The Jews seek a sign and the Greeks seek wisdom. These are both spirits that we have at our appointed time, and which must be overcome. Part 2 focuses on the Greeks seeking wisdom.
by Mitch Kuhn
See a list of all studies in this series
1Co 1:22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
From the Greeks came three of most famous philosophers of all
time: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle. Greece is a symbol of man’s wisdom. As
we saw in the previous study 1 Corinthians 1:17b-21 Part 1, God’s plan is
to make foolish the wisdom of the world.
(Pro 26:12 NKJV) Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
Isa 5:21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!
Pro 3:7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
Ancient Greece was known for their pursuit of knowledge and wisdom. They made great advancements in math astronomy, medicine, and government. The libraries at Alexandria were famous for the wealth of knowledge they contained, yet just like our own wisdom God caused them to burn.
This is a spirit that we will have at our appointed time. We think that with knowledge, wisdom, and strength we can accomplish what we want in this world. When it is God’s time to deal with us, our wisdom and plans are brought to nothing to show us the futility of our own efforts and our own wisdom.
Psa 20:7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of Jehovah our God.
1Co 1:23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness,
So what is Paul Preaching? It’s not miraculous physical signs, it’s not a wisdom of the world, it is simply Christ crucified. Most Churches teach that this means Paul preached substituationary atonement: that Jesus died for you so you can be forgive and go to heaven if you’ll just accept this free gift. This is not the true Gospel, but rather strong delusion. Paul taught that we are to be crucified WITH Christ, not he in our place.
Gal 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
This is not so that we can be given a free pass straight to heaven, but rather that we be delivered from sin.
Rom 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
We must come to understand that all of the scriptures are talking about what is taking place inside of all of us right now. The Kingdom of Heaven is here now and coming within God’s elect.
Luk 17:20 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation;
Luk 17:21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”
We must enter into the kingdom through much tribulation, which is our own crucifixion.
Act 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
Gal 5:24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
This is not the message that the Jews were expecting the messiah to preach, nor what the disciples were expecting. In the same way we do not expect this message when we have the spirit of the Jew or the Greek.
Luk 17:20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
Mat 20:20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him.
Mat 20:21 And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.”
Mat 20:22 But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They said to Him, “We are able.”
Mat 20:23 So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it
is prepared by My Father.”
These two passages are strong examples of our immaturity when we are looking primarily for God to work in the physical. These two disciples come with their MOTHER to ask for a place in Christ’s supposed coming physical
Christ’s first words back to them are “You do not know what you ask”. They have no clue that they are asking to be crucified with Christ, lose their lives, realize they are beasts, and be ground to fine powder. In the same way, we do not know at first what we are being called to do.
The Spirit of the Jews
So what happens when the Jews heard Christ’s preaching?
(Isa 8:14 NKJV) He will be as a sanctuary, But a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense To both the houses of Israel, As a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
(Isa 8:15 NKJV) And many among them shall stumble; They shall fall and be broken, Be snared and taken.”
They cannot receive his message. The Jews rejecting Christ are just like the Church rejecting him today.
(1Pe 2:1 NKJV) Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking,
(1Pe 2:2 NKJV) as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,
(1Pe 2:3 NKJV) if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
(1Pe 2:4 NKJV) Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious,
(1Pe 2:5 NKJV) you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
(1Pe 2:6 NKJV) Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHIEF CORNERSTONE, ELECT, PRECIOUS, AND HE WHO BELIEVES ON HIM WILL BY NO MEANS BE PUT TO SHAME.”
(1Pe 2:7 NKJV) Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, “THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED HAS BECOME THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE,”
(1Pe 2:8 NKJV) and “A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE.” They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.
At first we have the spirit of the Jews and doubt Christ’s message, rejecting him. This causes us to stumble over the stone. But in due time, we will be crushed by this stone and crucified with Christ and caused to see the truth.
Mat 21:44 And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.”
We are God’s elect if that rock is falling on us now in this life. To the elect Peter writes the following.
(1Pe 2:9 NKJV) But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
(1Pe 2:10 NKJV) who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
At first we rejected him and were not his people, but we become his people.
The Spirit of the Greeks
The plan of salvation does not appeal to man’s wisdom, in fact it looks foolish.
(1Co 4:9 NKJV) For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.
(1Co 4:10 NKJV) We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored!
(1Co 4:11 NKJV) To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless.
(1Co 4:12 NKJV) And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure;
(1Co 4:13 NKJV) being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now.
(1Co 4:14 NKJV) I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you.
(1Co 4:15 NKJV) For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.
(1Co 4:16 NKJV) Therefore I urge you, imitate me.
To the carnally minded Corinthians babes in Christ, who were steeped in Greek culture and idolized wisdom, these poor, beaten, suffering Apostles like Paul were not very impressive. Just as we will look down on those that preach the true gospel to us, until we come to see the truth and desire to imitate them, as they imitate Christ.
1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Our natural mind can ONLY see God’s plan as foolish, because his plan does not preserve the flesh, it destroys it. We naturally want to save our lives, not lose them.
1Co 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness;
but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
1Co 1:19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will
bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
This message is foolish to our natural mind, but to the spiritual mind it is the
power of God.
(Mat 16:25 NKJV) For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
(Mat 16:26 NKJV) For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul
Here is a great story that demonstrates how God will take away the things in
our life that we think will give us victory, leaving us only with trust in him to
Jdg 7:2 And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are
too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt
themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.
Jdg 7:3 Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying,
Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount
Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and
there remained ten thousand.
Jdg 7:4 And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many;
bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it
shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same
shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go
with thee, the same shall not go.
Jdg 7:5 So he brought down the people unto the water: and the LORD said
unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog
lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down
upon his knees to drink.
Jdg 7:6 And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their
mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down
upon their knees to drink water.
Jdg 7:7 And the LORD said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that
lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all
the other people go every man unto his place.