|Today’s Scripture: Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit. Proverbs 26:4-5|
|Many people consider these two verses to be contradictory, but rather, they are complementary. These verses were meant to be next to each other to make a point – arguing with a fool is pointless.
Let us consider the first verse: “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.” As Mark Twain rightly said, “Never argue with a fool. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.” We should not be drawn into needless arguments and quarrels with those who have no desire for truth. If we try to answer a foolish question, we will cause strife about things that don’t matter. (2 Timothy 2:23)
Secondly, the second verse continues, “Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.” Answer a fool when he thinks his logic is sound, and he thinks he has asked a question you can’t answer or has given you an explanation that you can’t refute. The reason you should answer him is because verse 12 says there is more hope for a fool than a man wise in his own conceit.
When the fool thinks he’s right and no one can prove he’s wrong, his ideas become cemented in his brain, and it is much harder to get him to change his mind and show him his folly.
One type of fool the Bible talks about is the atheist. (Psalm 14:1, 53:1) If we don’t challenge their beliefs, they become convinced they are right, reject God, and think of themselves as the ultimate authority. This is where moral relativism comes from. If there is no ruler over them, they can decide what is good for themselves – thus sin becomes non-existent.
When fools ask foolish questions, we need to avoid them, but we need to have the answers to combat their questions when they are about the things of God. Would you be ready for their onslaught of questions? What does the Bible teach about creation, sin, death and pain, eternity, and most importantly, about redemption? Could you defend your faith and show them the truth? Study God’s Word because the answers to the world’s questions are there.
Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.