Proverbs 11:18

ESV The wicked earns deceptive wages, but one who sows righteousness gets a sure reward.
NIV A wicked person earns deceptive wages, but the one who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward.
NASB A wicked person earns deceptive wages, But one who sows righteousness gets a true reward.
CSB The wicked person earns an empty wage, but the one who sows righteousness, a true reward.
NLT Evil people get rich for the moment, but the reward of the godly will last.
KJV The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward.

What does Proverbs 11:18 mean?

This verse continues the contrast between a wicked person and a righteous person. The wicked person trusts in his earnings, but he is deceived. Money cannot satisfy the craving of the heart (Proverbs 11:6) or secure life beyond the grave (Proverbs 11:7). However, the righteous person performs righteous deeds and gains a secure reward. The Hebrew words for "deceptive" and "reward" sound similar: sā'qer and sedā'qāh. That rhyming pattern is part of how this proverb would be appreciated by its original readers. The similarity of the words is meant as an ironic contrast to the different outcomes earned by each approach.

Christ warned His followers not to work for perishable, temporary things, but for rewards that were eternal and tied to salvation (John 6:27). In other words, Jesus told us not to make material things our main goal in life. Rather our priority ought to be eternal, godly matters. At the Judgment Seat of Christ only what we have done on earth for Jesus' sake will receive a reward (1 Corinthians 3:10–14; 2 Corinthians 5:9–10). Jesus promised, "Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life" (Mark 10:29–30).
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