Defining a Fool

Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:

Luke 24:25 (KJV)

O Fools – April 1st was a day to recognize the foolish, to play jokes, and act silly, so I thought it fitting to touch on whom Yeshua considers foolish in this world. The word here in Greek is anoētos which doesn’t quite line up with our idea of silliness or playfully foolish. It’s much more severe.

As often occurs in Greek, an ‘a’ in front of a word denotes its opposite. The root word here is noeō which alludes to the Greek philosophical model separating the mind (knowledge) from the heart (emotion). The exact Greek definition of the word noeō is “to perceive with thought coming into consciousness as distinct from the perception of senses.” (The Complete Word Study Dictionary of the New Testament, p.1013) It is something that happens in the mind, it’s to understand, or comprehend.  So anoētos would mean the opposite – those without understanding, or lacking intelligence.

But again, let’s remember that Yeshua was a Hebrew and thought like a Hebrew, not a Greek. In Hebrew, there is no difference between understanding and emotions – our psyche doesn’t break down into compartments as it’s explained in Greek – it all comes from the heart. In fact, in the Septuagint, the word noeō refers to the heart, not the mind. Notice too, in the verse above that the fools are “slow of heart.”

“Greek thinking is clear logical knowing; Israelite thinking is deep psychological understanding.”

Hebrew Thought Compared with Greek, Thorleif Boman, p. 204

It is deep and psychological – another Greek word, but this one has to do with a person’s mind AND emotions. Unlike the Greeks who thought that emotions were the forerunners of chaotic breakdowns, the Hebrews saw emotion as direct relationships with God. This emotional connection is what God always wanted with His people, He always sought their hearts. And He does this today, searching and calling for our hearts to be circumcised.

But without going too far off topic, let’s return to the foolish. We can now see that Yeshua calls them fools because they weren’t fully invested. It wasn’t just their mind that needed a change, but their entire person wasn’t absolutely committed. And what was that commitment to? The prophet’s writings.

How far off are we from them? Could Yeshua still consider us fools? His disciples were studied in the entirety of the Tanakh, they knew the writings and could quote from them easily. But they missed the connections to Yeshua. It’s all in there, every bit of proof we need is written down and sanctified by God, but who among us has read it? How many of us are willing to invest our lives absolutely to the words of the prophets? How many of us are willing to learn from their writings? We love to make the connections from Yeshua to Scripture, but it’s normally only presented by New Testament references. We’d rather not connect Yeshua to the Tanakh, those writings are old and were meant for someone else, in which case, have we become the fools?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *