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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Romans 1:22

 

 

Professing to be wise, they became fools,

Adam Clarke Commentary

Professing themselves to be wise - This is most strikingly true of all the ancient philosophers, whether Greeks or Romans, as their works, which remain, sufficiently testify. The word φασκοντες signifies not merely the professing but the assumption of the philosophic character. In this sense the word φασκειν is used by the best Greek writers. See Kypke. A dispassionate examination of the doctrine and lives of the most famed philosophers of antiquity, of every nation, will show that they were darkened in their mind and irregular in their conduct. It was from the Christian religion alone that true philosophy and genuine philosophers sprang.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Romans 1:22". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/romans-1.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Professing themselves to be wise - This was the common boast of the philosophers of antiquity. The very word by which they chose to be called, “philosophers,” means literally “lovers of wisdom.” That it was their boast that they were wise, is well known; compare Romans 1:14; 1 Corinthians 1:19, 1 Corinthians 1:20, 1 Corinthians 1:22; 1 Corinthians 3:19; 2 Corinthians 11:19.

They became fools - Compare Jeremiah 8:8-9. They became really foolish in their opinions and conduct. There is something particularly pungent and cutting in this remark, and as true as it is pungent. In what way they evinced their folly, Paul proceeds immediately to state. Sinners of all kinds are frequently spoken of as fools in the Scriptures. In the sense in which it is thus used, the word is applied to them as void of understanding or moral sense; as idolaters, and as wicked; Psalm 14:1; Proverbs 26:4; Proverbs 1:17, Proverbs 1:22; Proverbs 14:8-9. The senses in which this word here is applied to the pagan are,

(1)That their speculations and doctrines were senseless; and,

(2)That their conduct was corrupt.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Romans 1:22". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/romans-1.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.

Ah yes, how wise man fancies himself; and, if one hesitates to believe it, let him look in the dictionary and behold that man is listed as "Homo sapiens," which means "the wise one;" but such a designation in the book which he wrote himself is not altogether conclusive; and, whether he can bear to hear it or not, man would be just as appropriately named if called "Homo ignoramus"! This is true because, apart from what God has revealed to him, he has no certain knowledge of who he is, whence he comes, whither he goes, or whether any cosmic worth of any kind whatever is to be found in him. Without the knowledge of God, man is but "a disease of the agglutinated dust." On the other hand, endowed with the knowledge of God, man may recognize himself as a son of the Highest, an object of God's love, a beneficiary of the blood of Christ, and an heir of everlasting glory. Despite all this, man is forever preoccupied with delusions of grandeur. Look at the letters he has written after his name: A.B., Ph.D., M.D., D.D., M.C, M.P., K.B.C., F.R.S.A., etc., and also at the titles in front of it: Honorable, Chairman, President, Manager, Director, etc. Here is no intention of disparaging the marvelous attainments of human intellect; because, in those areas where man's intellect was created to function, it must surely be hailed as the highest of all created things; but there is another sector, higher than man, and beyond him altogether; and it is within that higher theater of concern that man, apart from God, is a "fool." It is from that more exalted arena of truth, into which human intellect is incapable of intruding - it is from thence must come the answer of such a question as "What is correct human behavior?" Those tempted to believe that human intellect might answer that one should read Jeremiah 1:23. And there are many other questions that unaided intellect cannot solve, such as: Who am I? Whence came I? What is my destiny? What happens after death? Why is there evil in the world? How can my guilt be removed? What must I do to be saved from the wrath of God? Man might pretend that he is not concerned with the answers to such questions; but the smoking altars, bloody sacrifices, temple towers, and cathedral spires, along with religious observances of five thousand years, as well as the universal instincts of the entire race of mankind, emphatically declare that man is interested, that he does care, and that the kind of answer accepted becomes the principal motivation of every life on earth.

They became fools ... Sanday translated this "They were made fools," thus again employing the passive voice. He wrote:

It is not merely that they expose their real folly, but that folly itself is judicially inflicted by God as a punishment of the first step of declension from him.[46]

The passive voice, in both this and the preceding verse, emphasizes an old truth that man is free only to choose his master. When a soul turns away from God, there is afterwards no meaningful initiative left to the soul; the great option having been already exercised, the unbeliever is left free to choose only among secondaries, all of which are evil. Demonstrations of this truth are continually visible in Christians who turn away from the gospel, only to become fanatical devotees of some ridiculous cult.

