Chapter
Verse

Proverbs 11:19

ESV Whoever is steadfast in righteousness will live, but he who pursues evil will die.
NIV Truly the righteous attain life, but whoever pursues evil finds death.
NASB One who is steadfast in righteousness attains life, But one who pursues evil attains his own death.
CSB Genuine righteousness leads to life, but pursuing evil leads to death.
NLT Godly people find life; evil people find death.
KJV As righteousness tendeth to life: so he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death.

What does Proverbs 11:19 mean?

Solomon acknowledges that God rewards righteous living with life but inflicts death on those who lead a wicked life. As a statement of general wisdom, this is common sense. Those who pursue truth, goodness, kindness, and mercy are more likely to be respected and helped by others, while avoiding the natural consequences of evil and selfishness (Proverbs 10:24; 11:6, 17). Of course, good people suffer tragedy and loss, and evil people sometimes prosper (Psalm 73:1–3). The absolute fulfillment of this truth is in eternity (Proverbs 11:7).

Romans 6:23 encapsulates these ideas, saying: "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." The apostle Paul was steadfast in righteousness and could embrace death as a steppingstone to a crown of righteousness at Jesus' return. He writes in 2 Timothy 4:7–8, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day." Throughout his Christian life, Paul maintained self-control so that would not become disqualified in the Christian race but would receive an imperishable prize (1 Corinthians 9:25–27).

Whereas the righteous can eagerly anticipate endless life (Proverbs 14:27), the wicked have no hope. Eternal death lies ahead for them.
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