Psalm 15:4 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Psalm 15:4, NIV: who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the LORD; who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind;

Psalm 15:4, ESV: in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the LORD; who swears to his own hurt and does not change;

Psalm 15:4, KJV: In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.

Psalm 15:4, NASB: A despicable person is despised in his eyes, But he honors those who fear the LORD; He takes an oath to his own detriment, and does not change;

Psalm 15:4, NLT: Those who despise flagrant sinners, and honor the faithful followers of the LORD, and keep their promises even when it hurts.

Psalm 15:4, CSB: who despises the one rejected by the Lord but honors those who fear the Lord, who keeps his word whatever the cost,

What does Psalm 15:4 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The person the Lord allows to be His tabernacle guest (Psalm 15:1) understands how mankind ought to react to their Creator (Genesis 1:26–27). There are two important terms in this first phrase. The word "vile" describes a deliberately wicked, morally worthless person. "Despise" comes from a term which can also mean "to hold in contempt" or "to disdain." These are both understood through direct contrast. The opposites of those conditions are to "honor," or to esteem and respect, and those who "fear" God, in the sense of submissive reverence and obedience (Proverbs 1:7). A godly person respects those who honor God and rejects the lifestyles of those who hate Him.

This partly includes refusing to partner with evil people in evil activities. The apostle Paul commands in 2 Corinthians 6:14–16, "Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols?" The righteous person chooses to honor those who fear the Lord. He commends them, edifies them, and supports them with his fellowship and prayers.

Philippians 2:2–4 exhorts believers to honor one another by sharing the same mind and love, being unified, and putting one another's interests ahead of their own. According to this verse, the righteous person is true to his word regardless of the consequences. Even when the promise is hard, it is God-honoring to keep one's word (Matthew 5:37).