Scoff, Scoffer

SCOFF, SCOFFER (לִיץ, H4329; ἐμπάικτης). To willfully refuse to learn the way of the Lord; to mock those who do.

OT usage. In Proverbs the scoffer is characterized by his refusal to learn the way of wisdom, the basis of true happiness. Since wisdom is more than an intellectual achievement, but is also an ethical-religious attitude of committment to God, scoffing is more than a matter of naive ignorance; it is sinful, foolish pride (Prov 9:7-10; 21:24; 24:9).

3. The believer’s triumph over scoffing. The underlying motive for scoffing at Christ is the desire for self-justification (Luke 16:11), the refusal to accept Christ as one’s only righteousness. For those who have their honor in Christ it is inappropriate that they seek the dishonor of any (James 2:6). For any to fall away from Christ would mean their exclusion from any future repentance, for they would have put Christ again to shame (1 Cor 11:27; Heb 6:6).

There will continue to be mockers, questioning the return of Christ (2 Pet 3:3; Jude 18), but God will not be mocked and will indeed come in judgment (Gal 6:7). The shame of the cross includes also its “foolishness,” but Christ is made unto us wisdom (1 Cor 1:17-31). The life of faith is not ashamed of the shame of Christ (Heb 11:26, 36) and boasts in Christ and in fellow Christians (2 Cor 7:14; 9:4).

This boasting is based on Christ’s victory over evil, His shaming and mocking of it in its total defeat (1 Cor 1:27-29; Col 2:15; cf. Luke 13:17). If self-justification is a mocking of Christ (Luke 16:14, 15) then glorying in Him must be identified with justification by faith in Him alone. The life of faith is necessarily one that has counted the cost of forsaking all to follow Him; anything else deserves proper scoffing (Luke 14:29).

Bibliography G. Bertram, “Empaizō,” TWNT, V (1954), 630-636. Cf. commentaries on Proverbs.