Proverbs 20:29 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Proverbs 20:29, NIV: The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old.

Proverbs 20:29, ESV: The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.

Proverbs 20:29, KJV: The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head.

Proverbs 20:29, NASB: The glory of young men is their strength, And the honor of old men is their gray hair.

Proverbs 20:29, NLT: The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old.

Proverbs 20:29, CSB: The glory of young men is their strength, and the splendor of old men is gray hair.

What does Proverbs 20:29 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The main advantage of youth is physical. Younger people are usually healthier and stronger than those who are older. Youths can brag about their athleticism and energy. In contrast, the main advantage of age is wisdom—the longer one survives, the more experience and knowledge they can gain. This proverb notes that gray hair is a sign of aging; in the ancient world, this was associated with increased knowledge (Proverbs 16:31). Symbolically, those with white hair were the wisest and most knowledgeable of all (Daniel 7:9–10; Revelation 1:14).

This does not mean that every aging person is wise (Hebrews 5:11–12; 1 Samuel 25:23–25). Nor does it mean youths cannot have godly wisdom to share (1 Timothy 4:12; Daniel 1:17). Paul writes that in Jesus "are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Colossians 2:3). As we age, our strength will fade, but our wisdom will increase if we become more like Jesus (Isaiah 40:28–31; Hebrews 5:14; 2 Corinthians 4:16–18).