What does Proverbs 4:26 mean?
ESV: Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure.
NIV: Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.
NASB: Watch the path of your feet, And all your ways will be established.
CSB: Carefully consider the path for your feet, and all your ways will be established.
NLT: Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path.
KJV: Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.
NKJV: Ponder the path of your feet, And let all your ways be established.
Verse Commentary:
The book of Proverbs assumes a progression from learning to knowledge to wisdom to understanding. Those who have wisdom have the ability—but not the guarantee—of acting according to godly knowledge. In order to maintain good use of wisdom, a person must be purposeful and careful (Proverbs 4:20–21). When walking, a person who deliberately considers where he steps is far less likely to stumble, or to fall into a trap. In life—often compared to a path in Scripture (Proverbs 4:27)—the same is true. We should not make hasty decisions, but discern the Lord's will and then do it (Proverbs 4:2).

The apostle James warns against making plans without considering the Lord's will. He writes in James 4:14–16, "You do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.'" Ephesians 5:15–16 affirms Solomon's advice by telling us: "Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil." Psalm 1:1 characterizes as blessed or happy the person who refuses to walk in the way of sinners. Solomon assures his son that a well-pondered path establishes a secure direction for life.
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.
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