In the Bible, folly or foolishness is constantly contrasted with wisdom. We can find many of these contrasts, particularly in the Wisdom literature. The problem of a foolish individual is not so much intellectual, but spiritual. There are instances in the Bible wherein the terms wise and fool are used in order to designate, respectively, the faithful ones and the sinners or unbelievers. Theologians believe that folly or foolishness is the result of an individual misusing the intelligence that God has given them. The reasoning skills of foolish people lead to making poor or wrong decisions.
According to the Bible, “the fool says in his heart, there is no God” (Psalms 14:1). This is the most basic type of foolishness that we find in the Bible. Foolishness can mean the denial of the existence of the One True God. The Word of God associates a fool or a folly with perverse and corrupt speech (Proverbs 19:1), a quick temper (Proverbs 14:16-7), and even disobedience to one’s parents (Proverbs 15:5). Human beings are born with an innate foolishness because of the fall, but discipline will help us gain more wisdom (Proverbs 22:15).
The Bible is clear when it says that foolishness is counterproductive (Proverbs 19:3). It can also lead to an individual’s destruction. Jesus Christ Himself mentioned the word “foolishness” in Mark 7:22. By understanding the text, we discover that foolishness is evidence that an individual has a defiled and sinful nature. The devising of folly is sin (Proverbs 24:9). If foolishness is a sin, then, therefore, foolishness breaks God’s law, since sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4).
Foolish people think that God’s ways are foolish. They mock God and believe that He doesn’t exist. According to 1 Corinthians 1:18, “the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing” (NASB). The fool thinks that the Gospel of Christ does not have any power, because it doesn’t make sense to them. The fool will never understand or appreciate the wisdom of God in Christ. When we are born again, our hearts and minds change. Christians receive the very nature of God, as mentioned in 2 Peter 1:4: Believers of Christ now have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). Because of the power of the Holy Spirit, Christians can now reject foolishness. In Christ, we become wise. The thoughts of true Christians are now pleasing to the Lord. Our decisions become wiser because now we have a goal, which is to glorify God in our lives.
Here are some of the practices that foolish people do according to the Bible:
- Worshiping the creature rather than the Creator (Romans 1:18-23).
- Building a house without solid and adequate foundation (Matthew 7:26-27).
- Failing to believe in the Good News of Christ and His resurrection (Luke 24:25).
- Relying on earthly wealth or treasure (Luke 12:20).
- Not being able to recognize that the ministry of Christ is God’s way of claiming His own bride (Matthew 25:1-13).
- Observing legalism instead of hearing and believing the Gospel of Grace (Galatians 3:1-3).
Remember that we did not become wise of our own accord. The Bible tells us that “all wisdom comes from the Lord, and so do common sense and understanding,” (Proverbs 2:6-8). Because of this wisdom, we are able to love what Jesus loves and hate whatever He hates. A Christian will never be wise unless they acknowledge that wisdom and understanding are from the Lord. In fact, one can’t call himself a believer in Christ unless he understands that his mind has been transformed and renewed by God. A Christian should not practice foolishness, but rather understand and do God’s will (Ephesians 5:17), which includes loving and believing in the Lord Jesus Christ.