From the Sunday Morning Galatians Series at Faith E. Free in Audubon, Iowa:
The Simple, the Fool and the Mocker

The Galatians accepted the gospel but soon where led back to legalism. Paul calls them “foolish Galatians.” (3:1)

Here the word for fool is not the Greek word “moros” which means “mentally deficient” and is where we get our word “moron”. The Galatians where not morons who did not know the truth.

Instead he uses the word “anoetos” which uses the prefix “a-” to negate the meaning of the word that it is attached to. Here “a-” is attached to a word meaning “mind” (“noetos” a form of “nous”) They where “no-mind believers.”

Paul is saying the Galatians had a mind with information but they refused to use the discipline of logical thinking. Thus, they were “fools” as in “anoetos” and not “morons” as in “moros.”

The book of Proverbs sheds more light on the concept of a fool. Besides the wise person there are three other people defined there:

1) The simple is the person who does foolish things because they do not know any better. The simple lack knowledge. To correct the simple person give them correct information. Teach them and they change.

2) The fool is the person who knows what is right, but lacks self discipline to do it. Teaching a fool does not help them since they already know. They need someone to provide discipline for them to succeed. The fool will follow leadership (good or bad) since they can not provide it for themselves. Discipline will make a change.

3) The mocker can not be corrected with instruction nor discipline. A conflict with them can only be resolved by removing them. Fools will follow the mocker. (Pr. 9:7; 13:1; 19:25; 22:10:29:8) “You who are simple, gain prudence.”

The wise, the simple, the fool and the mocker

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”