Proverbs 14:30

ESV A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.
NIV A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.
NASB A tranquil heart is life to the body, But jealousy is rottenness to the bones.
CSB A tranquil heart is life to the body, but jealousy is rottenness to the bones.
NLT A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones.
KJV A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.

What does Proverbs 14:30 mean?

The Hebrew terms used here suggest a figure of speech; the meaning goes beyond the plain definition of the included words. In literal terms, the verse speaks of a "healthy heart" or a "healing heart" in contrast to "jealousy" or "passion." The results of these are contrasted as "life for the flesh" or "liveliness of the body" as opposed to "decay of the bones" or "rotting of the substance." English translations, then, frame this as the difference between having a contented spirit or a jealous one, both of which have an impact on one's physical health.

Medical research affirms what this verse teaches. A peaceful heart sets aside worry, stress, and anxiety—so far as that is possible. This contributes to a healthy life. Envy, jealousy, angst, and bitterness cause sickness. Envy acts like a cancer, consuming the envious person from the inside. Being content with what we have keeps the heart stable. Being stressed over what we don't have and envying those who have more than we may raise blood pressure, cause anxiety, ulcers, and mental and emotional stress.

Emotions affect our physical condition. Generally, those who obediently follow Jesus are prone to a healthy life. In part, this is due to avoiding sins which bring natural, physical consequences (Proverbs 13:14). It is also due to lessened anxiety and fear because they are at peace with God. Their conscience is clear, and if they commit their anxious moments to God, they enjoy the peace of God (1 Peter 5:7). Philippians 4:6 tells us not to be anxious about anything, but to pray with thanksgiving. If we pray in this way, the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:7–8). Isaiah 26:3 says, "You [the Lord] keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you."
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