Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I dedicate April to all things foolish. OK that might be more or less how I dedicate most of my posts but I'm thinking of trying to be serious about the foolish. Weird huh?

OK, so starting out I want to say that I love reading Proverbs. It is an interesting exercise to go back and look at my old Bibles and look at the notes I've written in them. What you don't write in your Bibles because you think it is wrong? Then buy a journal and keep notes in that. Also try not to stand to close to me while I'm reading my Bible because I'm likely to get struck by lightening eventually since that is so wrong.

Back to the point. In one of my old Bibles I have a passage in Proverbs underlined with a big question mark in the margin.

Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself.
Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.
(Proverbs 26:4&5)
It looks something like that in this Bible. These two are right next to each other so Solomon didn't get going and think "hey I should write something about answering a fool" and then a few days later think the same thing but write something different that the proof reader missed. This is intentional.

When I first read this it really confused me. Why are these two very different imperatives (didn't think I could throw down words like that did you) in there. I must have wrestled with these two verses for 2 years before I got it.

When you are dealing with a fool it doesn't matter what you say or do. They are a fool and will either think themselves wise or drive you to being a fool. They might even drive you to being a fool and still think themselves wise. A fool is only concerned with themselves and not you or wisdom or anything Godly.

I honestly believe that this is saying that when you come to certain people you face a no win situation and must choose which lose is acceptable to you.


katdish said...

I thought this was a fairly interesting commentary

I have one bible that I write in, and one that I don't. I don't know why...

Nick the Geek said...

Good commentary. I think it grasps the concept very well.

I write in most of my Bibles, but some more than others based on frequency of use. Also I don't write in my parallel study Bible, but only because I use it for specific studies so my notes are on paper.

jasonS said...

I was always confused by those verses too. I heard a preacher once who said that it's all about context and obedience. In one situation it backfires to answer the fool. In another setting, you need to do it. He was pointing toward relationship and following God's lead as the determining factor.

I can't say I really know what I think about it, but I think your point is very interesting.

Mr. T said...

I pity the fool who misinterprets that scripture!

Nick the Geek said...

I think there is some level of truth to both ideas. I think that there are times where one approach may be the right approach but I think much if not most of the time you are going to have problems when dealing with foolish people. I have had quite a bit of experience in this.

Nick the Geek said...

Mr T.,

Thanks for dropping by. You should read tomorrow's post too. I think you'll get a lot out of it with all the gold on your neck and all.

Mr. T said...


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