Proverbs 17:3

ESV The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the LORD tests hearts.
NIV The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart.
NASB The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But the Lord tests hearts.
CSB A crucible for silver, and a smelter for gold, and the Lord is the tester of hearts.
NLT Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but the Lord tests the heart.
KJV The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts.

What does Proverbs 17:3 mean?

Scripture often uses the metaphor of a crucible: a container used to heat metals to burn off impurities. Passages frequently apply this in the context of God testing, purifying, cleansing, or providing loving correction to His people (Malachi 3:3; Zechariah 13:9; Jeremiah 9:7; 1 Corinthians 3:11–15). The "fire" of hardships, persecution, or God's testing proves what parts of a person's life are godly and which are not.

The ultimate purpose of life's difficult experiences is to refine our faith and demonstrate its genuineness (Romans 8:28–29). Peter describes how various trials test the genuineness of our faith (1 Peter 1:6–7). He declares that our faith is "more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:7).

This also reiterates the idea that God knows our innermost thoughts (Hebrews 4:13; 1 Samuel 16:7).
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