“Let Your Faith Rest On God’s Power And Not the Wisdom Of Men!”(I Cor. 2:1-5).
There are two groups that read the Bible in Africa: The academic readers and the ordinary readers – the pew, including scholars in other disciplines. These two groups are often in tension, yet they exist for each other.
The academic readers are those who do theology in a bid to understand scripture better so as to make the gospel message simpler to the believers.
On the other hand the scriptures have been made available to all believers so that they can read for themselves.
Both the academic reader and the ordinary reader complement each other. Thanks to the academic reader, the ordinary reader is provided with footnotes and commentaries which help them to have some background help concerning scriptural texts. On the other hand, without the ordinary reader (christians), the academic reader need not stress self digging for proper meaning of a text.
Unfortunately there is a tension between both groups. The academic readers often accuse the ordinary readers of ignorance that enhances wrong interpretations of scriptures. On their part the ordinary readers accuse the academic readers of dissecting scriptures in such a way that strips it of spriritual depth.
Paul writes: “When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ…I came to you in weakness and fear and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s promise.”
Paul who has written this is acclaimed nonpareil great scholar. Preachers cannot take this text as an excuse to be lazy and not wanting to study. Rather, what is studied and known about Christ should be presented in the simplest way possible to the hearers.
Bottomline: We do not preach to show off our academic prowess; neither should we receive the message based on our academic sensitivities. Rather, let us focus on the core message.
While preachers are with the christians, their resolve should be to know nothing except the crucified Lord. In preaching we do not have to use wise and persuasive words. We should come in weakness, fear and trembling, such that no matter how much we know, we know nothing except Jesus Christ whom we preach.
Preaching should come with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, and hearing and accepting should as well be by the Spirit’s power!
“Now reform your ways and your actions and obey the Lord your God…” and all will go well with you(Jer.26:13).
In Christ Jesus grace abounds, but made available only to those whose faith “rest not on men’s wisdom but on God’s power!”
Sunday prayer: Lord Jesus Christ help me not to base my faith on human wisdom but on God’s power. Amen!
Have a blessed Sunday! Peace be with you!
Rev. Babila Fochang.