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Proverbs 9:12

ESV If you are wise, you are wise for yourself; if you scoff, you alone will bear it.
NIV If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.
NASB If you are wise, you are wise for yourself, And if you scoff, you alone will suffer from it.
CSB If you are wise, you are wise for your own benefit; if you mock, you alone will bear the consequences."
NLT If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit. If you scorn wisdom, you will be the one to suffer.
KJV If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself: but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it.

What does Proverbs 9:12 mean?

This verse summarizes the idea that the choice between wisdom and foolishness—between godly truth and selfish arrogance—has direct consequences for a person's own life. Choosing wisdom is "for yourself," in the sense of being positive or uplifting. Likewise, the choice to be foolish ultimately results in consequences that other people cannot remove. Those who "scoff" respond to wisdom and correction with sneers and hatred (Proverbs 9:7–8). Those who accept godly correction improve their own lives (Proverbs 9:9).

In one of Jesus' parables, an unwise wealthy farmer boasted, "Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry" (Luke 12:19). However, God answered him with this rebuke, "Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?" (Luke 12:20). As far as eternity is concerned, a bulging bank account is worthless. It's been said that a moving van never follows a hearse—you cannot take those earthly goods with you into eternity. What matters is a person's faith in the all-wise Savior. The wise believer stores up treasure in heaven and receives rewards for faithful service (1 Corinthians 3:10–14).
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