1 Corinthians 1:21
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.

New Living Translation
Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe.

English Standard Version
For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.

Berean Study Bible
For since in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not know Him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.

Berean Literal Bible
For since in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not know God, God was pleased through the foolishness of the proclamation to save those believing.

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.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
For since, in God's wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of the message preached.

International Standard Version
For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not know God, God was pleased to save those who believe through the nonsense of our preaching.

NET Bible
For since in the wisdom of God the world by its wisdom did not know God, God was pleased to save those who believe by the foolishness of preaching.

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

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And because, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God by wisdom, God was willing that by the insanity of preaching he would give life to those who believe.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
The world with its wisdom was unable to recognize God in terms of his own wisdom. So God decided to use the nonsense of the Good News we speak to save those who believe.

New American Standard 1977
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.

Jubilee Bible 2000
For in the wisdom of God, since the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save those that believe.

King James 2000 Bible
For since 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.

American King James Version
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.

American Standard Version
For seeing that in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom knew not God, it was God's good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save them that believe.

Douay-Rheims Bible
For seeing that in the wisdom of God the world, by wisdom, knew not God, it pleased God, by the foolishness of our 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.

English Revised Version
For seeing that in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom knew not God, it was God's good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save them that believe.

Webster's Bible Translation
For when 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.

Weymouth New Testament
For after the world by its wisdom--as God in His wisdom had ordained--had failed to gain the knowledge of God, God was pleased, by the apparent foolishness of the Message which we preach, to save those who accepted it.

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.
Study Bible
The Message of the Cross
20Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the philosopher 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 know Him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22Jews demand signs and Greeks search for wisdom,…
Cross References
Luke 12:32
Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom.

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

1 Corinthians 1:18
For the message 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, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,

1 Corinthians 1:25
For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.

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 2:14
The natural man does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God. For they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

1 Corinthians 4:10
We are fools for Christ, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are honored, but we are dishonored.

1 Corinthians 6:2
Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases?

1 Corinthians 11:32
But when we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.
Treasury of Scripture

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.

in.

1 Corinthians 1:24 But to them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power …

Daniel 2:20 Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and …

Romans 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! …

Ephesians 3:10 To the intent that now to the principalities and powers in heavenly …

the wisdom. Dr. Lightfoot well observes, 'that [sophia tou theos,] the wisdom of God, is not to be understood of that wisdom which had God for its author, but of that wisdom which had God for its object. There was, among the heathen, [sophia tes physeos,] wisdom about natural things, that is philosophy; and [sophia tou theos,] wisdom about God, that is, divinity. But the world, in its divinity, could not, by wisdom, know God.' The wisest of the heathen had no just and correct views of the Divine nature; of which the works of Cicero and Lucretius are incontestable proofs.

the world.

Matthew 11:25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank you, O Father, Lord …

Luke 10:21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank you, O Father, …

Romans 1:20-22,28 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are …

the foolishness. See on

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; …

(21) For.--This is an explanation and evidence of Low God made the wisdom of the world to be only "folly."

After that (better, inasmuch as) is not here a note of time, but of causal relation.

In the wisdom of God.--These words can scarcely be taken as an expression of a kind of approval of God's wisdom in so arranging the method of revelation, but rather as referring to God's wisdom evidenced in nature, and in the teachings of lawgivers and prophets. The world by its wisdom did not attain to a knowledge of God in His wisdom displayed in creation (Acts 17:26; Romans 1:19).

It pleased God.--The world having thus failed to gain a true knowledge of God in His wisdom, He gave them that knowledge through that very proclamation of "the cross" which those "that perish" call foolishness. The contrast so strikingly put here is between (1) the failure of the world by means of its wisdom to know God, in His wisdom displayed to all in His mighty works, and to the Jews in His great teachers; and (2) the success of this "folly" of the gospel, as they called it, in saving all who believed it (Romans 1:16).

Verse 21. - In the wisdom of God; that is, as a part of his Divine economy. The world through its wisdom knew not God. These words might be written as an epitaph on the tomb of ancient philosophy, and of modern philosophy and science so far as it assumes an anti-Christian form (Luke 10:21). Human wisdom, when it relies solely on itself, may "feel after God," but hardly find him (Acts 17:26, 27). Through the foolishness of the preaching. This is a mis-translation. It would require keruxeos, not kerugmatos. It should be by the foolishness (as men esteemed it) of the thing preached. For after that in the wisdom of God,.... These words contain a reason proving the infatuation of men, with respect to "the wisdom of God"; by which may be meant either Christ, who is the wisdom of God, was in the world, and yet the world of the Jews, and their chief Rabbins among them, with all their wisdom, neither knew him, nor God his Father; or the Gospel, which is also so called, and though this was come, both into the Jewish and Gentile world, yet neither of them, by their natural wisdom, knew the God of grace, so manifestly revealed in it; or rather the works of creation, in which there is such a visible display of the wisdom of God: yet "the world by wisdom knew not God"; the author of them: the Gentiles knew him not in any spiritual and saving manner, as in Christ, or the God of all grace; yea, they knew him not as the God of nature to be the one, only, true God; they knew him not so as to glorify him as God, or to worship him in a right way and manner: wherefore,

it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe; it was his purpose and decree within himself; it was his sovereign good will and pleasure; it was what he, without any motion from, or merit in the creature, resolved of himself from all eternity that he would "save", not the wise man, the Scribe, the disputer of this world, the rationalist, the talker, nor the worker, but "them that believe" in his Son; that look unto him, venture on him, and commit the care and keeping of their souls to him, however weak, mean, and despicable they may otherwise be; or whether they believe with a weak, or a strong faith, so be it, it is but true: the Ethiopic version reads, "that believe in this foolish doctrine"; and this he determined to do, and did, "by the foolishness of preaching"; or by that sort of preaching, which both for the matter of it, Christ, that itself, and the manner of it, the world reckons foolishness; and which are the things of the Father's grace in election, of the Son's grace in redemption, and the Spirit's in regeneration: so the wise men of the world, with all their wisdom, are left ignorant of God, and perish in their sins, whilst the Gospel they despise is the power of God unto salvation to all that believe in Christ; this, through efficacious grace, becomes the means of regenerating and quickening men, showing them their need of salvation, and where it is, and of working faith in them to look to Christ for it. 21. after that—rather, "whereas."

in the wisdom of God—in the wise arrangement of God.

world by wisdom—rather, "by its wisdom," or "its philosophy" (Joh 1:10; Ro 1:28).

knew not God—whatever other knowledge it attained (Ac 17:23, 27). The deistic theory that man can by the light of nature discover his duty to God, is disproved by the fact that man has never discovered it without revelation. All the stars and moon cannot make it day; that is the prerogative of the sun. Nor can nature's highest gifts make the moral day arise; that is the office of Christ. Even the Jew missed this knowledge, in so far as he followed after mere carnal world wisdom.

it pleased God—Paul refers to Jesus' words (Lu 10:21).

by the foolishness of preaching—by that preaching which the world (unbelieving Jews and Gentiles alike) deem foolishness.

save them that believe—(Ro 1:16).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.
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