Genius And Insanity (Acts 26:24-26)

“There is a thin line between genius and insanity.”

This frequently quoted quip has been attributed to many people. Equally prevalent are the numerous variants of this. One of the more intriguing is a quote by Albert Einstein, arguably one of the most brilliant people who ever lived. 

“The only difference between genius and insanity is that genius has its limits.”

I have had the privilege of meeting and working with many certified geniuses. I also have interacted with many patients who are insane. High intelligence and creativity may sometimes appear to border on insanity. Throughout history, there are some who would fit both labels. Pythagorus, Vincent Van Gogh, and John McAfee are just a few that come to mind. It is interesting that even the Bible can give us some examples. When the Apostle Paul defended his faith and actions before the Roman governor Festus and King Agrippa of Judea, he recounted his miraculous conversion when the Lord Jesus Christ met him on the road to Damascus. Festus was not impressed and accused Paul of being insane!

Suddenly, Festus shouted, “Paul, you are insane. Too much study has made you crazy!”

But Paul replied, “I am not insane, Most Excellent Festus. What I am saying is the sober truth. Acts 26:24-26 (NLT)

The Apostle Paul is not the only one considered insane. When one reads the Bible, it is remarkable that so many of the saints and heroes were considered insane by others. Isaiah was commanded by God to preach naked for three years. I certainly would have thought him insane but God was using Isaiah to symbolize the impending judgment upon the Egyptians who would become slaves and led away naked by the conquering Assyrians. It was a creative, if not unorthodox, way to communicate God’s message. Even some of the critics and enemies of Jesus Christ thought He was out of his mind and attributed His miracles to the work of the devil. 

Is there a thin line between genius and insanity? This aphorism is liberally used when the viewpoints of others differ from one’s own. It is easier to cast aspersions rather than taking the time to investigate the claims of the person in question. For Jesus Christ, everyone must answer this question for themself. The great Christian apologist, C.S. Lewis, eloquently summarized this when he investigated the claims of Jesus Christ. “A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic–on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg–or he would be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us.”


Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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