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God’s Wisdom

Why this is important: It is so easy to fall into the trap of thinking we are wise. We study theology to refute atheists and skeptics. Consider the Apostle Paul. He had learned the lesson that it was not about great apologetics but rather the demonstration of the Holy Spirit and His power in our lives. (Note: I think we should study theology and apologetics, but we must rely on the Holy Spirit and not out own wisdom.)

And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus the Messiah and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. [1]

1 Corinthians 2:1–5

God’s goal: God wants us to be immersed and filled with the Holy Spirit. That is the way of God and message of Jesus. Jesus promised the power of the Holy Spirit. Consider this from Jesus:

When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. 20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you[2]

Matthew 10:19–20

Wayne Grudem has some great insight on this. Wayne is a New Testament scholar turned theologian. He is Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies at Phoenix Seminary, and author. He co-founded the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and served as the general editor of the ESV Study Bible.

The Holy Spirit empowered Jesus’ disciples for various kinds of ministry. Jesus had promised them, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). There are several specific examples of the Holy Spirit’s empowering the early Christians to work miracles as they proclaimed the gospel (note Stephen in Acts 6:5, 8; and Paul in Rom. 15:19; 1 Cor. 2:4).

But the Holy Spirit also gave great power to the preaching of the early church so that when the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit they proclaimed the Word boldly and with great power (Acts 4:8, 31; 6:10; 1 Thess. 1:5; 1 Peter 1:12). In general, we can say that the Holy Spirit speaks through the gospel message as it is effectively proclaimed to people’s hearts.

The New Testament ends with an invitation from both the Holy Spirit and the church, who together call people to salvation: “The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come’ ” (Rev. 22:17). In fact, not only in the preaching of the gospel message but also in the reading and teaching of Scripture does the Holy Spirit continue to speak to people’s hearts each day (see Heb. 3:7 and 10:15, where the author quotes an Old Testament passage and says that the Holy Spirit is now speaking that passage to his readers).

Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, Second Edition. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic, 2020)

Good news: Jesus promised us the Holy Spirit. We have the power of God in our lives. We can trust the Holy Spirit to give us the message when we need it.

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), 1 Co 2:1–5.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Mt 10:19–20.

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