What does Proverbs 14:27 mean?
ESV: The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.
NIV: The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death.
NASB: The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, By which one may avoid the snares of death.
CSB: The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, turning people away from the snares of death.
NLT: Fear of the Lord is a life-giving fountain; it offers escape from the snares of death.
KJV: The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.
Verse Commentary:
In this verse Solomon comments further about the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 14:26). This "fear" is not panicked horror, but a reverent, humble respect for God (Exodus 20:20; Proverbs 1:7). That trusting, submissive obedience to God's will produces a lifegiving stream, connecting us to the truthful love of our Creator (John 10:10).

Trusting in the Lord as Savior brings abundant, everlasting life (John 3:16; 4:13–14; 10:10). Also, honoring God results in refreshing, purposeful life. The believer does not wander aimlessly through life (Proverbs 14:15). Instead, he progresses through life like a runner whose eye is on the goal of finishing well. He runs the race with his eyes focused on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1–2). He knows that at the end of life on earth there is life in heaven (2 Corinthians 5:1–10).

By reverently fearing the Lord, a person avoids the natural consequences of sin and evil (Proverbs 12:28; 13:13–14). That security extends beyond earthly life; animals caught in a snare face death, but the believer will never die eternally (John 10:27–28). Jesus told Martha: "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die" (John 11:25–26).
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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