What Is The Foolishness of Preaching?

"Please explain 1 Corinthians 1:18-27. What did Paul mean by the "foolishness of preaching"? Was he stating that preaching is foolishness?"

Corinth, in the first century A.D., was one of the most corrupt cities in the ancient world. The marvelous power of the gospel is found in the conversion of the Corinthians in that they turned from inordinate immorality (Acts 18:1-17; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

Immorality was not the only barrier to the gospel in Corinth though. The Greeks were dedicated to a philosophical approach to life, and prided themselves in their ability to solve the problems of life by human reasoning and worldly philosophy alone. Their views were opposed to the gospel, and it was necessary for Paul to show the superiority of the gospel. It is, however, noteworthy that the apostle did not condemn wisdom per se, as such. He condemned the display, the vain exhibition of learning, so characteristic of the Corinthians. Philosophy is powerless to save one individual; whereas the gospel, believed and obeyed, can save the world (Romans 1:13-17; Mark 16:15,16).

The "word of the cross" (1 Corinthians 1:18-21) is the gospel concerning the cross - the teaching which attributes salvation to the atonement which our Lord made on the cross. This is what the world regards as foolish and, because they will not accept it, they are perishing. Others, because they regard it as God's way of justifying men, have accepted it, and are saved. The gospel is "the power of God," (Romans 1:16) because it is God's only instrument through which is appropriated salvation (Acts 4:12; John 14:6). God's plan, through the gospel, revealed the foolishness and emptiness of these philosophical systems. Paul referred to "the foolishness of preaching," not to say that the preaching of the cross is foolish in and of itself, but to point out that what men thought of the gospel in that they regarded it as foolishness, was in fact, actually God's way of saving the world from sin!



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