1 Corinthians 1:20
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?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(20) To the second quotation, which was originally a song of triumph over the enemies of Israel, the Apostle gives a general application.

The wise.—The general reference in this word is to those who would exalt human knowledge, while “the scribe” indicates the Jew, and the “disputer” the Greek, who discussed philosophy (Acts 6:9; Acts 9:29).

Of this world.—These words qualify all three mentioned, and not exclusively the disputer.” “World” (more literally, age) does not here mean the physical world, but, in an ethical sense, “this age,” in contrast to that which is “to come” (Matthew 12:32; Mark 10:30). It is employed afterwards (last word of 1Corinthians 1:20, and in 1Corinthians 1:21) to designate all who are outside the Christian communion, as in the next verse it is contrasted with “them that believe.”

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.Where is the wise? - Language similar to this occurs in Isaiah 33:18, "Where is the scribe? where is the receiver? where is he that counted the towers?" Without designing to quote these words as having an original reference to the subject now under consideration, Paul uses them as any man does language where he finds words with which he or his readers are familiar, that will convey his meaning. A man familiar with the Bible, will naturally often make use of Scripture expressions in conveying his ideas. In Isaiah, the passage refers to the deliverance of the people from the threatened invasion of Sennacherib. The 18th verse represents the people as meditating on the threatened terror of the invasion; and then in the language of exultation and thanksgiving at their deliverance, saying, "where is the wise man that laid the plan of destroying the nation? Where the Inspector General (see my note on the passage in Isaiah), employed in arranging the forces? Where the receiver (margin the "weigher"), the paymaster of the forces? Where the man that counted the towers of Jerusalem, and calculated on their speedy overthrow? All baffled and defeated; and their schemes have all come to nothing." So the apostle uses the same language in regard to the boasted wisdom, of the world in reference to salvation. It is all baffled, and is all shown to be of no value.

The wise - σοφός sophos. The sage. At first the Greek men of learning were called "wise men" σοφοί sophoi, like the magicians of the East. They afterward assumed a more modest appellation, and called themselves the "lovers of wisdom" φιλοσοφοι philosophoi, or "philosophers." This was the name by which they were commonly known in Greece in the time of Paul.

Where is the scribe? - γραμματεὺς grammateus. The scribe among the Jews was a learned man originally employed in transcribing the law, but subsequently the term came to denote a learned man in general. Among the Greeks the word was used to denote a public notary or a transcriber of the laws; or a secretary. It was a term, therefore nearly synonymous with a man of learning; and the apostle evidently uses it in this sense in this place. Some have supposed that he referred to the Jewish men of learning here; but he probably had reference to the Greeks.

Where is the disputer of this world? - The acute and subtle sophist of this age. The word "disputer" συζητητὴς suzētētēs, properly denotes one who "inquires" carefully into the causes and relations of things; one who is a subtle and abstruse investigator. It was applied to the ancient sophists and disputants in the Greek academics; and the apostle refers, doubtless, to them. The meaning is, that in all their professed investigations, in all their subtle and abstruse inquiries, they had failed of ascertaining the way in which man could be saved; and that God had devised a plan which had baffled all their wisdom, and in which their philosophy was disregarded. The term "world," here αἰῶνος aiōnos, refers, probably, not to the world as a physical structure - though Grotius supposes that it does - but to that "age" - the disputer of that age, or generation - an age eminently wise and learned.

Hath not God made foolish ... - That is, has he not by the originality and superior efficacy of his plan of salvation, poured contempt on all the schemes of philosophers, and evinced their folly? Not only without the aid of those schemes of human beings, but in opposition to them, he has devised a plan for human salvation that evinces its efficacy and its wisdom in the conversion of sinners, and in destroying the power of wickedness. Paul here, possibly, had reference to the language in Isaiah 44:25. God "turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish."

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].

Where is the wise? where is the scribe? He alludeth again to that, Isaiah 33:18: Where is the scribe? where is the receiver? Where are the wise men amongst the heathens? Where are the scribes, the learned men in the law, amongst the Jews?

Where is the disputer of this world? Where are those amongst Jews or Gentiles that are the great inquirers into the reasons and natures of things, and manage debates and disputes about them? They understand nothing of the mysteries of the gospel, or the way of salvation, which God holds out to the world in and through Jesus Christ. Or, where are they? What have they done by all their philosophy and moral doctrine, as to the turning of men from sin unto God, from ways of iniquity unto ways of righteousness, in comparison of what we, the ministers of Christ, have done by preaching the doctrine of the gospel, and the cross of Christ?

Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? Do not you see how God hath fooled the wisdom of the world? Making it to appear vain and contemptible, and of no use, as to the saving of men’s souls; making choice of none of their doctors and great rabbis, to carry that doctrine abroad in the world; and convincing men that, without faith in Christ, all that can be learned from them will be of no avail to the soul. 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.

Where is the wise? where is the {o} scribe? where is the {p} disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

(o) Where are you, O you learned fellow, and you that spend your days in turning your books?

(p) You that spend all your time in seeking out the secret things of this world, and in expounding all hard questions: and thus he triumphs against all the men of this world, for there was not one of them that could so much as dream of this secret and hidden mystery.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Corinthians 1:20. What this passage of Scripture promises, has occurred: Where is a wise man, etc. The force of these triumphant questions (comp 1 Corinthians 15:55, and see on Romans 3:27) is: clean gone are all sages, scribes, and disputers of this world-period (they can no more hold their ground, no longer assert themselves, have, as it were, vanished); God has made the world’s wisdom to be manifest folly! As the passages, Isaiah 19:12; Isaiah 33:18, were perhaps before the apostle’s mind, the form of expression used rests probably on them. Comp Romans 3:27, where ἐξεκλείσθη is the answer to the ποῦ; according to classical usage, Valckenaer, a[229] Eur. Phoen. 1662. Ewald holds 1 Corinthians 1:20 to be a citation from a lost book; but we are not necessarily shut up to this conclusion by the γραμματεύς, although the term does not occur elsewhere in Paul’s writings, for this exclamation might easily have been suggested to him by the γραμματικοί, of Isaiah 33:18. The three substantives cannot well be taken as alluding to the synagogal phrases חכם ספר and דרשן (Lightfoot, Vitringa), since Paul was not writing to a purely Jewish-Christian community. Attempts to explain the distinction between them have been made in a variety of ways. But it is to be noted that in what immediately follows τὴν σοφίαν represents all the three ideas put together; that γραμματεύς, again, is always (excepting Acts 19:35) used in the N. T. (even in Matthew 13:52; Matthew 23:34, where the idea is only raised to the Christian sphere) of scribes in the Jewish sense; that the συζητήτης) (Ignat. ad Eph. 18), which is not found in the Greek writers or in the LXX., is most surely interpreted disputant, in accordance with the use of συζητέω (Mark 8:11; Mark 9:14; Luke 24:15; Acts 6:9; Acts 9:29, al[230]) and ΣΥΖΉΤΗΣΙς (Acts 15:2; Acts 15:7; Acts 28:29); and further, that disputing was especially in vogue among the Sophists (ΟἹ ΟἸΌΜΕΝΟΙ ΠΆΝΤʼ ΕἸΔΈΝΑΙ, Xen. Mem. i. 4. 1). And on these grounds we conclude that σοφός is to be taken of human wisdom in general, as then pursued on the Jewish side by the scribes, and on the Hellenic side by the sophistical disputers, so that, in this view, γραμμ. and ΣΥΖΗΤ. are subordinated to the general ΣΟΦΌς in respect to matters of Jewish and Hellenic pursuit. Many exegetes (Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, Oecumenius, and others, including Storr, Rosenmüller, Flatt, Billroth) depart from the view now stated in this respect, that they would limit ΣΟΦΌς to the heathen philosophers,[231] which, however, is precluded by the σοφίαν embracing all the three elements (comp also 1 Corinthians 1:21). This holds at the same time against Rückert, who finds here only the three most outstanding features in the intellectual character of the Hellenes: cleverness, erudition, and argumentativeness. But 1 Corinthians 1:22 shows that Paul is not shutting out the Jewish element; just as his Jewish-Christian readers could see in γραμμ. nothing else than a name for the σοφοί of their people. Schrader, with older expositors (see below), understands by συζητ. an inquirer, and in a perfectly arbitrary way makes it refer partly to the pupils of the great training-schools of Alexandria, Athens, Jerusalem, etc.; partly to the disciples of the apostles and of Jesus Himself. But συζητ. could only denote a fellow-inquirer (comp συζητεῖν in Plat. Men. p. 90 B, Crat. p. 384 C; Diog. L. ii. 22), which would be without pertinence here; while, on the other hand, according to our view, the σύν finds its reference in the notion of disputare.

