1 Corinthians 1:25
Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(25) Because.—This introduces the reason why Christ, as being crucified, is the power and wisdom of God, viz., because God’s folly (as they call it) is wiser, not “than the wisdom of men,” as some understand this passage, but than men themselves—embracing in that word all that men can know or hope ever to know; and the weakness of God (as they regard it) is stronger than men.

1:17-25 Paul had been bred up in Jewish learning; but the plain preaching of a crucified Jesus, was more powerful than all the oratory and philosophy of the heathen world. This is the sum and substance of the gospel. Christ crucified is the foundation of all our hopes, the fountain of all our joys. And by his death we live. The preaching of salvation for lost sinners by the sufferings and death of the Son of God, if explained and faithfully applied, appears foolishness to those in the way to destruction. The sensual, the covetous, the proud, and ambitious, alike see that the gospel opposes their favourite pursuits. But those who receive the gospel, and are enlightened by the Spirit of God, see more of God's wisdom and power in the doctrine of Christ crucified, than in all his other works. God left a great part of the world to follow the dictates of man's boasted reason, and the event has shown that human wisdom is folly, and is unable to find or retain the knowledge of God as the Creator. It pleased him, by the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believe. By the foolishness of preaching; not by what could justly be called foolish preaching. But the thing preached was foolishness to wordly-wise men. The gospel ever was, and ever will be, foolishness to all in the road to destruction. The message of Christ, plainly delivered, ever has been a sure touchstone by which men may learn what road they are travelling. But the despised doctrine of salvation by faith in a crucified Saviour, God in human nature, purchasing the church with his own blood, to save multitudes, even all that believe, from ignorance, delusion, and vice, has been blessed in every age. And the weakest instruments God uses, are stronger in their effects, than the strongest men can use. Not that there is foolishness or weakness in God, but what men consider as such, overcomes all their admired wisdom and strength.Because the foolishness of God - That which God appoints, requires, commands, does, etc., which appears to people to be foolish. The passage is not to be understood as affirming that it is really foolish or unwise; but that it appears so to people - Perhaps the apostle here refers to those parts of the divine administration where the wisdom of the plan is not seen; or where the reason of what God does is concealed.

Is wiser than men - Is better adapted to accomplish important ends, and more certainly effectual than the schemes of human wisdom. This is especially true of the plan of salvation - a plan apparently foolish to the mass of people - yet indubitably accomplishing more for the renewing of people, and for their purity and happiness, than all the schemes of human contrivance. They have accomplished nothing toward people's salvation; this accomplishes everything. They have always failed; this never fails.

The weakness of God - There is really no weakness in God, any more than there is folly. This must mean, therefore, the things of his appointment which appear weak and insufficient to accomplish the end. Such are these facts - that God should seek to save the world by Jesus of Nazareth, Who was supposed unable to save himself Matthew 27:40-43; and that he should expect to save people by the gospel, by its being preached by people who were without learning, eloquence, wealth, fame, or power. The instruments were feeble; and people judged that this was owing to the weakness or lack of power in the God who appointed them.

Is stronger than men - Is able to accomplish more than the utmost might of man. The feeblest agency that God puts forth - so feeble as to be esteemed weakness - is able to effect more than the utmost might of man. The apostle here refers particularly to the work of redemption; but it is true everywhere. We may remark:

(1) That God often effects his mightiest plans by that which seems to men to be weak and even foolish. The most mighty revolutions arise often from the slightest causes; his most vast operations are often connected with very feeble means. The revolution of empires; the mighty effects of the pestilence; the advancement in the sciences, and arts, and the operations of nature, are often brought about by means apparently as little suited to accomplish the work as those which are employed in the plan of redemption.

(2) God is great. If his feeblest powers put forth, surpass the mightiest powers of man, how great must be his might. If the powers of man who rears works of art; who levels mountains and elevates vales; if the power which reared the pyramids, be as nothing when compared with the feeblest putting forth of divine power, how mighty must be his arm! How vast that strength which made, and which upholds the rolling worlds! How safe are his people in his hand! And how easy for him to crush all his foes in death!

