When the Bible Calls You Stupid

This past Sunday, I taught our congregation on the profitability of God’s Word from 2 Timothy 3:16-17. The Apostle Paul brings out four categories where Scripture is profitable for the believer: teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. The first two categories address Scripture being profitable for our beliefs (orthodoxy), and the latter two address how Scripture is profitable for our behavior (orthopraxy). Furthermore, both our beliefs and behavior are addressed constructively and correctively: teaching (belief) and training (behavior) are constructive, and reproof (belief) and correction (behavior) are corrective. In a way, Paul is saying that Scripture is entirely sufficient to address every aspect of the Christian life.

For most Christians, I would assume are open and receptive to the constructive ways Scripture is profitable to them, namely through the teaching of God’s Word and training by God’s Word.  However, that is only 50% of Scripture’s intended instrumentality for being competent and equipped for every good work.  What about the corrective ways that Scripture is intended to be profitable?  Are Christians just as receptive, open, and welcoming to giving and receiving reproof and correction?  If the answer is no, then we can only conclude that believers find Scripture to be only 50% profitable for their lives while God intends for it to be 100% profitable.  Could this explain, perhaps, the problem of believers not being equipped and competent for a life of good works?

The Bible is not silent about the importance of giving and receiving reproof and correction.  In fact, both the Father and the Son explain a principle way in which they communicate love to God’s people is through reproving and correcting:

Father’s Loving Reproof
My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights. – Prov. 3:11-12

Son’s Loving Reproof
Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. – Rev. 3:19

Not only is such love demonstrated by the Godhead by correction and reproof, God is plain is showing us the nature and consequences of one who rejects them.  Consider the positive and negative statements found in Proverbs:

Positive Statements

Reproofs Are a Way of Life
23 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light,
 and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life,
Proverbs 6:23

Reproofs Are a Wellspring of Wisdom
7 Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, 
and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.
 8 Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;
 reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
 9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
 teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.
 10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
 and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
 11 For by me your days will be multiplied,
 and years will be added to your life.
 12 If you are wise, you are wise for yourself;
 if you scoff, you alone will bear it.
Proverbs 9:7-12

Reproof Is Foundational to an Honorable Life
18 Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction,
 but whoever heeds reproof is honored.
Proverbs 13:18

Reproof Is the Curriculum of the Wise
31 The ear that listens to life-giving reproof 
will dwell among the wise.
 32 Whoever ignores instruction despises himself,
 but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.
 33 The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom,
 and humility comes before honor.
Proverbs 15:31-33

Reproof Is Great Gain for the Wise
Strike a scoffer, and the simple will learn prudence; reprove a man of understanding, and he will gain knowledge.
Proverbs 19:25

Negative Statements

Rejection of Reproof Leads Yourself and Others Astray
17 Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, 
but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.
Proverbs 10:17

A Hater of Reproof Is Stupid
12:1 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
 but he who hates reproof is stupid.
Proverbs 12:1

Rejection of Reproof Is the Pathway to Death
10 There is severe discipline for him who forsakes the way;
 whoever hates reproof will die.
Proverbs 15:10

I am not aware of many places in the Bible where God calls someone stupid.  God obviously does not think very highly of those who hate reproof.  And neither should we.  The question we should be asking ourselves is to what degree does our life welcome and receive reproof?  Are we prone to getting defensive, prideful, or offer justifications?  Or do we receive them, like David, as a kindness and “oil for my head”? Are we creating a culture in our gospel communities and church gatherings where Scripture is truly profitable in both constructive and corrective ways?  Or, are we be negligence, failing to appreciate the sufficiency of God’s Word and creating a people whom God calls stupid?

May God help us appreciate the great usefulness of His Word and speak the truth in love so that we may serve one another well and keep us from forsaking the way.

Explore posts in the same categories: Discipleship, I Love the Local Church, Personal Commentary

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One Comment on “When the Bible Calls You Stupid”

  1. We also have to hold onto Scripture to help us accept the reproof. 1 John 1:9 is the verse that helps me through all those times God brings His correction to my attention.

    “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

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