Confounding (1 Cor 1:26-31)

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:” (1 Corinthians 1:27–28, AV)

In the early 60’s Fredrick Smith attended Yale University. While there, he wrote a paper for an economics class that outlined a business to make urgent overnight deliveries. His professor did not think too highly of the idea and gave Smith a “C” for the paper. After serving the United States Marine Corps where he earned a Silver Star for action in Vietnam, he returned to the states. In the 70’ he started up a business to deliver packages overnight. That business is the Federal Express Corporation. Smith confounded the scholastic expert in business. He confounded the wise. This is the way it often happens. Historically, people have looked at others and discredited them saying that their ideas and dreams were foolish. Yet, in the end those who were thought foolish end up shaming those who scoffed.

In these verses, Paul continues to expound on the contrasts between the called of God and those who have not responded to the gospel. In verse 26, Paul stated that not many of the believers were considered wise by worldly standards, not many were considered mighty, and not many were considered noble. God calls common people just like us from all walks of life and various levels of prominence to saving faith. In choosing ordinary people, He demonstrates the magnificence of his grace and that His ways are not our ways. God turns the world’s values upside-down.

Paul goes on to state that God chose those who were not considered wise by the standards of the world to confound those who through they were wise. He also chose those who were not considered strong by the world to confound the those who were considered mighty. The verb translated “confound,” kataischuno, carries with it the idea of putting one to, shame, dishonor, or disgrace. In essence, God uses the salvation of those whom the world considers foolish and weak to put the scoffers to shame.

The self-professed wise, mighty, and noble according to the standards of the world system may not in daily life be put to shame. In this life, they may be put to shame as believers hold firm to their faith and demonstrate the abundant life to which they have been called. By living the Christian life to the full, believers will stand out in such a way as to silence the critics. However, even if the critics continue to look at believers in a negative light, there is a judgment day coming when God will reveal all things. In that day, the wise of this world will realize their folly. The mighty will realize their weakness. The noble will realize their lowly position;

Perhaps you, as a believer do not see yourself as wise, strong, and noble. Put those false thoughts out of your heads. For as believers, you are the ones who are wise in the word. You are strong in the Spirit. You are noble as children of God and part of a royal priesthood. God is using you to confound the prominent people according to the system of this world.

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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