Proverbs 19:21

ESV Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.
NIV Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.
NASB Many plans are in a person’s heart, But the advice of the Lord will stand.
CSB Many plans are in a person's heart, but the Lord's decree will prevail.
NLT You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.
KJV There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

What does Proverbs 19:21 mean?

Solomon (Proverbs 10:1) understood the importance of sensible planning. He worked out a design to build a temple for the Lord. He arranged the building of an impressive house for himself. And he laid out gardens and infrastructures (1 Kings 3:1). He recognized the wisdom of consulting with others to make the best decisions (Proverbs 11:14; 12:15; 20:18). He knew the value of diligence when making plans (Proverbs 14:15; 18:13, 15, 17). That starts with seeking God's will and His direction (Proverbs 3:5–6).

However, Solomon was wise enough to know that human plans are never guaranteed to work out. He observes here that only God's intents are destined to succeed. Likewise, the apostle James tells his readers not to be arrogant about their future designs. He doesn't condemn planning, but instead notes that it should be done in God-honoring humility. He counsels, "You ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that'" (James 4:15).

Proverbs 27:1 sounds a similar warning: "Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring." Psalm 37:3–5 provides pieces of a formula for successful planning: "Trust in the LORD," "Do good," "Delight yourself in the LORD," and "Commit your way to the LORD."
What is the Gospel?
Download the app: