Psalm 14:1 – “No God”

I think many of us know Psalm 14:1 by heart: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” But apparently I did not know the meaning of this verse by heart. Actually the two words, “there is” are not in the Hebrew text. The verse should more accurately be translated: “The fool says in his heart, ‘No God.’” It’s not that the fool does not believe in God’s existence but that for him/her God is unnecessary. As Lawson writes,

“The term is a synonym for sinner, and it describes everyone who has no place for God in his or her life. The fool’s problem is that his heart refuses the knowledge of God. To be sure, he is not an intellectual atheist, denying the existence of God, but a practical atheist, living as if there were no God (Pss. 53:1; 74:18,22; Isa. 32:6).”  [Holman Old Testament Commentary: Psalms 1-75, p. 75]