For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God,
it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
1 Corinthians 1:21
Last week, Perry Noble issued an apology on his blog for the message that he so tragically botched during his Christmas Eve service a few weeks ago. Sadly, in his apology, he did yet again what he does so well, which is to twist Scripture to no end. In an attempt to justify his errors, he used 1 Corinthians 1:21 to point out that, though his message was flawed, over 200 people still made professions of faith that night. However, in order for that verse to mean what Perry Noble so badly wants it to mean, he would have had to have taken it out of context. Therefore let’s take the time to look at the entire passage to see what Paul really meant by what he wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:21.
18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
Sometimes, the best way to interpret Scripture is with Scripture. If Perry Noble had done that, he would have needed to look no further than a few verses up at 1 Corinthians 1:18 to see that “the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” This is what Paul was referring to in verse 21. He was by no means implying that, though his own message was flawed, many were still saved as a result. No. He was simply referring to the fact that the message of the cross is oftentimes perceived as foolishness to those who do not know God.
As the song says, God picked such a strange way to save the world. “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty” (1 Corinthians 1:27). It makes no sense that the King of the universe would become flesh and take on the form of a helpless little baby in a manger. It makes no sense that Almighty God would leave His throne above to live poor as a Job’s turkey on earth. It makes no sense that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). It makes no sense that Jesus Christ would exchange His righteousness for my sin. It makes no sense. The Gospel makes no sense, and it wasn’t meant to.
Much of what we read in the Bible does not make sense, folks. However, that being true, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). He knew joy, and He knew pain. He knew laughter, and He knew sorrow. He knew what it was to rejoice, and He knew what it was to weep. He was rejected and despised by the very ones He came to save. Yet He endured all of this that we might know Him. This is the true miracle of the Gospel. Jesus performed many wonderful miracles, but the greatest of all is the saving of those who will turn from their sin and trust in Christ alone to save them.
It makes no sense for God to go to such a great length to save those who rejected and despised Him, but that’s exactly what He did. It may be a foolish message, but it is a saving message for those who will believe. If you do not know Jesus Christ as Lord of your life today, it is my prayer that you would come to do so before it is eternally too late for you. If you will turn from all sin and trust Jesus alone to save you, He will save you today and keep you saved forever.