“And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-2)
Paul reminds the Corinthians that when he first arrived at Corinth, his presentation of the gospel was not with mighty rhetoric and words of power but with fear and trembling. Yet he proclaimed the gospel in spite of his weakness. He came preaching without persuasive or manipulative words and methods but with the word of God.
Paul preached the cross of Christ because it displayed the power and wisdom of God in fulfilling His wonderful plan. Such preaching is foolishness to those who value worldly wisdom, which consists of philosophical arguments, linking proof with proof to persuade listeners to accept the validity of the speaker’s message. This type of rhetoric was held in high esteem in ancient times, much as it is today, but those who place their trust in human rhetoric find themselves on shaky ground. Such wisdom can never approach the greatness of God’s wisdom. Man’s works fall far short of God’s in every respect.
Paul did not preach things that he knew people wanted to hear. He did not say things that made people comfortable in their sins. He did not overwhelm people with false promises and fancy words. He did not compromise the gospel in any way. This is because his preaching was not done with smug self-centered and self-righteous power but in humble weakness. Human weakness is the medium through which divine power operates and the domain in which it is displayed. God’s power is perfected in weakness. Paul’s weakness, our weakness allows God to demonstrate His power.