1 Corinthians 1:20
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

New Living Translation
So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world's brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish.

English Standard Version
Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

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?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Where is the philosopher? Where is the scholar? Where is the debater of this age? Hasn't God made the world's wisdom foolish?

International Standard Version
Where is the wise person? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? God has turned the wisdom of the world into nonsense, hasn't he?

NET Bible
Where is the wise man? Where is the expert in the Mosaic law? Where is the debater of this age? Has God not made the wisdom of the world foolish?

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Where is the wise or where is the Scribe or where is the debater of this world? Behold, has not God shown the wisdom of this world to be insane?

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Where is the wise person? Where is the scholar? Where is the persuasive speaker of our time? Hasn't God turned the wisdom of the world into nonsense?

Jubilee Bible 2000
Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the philosopher of this world? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

King James 2000 Bible
Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

American King James Version
Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

American Standard Version
Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

Douay-Rheims 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?

English Revised Version
Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

Webster's Bible Translation
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?

Weymouth New Testament
Where is your wise man? Where your expounder of the Law? Where your investigator of the questions of this present age? Has not God shown the world's wisdom to be utter foolishness?

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?
Parallel Commentaries
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.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 20. - Where is the wise? etc. (Isaiah 33:18); rather, Where is a wise man? i.e. a scribe, etc., which is even more incisive. These questions are triumphant, like the "Where is the King of Hamath and of Arpad?" The same impassioned form of speech recurs in 1 Corinthians 15:55 and in Romans 3:27. The questions would come home to the Jews, who regarded their rabbis and the "pupils of the wise as exalted beings who could look down on all poor ignorant persons (amharatsim, or "people of the land"); and to the Greeks, who regarded none but the philosophers as "wise." The scribe. With the Jews of that day" the scribe" was" the theologian," the ideal of dignified learning and orthodoxy, though for the most part he mistook elaborate ignorance for profound knowledge. The disputer. The word would specially suit the disputatious Greeks, clever dialecticians. The verb from which this word is derived occurs in Mark 8:11, and the abstract substantive ("an eager discussion") in Acts 28:29. If St. Paul has Isaiah 33:18 in his mind, the word "disputer" corresponds to "the counter of the towers" (comp. Psalm 48:12). Even the rabbis say that when Messiah comes human wisdom is to become needless. Of the world; rather, of this age, or aeon. The old dispensation, then so rapidly waning to its close, was called "this age" (olam hazzeh); the next or Messianic age was called "the age to come" (olam habba). The Messianic age had dawned at the birth of Christ, but the old covenant was not finally annulled till his second coming at the fall of Jerusalem. Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? rather, Did not God (by the cross) stultify the wisdom, etc.? The oxymoron, or sharp contrast of terms - a figure of which St. Paul is fond (see 1 Timothy 5:6; Romans 1:20, etc.; and my 'Life of St. Paul,' 1:628) - is here clearly marked in the Greek. The thought was as familiar to the old prophets (Isaiah 44:25) as to St. Paul (Romans 1:22); and even Horace saw that heathen philosophy was sometimes no better than insaniens sapientia (Horace, 'Od.,' 1:34, 2).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Where is the wise? where is the Scribe?.... These are the apostle's own words; though he may allude to Isaiah 33:18 where there are some phrases much like these, but the meaning is very different. Though they are interpreted by the Talmudists (g) in a sense pretty near the apostle's; for thus they remark upon them,

"where is the Scribe? he that counts all the letters which are in the law; "where is the receiver, or weigher?" who weighs all the light and heavy things in the law; "where is he that counted the towers?" he who counts, or teaches the three hundred traditions:

so that they understand these of their Scribes and Misnic doctors, and such that are curious searchers into the hidden senses of Scripture. The apostle also seems to allude to a distinction that obtained among the Jews, of wise men, Scribes, and mystical interpreters of the word. They had their "wise men", which was a general name for men of learning and knowledge; and their "Scribes", who interpreted the law in the literal and grammatical sense; and their "preachers, or disputers", who diligently searched into the hidden meaning of the Scriptures, and sought for and delivered out the mystical and allegorical sense of them, and who used to dispute about them in their schools. These three are sometimes to be met with together, and as distinct from each other. They say (h) that "God showed to the first man every generation, "and its expounders, or disputers"; and every generation, "and its wise men"; and every generation, "and its Scribes."

And the apostle's sense is, "where is the wise?" the man that boasts of his superior wisdom and knowledge in the things of nature, whether among the Jews or Gentiles; "where is the Scribe?" the letter learned man, who takes upon him to give the literal sense of the law,

where is the disputer of this world? the Jewish world, who pretends to the knowledge of the more abstruse and secret senses of Scripture; where are these men? they are not to be found among those that God employs in the ministration of the Gospel; he has laid them aside, and chosen others, where are they? what use have they been of to men? are men under their instructions the better, either in principle or practice? where are the thousands that have been turned to God by their wisdom, as can be shown by the faithful ministers of the Gospel? where are they? let them come and produce their cause, and bring forth their strong reasons against the Gospel they account foolishness, and try if these will stand before its superior power and wisdom; where are they? are they not fools, with all their wisdom and learning? The words may be rendered, "where is the searcher, or inquirer of this world?" and may design the same sort of persons whom the Jews call , "the wise men of search, or inquiry" (i), and sometimes , "the men of search, or inquiry" (k); by whom they seem to intend such who search into the nature of things, who study natural philosophy,

Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? by bringing in the Gospel scheme, which the men of the world, the greatest wits in it, are not able to understand; by laying their wisdom aside as useless in the business of salvation; by showing it to be vain and empty, and of no service in things spiritual and divine; by detecting, through the ministration of the Gospel, the sophisms of men, and showing that the schemes both Jews and Gentiles give into abound with folly, with stupid notions, and are full of gross errors and fatal mistakes,

(g) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 106. 2. & Chagiga, fol. 15. 2.((h) Bereshit Rabba Parash. 24. fol. 21. 1. Vid. T. Bab. Avoda Zara, fol. 5. 1. & Sanhedrin, fol. 38. 2.((i) Kimchi in Sopher Shorashim, rad. & in Psal. cii. 26. (k) Aben Ezra in Psal. civ. 29.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

20. Where—nowhere; for God "brings them to naught" (1Co 1:19).

the wise—generally.

the scribe—Jewish [Alford].

the disputer—Greek [Alford]. Compare the Jew and Greek of this world contrasted with the godly wise, 1Co 1:22, 23. Vitringa thinks the reference is to the Jewish discourses in the synagogue, daraschoth, from a Hebrew root "to dispute." Compare "questions," Ac 26:3; Tit 3:9. If so, "wise" refers to Greek wisdom (compare 1Co 1:22). Paul applies Isa 33:18 here in a higher sense; there the primary reference was to temporal deliverance, here to external; 1Co 1:22, which is in threefold opposition to 1Co 1:18 there, sanctions this higher application; the Lord in the threefold character being the sole ground of glorying to His people.

of this world … of this world—rather, "dispensation (or age) … world"; the Greek words are distinct. The former is here this age or worldly order of things in a moral point of view, as opposed to the Christian dispensation or order of things. The latter is the world viewed externally and cosmically.

made foolish—shown the world's philosophy to be folly, because it lacks faith in Christ crucified [Chrysostom]. Has treated it as folly, and not used its help in converting and saving men (1Co 1:26, 27) [Estius].

1 Corinthians 1:20 Additional Commentaries
Context
Christ the Wisdom and Power of God
19For it is written, "I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE." 20Where 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? 21For 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.…
Cross References
Job 12:17
He leads rulers away stripped and makes fools of judges.

Isaiah 19:11
The officials of Zoan are nothing but fools; the wise counselors of Pharaoh give senseless advice. How can you say to Pharaoh, "I am one of the wise men, a disciple of the ancient kings"?

Isaiah 33:18
In your thoughts you will ponder the former terror: "Where is that chief officer? Where is the one who took the revenue? Where is the officer in charge of the towers?"

Isaiah 44:25
who foils the signs of false prophets and makes fools of diviners, who overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense,

Jeremiah 10:7
Who should not fear you, King of the nations? This is your due. Among all the wise leaders of the nations and in all their kingdoms, there is no one like you.

Matthew 13:22
The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.

John 12:31
Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.

Acts 17:18
A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to debate with him. Some of them asked, "What is this babbler trying to say?" Others remarked, "He seems to be advocating foreign gods." They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.

Romans 1:20
For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

Romans 1:22
Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools

1 Corinthians 1:26
Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.

1 Corinthians 1:27
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

1 Corinthians 1:28
God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things--and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are,

1 Corinthians 2:6
We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.

1 Corinthians 2:8
None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

1 Corinthians 3:18
Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become "fools" so that you may become wise.

1 Corinthians 3:19
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight. As it is written: "He catches the wise in their craftiness";

1 Corinthians 6:2
Or do you not know that the Lord's people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases?

1 Corinthians 11:32
Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.

James 4:4
You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
Treasury of Scripture

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

is the wise.

Isaiah 33:18 Your heart shall meditate terror. Where is the scribe? where is the …

Isaiah 53:1 Who has believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?

hath.

1 Corinthians 1:19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will …

2 Samuel 15:31 And one told David, saying, Ahithophel is among the conspirators …

2 Samuel 16:23 And the counsel of Ahithophel, which he counceled in those days, …

2 Samuel 17:14,23 And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, The counsel of Hushai …

Job 12:17,20,24 He leads counsellors away spoiled, and makes the judges fools…

Isaiah 44:25 That frustrates the tokens of the liars, and makes diviners mad; …

Romans 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

Jump to Previous
Age Discussion Expounder Foolish Foolishness Hasn't Lawyer Present Questions Scholar Scribe Shown Utter Wisdom Wise World World's
Jump to Next
Age Discussion Expounder Foolish Foolishness Hasn't Lawyer Present Questions Scholar Scribe Shown Utter Wisdom Wise World World's
Links
1 Corinthians 1:20 NIV
1 Corinthians 1:20 NLT
1 Corinthians 1:20 ESV
1 Corinthians 1:20 NASB
1 Corinthians 1:20 KJV

1 Corinthians 1:20 Bible Apps
1 Corinthians 1:20 Bible Suite
1 Corinthians 1:20 Biblia Paralela
1 Corinthians 1:20 Chinese Bible
1 Corinthians 1:20 French Bible
1 Corinthians 1:20 German Bible

Alphabetical: age debater foolish God Has is made man not of philosopher scholar scribe the this Where wisdom wise world

NT Letters: 1 Corinthians 1:20 Where is the wise? Where (1 Cor. 1C iC 1Cor i cor icor) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools

Bible Hub
1 Corinthians 1:19
Top of Page
Top of Page