Picking your Preacher
Today’s reading: Proverbs 9-10; 1 Corinthians 15:1-32
9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning. 10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. Proverbs 9:9-10
1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:1-2
The character of a man or woman is revealed in their response to wise instruction. The wise listen to wisdom and act. Fools reject wisdom and listen to foolishness.
The writer of Proverbs addresses the wise and the foolish. Like the sower in Jesus’ parable, he puts out the truth and it falls on good soil and bears fruit or on rocky, thorny soil and produces nothing (Luke 8:4-15). The difference is not in the message taught, but in the receptivity of the hearer.
But are we to be receptive to every self-appointed expert, every professor of “truth”? How will we know who to trust? We will know if we fear the Lord. The true teacher fears the Lord and teaches the fear of the Lord. Anyone who teaches otherwise is certainly not from God.
Paul was a faithful teacher and apostle of Jesus Christ. In his letter to the Corinthians, he reminds them that he passed on to them what he had received, the gospel of Jesus Christ who died for our sins, was buried, rose again the third day, and was seen by Peter, the twelve, and five hundred more. Paul was a reliable preacher of the truth. The Corinthians had been listening to fools masquerading as wise. They were being influenced by someone (or more than one) who told them there was no resurrection. The Apostle quickly lists many and strong arguments against this false doctrine. The historical reality of the resurrection of Christ is foundational to the gospel which is the basis for their faith and salvation.
Will Paul’s readers respond positively to his corrections? They will if they are wise. They will if they fear the Lord.
How do you assess the wisdom of those to whom you listen? Be sure your heart is set to fear God and to gain the knowledge of the Holy One. Choose your teachers and preachers carefully. Be sure they themselves qualify as wise, God-fearers before paying them any attention.