Proverbs 20

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

Share the BRP

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!

To sign up and receive the BRP daily in your inbox, go to and scroll to the bottom of the page! 

Read Proverbs 20

20 Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler;
    whoever is led astray by them is not wise.

A king’s wrath strikes terror like the roar of a lion;
    those who anger him forfeit their lives.

It is to one’s honor to avoid strife,
    but every fool is quick to quarrel.

Sluggards do not plow in season;
    so at harvest time they look but find nothing.

The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters,
    but one who has insight draws them out.

Many claim to have unfailing love,
    but a faithful person who can find?

The righteous lead blameless lives;
    blessed are their children after them.

When a king sits on his throne to judge,
    he winnows out all evil with his eyes.

Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure;
    I am clean and without sin”?

10 Differing weights and differing measures—
    the Lord detests them both.

11 Even small children are known by their actions,
    so is their conduct really pure and upright?

12 Ears that hear and eyes that see—
    the Lord has made them both.

13 Do not love sleep or you will grow poor;
    stay awake and you will have food to spare.

14 “It’s no good, it’s no good!” says the buyer—
    then goes off and boasts about the purchase.

15 Gold there is, and rubies in abundance,
    but lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel.

16 Take the garment of one who puts up security for a stranger;
    hold it in pledge if it is done for an outsider.

17 Food gained by fraud tastes sweet,
    but one ends up with a mouth full of gravel.

18 Plans are established by seeking advice;
    so if you wage war, obtain guidance.

19 A gossip betrays a confidence;
    so avoid anyone who talks too much.

20 If someone curses their father or mother,
    their lamp will be snuffed out in pitch darkness.

21 An inheritance claimed too soon
    will not be blessed at the end.

22 Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!”
    Wait for the Lord, and he will avenge you.

23 The Lord detests differing weights,
    and dishonest scales do not please him.

24 A person’s steps are directed by the Lord.
    How then can anyone understand their own way?

25 It is a trap to dedicate something rashly
    and only later to consider one’s vows.

26 A wise king winnows out the wicked;
    he drives the threshing wheel over them.

27 The human spirit is the lamp of the Lord
    that sheds light on one’s inmost being.

28 Love and faithfulness keep a king safe;
    through love his throne is made secure.

29 The glory of young men is their strength,
    gray hair the splendor of the old.

30 Blows and wounds scrub away evil,
    and beatings purge the inmost being.

Go Deeper

We often read Scripture as a list of “do’s” and “don’ts“. We may even read it—wrongly—as a list of good things God wants to keep from us. The truth is Proverbs reminds us Scripture is not describing ways God holds goodness back from us, but rather ways God offers the best for us. He wants to give guidelines on where true wisdom is found, as well as who is truly the judge.

Proverbs 20 can serve as a reminder of the justification that comes from Jesus and the sanctification through the Holy Spirit. Jesus justified us by dying on the cross and rising from the dead—righting our relationship with God. Sanctification is simply the process of becoming more like Christ through His Word, His Spirit, and the fellowship of believers. On our own, we could not be justified or sanctified. Instead, on our own we are led astray (v. 1), have quarrels (v. 3), are sluggish (v. 4), claim things without understanding the truth (v. 6), conduct actions with the purpose of being seen (v. 11), and more. We are foolish because we forget our dependence on Jesus.

We can do nothing apart from God. “A person’s steps are directed by the Lord. How can anyone understand their own way?” (v. 24). Additionally, in John 15:1-8, Jesus talks about being a vine. When we are not attached to the vine, we can do nothing. We would be useless left to our own ways and efforts. We have to abide in Him daily and attach to Him like a branch on a vine. We cannot view Him as a well we turn to when our buckets run dry.

God sees our foolish attempts to try to do things on our own. He directs us elsewhere through His Spirit, His Word, and His people. He knows what is best for us and guides us. Even when we do not see, know or think God is working, he still does. God preserves His Word not to just tell us what to do or what not to do, but rather be reminded. We need to be reminded that it is in our foolishness that Christ justified us and continues to sanctify us. We are solely dependent upon the cross for our salvation.


  1. Do you depend on the Lord or yourself? 
  2. When you read Scripture, how do you imagine God speaking it over you? Is He disciplinary? Angry? Graceful? Loving? With a pursuit of holiness for you?
  3. In what areas of your life are you trying to do things yourself?

Try This

Listen to the song “Abide” by The Worship Initiative and make a list of the ways you need to surrender to the Lord your own ways and receive the goodness of God’s grace in asking you to remain in Him.

Leave a Comment Below

Did you learn something today? Share it with our Bible Reading Plan community by commenting below.

Join the Team

Interested in writing for the Bible Reading Plan? Email

3 thoughts on “Proverbs 20”

  1. Left to our own devices we can drift into habits that wreak havoc in our lives and those around us. Solomon calls out the sluggard, fool, fraud and gossip. Nothing ever ends well when we are lured into these traps of destruction. V9 says, “Who can say, I have a cleansed heart; I am pure and free from sin?” All have sinned and fall short of God’s standard and need the cleansing and mercy Christ offers. One of most powerful habits we can establish is that of repentance, where we own our sin and seek forgiveness. God delights in showing us mercy!
    (Confession + repentance = cleansing)
    Those are who Solomon would call the blameless, righteous, faithful and wise. Where will we land today?

  2. So I am doing this Bible study and in John 17:15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. Vs 20-21 20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
    This was Jesus’s prayer for you and me!! So I want to be what God wants me to be. Like Solomon is giving us wisdom to help with for now today.

    God please help me be more humble in spirit. I desire to be Your obedient daughter, I desire to do right things every time. I thank You for Holy spirit to guide me and that I have big elephant ears to hear Your voice and Your love goggles on my eyes to see Your people and how You love them. Let my life be about You more and more and more in Jesus name amen.

  3. I’m having trouble connecting the dots between v. 11 and the implication we “conduct actions with the purpose of being seen (v. 11).” I’d love to know how that conclusion was derived!

    Here’s what Guzik’s commentary has to say on 20:11-

    Even a child is known by his deeds,
    Whether what he does is pure and right.

    a. Even a child is known by his deeds: Especially in the realm of religion and faith, it is easy for us to think of ourselves only by what we believe, instead of also by what we do. We are more than what we do, but even a child is known by his deeds. We shouldn’t deny that others see and understand us by the measure of our deeds.

    i. “We may easily learn from the child what the man will be. In general, they give indications of those trades and callings for which they are adapted by nature. And, on the whole, we cannot go by a surer guide in preparing our children for future life, than by observing their early propensities. The future engineer is seen in the little handicraftsman of two years old.” (Clarke)

    b. Whether what he does is pure and right: The outside world, our own community, and God in heaven look at our deeds to see if they are pure and right.

    i. “Certainly no child who says, ‘I am well behaved’ will find his or her words taken at face value. People will evaluate the child by how he or she behaves. The implication is that appearances and words can be deceiving; behavior is a better criterion of judgment.” (Garrett)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.