Study Sheet for I Corinthians 1:26-31 (click here for Study Notes)
Brothers, think of what you were when you were called.
Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential,
not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world
to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things-and the
things that are not-to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast
before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become
for us wisdom from God-that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
Therefore, as it is written, "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."
1. "Brothers, think of what you were when you were called," Paul says to the Corinthians. "Not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were influential, not many were of noble birth." What were you when God called you to embrace truth? Were you considered important, or did you have social or financial standing in your community? How was your discovery of salvation and Jesus' grace treated in the community? Did your social standing follow you out of the community where you had been and into the community of Christ-followers?
2. What does Paul mean when he says, "But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise"? (see James 2:5, I Cor. 1:20; I Cor. 3:18,19)
3. Beginning in Genesis the Bible tells of God calling things into existence where previously there had been nothing. From the creation of the world (Genesis 1) to the calling of Abraham (Genesis 17:5) to the birth of Isaac (Genesis 21:1-7) to the incarnation of God into flesh (John 1:1-3) to the transformation of Saul into Paul (Acts 9), God worked miracles to make his plans reality. What do you think Paul meant when he said God chose "the things that are not-to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him"? (see Romans 4:17, Ephesians 2:9)
4. Paul declares in verse 30 that our salvation was God's plan. Because of him we are "in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God-that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption." What does he mean when he says Jesus became for us "wisdom from God"? How are righteousness, holiness and redemption "wisdom"? How does this wisdom compare with the wisdom for which the Greeks looked? (verses 21, 22)?
5. Paul quotes Jeremiah when he says, "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord." (Jer. 9:24) What does he mean? Of what can you boast in the Lord?
6. Do you have areas in which you feel you have significant understanding and wisdom? Have you been willing to offer this wisdom and understanding to God? Are you willing to let Jesus show you, if necessary, where your convictions might be wrong?
7. In what way(s) have "the things that are not" nullified
"the things that are" in your life?
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