The Word of the Cross

1 Corinthians 1:18-25

Verbum enim crucis pereuntibus quidem stultitia est: iis autem qui salvi fiunt, id est nobis, Dei virtus est. Scriptum est enim: Perdam sapientiam sapientium, et prudentiam prudentium reprobabo. Ubi sapiens? ubi scriba? ubi conquisitor hujus sæculi? Nonne stultam fecit Deus sapientiam hujus mundi? Nam quia in Dei sapientia non cognovit mundus per sapientiam Deum: placuit Deo per stultitiam prædicationis salvos facere credentes. Quoniam et Judæi signa petunt, et Græci sapientiam quærunt: nos autem prædicamus Christum crucifixum: Judæis quidem scandalum, gentibus autem stultitiam, ipsis autem vocatis Judæis, atque Græcis Christum Dei virtutem, et Dei sapientia: quia quod stultum est Dei, sapientius est hominibus: et quod infirmum est Dei, fortius est hominibus.

For the word of the cross indeed is foolishness to those perishing, but to those who are being saved, as it is for us, it is the power of God. For it is written: ‘I shall destroy the wisdom of the wise, and discard the intelligence of the intelligent’. Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the philosopher of this age? For did not God make foolish the wise of this world? Since in the wisdom of God the world did not know him according to its wisdom, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. The Jews ask for signs, and the Greeks seek knowledge, but we preach Christ crucified: unto the Jews indeed a stumbling block, and unto the Gentiles foolishness, but unto them who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.


  1. crux, crucis — cross
  2. stultitia, ae — foolishness
  3. sapientia, ae — wisdom
  4. per — through
  5. quoniam — since, for
  6. petunt (+ acc) — ask
  7. quaerunt (+ acc) — seek
  8. scandalum, i — stumbling block; temptation (to sin)
  9. infirmus, a, um — weak
  10. fortis m, f (neuter forte) — strong

Nota Bene

The twenty-fifth and last verse has an interesting use of the dative. At first, it looks like it might be the dative of possession, but in fact, stultum and infirmum are adjectives, not nouns. Instead, it’s the dative used with special adjectives (like stultum and infirmum) which require a noun in the dative (Dei).



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