Proverbs 12

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As we begin a new year, we’ll be studying the book of Proverbs for the first 31 days of the year. The new year is a great opportunity to invite your friends, families, and Life Groups to read along with you in 2023. If you missed the first day’s reading or are looking for an overview of the book, click here to catch up!

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Read Proverbs 12

12 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
    but whoever hates correction is stupid.

Good people obtain favor from the Lord,
    but he condemns those who devise wicked schemes.
No one can be established through wickedness,
    but the righteous cannot be uprooted.
A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown,
    but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.
The plans of the righteous are just,
    but the advice of the wicked is deceitful.
The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood,
    but the speech of the upright rescues them.
The wicked are overthrown and are no more,
    but the house of the righteous stands firm.
A person is praised according to their prudence,
    and one with a warped mind is despised.
Better to be a nobody and yet have a servant
    than pretend to be somebody and have no food.
10 The righteous care for the needs of their animals,
    but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.
11 Those who work their land will have abundant food,
    but those who chase fantasies have no sense.
12 The wicked desire the stronghold of evildoers,
    but the root of the righteous endures.
13 Evildoers are trapped by their sinful talk,
    and so the innocent escape trouble.
14 From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things,
    and the work of their hands brings them reward.
15 The way of fools seems right to them,
    but the wise listen to advice.
16 Fools show their annoyance at once,
    but the prudent overlook an insult.
17 An honest witness tells the truth,
    but a false witness tells lies.
18 The words of the reckless pierce like swords,
    but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
19 Truthful lips endure forever,
    but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.
20 Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil,
    but those who promote peace have joy.
21 No harm overtakes the righteous,
    but the wicked have their fill of trouble.
22 The Lord detests lying lips,
    but he delights in people who are trustworthy.
23 The prudent keep their knowledge to themselves,
    but a fool’s heart blurts out folly.
24 Diligent hands will rule,
    but laziness ends in forced labor.
25 Anxiety weighs down the heart,
    but a kind word cheers it up.
26 The righteous choose their friends carefully,
    but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
27 The lazy do not roast any game,
    but the diligent feed on the riches of the hunt.
28 In the way of righteousness there is life;
    along that path is immortality.

Go Deeper

Proverbs 12 continues the wise sayings of Solomon as he contrasts the righteous from the wicked. In this chapter Solomon identifies differences in actions and speech between the two groups and provides several commands for the righteous. 

The wicked are foolish, sinful, proud people. They covet their neighbor. Solomon references their inability to take correction or advice. On the other hand, the righteous have a humble, teachable spirit which focuses on building a solid foundation of godliness that bears godly fruit. Our thoughts reveal our leanings toward righteousness or wickedness. The righteous replace the world’s way of thinking with God’s truth–the Bible. Shifting our daily thoughts and focus to God can change our life to a life that honors God. All of a sudden God’s Word isn’t simply a box to check or something that occupies the first thirty minutes of our day, but instead informs our entire worldview. As we go through the day, let’s be cognizant of the thoughts we have and make the choice to choose the path of the righteous.  

The next portion of the chapter references differences in speech between the righteous and the wicked. No one other than God knows our thoughts, but our spoken words are known to all. The wicked are foolish and always think they are right. This thinking and lack of self-control leads to deceitful speech and lies. Without question, the wicked say and do ungodly things. The righteous, however, speak with love, joy, and peace. The righteous are truthful and speak good, kind, and encouraging words to others.  There is no perfect human other than Jesus Christ himself, so we must acknowledge we make mistakes. The good news is that there is forgiveness in Christ and the pursuit of righteousness is continuous. Each day is a new day. Also, the righteous know to seek wisdom and understand the value of counsel. 

The last portion of Proverbs 12 provides characteristics and commands for the righteous: Work hard, be diligent, encourage others, and choose friends who lead you toward Jesus and God’s truths. Sadly, the wicked choose otherwise and are characterized as lazy, undiscerning, foolish, and engaged in unwise friendships. All of us can choose to pursue righteousness, for it is the correct path. Jesus is the path, and reliance on Him results in actions and speech of righteousness and ultimately life eternal. For Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). He gives us a better way to live through Him. Let’s follow Him daily in life through faith and the pursuit of righteousness.


  1. How can you live God’s truth in your life?
  2. Identify any specific actions God is calling you to start or adjust today as you pursue righteousness.
  3. What encouraging words can you give to a friend, family member, or colleague today?

A Quote

Martin Luther (the leader of the Protestant Reformation) once said, “Christ took our sins and the sins of the whole world as well as the Father’s wrath on his shoulders, and he has drowned them both in himself so that we are thereby reconciled to God and become completely righteous.”

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3 thoughts on “Proverbs 12”

  1. I noticed a repeated word, prudent/prudence throughout this chapter. It means acting with care and thought for the future, being careful about choices, stopping and thinking before acting. It is the opposite of impulsivity. It is a strength of restraint in the moment. Practically speaking, Solomon explains that the prudent accept constructive criticism, maintain personal integrity, promote peace, act on truth, are modest, and make wise use of time, money and possessions. For me, I must slow my harried pace to grow in prudence. It means waking up early to spend time in the word and prayer, asking God to plant his truth deep in my heart, so when the world squeezes me, rivers of living water flow out instead of bitter words.

  2. Of all the rich guidance in today’s chapter, verse 25 lit up like a marquee!
    People all around us are held captive by fear and anxiety. The news announces well-known celebrities taking their own life, a mental health crisis, and growing numbers of children deliberated by severe anxiety. Experts, doctors, politicians, parents, counselors, and families try to find answers to the question: How do we help?

    Enter verse 25 – Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.

    Kind words help. They don’t solve all the problems or replace professional care, but they help.
    It strikes me that, of all the things that God could have put in this verse, He directs us to use kind words. Kind words can be a salve to our raw, angry, fearful world. May God give us kind words. And the opportunity to share them today.

  3. I also was caught up by vs. 25. Our world is so filled with anxiety these days, it seems. Words can build up or tear down. Life and death are in the tongue. The Holy spirit should be the guide in how we respond to situations around. Breathe. Just taking a breath in and out can give you the seconds to hear what God has to say about responding if that is where your heart lies. Life -breathe- death- breathe. BUT GOD Psalm 141:3 Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!

    God thank you for guarding my mouth. Thank You for no words, kind words or the words You would have me speak to come from my lips this day. God thank You for breathe life!! in Jesus name amen.

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