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50 Wise and Foolish Quotes From the Bible

MsDora, a former teacher and Christian counselor, is an avid Bible student and loves to compile user-friendly Bible quotes by topic.

The Bible contributes to the debate on who are wise and who are foolish.

The Bible contributes to the debate on who are wise and who are foolish.

Can wise people do foolish deeds? Do the foolish ever have wise thoughts? Is our wisdom affected by our level of spirituality?

Questions like these may surface when we question our own wisdom. Based on our experiences, the answers may change daily; but according to Joseph Joubert, “It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it.”

The Bible lends many pertinent observations to the debate on who are wise and who are foolish. Here are fifty quotes from the New Living Translation which may answer some of our questions, or at least, make us wiser on the matter.

Contrasts

1. Wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock…foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand (Matthew 7: 24, 26).

2. The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get (Proverbs 21:20).

3. The wise can see where they are going, but fools walk in the dark (Ecclesiastes 2:14).

4. Wise people think before they act; fools don’t—and even brag about their foolishness (Proverbs 13:16).

5. The wise inherit honor, but fools get only shame (Proverbs 3: 35).

6. The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice (Proverbs 12:15).

7. Wise words bring approval, but fools are destroyed by their own words. (Ecclesiastes 10:12).

8. The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down (Proverbs 14:1).

9. A wise person thinks a lot about death, while a fool thinks only about having a good time (Ecclesiastes 7:4).

10. The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. (Matthew 25: 3, 4).

Stained glass window of Ten Virgins at Scots' Church, Melbourne.

Stained glass window of Ten Virgins at Scots' Church, Melbourne.

Similarities

11. Those who are wise must finally die, just like the foolish and senseless, leaving all their wealth behind (Psalm 49:10).

12. Wisdom … cries out in the public square…Folly …calls out to men going by who are minding their own business. (Proverbs 1: 20; 9: 13, 15).

13. When the bridegroom was delayed, they all [the wise and the foolish] became drowsy and fell asleep (Matthew 25: 5).

14. The wise will not be remembered any longer than the fool. In the days to come, both will be forgotten (Ecclesiastes 2:16).

Wise People

15. Huram was filled with wisdom, with understanding and with knowledge to do all kinds of bronze work (1 Kings 7:14).

16.The Lord has filled Bezalel with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts (Exodus 35:31).

17. So he sent for a woman from Tekoa who had a reputation for great wisdom (2 Samuel 14:2).

18. A wise person wins friends (Proverbs 11:30).

19. God gave these four young men [the Hebrew youth] an unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect of literature and wisdom (Daniel 1:17).

20. When Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, came to kill them, Daniel handled the situation with wisdom and discretion (Daniel 2:14).

21. God also gave Joseph unusual wisdom, so that Pharaoh appointed him governor over all of Egypt and put him in charge of the palace (Acts 7:10).

22. Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action (Acts 7:22).

23. Now Joshua son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him (Deuteronomy 34:9).

24. But the Lord in his mercy has given me [Paul] wisdom that can be trusted, and I will share it with you (1 Corinthians 7:25).

25. None of them could stand against the wisdom and the Spirit with which Stephen spoke (Acts 6:10).

26. When the queen of Sheba realized how very wise Solomon was ... she was overwhelmed (1 Kings 10: 4, 5).

King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba  portrait (c.1434-1435)

King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba portrait (c.1434-1435)

Foolish People

27. Nabal is a wicked and ill-tempered man…He is a fool, just as his name suggests (1 Samuel 25:25).

28. Then Saul confessed, “I have sinned…I have been a fool and very, very wrong” (1 Samuel 26:21).

29. Only fools say in their hearts, “There is no God” (Psalm 14:1).

30. The man who commits adultery is an utter fool, for he destroys himself (Proverbs 6:32).

31. People who worship idols are stupid and foolish. The things they worship are made of wood! (Jeremiah 10:8)

32. O God, you know how foolish I [David] am; my sins cannot be hidden from you (Psalm 69:5).

33. I [Asaph] was so foolish and ignorant— I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you (Psalm 73:22).

34. Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God (Luke 12:21).

35. But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant! (2 Corinthians 10:12)

36. Oh, foolish Galatians! … How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? (Galatians 3: 1, 3).

Wise Character Poll

The All-Wise God

37. But true wisdom and power are found in God; counsel and understanding are his (Job 12:13).

38. God alone understands the way to wisdom; he knows where it can be found (Job 28:23).

39. O Lord, what a variety of things you have made! In wisdom you have made them all (Psalm 104:24).

40. But the Lord made the earth by his power, and he preserves it by his wisdom. (Jeremiah 10:12).

41. And the child [Jesus] grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him (Luke 2:40).

42. In him [Christ] lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3).

43. Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways! (Romans 11:33)

44. Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24).

45. This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans (1 Corinthians 1:25).

46. All glory to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, forever. Amen. (Romans 16:27).

Conclusion

Wisdom is better than folly.

Wisdom is better than folly.

47. Wisdom is better than folly, just as light is better than darkness (Ecclesiastes 2:13).

48. It is better to be a poor but wise youth than an old and foolish king who refuses all advice (Ecclesiastes 4:13).

49. The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools (Ecclesiastes 9:17).

50. It is better to heed the rebuke of a wise person than to listen to the song of fools (Ecclesiastes 7:5).

Questions & Answers

Question: Where is it written in the Old Testament: "A wise man's mind tends toward the right hand, a fool's toward the left?"

Answer: The Scripture verse is Ecclesiastes 10:2.

The Common English Bible (CEB) renders it: "The mind of the wise tends toward the right, but the mind of the fool toward the left."

However, most other versions render "heart" instead of "mind."

The New Living Translation simply states: "A wise person chooses the right road; a fool takes the wrong one."

Question: Where does the Bible talk about the company of the focused?

Answer: Thanks for the question although I am not sure that I can give you an accurate answer. I am not aware that the Bible mentions "company of the focused," but the text that most people turn to for advice on focus is Philippians Chapter 3, verse 15. In The Message Translation, verses 15 and 16 actually say, "So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision - you'll see it yet! (16) Now that we're on the right track, let's stay on it."

© 2017 Dora Weithers

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