Shepherding a Fool
Over the past few years I have had the privilege of teaching through Proverbs in our young adults ministry. During that study I have been uniquely impacted by the amount of time Solomon spends describing the “fool.” In fact, Solomon stretches out roughly 70 descriptions of a fool in Proverbs alone. As pastors, while we labor to implant wisdom to the humble and help the naive put a truth-filter on their minds—as well as guard against scoffers infecting the thinking of the vulnerable—we also find ourselves regularly ministering to those who are entangled in folly. These people are either categorical “fools” (i.e., lost in their folly, rebels at the core, and in desperate need of Christ as their Savior) or they are sheep who are acting like fools and in need of tender shepherding to help them shed their foolish ways. As any pastor knows, before we can help people learn what they must put on, we must first help them identify what to put off. And for a fool (or someone being foolish) that requires specific passages applied to specific tendencies in order to help them indict themselves and grow. Based on that need, below is a list of 25 characteristics from Proverbs that have been an aid to me in pastoral ministry—and with my kids—in shepherding a fool.
25 Characteristics of a Fool from Proverbs
- They rebel against authorities (10:1; 15:5; 19:13).
- They view their opinion as an authority over Scripture (26:12).
- They are stubborn when instructed by Scripture (1:22; 8:5; 13:19; 14:33; 16:22; 17:10; 24:7).
- They spout their opinion rather than receive instruction (10:8,10,14,21; 14:9; 12:15; 18:2; 23:9; 26:4-5).
- They twist Scripture for personal gain (26:7, 9).
- Their lives are full of unnecessary correction (7:22; 14:3; 19:29).
- They learn nothing from the consequences of sin (14:24; 26:11; 26:3; 27:22).
- They do not fear God (1:22-29).
- They are lazy (1:32).
- They are hypocrites (17:16).
- They are consumers (21:20).
- They are deceptive (14:8; 18:7; 19:1).
- Their speech lacks love (15:2).
- They are impulsive (12:23; 13:16; 29:20).
- They abuse information (10:18; 15:14; 18:6; 26:6).
- They are arrogant (14:16).
- They take great pleasure in sin (10:23).
- They erode the biblical convictions of others (13:20; 14:7; 15:7).
- Their lives are full of broken relationships (11:29; 15:20; 17:12, 21, 25; 26:10).
- They have no honor (3:35; 19:10; 26:1,8,10).
- They worship the creation rather than the Creator (17:24).
- They don’t have a healthy distrust of self (28:26).
- They are easily angered (12:16; 20:3; 29:11).
- They punish others with their tongue (27:3).
- They quarrel until they get their way (29:9).
Daron Roberts is a graduate of The Expositors Seminary and serves as the pastor of College & Career at Grace Immanuel Bible Church in Jupiter, FL.