Proverbs 29:9 reads: “If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.”
Almost everyone has heard some “wise sayings” that might sound similar to this verse. One that was popular a few years ago was “Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level; and then they beat you with experience.” Another one that has been attributed to everyone from Mark Twain to George Bernard Shaw is “Never wrestle with a pig. You both just get dirty, and the pig likes it.” Both have a ring of truth in them that makes them a bit appealing for their humor.
In the book of Proverbs, the word “fool” is sometimes used simply for an unbeliever. Sometimes it is used for a person who lacks good sense, or who uses poor judgment. Sometimes they are interchangeable. But whether the “opponent” is a fool by reason of his non-belief in the truth, or because of a stubborn will, or whatever reason, it really makes no difference. No good comes from arguing with them. 2 Timothy 2:23 tells us “Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.” The 24th and 25th verse explain that “the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness.” When discussion becomes an argument, listening comes to an end, and with that, opportunity for salvation can get lost.
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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