Bible study 12. The foolishness of God

From Bible Reading Fellowship “New Daylight” readings 

Contributed by Terry Hinks U.K. United Reformed Church Minister

Opening prayer asking the Holy Spirit to guide you.

The Foolishness of God

For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we (Christians) proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

1 Corinthians 1:22-24 (NRSV)

Who wants to admit to weakness, to needing help? We want God to be the ultimate rock we can depend on, that ultimate force that will sort the mess out. 

Yet Paul challenges us with a paradox: a God supremely revealed in what looks like weakness and folly – foolishness!  How can a man hanging limply from a cross, with blood dripping from his pierced hands, speak of an almighty God? In the Jewish tradition, such a death looked more like a sinner cursed by God than a Messiah and Saviour, or a sign of God at work. 

Paul would have felt the same, until an encounter with this Jesus of Nazareth, crucified and risen, turned his mind and his world upside down. From then on, the cross was his supreme reference point as he considered how to live and act day by day, and as he explored the reality of God in a world of suffering and sin. 

This is the God who Paul proclaims, and this is the God that we need to know and love as we reach out to a needy world.   

  1. Do you agree with Terry Hinks first sentence that we want our God to be mighty?  Is that what you want? What do you want God to be like?
  1. The Jews were expecting a Messiah to be a great conqueror who would rescue them. They saw death on a cross as a shameful punishment for criminals, many thought that Jesus could not possibly be the Messiah.

How do you look on the cross, do you see it as a sign of God’s love and power over evil? What does it say to you?

  1. As Christmas approaches and we think of our Saviour’s entry as a baby in a stable. Do you see this as another sign of foolishness?

How do you see this act of God?  Wise or foolish? What does it mean to you ?

  1. The scripture above says “the Jews demand signs in order to believe. Do you sometimes feel that a sign would strengthen your faith?  

Have you had signs from God?

  1. In John 14:9b Jesus says “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father”. 

In Revelation 4:2,3 The Apostle John describes his vision of the Lord God Almighty as someone with the appearance of jasper and carnelian.

Do you have a picture of God the Father or Jesus? Or does the thought of Christ crucified give you the best picture of your creator?

Share your thoughts.

Prayer :    God of the cross turn our hearts and minds to you, may we know the power and wisdom of your 

                  love in Christ. Amen