1 Corinthians 1:25
“For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
Paul calls the divine ordaining and encompassing of the cross of Jesus Christ the foolishnessand weakness of God (1 Corinthians 1:25). He is being ironical, of course, for he knows Christ to be God’s wisdom and power (verse 24). He is insisting that the word of the cross appears as folly to those who have not understood it. He is making a positive theological point as well, namely, that the death of God’s Son on Calvary shows how completely God, in love to mankind, was willing to hide His glory and become vulnerable to shame and dishonour. Now God in love calls men to embrace and boast of this foolish-seeming, weak-looking, disreputable event of the Cross as the means of their salvation. It is a challenge to sinful pride of both mind and heart.
Similarly, God in love calls us to humble ourselves by bowing to Holy Scripture, which also has an appearance of foolishness and weakness when judged by some human standards, yet it is truly His Word and the means of our knowing Him as Saviour. God first humbled Himself for our salvation in the Incarnation and on the cross and now He humbles Himself for our knowledge of salvation by addressing us in and through the often humanly unimpressive words of the Bible.
The classical name for the quality of God in which whereby He lovingly identifies with what is beneath Him is condescension (patronizing), and the etymological (study of words) significance is “coming down to be with.” The condescension of God in becoming a baby Jew, in being executed on a Roman gibbet, and in proclaiming His goodness and His gospel to us via the down-to-earth, unliterary, often rustic words of the sixty-six canonical books, is one and the same and spells the same reality throughout: love to the uttermost.
Excerpts taken from ‘The J.I Packer Classic Collection:’ “Honouring the Written Word of God.”