Proverbs 17:28

ESV Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.
NIV Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.
NASB Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; When he closes his lips, he is considered prudent.
CSB Even a fool is considered wise when he keeps silent;-- discerning, when he seals his lips.
NLT Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent.
KJV Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.

What does Proverbs 17:28 mean?

Controlling one's words is difficult (James 3:2–5). One of the most common human errors is using inappropriate or poorly considered speech. This is such a frequent issue that merely choosing to remain silent—to say nothing, at all—gives the impression of wisdom. Even if someone is wallowing in stupidity and ignorance, those flaws are disguised by their silence. An English proverb rephrases this wisdom by saying "it is better to be thought a fool and remain silent than to speak up and remove all doubt."

The apostle Peter exhorts believers to follow a path of faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, and godliness (2 Peter 1:5–6). Before Jesus changed Peter's life, Peter demonstrated a serious lack of self-control, demonstrated first in his speech. Peter often said whatever was on his mind, without much caution (John 13:36–38). He had a habit of reacting, rather than acting with caution; this was not always bad (Matthew 14:28–29). Yet, after Jesus announced his betrayal and crucifixion, Peter blurted out, "Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you" (Matthew 16:21–22). However, Jesus rebuked Peter for his ignorant response (Matthew 16:23). Later, when Jesus was arrested, Peter showed a form of bravery, but a lack of discipline, when he slashed the high priest's servant (Matthew 26:51; John 18:10).
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