Lacking Sense

Text: Proverbs 15:21

The book of Proverbs focuses on wisdom from above. It contains many contrasts between wisdom and foolishness. Several passages describe the one who lacks sense – void of wisdom/understanding (KJV). Paul said we are to “walk, not as unwise men but as wise” (Ephesians 5:15). Let us consider some of the passages in Proverbs about those who lack sense and see what we can learn from them.

The One Who Lacks Sense Believes That Ignorance Is Bliss (Proverbs 15:21)

  • One who lacks sense rejoices in folly (foolishness) – contrasted with understanding which results in walking uprightly (KJV)
  • In this condition, he simply does what is “right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25) – no concern for any higher law than his own conscience
  • Ignorance of the law does not exempt one from the law, particularly God’s law (2 Thessalonians 1:8; Hosea 4:6) – rather than having joy over folly, one should mourn and repent (2 Corinthians 7:10)
  • Do not be like the one who lacks sense – learn God’s will and obey it (Psalm 119:33; James 1:21-22)

The One Who Lacks Sense Pursues Worthless Things (Proverbs 12:11)

  • The word “things” was added by the translators – KJV uses the word “persons
  • Do not pursue what is worthless – worthless persons (1 Corinthians 15:33); worthless things (Ecclesiastes 2:3-7, 11); worthless activities (Ecclesiastes 2:8, 11)
  • We are to focus on doing the work God has given us to do – physical work (Proverbs 12:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-10); study the Scriptures (2 Timothy 2:15); pray to God (1 Thessalonians 5:17); assemble with the saints (Hebrews 10:25)
  • Do not be like the one who lacks sense – work hard at the tasks that God has given (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

The One Who Lacks Sense Despises His Neighbor (Proverbs 11:12)

  • The term “neighbor” is not limited to a person that lives by us – anyone that we might encounter (Luke 10:29-37)
  • To despise means to view with contempt or to consider insignificant – we need to recognize the value of every individual (James 3:9); love others as God has loved us (1 John 4:7-11)
  • We often show contempt for our neighbor by not keeping silent (Proverbs 11:12) – much harm can be done by the improper use of the tongue (James 3:5-6); we must be careful with our speech (Colossians 4:5-6; Ephesians 4:29)
  • Do not be like the one who lacks sense – seek peace rather than strife (Proverbs 20:3)

The One Who Lacks Sense Commits Adultery (Proverbs 6:32)

  • The wise man warned his son to not commit adultery with “his neighbor’s wife” (Proverbs 6:29) – difficult to find forgiveness (Proverbs 6:30-35)
  • Adultery is sinful (1 Corinthians 6:9) – but it is not just adultery that is condemned; lusting after a woman is also condemned (Proverbs 6:25, 27-28; Matthew 5:27-28); God wants us to be pure in heart (1 Timothy 1:5)
  • God has given marriage as the relationship in which sexual desires can be fulfilled (1 Corinthians 7:1-2) – be content in marriage (Proverbs 5:15-20); exercise self-control (Acts 24:25)
  • Do not be like the one who lacks sense – hold marriage “in honor” and remain “undefiled” (Hebrews 13:4)


  • The wisdom of God has been revealed to us in His word – if we lack sense, it is because we have not taken enough time to learn the Scriptures
  • Let us study God’s word and apply it so we will not be like those who are lacking sense

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