by Travis Main
“Ihay, I maay a oolfay nday I aysay Oolishfay ingsthay!” It sure would be nice if all people who were engaged in foolish actions or speech would automatically speak in only Pig Latin. Immediately, the choice of whether or not a man wanted to follow the lead of a fool would be obvious. Sometimes man is ignorant or deceived into foolish activities or speech, making himself guilty without informatively choosing foolishness. While still guilty of foolishness through participation, the individual would have most likely wanted to know what he was getting into beforehand. Unfortunately, foolishness is not always immediately identified. Consequently, man must always be on his guard to keep himself from being a fool. The danger of fools exists not only in being aware of others, but ultimately aware of self. The words which proceed from one’s mouth are often the first and closest thing to a sign man will have to identify a fool.
Proverbs 10:18 – He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.
Proverbs 14:3 – In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride: but the lips of the wise shall preserve them.
Proverbs 15:2 – The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.
Proverbs 15:14 – The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge: but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness.
Be vigilant to recognize in the above verses from the Bible, characteristics of speech which flash a big red sign that the speaker is a fool: lying, slander, pride, sharing of foolishness, and hungering for foolishness. When words such as these are being spouted, the man who does not desire to be a fool should be on alert. It will be further noted that the scriptures lay out a direct contrast between those who are wise and those who are foolish. Simply through applying Biblical Study (2 Timothy 2:15), man can defend himself from foolishness (I Peter 3:14-16), and engage himself in the behavior of the wise (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Consider further the following verses characterizing the fool:
Proverbs 15:7 – The lips of the wise disperse knowledge: but the heart of the foolish doeth not so.
Proverbs 24:9 – The thought of foolishness is sin: and the scorner is an abomination to men.
Ecclesiastes 10:12 – The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.
A failure to share knowledge, dwelling on sinfulness, and uttering words which are personally detrimental, these are identifying attributes of fools. Again, they are opposite of what identifies a wise man. They are not qualities with which any person should be acquainted. In scripture there was a man by the name of Job. He was a man who was tempted and afflicted greatly to see if he would sin against God. That Job was aware of himself and aware of foolishness around him is evident. In Job 2:9-10, Job’s wife having seen horrible events befall Job tells him to “Curse God and die!” His response was to identify her with one who speaks as a fool. Job would not blaspheme God. He would not engage in sin. He would not sin with his lips. He too would not be a fool. Yet, so many other people are willing to engage in attacking God or questioning his existence.
Psalms 14:1, Psalms 53:1 – 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.
Psalms 74:18 – Remember this, that the enemy hath reproached, O LORD, and that the foolish people have blasphemed thy name.
There are many so called learned men, men of “science”, who grab onto any theory that suggests there is no God. They deride the idea of God. They proclaim the belief of an intelligent designer itself is foolish. They base their words upon theories rather than upon the facts of science which lend themselves to the confirmation of God. While these men blaspheme and deny God, there are some who are every bit as destructive, who claim God. These men are often in the midst of Churches, admired, and those to whom others listen. Yet, they are continually generating divisions. They are continually striving for conflict and their irritation is a wearying of the faithful of God.
Proverbs 18:6 – A fool’s lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes.
Proverbs 20:3 – It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling.
Proverbs 29:9 – If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest.
2 Timothy 2:23 – But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.
Titus 3:9 – But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.
Having been part of an online community of Biblical discussion, it seems there is an unending line of individuals who bring questions or statements before a group specifically to stir up trouble. They ask a question, but they have readymade answers with which to argue. They make statements with the purpose of creating frustration, division, or confusion. Their agendas are based in foolishness. They desire to depart from what God has said and espouse other doctrines which man has no authority to follow. To no surprise, if one issue of theirs is put to rest, they start others endlessly. Titus 3:9 (listed above) makes a very specific point which must be noted for application today. The Law being spoken about is the Law of Moses. The letter written to Titus was after the New Covenant in Christ had been established. There was no reason to discuss aspects of the Mosaic covenant anymore because it had been fulfilled. Yet, today, religions still try to find authority for their actions from that covenant and a great number of arguments are then engaged upon. Paul told Titus, these are things of fools.
Anyone who is aware of self, comes to the realization his lips are a spigot which can and must be turned off at times. This is something a fool rarely does. Yet, keeping one’s tongue is something which characterizes a wise man.
Proverbs 12:23 – A prudent man concealeth knowledge: but the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness.
Proverbs 17:28 – Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.
Proverbs 29:11 – A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.
Ecclesiastes 9:17 – The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.
The third chapter of the book of James discusses the power of the tongue and the importance of trying to keep it bridled. Wise men speak with purpose and with words that have substance behind them. Their words are built upon truths and items which are concrete. This is why when they speak men should listen. Yet, the preponderance of foolish men fills the ears of more people. There are more fools than there are wise. There are more men who would be led by quickly formed and dispersed emotions, desires, and fancy than who would consider words patiently contemplated in knowledge. The fool will always have his place amongst the world, who for lack of wisdom themselves, will follow in disobedience to God, and will engage foolish speech. Yet the Bible gives inspired direction to the man who does not wish to be associated with the fool or be characterized as one:
Proverbs 14:7 – Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.
Proverbs 30:32 – If thou hast done foolishly in lifting up thyself, or if thou hast thought evil, lay thine hand upon thy mouth.
The next article in this series, “Are You a Fool? Part 3”, will examine “Fools and Their Anger”.
Are You a
Fool? Part 1: Fools and Their Disobedience
The Bible has much to say about fools and without hesitation it presents the foolish in a negative light. Why study fools? If the Bible frowns on the foolish, then it would behoove man to learn about fools so that they can avoid being one.
Are You a
Fool? Part 3: Fools and their Anger
As with both disobedience and the speech of a fool, anger and the behaviors that go with it are a choice. It carries the same penalty as the other sins mentioned in Galatians 5:19-21 as the works of the flesh.
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