The wisdom of god enables and empowers true education

Report
THE WISDOM OF GOD ENABLES AND
EMPOWERS TRUE EDUCATION
Stephen G. Brown, Ph. D.
 Shasta Bible College and Graduate School




TRACS Annual Meeting, Chicago
November 8, 2012
Theme: Meeting a Higher Standard
WESLEY M. PINKHAM, “EMPOWERING YOUR TEACHING
MINISTRY,” SLIDE 167.
DEFINITION OF WISDOM


Wisdom is knowledge applied. A response to what is
actual and ultimately real. It gives our lives significance
and meaning. It produces something good that
maintains and upholds what is ideally perfect.
If something is broken, wisdom repairs it. If something
is needed, wisdom invents it. If something is created,
wisdom designs it. Wisdom adheres to what is innately
perfect, to a pristine state—ultimately, what God
ordained in a perfect world that He created.
DEFINITION OF WISDOM


Though the perfection of the world is tarnished by the
sin of man now, God created life and existence as we
know it by means of wisdom with a purpose and design.
To speak of wisdom presupposes theism, the belief in a
transcendent God who established a world that reflects
His glory in its beauty and perfection.
DEFINITION OF WISDOM

This recognition of an ultimate reality in a realm of
absolute truth urges the apostle Paul to urge us to
reflect on what is true, honorable, what is right, what
is pure, what is lovely, and what is of good report (Phil.
4:9).
THE DEFINITION OF TRUE EDUCATION

By definition, true education is the only valid education,
because it corresponds to the purpose and intent of the
only wise God who seeks the benefit and well-being of
His creation and of all the creatures who dwell therein,
especially the human race whom he created in His own
image and likeness.
THE ROLE OF WISDOM IN EDUCATION

True education is defined as leading others to see and
know what is true, what is real and actual. Without
knowing the truth, there is no progress to a goal, no
purpose for a skill, no value to an education. True
education recognizes that the ability to work wisely in
the world presumes a knowledge and engagement of
the One who created it.
THE ROLE OF WISDOM IN EDUCATION

True education requires the wisdom of the all-wise
Creator to be effective, a wisdom that comes from
knowing God and His Word. The understanding and
application of the Word of God makes Christian
education true and incomparably unique. Hence, we
come to our title: “The wisdom of God enables and
empowers true education.”
THE NEED OF WISDOM IN EDUCATION


True education requires the acknowledgement that God
has the answers for our journey through life. For our
potential to be recognized and realized in our vocation
and service, we must depend on God for the necessary
understanding and ability to fulfill that potential.
As a result, those who are educators can only be
effective if they possess the wisdom of God. The
wisdom of God is required to enable and empower us in
our endeavors to both learn and teach. This is the
challenge we face in “Meeting a Higher Standard.”
THE THREE DEFINITIVE QUESTIONS
In order to meet a higher standard, we will investigate
the metaphysical question of what is real wisdom, the
epistemological question of how to know wisdom, and the
ethical question of its application and use.

1.
2.
3.
The Identity of Wisdom: This presents the
metaphysical challenge. What is wisdom? What is its
source? What is its nature or essence?
The Source of Wisdom: That is, the epistemological
challenge. Can we know and understand it? Where is it
located?
The Use of Wisdom: This is the ethical challenge. How
do we implement and apply it?
THE CONFLICT OF WORLDVIEW

The answers to these questions hinge on one’s world
view. Opposing ideologies produce conflicting
interpretations and solutions. The Bible presents a
platform of theism, revelation, and spirituality in
opposition to the humanistic platform in academia
which follows Max Weber’s vision for a metaphysics of
naturalism, an epistemology of rationalism, and an
ethics of scientism (Naugle, 110).
BIBLICAL VS. HUMANISTIC WISDOM
In order to meet a higher standard in education, Christian
educators must resolve these answers in order to
understand what true education is. The following chart
presents the differences between a biblical worldview and
a humanistic worldview:
BIBLICAL
WORLDVIEW
THEISM
REVELATION
SPIRITUAL
ILLUMINATION
HUMANISTIC
WORLDVIEW
NATURALISM
RATIONALISM
SCIENTIFIC
EMPIRICISM
1. THE IDENTITY OF WISDOM

First, there is a need to identify wisdom—what is it?
In order to answer the question of what wisdom is, it is
necessary to recognize that theism and naturalism hold
contrary definitions of wisdom. There are two types of
wisdom: the wisdom of the world and the wisdom of God.
In 1 Corinthians 1-3, Paul addresses this intellectual and
spiritual conflict. He saw the danger of compromising the
message of the cross by those culturally sophisticated
believers who searched after human wisdom (1:22).

