In Proverbs 14, the simple get a bad rep. But the point of that is to remind us, who might be simple-minded, to gain some nuance in the way we think.
For instance, Proverbs essentially outlines four ways of coming to know:
- Testimony (correction, tradition, instruction, or divine revelation)
- Trial and Error
Proverbs says that the simple believe anything that they hear and that they inherit folly.
Proverbs ESV 14:15 The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps.
Proverbs ESV 14:18 The simple inherit folly, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.
The simple, in Proverbs, is essentially the person who does not stop and think things through, whether a good or bad person. They are easily swayed, this is why Lady Wisdom is always trying to get their attention and way Lady Folly and the scoffers find them such easy prey.
Anyway, the prudent is the person who through habitual attention to the four modes of knowing learns to consider the way to go forward. What this means that that a prudent person considers propositions before acting on them and situations before forming definite opinions. In other words, the prudent uses trial and error to test methods, senses to test ideas, inference to move forward from sensory data, and to compare ideas to one another.
Interestingly, I think that the simple person (from the rest of Proverbs) has a tendency to over complicate simple things, “I can’t go to work…there are lions in the streets,” and to over simplify complicated things, “I’ve gone to work for like 6 weeks and I’m not rich. This work thing isn’t worth it.”
Don’t be simple.