What does Proverbs 3:6 mean?
ESV: In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
NIV: in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
NASB: In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.
CSB: in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight.
NLT: Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
KJV: In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
NKJV: In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
Verse Commentary:
If we want perfect direction in life, whether we are buying a house or looking for a spouse, choosing a vocation or planning a vacation, in all our ways we should acknowledge the Lord. He will not only guide us in the right way but also remove obstacles from our path. The apostle James admonishes us to consult the Lord's will when we need to plan our days (James 4:13–15). This doesn't mean we'll get answers to every question we might ever have. A blunt figure of speech used in English points out that life is already hard, and it's only harder when one makes foolish choices. Following God's plan and His will is a good way to avoid added struggle.

We find a good example in Genesis 24 of a person who acknowledged the Lord and received perfect guidance. He was Abraham's servant who was on a mission to find a suitable bride for Abraham's son Isaac. The servant went to Nahor, a city in Mesopotamia, and rested his camels beside a spring of water when the women of the city approached to draw water. He prayed to the Lord for success in finding the right woman for Isaac (Genesis 24:12–14). The Lord answered his prayer, and Rebekah would soon become Isaac's bride. Abraham's servant praised the Lord for directing him to Rebekah. He said, "Blessed be the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken his steadfast love and his faithfulness toward my master. As for me, the LORD has led me in the way to the house of my master's kinsmen" (Genesis 24:27).
Verse Context:
Proverbs 3:1–12 is an exhortation from Solomon to his son, urging him to heed his teaching and trust wholeheartedly in the Lord. He cites some of the valuable results of obedience and trust. This section builds on the counsel Solomon gave in Proverbs 2. The following section describes the blessings that come to those who find wisdom and understanding.
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.
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