HUMAN WISDOM IS INADEQUATE
1 Cor 1:18-21 and 3:18-20
Jeremiah 4:22;8:8-9; 9:12;
10:7,12-13; 4:22; Isa 44
1:18 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. For it is written,
1:19 “I will destroy the wisdom of
the wise, and the cleverness of
the clever I will set aside.
[see Isa. 29:14 quote; cp.
44:25cd]
8:8 “How can you say, ‘We are
wise, and the law of the LORD is
with us’? But behold, the lying
pen of the scribes has made it
into a lie.
8 “The wise men are put to
shame, they are dismayed and
caught; behold, they have
rejected the word of the LORD,
and what kind of wisdom do they
have?
THERE IS NO WISE MAN; ONLY GOD IS WISE
1 Cor 1:18-21 and 3:18-20
Jeremiah 4:22;8:8-9; 9:12;
10:7,12-13; 4:22; Isa 44
1:20 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?
1:21 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.
9:12 Who is the wise man that
may understand this? And he to
whom the mouth of the LORD has
spoken, that he may declare it
10:7 Who would not fear You, O
King of the nations? Indeed it is
Your due! For among all the wise
men of the nations, and in all
their kingdoms, there is none like
Thee.
GOD SETS THE STANDARD
1 Cor 1:18-21 and 3:18-20
Jeremiah 4:22;8:8-9; 9:12;
10:7,12-13; 4:22; Isa 44
3:18 “Let no man deceive himself. 10:12 It is He who made the earth
If any man among you thinks that by His power, who established
he is wise in this age, he must
the world by His wisdom;
become foolish, so that he may
and by His understanding He has
become wise.
stretched out the heavens.
[Note: Jer. 10:12-16 = 51:15-19]
SUMMATION: WORLDLY WISDOM IS FOOLISHNESS
1 Cor 1:18-21 and 3:18-20
Jeremiah 4:22;8:8-9; 9:12;
10:7,12-13; 4:22; Isa 44
3:19 For the wisdom of this world Isa 44:25b Turning wise men
is foolishness before God. For it is back and making their
written, “He is the One who
knowledge foolish
catches the wise in their
craftiness” [see Job 5:13]
3:20 and again, “The LORD knows Jer 4:22 They are wise to do evil,
the reasonings of the wise, that but to do good they do not
they are useless.” [see Ps. 94:11] know
1. THE TEACHING OF JAMES

James talks of a wisdom that comes down from above,
that exceeds the light of earthly wisdom like high noon
exceeds midnight. There is a wisdom that is “earthly,
natural, demonic” (Js. 3:15), but there is also a wisdom
from above that is “pure, then peaceable, gentle,
reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering,
without hypocrisy” (3:17). Jesus alludes to these two
types of wisdom in the gospel of Luke.
THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS

In Luke 16:8, Jesus describes the unrighteous steward
about to lose his job, but who saved it by taking partial
payment from debtors to satisfy their debts so that he
could get enough money to satisfy his master. So he got
off the hook, “And his master praised the unrighteous
steward because he had acted shrewdly; for the sons of
this age are more shrewd in relation to their kind than
the sons of light.”
Plato’s Allegory of the Cave (The Republic, Book VII,
514a–520a) provides a striking illustration of two such
types of wisdom.
THE SOURCE OF TRUE WISDOM

Is not God Himself the source of this “wisdom from
above”? James 1:17 states, “Every good thing bestowed
and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from
the Father of lights, with whom there is no shadow of
turning.”
THE STANDARD OF TRUE WISDOM

Does not this “wisdom from above” of the “Father of
lights” answer the problem of reaching a higher
standard? God does not short-change his people. The
very God who supplies all the wisdom needed to
accomplish his will is also the one who determines the
standard. His wisdom circumscribes and fulfills the
standard He sets.
THE SUFFICIENCY OF TRUE WISDOM

