Proverbs 30:18

ESV Three things are too wonderful for me; four I do not understand:
NIV There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand:
NASB There are three things which are too wonderful for me, Four which I do not understand:
CSB Three things are too wondrous for me; four I can't understand:
NLT There are three things that amaze me — no, four things that I don’t understand:
KJV There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not:

What does Proverbs 30:18 mean?

Agur (Proverbs 30:1) confesses that he does not understand four things. This applies a literary counting technique commonly seen in ancient writing (Proverbs 6:16; Job 5:19; Amos 1:3). In the early part of his teaching, Agur humbly admitted his own limitations (Proverbs 30:2–3). Of course, some of that might have been a sarcastic reply to a critic. However, he was not pretending to be perfect in his understanding. His prayer was for God's will to be done in his life (Proverbs 30:7–8).

The world is full of mysteries. Who can understand the complexities of God's creation? We know plants grow from seeds, but do we understand the process? When we learn how one mechanism works, we discover even deeper and more complex processes. We know birds migrate, but do we understand how they know to go to their precise destination? We know salmon swim upstream to their spawning location, but we do not understand how they know how to go there. We know all creation operates by established laws, but do we understand how God created all things and governs its existence? All these mysteries are understood only by our Lord, "in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Colossians 2:3).
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