Human Wisdom vs. God's Wisdom
excerpts from 1 Corinthians
Contemporary English Version
The Contempory English Version (CEV) is a modern translation of the Bible into simple English. This version is possibly very good for young English children and for non-native speakers of English. Also, it might be very inspiring and refreshing for even experienced readers of the Bible because sometimes the wording is very different from the classical translations while preserving the correct meaning of the Bible (according to the best intentions of the translators).
Also, you may be interested in Today's English Version of the Bible (Good News Bible). We've got some information about this translation on our website.
1 Corinthians 1:18-31 (Contempoary English Version)
Christ did not send me to baptize. He sent me to tell the good news without using big words that would make the cross of Christ lose its power. The message about the cross doesn't make any sense to lost people. But for those of us who are being saved, it is God's power at work.
As God says in the Scriptures,
"I will destroy the wisdom of all who claim to be wise.
I will confuse those who think they know so much."
|The Lord has said: "These people praise me with their words, but they never really think about me. They worship me by repeating rules made up by humans. So once again I will do things that shock and amaze them, and I will destroy the wisdom of those who claim to know and understand." (Is 29:13-14 CEV)|
|The Lord said, "These people claim to worship me, but their words are meaningless, and their hearts are somewhere else. Their religion is nothing but human rules and traditions, which they have simply memorized. So I will startle them with one unexpected blow after another. Those who are wise will turn out to be fools, and all their cleverness will be useless." (Is 29:13-14 GNB)|
|I make liars of false prophets and fools of fortunetellers. I take human wisdom and turn it into nonsense. (Is 44:25 CEV)|
|I make fools of fortunetellers and frustrate the predictions of astrologers. The words of the wise I refute and show that their wisdom is foolishness. (Is 44:25 GNB)|
What happened to those wise people? What happened to those experts in the Scriptures? What happened to the ones who think they have all the answers? Didn't God show that the wisdom of this world is foolish?
God was wise and decided not to let the people of this world use their wisdom to learn about him. Instead, God chose to save only those who believe the foolish message we preach.
Jews ask for miracles, and Greeks want something that sounds wise. But we preach that Christ was nailed to a cross. Most Jews have problems with this, and most Gentiles think it is foolish. Our message is God's power and wisdom for the Jews and the Greeks that he has chosen.
Even when God is foolish, he is wiser than everyone else, and even when God is weak, he is stronger than everyone else.
My dear friends, remember what you were when God chose you. The people of this world didn't think that many of you were wise. Only a few of you were in places of power, and not many of you came from important families.
But God chose the foolish things of this world to put the wise to shame. He chose the weak things of this world to put the powerful to shame. What the world thinks is worthless, useless, and nothing at all is what God has used to destroy what the world considers important. God did all this to keep anyone from bragging to him.
You are God's children. He sent Christ Jesus to save us and to make us wise, acceptable, and holy. So if you want to brag, do what the Scriptures say and brag about the Lord.
|If you feel you must brag, then have enough sense to brag about worshiping me, the LORD. What I like best is showing kindness, justice, and mercy to everyone on earth. (Jer 9:24 CEV)|
|If any want to boast, they should boast that they know and understand me, because my love is constant, and I do what is just and right. These are the things that please me. I, the LORD, have spoken." (Jer 9:24 GNB)|
1 Corinthians 2:1-16 (Contemporary English Version)
Friends, when I came and told you the mystery that God had shared with us, I didn't use big words or try to sound wise. In fact, while I was with you, I made up my mind to speak only about Jesus Christ, who had been nailed to a cross.
At first, I was weak and trembling with fear. When I talked with you or preached, I didn't try to prove anything by sounding wise. I simply let God's Spirit show his power. That way you would have faith because of God's power and not because of human wisdom.
We do use wisdom when speaking to people who are mature in their faith. But it isn't the wisdom of this world or of its rulers, who will soon disappear. We speak of God's hidden and mysterious wisdom that God decided to use for our glory long before the world began. The rulers of this world didn't know anything about this wisdom. If they had known about it, they would not have nailed the glorious Lord to a cross.
But it is just as the Scriptures say, "What God has planned for people who love him is more than eyes have seen or ears have heard. It has never even entered our minds!"
God's Spirit has shown you everything. His Spirit finds out everything, even what is deep in the mind of God. You are the only one who knows what is in your own mind, and God's Spirit is the only one who knows what is in God's mind.
But God has given us his Spirit. That's why we don't think the same way that the people of this world think. That's also why we can recognize the blessings that God has given us. Every word we speak was taught to us by God's Spirit, not by human wisdom. And this same Spirit helps us teach spiritual things to spiritual people.
That's why only someone who has God's Spirit can understand spiritual blessings. Anyone who doesn't have God's Spirit thinks these blessings are foolish. People who are guided by the Spirit can make all kinds of judgments, but they cannot be judged by others.
The Scriptures ask, "Has anyone ever known the thoughts of the Lord or given him advice?" But we understand what Christ is thinking.
1 Corinthians 3:18-23 (Contemporary English Version)
Don't fool yourselves! If any of you think you are wise in the things of this world, you will have to become foolish before you can be truly wise. This is because God considers the wisdom of this world to be foolish. It is just as the Scriptures say, "God catches the wise when they try to outsmart him."
|God swiftly traps the wicked in their own evil schemes, and their wisdom fails. (Job 5:12-13 CEV)|
|He upsets the plans of cunning people, and traps the wise in their own schemes, so that nothing they do succeeds; even at noon they grope in darkness. (Job 5:12-14 GNB)|
The Scriptures also say, "The Lord knows that the plans made by wise people are useless."
So stop bragging about what anyone has done. Paul and Apollos and Peter all belong to you. In fact, everything is yours, including the world, life, death, the present, and the future. Everything belongs to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.