In 1956, Frankie Lymon and his band called the Teenagers asked the penetrating question, “Why do fools fall in love?” Since then, musicians and poets from Elvis to the Beatles have all noted the link between love and fools. But other than “sitting on a hill” or “rushing into love,” what exactly is a fool?
The book of Proverbs describes a “fool” in vivid color: A fool is one who despises wisdom and discipline (1.7), who is lazy and complacent (1.32), who brings grief to his parents (10.1), whose mouth speaks uncontrollably (10.8-14), who spreads gossip and slander (10.18), who lacks judgment (10.21), who finds pleasure in evil conduct (10.23), who always thinks he is right so never listens to advice (12.15), whose anger is uncontrolled (14.16), who delights in airing his own opinion (18.2), who does not save or prepare for the future (21.20), and who repeats the same mistakes (26.11). Fools don’t just fall in love; they fall all over the place.
But how does a man or woman become a fool? After all, who wants the previous words from Proverbs to be spoken about them? Surely we all want to be wise? Is that enough to keep us from becoming a fool? Can the proper education make us a wise person? What is the essential ingredient of wisdom?
Solomon, and the book of Proverbs, is not the only place in the Bible that speaks of wisdom and foolishness. Paul, in his letter to the church in Rome, echoes the words of Solomon in Proverbs 1.7.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools. (Romans 1.21-22)
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. (Proverbs 1.7)
So, what is the beginning of foolishness? What is the common predicator that turns an ordinary person into a fool?