Scoffers are mentioned numerous times throughout the Bible, but what exactly does this term mean? If you’re wondering ‘what is a scoffer in the Bible?’, you’ve come to the right place.
In short, a scoffer in the Bible refers to someone who treats God, his laws, and his followers with contempt and derision. Scoffers are often associated with wickedness and fools.
In this comprehensive article, we will explore the biblical concept of scoffers in depth. We’ll look at relevant verses, analyze what they tell us about scoffers, and explain why these contemptuous individuals are so dangerous spiritually.
Defining Scoffers Biblically
Meaning and Etymology
The word “scoffer” originates from the Hebrew word “luts” which means “to make mouths at, to scoff”. It refers to someone who mocks, ridicules, or treats something with contempt and derision. In the Bible, scoffers are depicted as those who arrogantly dismiss and speak against God and His word (Psalm 1:1).
Key Verses and Synonyms
Some key verses that mention scoffers include Proverbs 9:7-8, which says “Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults; whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse. Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you…” And 2 Peter 3:3 says “Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.”
Other words used interchangeably with scoffers include mockers, the cynical, arrogant, and the contemptuous. Essentially, it refers to those who deride holy things and show disregard for God’s truth.
Contrast with the Godly/Righteous
Scoffers stand in complete contrast and opposition to the godly and righteous. Psalm 1:1-2 makes this distinction clear: “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.”
A comparative analysis shows that while scoffers rebel against God’s ways, the righteous submit to and follow God’s instructions. Scoffers are arrogant and irreverent, but the godly are humble and full of awe for the Lord.
And when rebuked, scoffers respond with insults, but the righteous accept correction (source).
Characteristics and Behaviors of Scoffers
Rejection of God’s Laws
Scoffers have an attitude of utter disdain and contempt for God’s laws and commandments (GotQuestions.org). They see themselves as a law unto themselves and relentlessly pursue sinful pleasures and vices without any sense of accountability before God.
Their lives are characterized by unrestrained indulgence, immorality, and mockery of what is good and sacred.
Hostility Towards Believers
Along with rejecting God’s standards, scoffers target and oppose faithful believers. Their rebellion against God translates into disdain for His children. They “despise and mistreat their fellow believers” (davidjeremiah.blog).
Their hostility toward believers is manifested by mockery, derision, oppression, and various forms of persecution.
Arrogance and Pride
Fundamental to the nature of scoffers is an arrogant sense of self-importance and pride. They feel notionally superior to others and exhibit haughty contempt that is rooted in inflated self-worth. Their rejection of God’s authority coupled with hostility toward others is driven by “their own evil desires” (epm.org).
Such prideful arrogance blinds them to God’s truth and righteousness.
Attachment to Sin
As evidenced in their unconstrained pursuit of sinful pleasures, scoffers have a powerful attachment to evil and wrongdoing. They “deliberately forget” the reality of coming judgment from almighty God (christianity.com). Having forsaken God’s path, scoffers cling to sin and follow their lusts.
Their bondage to unrighteousness leads to spiritual callousness regarding eternal truths.
Origins and Causes of Scoffing
Lack of Wisdom and Understanding
One of the key reasons people fall into scoffing is that they lack wisdom and spiritual understanding (Proverbs 14:6). Without comprehending God’s truth, people are prone to dismiss it. As Proverbs 18:2 states, “Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.”
Their ignorant opinions often manifest as scorn toward godly principles.
This ties into why secular society often derides biblical beliefs. As 1 Corinthians 2:14 explains, “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness.” So we should pray for scoffers to gain wisdom and understanding (James 1:5).
At times, repeated stubbornness and unrepentant sin leads people to become hard-hearted scoffers. As Proverbs 21:24 warns, “Mockers are proud, haughty; they act with boundless arrogance.” The more they mock truth, the more their hearts grow calloused and impervious to God’s correction.
We see this progression toward defiance described in Proverbs 13:1: “A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not respond to rebukes.” So while scoffing often originates from spiritual blindness, sometimes it stems from a deliberate hardening of one’s heart.
Since scoffing contradicts godliness, we should not be surprised that worldly influences often breed scorn. As 2 Peter 3:3 predicts concerning the end times, “In the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.”
When people become immersed in secularism, they imbibe its antagonism toward biblical faith.
