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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Corinthians 3:20

 

 

and again, "THE LORD KNOWS THE REASONINGS of the wise, THAT THEY ARE USELESS."

Adam Clarke Commentary

The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise - They are always full of schemes and plans for earthly good; and God knows that all this is vain, empty, and unsatisfactory; and will stand them in no stead when he comes to take away their souls. This is a quotation from Psalm 94:11. What is here said of the vanity of human knowledge is true of every kind of wisdom that leads not immediately to God himself.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:20". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-corinthians-3.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And again, - Psalm 94:11.

The Lord knoweth - God searches the heart. The particular thing which it is here said that he knows, is, that the thoughts of man are vain. They have this quality; and this is that which the psalmist here says that God sees. The affirmation is not one respecting the omniscience of God, but with respect to what God sees of the nature of the thoughts of the wise.

The thoughts of the wise - Their plans, purposes, designs.

That they are vain - That they lack real wisdom; they are foolish; they shall not be accomplished as they expect; or be seen to have that wisdom which they now suppose they possess.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:20". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-corinthians-3.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

And again, The Lord knoweth the reasonings of the wise, that they are vain.

This quotation is from Psalms 94:11. The teaching is not merely that "Human thought is fruitless in the sense of not producing anything of spiritual value that redeems man from sin,"[33] but that it is likewise ineffectual in devising any worthwhile solutions of the secular, political, economic and social problems which plague the entire world.

ENDNOTE:

[33] Donald S. Metz, Beacon Bible Commentary (Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 1968), p. 337.


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:20". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/1-corinthians-3.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole 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 ועוד and moreover, used by the Jewish doctors when the matter does not so clearly appear from the first proof, and therefore they produce anotherF17Vid. Surenhusii Biblos Katallages, p. 11, 531. : 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.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:20". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-corinthians-3.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Quotation from Psalm 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” (Psalm 94:2) and worldly-wise, whom God in Psalm 94:8 calls “fools,” though they “boast themselves” of their wisdom in pushing their interests (Psalm 94:4).


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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:20". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/1-corinthians-3.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

And again (και παλινkai palin). Another confirmatory passage from Psalm 94:11.

Reasonings (διαλογισμουςdialogismous). More than cogitationes (Vulgate), sometimes disputations (Philemon 2:14). Paul changes “men” of lxx to wise (σοπωνsophōn) in harmony with the Hebrew context.

Vain (ματαιοιmataioi). Useless, foolish, from ματηmatē a futile attempt.


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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:20". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/1-corinthians-3.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.

That they are but vain — Empty, foolish; they and all their thoughts. Psalm 94:11.


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Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:20". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/1-corinthians-3.html. 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Psalms 94:11.

Let no man glory in men. The apostle thus bringing his train of remark to a conclusion which bears directly upon the great cause of their dissensions,--their excessive personal predilections for the various individuals who had been the instruments of bringing them the gospel.


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Bibliography
Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:20". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/1-corinthians-3.html. 1878.

Vv. 20. This passage is taken from Psalms 94:11. It proclaims the emptiness of human wisdom, not now as to its result, but as to its very essence. The Hebrew and the LXX. say, "the thoughts of man." The apostle says, of the wise, because it is through them that mankind exercise their understanding.

The verb knowing has two objects in the original texts (Hebrew and Greek), as is often the case; first, the object known, the thought; then what God knows of those thoughts: that they are vain. We cannot render this forcible turn of expression in French.

The apostle here judges human wisdom only from the point of view of the discovery and attainment of salvation. He certainly respects every sincere effort to discover the truth (Philippians 4:8); but salvation is a thought of God superior to all the discoveries of human wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:6-8).

Though he had addressed the whole Church (1 Corinthians 3:17 : Ye are...), it was those who encouraged disorders whom the apostle had indirectly threatened in the foregoing verses. The three following verses contain the direction which it remains to him to give to the Church itself as to its conduct toward Christ"s true ministers. They are therefore the conclusion of the passage begun 1 Corinthians 2:5.


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Bibliography
Godet, Frédéric Louis. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:20". "Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsc/1-corinthians-3.html.

Scofield's Reference Notes

Marg

The Lord Jehovah. Psalms 94:11


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These files are considered public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available in the Online Bible Software Library.

Bibliography
Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on 1 Corinthians 3:20". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/1-corinthians-3.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

20 And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.

Ver. 20. Of the wise] Such as excel in natural gifts, that are the choicest and most picked men. The Psalmist saith only of men, Psalms 94:12.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:20". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-corinthians-3.html. 1865-1868.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

20.] The LXX have ἀνθρώπων (Heb. אָדָם ); the Psalmist however is speaking of the proud, 1 Corinthians 3:2 f., and such, when διαλογισμοί are in question, would be the worldly wise.


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Bibliography
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:20". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/1-corinthians-3.html. 1863-1878.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

1 Corinthians 3:20. πάλιν] as in Romans 15:10; Matthew 4:7. The passage quoted is Psalms 94:11, and the only variation from the Hebrew and the LXX. is in putting σοφῶν instead of ἀνθρώπων, and that purposely, but with no violence to the connection of the original (the reference being to men of pretended wisdom).

μάταιοι] empty, thoughts (for Paul, at all events, had διαλογ. not σοφ. in view) which are without true substance. Comp Plato, Soph. p. 231 B: περὶ τὴν μάταιον δοξοσοφίαν.


