A Bible Contradiction? Don't Answer a Fool, Answer a Fool (Prov. 26:4,5)

What to do with fools. Surely, it's always hard dealing with fools! Prov. 26:4,5 say, "Do not answer fools according to their folly, or you yourself will be just like them. Answer fools according to their folly, or they will be wise in their own eyes." Clearly, no proverb is intended to cover every situation. The apparent contradiction here is that proverbs must be appropriately applied. A situation may demand a non-response, while another situation may demand that folly be exposed for what it is. Obviously, this always calls for wisdom. During his trial, Jesus didn't answer questions that could have vindicated himself, while he plainly declared his Messiahship that led to his brutal execution.

A foolish messenger makes the sender look like a fool (Prov. 26:6 cf. Prov 25:13).

The most foolish of all fools is the one who thinks he is wise. Prov. 26:12 says, "Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him." There are degrees of foolishness with intellectual conceit being the most stupid and the hardest to remedy. An extreme example is the worldly wisdom that regards God's wisdom as folly (1 Cor. 1:18-2:5).

The creativity of laziness (Prov. 26:13-16): http://westloop-church.blogspot.com/2010/10/creativity-of-laziness-proverbs-2213_21.html

How damaging and destructive is gossip (Prov, 26:22): http://westloop-church.blogspot.com/2010/10/gossip-goes-down-deeper-than-juicy.html

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