What does Proverbs 12:25 mean?
ESV: Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.
NIV: Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.
NASB: Anxiety in a person’s heart weighs it down, But a good word makes it glad.
CSB: Anxiety in a person's heart weighs it down, but a good word cheers it up.
NLT: Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.
KJV: Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.
NKJV: Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad.
Verse Commentary:
Solomon points out in this verse that worry is not a small burden. The cares of this world can weigh heavily on the heart and cause a person to despair or feel depressed. However, a kind word, a word of encouragement, can lift his drooping spirit and cheer him up. This echoes the sentiment of Proverbs 12:18, which spoke about the healing or hurting power of words. Other Proverbs also note the importance of carefully choosing and applying our words (Proverbs 10:31–32; 11:12; 15:1).

Jesus warned against anxiety. He said, "Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear'" (Matthew 6:31). He offered words of encouragement by saying, "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you" (Matthew 6:33). The apostle Paul, too, warned against anxiety and told his readers to pray about everything with thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6). He promised that anxiety would cease and God's peace would guard the heart and mind (Philippians 4:7). Furthermore, the Holy Spirit has come alongside believers to encourage us in our walk with the Lord. Jesus called Him the Helper who would be with us forever (John 14:16). When we are tempted to worry, the Helper brings Scriptures to mind that assure us of God's presence and provision.
Verse Context:
Proverbs 12:24–28 comes after demonstrating several contrasts between the speech patterns of the righteous and the wicked. In this passage, Solomon provides several commendations of those who seek God's will.
Chapter Summary:
Proverbs 12 contains a series of contrasts between lifestyles, comparing those who honor God to those who reject His wisdom. The results of those decisions are also compared. This repeats several common themes from the book of Proverbs, such as the self-destructive nature of sin and God's distaste for those who lie.
Chapter Context:
Proverbs 12 continues Solomon's wise sayings. A large portion of the book of Proverbs includes these short, common sense pieces of advice. After a series of introductions and lessons in chapters 1—9, chapter 10 began a long list of individual statements. In this chapter he continues to contrast the righteous and the wicked, showing that the life of the righteous is far better than the life of the wicked. This pattern will continue, covering the same basic theme, through chapter 15.
Book Summary:
Proverbs is best understood in context with the books of Ecclesiastes and Job. In Proverbs, “wisdom” is given in short, simple, general terms. Ecclesiastes represents wisdom based on observation and experience. This often shows how the general principles of the book of Proverbs don’t apply in absolutely every circumstance. Job represents wisdom based on the experience of suffering and injustice. All three come to the conclusion that God does indeed know best, and the most sensible course of action is to follow His will.
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