Do and Don't?

Discussion in 'Bible Study' started by Mark_18, Sep 7, 2008.

  1. Do and Don't?

    Proverbs 26:4-5

    When arguing with fools, don't answer their foolish arguments, or you will become as foolish as they are.

    When arguing with fools, be sure to answer their foolish arguments, or they will become wise in their own estimation.


    I'm assuming it means finding a way to do both at once...Or whichever applies...
  2. I'm also confused. :read:The Message translation is:

    "4 Don't respond to the stupidity of a fool;
    you'll only look foolish yourself.

    5 Answer a fool in simple terms
    so he doesn't get a swelled head.".

    Maybe the guys have more explanation on these....
  3. It's saying the same thing. Don't answer a fool and his argument because you'll be considered a fool also. And if you do, you'll make the fool feel wise in his own mind. In other words, be careful in what you say and do when encountering a fool. Sometimes speaking is wrong, in that you'll get sucked into a pointless circular rgument. And other times saying nothing validates a fool's opinion, and will make him feel wise.

    A commentary I have says:
  4. Jesus sais in matt 5:23 but anyone who says you fool will be in danger of the fire of hell do you see whats in my heart or are you just listening to the enemy take a good hard look at this and pray that God shows you before you post a qoute
  6. But I'm not calling anyone a fool. I am using the word in context with the proverb we are discussing.

  7. An excellent answer. Thanks
  8. Just say "if you think so" and walk away and pray for them in private and see the change in them.
  9. It sounds like a contradiction to me. The King James says in verse 4:

    "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him."

    That sounds to me like if you reply to his foolishness, you will become a fool like him.

    Verse 5 says:

    "Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit."

    He will think he is right if no one disagrees with him, but then he will continue to think he's right even if you do disagree with him.

    So now we ARE supposed to answer him? Will replying to his foolishness make him any wiser? Will he change his way of thinking just because we disagree with him? I have not found that to be true. I have found that fools remain fools even after you point out the error of their thinking.

    So which is it? Do we answer him or not, and can it be both ways? You can't do both--answer him and NOT answer him. Either you do or you don't. Once you answer him, you cannot un-answer him.

  10. I'm sure with a better knowledge of all scripture, including the scripture right around it, we'd see perfectly how they work together. I think part of faith in the word is not taking anything as contradictory, but having faith that it's all true you just have to find what God means by it.

    Say a friend of mine talks about sneaking out of his house and going to a party. I tell him his parents will find out, but he says they won't. Looking at his plan, I could tell for sure that they definately would, because it's obvious to me that they will. Instead of arguing directly with his claim, I could say something like "Honor your mother and your father."

    I address his foolishness, but not in a direct disagreement with the argument he has his mind set on.

    Verse 4 says answer his foolishness in a way that won't make you like him, arguing a point that is made senseless by a greater truth. Like if someone ate the last choclolate bar, and knowing this, we argued over who should get it, knowing that it doesn't exist anymore, that truth, makes our argument useless, just like the fact that my friend should honor his mother and father makes his argument of whether or not he'll get caught, useless. And we're fools debate the non-issue. The problem is beyond the particualr disagreement.

    Verse 5 says don't leave him to think you have no relpy, no wisdom , no light to shed on his ways. Without the light, his darkness cannot be exposed in his heart and he isn't convicted of sin. Without reproof he remains foolish.
  11. It's like when the Pharasees brought the woman caught in the act of adultery to Jesus. They were attempting to trap him. Did he answer their accusations? Yes and no. He didn't directly answer, and be sucked into their trap. He instead wrote in the dirt (my assumption would be he wrote the most recent sins of the accusers).

    He didn't answer in their folly. He answered in their folly. If that makes sense...
  12. Good example . We need the wisdom of the Holy Spirit for the right answers
  13. I have the KJV also, 4 different ages of them. What that verse declares "according to his folly". "According to", that means, don't try to discuss things in the same manner as a fool does, for you'll look at foolish as they are.

    V 5- "answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conciet."

    In v 5, God is saying, reply to the fools teachings with the Truth, that he will not think he is smarter or wiser and get a swelled head as mentioned.

    This is one reason why God instructs us to read and learn His Word to show ourselves approved in rightly dividing Truth. If we don't, we are in no better position to stand for God and His Truth, being ignorant of it, where the other may believe they are smarter or wiser, even tho understands it completely out of context.

    Thats how we can easily be drawn into looking foolish ourselves, in discussing issues we know little if anything about.

    Simply stated- v 4 is telling us not to discuss issues on a fools level- (same manner or type they use). But in v 5, to discuss with them about thier issues, but using God's literal spoken Truth.

    God Bless!!
  14. Lets try it like this. If you argue with a fool you will look just like him, a fool. Why? You cannot win an argument with an ignorant man. Just like that.

    Answer the fool. Give him the truth and let him deal with it. Then shut up. Just shut up.

    Avoid arguing but give the truth then let it lay. Does that make sense?
  15. When scripture poses for us direct opposites or extreems (common in Proverbs)what it is calling for is discernment. The answer is not to never answer foolish questions nor is it to always answer foolish questions.
    Repeatedly doing either will result in one looking like a fool or mislead the foolish into thinking their foolishness is wisdom.

    There are those who ask questions knowing full well that there is no rational answer to them. They think themself wise when they stump or embarrass others with these questions or have others struggle for a sensible answer.

    Often times the only answer to a foolish question sounds as foolish (if not more so) than the question.

    Questions require more concideration than most think. While truth should always be a major concideration there are times, places, situations where the truth and or even any responce does more harm than good.

    The all too common belief that a Christian must answer all questions reguarless of purpose and or sincerity is in itself foolishness.

    Bottom line. . . discern the nature and purpose of the question and determine whether it wise to respond

    and Yours
  16. Theophilus-

    I agree to a point, yet God declares "the Truth shall set you free." Therefore, irregardless, wether dealing with a fool or not, the Truth should always be spoken. It can never do more harm than good.

    A good Pastor friend of mine, while we were out of touch for several years can atest to this. While the foolish may take the Truth as hurtful or harmful at times, this Pastor friend knew, in his incredible time of trial, hearing the Truth, tho when happened it did hurt some, he knew God was still with him, helping to guide him and bring him thru the trial.

    Thus, it is not avoiding the Truth at times to protect another, but seeking God's way of presenting that Truth, to help them more.

    btw- those two Scriptures do no pose "direct opposities or extremes". They speak to us clearly, how to deal with people believing and speaking out of ignorance blinded from the Truth.

    Discern the nature of the question-

    So, how do you propose to "discern the nature" of a person's motive when asking a question to "discern" the nature of the question? Particularly knowing God declares we are to judge the root of the tree by the fruit it bears.

    We have to be careful about answering this topic, because there can be many an ignorant person out there asking what we may consider "dumb questions", that they simply don't know or understand, but do earnestly want an answer to.

    Theres a difference between being ignorant, stupid or dumb. Most times, it takes discussing a topic a short while with a person we don't know, to find out what thier motive is for the topic and dicussion. Above all else tho, the Truth should always, always, be spoken.

    The majority of the time someone avoids speaking the Truth, it comes back to haunt them. Either the other catches them in a deception/distortion, or others who hear the discussion and know the Truth, can look at the one distorting things as someone not to be listened to or believed.

    Theres always a way to be learned if necessary, to phrase the Truth so its still the Truth, but less offensive to the other.

    God Bless!!
  17. Simply take the time to access the situation and get minimal discernment of the individual asking the question. If you have had previous encounters with this person chances are it won't take much. And if you know them the situation is the more important concideration.

    The question itself often reveals the nature and intent of the person asking it.

    Not every question is a question. That is to say not every question is ask to get an answer. There are many reasons to ask a question other than getting "The Truth" or an answer. Some use questions to open the subject to make way for them to express their beliefs, to start an argument, or simply as a statement.
    Leading questions are common in public forums and with confrontatinal people and those with an agenda. Probably never more so than in forums such as this were facial expression, body languge, voice, appearances cannot be known or discerned.

