Proverbs 14:12

ESV There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
NIV There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.
NASB There is a way which seems right to a person, But its end is the way of death.
CSB There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way to death.
NLT There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.
KJV There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

What does Proverbs 14:12 mean?

Scripture often warns that human reasoning and human desire can lead to disaster (Jeremiah 17:9). The problem is not that we cannot use reason, or that we can never have right desires. Rather, it's that we're too easily swayed by what we desire, not what is true (Proverbs 1:7). Proverbs 12:15 previews this danger: the "fool" is the person who trusts his own thinking over and above that of God (Proverbs 3:5). This verse points out the need for self-examination (2 Corinthians 13:5). Other proverbs note the value in seeking advice and wisdom from godly people (Proverbs 11:14; 15:5).

Even faced with overwhelming evidence, however, a person who is committed to rejecting God can find excuses to do so (John 5:39–40). Left to his own devices, such a man will reject the way of salvation (Hebrews 2:3). He relies on his finite, corrupt knowledge to illumine his way through life (Colossians 2:8). However, he walks in darkness, and unless he comes to faith in Jesus Christ, he will experience eternal death (John 3:36). Isaiah 53:6 confirms, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way."

Romans 1:18–32 unfolds the sad story of the heathen's rejection of natural revelation, the manifestation of God through nature. Verse 18 says God's wrath "is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth." The rest of the chapter tells where the heathen's rejection of God's revelation led them. Although men preferred their own way to God's way, their choice led to futile, debased thinking; idolatry; physical debauchery; all kinds of unrighteousness; evil; covetousness; malice; hatred of God; insolence; arrogance; murder; strife; deceit; maliciousness; gossip; bragging; rebellion; foolishness; faithlessness; and ruthlessness.
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