50 Wise and Foolish Quotes From the Bible

Updated on July 25, 2018
MsDora profile image

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

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.

Stained glass window of Ten Virgins at Scots' Church, Melbourne.  Photo by StAnselm
Stained glass window of Ten Virgins at Scots' Church, Melbourne. Photo by StAnselm | Source

Contrasts

  1. 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).
  2. The wise can see where they are going, but fools walk in the dark (Ecclesiastes 2:14).
  3. Wise people think before they act; fools don’t—and even brag about their foolishness (Proverbs 13:16).
  4. The wise inherit honor, but fools get only shame (Proverbs 3: 35).
  5. 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).
  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 wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get (Proverbs 21:20).

Similarities

  1. Those who are wise must finally die, just like the foolish and senseless, leaving all their wealth behind (Psalm 49:10).
  2. 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).
  3. When the bridegroom was delayed, they all [the wise and the foolish] became drowsy and fell asleep (Matthew 25: 5).
  4. 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

King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.  Portrait by Konrad Witz (c. 1434-1435)
King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Portrait by Konrad Witz (c. 1434-1435) | Source
  1. When the queen of Sheba realized how very wise Solomon was ... she was overwhelmed (1 Kings 10: 4, 5).
  2. Huram was filled with wisdom, with understanding and with knowledge to do all kinds of bronze work (1 Kings 7:14).
  3. 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).
  4. So he sent for a woman from Tekoa who had a reputation for great wisdom (2 Samuel 14:2).
  5. A wise person wins friends (Proverbs 11:30).
  6. God gave these four young men [the Hebrew youth] an unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect of literature and wisdom (Daniel 1:17).
  7. When Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, came to kill them, Daniel handled the situation with wisdom and discretion (Daniel 2:14).
  8. 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).
  9. Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action (Acts 7:22).
  10. Now Joshua son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him (Deuteronomy 34:9).
  11. 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).
  12. None of them could stand against the wisdom and the Spirit with which Stephen spoke (Acts 6:10).

Besides Solomon, does any other Bible character usually come to mind when you think of wisdom?

See results

Foolish People

  1. Nabal is a wicked and ill-tempered man…He is a fool, just as his name suggests (1 Samuel 25:25).
  2. Then Saul confessed, “I have sinned…I have been a fool and very, very wrong” (1 Samuel 26:21).
  3. Only fools say in their hearts, “There is no God” (Psalm 14:1).
  4. The man who commits adultery is an utter fool, for he destroys himself (Proverbs 6:32).
  5. People who worship idols are stupid and foolish. The things they worship are made of wood! (Jeremiah 10:8)
  6. O God, you know how foolish I [David] am; my sins cannot be hidden from you (Psalm 69:5).
  7. I [Asaph] was so foolish and ignorant— I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you (Psalm 73:22).
  8. Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God (Luke 12:21).
  9. But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant! (2 Corinthians 10:12)
  10. 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).

The All-Wise God

  1. But true wisdom and power are found in God; counsel and understanding are his (Job 12:13).
  2. God alone understands the way to wisdom; he knows where it can be found (Job 28:23).
  3. O Lord, what a variety of things you have made! In wisdom you have made them all (Psalm 104:24).
  4. But the Lord made the earth by his power, and he preserves it by his wisdom. (Jeremiah 10:12).
  5. And the child [Jesus] grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him (Luke 2:40).
  6. In him [Christ] lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3).
  7. 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)
  8. Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24).
  9. This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans (1 Corinthians 1:25).
  10. All glory to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, forever. Amen. (Romans 16:27).

Conclusion

Photo by Wendy L. MacDonald
Photo by Wendy L. MacDonald | Source
  1. Wisdom is better than folly, just as light is better than darkness (Ecclesiastes 2:13).
  2. It is better to be a poor but wise youth than an old and foolish king who refuses all advice (Ecclesiastes 4:13).
  3. The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools (Ecclesiastes 9:17).
  4. It is better to heed the rebuke of a wise person than to listen to the song of fools (Ecclesiastes 7:5).

Questions & Answers

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

    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."

© 2017 Dora Weithers

Comments

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    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Iteni, you're welcome. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • profile image

      ITENI H. KASALI 

      2 weeks ago

      Thank you so much for sharing verses on wisdom.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Margherita, for your encouraging comment. I appreciate you.

    • profile image

      Margherita 

      2 weeks ago

      Thank you for sharing verses on "wisdom" taught in the Bible. Also, Joseph Joubert's wisdom and quote. Perhaps those who reject debate will read it and take heed to walk to the light. TY.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      7 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Monica, happy that these quoted satisfied your need. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      7 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Mwaamga, I agree. Thanks for your affirmation.

    • profile image

      Monica 

      7 weeks ago

      Thank you. Just what I needed tonight. Prayers for a world gone mad.

    • profile image

      mwaamga talent 

      5 months ago

      god is the way

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      13 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks Devika. These quotes may come in handy when we really need them.

    • profile image

      DDE 

      13 months ago

      Great quotes! It helps to read such lines.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      14 months ago from The Caribbean

      Rajan, wisdom is inspired. Your Holy Book must have some inspiration as well. Thanks for your affirmation.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      14 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      There is such profound wisdom in quotes from scriptures of various religions. I find some quotes echoing similar thoughts in our Holy Book as well.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      14 months ago from The Caribbean

      GalaxyRat, the research is a pleasure because I like it. Thanks for your encouragement.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      14 months ago from The Caribbean

      Tamara, it is encouraging to meet others who like Bible reading as much as I do. So glad that you find this article useful. Thanks for your support and encouragement.

    • profile image

      GalaxyRat 

      14 months ago

      You must have researched a lot! Great Hub, would vote up if I knew how!