τοῦ αἰῶν. τούτου] attaches to all the three subjects: who belong to the pre-Messianic period of the world (“quod totum est extra sphaeram verbi crucis,” Bengel), and are not, like the Christians, set apart by God from the υἱοὶ τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου to be members of the Messianic kingdom, in virtue whereof they already, ideally considered, belong to the coming αἰών. Comp 1 Corinthians 1:27; Galatians 1:4; Colossians 1:13; Php 3:20; Romans 12:2. Luther and many others take τοῦ αἰῶν. τ. as referring simply to συζητ.; but wrongly, for it gives an essential characteristic of the first two subjects as well. Of those who think thus, some keep the true meaning of αἰὼν οὗτος (as Rückert and Billroth); others render: indagator rerum naturae, physical philosopher (Erasmus, Beza, Drusius, Cornelius a Lapide, Justiniani, Grotius, Clericus, and Valckenaer), which is quite contrary to the invariable sense of αἰὼν οὗτ.

ἐμώρανεν] emphatically put first: made foolish, i.e. from the context, not: He has made it into incapacity of knowledge (Hofmann), which would come in the end to the notion of callousness, but: He has shown it practically to be folly, “insaniens sapientia” (Hor. Od. i. 34. 2), σοφία ἄσοφος (Clem. Protr. V. p. 56 A), by bringing about, namely, the salvation of believers just through that which to the wise men of this world seemed foolishness, the preaching of the cross. See 1 Corinthians 1:21. The more foolish, therefore, this preaching is in their eyes and according to their judgment, the more they themselves are exhibited as fools (as μωρόσοφοι, Lucian, Alex. 40), and put to shame (1 Corinthians 1:27), since the κήρυγμα, held by them to be foolish, is that which brings salvation, not indeed to them, but to those who believe; ποία γὰρ σοφία, ὅταν τὸ κεφάλαιον τῶν ἀγαθῶν μὴ εὑρίσκῃ; Chrysostom. Comp Isaiah 44:25, where μωραίνων is to be taken in precisely the same way as here.

τοῦ κόσμου] i.e. of profane non-Christian humanity, the two halves of which are the Jews and the heathen 1 Corinthians 1:22-24.

[229] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[230] l. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

[231] In consequence of this, συζητητής has been regarded as comprising the Jewish and heathen dialecticians. See especially Theodoret.1 Corinthians 1:20. τοῦ σοφός; ποῦ γραμματεύς; and (possibly) ἐμώρανεντήν σοφίαν, are also Isaianic allusions—to Isaiah 19:11 f. (mocking the vain wisdom of Pharaoh’s counsellors), and Isaiah 33:18 (predicting the disappearance of Sennacherib’s revenue clerks and army scouts, as a sign of his defeat). The LXX γραμματικὸς becomes γραμματεύς, in consistence with the sophçr of the latter passage; συνζητητής (cf. ζητοῦσιν, 1 Corinthians 1:22), in the third question, is Paul’s addition.—γραμματεὺς unmistakably points, in the application, to the Jewish Scribe (cf. our Lord’s denunciation in Matthew 23); of the parl[205] terms, σοφὸς is supposed by most moderns to be general, comprehending Jewish and Gr[206] wise men together, συνζητητὴς to be specific to the Gr[207] philosopher—a distinction better reversed, as by Lt[208] after the Gr[209] Ff[210] συνζητέω, with its cognates, is employed in the N.T. of Jewish discussions (Acts 6:9; Acts 28:29, etc.), and the adjunct τ. αἰῶνος τούτου gives to the term its widest scope, whereas σοφός, esp. at Cor[211], marks the Gr[212] intellectual pride; καλεῖ σοφὸν τὸν τῇ Ἑλληνικῇ στωμυλίᾳ κοσμούμενον (Thd[213]; cf. Romans 1:23).—ποῦ σοφός (not ὁ σοφός); κ.τ.λ.: “Where is a wise man? where a scribe? where a disputer of this age?” These orders of men are swept from the field; all such pretensions disappear (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:29)—“Did not God make foolish the wisdom of the world?” The world and God are at issue; each counts the other’s wisdom folly (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 1:25; 1 Corinthians 1:30). But God actually turned to foolishness (infatuavit, Bz[214]: cf. Romans 1:21 f., for μωραίνω; also Isaiah 44:25) the world’s imagined wisdom: how, 1 Corinthians 1:21-25 proceed to show. On αἰὼν see parls., and Ed[215]’s note; also Trench’s Synon., lix., and Gm[216], for the distinction between αἰὼν and κόσμος; “αἰών, like sæculum, refers to the prevailing ideas and feelings of the present life, κόσμος to its gross, material character” (Lt[217]).

