Crosswalk The Devotional 7th September – Does the Bible Really Call People Stupid?

Crosswalk The Devotional

TOPIC: Does the Bible Really Call People Stupid?

SCRIPTURE: Proverbs 12:1

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge but whoever hates correction is stupid.

By Clarence L Haynes. Jr.

It’s not very often you see the word stupid used in the Bible. For as long as this word has been around, it has rarely, if ever, been used in a positive light, especially when referring to another person. This usage in Proverbs is no different. I don’t know if you have ever been called stupid in your life, but if you have, you know the term is highly offensive and should rarely be used to describe someone. For this reason, we should pay close attention when the Bible chooses to define someone in this manner. Before we begin to pull out some truth from this verse, I want to share with you what one commentator wrote about the word stupid that is used here in Proverbs.

The NET Bible notes, “The word בָּעַר (ba’ar, “brutish; stupid”) normally describes dumb animals that lack intellectual sense. Here, it describes the moral fool who is not willing to learn from correction. He is like a dumb animal.” I hope that begins to shape your perspective on the gravity and intensity of this word. Now let’s make some personal applications.

Two key questions to ask yourself in this verse:

1. Do you love discipline?
There are two correlations made in this verse. The first one is between discipline and knowledge. Here is a definition of the word discipline, and you will see why it correlates with knowledge.

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The Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible states, “Learning that molds character and enforces correct behavior; from a Latin word meaning “instruction” or “training.” To discipline a person or a group means to put them in a state of good order so that they function in the way intended. Discipline, in spite of a popular misconception, is not inherently stern or harsh. Bible translators chose “disciple” as an appropriate term for one who learns by following.” [2]

When you define discipline in this manner, you can see why it is correlated to knowledge. The person who loves discipline loves being instructed and trained and therefore sees it as part of the process of attaining knowledge. The disciplined person in this verse is the person who loves learning and will endure the process so they can obtain knowledge.

Do you hate correction?
The second correlation in this verse is for the person who hates being corrected. This type of person either thinks they know it all or views correction as some type of dishonor or disrespect. This can affect anyone. We can believe we know so much about something that there is nothing anyone can tell us about it. This is a form of pride that does not make us look smarter but makes us look foolish, and if you behave in this manner, the Bible calls you stupid. That is a humbling pill to swallow.

How can you make this verse very practical in your life? Here are two simple ways to do this.

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1. Always be a student.
There is so much to learn in this world that it is truly impossible to know it all. For this reason, always be a student. I heard Pastor A.R. Bernard say this. “I am sometimes the teacher, but always the student.” The disciplined person recognizes how much they don’t know instead of celebrating how much they do. This type of person will always acquire more knowledge.

2. Embrace the people God places around you.
One of the reasons God places people in your life and encourages you to walk in fellowship with them is that we don’t know it all. God puts people around you to help you grow and get better. For this to happen, there will be moments of correction. Sometimes these moments are not pleasant, but we must learn to embrace them and not despise them because they are for our good. Obviously, there is wisdom in how correction is given, but even if it is not done right, don’t automatically reject the correction, especially if there is merit to what is being said. 

In the Proverbs verse, the word hate means literally to abhor, to detest, to loathe, or to have a feeling of intense dislike. This is the attitude of the person who hates correction and doesn’t want anybody to tell them anything they don’t want to hear. Is it any wonder why the Bible calls this person stupid? Let’s not be those people.

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Intersecting Faith and Life:
As you think about your own life, what type of person are you right now, and what type of person do you want to be? I know correction is not always an easy pill to swallow, but it’s better to struggle with swallowing the pill than to be declared stupid. As I said earlier, rarely has that word ever been used in a positive light.
Ego is the anesthesia that deadens the pain of stupidity.” – Rick Rigsby 

Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club.  He is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose which will help you understand how God leads you into his will. He has also just released his new book The Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life. Do you want to go deeper in your walk with the Lord but can’t seem to overcome the stuff that keeps getting in the way? This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. To learn more about his ministry please visit

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