Select Page
Read Introduction to 1 Corinthians


“For it is written:

I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,

And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”


Verses 19-25 give three reasons why we cannot trust man’s wisdom:

Scripture, vv 19-20

Finiteness of reason, vv 21

Spiritual issue, vv 22-25

For it is written:

Paul appeals to Scripture by quoting Isaiah to prove that man’s wisdom or reason cannot be trusted (Isa 29:14). At the time Sennacherib, the Assyrian, threatened Judah with an invasion, Isaiah declared that deliverance would come by God, not alliance with pagan Egypt. Assyria had already conquered the northern kingdom and Syria. Judah was tottering and about to fall to the Assyrians. The reasoning of the politicians of Isaiah’s day was to form an alliance with Egypt rather than trust God.

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,

God will overthrow human-centered wisdom. God does not depend on human ingenuity. Political brain trusts are not adequate to do God’s work.

And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”

“Wisdom” is a more general term for applying knowledge to experience. “Prudent” is a special application of wisdom or adjustment to particular cases. “Prudent” means to bring together and denotes the ability to bring the parts to a whole, hence, comprehension or insight. God does not need man’s finite understanding.

The words “bring to nothing” mean to set aside, reject. God brings to nothing those who trust in human ingenuity or political schemes. God sets aside the prudent or the brilliant. Rulers of Israel sought the help of Egypt. This was a rebellion against God’s policy of mutual exclusive truth. We depend on God alone. God delivered Judah without Egypt’s help (Isa 37; 2 Kg 17). The Assyrian army surrounded Jerusalem. Hezekiah prayed about the situation, and God answered by destroying 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in one night (Isa 37:36).


Personal ingenuity without trust in God is autonomy from God.


All of us are tempted to operate on ingenuity with God. If we disregard God’s Word in seeking solutions to our issues, we have a fundamental spiritual problem. We need nothing beyond what we can see or touch. The sagacity of sagacious men is not enough in God’s economy.

Proverbs 14:12, There is a way that seems right to a man,

But its end is the way of death.

James 3:15-17, This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.

God saves souls by special revelation of His Word and the person of Christ. He does not join other worldviews in doing so. God does not operate on relative truth or pluralism. He does not ask for counsel from human wisdom.