    If you are refering to speaking the truth as opposed to telling a lie or speaking about something you don't know, then in the general sense I agree. How ever there are situations that require tact and or discernment before speaking as well as situation were sayng nothng ,even the truth, is best for all concerned. The truth in anger, hatred, purpose of deception or expressed in ignorance can be worse than a lie and certianly much worse than saying nothing.

    There is more to speaking the truth than just speaking the truth. Timing tact, sincerity and wisdom are important.
    Truth is powerful, , , more powerful in many ways than a lie. All truth should be handled reverantly, sincerely, personaly not lacking in discernment and fore thought.
  18. Thats exactly why I had stated there are other ways to say Truth, that is less offensive to the other, without compromising the truth that needs to be shared.

    Remember this too- if God does not expect us to compromise living in and speaking His Word, how then can we, as the world would, allow ourselves to lie or distort things to satisfy another person?

    Thats why I stated it takes considering other ways to say things.

    Yes, I know, it can be to find out how a person thinks, how they view things, but they are still questions that prompt the other to respond as in answering the question or thought posed.

    But still, in all honesty, the person who posed the example in such fashion, does come to a better understanding of the other person or thier way of percieving things thru such. So in essence, they did recieve an answer to the main thought- (spoken in the form of a question) that as you claim, was not asked for an answer.

    I do this all the time when teaching Bible studies and Classes, to prompt people to think and then respond how they view such things.

    Wether some want to admit it or not, in psychology, that form of sharing things is considered a level of "fishing", coming from Bible College instruction.

    In short form, its recieving the real answers we are searching for, even if not posed directly as questions to be answered. The responce or reaction in itself is the answer.

    I wholeheartedly disagree with your statement- "leading questions are common in public forums and with confrontational people and those with an agenda."

    It seems clear, you have not dealt with alot of people to understand, the majority of questioning people do, is to learn answers to things they do not already know or what or why another thinks as they do.

    Only those who consider such things as only for causing strife with others, have experienced enough troubles from such things, for Satan to close thier mind to others Truths about this.

    Yes, there can be those only looking for trouble, but we can't let that convince us, those truely looking for answers to questions are also the same. Some are quite sincere in wanting answers.

    In dealing with people, this is why God tells us to remember where we started from- unsaved and lost, and now found and saved, to help us be able to understand and feel for those seeking the Truth, but also in dealing with those who look to cause strife.

    How are we expected to be able to help lost souls, even those who are angry with us or hate us, if we do not show Christ's Witness to them in exchanges, so they realize we are not hurt and vengful like them.

    I think it best for us all to be reminded as well, the battle is not of the flesh, but of the Spirit. When others are thinking and operating in less than Christ'like manner, we are seeing an influence of Satan over them to do that.

    If Jesus can hang on the cross and ask the Father to forgive those who cried out for His crucifixtion, and we are to love Christ, then should we not demonstrate love back to those who come across as against us, or for thier own purposes?

    God will speak thru us to others, by the Holy Spirit, if we seek His help and words to say. But, know as well, I have no control over what others may think or believe about what I share. Thats between them and God.

    God teaches us to be peacemakers, not trouble makers. So, when Christ declared we were to agree quickly with our enemy, we can't hardly go along with beliefs they hold that are against God.

    Rather, to "agree quickly", is to speak meekly, nonoffensive, in love and compassion, the Truth. I do not sit there and figure out for myself how to speak with people. I pray to God to give me the words and attitude etc to best fit an exchange with someone.

    God Bless!!
  19. Yes Jesus said dont call any man a fool Jesus is Lord but ill gladly be a fool for Jeus any day God bless love you all
  20. Dont forget this one thing He sees and Hears all thast everyone is saying so before you pull the trigwer make sure you have the facts right and that they are from a reliable source love you all God bless

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