1 Corinthians 1:21
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.

King James Bible
For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

Darby Bible Translation
For since, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom has not known God, God has been pleased by the foolishness of the preaching to save those that believe.

World English Bible
For seeing that in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom didn't know God, it was God's good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save those who believe.

Young's Literal Translation
for, seeing in the wisdom of God the world through the wisdom knew not God, it did please God through the foolishness of the preaching to save those believing.

1 Corinthians 1:21 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

For after that - ἐπειδὴ epeidē. Since, or seeing that it is true that the world by wisdom knew not God. After all the experience of the world it was ascertained that human beings would never by their own wisdom come to the true knowledge of God, and it pleased him to devise another plan for salvation.

In the wisdom of God - This phrase is susceptible of two interpretations:

(1) The first makes it refer to "the wisdom of God" evinced in the works of creation - the demonstration of his existence and attributes found there, and, according to that, the apostle means to say, that the world by a survey of the works of God did not know him; or were, notwithstanding those works, in deep darkness. This interpretation is adopted by most commentators - by Lightfoot, Rosenmuller, Grotius, Calvin, etc. According to this interpretation, the word ἐν en (in) is to be translated "by" or "through."

(2) a second interpretation makes it refer to the wise arrangement or government of God, by which this was permitted. "For when, by the wise arrangement or government of God; after a full and fair trial of the native, unaided powers of man, it was ascertained that the true knowledge of God would not be arrived at by man, it pleased him," etc. This appears to be the correct interpretation, because it is the most obvious one, and because it suits the connection best. It is, according to this, a reason why God introduced a new method of saving people. This may be said to have been accomplished by a plan of God, which was wise, because:

(1) It was desirable that the powers of man should be fully tried before the new plan was introduced, in order to show that it was not dependent on human wisdom, that it was not originated by man, and that there was really need of such an interposition.

(2) because sufficient time had been furnished to make the experiment. An opportunity had been given for four thousand years, and still it had failed.

(3) because the experiment had been made in the most favorable circumstances. The human faculties had had time to ripen and expand; one generation had had an opportunity of profiting by the observation of its predecessor; and the most mighty minds had been brought to boar on the subject. If the sages of the east, and the profound philosophers of the west, had not been able to come to the true knowledge of God, it was in vain to hope that more profound minds could be brought to bear on it, or that more careful investigation would be bestowed on it. The experiment had been fairly made, and the result was before the world; see the notes at Romans 1.

The world - The people of the world; particularly the philosophers of the world.

By wisdom - By their own wisdom, or by the united investigations of the works of nature.

Knew not God - Obtained not a true knowledge of him. Some denied his existence; some represented him under the false and abominable forms of idol worship; some ascribed to him horrid attributes; all showed that they had no true acquaintance with a God of purity, with a God who could pardon sin, or whose worship conduced to holiness of life; see the notes at Romans 1.

It pleased God - God was disposed, or well pleased. The plan of salvation originated in his good pleasure, and was such as his wisdom approved. God chose this plan, so unlike all the plans of human beings.

By the foolishness of preaching - Not "by foolish preaching," but by the preaching of the cross, which was regarded as foolish and absurd by the people of the world. The plan is wise, but it has been esteemed by the mass of people, and was particularly so esteemed by the Greek philosophers, to be egregiously foolish and ridiculous; see the note at 1 Corinthians 1:18.

To save them that believe - That believe in the Lord Jesus Christ; see the note at Mark 16:16. This was the speciality and essence of the plan of God, and this has appeared to the mass of people to be a plan devoid of wisdom and unworthy of God. The preaching of the cross which is thus esteemed foolishness, is made the means of saving them, because it sets forth God's only plan of mercy, and states the way in which lost sinners may become reconciled to God.

1 Corinthians 1:21 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
Luke 12:32
"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.

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

1 Corinthians 1:18
For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

1 Corinthians 1:23
but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness,

1 Corinthians 1:25
Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

1 Corinthians 1:27
but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,

1 Corinthians 2:14
But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

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