We don’t set the standard, but we are to determine and
articulate what it is by the wisdom that He gives us, and
He promises to give it to us in abundance: “But if any of
you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all
men generously and without reproach, and it will be
given him” (1:5). Ultimately, if God supplies the wisdom
to accomplish His will, then His wisdom is sufficient to
meet the standard He requires.
THE SPIRIT OF WISDOM

Paul prays for his readers to have this spirit of wisdom
and of revelation so that they can consciously
apprehend, so that they can know and experience,
having as Paul says, “a spirit of wisdom and revelation in
a full knowledge of him, the eyes of your heart having
been enlightened” (Eph. 1:17-18).
HUMAN VS. DIVINE WISDOM


There are two types of wisdom: the wisdom of God
from above and the wisdom of man from below. The
wisdom of God is perfectly true and the wisdom of man
is corrupted by sin. Paul speaks of this spirit of wisdom
and knowledge as a gift from God that enlightens the
mind through the revelation of Himself.
Wrought by God, such transformation flows from the
Spirit-formation model (i.e., the Personal) proposed by
Wesley Pinkham over against the Ministry-formation
model (i.e., the Thingafied).
WHAT IS HIGHER EDUCATION?

What is higher education? Is it too high to reach? Is it
in our power to accomplish? Is it to be measured by
competition within a social context, on a horizontal
plane of relative values? Or is it to be measured on a
vertical plane that points to a metaphysical realm of
absolute truth? In other words, is it about what is true
and lasting or is it about what is hypothetical and
transitory?
ACADEMIA IN AMERICA

Academic culture in America today operates with a
Corinthian spirit that is competitive, critical and selfrighteous. The apostle Paul states in 2 Cor. 10:12, “For
we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with
some of those who commend themselves; but when
they measure themselves by themselves, and compare
themselves with themselves, they are without
understanding.”
JESUS AND ACADEMIA
Are we trying to measure ourselves against each other?
Whose standard are we following?

Did Jesus compete? Was he even in the game? He
grew, he learned, he ministered, he suffered, he died.


Did he measure himself by the rules of the Sanhedrin?
Did he care about his credentials or qualifications?
THE EXAMPLE OF JESUS
To hear Him talk, one might say He was inadequate. He
said, “The Son can do nothing by himself” (John 5:19) and
later, “I can do nothing by myself (5:30; 8:28).

Why? Because He was following a standard from
above? Because he was unique in his mission, role, and
purpose.

By knowing Himself and staying true to the mission and
purpose of His life, He set the example for us all.

FOLLOWING THE EXAMPLE OF JESUS
Higher standards are not measured by what we have or
by what we do, as much as by who we follow.

They are based on a relationship with God the Father,
God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Christian educators
follow God and Scripture, not national norms or custom.

REACHING A HIGHER STANDARD
As a result, Christian education is separated by a great
gulf from secularists and humanists. Both sides may have
similar goals, but Christians derive their convictions and
principles from the Word of God, not from the world.

How are we to assess ourselves? Not by the measure of
the world, but by the Word of God!

God answers all the metaphysical questions. How do
we reach a higher standard? The Answer—with the
wisdom of God. Now we go to the second point.

2. THE SOURCE OF WISDOM
So we turn to the epistemological questions: Where is
wisdom? What is its location? How can I know it? And
what assurance do I have that it is really true? Can it be
verified?

Again, we must choose a premise to answer these
questions.

Do we figure it out on our own through reason? Or do
we receive it freely as a gift by revelation?

THE SEARCH FOR WISDOM
From a historical perspective, people continue to search
for knowledge that will give them peace and satisfaction.

Daniel 12:4 speaks of the end of time when “many will
go back and forth, and knowledge will increase” Here we
are in Chicago, hundreds, thousands of miles from home,
seeking more knowledge…and hopefully, more wisdom.

THE EXPLOSION OF WISDOM
The Industrial Age began in the 19th c., the Technological
Age in the 20th and now we have the Information Age in
the 21st, but where have the ages of industry, technology,
and information taken us, besides overwhelming us?

Knowledge is exploding and growing exponentially.
From the press, from the screen, from publishers—it is
virtually impossible to keep up, much less compete.

We cannot know it all, much less use it all. It is a
smorgasbord; you cannot consume it all.

THE QUESTION OF A HIGHER STANDARD
How does a small, Christian school keep up when there
is such disparity with larger schools?

How do we measure our schools with others? By our
property and assets? By our reputation, size or personnel?

