Wisdom Wednesday: The Pauline Teaching on Wisdom

Wisdom Wednesday: The Pauline Teaching on Wisdom

Submitted by Debbie’s Dad

Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; 7 but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; 8 the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

 (1 Cor. 2:6–8-4 NASB)

In this passage, Paul explained that God’s wisdom is centered in His means of salvation of sinful humans. The means was determined in eternity past and “hidden” from the understanding of men until His son paid the penalty of sin. The concept of God’s Son paying the price to redeem humans from the bondage of sin was a “mystery”—a concept hidden from natural men but revealed to those who believe in the Son. He supports his argument that this is hidden, by showing that the “wise” of that age- the rulers of Israel and Rome – would never have crucified Jesus (the Lord of glory) if they had known the wisdom of God! (Even as he wrote, those leaders still rejected the notion of Jesus’ sacrifice for sin.)

This and several more passages in the epistles provide a basic set of coherent teachings written by Paul to describe the wisdom of God. Organized in a sequence from God’s foreordination (establishment) of His plan to save, to the role of the church, we can see Paul’s description of the aspects of wisdom of God:

  • God foreordained His wisdom before the ages (of our human existence). (1 Cor. 2:7).
  • God is the only One who is wise in the ultimate sense of wisdom (Rom. 11:33; 16:27) and His wisdom is completely unsearchable by man.
  • Humans do not come to know God’s wisdom through their senses and reasoning (1 Cor. 2:9) or by human wisdom alone (1 Cor. 1:21), because it is perceived as foolishness (cf. I Cor 1:26-29).
  • God’s wisdom is obtained only as God reveals it by His Spirits (1 Cor. 2:10) since it is hidden until He reveals the mystery to us (1 Cor. 2:7).
  • God revealed the wisdom of His purpose in redemption to “sum up all things” such that the redeemed would be to the praise of God’s glory. (Eph. 1:9-12).
  • The results of the wisdom of God’s Plan are numerous, including:
    • To receive spiritual blessings to be holy and blameless (1:3-4).
    • To become adopted as God’s sons (1:5).
    • To be sealed with the Spirit of promise of our inheritance (1:13-14).
    • To receive the knowledge of Him (1: 18).
    • To be made alive together in Christ and raised and seated with Him (2: 5-6).
    • To become fellow citizens with the saints in God’s household (2:19).
  • And in His wisdom, God has provided the church of believers to “make the manifold wisdom of Christ “known in the earth and in heavenly places (Eph. 3: 4-10).

We see that Paul’s teaching on God’s wisdom is focused on His plan to redeem fallen, sinful humans that believe in Him. In God’s wisdom, He chose to pay the price for believers by the blood of Christ, accept them as His inertance – adopted children – and demonstrate the glory of His grace.

As Paul exclaimed, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” (Rom 11:33–34)

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