1 Corinthians 2:1-16 (NRSV)
Chapter 2When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom. Verse 2For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. Verse 3And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. Verse 4My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, Verse 5so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.
Verse 6Yet among the mature we do speak wisdom, though it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to perish. Verse 7But we speak God's wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. Verse 8None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. Verse 9But, as it is written, "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him"- Verse 10these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. Verse 11For what human being knows what is truly human except the human spirit that is within? So also no one comprehends what is truly God's except the Spirit of God. Verse 12Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. Verse 13And we speak of these things in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual things to those who are spiritual. Verse 14Those who are unspiritual do not receive the gifts of God's Spirit, for they are foolishness to them, and they are unable to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. Verse 15Those who are spiritual discern all things, and they are themselves subject to no one else's scrutiny. Verse 16"For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ.
Every now and again you’ll hear some well-meaning person quoting the Bible to say “God helps those who help themselves.” Thing is: that’s not in the Bible. It may sound wise, but this little proverb reflects the wisdom of this world—a culture that values independence and bootstraps stories—rather than the wisdom of God.
As we read in 1 Corinthians today, God’s wisdom is the exact upside-down of the world’s version! God comes to us not because we’ve managed to get a good start on our own, but precisely in our utter helplessness. So long as we believe we have to earn goodness from God, it’s pretty hard to really soak in the good news of grace.
Every culture has its own ideas of wisdom—some that reflect God and some that don’t. What cultural wisdom might God be asking you to unlearn today in order to make space for God’s wisdom?
Jesus, Teacher, I open myself today to your upside-down wisdom. Point out to me the values, beliefs, and priorities that keep me from following you fully, and give me the courage to release them. Help me trust in you instead. In Jesus’ name. Amen.