20 My son,(A) pay attention to what I say;
    turn your ear to my words.(B)
21 Do not let them out of your sight,(C)
    keep them within your heart;
22 for they are life to those who find them
    and health to one’s whole body.(D)
23 Above all else, guard(E) your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it.(F)

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The Straight Path

20 My son, pay attention to my words;
listen closely to my sayings.(A)
21 Don’t lose sight of them;(B)
keep them within your heart.
22 For they are life to those who find them,
and health to one’s whole body.
23 Guard your heart above all else,[a]
for it is the source of life.(C)

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Footnotes

  1. Proverbs 4:23 Or heart with all diligence

The Straight Path

20 My son, pay attention to my words;
listen closely to my sayings.(A)
21 Don’t lose sight of them;(B)
keep them within your heart.
22 For they are life to those who find them,
and health to one’s whole body.
23 Guard your heart above all else,[a]
for it is the source of life.(C)

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Footnotes

  1. 4:23 Or heart with all diligence

Healing Words

20 Listen carefully, my dear child, to everything that I teach you,
    and pay attention to all that I have to say.
21 Fill your thoughts with my words
    until they penetrate deep into your spirit.[a]
22 Then, as you unwrap my words,[b]
    they will impart true life and radiant health
    into the very core of your being.
23 So above all, guard the affections of your heart,[c]
    for they affect all that you are.
    Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being,
    for from there flows the wellspring[d] of life.

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Footnotes

  1. 4:21 See Col. 3:16.
  2. 4:22 Or “discover my words.”
  3. 4:23 The Hebrew word levav is the most common word for “heart.” It includes our thoughts, our wills, our discernment, and our affections.
  4. 4:23 Although most translations have “the issues of life,” the Hebrew word yasa is actually “seasons,” especially springtime. Out of your heart flow the seasons of life. It is our hearts, not our ages or circumstances, that shape the seasons of our lives. If our hearts are tender to God, we can live in perpetual springtime.

Learn It by Heart

20-22 Dear friend, listen well to my words;
    tune your ears to my voice.
Keep my message in plain view at all times.
    Concentrate! Learn it by heart!
Those who discover these words live, really live;
    body and soul, they’re bursting with health.

23-27 Keep vigilant watch over your heart;
    that’s where life starts.
Don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth;
    avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip.
Keep your eyes straight ahead;
    ignore all sideshow distractions.
Watch your step,
    and the road will stretch out smooth before you.
Look neither right nor left;
    leave evil in the dust.

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