For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:17–18 ESV)
There’s a common adage taught to speakers, writers, and teachers when they’re trying to instill a new concept. You’ve probably heard, “Keep It Simple Stupid,” or KISS. There’s some biblical credence to this philosophy in 1 Corinthians 1:17-18.
Paul did not speak with flowery, educated terms, but let the Holy Spirit work in people with truth when he spoke to them.
Growth in Christ is important for our faith walk. Although we continue singing Jesus Loves Me, there is so much more nuance and richness to the Gospel once we immerse ourselves in it. Why not train to sing Handel’s Messiah or reach the chords of O Holy Night?
I do not believe the Lord wants us to remain simple.
The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps. (Proverbs 14:15)
The simple inherit folly, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge. (Proverbs 14:18)
Being simple does not need to be a permanent condition.
“How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge? (Proverbs 1:22)
If being simple were a permanent condition, the Lord would not be asking, “How long will you love being simple?” He is not an advocate of “ignorance is bliss.” Once the wisdom of righteousness is revealed and faith settles in your heart, it’s time to dig into scripture, join a Bible study, and attend worship to learn more and more about the character of God. Build a relationship with him for wisdom is better than jewels and all that you may desire cannot compare with her. (Proverbs 8:11)
Search the Bible like the Bereans in Acts 17:10–12, who checked everything Paul told them against the scriptures so they could verify his preaching about the kingdom of God. Ministers today should welcome the same scrutiny and if you need to talk to them about their message, do so.
The KISS principle is OK for starters. There is no benefit to confusing new Christians with obscure biblical passages. I once had a group of teens who wanted me to start their class by studying Revelation. I refused, since I knew there were new believers in the group that needed the milk of the Gospel rather than the symbolism of the end times. I steered them in another direction until they were more prepared for it.
For us to stay in with only the simple John 3:16 teaching when there is so much more to be mined in the scripture is ill-advised. It is best to be lifelong learners of God’s Word.
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. (Hebrew 5:12–13)
Continue to grow from simple to scholarly as the adage evolves into “Keep it Soulfully Satisfying.”