Vol. 8, No. 2
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Much of the diversity of beliefs, radical extremism or liberalism, division, etc. have arisen because of the wisdom of man inserted into the Gospel of Christ. Paul faced this problem early on in the church of Christ in Corinth, and he wrote, "For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect" (1 Corinthians 1:17). What is "wisdom of words" (word wisdom), that it could nullify the purpose and effect of the cross?
A perfect example of "word wisdom" and its cross-nullifying effect is noted in Acts 15:24 and this written statement: "...we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, 'You must be circumcised and keep the law...'" The "unsettling words" in this case was the word wisdom of false brethren who wrested the Scripture, lifting words out of their scriptural context to bind what they in their wisdom thought ought to be inserted into the Gospel of Christ. In so doing, they nullified the effect of the cross of Christ, causing their auditors to fall from grace (cf. Galatians 5:2-4).
The big battle in which the church of Christ in Corinth was engaged was to stop the word wisdom of the philosophers of their day from becoming entrenched in the all-sufficient Gospel of Christ and having the same effect as the word wisdom of the Judaizing teachers in the churches of Christ in Galatia.
The apostle Paul dealt with the destructive effect of this kind of word wisdom when writing to the church of Christ in Colosse, warning them about the improper observance of food, drink, festivals, new moon or sabbaths (Colossians 2:16), and the ascetic value imposed that said, "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle" (Colossians 2:21). Misapplying or contaminating the Word of God is soul-damning. Both of these errors prevail to this very day! Word wisdom must be avoided at all cost, because it is cunning, deceitful and devastating.