1 Corinthians 1:17-19— For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
The city of Corinth was one of great decadence. There were probably over 100,000 slaves that pulled boats across the peninsula. A great Greek temple there had 1000 prostitutes. To live in Corinth was a real challenge for Christians. The Greek culture also brought with it intellectual heights that man had attained. The converts in Corinth brought with them some of their cultural problems. They were debating about who was a disciple of whom, just as the Greeks took pride in which philosopher they adhered to. Paul began his letter to them by declaring that the gospel is not an intellectual competition. It is about the power of God to transform our lives. They needed to get their eyes off the ministers of the Gospel and fix them on Jesus. The same can be said today. Do you follow Luther, Calvin, Wesley or the pope? It is not about the minister, but the One who they are proclaiming. If the gospel were an intellectual attainment, the cross would have no meaning. To the Greeks, the thought of the cross being the way of salvation was intellectually laughable. To the Jews, it was embarrassing, but to us who are saved, it is the power of God. Though many try to make Christianity an intellectual religion, it is simply about the determined will of God whose mind we cannot comprehend. Logic has its place. Christianity is very logical to the Christian, but to the intellect trained in this world’s ways, it is incomprehensible. Faith will always be required. Paul is telling the Corinthians to turn from worldly debates and arguments that only separate us, and look at Jesus.