Robert Wurtz II
But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. (Ephesians 5:3, 4)
The words 'foolish talking' are translated in the AV (KJV) from one Greek word morologia. This word is what is known technically as a hapax legomenon; meaning it only occurs once in the entire New Testament. Adam Clarke defines the word as; Scurrility, buffoonery, ridicule, or what tends to expose another to contempt. That is to say, making or spreading scandalous claims about someone with the intention of damaging their reputation or casting doubt on their integrity. It can mean to humorously insult a person. It is to make ridiculous statements just to get a laugh. It is talk which is both foolish and sinful. It is more than random or idle talk. “Words obtain a new earnestness when assumed into the ethical terminology of Christ’s school. Nor, in seeking to enter fully into the meaning of this one, ought we to leave out of sight the greater emphasis which the words fool, foolish, folly obtain in Scripture than elsewhere they have or can have” (Trench). In other words, when scripture uses the term 'fool' it is utterly serious business and should arrest any person who has even a remote sense of the fear of God. To speak as a fool or in a foolish way is death speak.
The Mouth that Mocks
The heart of the understanding seeketh after knowledge,
And the mouth of fools practiseth folly. (Proverbs 15:14)
It is worth reminding ourselves of the severity of the act of talking. It is a grave matter indeed and one not to be taken lightly. For the scripture states, For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned (Matthew 12:37) and again, But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. (Matthew 12:36) The mouth is the place from which the heart is revealed. The mouth foams out what overflows in the heart. What a terrible thought. Words don't just come into existence from thin air, they proceed forth from the heart. When a person starts speaking its as if their tongue is the painters brush applying stroke after stroke on the canvas of our ears until at last we have a clear picture either for good or evil. When the mouth begins to foam out shame it is evidence of a sorely depraved heart. Death has made its abode and light has been evicted.
The Laughter of a Fool
For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity. (Eccl. 7:6)
The empty laughter of foolish men is here compared to burning thorns; who being devoid of all earnestness, and of all deep moral principles of life, spew forth a madness of laughter, like a fiery crackling. The fool looks to mock and laugh in sport. Any individual, no matter how noble or esteemed is fair game for their sordid tongue. They whist not that their actions are recorded for the judgment and are awaiting their arrival. What shall come of them on that great day when they face the words they have spoken? Are we to suppose that their frivolity and laughter will roll on? Or will the mind be sobered by the awesome sight of an infinitely Holy God standing with whetted sword to divide the man asunder with a single stroke?
A Gang of Gainsayers
What more can be stood than a gain of foolish talkers should strike a chord with their mouths against both the holy and profane? They spew forth their bitterness as if the commentary was irrefragable. They speak the sordidness with the boldness of a great charismatic speaker. When these gather together to converse among themselves there is no telling how great a demonstration of the fearlessness of God may come forth. Like a pack of wolves surrounding their pray to devour, not with tooth, but with tongue.
To Profane the Holy
The profinators are like the desecrators of an ancient grave yard. They will not spare anyone their irreverence no matter who or what they are. Again, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking. Yet, there is a foolishness that fears not God nor man. Not only is it spoken once, but over and over in the run of a day and as it it were a light thing. What are we to make of an individual that repeatedly does that which they were told not to ever do even once. Yet the heart is burned over like a scalded field until they are past feeling. That is to say, they used to feel, but feeling is a thing of the past. No fear. No restraint. No hesitation; just full-on folly as fast as the wheels of their heart can churn out the madness.
A Mere Suggestion
When you hear such callous railing, stand not in the way with them but flee as if you were fleeing for your everlasting soul. Run as if the very gates of hell had opened up to receive you. Do not make them think that they are just or civil or human for that matter; reckon them among the vilest of beasts and impress upon them the fear of God. Run as if you had been chased by a thousand lions. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. (1 Corinthians 5:11) Do not associate with these people if they are called a 'brother' or 'sister' in Christ. Depart from their abusive slandering mouth, lest you be consumed in their folly and the evil association poison your heart and mind. Recognize the foolish talk. Identify the slandering. Seek after wisdom and knowledge and let those bent on scurrility, buffoonery, and ridicule practice their own craft.