The answer to these questions enables us not only to
achieve a “higher standard,” but the vision to press on
toward the “highest possible standard.”

JESUS SETS THE STANDARD
For Christians serving in education, Christ should
become the embodiment of all Wisdom to enable them to
reach a higher standard that conforms to the norms and
values of heaven over against those of society.

Jesus Christ sets the standard and we follow Him, even
though we may be misunderstood and maligned for it. We
hear his voice, which the world cannot hear or understand
because it does not know Him. We are His sheep and we
follow Him, because we hear His voice. We will have
tribulation in this world…but we follow Him.

Again, we look to Paul for help to unravel an
epistemology in the search for the highest possible
standard.

Did Paul seek the approval of the Pharisees, the
teachers of the law? On the contrary, Paul proclaimed that
all the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Christ’s physical
body (Col. 2:9), the death of which brought us redemption
by his blood, the forgiveness of sin, and eternal life (1:14;
2:10-14). It is no wonder that Paul passionately
proclaimed, “I determined to know nothing among you
except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2).

PAUL’S STANDARD: CHRIST CRUCIFIED

“Christ crucified” begins and ends the next section of 1
Corinthians 1:22-2:2, framing it like a door in verses 1:23
and 2:2. The phrase “Christ crucified” becomes the key
to unlock the door of knowledge and truth: “But we
preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and
to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called,
both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the
wisdom of God” (1:23-24).
1 COR 1:22-31 & JEREMIAH 9

Continuing on into the next paragraph of 1 Corinthians
1:22-31, Paul cites Jeremiah 9:23-24 to show how pride
in human wisdom, strength, and riches prohibits one
from knowing the wisdom of God:
1 Corinthians 1:22-31
Jeremiah 9:23-24
26-27 For consider your calling,
brethren, that there were not
many wise according to the
flesh…but God has chosen the
foolish things of the world to
shame the wise
26-27 not many mighty…but God
has chosen the weak things of the
world to shame the strong
23 Let not the wise man boast of
his wisdom,
Let not the mighty man boast of
his might,
1 Corinthians 1:22-31
26, 28 not many noble…the
base things of the world and
the despised, God has chosen
30-31 But by His doing you are
in Christ Jesus, who became to
us wisdom from God, and
righteousness and
sanctification, and redemption,
that just as it is written, “Let
Him who boasts, boast in the
LORD.”
Jeremiah 9:23-24
Let not the rich man boast of his
riches;
24 But let him who boasts boast
of this, that he understands and
knows Me, that I am the LORD
who exercises lovingkindness,
justice, and righteousness on
earth; for I delight in these things,
declares the LORD
JESUS AS THE WISDOM OF GOD


How did the apostle Paul and the early church come to
equate Jesus Christ as the Wisdom of God?
The role of wisdom in the Old Testament will lead to the
answer of this question.
THE DESIRE FOR WISDOM
Wisdom has always been sought as highly important;
data has never been enough. The information age is upon
us and we are being deluged, actually smothered, by the
choices. As Solomon stated in Ecclesiastes 7:29, “Man has
sought out many devices.”

But where is wisdom, that elusive intangible, without
which our knowledge becomes merely encyclopedic?

Wisdom is a rare quality indeed and it was highly prized
from the earliest days of man.

WISDOM IN THE GARDEN
Wisdom was desired in the garden soon after creation,
but that to our harm, because mankind fell prey to the
tempter. In Adam, the human race lost access to wisdom
because it was sought without God’s permission and in
direct disobedience to Him.

It is only by God’s providential grace that man has any
knowledge and wisdom to live within God’s protective
care.

THE RARITY OF WISDOM

After the sin of man spoiled his relationship with God,
wisdom became elusive, slippery and replaced by
shrewdness and self-concern. It is scarcely mentioned
in the narrative of Scripture except in the case of that
rare individual that God endowed with the spirit of
wisdom to accomplish His will, such as Joseph in
Genesis 41, Bezalel in Exodus 28, the wise woman of
Tekoa in 2 Samuel 14, and of course Solomon in 1 Kings
2 and 2 Chronicles 1, to name a few.
The Torah and the historical books of the Old
Testament are filled with standards of the law and the
failure of men to keep them, but they don’t give us
much explanation about the nature of wisdom.

