What does Proverbs 4:21 mean?
ESV: Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart.
NIV: Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart;
NASB: They are not to escape from your sight; Keep them in the midst of your heart.
CSB: Don't lose sight of them; keep them within your heart.
NLT: Don’t lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart,
KJV: Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.
NKJV: Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart;
Verse Commentary:
The prior verse evoked the image of someone leaning their head forward, turning to hear carefully. This verse continues that theme with an expression that's understood in many cultures and languages: "don't let this out of your sight." This implies something valuable, or easily missed, or both. Given that godly wisdom is worth more than anything else (Proverbs 3:13–15), it's worth paying close attention to. It's something to be cherished, not tolerated.

Believers ought to give more than mental assent to God's Word. We must lodge it in the heart and love it. Psalm 119:11 says, "I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you." The same psalmist also declared: "Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day" (Psalm 119:97). If we love God's Word, we will mull it over in our thoughts throughout the day, applying it to each situation that arises.

Furthermore, our heart must welcome the Word of God just as a homeowner welcomes a dear friend inside. Paul exhorted the Colossian believers: "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly" (Colossians 3:16). The word "dwell" means to live at home as a permanent resident.
Verse Context:
Proverbs 4:20–27 concludes the chapter with Solomon telling his son how to live. This follows earlier explanations of advice his own father, David, gave to him. Emphasis here is on the attitude of the heart, the focus of the eyes, and the direction of the feet. This begins with a pattern seen many other places in Proverbs: an encouragement to value godly wisdom.
Chapter Summary:
Common for the first nine chapters of Proverbs, Solomon urges his sons—possibly also other students—to listen to his words. He recalls his early years, when he heard some of these words from his father, David. Wisdom is upheld as the most beneficial thing a person can acquire in life. It brings honor and safety. In contrast, the wicked are perpetual wrongdoers whose goal is to lead others astray. They live for wickedness and violence, and they stumble in the darkness. Solomon urges his sons not to deviate from the path of godly wisdom, either ''to the right or to the left.''
Chapter Context:
The first nine chapters of the book of Proverbs focus on extolling the value of godly wisdom. In this chapter King Solomon continues to pass along this message to his son. His advice to his sons—possibly also meaning his students—in chapter 4 is similar to what he says in Proverbs 1:8–9; 2:1–6; 3:1–2, 21–26; 5:1–2; 6:20–22; 7:1–3, 24; and 8:22–36. The words of this chapter are partly taken from advice Solomon recalls hearing from his own father, David.
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 8:57:28 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.
www.BibleRef.com