Philosophies on Trial

Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? Or since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of that was preached to save those who believe.

I Corinthians 1:20-21


Paul found himself disputing the philosophies of his day. In Athens, the Epicureans and the Stoic philosophers disputed with him as he preached the good news of Jesus Christ and the resurrection. (Acts 17:18) The Epicureans were materialists and atheists, and their goal in life was pleasure.

The Stoics rejected the idolatry of pagan worship and taught that there was one world-god. They were pantheists whose emphasis was on personal discipline. Today, we also face different philosophies in our society, and we, like Paul, must stand firm in our convictions and boldly share our faith. The world still needs the message of the cross and the hope that it brings. There is no other philosophy that brings the hope of eternal life and the hope of living in Christ.

Paul puts the philosophies of the world on trial knowing that they cannot stand up to the Word of God. He contends that the wisdom of the world is foolishness in comparison with the wisdom of God. Proof of this is that the world’s wisdom did not reveal God. It is only by God’s Holy Spirit that He is revealed.

What false philosophies have you believed? Today, our society is flooded with self-help books, yet Jesus says I am the vine; you are the branches.

If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5) The philosophies of the world fall short of the wisdom of God. Are you held captive by the philosophies of the world?

Heavenly Father, Help me to remember that the wisdom of this world is foolishness to You. Help me to depend only on You and not to be captivated by the philosophies that this world offers. In Jesus’ name, Amen


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