|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:18-23 To have a high opinion of our own wisdom, is but to flatter ourselves; and self-flattery is the next step to self-deceit. The wisdom that wordly men esteem, is foolishness with God. How justly does he despise, and how easily can he baffle and confound it! The thoughts of the wisest men in the world, have vanity, weakness, and folly in them. All this should teach us to be humble, and make us willing to be taught of God, so as not to be led away, by pretences to human wisdom and skill, from the simple truths revealed by Christ. Mankind are very apt to oppose the design of the mercies of God. Observe the spiritual riches of a true believer; All are yours, even ministers and ordinances. Nay, the world itself is yours. Saints have as much of it as Infinite Wisdom sees fit for them, and they have it with the Divine blessing. Life is yours, that you may have a season and opportunity to prepare for the life of heaven; and death is yours, that you may go to the possession of it. It is the kind messenger to take you from sin and sorrow, and to guide you to your Father's house. Things present are yours, for your support on the road; things to come are yours, to delight you for ever at your journey's end. If we belong to Christ, and are true to him, all good belongs to us, and is sure to us. Believers are the subjects of his kingdom. He is Lord over us, we must own his dominion, and cheerfully submit to his command. God in Christ, reconciling a sinful world to himself, and pouring the riches of his grace on a reconciled world, is the sum and substance of the gospel.
Verse 19. - The wisdom of this world. Here the word for "world" is kosmos, in the last verse it was alert. Kosmos is the world regarded objectively; aion the world regarded in its moral and intellectual aspect. He that taketh the wise in their craftiness. This is one of the few references to the Book of Job in the New Testament. It comes from the speech of Eliphaz in Job 5:13, but St. Paul substitutes the words "clutching" (drassomenos) and "craftiness" (panourgia) for the milder katalabon and phronesei of the LXX.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God,.... The wisdom of the Jewish, or Gentile world. It is had in no account with him; it is despised and neglected by him; he makes it foolish, destroys it, and brings it to nothing; he lays it aside as useless, to make men wise unto salvation, and by the foolishness of preaching saves them that believe; he passes by the wise and prudent, and hides the things of the Gospel from them; so, that, with all their learning and wisdom, they can neither apprehend nor comprehend the mysteries of grace, whilst he reveals them unto babes, and chooses the foolish things of this world to spread the knowledge of himself, his Son, his Gospel, and the truths of it, and whom he makes successful, to the confusion of the wise and learned.
"For it is written", an usual form of citing Scriptures with the Jews; it is in Job 5:13 he taketh the wise in their own craftiness, or by it. What Eliphaz says of the wise politicians of the world, who are often disappointed of their crafty devices, and cannot perform the enterprises they have took in hand, but their schemes are broken, and the snares they laid for others they are taken in themselves, is applied by the apostle to the Jewish doctors, or the Gentile philosophers, or rather to the false teachers among the Christians; whose schemes they have formed to corrupt the churches, and demolish the Gospel, prove their own destruction; nor will they, with all their cunning, be able to get out of the hand of God, and escape his awful vengeance. The allusion is either to the taking of wild beasts and birds in snares and nets, or to the taking of men in flight, laying hold of them with the hand, and grasping them hard, that they cannot get loose. The Targum interprets the words of the wise men of Pharaoh, and of the Egyptian astrologers, schemes they have formed to corrupt the churches, and demolish the Gospel, prove their own destruction; nor will they, with all their cunning, be able to get out of the hand of God, and escape his awful vengeance. The allusion is either to the taking of wild beasts and birds in snares and nets, or to the taking of men in flight, laying hold of them with the hand, and grasping them hard, that they cannot get loose. The Targum interprets the words of the wise men of Pharaoh, and of the Egyptian astrologers.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
19. with God—in the judgment of God.
it is written—in Job 5:13. The formula of quoting Scripture used here, establishes the canonicity of Job.
He taketh … wise in … own craftiness—proving the "foolishness" of the world's wisdom, since it is made by God the very snare to catch those who think themselves so wise. Literally, "He who taketh … the whole of the sentence not being quoted, but only the part which suited Paul's purpose.
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