Add parallel Print Page Options

16 Go ahead and make all the plans you want,

but it’s the Lord who will ultimately direct your steps.[a]
We are all in love with our own opinions,
convinced they’re correct.
But the Lord is in the midst of us,[b]
testing and probing our every motive.
Before you do anything,
put your trust totally in God and not in yourself.[c]
Then every plan you make will succeed.
The Lord works everything together to accomplish his purpose.[d]
Even the wicked are included in his plans—
he sets them aside for the day of disaster.
Exalting yourself is disgusting to the Lord,
for pride attracts his punishment—
and you can count on that!
You can avoid evil through surrendered worship
and the fear of God,
for the power of his faithful love
removes sin’s guilt and grip over you.
When the Lord is pleased with the decisions you’ve made,
he activates grace to turn enemies into friends.
It is better to have little with a heart that loves justice
than to be rich and not have God on your side.
Within your heart you can make plans for your future,
but the Lord chooses the steps you take to get there.

Living like a King

10 A king speaks the revelation of truth,
so he must be extraordinarily careful in the decrees that he makes.
11 The Lord expects you to be fair in every business deal,
for he is the one who sets the standards for righteousness.[e]
12 Kings and leaders despise wrongdoing,
for the true authority to rule and reign
is built on a foundation of righteousness.
13 Kings and leaders love to hear godly counsel,
and they love those who tell them the truth.
14 The anger of a king releases the messenger of death,[f]
but a wise person will know how to pacify his wrath.
15 Life-giving light streams from the presence of a king,[g]
and his favor is showered upon those who please him.
16 Everyone wants gold, but wisdom’s worth[h] is far greater.
Silver is sought after,
but a heart of understanding yields a greater return.
17 Repenting from evil places you on the highway of holiness.
Protect purity and you protect your life.[i]
18 Your boast becomes a prophecy of a future failure.
The higher you lift up yourself in pride,[j]
the harder you’ll fall in disgrace.
19 It’s better to be meek and lowly and live among the poor
than to live high and mighty among the rich and famous.
20 One skilled in business discovers prosperity,
but the one who trusts in God is blessed beyond belief!

Walking with Wisdom

21 The one with a wise heart is called “discerning,”
and speaking sweetly to others
makes your teaching even more convincing.
22 Wisdom is a deep well of understanding
opened up within you as a fountain of life for others,
but it’s senseless to try to instruct a fool.
23 Winsome words pour from a heart of wisdom,
adding value to all you teach.
24 Nothing is more appealing
than speaking beautiful, life-giving words.
For they release sweetness to our souls
and inner healing to our spirits.[k]
25 Before every person there is a path
that seems like the right one to take,
but it leads straight to hell![l]
26 Life motivation comes from the deep longings of the heart,
and the passion to see them fulfilled urges you onward.[m]
27 A wicked scoundrel wants to dig up dirt on others,
only to spread slander and shred their reputation.
28 A twisted person spreads rumors;
a whispering gossip ruins good friendships.
29 A vicious criminal can be persuasive,
enticing others to join him as partners in crime,
but he leads them all down a despicable path.
30 It’s easy to tell when a wicked man
is hatching some crooked scheme—
it’s written all over his face.
His looks betray him as he gives birth to his sin.
31 Old age with wisdom will crown you with dignity and honor,
for it takes a lifetime of righteousness to acquire it.[n]
32 Do you want to be a mighty warrior?
It’s better to be known as one who is patient and slow to anger.[o]
Do you want to conquer a city?
Rule over your temper before you attempt to rule a city.
33 We may toss the coin and roll the dice,
but God’s will is greater than luck.[p]


