Proverbs on Rebuke

Prov 1:20-33
Wisdom calls aloud in the street. She utters her voice in the public squares.  She calls at the head of noisy places. At the entrance of the city gates, she utters her words:  "How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? How long will mockers delight themselves in mockery, And fools hate knowledge? Turn at my reproof. Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you. I will make known my words to you. Because I have called, and you have refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no one has paid attention;  But you have ignored all my counsel, And wanted none of my reproof;  I also will laugh at your disaster. I will mock when calamity overtakes you;  When calamity overtakes you like a storm, When your disaster comes on like a whirlwind; When distress and anguish come on you.  Then will they call on me, but I will not answer. They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me; Because they hated knowledge, And didnít choose the fear of Yahweh.  They wanted none of my counsel. They despised all my reproof. Therefore they will eat of the fruit of their own way, And be filled with their own schemes. For the backsliding of the simple will kill them. The careless ease of fools will destroy them. But whoever listens to me will dwell securely, And will be at ease, without fear of harm."

The wise are not necessarily those with perfect behavior, but rather they respond properly to correction. Others mock at correction and hate the very knowledge which would save them. They despise correction and will not listen to rebuke. They live carelessly and their end is calamity.

3:11  My son, donít despise Yahwehís discipline,
Neither be weary of his reproof:
And notice the similarity with Hebrews and Revelation
Hebrews 12:6  For whom the Lord loves, he chastens, And scourges every son whom he receives."
Revelation 3:19  As many as I love, I reprove and chasten. Be zealous therefore, and repent.

Therefore if we are practicing God's love then we should be involved not only in responding properly to correction, but also be involved in correcting others.The world's concept of love is more along the lines of making people feel good about themselves. Indeed to many in the world rebuke is akin to sin. And such is the misconception of many in the church today. Yet the New Testament is filled with examples of rebuke, exhortation and correction both in the gospels and in the letters.

9:7  He who corrects a mocker invites insult.
He who reproves a wicked man invites abuse.
9:8  Donít reprove a scoffer, lest he hate you.
Reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
9:9  Instruct a wise man, and he will be still wiser.
Teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.

19:25  Flog a scoffer, and the simple will learn prudence;
Rebuke one who has understanding, and he will gain knowledge.
25:12  As an ear-ring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold,
So is a wise reprover to an obedient ear.

A way to measure a person's level of wisdom is by their response to rebuke. The most common response to rebuke is insult and hatred. For people are predominantly scoffers and mockers. But the wise are teachable and appreciate correction.
13:18  Poverty and shame come to him who refuses discipline,
But he who heeds correction shall be honored.
15:10  There is stern discipline for one who forsakes the way:
Whoever hates reproof shall die.
There are personal benefits in responding properly to rebuke but those who hate rebuke end up harming themselves.
10:17  He is in the way of life who heeds correction,
But he who forsakes reproof leads others astray.
Noone is an island and as such if we don't respond properly to rebuke not only are we going along the wrong path but also we will lead others astray.
12:1  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge,
But he who hates reproof is stupid.
Yes there are many people who are just plain stupid, who only want complements but not correction.
15:12  A scoffer doesnít love to be reproved; He will not go to the wise.
Scoffers avoid reproof by avoiding the wise. They don't associate with the wise and are offended if the wise enter into their environment. Thus as Christians try to reach out to influence society we experience a great deal of hostility from the world.
15:31  The ear that listens to reproof lives, And will be at home among the wise.
The contrite on the other hand will tend to gravitate to the wise.

15:32  He who refuses correction despises his own soul, But he who listens to reproof gets understanding.

17:10  A rebuke enters deeper into one who has understanding
Than a hundred lashes into a fool.
Those with children recognize that children require different degrees of correction. The more foolish require more severe correction. But for some a simple rebuke is sufficient.
27:5  Better is open rebuke Than hidden love.
Hidden love is like affection without action. It doesn't benefit the one supposedly being loved. As such it is questionable whether hidden love is genuine or nothing more than a person in love with their own feelings of affection. Biblical love is concerned with meeting the person's actual needs. Rebuke is an example of the practice of Christian love, which is seldom appreciated in the short term.
28:23  One who rebukes a man will afterward find more favor
Than one who flatters with the tongue.
But in the long term rebuke will be found to have met people's needs more so than complements.
29:15  The rod of correction gives wisdom,
But a child left to himself causes shame to his mother.
Modern American culture with its emphasis on freedom and independence has influence many parents to neglect correcting their children and letting them basically raise themselves with the inevitable result of rebellious teenagers involved in risky behavior. No surprise there!
29:19  A servant canít be corrected by words.
Though he understands, yet he will not respond.
13:1  A wise son listens to his fatherís instruction,
But a scoffer doesnít listen to rebuke.
What he is alluding to here is not to one who has the heart of a servant which is a Christian virtue, but rather one who obeys reluctantly as a slave in comparison to a son who has the heart of his father and a desire to please him. Though we are servants of God, yet if we view ourselves only as servants obligated to obey and not as sons of God, God may find it necessary to hit us over the head to keep us in line as we "kick against the goads." But as sons concerned with imitating and pleasing our Father, only words are necessary to keep us in line. Thus if you don't respond to God's Word, He may just have to do something more severe to get His point across.
30:6  Donít you add to his words, Lest he reprove you, and you be found a liar.
The sense of this is that we should not claim that our own words are the Word of God - a principle of which many Christians violate today. However we must add applications to God's Word or else we are also not handling His Word properly. The Word is meant to be applied. More literally we can say that we must infer applications from God's Word. An application of this verse is to rebuke those who add to God's Word deviant ideas such as is the case with Islam, or who misinterpret what God has said in order to read into the Bible deviant ideas as is the case with deviant versions of Christianity.


When was Jesus rebuked and when did he rebuke others? Note the differences.
When have I been rebuked and from what sources?
Was such rebuke justified?
How did I respond?
What knowledge have I gained from rebuke?
Do I appreciate those who rebuke me justifiably?
Do others appreciate me whom I rebuke justifiably?
How can not responding properly to rebuke lead others astray?
Why is the love of knowledge correlated to the love of correction?
Why do some repent simply by hearing while others require stronger measures?
Why is open rebuke better than hidden love and how does this reflect my practical living?
What is the natural outcome of a child left to raise himself without correction?

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources Jul 29,2015