|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 20. - The Lord knoweth, etc. A quotation from Psalm 94:11. St. Paul substitutes "the wise" for the "men" of the original, because the psalmist is referring to perverse despisers of God. Dialogismoi is rather "reasonings" than "thoughts." It is used in a disparaging sense, as in Romans 1:21; Ephesians 4:17.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And again,.... Not in the same place, nor in the same book, but in the Psalms, in Psalm 94:11. This form of citing Scriptures answers to and moreover, used by the Jewish doctors when the matter does not so clearly appear from the first proof, and therefore they produce another (q): and so here the apostle, for the further confirmation and illustration of this point, that the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God, to the testimony of Eliphaz, adds this of David,
the Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain; in the Psalms it is, "the Lord knoweth the thoughts of men, that they are vanity"; which the apostle not only cites, but explains and teaches; as that by men is meant men of wisdom and knowledge, of the greatest capacities, whose thoughts, reasonings, schemes, and devices, the omniscient God not only knows, but makes known, and discovers them, sooner or later, to be vain and fruitless, yea, vanity itself; and notwithstanding all their machinations and contrivances, his counsel shall stand, his Gospel shall be maintained, his truths shall prevail, and his ordinances shall be continued, and his work go on.
(q) Vid. Surenhusii Biblos Katallages, p. 11, 531.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
20. Quotation from Ps 94:11. There it is of men; here it is "of the wise." Paul by inspiration states the class of men whose "thoughts" (or rather, "reasonings," as suits the Greek and the sense of the context) the Spirit designated in the Psalm, "vanity," namely, the "proud" (Ps 94:2) and worldly-wise, whom God in Ps 94:8 calls "fools," though they "boast themselves" of their wisdom in pushing their interests (Ps 94:4).
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