Proverbs 14:14 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Proverbs 14:14, NIV: The faithless will be fully repaid for their ways, and the good rewarded for theirs.

Proverbs 14:14, ESV: The backslider in heart will be filled with the fruit of his ways, and a good man will be filled with the fruit of his ways.

Proverbs 14:14, KJV: The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.

Proverbs 14:14, NASB: One with a wayward heart will have his fill of his own ways, But a good person will be satisfied with his.

Proverbs 14:14, NLT: Backsliders get what they deserve; good people receive their reward.

Proverbs 14:14, CSB: The disloyal one will get what his conduct deserves, and a good one, what his deeds deserve.

What does Proverbs 14:14 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

A common English expression claims "what goes around comes around." The meaning of that expression is the same as the lesson of this proverb. The life a person leads determines what results he can expect to experience. It is true that good people can experience myriad difficult circumstances and even persecution (Psalm 9:9–10), and evil people can sometimes appear successful (Psalm 73:2–3). Both are temporary situations, however. Natural cause-and-effect usually brings negative consequences to evildoers and benefits to those who do good. Eternity, without exception, will reward good and punish evil (Revelation 20:11–15).

The phrase "backslider in heart" literally means "a turned-aside heart," or "a perverse understanding." This is someone who has rejected God's wisdom (Proverbs 1:7; 3:5) in favor of their own preferences (Proverbs 14:11–12). As the book of Proverbs often notes, ignoring God increases risks in earthly life (Proverbs 13:21) and guarantees death in eternity (Proverbs 10:29; 11:4).

Galatians 6:7–9 tells us: "Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." Isaiah 3:9 addresses the backsliders in Judah and pronounces woe to them, asserting: "they have brought evil on themselves." But the following verse pronounces blessing on the faithful: "Tell the righteous that it shall be well with them, for they shall eat the fruit of their deeds" (Isaiah 3:10).