Turning to the Writings of the Old Testament, we
find wisdom elevated to the most enviable position in
the world of men in the first wisdom book of the Bible,
where Job is cast as the archetypical wise man.

JOB’S DISCOURSE ON WISDOM

Job comments in Job 28 that wisdom is unfathomable,
unreachable, inaccessible, and dare I say, unassessable.
Man, through great ingenuity and effort can find
precious metal, but not wisdom. It’s not in the deep (v.
14). It’s not in the grave (v. 22). It’s only available from
God himself: “God understands its way; and He knows
its place” or “source” (v. 23, JPS). Neither an object nor
an element in our genetic makeup, we are unable to
find it, locate it, isolate it, or conjure it up. Often we
know the facts, but are unable to recall and apply them
when the need arises. How high is the price of wisdom!
SOLOMON FINDS WISDOM
Wisdom distinguishes itself in the moment, in the crisis,
when solutions and answers are demanded, amidst the
pressures of life that come unexpectedly and often.

Solomon demonstrated such wisdom for two reasons.
First, he knew he did not have it (I Kings 3:5-12). Secondly,
He asked God for it, and when he did, God gave it to him in
abundance. James 1:5 proffers the same promise to us all:
“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who
gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it
will be given to him.”

SOLOMON’S DISCOURSE ON WISDOM

Existentially, Solomon knew he was inadequate. It was
impossible to be wise. It was not in him. Eccl. 7:23-29
says, “I will be wise, but it was far from me. What has
been is remote and exceedingly mysterious, who can
discover it?” Verse 29 indicates the problem: man was
made upright, but became flawed, separate from God,
and now he needs God’s wisdom to avoid or solve the
problems he faces. Wisdom is only found in God. He is
the source of all wisdom.
THE PERSONIFICATION OF WISDOM

In Proverbs 8:22-31, wisdom is personified as
participating with God in creation itself, rejoicing always
before Him, rejoicing in the world, the world that He
had made, saying, “My delight is in the sons of men.”
GOD’S RELATION TO WISDOM

This personified wisdom is with God in the very creation
of the world. God and wisdom share a relationship;
together they delight in humanity, and together they
anticipate a relationship with mankind. This wisdom is
not just an abstraction, just some imagined force or
attribute. It is a separate entity with its own identity. It
possesses a self-conscious reason, operating as a selfexistent being in conjunction with God.
JESUS’ RELATION TO WISDOM
It is no wonder that when early Christians considered
the claims and works of Jesus Christ, they identified Him as
the wisdom of Proverbs, chapter 8.

In the Old Testament, wisdom is personified; in the New
Testament, wisdom becomes incarnate. The Being of
wisdom in the Old Testament has become a person.

WISDOM AND LAW ARE ALSO THE LOGOS

According to Jay Eldon Epp’s well documented article
“Wisdom, Torah, Word,” this personification of wisdom
is interchangeable with the Torah, the law of God. Epp
also demonstrates how both Wisdom and Law are
identified with the Greek word logos (meaning “word”),
the term used for Jesus Christ in John 1:1-18 where John
states that the Logos or Word became incarnate in
human flesh.
THE LOGOS FULFILLS THE LAW


As the Logos of John 1, Jesus Christ reveals the
perfection of the Law in human form, and by His
Incarnation He completes and fulfills the divine role of
the Law: “For the law was given by Moses; grace and
truth were realized through Jesus Christ” (Jn. 1:17). Paul
restates the same idea in Romans 10:4, “For Christ is the
end [or goal] of the law for righteousness to everyone
who believes.”
As Epp indicates, Jesus Christ is the perfect, exact, and
unmediated revelation of God the Father, since He has
“superannuated, superseded and displaced” the Torah
(Epp, 135-136, 140-141).
THE LOGOS OF JOHN IS THE CREATOR

As the Logos, Jesus was already with God the Father at
the very beginning (1:1-2). Verse 3 says he was the
creator of all things: “All things came into being through
Him; apart from Him nothing came into being that has
come into being” (John 1:1-3).
THE CHRIST OF PAUL IS THE CREATOR

Paul makes the same point in Col. 1:15-17, “And He is
the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all
creation. For in Him all things were created, in the
heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether
thrones or dominions, or rulers or authorities—all things
have been created through Him and for Him. And He is
before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
JESUS CHRIST AS THE WISDOM OF GOD