ENDNOTE:

[46] W. Sanday, op. cit., p. 207.


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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 Romans 1:22". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/romans-1.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Professing themselves to be wise,.... The learned men among the Gentiles first called themselves σοφοι, "Sophi", wise men: and afterwards, to cover their wretched pride and vanity, φιλοσοφοι, "Philosophers", lovers of wisdom; but notwithstanding all their arrogance, their large pretensions to wisdom, and boast of it

they became fools; they appeared to be so; they showed themselves to be such in those very things they prided themselves with the knowledge of: as, for instance, Socrates, after he had asserted the unity of God, and is said to die a martyr for the truth; yet one of the last actions of his life was sacrificing a cock to Aesculapius, at least he desired his friend Crito to do it.


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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Romans 1:22". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/romans-1.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

g Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

(g) Or, thought themselves.

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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Romans 1:22". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/romans-1.html. 1599-1645.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Professing themselves to be wise (πασκοντες ειναι σοποιphaskontes einai sophoi). ΣοποιSophoi is predicate nominative with ειναιeinai in indirect discourse agreeing with πασκοντεςphaskontes (old verb, from πημιphēmi to say, rare in N.T.) in case and number according to regular Greek idiom (Robertson, Grammar, p. 1038).

Became vain (εματαιωτησανemataiōthēsan). Ingressive first aorist passive indicative of ματαιοωmataioō from ματαιοςmataios (empty). Empty reasonings as often today.

Became fools (εμωραντησανemōranthēsan). Ingressive first aorist passive of μωραινωmōrainō to be a fool, old word from μωροςmōros a fool. An oxymoron or sharp saying, true and one that cuts to the bone.

For the likeness of an image (εν ομοιωματι εικονοςen homoiōmati eikonos). Both words, “a likeness which consists in an image or copy” (Lightfoot). See note on Philemon 2:7 for “likeness of men” and Colossians 1:15 for “image of God.” Paul shows indignant contempt for these grotesque efforts to present pictures of a deity that had been lost (Denney). Why is it that heathen images of gods in the form of men and beasts are so horrible to look upon?


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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 Romans 1:22". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/romans-1.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Professing ( φάσκοντες )

The verb is used of unfounded assertion, Acts 24:9; Acts 25:19; Revelation 2:2.

Wise, they became fools

Another oxymoron; see on Romans 1:20. Compare Horace, insaniens sapientia raving wisdom. Plato uses the phrase μάταιον δοξοσοφίαν vain-gloryingof wisdom (“Sophist,” 231).


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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Romans 1:22". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/romans-1.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

22.While they were thinking, etc. It is commonly inferred from this passage, that Paul alludes here to those philosophers, who assumed to themselves in a peculiar manner the reputation of wisdom; and it is thought that the design of his discourse is to show, that when the superiority of the great is brought down to nothing, the common people would have no reason to suppose that they had any thing worthy of being commended: but they seem to me to have been guided by too slender a reason; for it was not peculiar to the philosophers to suppose themselves wise in the knowledge of God, but it was equally common to all nations, and to all ranks of men. There were indeed none who sought not to form some ideas of the majesty of God, and to make him such a God as they could conceive him to be according to their own reason. This presumption I hold is not learned in the schools, but is innate, and comes with us, so to speak, from the womb. It is indeed evident, that it is an evil which has prevailed in all ages — that men have allowed themselves every liberty in coining superstitions. The arrogance then which is condemned here is this — that men sought to be of themselves wise, and to draw God down to a level with their own low condition, when they ought humbly to have given him his own glory. For Paul holds this principle, that none, except through their own fault, are unacquainted with the worship due to God; as though he said, “As they have proudly exalted themselves, they have become infatuated through the righteous judgment of God.” There is an obvious reason, which contravenes the interpretation which I reject; for the error of forming an image of God did not originate with the philosophers; but they, by their consent, approved of it as received from others. (50)

“This is the greatest unhappiness of man, not only not to feel his malady, but to extract matter of pride from what ought to be his shame. What they deemed to be their wisdom was truly their folly.” — [Haldane ].

