Friday 06 March 2020

Bible Book:
1 Corinthians

But we speak God’s wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. (v. 7)

1 Corinthians 2:6-16 Friday 6 March 2020

Psalm: Psalm 5:1-8


What is wisdom? Earlier in the letter, Paul has written scathingly about human wisdom and the tricks and deception that can be achieved through well-crafted speeches and propaganda. Here, however, he begins to explore a different meaning of the word ‘wisdom’. What happens when we link wisdom to God?

Of course, wisdom and God belonged together long before Paul’s time. The book of Proverbs links the two. God created wisdom right at the beginning, and she was alongside God in creation, like a master builder producing a building from the plans (Proverbs 8:30-31). So God’s wisdom is woven into creation itself, and elsewhere Paul argues that creation reflects God’s power and divine nature (Romans 1:20).

Paul would have been aware of this background when he writes of God’s wisdom, ‘secret and hidden’. The same wisdom was hidden in Jesus, and earlier Paul has described Jesus as the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24). You might describe this wisdom as a profound understanding of how the world works, accessible only to the builder. Alongside this there would of course be knowledge of how to fix the world when it breaks. God’s solution, as Paul has already explained, is the gift of the Son and especially his death on the cross for us.

He goes on to claim, however, that this secret wisdom has now been revealed to human beings through the gift of God’s spirit. This creates a relationship between the human spirit and the spirit of God which brings our spirit to life in a new way. Paul’s thought here may draw on Jeremiah’s concept of the new covenant, written on our hearts (Jeremiah 31:33). The presence of God’s spirit within us changes the way we see life, enabling us to discern the presence of God (v. 15). This spirit-level relationship seems to be part of Paul’s understanding of maturity in faith (v. 6) and he describes it as "having the mind of Christ" (v. 16).


To Ponder:

  • What do you think might be the characteristics of a mature Christian? How might these take shape in the way people live their lives?
  • Some early texts of the Hebrew Bible have a different description of wisdom in Proverbs 8. She is like a little child, playing alongside God. Think about these two pictures, the master builder and the little child. What do they add to your understanding of God’s wisdom?
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