Paul goes on to say, “In him dwells all the fullness of the
deity in bodily form” (Col. 2:9). As the embodiment of
divine wisdom who created all things, Jesus Christ is the
Wisdom of God in the flesh.
Jesus alludes to Himself as the Wisdom of God in Luke
7:35 and 11:49 (cp. Mt. 23:34-36). He is the one who
said, “All authority [or power] has been given to Me in
heaven and on earth” (Mt. 28:18), the one who also
said, “Without me you can do nothing” (Jn. 15:5).
JESUS IN JOHN 14:6

Because He is Wisdom Incarnate, Jesus Christ is the
source of all wisdom. He is the complete expression of
the Life, the Truth, and the Way (Jn. 14:6). As Life itself,
He answers the metaphysical question about who we
are and why we exist; as Truth He solves the
epistemological question and opens the way to know
the all-wise and loving, personal God; as the only Way
He exemplifies the ethical ideals of true goodness and
ultimate value, thereby showing us how to live.
THE INCARNATE WORD BRINGS FREEDOM
As Truth Itself, Jesus made the claim that all who know
Him will be totally free of the chains that have bound and
kept them from fulfilling their potential and from
experiencing the life of joy that God intended for them.

To the Jews who had believed Him, Jesus said, “If you
continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;
and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you
free” (8:31-32). “Everyone who practices sin is a slave to
sin…So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed”
(8:34, 36).

THE IMPACT OF CHRIST ON EDUCATION
Gene Fant points out the tremendous opportunity and
impact that the message of the cross holds for Christian
educators to transform their teaching and their students’
lives.

CHRISTIAN EDUCATION IS TRANSFORMING

“Truth is not worldly but rather is tied, particularly in
the Christian tradition, to the person of Christ. Likewise,
freedom is not found in this world but is effected by the
divine rescue of persons from their selfish fallen
natures, a rescue that is part of the priestly ministry of
Christ. Freedom, genuine freedom that transcends the
created order, may be found solely within the context of
Christ-centered education rather than self-centered
training.”
JESUS IS THE SOURCE OF TRUE WISDOM
As the Word of God and the Wisdom of God, Jesus
Christ answers all the epistemological questions: What is
true wisdom? Where do I find this wisdom?

Now we turn to the third and final point: Does this
wisdom have value—is it useful to me? This last question
has ethical dimensions that affect our choices and lifestyle,
to which we now turn.

3. THE USE OF WISDOM


This is the ethical question. What is wisdom’s value and
use? How do we apply it? What is right and good to do?
These questions are answered on the basis of the first
two points. As wisdom belongs to God and is
incarnated in His Son Jesus Christ, their wisdom is
imparted by God’s gift of the Holy Spirit to all who
follow Christ as their Lord and Savior.
THE ROLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

God the Holy Spirit indwells and empowers a believer,
regenerating and reforming the heart. In concert with
God the Father and God the Son (John 14:23), God the
Holy Spirit abides in and teaches the believer, providing
instruction, opportunity and power in all areas of their
lives (John 14:17-26; I John 2:27).
THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers is
affirmed by Paul as he proceeds into 1 Corinthians 2.

In 1 Cor. 1:24 Paul declares that “the power of God and
the wisdom of God” are conjoined in Christ. Now, in 2:45, the Holy Spirit becomes the conjunction of the power of
God and the wisdom of God in those who believe. As
Keith Goad states, the Holy Spirit complements the work
of the Son and completes it, blowing “where he wills, but
never apart from the Son” (Goad, 3).

THE HOLY SPIRIT ENABLES AND EMPOWERS

True power and true wisdom are not acquired or given
by man, but by the Holy Spirit who enables and
empowers the believer to participate in the work of
God. Hence, all praise and glory go to God for the
privilege of obeying and serving Him. Believers cannot
boast in themselves. They recognize they are adequate
in Christ (John 15:5), but inadequate in themselves.
THE EXAMPLE OF PAUL