[205] parallel.

[206] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

[207]
Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

[208]
J. B. Lightfoot’s (posthumous) Notes on Epp. of St. Paul (1895).

[209] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

[210]
Fathers.

[211] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[212] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

[213]
Theodoret, Greek Commentator.

[214] Beza’s Nov. Testamentum: Interpretatio et Annotationes (Cantab., 1642).

[215] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.2

[216] Grimm-Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the N.T.

[217]
J. B. Lightfoot’s (posthumous) Notes on Epp. of St. Paul (1895).20. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world?] i.e. “the wise generally, the Jewish scribe, the Greek disputer.”—Dean Alford. “The words ‘of this world’ apply not to the disputer alone, but to all three.”—De Wette.

hath not God made foolish] Rather, did not God make foolish, i.e. when He proclaimed the Gospel of salvation through Christ. Cf. Isaiah 44:25.1 Corinthians 1:20. Ποῦ σοφός, ποῦ γραμματεύς; ποῦ συζητητὴς τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου) Isaiah 33:18, LXX., ποῦ εἰσι γραμματικοί; ποῦ εἰσιν οἱ συμβουλεύοντες; ποῦ ἐστιν ὁ ἀριθμῶν τοὺς συστρεφομένους. Hebr. איה ספר איה שקל איה ספר את־המגדלים. The first half of the verse proposes two questions, of which the former is cleared up in the second half, and the latter in the verse following (We have also a similar figure in Isaiah 25:6): Where is the scribe? where is the weigher (or, receiver)? where is the scribe with the towers? where is the weigher (or, receiver) with a strong people, on whom thou canst not bear to look? For the expression appears to be proverbial, which the particle את, with, usually accompanies, and in this mode of speaking denotes universality, Deuteronomy 29:18. That some charge of the towers was in the hands of the scribes, may be gathered from Psalm 48:12-13. The term, weighers (or receivers) is readily applicable to commanders of forces. Comp. Heinr. Scharbau Parerg. Phil. Theol. P. iv. p. 109, who has collected many facts with great erudition, and has furnished us with the handle for [the suggestion which originated] these reflections of ours. Paul brings forward both the passages in Isaiah against the Jews; but the second has the words so changed, as to apply more to recent times, and at the same time to the Gentiles, 1 Corinthians 1:22. Some think that the three classes of learned men among the Jews, חכמים ספרים דרשים, are intended. We certainly find the first and second in Matthew 23:34. There is moreover a threefold antithesis, and that too a very remarkable one, in Isaiah 33:22, where the glorying of the saints in the Lord is represented. But this is what the apostle means to say: The wise men of the world not only do not approve and promote the Gospel, but they oppose it, and that too in vain.—τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου) of this world, which is quite beyond the sphere of the “preaching of the cross” [ὁ λόγος ὁ τοῦ σταυροῦ, 1 Corinthians 1:18].—ἐμώρανεν, made foolish) so that the world cannot understand the ground of the Divine counsel and good pleasure [εὐδόκησεν], 1 Corinthians 1:21.—τὴν σοφίαν, the wisdom) The wisdom of this world [1 Corinthians 1:20], and in the wisdom of God [1 Corinthians 1:21], are antithetic.—κόσμου[7]) of the world, in which are the Jews and the Greeks.

[7] The margin of both editions defends the pronoun τούτου as the reading in this verse, although it is omitted in the Germ. Ver.—E. B.

ABC corrected later, and D corr. later, Orig. 3, 175e, omit τούτου. But Ggf Vulg. Orig. 3, 318e; Cypr. 324: Hilary 811, 822, have τούτου.—ED.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). Scribe (γραμματεύς)

Always in the New Testament in the Jewish sense, an interpreter of the law, except Acts 19:35, the town-clerk.

Disputer (συζητητὴς)

Only here. Compare the kindred verb συζητέω to question with, Mark 1:27; Luke 22:23; Acts 6:9; and συζήτησις disputation, Acts 15:2, Acts 15:7. Referring to Grecian sophistical reasoners, while scribe refers to rabbinical hair-splitters.

World (αἰῶνος)

See on John 1:9. More correctly, age or period.

Made foolish (ἐμώρανεν)

Proved it to be practical folly; stupefied it. Compare Romans 1:22. Possibly with a latent suggestion of the judicial power of God to make it foolish.

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