Some may respond to this by saying, “But Paul said that the Corinthians were quarreling and striving. Sure, there may be divisions in the Church because of denominational affiliations, but the people in churches today for the most part don’t quarrel and strive with those in other churches about their pastors.” Let’s think about this for a moment. We’re well ensconced in a universally accepted church world in which there are not only many different denominations but a plethora of churches within those denominations. Therefore, it’s difficult to imagine what these first century Corinthians were dealing with, but let’s try. Imagine yourself in a room in which were gathered the members of three churches and on the platform sat the three pastors of those churches. In the meeting it’s announced that only one of these men will now lead all three fellowships under one roof and that all of the members will have the opportunity to decide which one will get the job. What would that meeting be like? On what criteria would the people base their choice? Am I mistaken to think that if one man was actually chosen, the choice would be made—all things moral and doctrinal being equal—on the basis of his ability to speak and how he presented himself? What would the people do after a choice had been made? Would there be any quarreling and striving? After the votes had been tallied, would there be those who would decide that they were going to keep their own pastors, regardless of the outcome?

Paul tells us that, according to God’s wisdom, it is not His intention to build His Church according to this kind of worldly criteria.


“For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’ And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom” (1 Corinthians 1:26–2:1).

We in the Western church aren’t likely to be of noble birth, but it is possible for us to be “wise according to worldly standards” and “powerful” by certain measures, in comparison to others in the world as well as in our own country. And we wouldn’t be off the mark if we maintained that one of the manifestations of that wisdom and power by the world’s standards is the ability to stand in front of hundreds of people and speak eloquently and humorously through a microphone with lights shining on us, audio and video recorders rolling. Those who are successful in the world are accomplished in this art. They know how to perform professionally on the platform or in front of the cameras and not stutter and stammer, verbally fall all over themselves or faint from stage fright. However, most of us don’t have that going for us. Paul agrees that many whom the Lord has chosen don’t have that advantage or any other, according to the standards of the world. And apparently, in God’s wisdom, that weakness is a good thing, according to the passage above.