The expression “the wisdom of this world” is not clarified, and although it is an ambiguous phrase, it is both described and contrasted as “foolishness with God”. Therefore, the world's wisdom may be understood as conventional wisdom, that is, the generally accepted opinions of the majority of people. If our commentary is correct, then we agree with Saint Paul's assertion that conventional, or near unanimous, opinions are foolish from God's understanding.
“For we [apostles] are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.”
This example is of the few occasions that Saint Paul uses the third person plural. Saint Paul frequently writes in the first person (I, me, my) in all the of the epistles whose authorship is undisputed. This tendency can be quantified as the total number of words divided by the sum of personal references (I, me, my, myself,mine). This peculiar style of writing is recognized by scholars. Certain commentators suggest that since the epistle to the Hebrews lacks this quality, Saint Paul did not write that epistle, although it is clearly influenced by Saint Paul's theology.
Apostle is translated from “apostello”, G652, which is derived from G649. Of 133 examples, G649 is translated as “send” 110 times, and as “send forth”, 15 times.
Strong's number G2302 is used in the textus receptus on three occasions and it is translated in the King James Bible as “theatre” twice, and as “spectacle” only once. A transliteration of G2302 is “theatron”, so the translation as “theatre” is readily understandable, however, the translation as “spectacle” is not intuitive. From the context, the implication is that the apostles are a type of entertainment for the world, so the wording of “spectacle” is more appropriate than “theatre”. The wording of “For we are made a theatre unto the world…” does not sound natural to native English speakers. The Greek reader would understand “theatron” as an allusion to entertainment, as we suggest this is Saint Paul’s intention. This allusion is an example of the difficulty of uniformly translating a specific word. It seems that the translators of the KJV decided that the average reader of the 17th century would be unable to make the connection, or “mental leap”, from theatre to speculation. Therefore, the ancient reader seems to be more capable of understanding allusions than modern readers.
“Kosmos” (G2889) is translated as the “world” and although the translation is not incorrect, it is less encompassing than either “cosmos” or the “universe” would suggest. Although “everything” and “all things” are not elegant, they convey the sentiment of kosmos.
“Aggelos” (G32) is translated as angel (179 times) and as messenger (7 times), that is, the overwhelming tendency (96 percent) is to translate aggelos as “angel”, Aggelos means “a messenger, envoy, one who is sent”. We note that there is no implication of supernatural authority in the Greek word, in fact, the plain meaning is mundane, unless the context suggests otherwise.
Finally, the apostles are a spectacle to men. As men are unambiguously understood, there is no need for recourse to the Greek language for clarification.
Saint Paul utilizes a hierarchy from the all encompassing universe, to messengers and to men. From the context, it seems that these messengers are below the unthinking universe, but above rational man. Therefore, it would be reasonable to grant these messengers some supernatural significance, however, we are uncertain exactly what this significance should include. Without a revelation, we are reluctant to enumerate what attributes should be included and what qualities should be omitted regarding these messengers, as such attempts would be speculative.
As always, the Gentle Reader and the Gentle Researcher will reach his own informed opinion.