|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:17-25 Paul had been bred up in Jewish learning; but the plain preaching of a crucified Jesus, was more powerful than all the oratory and philosophy of the heathen world. This is the sum and substance of the gospel. Christ crucified is the foundation of all our hopes, the fountain of all our joys. And by his death we live. The preaching of salvation for lost sinners by the sufferings and death of the Son of God, if explained and faithfully applied, appears foolishness to those in the way to destruction. The sensual, the covetous, the proud, and ambitious, alike see that the gospel opposes their favourite pursuits. But those who receive the gospel, and are enlightened by the Spirit of God, see more of God's wisdom and power in the doctrine of Christ crucified, than in all his other works. God left a great part of the world to follow the dictates of man's boasted reason, and the event has shown that human wisdom is folly, and is unable to find or retain the knowledge of God as the Creator. It pleased him, by the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believe. By the foolishness of preaching; not by what could justly be called foolish preaching. But the thing preached was foolishness to wordly-wise men. The gospel ever was, and ever will be, foolishness to all in the road to destruction. The message of Christ, plainly delivered, ever has been a sure touchstone by which men may learn what road they are travelling. But the despised doctrine of salvation by faith in a crucified Saviour, God in human nature, purchasing the church with his own blood, to save multitudes, even all that believe, from ignorance, delusion, and vice, has been blessed in every age. And the weakest instruments God uses, are stronger in their effects, than the strongest men can use. Not that there is foolishness or weakness in God, but what men consider as such, overcomes all their admired wisdom and strength.
Verse 19. - It is written. This formula (1 Corinthians 1:31; 1 Corinthians 2:9; 1 Corinthians 3:19; 1 Corinthians 9:9; 1 Corinthians 10:7; 1 Corinthians 15:45; 2 Corinthians 8:15) is chiefly used in letters to Churches in which there were many Jews. This is a free citation from the LXX. of Isaiah 29:14 (the same thought is found in Job 5:12, 13; see too Matthew 11:25). The original passage refers to penal judgments from the Assyrians, which would test the false prophets of Israel.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
As it is written,.... The passage referred to is in Isaiah 29:14 where it is read, "the wisdom of their wise men shall perish; and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid"; and is rendered by the Septuagint, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will hide the understanding of the prudent": which is much the same with the apostle's version of it: and the sense of the prophecy is, that in the times of the Messiah, under the Gospel dispensation, the mysteries of grace should be hid from the wise rabbins among the Jews, the Scribes and Pharisees, who, with all their sagacity, parts, and learning, would not be able to comprehend the doctrines of the Gospel; by these their wisdom and understanding would be nonplussed, so that they would reject them as foolishness, because their carnal reason could not reach them; which shows what an infatuation they were given up to: and if this should be the case, as it was with the wise and learned philosophers among the Gentiles, it need not be wondered at; it was what was foretold in prophecy concerning the Jews, who had the oracles of God, and the advantage of a divine revelation; and therefore it need not be stumbling to them that are saved, that the Gospel should meet with so much scorn and contempt among them that perish in the Gentile world. These words are very pertinently cited by the apostle, since they are acknowledged by the Jews themselves to signify the departure of wisdom from the wise men of Israel, in the times of the destruction of the temple, as Jarchi on the place observes.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
19. I will destroy—slightly altered from the Septuagint, Isa 29:14. The Hebrew is, "The wisdom of the wise shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid." Paul by inspiration gives the sense of the Spirit, by making God the cause of their wisdom perishing, &c., "I will destroy," &c.
understanding of the prudent—literally, "of the understanding ones."
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