What does Proverbs 3:23 mean?
ESV: Then you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble.
NIV: Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble.
NASB: Then you will walk in your way securely, And your foot will not stumble.
CSB: Then you will go safely on your way; your foot will not stumble.
NLT: They keep you safe on your way, and your feet will not stumble.
KJV: Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble.
NKJV: Then you will walk safely in your way, And your foot will not stumble.
Verse Commentary:
Solomon continues to name the benefits of sound wisdom and discretion. These traits were described in prior verses. To embrace those qualities brings security. Likely, King David told his son Solomon about the many times the Lord protected him from Saul in the wilderness. Now Solomon tells his student that God will enable him to walk securely without stumbling.

As with all statements in Proverbs, this is not meant as a universal guarantee. Danger and hardship come even to those who honor God (Proverbs 3:25). Rather, wisdom literature such as this presents general statements. Those who follow God's will, and His plan, have much less risk and greater chance for success than those who rebel. This statement, however, comes close to being an absolute prediction. When a person stumbles into sin, or strays from the path of God's will, it can only be done by failing to hold to sound wisdom and discernment.

Given all of that, it is comforting to know we do not walk alone through life. Our Good Shepherd, Jesus, walks with us. Not only does He walk with us, but He also walks in front of us. He leads us beside placid waters and in the paths of righteousness (Psalm 23:2–3). In John 10:4 Christ assures us that He goes before us. Therefore, nothing befalls us that He has not encountered and allowed for our good. Hebrews 4:15 depicts Jesus as our great High Priest who sympathizes with our weaknesses and was tempted in every way that we are tempted. The next verse encourages us, therefore, to carry our concerns to Him in prayer, "that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).
Verse Context:
Proverbs 3:13–26 extols the virtue of wisdom. Solomon began this discussion in chapter 1, and explained in chapter 2 that the Lord gives wisdom to the upright. Now he describes as blessed the person who finds wisdom, and explains its benefits and applications. Wisdom, as used in this book, refers to the ability to apply godly knowledge. While not a guarantee someone will act accordingly, having a grasp of God's intent for our lives is immensely valuable.
Chapter Summary:
This chapter of Proverbs is addressed to Solomon's son. The term, ''my son'' occurs 15 times in chapters 1—7. The words may apply to one of Solomon's students in his court or to one of his biological sons. The application of wisdom in Proverbs 3 shows the benefits of trusting in the Lord with one's whole heart. Solomon credits obedience to and trust in God for longevity, success, guidance, health, reward that exceeds monetary wealth, enjoyment, peace, security, confidence, excellent human relationships, the Lord's blessing and favor, and honor. As with all ''proverbs,'' biblical or otherwise, their purpose is to impart general wisdom, not absolute prophecy. Like the original audience, modern readers are not expected to see these guidelines as absolute guarantees for any one person.
Chapter Context:
This passage lies in the second section of the book, found in chapters 1—9. The author, King Solomon, reigned over Israel from 971 to 931 BC. The first section of Proverbs, the preface, is found in Proverbs 1:1–7. The third section, chapters 10—22, were also written by Solomon. These proverbs were likely written by Solomon in his middle years, whereas he probably wrote Song of Songs in his early adulthood, and Ecclesiastes near the end of his life. As in the first two chapters, wisdom is stressed in Proverbs 3.
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.
Accessed 5/24/2024 10:50:27 PM
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