It is a just remark of [Hodge ], “That the higher the advancement of the nations in refinement and philosophy, the greater, as a general rule, the degradation and folly of their systems of religion.” As a proof he mentions the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, as compared with the aborigines of America. — Ed.


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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Romans 1:22". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/romans-1.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

Ver. 22. Professing themselves to be wise] Aristotle, nature’s chief secretary, writeth many things most absurdly concerning God; as, that he is a living creature, that he worketh not freely, but by a kind of servile necessity; and that therefore he deserveth no praise or thanks from men for his many benefits, since he doth but what he must needs do. These are Aristotle’s absurd assertions. And yet at Stuckard in Germany was found a doctor of divinity that preached to the people, that the Church might be sufficiently well taught and governed by Aristotle’s ethics, though we had no Bible. And the Collen divines set forth a book, concerning Aristotle’s salvation, and called him Christ’s forerunner in naturals, as John Baptist had been in supernaturals. But what saith St Paul, 1 Corinthians 2:14; "The natural man receiveth not," &c. Gr. ψυχικος, the souly man, that doth excolere animam, improve of the mind, such as Aristotle, Cicero, &c., who the wiser they were, the vainer they were, and the further from God and his kingdom; their learning hung in their light, and served but to light them into utter darkness. {a}

{a} Quanto doctiores tanto nequiores, ut Syri venales apud Ciceronem. Athenaeus brings Plato bewailing his fond love to a filthy harlot.


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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Romans 1:22". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/romans-1.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Romans 1:22. Professing themselves to be wise The original seems equivalent to that term of Xenophon,— φαοκοντες φιλοσοφοι,— professing to philosophise, which so evidently refers to the pride they took in the title of lovers of wisdom. See Raphelius.


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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Romans 1:22". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/romans-1.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

The next sin which the apostle charges upon the Gentiles, is the sin of idolatry. Such as professed themselves to be the most wise and knowing men among them, as their celebrated philosophers, poets, and orators, they debased and dishonoured the all-glorious God, by framing vile images of men and beasts, of birds and creeping things, to represent him by. These idolaters changed the glory of the living, ever-living God, into the likeness of lifeless things; whereas the Lord is so infinitely glorious, that nothing can set forth his glory sufficiently; the most excellent creature cannot represent his super-excellent perfections; and accordingly, it is as an angel, as by a worm or a fly. All attempted representations of God by any creature whatsoever, are idolatrous provocations.


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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Romans 1:22". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/romans-1.html. 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

22. φάσκοντες εἶν. σοφ.] Not, ‘because they professed themselves wise,’ but while they professed themselves wise—professing themselves to be wise. The words relate perhaps not so much to the schools of philosophy, as to the assumption of wisdom by the Greeks in general, see 1 Corinthians 1:22, of which assumption their philosophers were indeed eminent, but not the only examples.


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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Romans 1:22". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/romans-1.html. 1863-1878.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Romans 1:22. φάσκοντες, professing.— ἐμωράνθησαν) The LXX., Jeremiah 10:14, etc., ἐμωράνθη πᾶς ἄνθρωπος ἀπὸ γνώσεωςψευδῆ ἐχώνευσανμάταιά ἐστιν, ἔργα ἐμπεπαιγμένα, (every man is a fool in his knowledge.—Their molten images are falsehoods, they are vain and deceitful works). Throughout this epistle Paul alludes to the last chapters of Isaiah, and to the first of Jeremiah, from which it appears, that this holy man of God was at that time fresh from the reading of them.


