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Christ the Wisdom of God.
pp. 15 - 17
"... in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God ..." (I Cor. 1: 21).
The word `wisdom' (Gk. sophia) occurs 51 times in the N.T. Dr. E. W. Bullinger in
his book Number in Scripture writes that 51 is the number of Divine Revelation. We
observe that 51 = 3 X 17, and Dr. Bullinger says that the number 3 "stands for that which
is solid, real, substantial, complete and entire". He points out that 17 is a significant
number, being the sum of two perfect numbers 7 and 10, which are indicative of spiritual
and ordinal perfection respectively. He therefore states that 17 is the number of "the
perfection of spiritual order".
One third of the occurrences of sophia (i.e. 17) are found in the first epistle to the
Corinthians. On two occasions Paul refers to the wisdom of God. For example, he
"But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God
ordained before the world unto our glory: which none of the princes of this world knew:
for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory" (I Cor. 2: 7, 8).
There are two references to the Lord Jesus Christ as the "wisdom of God", and
because of our union with Christ we enjoy the privileges which He confers on us. These
two references are:
"But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks
foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of
God, and the wisdom of God" (I Cor. 1: 23, 24).
"... that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, Who of
God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord" (1: 29-31).
The majority of the 17 references tend to be negative, referring to the wisdom of this
world, the words of men's wisdom, or the wisdom of words, etc. Space does not permit
us to quote them all, but we give a selection which shows how misleading our own
wisdom may be.
"For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of
words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are
saved it is the power of God.
For it is written, `I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the
understanding of the prudent'. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the
disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased
God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe" (I Cor. 1: 17-21).