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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.

15 May 2009

Looking for Verses

(in All the Right Places)

Q: Dear pastor, I have been assigned a specific Bible verse so I can memorize it and I’m not sure of the correct quote. I believe the Book of John says something like the only way to the Father is through the Son. Where is that, please? The other Scripture I cannot find is something like this: God uses the fools to profound the wise. Thanks for any help or direction.

The Way, the Truth, the LifeA: Your first verse does come from John. Prior to His arrest, Jesus was preparing the disciples both for His being taken away to die and His later being taken bodily to the Father. Jesus told them that He was going away to prepare a place for them. In response, “Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ (14:5-6)”

This verse shows the exclusivity of Christianity, where “the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing. (1 Corinthians 1:18a)” Those who want to believe that they’re good enough on their own or who otherwise want to ignore the sacrifice of our Savior rebel against this message while, as Paul continued, “to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1:18b)”

Foolishness of the CrossYour other passage comes from the same chapter of the epistle we just referenced — 1 Corinthians 1. This whole section confesses the same theme: “We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles. (1:23)” Just as Jesus said that He was the only way, so Paul said that “to those who are called,” Christ is “the power of God and the wisdom of God. (v. 24)” Summing up this section, he wrote, “The foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (v. 25)”

The apostle then reminded the Corinthians of their station in life. Most of the congregation wasn’t among the philosophers. Few would have been considered “wise ... powerful ... of noble birth. (v. 26)” Yet these Christians, saved by faith in Christ, were God’s rebuke of unbelievers: “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. (vv. 27-29)” Emphasizing the exclusivity of the Gospel, the chapter closes, “Because of [the Father] you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’ (vv. 30-31)”

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version™, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles.

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Walter Snyder is a Lutheran pastor, conference speaker, author of the book What Do Lutherans Believe, and writer of numerous published devotions, prayers, and sermons.

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Newspaper column #582:1


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