Wisdom of God

(sophia): Lu 11:49 reads: "Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send unto them prophets and apostles; and some of them they shall kill and persecute." The patristic and many later commentators, on the basis of the parallel in Mt 23:34, took "wisdom of God" here to be a self-designation of Christ--an interpretation, however, that is obviously impossible. Somewhat similar is the view (Meyer) that treats the words as a Lukan designation of Christ, with the assumption that Luke here reintroduces Christ as the speaker in order to give solemnity to the judgment pronounced. But this is incredibly awkward and has no parallel in the Lukan use for even more solemn passages. Much simpler is the interpretation (Hofmann, B. Weiss, Plummer) that regards Christ as announcing here a decree formed by God in the past. But it is the behavior of the present generation that is in point (compare Lu 13:8-9; 20:13; altogether different is Lu 10:21). And the circumstantial wording of what follows is inappropriate for such a decree, is without parallel in Christ's teaching, and implies rather a written source. In the Old Testament, however, no passage exists that resembles this (Pr 1:20-31 (so Godet) is quite out of the question). So many exegetes (Holtzmann, J. Weiss, Loisy, Harnack) find here a quotation from some lost source that our Lord approved and that was familiar to His hearers. This is certainly the most natural explanation. Nor can it be said to be impossible that Christ recognized genuine prophetic inspiration in some writing that was meant to have transitory value only and not to be preserved for future generations. Perhaps this bore the title "Wisdom of God" or represented "Wisdom" as speaking, as in Pr 1:22-33.

Topical Bible outline for "Wisdom of God, The."

Burton Scott Easton

See also the McClintock and Strong Biblical Cyclopedia.

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