1 Corinthians 1:20
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

King James Bible
Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

Darby Bible Translation
Where is the wise? where scribe? where disputer of this world? has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

World English Bible
Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the lawyer of this world? Hasn't God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

Young's Literal Translation
where is the wise? where the scribe? where a disputer of this age? did not God make foolish the wisdom of this world?

1 Corinthians 1:20 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Where is the wise? - Language similar to this occurs in Isaiah 33:18, "Where is the scribe? where is the receiver? where is he that counted the towers?" Without designing to quote these words as having an original reference to the subject now under consideration, Paul uses them as any man does language where he finds words with which he or his readers are familiar, that will convey his meaning. A man familiar with the Bible, will naturally often make use of Scripture expressions in conveying his ideas. In Isaiah, the passage refers to the deliverance of the people from the threatened invasion of Sennacherib. The 18th verse represents the people as meditating on the threatened terror of the invasion; and then in the language of exultation and thanksgiving at their deliverance, saying, "where is the wise man that laid the plan of destroying the nation? Where the Inspector General (see my note on the passage in Isaiah), employed in arranging the forces? Where the receiver (margin the "weigher"), the paymaster of the forces? Where the man that counted the towers of Jerusalem, and calculated on their speedy overthrow? All baffled and defeated; and their schemes have all come to nothing." So the apostle uses the same language in regard to the boasted wisdom, of the world in reference to salvation. It is all baffled, and is all shown to be of no value.

The wise - σοφός sophos. The sage. At first the Greek men of learning were called "wise men" σοφοί sophoi, like the magicians of the East. They afterward assumed a more modest appellation, and called themselves the "lovers of wisdom" φιλοσοφοι philosophoi, or "philosophers." This was the name by which they were commonly known in Greece in the time of Paul.

Where is the scribe? - γραμματεὺς grammateus. The scribe among the Jews was a learned man originally employed in transcribing the law, but subsequently the term came to denote a learned man in general. Among the Greeks the word was used to denote a public notary or a transcriber of the laws; or a secretary. It was a term, therefore nearly synonymous with a man of learning; and the apostle evidently uses it in this sense in this place. Some have supposed that he referred to the Jewish men of learning here; but he probably had reference to the Greeks.

Where is the disputer of this world? - The acute and subtle sophist of this age. The word "disputer" συζητητὴς suzētētēs, properly denotes one who "inquires" carefully into the causes and relations of things; one who is a subtle and abstruse investigator. It was applied to the ancient sophists and disputants in the Greek academics; and the apostle refers, doubtless, to them. The meaning is, that in all their professed investigations, in all their subtle and abstruse inquiries, they had failed of ascertaining the way in which man could be saved; and that God had devised a plan which had baffled all their wisdom, and in which their philosophy was disregarded. The term "world," here αἰῶνος aiōnos, refers, probably, not to the world as a physical structure - though Grotius supposes that it does - but to that "age" - the disputer of that age, or generation - an age eminently wise and learned.

Hath not God made foolish ... - That is, has he not by the originality and superior efficacy of his plan of salvation, poured contempt on all the schemes of philosophers, and evinced their folly? Not only without the aid of those schemes of human beings, but in opposition to them, he has devised a plan for human salvation that evinces its efficacy and its wisdom in the conversion of sinners, and in destroying the power of wickedness. Paul here, possibly, had reference to the language in Isaiah 44:25. God "turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish."

1 Corinthians 1:20 Parallel Commentaries

Library
Second Day. God's Provision for Holiness.
To those that are made holy in Christ Jesus, called to be holy.'--1 Cor. i. 2. 'To all the holy ones in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi. Salute every holy one in Christ Jesus.'[1]--Phil. i. 1, iv. 21. HOLY! IN CHRIST! In these two expressions we have perhaps the most wonderful words of all the Bible. HOLY! the word of unfathomable meaning, which the Seraphs utter with veiled faces. HOLY! the word in which all God's perfections centre, and of which His glory is but the streaming forth.
Andrew Murray—Holy in Christ

Corinthians. Calling on the Name
'All that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.'--1 COR. i. 2. There are some difficulties, with which I need not trouble you, about both the translation and the connection of these words. One thing is quite clear, that in them the Apostle associates the church at Corinth with the whole mass of Christian believers in the world. The question may arise whether he does so in the sense that he addresses his letter both to the church at Corinth and to the whole
Alexander Maclaren—Romans, Corinthians (To II Corinthians, Chap. V)

With How Great Reverence Christ must be Received
The Voice of the Disciple These are Thy words, O Christ, Eternal Truth; though not uttered at one time nor written together in one place of Scripture. Because therefore they are Thy words and true, I must gratefully and faithfully receive them all. They are Thine, and Thou hast uttered them; and they are mine also, because Thou didst speak them for my salvation. Gladly I receive them from Thy mouth, that they may be more deeply implanted in my heart. Words of such great grace arouse me, for they
Thomas A Kempis—Imitation of Christ

Of the Effects of those Prerogatives.
From these prerogatives there will arise to the elect in heaven, five notable effects:-- 1. They shall know God with a perfect knowledge (1 Cor. i. 10), so far as creatures can possibly comprehend the Creator. For there we shall see the Word, the Creator; and in the Word, all creatures that by the Word were created; so that we shall not need to learn (of the things which were made) the knowledge of him by whom all things were made. The most excellent creatures in this life, are but as a dark veil
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

Cross References
Job 12:17
"He makes counselors walk barefoot And makes fools of judges.

Isaiah 19:11
The princes of Zoan are mere fools; The advice of Pharaoh's wisest advisers has become stupid. How can you men say to Pharaoh, "I am a son of the wise, a son of ancient kings "?

Isaiah 33:18
Your heart will meditate on terror: "Where is he who counts? Where is he who weighs? Where is he who counts the towers?"

Isaiah 44:25
Causing the omens of boasters to fail, Making fools out of diviners, Causing wise men to draw back And turning their knowledge into foolishness,

Jeremiah 10:7
Who would not fear You, O King of the nations? Indeed it is Your due! For among all the wise men of the nations And in all their kingdoms, There is none like You.

Matthew 13:22
"And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

John 12:31
"Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.

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