Gracefully Truthful


Discover the original intent of Scripture. Make good application to our everyday lives.
Become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Read His Words Before Ours!

Proversb 4:20-27

20 My son, pay attention to my words; listen closely to my sayings. 21 Don’t lose sight of them; keep them within your heart. 22 For they are life to those who find them, and health to one’s whole body. 23 Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.

24 Don’t let your mouth speak dishonestly, and don’t let your lips talk deviously. 25 Let your eyes look forward; fix your gaze straight ahead. 26 Carefully consider the path for your feet, and all your ways will be established. 27 Don’t turn to the right or to the left; keep your feet away from evil.

The Original Intent

1) How does knowing the genre help us better understand this passage?

When we read Proverbs, it’s important to note this book is categorized as “wisdom literature” by biblical scholars. It is grouped with the other “wisdom literature” books of the Old Testament, Job, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. This is not a book of promised outcomes, rather it’s an instructional book on living according to God’s wise ways and His Word.

Proverbs reflects God’s perfectly good character and should be read as a guide to knowing Him and practically applying His wisdom to our everyday lives. In Proverbs 1:2-6, the author, King Solomon, informs us that the book’s purpose is for gaining wisdom and practical instruction for prudent behavior. The king’s book provides guidelines for living in righteousness, justice, and integrity as these reflect God’s heart. (Proverbs 1:3)

Unlike biblical books like Genesis, Exodus, Matthew, Mark and several others, Proverbs is not written in narrative form but in a poetic format. The first nine chapters of Proverbs are written in discourse form where a father is talking to his son as he instructs his son in wisdom. (Carpenter Commentary)

This is important for us as readers because as we work through Proverbs, we need to understand God is providing us with guidelines that increase our “fear of the Lord” which leads to greater knowledge and discipline according to His will. (Proverbs 1:7)

The Everyday Application

1) How does knowing the genre help us better understand this passage?

Proverbs offers us encouragement and focus amidst life’s regular, everyday moments of distraction. Regular, consistent intake of Proverbs reminds us that God’s wisdom brings clarity and singular focus on Him, allowing the clouds of distraction to fade away.

“We can’t completely control what thoughts come into our mind. But we do have a choice of what we dwell on.” (The Bible Says) Proverbs is an excellent choice for “dwelling” upon the character of the Lord and allowing His Spirit to guide us in His ways every day.

Within the safety of God’s wisdom we find opportunity for growth, spiritual challenge, increasing depth of character, and a desire to keep seeking the things that set our minds on Him rather than the distractions of this world. (Colossians 3:1-4)

The Original Intent

2) What commands are given by the author in this passage? (verses 20-27)

Imagine a father speaking to his son out of love and a desire to see his son follow a straight path that is under God’s authority. This is the manner in which the writer of Proverbs penned this book under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Knowing this, we can study this passage and see a biblical standard from which to live our life.

King Solomon instructs his son to pay attention to my words and listen closely (verse 20), don’t lose sight and keep them in your heart (verse 21), guard your heart above all else (verse 23), don’t let your mouth speak dishonestly (verse 24), fix your gaze and look forward (verse 25), carefully consider the path for your feet (verse 26), and keep your feet away from evil (verse 27).

These directives build the foundation of practical “how-to” instructions for wise living under God’s authority

The Everyday Application

2) What commands are given by the author in this passage? (verses 20-27)      

As we think through practical ways we can maintain our focus on Christ, this passage gives clarity to how we accomplish this in real life. In an age of relativism and entertainment, God’s word must be stored in our hearts and regularly placed at the forefront of our minds. Our gaze must be on the fixed point of Christ, the perfecter and pioneer of our faith. (Hebrews 12:1-2

Deuteronomy 6:1-9 tells us God’s word should be stored in our hearts and talked about with our families. This active engaging dialogue is not just a Sunday morning mission to keep God’s word close, rather it’s an everyday moment-by-moment call to action. In Deuteronomy 6:7-9, the author described a daily encounter and connection with God’s Word in the course of our normal walking, talking, sitting, and lying down.

The daily circumstances of life can distract us from the things God desires for us. When we intentionally and carefully consider where we are spending time and where we are establishing ourselves, what do we see? God’s wisdom described in Proverbs shows us that true life is found in Him, therefore, we should place our focus on Him. (Proverbs 4:23)

The Original Intent

3) What are the consequences mentioned in verses 22 and 26

In verse 22, King Solomon describes that following these commands will give “health to the whole body”. In the words of David Guzik, “God’s word – communicated through the words and sayings of this father to his children – brings life and health. The pursuit of wisdom is rewarded.” (Enduring Word)

In verse 26, Solomon says all our ways will be established when we follow the commands given in this passage. Although these are not guaranteed “if-then” statements, the general principle the wise king described is that when we follow the wisdom of God’s way and His path, there will be a delighted experience of well-being for heart, mind, and soul. 

The Everyday Application

3) What are the consequences mentioned in verses 22 and 26

Proverbs 3:1-12, in a similar vein to this passage, provides direction and wisdom for how to follow God and the resulting rewards of living according to His wisdom. Keeping His commands brings a “full life” and “well-being” (Proverbs 3:2) as well as “a straight path to follow” (Proverbs 3:6).

Following God does not mean you will have a perfect life without issue or struggle, but when we intentionally choose to follow His ways, we actively trust and rely on His wisdom instead of our own.

God’s wisdom is a solid foundation that stands when all else around us crumbles. (Matthew 7:24-27) In our weariness and distraction, the Lord offers hope and focus to carry out His mission. (Isaiah 40:28

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