"For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,
'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.'
Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age?Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
A few years ago I was in a philosophy class about the way people think and how that effects our defense of the Gospel. Epistemology and Apologetics it was called and it was one of the most interesting classes I took at San Diego Christian College. It opened my eyes to the foolishness of the Gospel. We had one student in the class who was convinced that salvation was something you could argue a person to. That if you just answered all their questions and made a more logical presentation, they would have to be converted to your point of view. The rest of the class continually pointed him to this passage in 1 Corinthians, trying to make him see that though apologetics may strengthen the faith of a believer, no eloquent wisdom will ever save anyone.
This passage says that "it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe". The cross does not look like a very sturdy rescue plan to the world. To the Jews who wanted a mighty warrior king for a messiah, Christ crucified becomes a stumbling block (literally translated: scandal.) To the Greeks who loved logic, philosophy and their gods on distant Olympus the cross seemed ridiculous. If Paul was living today this might read: Christ crucified, fantasy to the Scientist and madness to the Atheist or just one path of many to the New Ager. A god who leaves perfection to give his holy life to die a criminal's death for a people who reject him, this rescue mission seems destined to fail. But "to those who are called (I love that word: CALLED)... Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." Our God is so mighty and so ingenious that even what seems like foolishness and weakness to the mind of man is far superior to anything found in our world.
More than all that God, chose to call the most unlikely men to understanding. He could have revealed the genius of His redemptive plan to kings, philosopher, and the most revered minds of the age (which at times He does). But when it came to the Corinthians, Paul reminds them that they are not wise, strong, or anything special. But God chose them (the foolish) for His own purpose. He chose "what is not, to bring to nothing things that are." So that in the salvation of the weak and foolish the world would be put to shame. He also chose them remind them that He saves. He saves us by becoming our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption. We have none of these things on our own but in the greatness of the plan of our God, He gives us the most amazing parts of Himself so that we can be something when on our own we are nothing. He makes us special in Christ Jesus in order that "the one who boasts, boast in the Lord" for our good and His glory.