1 Corinthians 1:20 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Corinthians 1:20, NIV: Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

1 Corinthians 1:20, ESV: Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

1 Corinthians 1:20, KJV: Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

1 Corinthians 1:20, NASB: Where is the wise person? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has God not made foolish the wisdom of the world?

1 Corinthians 1:20, NLT: So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world's brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish.

1 Corinthians 1:20, CSB: Where is the one who is wise? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the debater of this age? Hasn't God made the world's wisdom foolish?

What does 1 Corinthians 1:20 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The Corinthian Christians lived in a culture which placed enormous value on human wisdom, philosophy, and expertise. The Jewish culture, as well, under the law of Moses, elevated study and scholarship to a place of high status (John 7:49; Mark 1:22; Philippians 3:4–8).

Paul now makes the point that despite high-powered human knowledge and wisdom, these self-appointed gurus had all missed the simple power of Christ, the Son of God, crucified to pay for human sinfulness.

Poetically, and somewhat sarcastically, Paul asks where the wise man is. Where is the Jewish scribe, with all his study? Where is the great debater or philosopher of this era, the ones viewed with such great respect? Why, with all their skill and hard work, have they decided that the cross of Christ is foolishness? Why didn't their study and carefully worded arguments bring them to the truth?