Proverbs 28:18

ESV Whoever walks in integrity will be delivered, but he who is crooked in his ways will suddenly fall.
NIV The one whose walk is blameless is kept safe, but the one whose ways are perverse will fall into the pit.
NASB One who walks blamelessly will receive help, But one who is crooked will fall all at once.
CSB The one who lives with integrity will be helped, but one who distorts right and wrong will suddenly fall.
NLT The blameless will be rescued from harm, but the crooked will be suddenly destroyed.
KJV Whoso walketh uprightly shall be saved: but he that is perverse in his ways shall fall at once.
NKJV Whoever walks blamelessly will be saved, But he who is perverse in his ways will suddenly fall.

What does Proverbs 28:18 mean?

To "walk," in the biblical context, implies a habit or pattern of behavior. Struggling against sin and giving into temptation is not the same as a lifestyle routinely marked by unrepentant sin. Random charity amid selfishness is not the same as a consistently generous life. The Hebrew term for "integrity" or "blameless" is used in the Bible for someone with a consistently godly life (Genesis 6:9; Psalm 15:2; Proverbs 2:21; 28:10). It does not mean one is perfectly sinless, but that they can't be credibly accused of being "wicked."

The Hebrew phrase translated "crooked" here implies a pair of ideas: perversity and duplicity. That which is perverted, or "crooked," is warped out of its proper shape (Proverbs 10:9). Those who deal in deception or lies are said to be "double-minded" (Psalm 119:113) or to have deceitful lips (Proverbs 26:24). The proper path is godliness (Proverbs 1:7), anything else is sin (Proverbs 2:20).

Other proverbs point out the dangers brought by sin (Proverbs 10:29; 12:28). In an earthly sense, those who follow God's wisdom are less likely to suffer such consequences (Proverbs 8:32–36; 21:7). The point of this lesson is not that every "good" person will be vindicated on earth, or that every "evil" person will suffer worldly punishment. At times, earthly life is unfair (Psalm 73:2–3). However, this proverb becomes literally true in eternity: everyone who rejects God and His goodness will suffer as a result (Psalm 1:5–6; Revelation 20:11–15), while those who love Him will be saved (Psalm 62:7; John 3:36).

The believer may encounter trials, sometimes severe hardship, but the Lord will not let His redeemed ones suffer permanent defeat (Romans 8:28). God did not promise His people freedom from difficult experiences (John 16:33), but that He would be with us in our trials (Psalm 23:4). Hebrews 13:5 assures us that the Lord will never leave or forsake us. The apostle Paul writes in Romans 8:38–39: "For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."

By contrast, the person who leads a perverse life has no one to rely on in troubled times. He will experience sudden calamity—in this life, or the next (Hebrews 9:27).
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