God works with the weak, and our weakness is our strength.
by Mitch Kuhn
See a list of all studies in this series
1Co 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
Paul is saying that God’s plan which appears to be foolish to the world, is wiser than the wisdom of men, and when the world thinks God is weak, he is stronger than men. If you really stop and think that God is the source of all wisdom and power, it’s insane to think that we can even compare our strength and wisdom to him. It’s only through strong delusion sent from God that we could be so foolish to challenge God.
2Th 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie
Psa 14:1 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
We all find ourselves in this place of doubt in our minds, denying the power and wisdom of God. It is a work of God that we are blind to the truth, and a miracle that we are set free.
Mar 9:17 And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit;
Mar 9:18 And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.
Mar 9:19 He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me.
Mar 9:23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
Mar 9:24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
We also do not think that his ways are wise. Here is the message of the cross that looks like foolishness to us.
Mat 5:40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.
Mat 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
Mat 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse
you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you
Mat 6:19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
Mat 6:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal
This foolishness to the world is actually our strength and power. We will be persecuted and laughed at for following these words, BUT we will have life in the spirit.
Mar 10:30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.
We first are weak in faith, not believing that God can do all things.
1Co 1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many (G4183) wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble
Very few of those that God chooses to be his elect are wise according to the
flesh, mighty or noble. God works with the weak.
Mat 7:22 Many (G4183) will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
Mat 22:14 For many (G4183) are called, but few are chosen.
Mat 11:25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.
Act 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.
This is a combination of a negative participle meaning “not” and the word
“gamma” which referrers to the writings of the Old Testament.
2Ti 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures (G1121), which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
Just as we have seminaries and bible colleges today, there was a respected way to be taught the scriptures in those times. Paul was raised this way, but he was the exception among the disciples. We are told that Peter and John were not learned in this way, neither was Christ himself.
Act 22:3 I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.
Peter and John were both fisherman and unlearned, so it’s likely that Andrew and James, who were fishermen, were unlearned as well. Being a fisherman was equivalent to a blue collar job today, as opposed to being a doctor, lawyer, or some other educated white collar profession.
Simon Peter, son of Jonas, was a fisherman who lived in Bethsaida and Capernaum.
John son of Zebedee and Salome, brother of James, the Apostle. He was known as this Beloved Disciple. A fisherman who lived in Bethsaida, Capernaum and Jerusalem
Andrew was the brother of Peter, and a son of Jonas. He lived in Bethsaida and Capernaum and was a fisherman before he was called by Jesus.
James the Elder, Boanerges, son of Zebedee and Salome, brother of John the Apostle; a fisherman who lived in Bethsaida, Capernaum and Jerusalem.
In Acts 4:13 Peter and John were also called “ignorant”.
From G2398; a private person, that is, (by implication) an ignoramus
(compare “idiot”): – ignorant, rude, unlearned.
This is the same word Paul uses to describe his speech.
2Co 11:6 But though I be rude (G2399) in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been throughly made manifest among you in all things.
Paul, Peter, and John were NOT powerful orators, using smooth words to compel their audiences. On the contrary, they were weak and not esteemed in their speech.
2Co 10:10 YLT `because the letters indeed–saith one– are weighty and strong, and the bodily presence weak, and the speech despicable.
2Co 10:10 For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his
bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible (G1848)
Here is another use of the word contemptible.
1Co 6:4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed (G1848) in the church.
Just as Paul was wise according to the Old Testament law, so Luke was wise with the wisdom of the world as a physician. This is why Paul says not MANY were called wise according to the flesh, because there are a few. Likewise today there are a few among us who are successful and educated according to the worlds standards, but not many. We are not a group of wealthy, wise, educated, successful people, but a rather unimpressive bunch
in the flesh.
Col 4:14 Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.
1Co 1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty (G1415), not many noble
From G1410; powerful or capable (literally or figuratively); neuter possible:
– able, could, (that is) mighty (man), possible, power, strong.
The vast majority of those that are called to be God’s elect are not mighty in the flesh prior to receiving the call. Moses is a great example. In Acts 7 we are told that Moses was mighty in words and deeds, but he certainly did not start off that way.
Act 7:22 And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.
Exo 4:10 NKJV Then Moses said to the LORD, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”
Exo 4:11 So the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD?
Exo 4:12 Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.”
Exo 4:13 But he said, “O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send.”
Exo 4:14 So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and He said:
“Is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well.
And look, he is also coming out to meet you. When he sees you, he will be
glad in his heart.
Exo 4:15 Now you shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth. And I
will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and I will teach you what you
Exo 4:16 So he shall be your spokesman to the people. And he himself shall
be as a mouth for you, and you shall be to him as God.
Jeremiah was young when he was called, certainly not a mighty and
Jer 1:6 Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a
Jer 1:7 But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go
to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt
This is how God works. He works though our weakness to manifest his strength.
2Co 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong (G1415).
As we have already seen with Paul, most of the disciples, and Moses, the vast majority of those called by God are NOT mighty or eloquent in speech. However, God does call a few that are mighty and eloquent in the flesh.
Act 18:24 And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent (G3052) man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.
From G3056; fluent, that is, an orator: – eloquent.
The root word here is logos, which means simply “the word”. It basically means that he spoke well. He was also educated in the scriptures, but still needed to be taught the way of God more perfectly. He only knew of John
the Baptist, just a shadow of the truth to come through Christ.
Act 18:25 This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.
Act 18:26 And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.
We will all be strong through the spirit of God, just as Christ was, but we first start off as weak.
Luk 24:18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?
Luk 24:19 And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty (G1415) in deed and word before God and all the people:
Luk 19:12 He said therefore, A certain nobleman(G2104) went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
Luk 19:13 And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
From G2095 and G1096; well born, that is, (literally) high in rank, or
(figuratively) generous: – more noble, nobleman.
Christ himself and most of the disciples were not “well born”, from a prominent family or inherited great riches. Christ was the son of a carpenter, and most disciples were simple fishermen.
Mat 13:55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?
Christ was not even from a good part of the country.
Joh 1:45 Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.
Joh 1:46 And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.
Paul however was one of the few that was noble according to the flesh, as far as a Jews would be concerned. Yet he counts this as nothing.
Php 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
Php 3:4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
Php 3:5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
While most of us are not noble by spiritual birth, we all are noble by our
spiritual birth. Here is what makes one truly noble.
Act 17:11 These were more noble (G2104) than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
Regardless of our flesh when we are called, we all need a thorn in the flesh
to keep us humble.
2Co 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.
2Co 12:8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.
2Co 12:9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2Co 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.