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Romans 1:22

King James Version (KJV)
Adam Clarke
Bible 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.

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.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The apostle begins to show that all mankind need the salvation of the gospel, because none could obtain the favour of God, or escape his wrath by their own works. For no man can plead that he has fulfilled all his obligations to God and to his neighbour; nor can any truly say that he has fully acted up to the light afforded him. The sinfulness of man is described as ungodliness against the laws of the first table, and unrighteousness against those of the second. The cause of that sinfulness is holding the truth in unrighteousness. All, more or less, do what they know to be wrong, and omit what they know to be right, so that the plea of ignorance cannot be allowed from any. Our Creator's invisible power and Godhead are so clearly shown in the works he has made, that even idolaters and wicked Gentiles are left without excuse. They foolishly followed idolatry; and rational creatures changed the worship of the glorious Creator, for that of brutes, reptiles, and senseless images. They wandered from God, till all traces of true religion must have been lost, had not the revelation of the gospel prevented it. For whatever may be pretended, as to the sufficiency of man's reason to discover Divine truth and moral obligation, or to govern the practice aright, facts cannot be denied. And these plainly show that men have dishonoured God by the most absurd idolatries and superstitions; and have degraded themselves by the vilest affections and most abominable deeds.
Ellen G. White
Christ's Object Lessons, 199

The youth acknowledges no obligation to his father, and expresses no gratitude; yet he claims the privilege of a child in sharing his father's goods. The inheritance that would fall to him at his father's death he desires to receive now. He is bent on present enjoyment, and cares not for the future. COL 199.1

Having obtained his patrimony, he goes into “a far country,” away from his father's home. With money in plenty, and liberty to do as he likes, he flatters himself that the desire of his heart is reached. There is no one to say, Do not do this, for it will be an injury to yourself; or, Do this, because it is right. Evil companions help him to plunge ever deeper into sin, and he wastes his “substance with riotous living.” COL 199.2

The Bible tells of men who “professing themselves to be wise” “became fools” (Romans 1:22); and this is the history of the young man of the parable. The wealth which he has selfishly claimed from his father he squanders upon harlots. The treasure of his young manhood is wasted. The precious years of life, the strength of intellect, the bright visions of youth, the spiritual aspirations—all are consumed in the fires of lust. COL 199.3

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Ellen G. White
Maranatha, 76.3

The world by wisdom knows not God. Many have talked eloquently about Him, but their reasoning brings men no nearer to Him, because they themselves are not in vital connection with Him. Professing themselves to be wise, they become fools. Their knowledge of God is imperfect. Mar 76.3

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Ellen G. White
Child Guidance, 440

Licentiousness the Special Sin—A terrible picture of the condition of the world has been presented before me. Immorality abounds everywhere. Licentiousness is the special sin of this age. Never did vice lift its deformed head with such boldness as now. The people seem to be benumbed, and the lovers of virtue and true goodness are nearly discouraged by its boldness, strength, and prevalence.3 CG 440.1

I was referred to Romans 1:18-32, as a true description of the world previous to the second appearing of Christ.4 CG 440.2

It is sin, not trial and suffering, which separates God from His people and renders the soul incapable of enjoying and glorifying Him. It is sin that is destroying souls. Sin and vice exist in Sabbathkeeping families.5 CG 440.3

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Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 35

Satan was seeking to shut out from men a knowledge of God, to turn their attention from the temple of God, and to establish his own kingdom. His strife for supremacy had seemed to be almost wholly successful. It is true that in every generation God had His agencies. Even among the heathen there were men through whom Christ was working to uplift the people from their sin and degradation. But these men were despised and hated. Many of them suffered a violent death. The dark shadow that Satan had cast over the world grew deeper and deeper. DA 35.1

Through heathenism, Satan had for ages turned men away from God; but he won his great triumph in perverting the faith of Israel. By contemplating and worshiping their own conceptions, the heathen had lost a knowledge of God, and had become more and more corrupt. So it was with Israel. The principle that man can save himself by his own works lay at the foundation of every heathen religion; it had now become the principle of the Jewish religion. Satan had implanted this principle. Wherever it is held, men have no barrier against sin. DA 35.2

The message of salvation is communicated to men through human agencies. But the Jews had sought to make a monopoly of the truth which is eternal life. They had hoarded the living manna, and it had turned to corruption. The religion which they tried to shut up to themselves became an offense. They robbed God of His glory, and defrauded the world by a counterfeit of the gospel. They had refused to surrender themselves to God for the salvation of the world, and they became agents of Satan for its destruction. DA 36.1

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