Ecclesiastes 10:1-20

Talks for Growing Christians

Works and Words of the Fool

Ecclesiastes 10:1-20

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Lesson Number 12

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. The works of a fool defeat the value of wisdom.
  2. The words of a fool defeat the value of wisdom.

Practical Application

  1. Don’t let your conversations go downhill!


  1. The full conclusion for the believer from the book of Ecclesiastes could be stated as follows: ______ God, keep His ______________, live ___________ and remember the ___________.
  2. What is the lesson regarding wisdom found in verse 1 of chapter 10?
  3. What is the more modern way of stating the truth taught in ancient language in verse 11?
  4. Describe the words of wisdom and the words of a fool as taught in verses 12-15.
  5. The foolish person can be characterized or described in what terms (vs 16-19)?


  1. The full conclusion for the believer from the book of Ecclesiastes could be stated as follows: Fear God, keep His commandments, live joyously and remember the judgment.
  2. The lesson regarding wisdom in verse 1 is that it does not take much folly to nullify the hard earned benefits of wisdom. We see this lesson repeated in verses 3 and 5-7.
  3. A phrase used today which captures the meaning of the ancient phrase, “A serpent may bite when it is not charmed” is “When the horse is stolen it is too late to lock the barn.” These words reinforce the lesson that it does not take much folly, or foolish works, to nullify the benefits and value of wisdom.
  4. The words of wisdom can be described as gracious and few while the words of the fool are endless, worthless, shortsighted and ignorant (vs 12-15).
  5. The foolish person can be described as inexperienced (v 10), frequent drunkenness (v 17), negligence (v 17) and laziness (v 18).


  1. Consider those people in your workplace or in your church who are consistent in demonstrating wisdom in their speech and in their service. Identify specific, positive results that flow from their words and works. Graciously discuss examples of people in leadership positions in your community who consistently demonstrate quick and foolish words, spoken or written. Consider the negative impact of their actions in the community.


  1. Have you found that others in your circle of friends often lead conversations into areas that display ignorance, shallowness and shortsightedness, or are you the one who directs conversations in this direction? As a believer, make it a practice to follow the guidance of Colossians 4:6: “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.”

Key Verses

  • “Blessed are you O Land, when your king is the son of nobles, and your princes feast at the right time – for strength and not for drunkenness! Ecclesiastes 10:17

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