What does Proverbs 14:25 mean?
ESV: A truthful witness saves lives, but one who breathes out lies is deceitful.
NIV: A truthful witness saves lives, but a false witness is deceitful.
NASB: A truthful witness saves lives, But one who declares lies is deceitful.
CSB: A truthful witness rescues lives, but one who utters lies is deceitful.
NLT: A truthful witness saves lives, but a false witness is a traitor.
KJV: A true witness delivereth souls: but a deceitful witness speaketh lies.
NKJV: A true witness delivers souls, But a deceitful witness speaks lies.
Verse Commentary:
The Bible places a high value on truth. The Ten Commandments include one that commands: "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor" (Exodus 20:16). The New Testament also commands believers to speak truthfully. Ephesians 4:25 states, "Therefore, having put away falsehood, let of each of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another."

Telling the truth in court is especially important. It can save a defendant from the death penalty, or other serious harms. However, a false witness is deceitful, and his false testimony in court may cause an innocent person to receive a death sentence.

A contrast to those who live lives of honesty are those who "breathe out" deception (Proverbs 14:5). This evokes the image of a person whose life is deeply entangled in lies and deception, a person who wallows in dishonesty the way a fish swims in the water.

Our prime example of speaking the truth is our Lord Jesus Christ. "I tell the truth," He said (John 8:45). He was also identified as the living embodiment of the Truth (John 14:6).
Verse Context:
Proverbs 14:15–35 continues Solomon's wise sayings, once again mostly contrasting the wicked and the upright. He points out that those who do evil, by rejecting God's wisdom (Proverbs 1:7) are foolish and have no security. Those who do God's will (Proverbs 3:5) are wise and have unfailing security.
Chapter Summary:
This continues a series of literal "proverbs:" short statements of general-case wisdom. The first ten verses of this chapter contrast positive and negative traits related to work ethic, self-control, and seeking wisdom. Then come several verses contrasting the fate of the righteous with that of the wicked. The rest of this passage provides statements on a broad range of subjects.
Chapter Context:
Proverbs 14 continues King Solomon's wise sayings. In this chapter he discusses a variety of topics such as wisdom and folly, honesty and dishonesty, righteousness and evil, national security and national disgrace, personal security and destruction, the fear of the Lord, generosity, and wise servanthood. This series of astute comments will continue for several more chapters.
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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