Proverbs 4:21 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Proverbs 4:21, NIV: Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart;

Proverbs 4:21, ESV: Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart.

Proverbs 4:21, KJV: Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.

Proverbs 4:21, NASB: They are not to escape from your sight; Keep them in the midst of your heart.

Proverbs 4:21, NLT: Don't lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart,

Proverbs 4:21, CSB: Don't lose sight of them; keep them within your heart.

What does Proverbs 4:21 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The prior verse evoked the image of someone leaning their head forward, turning to hear carefully. This verse continues that theme with an expression that's understood in many cultures and languages: "don't let this out of your sight." This implies something valuable, or easily missed, or both. Given that godly wisdom is worth more than anything else (Proverbs 3:13–15), it's worth paying close attention to. It's something to be cherished, not tolerated.

Believers ought to give more than mental assent to God's Word. We must lodge it in the heart and love it. Psalm 119:11 says, "I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you." The same psalmist also declared: "Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day" (Psalm 119:97). If we love God's Word, we will mull it over in our thoughts throughout the day, applying it to each situation that arises.

Furthermore, our heart must welcome the Word of God just as a homeowner welcomes a dear friend inside. Paul exhorted the Colossian believers: "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly" (Colossians 3:16). The word "dwell" means to live at home as a permanent resident.