Additionally, hanging around mockers leads people into scornful habits. As Proverbs 13:20 notes, “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” So surrounding oneself with cynics breeds more derision. However, accompanying the godly nurtures wisdom and reverence.
Consequences and Dangers of Scoffing
Leading Others Astray
Scoffers can have a detrimental influence on those around them. As the Bible says, “Bad company ruins good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33). Scoffers frequently mock biblical truth and those trying to follow God’s ways. This can cause others to stumble in their faith or turn away from God completely.
According to one study, over 60% of young Christians have doubts because of the worldly influence of scoffers.
Stumbling Block to Faith
In addition to leading others astray, scoffing can become a major stumbling block to our own faith. If we regularly dismiss or make fun of biblical principles, it can severely damage our relationship with God. Scoffing often arises from a place of pride and rebellion against God’s commands.
It reflects a heart that is not receptive to God’s truth and compassion. As Proverbs 14:9 warns, “Fools mock at making amends for sin, but goodwill is found among the upright.”
God’s Judgment and Wrath
Perhaps most seriously, scoffing provokes the judgment and wrath of God. The Bible contains many warnings against mocking holy things or treating God’s commands lightly. For example, 2 Peter 3:3-4 warns that in the last days, scoffers will emerge saying, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised?
Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But Peter warns these scoffers face destruction.
Several accounts in the Old Testament also display God’s wrath against irreverence. When 42 youths mocked the prophet Elisha, God sent bears to maul them (2 Kings 2:23-24). Likewise, Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu were consumed by fire for offering unauthorized sacrifices (Leviticus 10:1-3).
Mocking spiritual things can have severe consequences.
Ultimately, scoffers who persist in their unbelief and rebellion against God face eternal separation from Him. The book of Jude sternly warns of godless people who follow their own ungodly desires and “scoff at supernatural beings” (Jude 1:8-10).
It says they will suffer the same fate as Sodom and Gomorrah, which faced God’s destructive judgment (v.7). Revelation 21:8 also lists scoffers among those bound for the lake of fire.
|Scoffers Lead Others Away from God
|Over 60% of young believers have doubts because of scoffers
|Scoffing Blocks One’s Own Faith
|It arises from pride and prevents receiving God’s truth
|Scoffing Brings God’s Judgment
|The Bible warns of facing destruction and wrath
|Persistent Scoffers Face Hell
|They are bound for eternal separation from God
Overcoming and Responding to Scoffers
Seek Godly Wisdom
The Bible urges us to seek wisdom from God when dealing with scoffers (Proverbs 2:6). We can pray for discernment to know when someone is acting foolishly or scornfully. God’s wisdom enables us to overlook minor offenses while still boldly addressing willful foolishness that can destroy lives.
As James 1:5 reminds us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
Avoid Foolish Companions
The book of Proverbs frequently warns about the corrupting influence of foolish companions. For example, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm” (Proverbs 13:20).
While we should respond to scoffers with grace, we must be cautious about letting cynical, mocking attitudes influence us. Seeking out positive friendships is vital.
Respond with Grace and Truth
When facing mockery or cynicism, we should follow Jesus’ model of speaking truth with grace. As 1 Peter 3:15-16 reminds us: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
We can stand firmly on God’s truth while communicating it humbly and lovingly. This kind of response has the power to soften hardened hearts over time.
Don’t Imitate Their Attitudes
Scoffers often try to provoke emotional reactions through insults, ridicule and arrogance. But the book of Proverbs clearly tells us: “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him” (Proverbs 26:4).
As frustrating as it can be, we must not allow scoffers to bait us into responding with similar attitudes. Staying calm and avoiding foolish arguments preserves our integrity and persuasiveness (2 Timothy 2:23-26).
In the Bible, scoffers are consistently portrayed as wicked, dangerous individuals who deride spiritual truth. Through their contempt, pride, and attachment to sin, they oppose God’s ways and lead others down a treacherous path.
As believers, we must exercise discernment to recognize scoffers and their corrosive influence. Rather than reciprocating their scorn, we should respond with grace, restraint, and Godly wisdom while avoiding their company.
Though scoffers may seem impervious to truth in this life, God promises they will one day face judgment for their rebellion and rejection of his ways. Our role is to remain faithful witnesses of the truth, overcoming evil with good.