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Am I A Scoffer? 5 Key Questions To Ask Yourself

Ben Neiser


“How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?

How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing

and fools hate knowledge?

Proverbs 1:22

A scoffer is someone who takes the truth, goodness, and wisdom of God and distorts it to make it seem like a lie, evil and folly. The scoffer is vocal and manipulative to bring others with them into their scoffing. To be a scoffer is a dangerous place to be. To scoff at another Christian’s wisdom is to place yourself in opposition to God. It is vital to know if we are scoffers or where our scoffing tendencies lie. In the book of Proverbs, there are 13 verses that deal directly with scoffers. May these questions and verses provide clarity and conviction for you who are brave enough to open yourself up to it.

1. Do you find yourself slandering others that do things different than you?

How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?

How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing

and fools hate knowledge?

Proverbs 1:22

Scoffers delight in scoffing. When we delight in something, we practice it. We do it often. It is our natural impulse. The verse above describes a simple one, a scoffer, someone who hates knowledge. It is a person that is set in their ways. They hold deep convictions and they aren’t open for discussion. Now it isn’t wrong, as Christians, to hold certain convictions. It turns into scoffing when in order to maintain your convictions you spend more time demonizing opposing views, than you do showing biblical warrant for your viewpoint. A scoffer’s default mode, when some new idea, method, viewpoint is brought for discussion, is to slander it before listening.

Do you struggle finding the good, wisdom and truth in anything that does not agree with your viewpoint?

Do you spend more time slandering different methods, ideologies, convictions than you do supporting your own?

2. Do you attack others when confronted with wrongdoing?

Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse,

and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.

Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;

reprove a wise man, and he will love you.

Proverbs 9:7–8

A scoffer does not like to be reproved;

he will not go to the wise.

Proverbs 15:12

No one likes to be confronted with their wrongs. But a scoffer despises it and despises the one who does it. In that moment of confrontation, it becomes a competition and they will do whatever it takes to justify their actions. Their primary course of action is to slander and attack the one confronting them. They rarely can defend their actions, so they cause others to question the messenger. They have gaslighting down to a science.

Because of this tendency, there are two things that are true for the scoffer. They surround themselves with “yes” people. People that will provide very little push back to their particular ways. Scoffers that are charismatic, excel at gaslighting others and surround themselves with “yes” people can also be seen as leaders. Yes, there are some Christian Leaders that are scoffers. There are “rise and fall” stories out there about them. There are some Christian Leaders that have weaponized their role of authority in the church to gaslight others that disagree with them and they get away with it.

The second thing that is true of a scoffer, is that others are hesitant or fearful to correct them. Why? Because they have seen how others have been treated in the past. They don’t want that kind of treatment done to them, so they just leave it be.

Do you have to show where others are wrong to make yourself seem right?

Do you surround yourself with “yes” people?

Are people around you hesitant to correct you for fear of what might happen to them?

3. Do you have a track record of making contentious situations worse?

Scoffers set a city aflame,

but the wise turn away wrath.

Proverbs 29:8

Drive out a scoffer, and strife will go out,

and quarreling and abuse will cease.

Proverbs 22:10

A scoffer has to be right. They have to win. This drive to be right clouds their judgment in contentious situations. They just can’t help themselves from the slanderous statement, the passive aggressive slight, or the blame game. They are terrible at making peace and reconciliation. Because those things usually involve mutual repentance and ownership of wrongdoing. The scoffer just can’t get to that place. If they take the blame, they usually bring others in to shoulder the blame. They get really good at half-way apologizing. It is the pattern of an abuser. An abuser is a scoffer at heart. An abuser scoffs at something someone is doing that has a measure of truth, goodness and wisdom to it. Then the person being scoffed at reacts negatively to that scoffing. The scoffer seems justified in their scoffing based on this reaction. The original offended person ends up apologizing for their negative reaction. All the while the scoffer keeps scoffing. Thus, Solomon instructs his sons in Proverbs to cut this person out of their lives.

Are you a contentious person? Do you go looking for a fight?

Is making peace with those you disagree with difficult for you?

Have you gotten good at half-way apologizing?

4. Do you know that you are a scoffer?

“Scoffer” is the name of the arrogant, haughty man

who acts with arrogant pride.

Proverbs 21:24

Probably the most difficult thing about helping a scoffer is that they don’t naturally come to the conclusion that they are a scoffer. It is really scary to think about. They are so blinded by their pride. They are always justified and right in their own eyes. The scoffers never think that they are scoffing. So one way to know if you are not a “full on” scoffer, is that you know when and how you scoff. Everyone scoffs but not everyone is a scoffer.

Do you scoff at others that confront you about your scoffing?

Do you have a Holy Spirit-filled conviction of your scoffing?

Do you invite accountability from others to correct your scoffing tendencies?

5. Are you scoffing at this article?

A wise son hears his father’s instruction,

but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.

Proverbs 13:1

I’m not saying that you can’t disagree with something that I write. I’m simply asking if you have taken the time to really receive this correction or if you’ve tried to pick it apart.

Have your scoffing tendencies reared their ugly head while reading this article?

Have you been working overtime trying to justify your actions?

Have you thought slanderous thoughts about me or my viewpoints?

Have you read this with intent to prove it wrong, rather than trying to see the truth, goodness and wisdom in it?

Has reading this led you to scoff or genuine conviction of your scoffing?

So I’m a scoffer, now what?

Confess and repent to the Lord of the specific ways in which you scoff.

Invite His Spirit to correct and transform your heart.

Confess and repent to fellow Christians of the specific ways in which you scoff.

Invite accountability from Christians for your scoffing tendencies.

Be open to rebuke.

Take full responsibility for your scoffing. No more half-apologies.

Be quick to repent and reconcile with those whom you have scoffed.

Blessed is the man

who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,

nor stands in the way of sinners,

nor sits in the seat of scoffers;

Psalm 1:1



Ben Neiser

Christian. Husband. Father of two girls. Creative. Writer. Collaborator of Faith, Art, and Community.