Proverbs 20:24 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Proverbs 20:24, NIV: A person's steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand their own way?

Proverbs 20:24, ESV: A man’s steps are from the LORD; how then can man understand his way?

Proverbs 20:24, KJV: Man's goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?

Proverbs 20:24, NASB: A man’s steps are ordained by the LORD; How then can a person understand his way?

Proverbs 20:24, NLT: The LORD directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?

Proverbs 20:24, CSB: Even a courageous person's steps are determined by the Lord, so how can anyone understand his own way?

What does Proverbs 20:24 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The point made here is not that God drags a man through life without any free will or choice. Rather, this proverb notes that God is ultimately in control of all things, and we will not always understand the circumstances we face. It is important to know where the Lord is leading and to trust Him to direct us in the right way (Proverbs 3:4–6). He never leads us astray or allows temptations that are too difficult to endure (1 Corinthians 10:13). We can't presume to understand such things in the exact same way as God—if we lean too hard on our own judgment, we go down the wrong path, stumble, and fall (Proverbs 8:34–36).

We cannot see the future. The Lord not only sees the future but holds it. We can ask God for wisdom (James 1:5), including perspective on why we experience things. But we are too limited to demand a "satisfactory" answer to every possible question about life. David prayed what every believer should pray: "Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths" (Psalm 25:4). When Abraham's servant followed Abraham's instructions to find a bride for Abraham's son Isaac, he prayed for the Lord's direction (Genesis 24:42–44). When the Lord brought Rebekah to him, he bowed his head, worshiped the Lord, and blessed the Lord, who had led him by the right way to take Rebekah to Isaac (Genesis 24:48). Following the Lord may not always be easy, but it will always be right. Psalm 18:30 assures us His way is perfect.