Proverbs 12:15 states, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.” Looking around us, we see that people are strange in their beliefs, especially when it comes to those who see themselves as being wise when, in reality, they fools. Benjamin Franklin stated, “The learned fool writes his nonsense in better language than the unlearned, but still ’tis nonsense.” The word “fool”, and its plural “fools”, are found in 113 verses in the KJV of the Bible. In the New Testament, we find eight different words translated “fool, foolish, foolishly” or “foolishness.” They speak of those who are “without reason,” “without understanding,” “dull, sluggish; hence, stupid, foolish,” “without discernment,” “to make foolish,” “to be deranged,” “foolishness,” and “senselessness.” Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, pp. 453, 454.

There is no doubt that we have all confronted someone like this in our lives at one time or the other. The Apostle Paul dealt with those atCorinthwho saw themselves as “wise,” when in reality they were foolish (1 Corinthians 1:20-25). In this article, we want to consider those who think of themselves as wise, when in reality they are fools.

Before we do that, though, let us clear up something. What we are discussing is not a contradiction of Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:22. There He spoke of the person who implies that another is morally worthless, a scoundrel, or a reprobate. He did not speak of one referring to another as a “fool” due to their foolish actions.  If so, He would stand self-condemned due to His parable of the “rich fool” found in Luke 12:16-21. In considering the “fool”, we are not left unable to determine who this might be as far as the Word of God is concerned. God, knowing man inside and out, has the ability to identify those who would be “fools” (Hebrews 4:12, 13). So long as we look to His Word to determine who this might be, we will not make an incorrect determination.


HE WHO SAYS THERE IS NO GOD IS A FOOL, ALTHOUGH HE THINKS HE IS WISE – The Psalmist stated, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good” (Psalm 14:1). Note that verses 1-3 of this Psalm describe this person as vile and corrupt. However, why does God say that this person is foolish? Because he claims, there is no God. Why does he make such a claim? Clearly, it is not for a lack of evidence of the existence of God (Psalms 19:1). Rather, because that is what he wants to believe, believing he is right. Those who want to live contrary to God wish that there were no such Being. Sinners wish there is no God, thus no one to whom they must ultimately answer for their deeds.


HE WHO TRUSTS IN HIS OWN HEART IS A FOOL, ALTHOUGH HE THINKS HE IS WISE – This person depends upon his own judgment to the exclusion of God’s council (Proverbs 12:15). Why is this person a fool?

Because man’s heart is subject to error (Proverbs 16:25; Jeremiah 10:23; Romans 1:22).

Because he refuses to glorify God, and it is folly to believe in God and not honor Him as            such (Romans 1:21).

Because the heart is deceitful, and it cannot be trusted (Jeremiah 17:9; Proverbs 12:15).

THE COVETOUS MAN IS A FOOL, ALTHOUGH HE THINKS HE IS WISE – Consider the parable in Luke 12:13-21. Why is this person seen to be a fool?  Because he was blind to the source of wealth (1 Corinthians 10:26; 1 Timothy 6:17). When reading this text, carefully notice the repeated use of the pronoun “I”.  It was God who gave nature the power to produce and humanity the ability to serve as stewards (1 Peter 4:10). The one under consideration in Luke 12 supposed riches, when hoarded, would be a comfort. Instead, they were a burden. He boasted of the future, although not in control of it as seen in his statement “I will” (Luke 12:18, 19).  He should have had the attitude as seen in James 4:13, 14.


HE WHO HEARS BUT DOES NOT OBEY IS A FOOL, ALTHOUGH HE THINKS HE IS WISE – Carefully consider the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:26, 27. Why is this one a fool?

The answer is simple, hearing is useless unless followed by obedience (James 1:22-25).  One who hears the warning calls, but fails to heed them, clearly indicates a lack of wisdom with such actions.

HE WHO DOES NOT PREPARE HIMSELF FOR JUDGMENT IS A FOOL, ALTHOUGH HE THINKS HE IS WISE – Note the words of Jesus found in Matthew 25:1-13.  Why were five of the ten virgins described as being foolish? It was because they lived for the present life, and gave no consideration of what lay ahead. They forgot the admonition to be ready. They tried to find refuge in forms, lamps, vessels, and names. They neglected the oil needed for their lamps.

Let us be cautious to make sure that we are not seen as fools in the sight of God.