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Bibliography
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:20". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/1-corinthians-3.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

1 Corinthians 3:20. σοφῶν, of the wise) LXX. have ἀνθρώπων, of men. The word, thoughts, not in itself, but with this addition, of the wise, corresponds to the Hebrew word מחשבות, Psalms 94:11, LXX.— εἰσι, are) men, namely with their thoughts; see Ps. now quoted in the Hebrew.


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Bibliography
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:20". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/1-corinthians-3.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

And again, it was said by the psalmist, Psalms 94:11, that:

The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity: man’s counsels, imaginations, reasonings, they are all vanity; they propose to themselves ends which they cannot attain, and pursue them by means that are inefficacious with reference to their ends.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:20". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/1-corinthians-3.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Again; Psalms 94:11.


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Bibliography
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:20". "Family Bible New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/1-corinthians-3.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

20. καὶ πάλιν. In Psalms 94:11. It is curious that the first of these citations does not, and the second does, agree with the LXX.

διαλογισμούς. The reasonings, literally.


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Bibliography
"Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:20". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/1-corinthians-3.html. 1896.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

20. Wise—Psalms 94:11. Instead of the thoughts of the wise, the Hebrew has it, “the thoughts of men;” a term which includes, of course, men especially who pride themselves in original and philosophic thoughts and reasonings.

Vain—Liable to error and defect.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:20". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-corinthians-3.html. 1874-1909.

William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament

20. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise that they are empty.” The wise people of this world wear out their eyes, craze their brains and paralyze their nerves to accumulate the wisdom of the world, which is all empty bosh when they get it, wearing them out, making them prematurely old, bringing down their gray hairs with sorrow to the grave for naught.


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Bibliography
Godbey, William. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:20". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ges/1-corinthians-3.html.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

1 Corinthians 3:20. And again (Psalms 94:11), The Lord knoweth the reasonings of the wise, that they are vain.


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Bibliography
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:20". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/1-corinthians-3.html. 1879-90.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

1 Corinthians 3:20 and again, The Lord knoweth the reasonings of the wise that they are vain.

"and again"- Psalms 94:11

"The Lord knoweth the reasonings of the wise that they are vain"-"The Lord sees how fruitless are the deliberations of the wise." (TCNT) "What the Lord sees is that all their carefully thought-out conclusions are ineffectual..the ineffectiveness of these wise men is illustrated by the schemes, plots, and tricky questions of the Lord"s enemies, by which they tried to entangle him. Jesus always saw completely through their cunning and frustrated their designs WITH A WORD OR TWO..Let the Corinthians keep that in mind and not deceive themselves by admiring worldly wisdom." [Note: _ Lenski p. 153]

Keep this verse in mind when you hear the "smart" arguments for Reincarnation, atheism, pantheism, "everyone is on the same road to heaven-ism", "suffering disproves the existence of God-ism", etc....


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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:20". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/1-corinthians-3.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

The LORD. No art. App-98.

knoweth. App-132.

thoughts = reasonings.

vain. Greek. mataios. See Acts 14:15. Quoted from Psalms 94:11.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:20". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/1-corinthians-3.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.

From Psalms 94:11, Septuagint There it is of men; here it is "of the wise." Paul by inspiration states the class whose "thoughts" [ dialogismous (Greek #1261); Hebrew, Machsheboth] (rather, "reasonings," as suits the context) the Spirit designated in the psalm, "vanity" - namely, the "proud" (1 Corinthians 3:2) and worldly wise, whom God in 1 Corinthians 3:8 calls "fools," though they "boast themselves" of their wisdom in pushing their interests (1 Corinthians 3:4).


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:20". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-corinthians-3.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.
the lord
Psalms 94:11
that
Job 11:11,12; Psalms 2:1; Romans 1:21; Colossians 2:8

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:20". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-corinthians-3.html.

Hodge's Commentary on Romans, Ephesians and First Corintians

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.

We must renounce our own wisdom because it is folly. The infinite mind sees that to be folly which we children think to be wisdom. There are two senses in which this is true, or in which wisdom may be said to be folly. Even truth or true knowledge becomes folly, if employed to accomplish an end for which it is not adapted. If a man attempts to make men holy or happy; if he undertakes to convert the world, by mathematics, or metaphysics, or moral philosophy, he is foolish, and his wisdom, as a means to that end is folly. He must renounce all dependence on those means if he would accomplish that end. But in the second place, much that passes for wisdom among men is in itself, and not merely as a means to an end, foolishness. Both these ideas are evidently comprehended in the apostle's statement. He means to say that human knowledge is entirely inadequate to save men; because that end can only be accomplished by the gospel. And he means also to brand as folly the speculations of men about "the deep things of God."

In proof of the assertion that the wisdom of men is foolishness with God, he quotes two passages of Scripture. The first is from Job 5:13 the second is from Psalms 94:11. The former is a fragment of a sentence containing in the Greek no verb. Our translation renders the participle ( ן ̔ הסבףףן ́ לוםןע) as though it were a verb. Those passages clearly express the same sentiment which the apostle had uttered. They declare the impotency and insufficiency of human wisdom.


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Bibliography
Hodge, Charles. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:20". Hodge's Commentary on Romans, Ephesians and First Corintians. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hdg/1-corinthians-3.html.

The Bible Study New Testament

And another scripture says. Paul paraphrases Psalm 94:11 Septuagint. "Man schemes, and God laughs."


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Bibliography
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:20". "The Bible Study New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/1-corinthians-3.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

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