1 Corinthians 1:27 "But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty…"
The context shows a radical distinction between God’s infinite wisdom and the finite wisdom of man. This passage shows the fundamental difference between God-confidence and self-confidence. Verses 26-31 take a hard look at the Corinthians themselves. In 2:1-5, Paul reminds the Corinthians of the one and one half years he spent with them. Neither those who listened nor those who presented the gospel did so by self-confidence. Verse 26 shows three things the Corinthians were not. Now we come to what they were in verses 27 and 28. Verses 29-31 explain why God calls the weaker to be used by Himself.
But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise,
The word “but” is a conjunction of strong contrast. In contrast to human wisdom, there is a divine wisdom.
God chooses simple trust in the gospel message to do His bidding. The reason for this is that human philosophy is bankrupt in its attempt to find infinite truth by finite means. God uses perceived foolish things as tools for His purposes.
and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty
The power of Christianity is in its message, not in its messengers. The power of the gospel does not reside in recognition by the high and mighty but in the power of the gospel message.
Ro 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
Note the three-fold use of the words “has chosen” (twice in this verse and once in the next). God makes it abundantly clear that God’s work is His work, not man’s work.
God’s chosen weak things puts to shame the things that are mighty. God exposes pretensions of the academy. He reveals it as a shallow show. God is in the business of disgracing it. God does this to demonstrate the power of the message of the gospel, not the power of the evangelist. God is independent of human power.
PRINCIPLE: God’s plan is a paradox to the finite way of doing things.
APPLICATION: God does not need a PR agent. His Word does not need support from human intellect or political power. God does not require numbers or bigness to accomplish His purposes on earth.
D. L. Moody was a great 19th century evangelist who shattered the King’s English. Yet, God used him to reach students at one of the great learning centers of that time, the Cambridge University in England. Some students came to hoot him off stage. He began his message with “Young gentlemen, don’t ever think God don’t love you, for he do!” Terrible English, but the message reached their souls and some came to Christ. Moody probably would not qualify to enroll in Moody Bible Institute today.