  1. Proverbs 16:1 As translated from the Septuagint. The Hebrew and Aramaic read “The Lord gives the right reply.”
  2. Proverbs 16:2 Or “in the midst of spirits.”
  3. Proverbs 16:3 Or “Commit your business to God.”
  4. Proverbs 16:4 Or “for its answer.”
  5. Proverbs 16:11 Or “Honesty with scales and balances is the way of the Lord, for all the stones in the bag are established by him.”
  6. Proverbs 16:14 See 1 Kings 2:25, 29-34, 46.
  7. Proverbs 16:15 The Septuagint reads “The king’s son is in the light of life.”
  8. Proverbs 16:16 The Septuagint is “nests of wisdom.”
  9. Proverbs 16:17 There are two proverbs inserted here in the Septuagint that are not found in the Hebrew or Aramaic: “Receive instruction and you’ll be prosperous; he who listens to correction shall be made wise.” “He who guards his ways preserves his own soul; he who loves his life will watch his words.”
  10. Proverbs 16:18 Or “overconfidence.”
  11. Proverbs 16:24 Or “healing to the bones.” Bones are a metaphor for our inner being.
  12. Proverbs 16:25 As translated from the Septuagint. The Hebrew is “the ways of death.”
  13. Proverbs 16:26 The meaning of the Hebrew in this verse is uncertain.
  14. Proverbs 16:31 Or “Gray hair is a crown of splendor.” In the Hebrew culture the old were honored above all, especially if they acquired wisdom. See Lev. 19:32.
  15. Proverbs 16:32 The Septuagint is “It’s better to be forgiving than strong.”
  16. Proverbs 16:33 Or “Into the center the lot is cast and from Jehovah is all its judgment.” The casting of lots was a common form of divination in the premodern societies.

16 To humans belong the plans of the heart,
    but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue.(A)

All a person’s ways seem pure to them,(B)
    but motives are weighed(C) by the Lord.(D)

Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
    and he will establish your plans.(E)

The Lord works out everything to its proper end(F)
    even the wicked for a day of disaster.(G)

The Lord detests all the proud of heart.(H)
    Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.(I)

Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for;
    through the fear of the Lord(J) evil is avoided.(K)

When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way,
    he causes their enemies to make peace(L) with them.(M)

Better a little with righteousness
    than much gain(N) with injustice.(O)

In their hearts humans plan their course,
    but the Lord establishes their steps.(P)

10 The lips of a king speak as an oracle,
    and his mouth does not betray justice.(Q)

11 Honest scales and balances belong to the Lord;
    all the weights in the bag are of his making.(R)

12 Kings detest wrongdoing,
    for a throne is established through righteousness.(S)

13 Kings take pleasure in honest lips;
    they value the one who speaks what is right.(T)

14 A king’s wrath is a messenger of death,(U)
    but the wise will appease it.(V)

15 When a king’s face brightens, it means life;(W)
    his favor is like a rain cloud in spring.(X)

16 How much better to get wisdom than gold,
    to get insight(Y) rather than silver!(Z)

17 The highway of the upright avoids evil;
    those who guard their ways preserve their lives.(AA)

18 Pride(AB) goes before destruction,
    a haughty spirit(AC) before a fall.(AD)

19 Better to be lowly in spirit along with the oppressed
    than to share plunder with the proud.

20 Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers,[a](AE)
    and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord.(AF)

21 The wise in heart are called discerning,
    and gracious words promote instruction.[b](AG)

22 Prudence is a fountain of life to the prudent,(AH)
    but folly brings punishment to fools.

23 The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent,(AI)
    and their lips promote instruction.[c](AJ)

24 Gracious words are a honeycomb,(AK)
    sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.(AL)

25 There is a way that appears to be right,(AM)
    but in the end it leads to death.(AN)

26 The appetite of laborers works for them;
    their hunger drives them on.

27 A scoundrel(AO) plots evil,
    and on their lips it is like a scorching fire.(AP)

28 A perverse person stirs up conflict,(AQ)
    and a gossip separates close friends.(AR)

29 A violent person entices their neighbor
    and leads them down a path that is not good.(AS)

30 Whoever winks(AT) with their eye is plotting perversity;
    whoever purses their lips is bent on evil.

31 Gray hair is a crown of splendor;(AU)
    it is attained in the way of righteousness.

32 Better a patient person than a warrior,
    one with self-control than one who takes a city.

33 The lot is cast(AV) into the lap,
    but its every decision(AW) is from the Lord.(AX)


  1. Proverbs 16:20 Or whoever speaks prudently finds what is good
  2. Proverbs 16:21 Or words make a person persuasive
  3. Proverbs 16:23 Or prudent / and make their lips persuasive