July 9 | Bible in a Year: Job 38-40; Acts 16:1-21
The Foolish Way of New Life
The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:18
READ 1 CORINTHIANS 1:20–31
Some things just don’t make sense until you experience them. When I was pregnant with my first child, I read multiple books about childbirth and listened to dozens of women tell their stories of labor and delivery. But I still couldn’t really imagine what the experience would be like. What my body was going to do seemed impossible!
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians that birth into God’s kingdom, the salvation that God offers us through Christ, seems equally incomprehensible to those who haven’t experienced it. It sounds like “foolishness” to say that salvation could come through a cross—a death marked by weakness, defeat, and humiliation. Yet this “foolishness” was the salvation that Paul preached!
It wasn’t what anyone could have imagined it would be like. Some people thought that salvation would come through a strong political leader or a miraculous sign. Others thought that their own academic or philosophical achievements would be their salvation (1 Corinthians 1:22). But God surprised everyone by bringing salvation in a way that would only make sense to those who believed, to those who experienced it.
God took something shameful and weak—death on a cross—and made it the foundation of wisdom and power. God does the unimaginable. He chooses the weak and foolish things of the world to shame the wise (v. 27).
And His surprising, confounding ways are always the best ways.
By Amy Peterson
REFLECT & PRAY
God, with Isaiah I pray, as high as the heavens are above the earth, so are Your ways higher than my ways.
How is God surprising you today? Why is it true that God’s ways are better than your ways?
Writers of the New Testament were themselves students of Scripture, and their writings reflect knowledge of the Old Testament. Occasionally they preface their use of the Old Testament with words like “to fulfill” (Matthew 1:22) or “it is written” (1 Corinthians 1:19, 31). Paul bookends his teaching in 1 Corinthians 1:19-31 about the wisdom and power of God that are inherent in the preaching of the gospel with quotes from Isaiah and Jeremiah. The section begins with a citation from Isaiah 29:14 and ends with words based on Jeremiah 9:24, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” Arthur Jackson