Proverbs 18:16

ESV A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before the great.
NIV A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.
NASB A person’s gift makes room for him And brings him before great people.
CSB A person's gift opens doors for him and brings him before the great.
NLT Giving a gift can open doors; it gives access to important people!
KJV A man's gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.

What does Proverbs 18:16 mean?

The comment made here resembles other observations in the book of Proverbs (Proverbs 17:8; 21:14). Scripture does not endorse something unethical but notes the reality of gifts and influence. In this context, the "gift" is not an outright bribe—as in English, Hebrew uses separate terms for the two concepts. Using presents to create a favorable impression is a common technique (Proverbs 19:6). Scripture includes multiple instances where gifts were offered to demonstrate sincere goodwill (Genesis 24:53; 33:10; 1 Samuel 25:27; Daniel 2:48).

Every culture has seen examples of money purchasing favor from influential people. Rich people have sometimes gained admission for their children into prestigious colleges. Lobbyists spend large amounts of money seeking the favor of politicians. Occasionally, an overt bribe has brought a favorable decision from a corrupt judge. However, neither money nor any gift can earn one's way into heaven. The apostle Peter writes: "that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot" (1 Peter 1:18–19). Eternal life cannot be bought; it is "the free gift of God…in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23).
What is the Gospel?
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