1 Corinthians 3:19


Friday, 9 May 2014

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness”;1 Corinthians 3:19

As has been noted time and again in this epistle, care needs to be taken to ensure context is maintained. Without considering the surrounding thoughts, incorrect ideas about what is being discussed will naturally arise. The verse begins with “for” which asks us to consider what has been said in order to make the connection with the rest of the initial thought. Paul has been speaking about building upon the foundation, which is Christ, and that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

“For” then asks us to consider that in context with “the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.” This has nothing to do with appropriate studies of science, medicine, astronomy, geology, or any other discipline which God gave us the intelligence to pursue. For example, because of botany, we have grafts of hearty fruits which can withstand drought-like conditions and attacks by insects or other pests. We have flowers that bloom in a wild array of colors and durations that are not found in the natural world.

God is not asking believers to set aside their brains in this world. Cults and misguided sects ignorantly don’t use medicine which has been developed by man and thus they bring on themselves prolonged sicknesses and even premature death. This type of bad analysis is inevitable when context isn’t considered. But it is not what Paul is speaking of.

The “wisdom of the world” is speaking of that wisdom which excludes Christ in any of its considerations. If a scientist looks for natural explanations to the ultimate questions of life, science, or philosophy, then he will never find the correct answers to his questions, because God is the Source of all such wisdom. Johannes Kepler wisely said, “Science is thinking God’s thoughts after Him.” This then is wisdom. Without such an attitude, any pursuit of wisdom “is foolishness with God.”

To build upon and validate this notion, Paul turns to Scripture and cites a portion of Job 5:13. “For it is written, ‘He catches the wise in their own craftiness.'”

The word “catches” conveys the idea of grabbing with the fist. It is intended to express the notion that no matter what they pursue, apart from including God in the equation, they will never truly get away from the bonds which shackle them. They are pursuing ultimate knowledge, but they are bound by limitations which hinder their ability to discern it.

Life application: When contemplating anything of substance, include God in your thoughts. He is the purpose, hope, goal, and end-point of all we could ever consider. Keep Jesus Christ in the equation and the numbers will always add up as they should!

Daily I rise and go about my life
But without including the Lord, no true purpose exists
Instead of peace, my soul only finds strife
As I attempt to accomplish my scholarly lists

And so, Lord God, help me never to do a thing in this life without including You in the process. Help me never to forget that the wisdom of the world is mere foolishness to You. But in Christ, all things make sense – pleasure time or while at work; study time or simply thinking about the beauty around me – all of it has no purpose unless it includes the One who gave it all to me. Help me always to consider You, O God. Amen.


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