Daily Worship

Silly Fools

Laura Digan June 20, 2022 0 4
Image credit: Unsplash.
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1 Corinthians 1: 18-31 (NRSVA)

18 For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,

‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
    and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.’

20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, 23 but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

26 Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, 29 so that no one might boast in the presence of God. 30 He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 in order that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’

Back in the day, when I first went to University I studied English. I fell in love with Historical English, specialising in Old English and Early Modern English. I especially enjoy studying the etymology of words, that is studying its history and the development of its meaning. 

A word that has undergone a shift in meaning over the years is the word silly. The word silly was used in Old English and came from an older proto Germanic. In Old English (and Old Norse) silly meant happy and also blessed. In the 1200s it came to mean pious and innocent. Then the meaning changed again in the 1300s to mean weak and feebleminded before meaning lacking in reason and foolish around the 1500s.

Reflecting on today’s scripture passage it was the word foolish that stood out for me.Thinking about this foolishness in Christ I made the connection with the word silly. 

It seems to me that as people became more sophisticated over the years they began to sneer at those who are blessed, pious, and innocent. And so the connotations of silly changed to be negative.

Those who accept and believe the promise of Christ are deemed silly, foolish by the world because the world doesn’t understand those who choose to reject its values, its cultures. In that lack of understanding it is easier then to dismiss those who reject the world for Christ as simply foolish and silly. But it is the ‘foolish’ people who simply accept Christ’s offer who are the wisest because it is them who will live eternally with God. 




Lord Jesus, 

Make me proud today to be a fool for you,

Believing in your promise