Hasty with Words

Reading the Word

Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.(Proverbs 29:20, ESV)

Understanding and Applying the Word

This verse describes the one who is “hasty in his words.” This is a person who gives no thought about the good or evil done through what he says. He only is concerned with accomplishing a certain goal. It may be to win an argument or prove a point or put someone in their place. The hasty words may accomplish those goals, but it may also do far more damage than that. Hasty words destroy relationships, close ears to the message of the gospel, and drive people away from churches. The offender often hides behind the phrase “but what I said was the truth”, but such a mindset fails to understand that it is not just what is said, but how and when something is said.

The one who is hasty in speaking is worse than a fool. A fool is one who is mistaken about what he thinks he knows, but there is hope for him if he learns the truth. The hasty person, however, knows the truth. They use the truth to get what they want without regard for what is best for others. It is difficult to change the person who is quick to speak and slow to hear. It is no wonder that the Book of James warns us about the power of the tongue (James 3:6-9).


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Is the Argument Worth It?

Reading the Word

If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.(Proverbs 29:9, ESV)

Understanding and Applying the Word

The imagery of this proverb is the courtroom. The Hebrew word translated “argument” is one that speaks of a legal argument that is laid out with logic and reason before others. Even with all of the evidence and reasoning, the fool only rages and laughs. There is no quiet because the fool is not interested in reasoning, only foolishness.

There are better things to do than argue with others who are already convinced and are not willing to reconsider. Some people are not interested in reason or understanding. They have their mind made up no matter what anyone else may say. The fool only desires to speak, not listen, so he rages on. The next time you are tempted to argue over a topic, ask yourself if there is any chance of it changing the other person’s mind. If not, it may be better to walk away.


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Like a Dog Returns to His Vomit

Reading the Word

Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.(Proverbs 26:11, ESV)

Understanding and Applying the Word

What a vivid picture. It is the gross imagery of a dog returning to its vomit. What a disgusting thing! We see a similar statement in 2 Peter 2:22. The message is that we cannot simply teach a fool. They simply continue to go back to their old ways. Instead, there needs to be a complete re-orientation of their lives. They need to commit themselves to obtaining wisdom.

“Some people never learn” is a common saying. It is these types of people who are being described in this passage. They do things, they fail, but instead of learning and doing things differently, they return to their old ways. Others say things and get themselves into trouble, but fail to learn to control their tongues and end up repeating their mistakes. They are like a dog returning to its vomit.

We must commit ourselves to learning and growing. If we fail to do so, we should not be surprised when we continue to see the same results in our lives.


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Never Stop Learning

Reading the Word

Like a lame man’s legs, which hang useless, is a proverb in the mouth of fools.(Proverbs 26:7, ESV)

Understanding and Applying the Word

A proverb is a saying that teaches wisdom. A fool is one who refuses to learn. You can pass a proverb along to a fool, but it is useless because the fool will not learn from it. They may speak it, but they will not act on it.

The Book of Proverbs is a wisdom book. It is meant to teach us how to live better in this world. However, it also warn us about being a fool and the dangers of refusing to learn. If we are honest, we all have more to learn and should continue to do so throughout our lives. Let us never get to the point where we think we know all we need to know or where we think that no one is able to teach us anything.


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