1 Corinthians 1:20-25
Matthew 12:38-45

"Where is the wise?…"


In 1 Corinthians 1:20-25, Paul mentioned three groups of people that were frequently regarded as wise in his time. The first group ("the wise") were the Greek philosophers. The second group ("the scribe") were the Jewish teachers of the law. The third group ("the disputer") were the debaters who enjoyed contending regarding the issues of the day (cf. Acts 17:18; 28:29). Though such men might be highly regarded in the world, they were accounted foolish before the Lord.

The Jews had the oracles of God, yet they often sought a sign to excuse their unbelief. One such account of foolishness is seen in Matthew 12:38-45. Despite seeing the many miracles of Jesus, the religious teachers still demanded that He gives them a sign. Jesus replied, "An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas" (Matt 12:39). Jesus had declared the truth clearly to the Jews, yet they still refused to trust in His Word!

At the same time, the Greeks simply enjoyed contending on the fine points of philosophy and the issues of the day. One of their favourite pastimes was to gather in social squares (i.e. agoras) and engage in debates. This is seen in Acts 17:16-33 where the Athenians gathered to hear the "new doctrine" (Acts 17:19) which Paul was teaching. "For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing" (Acts 17:21). After attending to the words of Paul, many simply dismissed them as frivolous and nonsensical (Acts 17:32). How tragic!

The situation today in some churches is equally dire. Man would rather heed the words of modern-day gurus, political leaders or motivational speakers, than to embrace the preached Word of God. May you be a faithful receiver of God’s Word, and not a rejecter.

THOUGHT: The humble shall go up, and the proud shall go down.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, let me not be wise in my own conceit.