What does Proverbs 22:1 mean?
ESV: A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.
NIV: A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.
NASB: A good name is to be more desired than great wealth; Favor is better than silver and gold.
CSB: A good name is to be chosen over great wealth; favor is better than silver and gold.
NLT: Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold.
KJV: A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.
NKJV: A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, Loving favor rather than silver and gold.
Verse Commentary:
Given the choice between a good reputation and a million dollars, many people would prefer the money. However, Solomon notes that it's better to be known for integrity and morality than to be wealthy and associated with sin (Proverbs 3:1–5; 19:1). Money cannot directly buy happiness, peace, security, or eternal life. It has many advantages, but those are all temporary. A good reputation built on faith in Christ (2 Peter 1:5–8, 11) is accompanied by joy, peace with God, security, and eternal life. The "favor" spoken of here is part of that positive image; a person known for goodness is much more likely to be helped and honored by those around them (Proverbs 10:7; 11:10).

The spiritual maturity which leads to a good reputation leads to trust and honor. Proverbs chapter 31 describes the woman whose reputation is blameless. An early verse says, "The heart of her husband trusts in her" (Proverbs 31:11) and later the passage declares, "Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her" (Proverbs 31:28). Money cannot buy the admiration and love of others, but a noble character that creates a good reputation can earn the admiration and love of many people.
Verse Context:
Proverbs 22:1–16 dispenses practical advice about gaining a good reputation, avoiding danger, setting children on a good path, finances, pure living, and the Lord's watchfulness and judgment. These verses also speak on the absurdity of laziness, the danger of evil words, and the sin of oppressing the poor. This completes an extensive list of wise sayings (Proverbs 10:1) attributed to Solomon.
Chapter Summary:
This chapter completes a long string of wise sayings attributed to Solomon (Proverbs 10:1). He notes that reputation and godliness are far better than money. He also notes that godly wisdom keeps a person from various dangers. Loving parents use proper discipline to instill wisdom in their children. The last portion of the chapter introduces a new passage, made up of thirty wise teachings which Solomon endorses. This string of advice continues into chapter 24.
Chapter Context:
This chapter is the last of the second division of the book, including all of chapters 10—21. This section includes some 375 verses, mostly in paired lines. Chapter 22 completes these statements, then introduces a collection of thirty wise sayings endorsed by Solomon. The first five are negative commands, warning to avoid certain vices. Chapter 23 continues with more sayings of advice.
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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