As Paul testifies, “I will rather boast about my
weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in
me…when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:9-10).
This power in weakness is on display in 1 Cor. 2:1-16
after the manner of Christ in I Cor. 1:22-31.
1 Cor. 1:22-31
22 For indeed Jews ask for
signs, and Greeks search for
wisdom;
23 but we preach Christ
crucified, to Jews a
stumbling block, and to
Gentiles foolishness,
24 but to those who are the
called, both Jews and
Greeks, Christ the power of
God and the wisdom of God
1 Cor. 2:1-16
2 I determined to know
nothing among you except
Jesus Christ, and Him
crucified.
4 And my word and my
preaching were not in
persuasive words of wisdom,
but in demonstration of the
Spirit and of power,
1 Cor. 1:22-31
1 Cor. 2:1-16
25 Because the foolishness
of God is wiser than men,
and the weakness of God is
stronger than men.
26 For consider your calling,
brethren, that there were
not many wise according to
the flesh, not many mighty,
not many noble;
5 that your faith should not
rest on the wisdom of men,
but on the power of God.
6 Yet we do speak wisdom
among those who are
mature; a wisdom, however,
not of this age nor of the
rulers of this age, who are
passing away;
1 Cor. 1:22-31
1 Cor. 2:1-16
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,
7 but we speak God’s wisdom in a
mystery, the hidden wisdom
which God predestined before
the ages to our glory;
8 the wisdom which none of the
rulers of this age has understood;
for if they had understood it they
would not have crucified the Lord
of glory;
1 Cor. 1:22-31
1 Cor. 2:1-16
12 Now we have received, not
the spirit of the world, but the
Spirit who is from God, so that
we may know the things freely
given to us by God,
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.
WE MUST RECOGNIZE OUR INADEQUACY


For the wisdom of God to enable and empower true
education, Christian educators must depend on God the
Holy Spirit to succeed.
Just as Solomon acknowledged his inadequacy to serve
as king over all Israel and was rewarded by God when he
asked for a “listening heart” so that he might judge the
nation and be able to discern between good and evil, so
Paul made no claims of adequacy or sufficiency apart
from God. As Paul says in 2 Cor. 2:16, “And who is
sufficient [or adequate] for these things?”
OUR SUFFICIENCY IS FOUND IN THE SPIRIT

Further down in 3:5-6, “Not that we are adequate in
ourselves to consider anything as coming from
ourselves, but our adequacy [our sufficiency] is from
God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new
covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit, for the
letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” This sufficiency is
only realized and active when we boast in the Lord while
acknowledging our own inadequacy.
BOASTING IN THE CROSS OF JESUS CHRIST

We can boast in the Lord or in ourselves, but not both.
The Corinthian church had a problem with boasting—
Paul undercut all that by eliminating all comparison; the
focus was off himself. He knows only one thing: Jesus
Christ and him crucified.
THE CROSS BRINGS RECONCILIATION

On the cross Christ Jesus reconciled all things unto
Himself just as His Father intended—all the world, all
the universe, within an oikonomia (“economy”), a
stewardship, an administration, a dispensation, which is
“suitable to the fullness of the times, the summing up of
all things in Christ” (Eph. 1:10).
CHRIST RECONCILES ALL THINGS

This reconciliation brought all things under His
dominion. In Christ all things were subsumed and
subjugated under Him. All truth rests in Christ and all
reality revolves around Christ and is consolidated under
His rule. This reconciliation brought unity to all
existence and solved the problem of the One and the
Many, which the worldly wise and the philosophers
have never been able to solve throughout the centuries.
RECONCILIATION EMPOWERS BELIEVERS

As Archimedes once said, “give me a place to stand and I
can move the world,” so Jesus Christ can say, “Give me a
cross to die on, and I can reconcile the world by making
you alive together with Me and by triumphing over all
rulers and authorities” (Col. 2:10-15). For this reason,
Christians can say, “When I abide in Christ, I can change
the world.” Christian educators, if you rest in the merits
of Jesus Christ, you will change the world!
THE LORD IS OUR GOD, CHRIST IS ONE

There is one standard, one canon—the measuring rod is
Jesus Christ, who unifies everything in heaven and earth
unto Himself. In the context of Christian unity and faith,
Paul says there is one body, one Spirit, one Lord, one
faith, one baptism, and one God and Father (Eph 4:4-6).
ALL IS ONE IN GOD
All these “ones” are not changed through addition or
multiplication, but are interconnected and compounded
through interaction with each other. They are all one,
reflecting each other, holding together because of the
death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

All is one in God. He is infinite and immeasurable. He is
Being Itself and by Him all things exist (Acts 17:24-24),
including us. Can the value of a soul be measured? Can
spirituality be measured? Not by man, but by the Spirit.

