Proverbs 4 – New International Version (NIV)

Get Wisdom at Any Cost

  1. Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding.
  2. I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching.
  3. For I too was a son to my father, still tender, and cherished by my mother.
  4. 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.
  5. Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them.
  6. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.
  7. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get[a] wisdom. Though it cost all you have,[b] get understanding.
  8. Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you.
  9. 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.


a. Proverbs 4:7 Or Wisdom is supreme; therefore get
b. Proverbs 4:7 Or wisdom. / Whatever else you get
c. Proverbs 4:26 Or Make level

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Proverbs 4 – King James Version (KJV)

A Father’s Instruction

  1. Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, And attend to know understanding.
  2. For I give you good doctrine, Forsake ye not my law.
  3. For I was my father’s son, Tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother.
  4. He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: Keep my commandments, and live.
  5. Get wisdom, get understanding: Forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.
  6. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: Love her, and she shall keep thee.
  7. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: And with all thy getting get understanding.
  8. Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: She shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her.
  9. She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: A crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.
  10. Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; And the years of thy life shall be many.
  11. I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths.
  12. When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; And when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble.
  13. Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: Keep her; for she is thy life.
  14. Enter not into the path of the wicked, And go not in the way of evil men.
  15. Avoid it, pass not by it, Turn from it, and pass away.
  16. For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; And their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall.
  17. For they eat the bread of wickedness, And drink the wine of violence.
  18. But the path of the just is as the shining light, That shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
  19. The way of the wicked is as darkness: They know not at what they stumble.
  20. My son, attend to my words; Incline thine ear unto my sayings.
  21. Let them not depart from thine eyes; Keep them in the midst of thine heart.
  22. For they are life unto those that find them, And health to all their flesh.
  23. Keep thy heart with all diligence; For out of it are the issues of life.
  24. Put away from thee a froward mouth, And perverse lips put far from thee.
  25. Let thine eyes look right on, And let thine eyelids look straight before thee.
  26. Ponder the path of thy feet, And let all thy ways be established.
  27. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: Remove thy foot from evil.