25. foolishness of God—that is, God's plan of salvation which men deem "foolishness."

weakness of God—Christ "crucified through weakness" (2Co 13:4, the great stumbling-block of the Jews), yet "living by the power of God." So He perfects strength out of the weakness of His servants (1Co 2:3; 2Co 12:9).

The foolishness of God is wiser than men; the least things that are the products of the wisdom of God, or the contrivance of God for man’s salvation, which the sinful and silly world calls foolishness, are infinitely more wise, and have more wisdom in them, than the wisest imaginations, counsels, and contrivances of men.

And the weakness of God is stronger than men; and those things and means which God hath instituted in order to an end, have in them more virtue, power, and efficacy in order to the production of God’s intended effects, than any such means as appear to men’s eyes of reason to have the greatest strength, virtue, and efficacy. Whence we may observe, that the efficacy of preaching for the changing and convering souls, dependeth upon the efficacy of God working in and by that holy institution, which usually attendeth the ministry of those who are not only called and sent out by men, but by God, being fitted for their work, and faithfully discharging of it. Because the foolishness of God,.... Not that there is any such thing as "foolishness" in God, nor the least degree of weakness in him; but the apostle means that which the men of the world esteem so, and therefore, by an ironical concession, calls it by those names; by which is intended either Christ, who, as crucified, is counted foolishness; yet he "is wiser than men": yea, even than Solomon, who was wiser than all men besides; Christ is greater than he in wisdom, having all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge in him; yea, in redemption by the blood of his cross, which is accounted such an egregious instance of folly, there is such a display of wisdom as surpasses all the wisdom of men and angels: and though he is, as crucified, esteemed as

the weakness of God, yet in this respect,

is stronger than men; stronger than the strong man armed; and has done that by his own arm, has brought salvation for his people, which neither men nor angels could ever have done: or all this may be understood of the Gospel of Christ, which is condemned as folly and weakness, and yet has infinitely more wisdom in it, than is to be found in the best concerted schemes of the wisest philosophers; and has had a greater influence on the minds and manners of men than theirs ever had; it is the manifold wisdom of God, and the power of God unto salvation. Moreover, these words may be applied to the saints, called in 1 Corinthians 1:27.

the foolish and weak things of the world; and yet even these, in the business of salvation, how foolish soever they may be in other respects, are wiser than the wisest of men destitute of the grace of God; and however weak they are in themselves, in their own esteem, and in the account of others, they are able to do and suffer such things, through the strength of Christ that no other men in the world are able to perform or endure. The phrases here used seem to be a sort of proverbial ones; and the sense of them is, that whatever, in things divine and spiritual, has the appearance of folly and weakness, or is judged to be so by carnal men, is wiser and stronger not only than the wisdom and strength of men, but than men themselves with all their wisdom and strength. It is very likely, that proverbial expressions of this kind, with a little alteration, were used by the Jews. The advice the young men gave to Rehoboam is thus paraphrased by the Targumist (o), , "my weakness is stronger than the strength of my father"; which is very near the same with the last clause of this verse,

(o) In 2 Chron. 10.

Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Corinthians 1:25. Confirmation of the Θεοῦ δύν. κ. Θεοῦ σοφ. by a general proposition, the first half of which corresponds to the Θεοῦ σοφίαν, and the second to the Θεοῦ δύναμιν.

τὸ μωρὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ] the foolish thing which comes from God,[260] i.e. what God works and orders, and which appears to men absurd. Comp ΤῸ ΣΩΤΉΡΙΟΝ Τ. ΘΕΟῦ, Luke 2:30.

ΤῶΝ ἈΝΘΡΏΠΩΝ] We are not to amplify this, with the majority of interpreters (including Beza, Grotius, Valckenaer, Zachariae, Flatt, Pott, Heydenreich, and de Wette), into ΤΟῦ ΣΟΦΟῦ ΤῶΝ ἈΝΘΡΏΠ., after a well-known abbreviated mode of comparison (see on Matthew 5:20; John 5:36), which Estius rightly censures here as coactum (comp Winer, p. 230 [E. T. 307]), because we should have to supply with ΤῶΝ ἈΝΘΡ. not the last named attribute, but its opposite; the true rendering, in fact, is just the simple one: wiser than men; men possess less wisdom than is contained in the foolish thing of God.

