Is the Bible Anti-Intellectual?

Dear Balajied,

I have a question about 1. Corinthians Chapter 2 where Paul writes about the wisdom of the world and the wisdom of god. In chapter 2 verse 5 Paul writes that our faith should not be based on humanly wisdom. So my question is: Is not that a critique for the discipline of apologetics and does not the bible endorse anit-intellectualism?

Blessings,
Martin

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Dear Martin,

When it comes to the practice of Christian apologetics, this question is very often raised. On the basis of this text (along with other similar passages), people (ignorantly) make this argument that the Bible is ‘anti-intellectual’ and more specifically they would argue that it is against the discipline of Christian apologetics.

However, this is mistaken because of two main reasons and they are as follows:

  1. If the meaning or the message of 1 Cor. 2:5 is true in the sense as described above, then it would run against the apostle Paul’s very own practices itself. For instance, in Acts 17 and also the arguments he made in favour of the resurrection (1 Cor. 15) where he persuasively argued using reason for the case of the Christian faith.
  2. To be more precise, I believe that this verse is seen as a condemnation of the false, prideful use of reason and not of reason itself. Similarly, in line with this thought, I believe that one cannot lead anyone into the kingdom of God by argument alone. True conversion is an interplay of both the reasoning and also by the enabling work of the Holy Spirit.
  3. Finally, 1 Pet. 3:15 urges us to be always ready to give a reason for the hope that we have in Christ. In light of all these passages, I would conclude that the Bible is not anti-intellectual but is very much for Christian apologetics. Therefore, we would do well to learn from Jesus himself who is not only our saviour but also a master apologist.

I would rather close by quoting Ravi-ji who once said, “What I believe in my heart must make sense in my mind”.

Thank you once again for your question.

God bless,

Balajied.

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