What does Proverbs 13:15 mean?
ESV: Good sense wins favor, but the way of the treacherous is their ruin.
NIV: Good judgment wins favor, but the way of the unfaithful leads to their destruction.
NASB: Good understanding produces favor, But the way of the treacherous is their own disaster.
CSB: Good sense wins favor, but the way of the treacherous never changes.
NLT: A person with good sense is respected; a treacherous person is headed for destruction.
KJV: Good understanding giveth favor: but the way of transgressors is hard.
NKJV: Good understanding gains favor, But the way of the unfaithful is hard.
Verse Commentary:
This verse applauds those who have good sense or good understanding. As defined in the book of Proverbs, those with understanding follow God's truth (Proverbs 1:7). They walk in the light of God's Word that is a lamp to their feet and a light for their path (Psalm 119:105). This godly path keeps them from many of the natural consequences of sin (Proverbs 9:7–12; 11:7; 13:14). A "treacherous" person is one who is unfaithful, rejecting the wisdom of their own Creator (Proverbs 13:1).

Those who seek righteousness (Matthew 7:7–8) will find it in Jesus Christ (John 14:6). Seekers of truth follow Jesus (John 10:4) and reject the way of darkness. Consequently, they enjoy God's favor. This may not always translate to earthly wealth and prosperity (John 16:33), but it guarantees eternal life and reward (John 3:16–18). In general, those who act with wisdom and goodness gain a positive reputation in the world (Proverbs 22:1).

The treacherous lead a calloused life in opposition to God. They harden their hearts toward God and incline them toward evil. Thoroughly entrenched in their wicked ways, they refuse correction and remain unrepentant. Jesus wept over unrepentant Jerusalem that had consistently rejected God's prophets. He said, "How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing" (Matthew 23:37). He spoke of the judgment Jerusalem would experience for her treacherous ways, "See, your house is left to you desolate" (Matthew 23:38).
Verse Context:
Proverbs 13:12–25 emphasizes the value of wisdom as true wealth. Solomon writes that whoever reveres God's Word will be rewarded, and he describes how wisdom obtained from the Word applies to several areas of life.
Chapter Summary:
This chapter of Proverbs continues Solomon's wise sayings. He counsels his readers to be sensible and hardworking, as well as honest. This allows a person to be content with what they have, to enjoy life, and to bless their descendants. Laziness leads to trouble and ruin, as does a lack of discipline.
Chapter Context:
Starting in chapter 10, the book of Proverbs records a long series of wise sayings from Solomon. These continue for several chapters. Through chapter 15, a major focus is on issues such as godly living, mostly given in contrast with examples of ungodliness. This chapter emphasizes themes such as work ethic, honesty, and discipline.
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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