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The foolishness of the cross

Key points

The foolishness of the cross

1Corinthians 1:18-31

Key verse:

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Main idea of the passage:

The Corinthians grew up in a culture that valued higher learning, worldly wisdom, and great public speakers. This was part of the reason why they had formed factions over which leader they liked best in the church.

Paul reminds them in this section that he came to them with a simple message: Christ crucified. He did not show them any signs and he did not persuade them into the kingdom of God with his great verbal skills. It was the simple gospel message, rightly preached; that God used to save these Corinthians.

The Gospel message is simple by design. It is so simple that anyone can believe it, even a child. But it's so simple that the rich, the wise, the religious, and the self righteous end up rejecting it as "too easy". This was God's genius plan all along. Not only has the door been opened for all to come in; but the simplicity of the gospel is actually a judgment on those who are too proud to accept it. What a master plan the cross really is!

For God to offer a plan of salvation like this removes all boasting and self righteousness. No one will be in heaven claiming that they made it there on their own merits. Salvation brings glory to God alone.

These Corinthian believers needed to be reminded of who they were when God found them. They had forgotten this and become arrogant. They needed to stop putting their leaders on pedastools for their "great leadership" or "great preaching" and realize that God was the One who did the work of salvation in their midst.


1. The Gospel must not be tampered with

2. The Gospel is the only way to reach our community

3. What do you think about the message of the cross?

"Let every pulpit rightly say, “we preach Christ crucified!” A strong church once inscribed these words on an archway leading to the churchyard. Over time, two things happened: the church lost its passion for Jesus and His gospel, and ivy began to grow on the archway. The growth of the ivy, covering the message, showed the spiritual decline. Originally it said strongly, we preach Christ crucified. But as the ivy grew, one could only read we preach Christ, and the church also started preaching “Jesus the Great Man” and “Jesus the Moral Example” instead of Christ crucified. The ivy kept growing, and one could soon only read, we preach. The church also had even lost Jesus in the message, preaching religious platitudes and social graces. Finally, one could only read the word "we"; the church became just another social gathering place, all about we and not about God."

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