One helpful definition of “godly learning” or “biblical learning” is offered by Christian college professor Jeffrey Greenman: “Learning, undertaken as an intentionally spiritual pursuit, motivated by a desire to grow in the love of God, grounded in God’s truth, and aimed at being equipped for faithful service to Christ as a representative of his kingdom.”
This is very different in both content and purpose from how the world defines learning. It’s not surprising, then, that Paul wrote in today’s passage: “The foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength” (v. 25). He’d made the same point a few verses earlier by alluding to Isaiah (v. 19; Isa. 29:14).
What knowledge did Paul have in mind? Specifically, “the message of the cross,” the gospel (v. 18). To unbelievers, the good news of salvation in Christ appears to be foolishness, but to believers it clearly shows the love and power of God. These paradoxical contrasts reveal the profound differences between godly and godless learning.
Jews wanted signs and divine power (v. 22). But Jesus was a Savior dying on a cross. Greeks wanted wisdom and reason. Jesus was a Redeemer who did miracles and cast out demons. He was a “stumbling block,” “foolishness” to both (v. 23). It made sense to neither that “Christ crucified” was the “power of God and the wisdom of God” (vv. 23–24).
Humanly speaking, no one had seen it coming. But God was pleased to bring salvation by faith in this baffling and beautiful manner (v. 21). People are sinners, deserve death, and cannot save themselves. Eternal life is offered to us as a gift by a condemned criminal who paid our debt and conquered sin and death.
>> Are you ready to share the gospel? The basic points are in the two sentences just above. Practice explaining those two things to a trusted friend, so you’ll be ready to share it with someone who doesn’t know God.
Father, teach us to love the gospel, so that we can proclaim its “foolishness” without blushing. Holy Spirit, cause those who hear the gospel to marvel and repent.