto salvation. 

PIB Scriptures are derived from the World English Bible


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