Intermediate Edition

II. Antitheses of Wisdom and Knowledge


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Chapter 33  Part II

Antitheses of Wisdom and Knowledge

Foolishness and spiritual ignorance are the antitheses of godly wisdom and knowledge. Moreover, foolishness and spiritual ignorance are very closely related to ungodliness; for ungodliness is the prime cause of them and further ungodliness results from them. Foolishness and spiritual ignorance with their consequences, stand in stark contrast to wisdom and her blessings.


Fools spurn and lack wisdom

Fearing the Lord is the beginning of moral knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.   Proverbs 1:7 NET

Wisdom is unattainable for a fool; in court he does not open his mouth.   Proverbs 24:7 NET

Foolishness involves disobedience to God

Then Samuel said to Saul, “You have acted foolishly. You haven’t obeyed the commandment of the Lord your God, which he commanded you.   1 Samuel 13:13a ISV

Foolishness encompasses doing wrong

A foolish person enjoys doing wrong, but a person with understanding enjoys doing what is wise.   Proverbs 10:23 NCV™

Foolish Practices

Being quick-tempered is foolish

A person who has a quick temper does foolish things, and a person with crafty schemes is hated.   Proverbs 14:17 NET

Drunkenness and gluttony are unwise, causing one trouble

[A wise teacher:] Listen, my child, and be wise, and guide your heart on the right way. 20Do not spend time among drunkards, among those who eat too much meat, 21because drunkards and gluttons become impoverished, and drowsiness clothes them with rags.   Proverbs 23:19-21 NET

Indulging in pleasure is foolish and pointless

[A wise teacher:] I said of partying, “It is folly,” and of self-indulgent pleasure, “It accomplishes nothing!”   Ecclesiastes 2:2 NET

Further notably foolish practices

He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself.   Proverbs 6:32 ESV

The one who conceals hatred utters lies, and the one who spreads slander is certainly a fool.   Proverbs 10:18 NET

Those who trust in themselves are foolish, but those who live wisely will be kept safe.   Proverbs 28:26 NCV™

Spiritual Ignorance (I): Causes and Results

Spiritual ignorance is caused basically by sin

[Jesus:] The light has come into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light because their actions were evil. 20Everyone who practices wickedness hates the light and does not come to the light, so that his actions may not be exposed.   John 3:19b-20 ISV

Due to people’s evil deeds, they spurn the spiritual light that is Jesus Christ and his truth. For this light exposes their deeds for what they really are – evil. Spurning Christ’s light means spiritual ignorance.

Spiritual ignorance is caused partly by the ungodly being closed-minded

They [godless people] are darkened in their understanding, being alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardness of their hearts.   Ephesians 4:18 NET

This hardness of heart indicates that such people have “shut their minds” (NLT) – being stubborn (cf. CEV, GNT) and refusing to listen (cf. NCV).

Spiritual Ignorance (II): Knowledge Lacked

The assertions contained in the subheadings in this section are typically true of ungodly people. Having said this, not all ungodly people and unbelievers are totally ignorant of all the things mentioned here.

The ungodly do not know God or Jesus Christ

Then they [the Pharisees] began asking him, “Who is your father?” Jesus answered, “You do not know either me or my Father. If you knew me you would know my Father too.”   John 8:19 NET

The ungodly do not comprehend God’s word

[Jesus, to the Jewish religious leaders:] You study the scriptures thoroughly because you think in them you possess eternal life, and it is these same scriptures that testify about me, 40but you are not willing to come to me so that you may have life.   John 5:39-40 NET

Although they diligently studied the Scriptures, the Jewish leaders – who had in fact become in many ways ungodly – did not comprehend that the Scriptures spoke about Jesus, the way to life.

The ungodly are ignorant of and deceived about their sin

An evil man is rebellious to the core. He does not fear God, 2for he is too proud to recognize and give up his sin.   Psalms 36:1-2 NET

This is the way of an adulterous woman: she eats and wipes her mouth and says, “I have not done wrong.”   Proverbs 30:20 NET

The ungodly are largely oblivious of God’s pending punishment – which they will bear

[God:] At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the men who are complacent, those who say in their hearts, ‘The Lord will not do good, nor will he do ill.’   Zephaniah 1:12 ESV

Pray for persecuted Christians