according to the flesh (v.26) — based on human attainments and qualities
of the world (v.27) — in the world’s estimation
base (v.28) = ignoble, of low birth, of no value in the world’s estimation
despised (v.28) = treated with contempt
things which are not (v.28) — nonentities as far as the world is concerned
bring to nothing (v.28) — loss of well-being, not loss of being
God does not merely bear with common people; He has chosen such to be instruments of glory in His hand. God’s point in verses 26-29 is: “Most of you are ordinary people; few are from the so-called upper classes.”
This is not because the wise man is automatically deprived of salvation just because he is wise, or the mighty man for the power he wields, or the nobleman because he was born of princely parentage, any more than that the uneducated, the weak, the base, the despised, and the “nobodies” are automatically saved because they are uneducated, weak, base, despised or unrecognized. Generally the “great” shut themselves out by their pride, for such are usually the last to bow before God, acknowledging their sins and their need of Christ, and until they do, God will not have them. This was the case with the rich young ruler of our Lord’s day (Mark 10:22-23). It was also the case with “intellectual” Capernaum (Matthew 11:23, 25). — Stam, page 52.
Verse 29 is probably referring to a condition in the Corinthian church (1 Corinthians 3:21).