Proverbs 16:25

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 that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

What does Proverbs 16:25 mean?

This verse repeats, exactly, the statement contained in Proverbs 14:12. Repetition is a common technique used to emphasize a statement's importance. In this context, Solomon speaks about the benefits of timely, loving wisdom (Proverbs 16:21–24). This also harmonizes with the following proverb, which notes how feelings and desires are a form of motivation (Proverbs 16:26).

The consequences of following the wrong path are one reason it's important to seek wisdom and offer it to others. Arrogance (Proverbs 16:5; 1 Corinthians 10:12) prevents a person from examining their thoughts and sets them up for terrible consequences.

Many people falsely assume they are following the right path through life. That error usually comes when we confuse preferences with truth. Human reasoning, left to itself, can accomplish some good things. But it ultimately leads to disaster (Jeremiah 17:9). Desires not aligned with God's will are doomed to eventual failure (Proverbs 1:7; 3:5). This is the reason Scripture so emphasizes self-examination (2 Corinthians 13:5) and seeking advice from godly people (Proverbs 11:14; 15:5).

An especially dangerous form of this overconfidence is when someone believes their way is morally "good enough" to earn salvation. Such persons expect what they are doing will earn them a place in heaven. But they are mistaken. Entrance into heaven is gained not by what a person does but by what Jesus has done (Titus 3:5). By shedding His blood on the cross Jesus paid the full penalty for our sins. Nothing needs to be added to what He did on the cross, and nothing can be added to what He accomplished there. When He cried out from the cross, "It is finished" (John 19:30), He was declaring that the work of redemption stood complete for all time. The Greek word translated, "It is finished," appeared in bills when the final payment was made. It served notice that another payment was unnecessary. It is human nature, however, to think one's honorable deeds must accompany Jesus' redemptive work. Therefore, many self-righteous people follow the wide path leading to destruction (Matthew 7:13).
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