τὸ ἀσθενὲς τοῦ Θεοῦ] whatever in God’s appointments is, to human estimation, powerless and resultless. The concrete instance which Paul has in view when employing the general terms ΤῸ ΜΩΡΌΝ and ΤῸ ἈΣΘΕΝῈς ΤΟῦ ΘΕΟῦ, is the death of Christ on the cross, through which God has fulfilled the counsel of His eternal wisdom, wrought out with power the redemption of the world, laid the foundations of everlasting bliss, and overcome all powers antagonistic to Himself.

[260] This, according to the well-known use in Greek of the neuter with the genitive (Poppo, ad Thuc. VI. p. 168; Kühner, II. p. 122), might also be taken as abstract: the foolishness of God—the weakness of God. So τὸ μωρόν, Eur. Hipp. 966. But Paul had the concrete conception in his mind; otherwise he would most naturally have used the abstract μωρόα employed just before. The meaning of the concrete expression, however, is not: God Himself, in so far as He is foolish (Hofmann); passages such as 2 Corinthians 4:7, Romans 1:19; Romans 2:4; Romans 8:3, are no proof of this.—As to the different accentuations of μωρός and μῶρος, see Lipsius, grammat. Unters. p. 25; Göttling, Accentl. p. 304.1 Corinthians 1:25. What has been proved in point of fact, viz., the stultification by the cross of man’s wisdom, the Ap. (as in Romans 3:30; Romans 11:29, Galatians 2:6) grounds upon an axiomatic religious principle, that of the absolute superiority of the Divine to the human. That God should thus confound the world one might expect: “because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men”. Granted that the λόγος τ. σταυροῦ is folly and weakness, it is God’s folly, God’s weakness: will men dare to match themselves with that? (cf. Romans 9:20).—τὸ μωρόν (not μωρία as before), τὸ ἀσθενές are concrete terms—the foolish, weak policy of God (cf. τὸ χρηστόν, Romans 2:4), the folly and weakness embodied in the cross.—ἰσχυρός (ἰσχύς) implies intrinsic strength; δύναμις is ability, as relative to the task in view.25. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, &c.] What was folly in the eyes of the Greek, or weakness in the eyes of the Jew, was yet far wiser and stronger than their highest conceptions. The revelation of God in the man Christ Jesus, the Infinite allying itself to the Finite—the foolishness of God—was the perfection of the Divine Wisdom; the crucifixion of sin in the Death of Christ; God suffering, dying—the weakness of God—was the highest manifestation of Divine Power, in that it destroyed what nothing else could destroy. For whosoever unites himself to Christ by faith in His Blood acquires the faculty of putting sin to a lingering death.1 Corinthians 1:25. Τοῦ Θεοῦ, of God) in Christ.—σοφώτερονἰσχυρότερον, wiser—stronger) 1 Corinthians 1:30.—τῶν ἀνθρώπων, than men) The phraseology is abbreviated;[12] it means, wiser than the wisdom of men, stronger than the strength of men, although they may appear to themselves both wise and powerful, and may wish to define what it is to be wise and powerful.

[12] See App., under the title, Concisa Locutio.Verse 25. - The foolishness of God... the weakness of God; the method, that is, whereby God works, and which men take to be foolish and weak, because with arrogant presumption they look upon themselves as the measure of all things. But God achieves the mightiest ends by the humblest means, and the gospel of Christ allied itself from the first, not with the world's strength and splendour, but with all which the world despised as mean and feeble - with fishermen and tax gatherers, with slaves, and women, and artizans. The lesson was specially needful to the Corinthians, whom Cicero describes ('De Leg. Age,' 2:32) as "famous, not only for their luxuriousness, but also for their wealth and philosophic culture." The foolishness (τὸ μωρὸν)

Lit., the foolish thing. More specific than the abstract μωρία foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:18, 1 Corinthians 1:21), and pointing to the fact of Christ crucified.

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