The Meaning of Psalms 14:1 Explained

Psalms 14:1

KJV: {To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.} The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

YLT: To the Overseer. -- By David. A fool hath said in his heart, 'God is not;' They have done corruptly, They have done abominable actions, There is not a doer of good.

Darby: {To the chief Musician. A Psalm of David.} The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They have corrupted themselves, they have done abominable works: there is none that doeth good.

ASV: The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works; There is none that doeth good.

What does Psalms 14:1 Mean?

Verse Meaning

A fool (Heb. nabal) is a person who has a problem in his or her heart more than in the head. He does not take God into account as he goes about living and is therefore morally insensitive (cf. 1 Samuel 25:25; Isaiah 32:4-7). He may or may not really be an atheist, and he is not necessarily ignorant, but he lives as though there is no God. This conclusion leads him to disregard the revelations God has given of Himself, attention to which are essential for wise living (cf. Proverbs 1:7; Romans 1:22). Instead, he gives himself over to corrupt living and deeds that are vile in the sight of God. Really, David observed, there is no one who does what is good in the sight of God on his own (unmoved and unaided by the Spirit of God). If we did not have the Apostle Paul"s exposition of the depravity of man in Romans 1-3 , we might conclude that David"s statement was emotional hyperbole (cf. Romans 3:11-18).

Context Summary

Psalm 14:1-7 - The Bounty Of God And The Folly Of Men
The first of these psalms evidently dates from the Sauline persecutions, 1 Samuel 19:1. Four times the persecuted soul cries, How long! The psalm begins in deepest dejection, but clears as it proceeds. Prayer often proves to be the ladder from the deepest dungeon to the more radiant day. We find here depression, Psalms 13:1-2; supplication, Psalms 13:3-4; assurance, Psalms 13:5-6. Do not carry your anxieties in your heart. Remember that Christ is by your side, and leading you through all to the Kingdom. Faith begins praise for victory before the fight has reached its worst.
The creed, character, and doom of the atheist are set forth in the next psalm, and the psalm is so important as to demand repetition. See Psalms 53:1-6. The root of atheism is in the heart, Romans 1:21. Its effect on character, speech, and action is disastrous, and it ends in great fear, Psalms 14:5. The best answer to atheism is the light and liberty of the children of God, Psalms 14:7; Hebrews 9:28; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10. [source]

Chapter Summary: Psalm 14

1  David describes a natural man
4  He convinces the wicked by the light of their conscience
7  He glories in the salvation of God

What do the individual words in Psalms 14:1 mean?

To the Chief Musician a Psalm of David Has said the fool in his heart [There is] no God They are corrupt they have done abominable works [There is] none who does good
לַמְנַצֵּ֗חַ לְדָ֫וִ֥ד אָ֘מַ֤ר נָבָ֣ל בְּ֭לִבּוֹ אֵ֣ין אֱלֹהִ֑ים הִֽשְׁחִ֗יתוּ הִֽתְעִ֥יבוּ עֲלִילָ֗ה אֵ֣ין עֹֽשֵׂה־ טֽוֹב

לַמְנַצֵּ֗חַ  To  the  Chief  Musician 
Parse: Preposition-l, Article, Verb, Piel, Participle, masculine singular
Root: נָצַח  
Sense: to excel, be bright, be preeminent, be perpetual, be overseer, be enduring.
לְדָ֫וִ֥ד  a  Psalm  of  David 
Parse: Preposition-l, Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: דָּוִד  
Sense: youngest son of Jesse and second king of Israel.
אָ֘מַ֤ר  Has  said 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Perfect, third person masculine singular
Root: אָמַר 
Sense: to say, speak, utter.
נָבָ֣ל  the  fool 
Parse: Adjective, masculine singular
Root: נָבָל  
Sense: foolish, senseless, fool.
בְּ֭לִבּוֹ  in  his  heart 
Parse: Preposition-b, Noun, masculine singular construct, third person masculine singular
Root: לֵב 
Sense: inner man, mind, will, heart, understanding.
אֵ֣ין  [There  is]  no 
Parse: Adverb
Root: אַיִן 
Sense: nothing, not, nought n.
אֱלֹהִ֑ים  God 
Parse: Noun, masculine plural
Root: אֱלֹהִים  
Sense: (plural).
הִֽשְׁחִ֗יתוּ  They  are  corrupt 
Parse: Verb, Hifil, Perfect, third person common plural
Root: שָׁחַת  
Sense: to destroy, corrupt, go to ruin, decay.
הִֽתְעִ֥יבוּ  they  have  done  abominable 
Parse: Verb, Hifil, Perfect, third person common plural
Root: תָּעַב  
Sense: to abhor, be abominable, do abominably.
עֲלִילָ֗ה  works 
Parse: Noun, feminine singular
Root: עֲלִילָה  
Sense: wantonness, deed, doing.
אֵ֣ין  [There  is]  none 
Parse: Adverb
Root: אַיִן 
Sense: nothing, not, nought n.
עֹֽשֵׂה־  who  does 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Participle, masculine singular construct
Root: עָשָׂה 
Sense: to do, fashion, accomplish, make.
טֽוֹב  good 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular
Root: טָבַב 
Sense: good, pleasant, agreeable.