Sunday was April Fool’s Day– a day that many fill with mischievous pranks and innocent jokes. I still remember as a child listening to Mr. T boisterously proclaim, “I pity the fool!” It began with his role as the antagonistic boxer, Clubber Lane, in Rocky III, but it quickly became his well-known catchphrase thereafter.
The word “fool” occurs sixty-six (66) times in sixty-two (62) verses in the King James Version of the Bible. This word is translated from several words with several meanings. Solomon used this word forty-nine (49) times in his writings in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. The Hebrew words translated “fool” mean, “foolish, stupid fellow, dullard, senseless, ignoble, impious and presumptuous, usually in a moral or spiritual sense” (The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew & English Lexicon, pp. 17, 493, 614, 698). The Greek words mean, “foolishness, folly, senselessness, thoughtlessness, recklessness, without reason, reflection or intelligence, acting rashly, impious, godless, to be beside one’s self, out of one’s senses, void of understanding, insane” (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, pp. 90, 420, 486). Taking this classic catchphrase, let us notice just a few examples of those who are fools as we apply it to humanity.
I pity the fool who does not believe in God! “The fool hath said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good” (Ps. 14:1; 53:1). A fool is one who has no faith in God. He either did not have it or lost his faith at some point in life (cf. 2 Pet. 2:21-22). The Hebrew writer said, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6). Our belief in the existence of God can come through the evidences around in this world (Ps. 19:1-6), and reinforced in the word of God (Rom. 10:17). Believing we came from fish because of the salt content in our eyes is foolish. Believing in atheistic evolution is much more preposterous than to believe in God and creation. When we eliminate God from our minds, our thinking becomes vain (Rom. 1:21-23).
I pity the fool who lives a covetous, worldly life! “But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” (Luke 12:20). A fool is one who puts trust in riches, which leads to covetousness: “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15). We should seek first the kingdom of God (Luke 12:31). We should not put our money and possessions before God. Many spend much time working, leaving no time for God. Many place their priorities in possessions and recreational activities, leaving God entirely out of the picture. Our existence in this world is temporary (cf. Heb. 11:13-16); our possessions are temporary also. “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1 Tim. 6:7).
I pity the fool who asks needless questions! “Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame. But some man will say, ‘How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?’ Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die” (1 Cor. 15:34-36). A fool is one who asks needless questions. This context shows the lack of knowledge of the resurrection. One who asks needless questions lacks Bible study (2 Tim. 2:15). A lack of Biblical knowledge should never characterize us (Hos. 4:6). Yet, many disregard the instructions from their Father in heaven (cf. Prov. 15:5).
Therefore, are you a fool? I pity the fool!