What does Proverbs 15:24 mean?
ESV: The path of life leads upward for the prudent, that he may turn away from Sheol beneath.
NIV: The path of life leads upward for the prudent to keep them from going down to the realm of the dead.
NASB: The path of life leads upward for the wise, So that he may keep away from Sheol below.
CSB: For the prudent the path of life leads upward, so that he may avoid going down to Sheol.
NLT: The path of life leads upward for the wise; they leave the grave behind.
KJV: The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath.
NKJV: The way of life winds upward for the wise, That he may turn away from hell below.
Verse Commentary:
Those who embrace God's salvation are traveling an upward path. This uses a metaphor common in the Old Testament (Psalm 16:11; 25:10; Proverbs 4:18; 15:21). Solomon refers to this path as "the path of life." All who trust in Jesus as Savior are on this path (Matthew 7:13–14; John 14:6). Solomon also adds that wise persons (Proverbs 1:7) are turning away from Sheol. This term refers to the realm of the dead.

Paul is an example of someone who turned away from Sheol and began walking on the path of life. While he was on his way to Damascus, he met the risen Savior, who commissioned him to carry the gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 9:1–19). In Galatians 1:11–16, Paul writes about his conversion, and he credits Jesus Christ with turning his life around and giving him the assignment to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. In Romans 1:16 he describes the gospel as "the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes." Whoever receives the gospel and believes on Jesus Christ passes from death unto life. He escapes the sentence of eternal punishment and is bound for heaven. Romans 8:1 states, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
Verse Context:
Proverbs 15:13–30 continues Solomon's contrasting descriptions of the wise and the foolish. In this book, those ideas are associated with accepting or rejecting God's truth, respectively (Proverbs 1:7). He writes about the gladness of the upright, wise person and the depressing existence of the wicked, foolish person. He contrasts attitudes, thoughts, and actions of both kinds of individuals, and he states that the Lord is far from the wicked but close enough to the righteous to hear their prayers.
Chapter Summary:
Solomon begins this chapter of Proverbs by addressing subjects such as anger and self-control and how those reactions produce different responses from others. That extends to how carefully a person guards their words, and their responses to questions. Wise people seek wisdom and humbly accept it. Foolish people are careless, lazy, or arrogant. Solomon also notes the importance of perspective, and once again commends those who sincerely seek godly wisdom.
Chapter Context:
Chapter 10 began a long list of Solomon's wise sayings. This passage continues to emphasize common themes such as hard work, humility, godly wisdom, and self-control. This extended collection of proverbs continues through much of chapter 22.
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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