ONENESS SIGNIFIES UNION AND COMMUNION


This is what Dr. Pinkham means by Spirit-Formation
wherein the Holy Spirit enables our being to experience
oneness with God (Jn. 14:20, 23; 17:21, 23), a oneness
or union that enjoys the communion and care of Christ
(Eph. 5:30-32).
Communion with Christ represents the ultimate
standard by which Christian educators are to live and
work. Communion with Christ supplies Christian
educators with the wisdom and power to do His will.





Other ways to reach the highest standards include:
1) Serving in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of
the letter (Rom. 7:6);
2) Being an aroma of death to those who perish and the
aroma of the spirit to those who are saved (2 Cor. 2:16);
3) Walking by the Spirit…not carrying out the desires of
the flesh (Gal. 5:16);
4) “You lay aside the old man...and put on the new man
(Eph. 4:22, 24);
5) “You were formerly darkness, but now you are light
in the Lord; walk as children of light” (Eph. 6:8).
TRUE EDUCATION EMULATES THE HIGHEST
STANDARD

Christian educators are to emulate the highest standard,
serving in newness of the Spirit, walking by the Spirit as
children of light. As Zechariah 4:6 says, “Not by might
nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts”
(Zech. 4:6). Education is a task, but the intangible key is
God the Holy Spirit. He is the true Educator who makes
possible a true education by empowering Christian
educators to shine as lights in the darkness.
“THE WISDOM OF GOD ENABLES AND
EMPOWERS TRUE EDUCATION”

It is not arrogant to define Christian Education as true
education. Such a definition seeks to honor the God
who knows all and who creates all things. Christian
educators are not superior, but they know that
honoring God as the source of knowledge and wisdom
enables and empowers them to teach with wisdom and
compassion by incarnating the love of Christ through
the power of the Holy Spirit.
CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

All truth and power belong to God and are only found in
Him. Wisdom reflects the oneness of all things in God
and requires a single-minded focus on the One who is
the source of all truth: “And let endurance have its
perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete,
lacking in nothing” (James 1:4-5). To tap that source
requires a singular focus on God with all of one’s heart,
mind and soul.
ON THE METAPHYSICS OF BEING
James 1:6-8 goes on to stress that the one who doubts
or is double-minded cannot expect to receive anything
from the LORD.

The Scriptures call us to be single minded in love and
devotion if we expect God to help and empower our work.

David desires single-mindedness, “Teach me Thy way, O
Lord; I will walk in the Thy truth; Unite my heart to fear
Thy name. I will give thanks to Thee, O Lord my God, with
all my heart, and will glorify Thy name” (Ps. 84:11-12).
ON THE EPISTEMOLOGY OF KNOWING


God’s plan for you requires single-mindedness: “’For I
know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD,
‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a
future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and
come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you
will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with
all your heart’” (Jer. 29:11-13).
God promises knowledge and wisdom if you ask: “Thus
says the LORD who made the earth, the LORD who
formed it to establish it, the LORD is His name, ‘Call to
Me, and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and
mighty things, which you do not know’” (Jer. 33:2-3).
ON DOING WHAT IS RIGHT AND GOOD
Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he
will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We
will come to him and make Our abode with him” (Jn.
14:23)—Union
 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears
My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will
dine with him, and he with Me” (Rev. 3:20)—Communion

ACKNOWLEGEMENTS
Epp, Jay Eldon. “Wisdom, Torah, Word: The Johannine Prologue
and the Purpose of the Fourth Gospel,” 128-146, in Current Issues in
biblical and Patristic Interpretation, ed. Gerald F. Hawthorne
(Williams B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1975).

Fant Jr., Gene C. The Liberal Arts: A Student’s Guide (Wheaton:
Crossway, 2012; Reclaiming the Christian Intellectual Tradition
series, ed. David S. Dockery).

Goad, Keith. “A Theological Model for Spirituality.” Presented at
the Southeast Regional Evangelical Theological Society, March, 2010.

Naugle, David K. Philosophy: A Student’s Guide (Wheaton:
Crossway, 2012; Reclaiming the Christian Intellectual Tradition
series, ed. David S. Dockery).

Pinkham, Wesley M. "Empowering Your Teaching Ministry,"
PowerPoint Presentation, The King's University. 2010, Slide 167.


similar documents