When a scoffer is punished, the simple becomes wise; when a wise man is instructed, he gains knowledge.
The Book of Proverbs defines three sets of people in regards to their maturity-level: the scoffer (also identified as the mocker), the simple (also known as the fool), and the wise (regarded as prudent).
The simple are those who are found between the wise and scoffer. They are not as prudent as the wise but not as foolish as the scoffer. They are between the two and need to gain knowledge. Some Scriptures regarding the simple are:
The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps.
The simple inherit folly, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.
Leave your simple ways, and live, and walk in the way of insight.”
The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.
Scoffers are those who lean far away from the wise and live lives which are self-destructive. Some Scriptures in regard to the scoffer include:
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers.
“How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?
Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.
A scoffer does not like to be reproved; he will not go to the wise.
“Scoffer” is the name of the arrogant, haughty man who acts with arrogant pride.
Drive out a scoffer, and strife will go out, and quarreling and abuse will cease
…knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires
The wise are those who have learned to acquire knowledge and the prudence how to best use their know-how. Some Scriptures which emphasize being wise include:
Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and turn away from evil.
The wise will inherit honor, but fools get disgrace.
Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.
If you are wise, you are wise for yourself; if you scoff, you alone will bear it.
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless.
The crown of the wise is their wealth, but the folly of fools brings folly.
The lips of the wise spread knowledge; not so the hearts of fools.
An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
In contrast, the fool is at the extreme opposite of the wise. Some Scriptures which highlight them are:
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them.
O simple ones, learn prudence; O fools, learn sense.
The wise layup knowledge, but the mouth of a fool brings ruin near.
Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool, but wisdom is pleasure to a man of understanding.
Every prudent man acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts his folly.
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.
Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.
Like one who binds the stone in the sling is one who gives honor to a fool.
Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.
Which are you most often: the scoffer, the simple, or the wise? Whichever one you may most often tend to be, you can change. The fact is: it is better to be wise than not. And wisdom begins with knowledge of the Lord. Without God, life is missing a link. With God, the central core becomes the foundation that leads to a fulfilling and meaningful life.
The Book of Proverbs is the ideal place to begin. You may want to consider reading one chapter per day for the month. There are 31 chapters and each one is loaded with wisdom and advice to help one navigate through the challenges and obstacles life throws your way. Be prudent. Be wise. Become the God-ordained you. Integrate these maxims into your life and let God change you from the inside-out to be wise in your dealings with yourself and others.
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