The Importance of Words (Proverbs 18) (Part 1)

The Statement

Wise and foolish words are one of the main themes in the Book of Proverbs. It receives further treatment in Proverbs chapter 18. It surveys the differing uses of tongue and their consequences:

A Foolish Person

Proverbs 18:2 (NIV) “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.” A person who “delights in airing his own opinions” can appear knowledgeable, wise, and even gain a great following, but he lacks understanding.”

  • This is because he cannot be bothered to go thoroughly into the matters on which he expresses his opinion – Proverbs 18:15 (NIV) “The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge the ears of the wise seek it out.”
  • This is too much trouble and he “finds no pleasure in it” (Proverbs 18:2a, NIV). After all, if he does, he may discover he was wrong and have to eat his words, which the self-opinionated will never do.
  • He must be different in order to draw attention to himself. It is important for us to check our opinions against those of others and gleamed wisdom from interaction.
  • Foolish Person cannot be taught; he is critical and is in a danger of forming his clique.

Self-Opinionated Person

A Self-OpinionatedProverbs 18:6-7 (NIV) “A fool’s lips bring him strife, and his mouth invites a beating. A fool’s mouth is his undoing, and his lips are a snare to his soul.”  Self-opinionated Fool is trapped by his own words because he provokes disagreement, which leads to strife, but being a controversialist he enjoys this – Proverbs 18:20 (NIV) “From the fruit of his mouth a man’s stomach is filled; with the harvest from his lips he is satisfied.” However, provocative words can lead to blows: “His mouth invites a beating” (Proverbs 14:3). He may get the best of argument, but he comes off worse off because “his mouth is his undoing,” literally “ruin, destruction.” This may mean he is such a well-known nuisance that no person will take his part and he may be brought before for punishment – Proverbs 19:19 (NIV) “A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty; if you rescue him, you will have to do it again.” Whichever it is he has only himself to blame. No person sets out to get him, he himself laid the snare which brings “ruin” (“undoing”) to himself:

  • Proverbs 10:8b (NIV) “A chattering fool comes to ruin.”
  • Proverbs 12:13a (NIV) “An evil man is trapped by his sinful talk.”
  • Proverbs 13:3b (NIV) “He who speaks rashly will come to ruin.”

James put it in a nutshell: “What a great forest is set on fire by a small spark” (James 3:5). Ecclesiastes 10:12b (NIV) “A fool is consumed by his own lips.”

To be continued…… Stay Tuned.

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