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NIV Romans 1: 18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. 21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

Compare:

Wisdom of Solomon XIII. Surely vain are all men by nature, who are ignorant of God, and could not out of the good things that are seen know him that is: neither by considering the works did they acknowledge the workmaster; 2 but deemed either fire, or wind, or the swift air, or the circle of the stars, or the violent water, or the lights of heaven, to be the gods which govern the world. 3 With whose beauty if they being delighted took them to be gods; let them know how much better the Lord of them is: for the first Author of beauty hath created them. 4 But if they were astonished at their power and virtue, let them understand by them, how much mightier he is that made them. 5 For by the greatness and beauty of the creatures proportionably the Maker of them is seen. 6 But yet for this they are [or "are they?"] the less to be blamed: for they peradventure err, seeking God, and desirous to find him. 7 For being conversant in his works they search him diligently, and believe their sight: because the things are beautiful that are seen. 8 Howbeit neither are they to be pardoned ["without excuse"]. 9 For if they were able to know so much, that they could aim at the world; how did they not sooner find out the Lord thereof? 10 But miserable are they, and in dead things is their hope, who called them gods, which are the works of men’s hands, gold and silver, to shew art in, and resemblances of beasts, or a stone good for nothing, the work of an ancient hand. 11 Now a carpenter that felleth timber, after he hath sawn down a tree meet for the purpose, and taken off all the bark skilfully round about, and hath wrought it handsomely, and made a vessel thereof fit for the service of man’s life; 12 and after spending the refuse of his work to dress his meat, hath filled himself; 13 And taking the very refuse among those, which served to no use, being a crooked piece of wood, and full of knots, hath carved it diligently, when he had nothing else to do, and formed it by the skill of his understanding, and fashioned it to the image of a man; 14 or made it like some vile beast, laying it over with vermilion, and with paint colouring it red, and covering every spot therein; 15 and when he had made a convenient room for it, set it in a wall, and made it fast with iron: 16 for he provided for it that it might not fall, knowing that it was unable to help itself; for it is an image, and hath need of help: 17 then maketh he prayer for his goods, for his wife and children, and is not ashamed to speak to that which hath no life. 18 For health he calleth upon that which is weak: for life prayeth to that which is dead: for aid humbly beseecheth that which hath least means to help: and for a good journey he asketh of that which cannot set a foot forward: 19 and for gaining and getting, and for good success of his hands, asketh ability to do of him, that is most unable to do any thing.

The Cambridge Paragraph Bible: of the Authorized English Version. (1873). (Wis 12:27–13:19). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Also, Romans goes on to describe how this ignorance and idolatry led to all manner of uncleanness:

NIV Romans 1: 24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Compare:

Wisdom of Solomon 14: 18 Also the singular diligence of the artificer did help to set forward the ignorant to more superstition. 19 For he, peradventure willing to please one in authority, forced all his skill to make the resemblance of the best fashion. 20 And so the multitude, allured by the grace of the work, took him now for a god, which a little before was but honoured as a man. 21 And this was an occasion to deceive the world: for men, serving either calamity or tyranny, did ascribe unto stones and stocks the incommunicable name. 22 Moreover this was not enough for them, that they erred in the knowledge of God; but whereas they lived in the great war of ignorance, those so great plagues called they peace. 23 For whilst they slew their children in sacrifices, or used secret ceremonies, or made revellings of strange rites; 24 they kept neither lives nor marriages any longer undefiled: but either one slew another traiterously, or grieved him by adultery. 25 So that there reigned in all men without exception blood, manslaughter, theft, and dissimulation, corruption, unfaithfulness, tumults, perjury, 26 disquieting of good men, forgetfulness of good turns, defiling of souls, changing of kind, disorder in marriages, adultery, and shameless uncleanness. 27 For the worshipping of idols not to be named is the beginning, the cause, and the end, of all evil.

The Cambridge Paragraph Bible: of the Authorized English Version. (1873). (Wis 14:17–27). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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    For as long as I can remember (before I knew there were Bibles that didn't have this Book, when I was younger) I always saw Rom. 1 as the 'other' Wis. 13 (I was wont to read the Old Testament more, and I read it before I got into the New Testament). Wisdom 14 connection is new to me, and quite interesting, especially taken with the others. Why this is downvoted is a mystery. After all, Paul indubitibly makes use of Wis. 7 in Heb. 1, and elsewhere. Or at least a writer of a Book of the New Testament who would get an A+ from St. Paul for 'Paulineness' did. – Sola Gratia Oct 23 '17 at 20:25
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    It's almost as if his readership had a Greek Old Testament with Wisdom... – Sola Gratia Oct 23 '17 at 20:26
  • LoL. It is a very high quality book. What I'm thrown off by is the dating which puts it as roughly contemporary with the NT. It makes me wonder if it could actually be alluding to Paul and not the other way around. Or if there was an earlier, lost document that influenced both. But at this point it is just wild speculation. The relationship is clear enough but it seems more obfuscated than most allusions where the author wants the allusion to be obvious. Do you know what I'm talking about? – Ruminator Oct 23 '17 at 20:35
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    @R It's one of my favorite OT (or is that InterT?) books. It makes a nice 'silence breaker' (the 'Catholic' Bible doesn't have the centuries-long gap between OT and NT revelation) between the Old and New Testament. Summarizing the fundamentals of the history of Israel, and some developed theology. A good scholarly commentary would be great! Tragically, there are far fewer commentaries on the deuterocanonical Books. Or at least which give it the usual 'reverence' one gives inspired, scriptural Books. E.g you'll often not see them put New Testament allusions (much less fulfil.)in the footnotes. – Sola Gratia Oct 23 '17 at 21:40
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    @Ruminator Sorry, that comment should have said *more references to the Wisdom of Ben Sira – curiousdannii Oct 24 '17 at 11:52
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Indeed it is.

The connection was observed by the late Eastern Orthodox Archbishop Dmitri Royster in his book, St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans: A Pastoral Commentary.1 Commenting on Romans 1:20, he writes:

St. Paul's assertion that men could have discovered God by means of the creation itself, and that they have no excuse for their failure to know Him, seems to echo what had been expressed in the Wisdom of Solomon:

For all men who were ignorant of God were foolish by nature; and they were unable from the good things that are seen to know Him who is, nor did they recognize the Craftsman while paying heed to his works. For as they live among his works they keep searching ... Yet again, not even they are to be excused; for if they had the power to know so much that they could investigate the world, how did they fail to find sooner the Lord of these things? (13:1,7-9)

The same book likewise condemns one of the chief forms of idolatry, the worship of the gods of nature, animals, deified mortals, etc. (chaps. 12,14). Especially noteworthy is what the author says about the Egyptians: They saw and recognized as the true God Him whom they had before refused to know, that is, they recognized the God of Israel, but unrighteously refused to let them go, and therefore the utmost condemnation came upon them. (12:27).2


1. p.38.
2. *Ibid.

| improve this answer | |
  • The link is clear enough. My only reservation is the possibility that Wisdom is actually alluding to Paul (since the date of the writing of Wisdom is uncertain). – Ruminator Dec 30 '17 at 19:30

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