“The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself. The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is mischievous madness.”
Today’s verse passage is more than a casual remark concerning those who refuse to exercise wisdom and good judgment. What we have here is a profound reference to the importance of starting places in our thinking. The passage begins with a reference to the wise man. Elsewhere we learn that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Job 28:28; Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 9:10) and that all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hid in Christ (Colossians 2:3). Jesus said that the mouth gives expression to what is in the heart (Matthew 12:34), meaning that sooner or later, both the wise and the fool will be known by what they say; the wise will be known by his gracious words, the fool by his asinine remarks. Those who take God’s word as properly basic, the foundation upon which the rest of their reasoning proceeds, are counted wise in God’s estimation. These people assume the biblical record correct because it is the word of a God who alone has the supreme right to be believed and obeyed. For the Christian, there can be nothing more certain than God’s self-authenticating, perfect and infallible word. The believer’s assumption that the Bible is true becomes the lens through which he views the world; the word of God provides the appropriate interpretation of all things. The non-believer on the other hand starts his thinking with something other than the Bible. Even in terms of the unbeliever’s own worldview, this is utter foolishness. This is not the worst of it, however. Using these foolish faith commitments as a lens, the unbeliever interprets the world accordingly, coming away with interpretations of the world that are not only wrong, but completely absurd, “mischievous madness” as our text goes on to say. God is very concerned that we don’t adopt the unbeliever’s presuppositions and approach to knowledge. “Answer not a fool according to his folly,” says the proverb, “lest thou also be like unto him” (Proverbs 26:4). The great apostle Paul’s words can hardly be improved upon: “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart . . .But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus” (Ephesians 4:17-18,20-21). May all of our reasoning rest squarely on God’s precious, infallible word, for our good and His glory.
God bless you dear saints,