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Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament

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Chapter 2

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1 Corinthians 1:20

Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? (Pou sopos; pou grammateus; pou sunzhththv tou aiwnov toutou;).
Paul makes use of Isaiah 33:18 without exact quotation. The sudden retreat of Sennacherib with the annihilation of his officers. "On the tablet of Shalmaneser in the Assyrian Gallery of the British Museum there is a surprisingly exact picture of the scene described by Isaiah" (Robertson and Plummer). Note the absence of the Greek article in each of these rhetorical questions though the idea is clearly definite. Probably sopov refers to the Greek philosopher, grammateuv to the Jewish scribe and sunzhththv suits both the Greek and the Jewish disputant and doubter (Acts 6:9; 9:29; 17:18; 28:29). There is a note of triumph in these questions. The word sunzhththv occurs here alone in the N.T. and elsewhere only in Ignatius, Eph. 18 quoting this passage, but the papyri give the verb sunzhtew for disputing (questioning together).

Hath not God made foolish? (ouxi emwranen o teos;).
Strong negative form with aorist active indicative difficult of precise translation, "Did not God make foolish?" The old verb mwrainw from mwrov, foolish, was to be foolish, to act foolish, then to prove one foolish as here or to make foolish as in Romans 1:22. In Matthew 5:13; Luke 14:34 it is used of salt that is tasteless.

World (kosmou).
Synonymous with aiwn (age), orderly arrangement, then the non-Christian cosmos.


Copyright Statement
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 Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1:20". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". <>. Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960.


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