This verse begins with a question that would be answered in the affirmative by all. We see such men everywhere, even in places where such men should never be– pulpit, politics, etc. Their inflated ego causes them to think they are wiser than they are. You can’t tell them anything because they think they know everything. As Matthew Henry said, he “has such a conceit of his own abilities as makes him opinionative, dogmatical, and censorious”.
It is not only disgusting to be around such people it is also dangerous, if we pay them heed– which is a real possibility because they can have some very impressive qualities. Such people can be very persuasive, even to the point that others will not only follow their counsel, but will actually try to emulate them. If you don’t believe it just take note of how many young people try to copy their Hollywood idols.
Such a man is not only a danger, he is in danger, as the last half of the verse shows–“there is more hope of a fool than of him.” Fools don’t have much hope, except for the chance that something will happen to make them aware of their folly. However, the chances of the happening to “the man wise in his own conceit” are slim and none. As Spurgeon said, “The fool may learn, but the conceited man will not. There is more hope of a sinful Publican than of a self-righteous Pharisee.” There is more hope for a stupid man than one who is self-conceited. H. V. Lugt wrote, “ The Lord Jesus reached down to the most despised people of His day—publicans and harlots—and forgave them when they repented. But He condemned self-righteous people and resisted all who didn’t face up to their sin. Refusing to acknowledge sin is a sure ticket to hell! Insisting we don’t need His forgiveness is life’s greatest sin. God can forgive us no matter what we do, but we must repent and turn to Jesus.”