1 Corinthians 2:9 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Corinthians 2:9, NIV: "However, as it is written: 'What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived' -- the things God has prepared for those who love him--"

1 Corinthians 2:9, ESV: "But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—"

1 Corinthians 2:9, KJV: "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."

1 Corinthians 2:9, NASB: "but just as it is written: 'THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which have not entered the human heart, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.'"

1 Corinthians 2:9, NLT: "That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, 'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.'"

1 Corinthians 2:9, CSB: "But as it is written, What no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human heart has conceived--God has prepared these things for those who love him."

What does 1 Corinthians 2:9 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul has been comparing human wisdom with God's wisdom in the previous verses. Human wisdom is based on what can be observed by the human senses and worked out from human logic and reason. It was highly valued by the intellectuals of Paul's day. Reason and knowledge are applauded in the Bible, but not given the same lofty status as they are in an ungodly world (Proverbs 1:5; Colossians 2:8).

The problem with human wisdom is that it has no way of accessing God's wisdom. God's wisdom must be revealed and then believed or else it remains secret and hidden (Isaiah 55:8–9). God established His wisdom before time began. It always included His plan to sacrifice His own Son to pay for human sin and make it possible for those who believe to share in His glory forever. The rulers of this age could never have known that.

Paul now quotes from Isaiah 64:4 to sum up these ideas and reveal that the motive behind God's secret wisdom has always been to provide for His people. Isaiah wrote that no eye has seen, ear has heard, or human heart has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.

How could we know? Human wisdom can't bring us to the understanding that the Creator God loves His people or that He has prepared the glories of eternity to share with them. At best, we can understand this by the intellect. But we cannot trust in it without faith in God (James 2:19). We must believe by faith.