    • profile image

      Tamara Moore 

      14 months ago

      This is a memorable Hub you have here, and one that I am very happy is on the internet for others to find, and come to better understand God's Word, and how the Bible Verses all come together in correlation.

      I have read the Bible from front to back, and after I finished, I could plainly see how everything makes perfect sense and comes together as The Lord intended. I had a Narcissist who claimed he was a Christian use The Bible against me constantly, but he, himself, did many ruthless things that were not guided by The Word.

      But, the truth is, if we ask The Lord to guide us while we read The Holy Bible, He will clear up our confusion! Thank you for this great Hub!

      Hugs,

      Tamara

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      14 months ago from The Caribbean

      Alicia, even compiling these quotes is one way of studying the Bible. I'm still learning. Thanks for your encouragement.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      14 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I'm always impressed by your knowledge of the Bible. There are some valuable quotes in this article. Thank you for sharing them, Dora.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      14 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Manatita. Beause my readers like them, and also because I learn in the process of compiling them, long live the quotes! Thanks for your friendly input.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      14 months ago from london

      We say in the mystical world, that the individual who thinks he knows, is equally convinced as the one who knows he knows. What does it matter to me, if I hear of the virtues of the mango, but have never tasted it?

      Again, the great Thomas A Kempis says that he would rather feel compassion in his heart than speak of it and again asks of its benefit to a man who knows the bible by rote, but does not feel Love in his Heart.

      Back to your Hub. You seem to be going the way of quotes. Why not? Since you have deduced that we like them. Lol. Actually, I totally love this kind of writing. You know me. If it encourages, awakens, inspires, increases the Heart's hunger ... then it's my thing and you do this so well.

      The wise do not fear death, but like me, are never in a hurry to die. We know that the aim of life is progress, not success. We also know that the body is here to glorify, praise, adore His Majesty, so living longer, gives us an opportunity to serve more. Still, there is an appointed time for passing and most exalted ones, accept this gladly when it comes.

      Loving and meaningful quotes from scripture, Dee. Praise be!!

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      14 months ago from The Caribbean

      Mary, I agree. Without being aware, many people live by some of the quotes although they do not know the source. Knowing is better. Thanks for your affirmation.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      14 months ago from The Caribbean

      Kavitha, it's my pleasure. I learn so much myself when I prepare these quotes which is one of my favorite things to do. Thanks for your input.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      14 months ago from Brazil

      Just today I was speaking with someone about this. Often it is a case of the grass being greener on the other side of the fence. People don't understand what it has taken to achieve what others see as a wealthy lifestyle.

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

      I think many common sayings, have their roots in biblical quotes.

      A wonderful collection of quotes.

    • Kavitha Mendonsa profile image

      Kavitha Mendonsa 

      14 months ago from Mumbai, India

      God's grace is bestowed upon each of us. His wisdom helps us discern between right and wrong. Thank you Ms Dora for reminding us about the timeless lessons in the Bible.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      14 months ago from The Caribbean

      Kevin, thanks for not giving up on me just because of the title. The book of Proverbs is full of verses on wisdom versus folly, but if I quote too many in one article, it seems that I am simply copying the book. So thanks you for adding these verses in the comments. I appreciate you.

    • AF Mind profile image

      AF Mind 

      14 months ago

      Very well thought out article. At first your title put me off and I'm like, "Wait did she call the Bible foolish?" Now I understand what you mean and realize I was just misunderstanding. It is wise to seek the scriptures for understanding.

      .

      Proverbs 2:6

      6 For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

      Proverbs 1:7

      7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      14 months ago from The Caribbean

      Whonu, thanks for your support and your blessings. I pray God's favor on you and your family also.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      14 months ago from The Caribbean

      Lori, these writers must be also wise. James says He gives to all who asks, so we can all have access to it.

    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 

      14 months ago from United States

      Very wise words for us all to share my friend. Thank you for giving us this message and how important it is for us all. Blessings to you and family. whonu

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      14 months ago from Pacific Northwest

      I love how the writer of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes has so much wisdom about wisdom. A lot of work went into this. Good stuff here.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      14 months ago from The Caribbean

      Jackie, I have challenges, but no complaints. Gaining wisdom all the time. Really, there's a lot we can learn. Thanks for your feedback.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      14 months ago from The Caribbean

      Eric, thanks for the new title. I love that you go straight to the Source when you need wisdom. Good move!

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      14 months ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, your father's statement is true and sensible. Thanks for sharing.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      14 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for stopping by, Don. I appreciate your encouragement.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      14 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks. Flourish. It seems that wisdom good for yesterday is also good for today. Glad that you find the quotes relevant.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      14 months ago from The Beautiful South

      Such a lot of knowledge you have shared with us Dora. Seems the world is full of foolish today, doesn't it, when knowledge is so increased? Guess it will all make sense one day why some refuse to think twice and listen to all the lessons handed down to us.

      Hope all is well with you and life is good to you.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      14 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      All the glory to God for only from Him comes wisdom. When I have a problem I like to ask for wisdom and not to fix the problem.

      I hope that the fool in me, which I have, yields to the wisdom given by God.

      I strongly believe that you are the best Bible quoter in the world. Reading James and all about it today I was left with much less than reading this.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      My grandfather loved to say "the sun shines on every dog's butt occasionally," meaning even the most foolish among us have wise moments. :) Thanks for sharing some truly profound messages.

    • Don Bobbitt profile image

      Don Bobbitt 

      14 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Good Stuff, MsDora! and a Good Read. Keep it up. DON

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      14 months ago from USA

      These are excellent and timely quotes given all that is going on in our world today, MsDora. Accepting the counsel of others, not overvaluing money over other more important priorities, and speaking carefully are timeless pieces of advice.

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