Paradox?

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by I Am Blessed 24, Mar 4, 2004.

  1. I Am Blessed 24

    I Am Blessed 24
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    Proverbs 26:4
    Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

    Proverbs 26:5
    Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

    I know the Bible does not contradict itself. My only conclusion is that we are to answer according to the Holy Spirit's leading.

    Clarification anyone?

    Thanks,
    §ue
     
  2. Greg Linscott

    Greg Linscott
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    Proverbs 26:4
    Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.


    Don't answer a foolish person by agreeing with him, confirming his foolish line of reasoning.

    Proverbs 26:5
    Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.


    Don't let the fool rest in his foolish assumptions-- instead, answer him with the truth.

    Q: What is a fool?
    A: One who rejects God's truth.
    "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God." (Psalm 14:1a, 53:1a)
     
  3. Thankful

    Thankful
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    I am wondering if it means the following:

    Don't stoop to the level of a "fool" in one's answer to the "fool", but answer the person on a level that person will understand.


    On the other hand, the first verse may be the ideal way and the second verse is the practical way or the way it is done in the "real" world.
     
  4. USN2Pulpit

    USN2Pulpit
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    Here is what Matthew Henry's commentary says on the issue:

    Proverbs 26:4-5

    Proper treatment of fools


    See here the noble security of the scripture-style, which seems to contradict itself, but really does not. Wise men have need to be directed how to deal with fools; and they have never more need of wisdom than in dealing with such, to know when to keep silence and when to speak, for there may be a time for both.

    1. In some cases a wise man will not set his wit to that of a fool so far as to answer him according to his folly "If he boast of himself, do not answer him by boasting of thyself. If he rail and talk passionately, do not thou rail and talk passionately too. If he tell one great lie, do not thou tell another to match it. If he calumniate thy friends, do not thou calumniate his. If he banter, do not answer him in his own language, lest thou be like him, even thou, who knowest better things, who hast more sense, and hast been better taught."

    2. Yet, in other cases, a wise man will use his wisdom for the conviction of a fool, when, by taking notice of what he says, there may be hopes of doing good, or at least preventing further, mischief, either to himself or others. "If thou have reason to think that thy silence will be deemed an evidence of the weakness of thy cause, or of thy own weakness, in such a case answer him, and let it be an answer ad hominem-to the man, beat him at his own weapons, and that will be an answer ad rem-to the point, or as good as one. If he offer any thing that looks like an argument, an answer that, and suit thy answer to his case. If he think, because thou dost not answer him, that what he says is unanswerable, then give him an answer, lest he be wise in his own conceit and boast of a victory." For (Luke 7:35) Wisdom's children must justify her.

    (from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)
     
  5. David Mark

    David Mark
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    I think it is paradoxical on the surface. I think it takes character to walk the line between those two instructions.

    If my answer is taken well and truly helpful then it is a good answer. I've spoken well and I may even be spoken well of. You asked a good, honest and sincere question and encouraged a good conversation.

    If my answer would only encourage further foolish talk, then I shut up. I've kept silent well. I am rarely in a position to correct strangers and I tread lightly around correcting my friends. If your same question had malice behind it, I would have said nothing.

    I think it is about character and quality conversations. Sue, you have a good reputation for speaking consistantly well.

    Dave [​IMG]
     
  6. I Am Blessed 24

    I Am Blessed 24
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    Thank you all for the great answers. They have given me much 'food for thought'.

    Dave: Thank you for your kind words. For once I am speechless!

    §ue [​IMG]
     
  7. HankD

    HankD
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    There are generally two ways to deal with a fool.
    Jesus used the Scipture principle above often.

    is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?
    Shall we give, or shall we not give? But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? bring me a penny, that I may see it. And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesar's. And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marvelled at him.

    They were looking for an inflammatory "yes" or "no" answer to accuse Him (according to their folly). Instead, Jesus gave an answer which turned their deceit back on them.

    HankD
     

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