Wisdom and folly - Proverbs 9

This is a sermon by Melvin Tinker from the evening service on 15th April 2018.

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Wisdom and Folly 

Proverbs 9


Wisdom and ‘best fit’


Proverbs tends to operate in terms of generalisations, putting things as polar opposites. Possessing wisdom is the key to living the good life. Wisdom is more than having information; it is having the ability to use that information properly. Wisdom is the art of cultivating those skills and virtues which enable us to become the kind of people living under the King which can live in God’s world, God’s way.


Meet Ms Wisdom and Ms Folly.


  • Two offers. 

Proverbs 9 is constructed in such a way that the second half of the chapter is a perverted mirror image of the first. The first section verses 1-9 and the last 13-18 focus on the two female figures who seem to have so much in common.


Ms Folly is a grotesque image of the original, a parody of the real thing.



Ms Wisdom’s offer.

  • The best accomodation-v1.
  • The best provision-v2.
  • The best promotion-v3.


            Ms Folly

She is:

  • ‘Unruly’ or ‘loud’-v13.
  • Lazy-vv v14 and 15
  • Appeals to our base desires-v17

But far from being delicious what she offers is disastrous-v18.



Ms Folly is the dominant voice of today.


‘Get rid of boundaries’.



The contrast with Ms Wisdom could not be greater. She speaks into the public arena from ‘the highest point in the city’. She shows us that God’s ways are the best ways for those who live under his loving rule and want to please him.


  • Two responses vv7-9.


In verses 7-8a we have the stance of the unbeliever. He does not argue, he mocks.


On the other hand the believer is open to correction and instruction,



  • The one basis.

Verse 10 forms the pivotal point of this sermon in Proverbs, separating the two women on either side: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. It looks back - ‘the beginning of wisdom’ and forward, ‘gaining understanding’ and in both cases the source is God. At the end of the day our lives are shaped and motivated by what we value.


Questions for thought:

  • What is the difference between having knowledge and having wisdom?
  • How can you gain wisdom?
  • Which areas of your life display wisdom and which folly? What can you do about it?
  • What factors make you follow Ms Folly?
  • Could you describe Jesus as a wise man? If so how?














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