Proverbs 4:13 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Proverbs 4:13, NIV: Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.

Proverbs 4:13, ESV: Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life.

Proverbs 4:13, KJV: Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.

Proverbs 4:13, NASB: Take hold of instruction; do not let go. Guard her, for she is your life.

Proverbs 4:13, NLT: Take hold of my instructions; don't let them go. Guard them, for they are the key to life.

Proverbs 4:13, CSB: Hold on to instruction; don't let go. Guard it, for it is your life.

What does Proverbs 4:13 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Here Solomon pleads with his son to hold instruction firmly in his grip and not let go. He advises his son to guard instruction, because it gives life. The importance of this idea was even illustrated in Solomon's own life. He drifted from wisdom (1 Kings 11:4), only to realize later how foolish that was (Ecclesiastes 12:13). There's a sense in which this teaching might include the warning "don't make the mistakes I did."

"Wisdom" in this book refers to an ability to act according to godly knowledge. The most important expression of this is in how someone reacts to the gospel of salvation through Christ. Those who receive instruction about the gospel and respond positively by trusting in Christ as Savior receive eternal life. First John 5:12 declares, "Whoever has the Son has life." In 2 Timothy 1:10 Paul wrote that Christ "abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." When a person believes in Jesus, he passes from spiritual death to spiritual life; and when he dies physically, he enters heaven, where he is immortal and incapable of dying.

Further, responding to instruction properly by trusting in Christ also brings about a joyful and meaningful life instead of a mere existence (John 10:10). The apostle Paul testified, "For to me to live is Christ" (Philippians 1:21), and in his letter to the Philippians wrote frequently about his joy, even though he was imprisoned by the Romans at the time.