Ask about the fool: When you think of a ‘fool’, what comes to mind?…Three Stooges, teenagers making dumb decisions, etc.
Talk about the fool in the Bible: The Three Stooges, for instance, don’t necessarily fit Proverbs’s definition of ‘fool’. Compared to what it says in Proverbs, The Three Stooges are harmless, innocent people. The reason why we should study ‘the fool’ is because we usually have the wrong idea of what it actually is according to God.
Read Matthew 5:22…This verse mentions the phrase, “You fool”. This phrase has been translated into a variety of phrases throughout the years. I’ll just give you a few that you may have heard (or said ): “You a**hole”, “You b****”, “F*** you”. There are many phrases that express the same idea. In many verses, including this one, it says that we are guilty of sin if we use words like these to harm others, even if your intent wasn’t to harm.
Read Proverbs 26:18-19…I love this verse. I have heard and said the phrase, “I am/was only joking”, enough times to understand the power and truth in this verse. If you have to say this phrase, most likely you have already gone too far with your ‘jokes’. Even jokes can harm/offend others even if you didn’t intend for them to do that.
Give an example: Visualize this scenario…
Guy 1: “Hey man!”
Guy 2: “Shut up you piece of crap”
Guy 1: “What was that for?”
Guy 2: “Because you suck at life”
Guy 1: “Dude…what is your problem?”
Guy 2: “You know me. I’m only joking.”
Guy 1: “Well, I really don’t like when you do that, especially on days like these. You made my terrible day even worse.”
Guy 2: “Uh, not my fault, bro”
Discuss scenario: What was the first thing that Guy 2 did wrong? Why is this wrong? What was the second thing that he did wrong? Why is this wrong? As a result, both individuals seem to be angry or annoyed. Nothing good comes from a situation like this.
Talk about the Sermon of the Mount: As many of us know, Jesus came to reinforce the laws/Ten Commandments. Not only was it sinful to commit murder (Read Matthew 5:21), but it was equally sinful to be angry with a brother. God not only wants us to refrain from sinful actions (murder, adultery), but also to refrain from sinful thoughts (anger, lust). (Read Matthew 21-30)
Dissect ‘fool’: It is time to break down what it means when you call someone a fool. To call a brother (or sister) a fool is to declare them (or her) to be worthless. If a man is but a fool, or worthless, it would be better for them to be dead, because there is no worth in their existence. When you are calling someone an inappropriate and/or rude name that is a synonym of the phrase “You fool”, you are basically, maybe unintentionally, saying “The world should get rid of you”. In God’s eyes, this is one short step from murder. I encourage you to think next time before you tell someone, “You suck.”
Ask about the characteristics of a fool: What are all the characteristics of a ‘fool’ according to the Bible?
Read Proverbs 22:15…The fool is undisciplined, doing things even when they know it is wrong. According to Walvoord & Zuck (2004) in “The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament,” “Through folly ([translated as] a arrogant, flippant, hardened fool) is in the heart of a child…discipline can help expel that kind of attitude and replace it with wisdom.” The fool hates what is holy, righteous, and good, and loves evil.
Read Proverbs 13:19…This verse is intense and truthful. What does it mean to you?…A fool loves sin. Do you enjoy foolish things, things that are not good in God’s eyes.
Read Proverbs 10:23…A fool isn’t trustworthy.
Read Proverbs 14:6…A fool looks for wisdom in the wrong places. What type of wisdom do you seek?…To learn how to make a lot of money, to learn how to be smooth with women so that you can sleep with them, to learn how to be selfless? The end of this verse indicates that while knowledge is easy for the man of understanding, it may also indicate that knowledge is hard for a fool. In other words, it is difficult to teach a fool. The fool is unteachable (in regards to teaching truth to). When a fool is faced with faith and instruction, he will probably reject it.
Ask about people who act foolish: Do you have a friend who never listens to his or her parents? Are you a person that doesn’t listen to advice from others/parents?
Read Proverbs 1:7…What does this mean? In this case, you could also say ‘respect’. Fear his power. Fools don’t respect God.
Read Proverbs 26:11…Isn’t that verse so powerful? I love it!!!
Ask about what happens when we choose to follow God: What happens to our past foolish ways when we choose to follow God?…They are washed away! We were fools once. As fools, we turned away from God and found thrill in it. If we decide to choose God and we put our faith in Jesus Christ, our sins will be washed away.
Ask about Christ followers who still choose to sin: If you have decided to follow God, you have made a promise to follow him and not the world. If that is the case, why do so many Christ followers still choose to sin? Why do many Christ followers cuss, disobey the authority over them, are addicted to porn, drop out of school, do drugs, hurt others? Why are fellow Christ followers doing such things? Living for Christ and foolish ways should be opposite of each other. Why does this happen to those who say they want to devote themselves to God?…Most of the time, there is one thing (or a few things) getting in the way, something that we don’t want to give up.
Talk about the harmful reality of associating with fools: Sometimes our friends have a heavy influence on us, whether they are a positive or a negative influence. Read Proverbs 23:9…Why shouldn’t we associate with fools?…Their foolishness is like a virus or parasite. They feed on you and slowly become a part of you. I understand that it is difficult to let go of a friend, but if they are leading you down a path of negative choices, it may be a good idea (hint*hint* recommended by God) to not associate with them. In my opinion, we have to look at our level of spiritual maturity and our intentions when deciding whether to lose them or not. Moreover, if you feel that you are spiritually mature enough to associate with a non-believer with an intent to be a good influence and try to lead them to Christ, go ahead and keep that friend. On the other hand, if they encourage you to make foolish decisions with them, you might want to think about abandoning that relationship. Otherwise, you may be putting yourself in a dangerous position.
Ask about things that get in the way of living fully-devoted to Christ: What other things get in the way of fully-devoting your life to Christ?…Your reputation, pride, fear of rejection
Read John 3:19-20…Light cannot dwell in darkness! We can’t love both.
Read 92:6-7…A fool does not fear God. We need to fear God and His power. If God says that fools will be forever destroyed, then I should probably not act like one. I don’t think anybody would want to be, or act like, someone who is destined for eternal destruction.
Talk about a wise man: Be wise, not a fool. The wise man does the opposite of what a foolish man does. What does a wise man act like? Read Proverbs 3:5-6, Proverbs 12:15, James 1:5…A wise man is disciplined, easy to teach, fears God, etc.
Bible Study Tools. (2017). Retrieved from http://www.biblestudytools.com/
NIV Life Application Study Bible. (2011). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament. (2004). Colorado Springs, Colorado: International Bible Society.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament. (2004). Colorado Springs, Colorado: International Bible Society.
Unger, M. F. (1976) Unger’s bible dictionary. Chicago, IL: The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago.