Proverbs 14:18

ESV The simple inherit folly, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.
NIV The simple inherit folly, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.
NASB The naive inherit foolishness, But the sensible are crowned with knowledge.
CSB The inexperienced inherit foolishness, but the sensible are crowned with knowledge.
NLT Simpletons are clothed with foolishness, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.
KJV The simple inherit folly: but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.

What does Proverbs 14:18 mean?

Contrary to the claims of ignorant skeptics, the Bible does not promote "blind faith." This is one of many statements in Scripture warning against being naïve or credulous (Proverbs 14:12, 15; Matthew 10:16; 1 John 4:1). The term translated "simple" here is from the root pathiy, meaning someone too easily convinced or unreasonably trusting. The book of Proverbs denounces this flaw many times when encouraging the reader to follow true wisdom (Proverbs 1:4, 22; 7:7; 8:5; 22:3).

Not every claim made by other people is true, or worth following. The gullible person accepts lies too easily. This approach gains them nothing but "folly." That flaw is translated from a word implying more than mere stupidity or error. The root word 'ivveleth implies a wrong choice that leads one away from God and invites disaster (Proverbs 5:23; 13:16; 16:22; 19:3; 22:15).

The gullible person ignores or rejects God's Word, so he goes through life aimlessly, making one mistake after another. His mind is occupied with trivialities, and he fails to understand the highest purpose of life: to glorify God and to enjoy Him (Ecclesiastes 12:13). The prudent person is shrewd in a good sense (Matthew 10:16). He accepts God's Word as his guide, and therefore adds knowledge as he meets life's challenges (Proverbs 1:7).

A person does not gain full knowledge when he becomes a believer, but he learns to depend upon God's Word and the Holy Spirit for daily guidance and direction for the future (1 Corinthians 2:14). He grows in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). To the prudent person, knowledge is like a crown; it enables him to trust God instead of his sinful impulses, and he reigns over temptations and trials. The prudent person is a victor over difficult circumstance instead of a victim of those circumstances.
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