Friday, May 26, 2017

Answering A Fool, Proverb 26:4-5

I found this on article on's website, which was written by David Catchpoole. It's about a real life experience he had on a flight from Darwin Australia to Brisbane, when he had the chance to question, a fools belief system. It is such a great example of what Solomon meant with one of the most confusing Proverbs in the book, "Proverbs 28:4-5." Along with making sense of the Proverb, it's also a great example of how to reach without insulting a Darwinist.

From Darwin to … Christ?

by David Catchpoole

Little did Rebecca realize that when she boarded the plane to Brisbane, she would not only be leaving Darwin city, but perhaps also Darwinism.

The young lady seated next to me, with classic Northern Territorian forwardness, introduced herself. Rebecca3 was aged about 15 years and was clearly extremely intelligent, having placed highly in national science competitions. So it wasn’t long before we were discussing ‘science and religion’ issues. She was upfront about her atheist views, believing evolution, and was aghast to learn of my conversion from atheism to biblical Christianity (6,000-year-old universe and all that) ‘despite’ my having a Ph.D. (Yet another demonstration that the mere existence of Bible-believing Ph.D. scientists4 is confronting to atheists!)

Suddenly I could see that the Bible provides believers with a powerful explanatory framework to enable them to give an answer …

During our wide-ranging discussion, Rebecca spoke of her desire to study veterinary science, so as to be equipped to fulfill her Jane-Goodall-like passion5 for nursing endangered primate species such as the gorilla and gibbon back to health.

I said, “Wait a minute. In an evolutionary survival-of-the-fittest world they’re our competitors! Why should we squander resources on looking after animals of no use to us and which cannot possibly compete with man, and are going to die anyway? Not only does it make no sense, but you’re a traitor to your own species!”

Rebecca paled, and leaning back dejectedly, said, “When I boarded this flight, I knew who I was, I knew exactly what to think, but now … I’m not so sure any more about what to believe—and on top of that, you’ve now taken away my reason for living …”

I replied, “Whoa right there! Time out! What I just put to you was according to your view of origins, not mine. I believe the Bible’s account of origins. Your desire to care for sick animals is completely illogical within an evolutionary framework, but is absolutely consistent with what the Bible says—that God has given man dominion over the creation Genesis 1:28. So it makes complete sense that God would put into your heart a passion for looking after His sick and hurting creatures in this cursed and fallen world.”

‘You’ve taken away my reason for living’—Rebecca, in conversation with David Catchpoole

Clearly that hit home, for Rebecca then said, “I want to hear more.”
The commercial airlines flight from Darwin to Brisbane takes four hours, thus providing plenty of time and opportunity for meaningful in-flight conversation!

And so our conversation continued. I ‘gave an answer’ to her increasingly intense questions about life, the universe and everything.

At the end of the flight, as the plane taxied to a halt, I said as nonchalantly as I could, “Well, I don’t suppose you’ve converted to Christianity yet?”

Rebecca looked straight back at me, and answered softly, yet firmly, “I am very, very close.”

As you might imagine, Rebecca’s closing comment and her undertaking (insistence!) that she would buy her own Bible to read it for herself, left me invigorated.

After disembarking, as I mentally replayed our conversation, I became aware that I had unwittingly applied the advice of both Proverbs 26:4 and 26:5:

“Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself.”—Proverbs 26:4

“Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.”—Proverbs 26:5

Some skeptics like to mock these verses as being ‘contradictory’, as if the author was stupid enough to put genuinely contradictory sentences together, although it was obviously intentional.6

When telling Rebecca she was a ‘traitor’ to her own species, it was right in line with verse 5—I had seized an opportunity (Colossians 4:5–6) to expose the folly of the evolutionary paradigm. And once Rebecca had got that point (“you’ve now taken away my reason for living”), my hasty correction and supplanting of that folly with the wisdom that comes from God’s Word was right in line with verse 4.

‘I want to hear more’—Rebecca, upon being shown that her desire to care for sick animals is God-given

And look at the result—an avowed atheist evolutionist at the start of the flight had dramatically shifted ground during the course of a single conversation. She had gone from shock at my believing the Bible, to saying “I want to hear more”—a nice example of what can be achieved by adopting the Apostle Paul’s strategy when addressing Greek-thinkers of going back to origins. “We want to hear you again on this subject”—Acts 17:16–34.7

Notice the importance of applying both verse 4 and verse 5. It would not have been enough if I had merely made my ‘traitor’ remark. That would have limited me to arguing without the Bible—in which case I would have sadly been just like the one I was arguing with! Unfortunately, many Christians erroneously think they can argue against evolution (or other issues like gay ‘marriage’ or abortion) using only the evolutionists’ own presuppositions. In other words, tacitly agreeing to the evolutionists’ terms of the debate: “Keep the Bible out of it!”

