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From the clever and intelligent

Consider the following verses.

Mt 11:25 At that time Jesus said, "I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.

Lk 10:21 At that very time He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit, and said, "I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight.

If you depend on your intelligence to understand God’s word you will not. God hides things from those who depend on their wisdom and intelligence.

1 Cor 3:20 and again, "THE LORD KNOWS THE REASONINGS of the wise, THAT THEY ARE USELESS."

The wisdom of this world is useless in understanding the word of God.

Lk 16:15 And He said to them, "You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.

God does not think very highly of human wisdom and intelligence.

1 Cor 3:18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise.

That is why we need to humbly acknowledge that our intelligence is useless when it comes to understanding God.

1 Cor 2:13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

Paul understood that human wisdom didn’t have much value in acquiring spiritual truth. He saw how astray he himself went when he depended on human wisdom to acquire truth.

People who teach that the normative hermeneutic (a.k.a. the historical grammatical method) of understanding the Bible fail to take into account that intelligence is not the key that unlocks the secrets of the Bible. According to them, any person (including an unbeliever) who knows ancient Hebrew and Greek will be able to get an accurate understanding of God’s message in the Bible.

You never see Jesus and the apostles using the historical-grammatical method to exegete the Old Testament. For example, consider Stephen’s defense in Acts chapter seven – did he ever use the historical-grammatical method to support his exposition of Scripture?

Also consider this: how is it that none of the twelve disciples were scribes? If a good command of ancient Hebrew were required to understand the Old Testament and to preach the gospel would not Jesus have chosen all twelve to be scribes? Why did Jesus choose fishermen?

The goal of a hermeneutic is to get the point that God is making – but look what happened: the Old Testament pointed to Jesus but the scribes missed it – they missed the point that God was making in the Scripture. On the other hand, the fishermen, who had only the general idea of the Scriptures, got the point that God was making – they were able to recognize the Christ.

The fact that fishermen got the point and the scribes did not get it is proof that studying ancient Hebrew and ancient Greek is neither necessary nor sufficient to get the point that God is making.

The reason why God chose fishermen is in 1 Cor 1:18-31. God chose people who have nothing to boast about.

1 Cor 1:26-29 26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble ; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, 29 so that no man may boast before God.

On the other hand, those who are wise and intelligent have opportunity to boast about it. Here is how God deals with human wisdom.

1 Cor 1:18-21 18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, "I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE." 20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.

The cross (that is, God’s message of salvation, which is an important part of sound doctrine) is foolishness to those who are perishing due to their dependence on their own wisdom. In order to understand the cross and believe it you have to experience the destruction of your human wisdom.

Paul experienced this destruction of human wisdom at the hand of God.

Php 3:8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,

Paul had to count all things (including what he learnt in Bible school) as a loss in order to know Christ as his Lord. As we have seen before, the primary teaching of the Bible is that we make Jesus our Lord. In order to do that Paul had to count all things as loss.

1 Cor 3:19-20 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, "He is THE ONE WHO CATCHES THE WISE IN THEIR CRAFTINESS"; 20 and again, "THE LORD KNOWS THE REASONINGS of the wise, THAT THEY ARE USELESS."

He who is wise (humanly speaking) should become a fool (humanly speaking) so that he can become wise (in spiritual things). That is, in order to understand God’s word you have to come to a point where you understand that you cannot depend on your intelligence.

To the extent that we have counted all things as loss, to that extent will we gain the knowledge of Christ.

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