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Don’t read the news

by Greg Krehbiel on 26 October 2017

I was intending to write on the train this morning, but I didn’t get a seat, so I ended up trying to entertain myself with my phone.

My first thought was to read the news, but I wanted something different than my normal sources, so I just searched on “news”. One of the results had this headline: “News is bad for you – and giving up reading it will make you happier.”

Hmm. Could be. It’s all bad news anyway. So I thought I’d read something very not news.

I read today’s Proverb. (There are 31 chapters in Proverbs, and sometimes 31 days in a month, which conveniently makes one for each day. Kinda.)

Proverbs 26 is a fun chapter about fools and sluggards.

This pair of proverbs often confuses people, since it seems contradictory.

Answer not a fool according to his folly,
  lest you be like him yourself.
Answer a fool according to his folly,
  lest he be wise in his own eyes.

I’ve always interpreted it to mean you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I.e., you simply can’t win with a fool. But there are other interpretations.

What do you think it means?

2017-10-26  »  Greg Krehbiel

Talkback x 5

  1. Dave Krehbiel Dave Krehbiel
    26 October 2017 @ 10:06 am

    I also read Proverbs every day (Greg, I think you had suggested this to me years ago). I find Proverbs the multifaceted. There are often many lessons which can be learned from each proverb.

    Also, I believe Scripture is somewhat like a crossword puzzle, we can’t look at verses in isolation but rather In combination with other verses.

    Considering these two verses, in both cases, an action (either answering or not) is compared with a state of being. And in both verses, we infer that the state of being is more important. A new Christian should not put their faith at risk by debating things they really don’t understand. A more mature Christian should debate the unsaved (fools) with the intention of attacking their arrogance and self-confidence.

    And, what you are is more important than what you do.

    I believe those two ideas are consistent with the Scripture and with scriptures as a whole.

  2. Dave Krehbiel Dave Krehbiel
    26 October 2017 @ 10:07 am

    Sorry, I meant to say, “I find Proverbs to be multifaceted”

  3. William
    26 October 2017 @ 11:05 am

    It seems to be giving instruction in discernment. At times, it’s not appropriate to respond the foolish because it won’t accomplish anything substantive (given they are not open to reason or persuasion) but could lead to debasing oneself. Yet, when appropriate (assessing some potential to positively influence), do so with the intent to illustrate the erroneous nature in their thoughts/actions lest they continue in their error.

  4. pentamom
    26 October 2017 @ 4:19 pm

    What William said. It’s a great example of how applying scripture in general, and Proverbs in particular, isn’t always (or maybe even mostly) a set of explicit instructions to follow, it’s instruction to form the mind in wisdom. Get wise, and you’ll get it right. It’s a deliberate twist to make you think about things rather than just “do this, don’t do that.”

  5. Robin R.
    26 October 2017 @ 9:33 pm

    It always seemed to me that Rabbis speak in riddles. I recommend watching the movie “A Serious Man”. It is made by Jews about Jews and can help you appreciate their strange way of thinking.