Formations 08.14.2022: A Humble Witness

1 Corinthians 2

Over the years, I’ve encountered many different types of witnesses for Christ. There was the screaming street preacher who promised eternal torment if we didn’t repent. There was the man who asked, “If you were to die today, do you know where you would go—heaven or hell?” He gave me a tract and went on his way. There was the weeping minister, telling her listeners of the abuse she suffered as a child and how Jesus restored her life. There were the politicians—one proclaiming that God condemns the LGBTQ+ community and supports our right to bear arms and the other assuring that God loves everyone and supports the right to abortion.

With so many different styles and voices speaking in Jesus’ name, sometimes it’s hard to know who he really is. But some witnesses are so confident, certain, abrasive, and even arrogant that they make Jesus seem like the last place we’d want to turn.

Paul wasn’t like any of these witnesses. He was humble. When he wrote to the Corinthians, he assured them that he had no “superior speech or wisdom” (v. 1). He was no better than any of them. His testimony wasn’t about hellfire and brimstone, emotional struggles, or political gain. What was his testimony? “I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (v. 2). He even admitted that he shared these things “in weakness and in fear and in much trembling” (v. 3). Paul’s testimony rested on God alone, and he trusted God’s Spirit and power to reach his readers (vv. 4-5).

As Christians in our world, it’s easy to get defensive about our faith. Sometimes our beliefs seem to be attacked from all sides, and that makes us want to prove the superiority of Jesus above all other options. There are times when we forget our humble beginnings and become boastful, overly proud, and eventually offensive to others as we insist on the Christian faith. But defending our faith doesn’t require arrogance or religious furor. If we are to be like Jesus, we can follow Paul’s example of humility as we witness to others. We can trust that God’s Spirit and power will speak to people in ways that we can’t.


• What is the most powerful witness to Jesus Christ that you have ever experienced? How did the person share their faith, and why was it so meaningful to you?
• How have you shared your faith with others, and what was their reaction?
• Why can it be so tempting to defend our faith in ways that alienate others?
• Is it possible to be both humble and bold in our witness for Christ? Did Paul do this? How?
• What can you do to ensure that your witness for Jesus comes from a place of humility rather than arrogance?

Kelley Land, a graduate of Mercer University, has been an assistant editor of Smyth & Helwys curriculum and books since 2001. In addition to this work, she is a freelance editor for other publishers and authors. She also regularly volunteers for Jay’s HOPE, a nonprofit serving families of children with cancer. Kelley enjoys spending time with her teenage daughters, Samantha and Natalie, her husband John, and the family’s two dachshund mix pups, Luke and Leia. She likes supporting community theater productions and is often found playing board games with a group of rowdy friends. She loves Marvel, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Doctor Who. And she writes middle grade and young adult fiction for the pure joy of it.


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