No, instead we have to show others that logical thinking is only possible when built on the Bible.8 So when it comes to applying these two verses from Proverbs 26, it’s a case of both/and, not either/or. They are not contradictory instructions, but complementary.

You can read the full article at's website, Answering fools folly

Proverb 26 (NKJV)

Honor Is Not Fitting for a Fool

01 As snow in summer and rain in harvest,
00 So honor is not fitting for a fool.

02 Like a flitting sparrow, like a flying swallow,
00 So a curse without cause shall not alight.

03 A whip for the horse,
00 A bridle for the donkey,
00 And a rod for the fool's back.
04 Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
00 Lest you also be like him.
05 Answer a fool according to his folly,
00 Lest he be wise in his own eyes.
06 He who sends a message by the hand of a fool
00 Cuts off his own feet and drinks violence.
07 Like the legs of the lame that hang limp
00 Is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
08 Like one who binds a stone in a sling
00 Is he who gives honor to a fool.
09 Like a thorn that goes into the hand of a drunkard
00 Is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
10 The great God who formed everything
00 Gives the fool his hire and the transgressor his wages.
11 As a dog returns to his own vomit,
00 So a fool repeats his folly.
12 Do you see a man wise in his own eyes?
00 There is more hope for a fool than for him.

13 The lazy man says, "There is a lion in the road!
00 A fierce lion is in the streets!"
14 As a door turns on its hinges,
00 So does the lazy man on his bed.
15 The lazy man buries his hand in the bowl;
00 It wearies him to bring it back to his mouth.
16 The lazy man is wiser in his own eyes
00 Than seven men who can answer sensibly.

17 He who passes by and meddles in a quarrel not his own
00 Is like one who takes a dog by the ears.

18 Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death,
19 Is the man who deceives his neighbor,
00 And says, "I was only joking!"

20 Where there is no wood, the fire goes out;
00 And where there is no talebearer, strife ceases.
21 As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire,
00 So is a contentious man to kindle strife.
22 The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles,
00 And they go down into the inmost body.

23 Fervent lips with a wicked heart
00 Are like earthenware covered with silver dross.

24 He who hates, disguises it with his lips,
00 And lays up deceit within himself;
25 When he speaks kindly, do not believe him,
00 For there are seven abominations in his heart;
26 Though his hatred is covered by deceit,
00 His wickedness will be revealed before the assembly.

27 Whoever digs a pit will fall into it,
00 And he who rolls a stone will have it roll back on him.

28 A lying tongue hates those who are crushed by it,
00 And a flattering mouth works ruin.

The purpose of Writing the book of Proverbs was to reveal the mind of God in matters high and lofty and in common, ordinary, everyday situations. It appears that no topic escaped King Solomon's attention. Matters pertaining to personal conduct, sexual relations, business, wealth, charity, ambition, discipline, debt, child-rearing, character, alcohol, politics, revenge, and Godliness are among the many topics covered in this rich collection of wise sayings.

Without wisdom, knowledge is nothing more than an accumulation of raw facts, influenced by emotional feelings. Many highly educated people are in positions of power in the United States, but very few of those educated leaders have the wisdom needed to rule properly.

One can say that they have been educated well beyond their intelligence. A cursory look at the court system will prove my point that knowledge without wisdom will only lead to an immoral society that eventually crumbles from within. Judges are supposed to be above the fray, and immovable to emotions. Instead, the vast majority of judges today are Godless individuals who are vacant of wisdom. So their rulings are totally based upon emotional feelings.

We the people are to blame, because we ignored God's guidance in appointing our leaders. Instead of putting leaders full wisdom in power, we instead chose those who would scratch our itchy ears to lead us.

Of the 31 Proverbs, only the first 24 were written by Solomon. King Hezekiah wrote 5, Proverbs 25 to 29, Agur wrote Proverb 30, and Lemuel wrote Proverb 31. Now many believe Lemuel was in fact King Solomon and Lemuel was just a nick name his Mother, Bathsheba gave him. We are told that Solomon write over 3000 Proverbs and composed 1000 songs, but the only Proverbs God decided to preserve for us are Proverbs 1-24. Like the New Testament epistle by James, it is impossible to get a chronological outline for a study since they all bounce from subject to subject.

Along with my daily routine of reading the Bible, I try to read through the book of Proverbs once a Month. It's an easy task when you consider there are 31 Proverbs. So all you need to know is what day of the Month it is. In the Months that have 30 days, or in the case of February, I just double up by reading more than one two proverb so I can begin the next month with Proverb 1 on the first again.

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