NEW TESTAMENT – The contrasting elements of wisdom and folly evident in the OT were clearly in the mind of Paul when he asked, “Hasn’t God made the world’s wisdom foolish? (1 Cor 1:20b HCSB). However, in the NT, this polarity between wisdom and folly is not always stressed. In fact, it is possible that a certain kind of wisdom can actually be folly. In Matt 7:26;2-3; Rom 2:20 “folly” is used synonymously with “experiential wisdom.” Wisdom based only on human intellect and experiences without considering God is folly.
In Matt 23:17 folly is equated with blindness. The characteristics of folly include thoughtlessness, the pursuit of unbridled aspirations, and a lifestyle characterized by envy, greed, and pride.
Foolishness is also described in paradoxical terms in the NT. In 1 Cor 1-3 the incarnation is portrayed as “foolishness,” but it is precisely this kind of perceived “foolishness” that is better than worldly wisdom. Our understanding of this paradoxical relationship affects the manner in which Christ is proclaimed (1 Cor 1:18; 2:5). We must rely on God’s gift and power of proclamation, not on human powers and wisdom. The writer of Matthew records Jesus stating that “whoever says to his brothers, ‘Fool,’ will be subject to the Sanhedrin. But whoever says, ‘You moron!’ will be subject to hellfire” (5:22b HCSB).