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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Romans 1:22". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/romans-1.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Some think, that all along this context the apostle hath reference to the Gnostics, a sort of heretics in the first age, (of which see Dr. Hammond in locum), and that the meaning of the words is this, That they, assuming the title of Gnostics, of knowing men, and of men wiser than others, have proved more sottish than any. Others think the words refer to the heathen philosophers, who though they were learned and wise in secular and natural things, yet they became fools in spiritual and heavenly matters; though they well understood the creature, yet they erred concerning the Creator. And as fools delight in toys, neglecting things of great value; so they set up puppets and idols of their own devising, in the room of the true God; which the apostle gives us in the next verse, as a demonstration of their folly. Socrates, who was accounted one of the wisest amongst them, desired his friends, when he was about to die, to offer for him a cock to Aesculapius, which he had vowed.


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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Romans 1:22". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/romans-1.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Professing themselves to be wise; pretending to great wisdom.

Became fools; exhibited the greatest folly.


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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Romans 1:22". "Family Bible New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/romans-1.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

22. φάσκοντες The asyndeton shows that this is an explanation of the preceding sentence. φ. of false allegations, Acts 24:9; Acts 25:19 and here only.


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"Commentary on Romans 1:22". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/romans-1.html. 1896.

William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament

22. “Saying that they were wise they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of corruptible man, birds, quadrupeds and creeping things.” The Greeks worshipped gods in human form, and the Egyptians in the form of many animals; the former reached idolatry and the latter brutality.


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Godbey, William. "Commentary on Romans 1:22". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ges/romans-1.html.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,’

Consequently they began to associate the divine with the world around and above them and set up images of earthly things, over which they could keep control and which they could manipulate, and they did it in order that men might worship these things. They sought to give an impression of wisdom. But in giving the impression of wisdom they became fools, something that was already recognised in Paul’s day. Men had been carried away by their own cleverness with the consequence that they had invented folly. Few philosophers encouraged idolatry, and thinking men laughed it to scorn. They saw the world as full of fools. See also Isaiah’s mocking remarks (Isaiah 40:18-20; Isaiah 41:6-7; Isaiah 42:17; Isaiah 44:9-17). .


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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Romans 1:22". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/romans-1.html. 2013.

Haldane's Exposition on the Epistle to the Romans

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.

It appears that, by the term wise, the Apostle intended to point out the philosophers, — that is to say, in general, those who were most esteemed for their knowledge, like those among the Greeks who were celebrated by the titles either of men wise or philosophers. To the two evils remarked in the foregoing verse, of their foolishness and their darkness, Paul here adds a third — that with all this they believed themselves to be wise. This is the greatest unhappiness of man, not only not to feel his malady, but to extract matter of pride from what ought to be his shame. What they esteemed their wisdom was truly their folly. All their knowledge, for which they valued themselves, was of no avail in promoting virtue or happiness. Their superstitions were in themselves absurd; and instead of worshipping God, they actually insulted Him in their professed religious observances. How wonderfully was all this exhibited in the sages of Greece and Rome, who rushed headlong into the boundless extravagances of skepticism, doubting or denying what was evident to common sense!

How strikingly is this also verified in many modern philosophers!

So far were the heathen philosophers from wisdom, that they made no approach towards the discovery of the true character either of the justice or mercy of God; while with respect to the harmony of these attributes, in relation to man, they had not the remotest conception. The idea of a plan to save sinners which, instead of violating the law of God, and lowering His character as the moral governor of the world, magnifies the law and makes it honorable, giving full satisfaction to His justice, and, commensurate with His holiness, is as far beyond the conception of man, as to create the world was beyond his power. It is an idea that could not have suggested itself to any finite intellect.

Want of knowledge of the justice of God gave occasion to the manifestation of human ignorance. All the ancient philosophers considered that consummate virtue and happiness were attainable by man’s own efforts; and some of them carried this to such an extravagant pitch, that they taught that the wise man’s virtue and happiness were independent of God. Such was the insanity of their wisdom, that they boasted that their wise man had in some respect the advantage of Jupiter himself, because his virtue was not only independent, or his own property, but was voluntary, whereas that of the divinity was necessary. Their wise man could maintain his happiness, not only independent of man and in the midst of external evils, but also in defiance of God Himself: No power, either human or divine, could deprive the sage of his virtue or happiness. How well does all this prove and illustrate the declaration of the Apostle, that professing themselves to be wise, they became fools!


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Haldane, Robert. "Commentary on Romans 1:22". "Haldane's Exposition on the Epistle to the Romans and Hebrews". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hal/romans-1.html. 1835.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

22. Wise—In discarding the primitive belief in God the first proud pretenders claimed credit for great worldly wisdom.

Fools—As the idolatrous and depraving results showed. When the Psalmist said, The fool saith in his heart there is no God, we have the same profession of superiority over the poor pietists who worship the Creator, and the same fact of the being a fool.

And precisely as this proud destitution of the religious sentiment grows, either atheism or idol-worship is asserted. In our own day it is affirmed by some would-be philosophers that even a religion may exist in the mind of an atheist; and others claim that the being an atheist is no depreciation of a man’s moral worth. Doubtless a man can exist with a purpose of obeying the law of right who does not positively believe in the existence of God. Yet, as before said, the non-acknowledgment of God is not merely an intellectual defect, but a moral delinquency in itself. It renders prayer and communion with the Holy One impossible; it destroys all view of a divine moral government, all trust in the rule of an omnipotent reason, all firm hope of an immortality and retribution beyond the grave. The spiritual and religious sentiments and emotions are lost, and the moral sentiments and purposes fed and sustained by these become withered and dead. Theories of sensualism, animalism, and base development succeed, and though a few philosophers may act the part of sages, statesmen, or philanthropists, yet the masses will plunge into lawlessness and bestiality. Thus professing to be wise, even the philosophic few will be found to be false philanthropists and fools.


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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Romans 1:22". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/romans-1.html. 1874-1909.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Romans 1:22. Professing themselves to be wise. While, not because they professed themselves to be wise. This has reference, not to heathen philosophers, but to the conceit of wisdom which lay back of heathenism itself.

They became fool. Their folly was manifested in their idolatry. ‘For heathenism is not the primeval religion, from which man might gradually have risen to the knowledge of the true God, but is, on the contrary, the result of a falling away from the known original revelation of the true God in His works. Instead of the practical recognition and preservation of the truth thus given comes the self-wisdom rendering them foolish, and idolatry in its train’ (Meyer).


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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Romans 1:22". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/romans-1.html. 1879-90.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

Romans 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

"They boast of their wisdom, but they have made fools of themselves" (NEB) (1 Corinthians 1:21)

"Haven"t you heard some people talk the greatest load of drivel and act like they"ve just delivered themselves of some profound discovery?"


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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Romans 1:22". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/romans-1.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Professing, &c. = saying that they were. Greek. phasko. See Acts 24:9.

became fools. Literally were fooled (i.e. by their perverted mind). Greek. moraino. Here, Matthew 5:13. Luke 14:34. 1 Corinthians 1:20.


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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Romans 1:22". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/romans-1.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

Professing themselves to be ([ faskontes (G5335) einai (G1511)] - 'boasting that they were') wise, they became fools,


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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Romans 1:22". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/romans-1.html. 1871-8.

The Bible Study New Testament

But they are fools. Those who repudiate God, are fools. Intelligence does not keep anyone from making a fool of himself. The Greeks and Romans were proud of their Wisdom of Solomon, but their worship of images showed them to be fools.


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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Romans 1:22". "The Bible Study New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/romans-1.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(22) They became fools.—They were made fools. It is not merely that they expose their real folly, but that folly is itself judicially inflicted by God as a punishment for the first step of declension from Him.


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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Romans 1:22". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/romans-1.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
11:25; Proverbs 25:14; 26:12; Isaiah 47:10; Jeremiah 8:8,9; 10:14; Matthew 6:23; 1 Corinthians 1:19-21; 3:18,19

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Romans 1:22". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/romans-1.html.

Hodge's Commentary on Romans, Ephesians and First Corintians

Professing themselves to be wise φάσκοντες εἶναι σοφοί, (for σοφούς, by attraction). Saying in the sense of pretending to be. The more they boasted of their wisdom, the more conspicuous became their folly. What greater folly can there be, than to worship beasts rather than God? To this the apostle refers in the next verse.


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Bibliography
Hodge, Charles. "Commentary on Romans 1:22". Hodge's Commentary on Romans, Ephesians and First Corintians. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hdg/romans-1.html.

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