People should be wise.
Those who are foolish need to become wise. Kings should be wise, and people should listen to their kings so they can become wise too. Speaking with wisdom is what righteous people do; foolish talk is inappropriate. So get wisdom and understanding, even if it costs everything you have, and don’t let them out of your sight. Foolishness may be more fun, but you need understanding to keep you on the right track. Even ants possess wisdom; you could learn a few things from them.
Wisdom is better than strength, and much more valuable than silver and gold and rubies. Those who find wisdom are blessed with happiness and prosperity. Wisdom will keep you safe from wicked men and women, and enable you to live longer and save other people’s lives. Wisdom makes you inclined to do good deeds. Only wise people will be rewarded with everlasting life in the kingdom of heaven. Wisdom even makes you look nicer.
Wisdom is better than folly in every way. Wisdom brings honor, but foolishness brings shame. If you are wise, your parents will be happy with you, but if you are foolish, they will be disappointed in you. Wisdom brings rewards, but foolishness brings punishment and suffering. Even the companions of fools are in danger of harm, so you should hang out with wise people instead. Listen to the constructive criticism of the wise, not the mindless songs and shouts of fools.
Fools deserve to be beaten, because they are not upright. Fools will come to ruin; they will be cursed and die, because they are envious and resentful, and because they just don’t have the sense to preserve their own lives. It’s better to be poor than foolish.
Paul wanted his followers to live wisely and not be foolish. He asked God to fill them with wisdom and understanding so they would be better able to please God. He encouraged them to instruct each other with wisdom and to deal with outsiders wisely. He thought it was shameful that there seemed to be no one in the Corinthian church wise enough to judge their own disputes.
God wants his people to obey his laws in order to show the world how wise and understanding they are. God is disappointed to see that his people don’t have the sense to obey him, and he wishes they were wiser. Fools give God no pleasure.
God gives people wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. He wouldn’t do that if it wasn’t good for people to be wise, would he? Anyone who lacks wisdom should ask God for it, and they will receive it. God offered to give Solomon whatever he asked for, and when Solomon chose to be given wisdom and knowledge, God was so pleased that he gave him bonus gifts as well. God is also incredibly wise himself. We should follow his perfect example and seek to be wise like him.
People should be foolish.
Wisdom is nothing to boast about. Not relying on wisdom is what’s worth boasting about. Wisdom and knowledge will lead you astray. Wisdom inevitably leads people to reject God, and he will punish them for it. The king of Tyre was full of wisdom and understanding, and he knew it, which led to his ruin.
Solomon wisely advises us2 not to rely on our own understanding and not to think too deeply. He had more wisdom and knowledge than anyone else, but that only made him more miserable. If you want to be happy (which you should!), you’ll have to abandon wisdom. Being foolish and senseless can bring you great joy!
God clearly doesn’t want people to be wise. He thinks human wisdom is foolishness. When God created humans, the first thing he told them they must not do was to eat fruit from the tree of knowledge, which would give them wisdom. When people become wise and learned, God makes fools of them. God wouldn’t do that if it wasn’t good for people to be foolish, would he?
Wisdom is scarce among Christians because God prefers to choose the foolish of the world to put the wise to shame. The gospel has no power to save people unless it’s preached in a foolish way, without wisdom.
It’s best not to be too wise or too foolish. You should only be wise about good things, and stay naive about evil.3 You should become a fool, but only so you can become wise. Wisdom from heaven is good, but wisdom from earth is evil.
Tolerating fools is the wise thing to do. So it’s okay to be foolish, because your foolishness will be tolerated. But in that case, why should you care what the wise thing to do is? If it’s okay to be foolish, it’s okay not to do the wise thing, so it’s okay not to tolerate fools. But that means you’d better not be a fool, because that may not be tolerated. So do the wise thing, and tolerate fools…
Actually, it doesn’t matter: Good things happen to people randomly, and whether you are wise or not makes no difference. The wise have no advantage over fools. In the end, they will all die and be forgotten.