I mentioned these six points last time in discussing 1 Corinthians 1:17-2:5, 2:14-16:
- Think hard, think well.
- Don’t demand that things always make sense.
- Don’t value intellectuals about non-intellectuals in Christianity.
- Discern cultural strongholds of intellectual pride.
- Understand what it means to have the mind of Christ.
- Keep the gospel pure.
I’d like to consider the first one.
Think hard, think well.
Although this particular point isn’t found in 1 Corinthians 1-2 (at least not much), it is an important thing to consider as we look at that passage.
Intellectual humility is never an excuse for intellectual laziness. Whatever God has given me intellectually I should use for Him. That’s part of what it means to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30).
Why does God want me to use my intellect? Not because He needs it! (See Job 38.) Nor is it in order to win the intelligentsia to Christ. On the contrary, God has specifically worked things out so that the opposite is true: “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God,God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe … God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise … the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are,so that no man may boast before God.” (1 Cor 1:21,28,29). God has deliberately ordained that people will not get saved by being won over by the brilliance of Christian intellectuals.
No, the point is that whatever I do for God, I need to do as well as I can. Serving Him with all my might will mean, in the intellectual realm, that I try to think accurately and honestly about everything the very best that I can.
This is all the more true if I am gifted with a good mind. In that case, I need to set the bar high for myself. (Compare 1 Timothy 4:14-16 and 2 Timothy 2:15.) I should not be content to reason sloppily. Instead, I should strive to grow in intellectual honesty and fair-mindedness. I should cultivate curiosity and a love of learning. I should establish a habit of working hard to search out truth. I should seek to become saturated by Scripture.