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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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WISDOM FOR DUMMIES

Most people have seen one or more of the best selling For Dummies series of books. These are books that seek to take complex and challenging subjects and explain them in terms that even beginners can understand and use. From a quick hit on the Internet I mined the following sampling of titles: Stock Investing For Dummies; Slow Cookers For Dummies; Guitar for Dummies; Excel For Dummies; Buddhism For Dummies; Chicago For Dummies. The list is almost endless. These books aim to take subjects that might appear daunting and present them in a simple, clear way that can be understood by a person who is a "dummy" on that particular subject.  In id Corinthians 1:18-3:19 the apostle Paul writes inspired words that we might call "Wisdom for Dummies." In this section he mentions the word "wisdom" at least fourteen times. But he makes a clear distinction. On the one hand, there is "human wisdom" (2:4), also called "the wisdom of this age" (2:6) and "the wisdom of this world".(1:20). Paul bluntly says "the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God" (3:19). On the other hand there is "the wisdom of God" (1:21, 24) which actually turns out to be the gospel message of Christ and Him crucified (2:1-5)! In id Corinthians 1:17-2:16 Paul skillfully lays out the argument that the gospel is wisdom for dummies! . It was a hidden wisdom not accessible to man through his own intellectual power or reasoning ability (2:6-9). In a nutshell, Paul argues that the notion that Christ would come to earth as God in the flesh and die a weak and humiliating and shameful death on a cross as a common criminal was absolutely absurd to a world that already considered itself wise. To them it was, to coin Paul's word, "foolishness" (1:18, 21, 23). But the gospel turns out to be wisdom for dummies! That is, although the "rulers of this age" (2:6, 8) didn't get it when Christ came, God revealed all this to us through Holy Spirit inspired men who preached and recorded it in the words of the Bible. The result is that what is hidden to worldly-minded people is now clearly revealed to spiritual-minded people who will take time to read and study the Bible (1st Corinthians 2:10-16; Ephesians 3:3-6).

Abraham Lincoln was once hired to sue someone over a $2.50 debt. He didn't want to do it, but his client insisted. Abe asked for a fee of $10 paid in advance. He then gave half to the defendant, keeping the other half for himself. The defendant promptly paid his debt and went home with $2.50 left over! Everybody in the situation was happy — but not everyone was wise! Some people are much smarter than others. But no man is a dummy who accepts and acts on the wisdom God reveals in the Gospel.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