New International Version

Proverbs 4

Get Wisdom at Any Cost

1Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction;
    pay attention and gain understanding.
I give you sound learning,
    so do not forsake my teaching.
For I too was a son to my father,
    still tender, and cherished by my mother.
Then he taught me, and he said to me,
    “Take hold of my words with all your heart;
    keep my commands, and you will live.
Get wisdom, get understanding;
    do not forget my words or turn away from them.
Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
    love her, and she will watch over you.
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get[a] wisdom.
    Though it cost all you have,[b] get understanding.
Cherish her, and she will exalt you;
    embrace her, and she will honor you.
She will give you a garland to grace your head
    and present you with a glorious crown.”

10 Listen, my son, accept what I say,
    and the years of your life will be many.
11 I instruct you in the way of wisdom
    and lead you along straight paths.
12 When you walk, your steps will not be hampered;
    when you run, you will not stumble.
13 Hold on to instruction, do not let it go;
    guard it well, for it is your life.
14 Do not set foot on the path of the wicked
    or walk in the way of evildoers.
15 Avoid it, do not travel on it;
    turn from it and go on your way.
16 For they cannot rest until they do evil;
    they are robbed of sleep till they make someone stumble.
17 They eat the bread of wickedness
    and drink the wine of violence.

18 The path of the righteous is like the morning sun,
    shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
19 But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness;
    they do not know what makes them stumble.

20 My son, pay attention to what I say;
    turn your ear to my words.
21 Do not let them out of your sight,
    keep them within your heart;
22 for they are life to those who find them
    and health to one’s whole body.
23 Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it.
24 Keep your mouth free of perversity;
    keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead;
    fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Give careful thought to the[c] paths for your feet
    and be steadfast in all your ways.
27 Do not turn to the right or the left;
    keep your foot from evil.

Footnotes

  1. Proverbs 4:7 Or Wisdom is supreme; therefore get
  2. Proverbs 4:7 Or wisdom. / Whatever else you get
  3. Proverbs 4:26 Or Make level

New Living Translation

Proverbs 4

A Father’s Wise Advice

1My children,[a] listen when your father corrects you.
    Pay attention and learn good judgment,
for I am giving you good guidance.
    Don’t turn away from my instructions.
For I, too, was once my father’s son,
    tenderly loved as my mother’s only child.

My father taught me,
“Take my words to heart.
    Follow my commands, and you will live.
Get wisdom; develop good judgment.
    Don’t forget my words or turn away from them.
Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you.
    Love her, and she will guard you.
Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do!
    And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.
If you prize wisdom, she will make you great.
    Embrace her, and she will honor you.
She will place a lovely wreath on your head;
    she will present you with a beautiful crown.”

10 My child,[b] listen to me and do as I say,
    and you will have a long, good life.
11 I will teach you wisdom’s ways
    and lead you in straight paths.
12 When you walk, you won’t be held back;
    when you run, you won’t stumble.
13 Take hold of my instructions; don’t let them go.
    Guard them, for they are the key to life.

14 Don’t do as the wicked do,
    and don’t follow the path of evildoers.
15 Don’t even think about it; don’t go that way.
    Turn away and keep moving.
16 For evil people can’t sleep until they’ve done their evil deed for the day.
    They can’t rest until they’ve caused someone to stumble.
17 They eat the food of wickedness
    and drink the wine of violence!

18 The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn,
    which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.
19 But the way of the wicked is like total darkness.
    They have no idea what they are stumbling over.

20 My child, pay attention to what I say.
    Listen carefully to my words.
21 Don’t lose sight of them.
    Let them penetrate deep into your heart,
22 for they bring life to those who find them,
    and healing to their whole body.

23 Guard your heart above all else,
    for it determines the course of your life.

24 Avoid all perverse talk;
    stay away from corrupt speech.

25 Look straight ahead,
    and fix your eyes on what lies before you.
26 Mark out a straight path for your feet;
    stay on the safe path.
27 Don’t get sidetracked;
    keep your feet from following evil.

Footnotes

  1. 4:1 Hebrew My sons.
  2. 4:10 Hebrew My son; also in 4:20.