My son just turned eighteen. It is amazing how time flies. In thinking through the life advice that I wanted to share with him as he now entered adulthood, my mind turned to one of my favorite books in the Bible: the book of Proverbs.
It is fitting since the very theme of Proverbs is wisdom. The book is all about the question of how to live. In fact, the beginning of Proverbs is framed as advice from King Solomon to his son.
My son, hear the instruction of your father,
And do not forsake the law of your mother;
For they will be a graceful ornament on your head,
And chains about your neck.
My son, if sinners entice you,
Do not consent.
(Proverbs 1:8–10, NKJV)
We can assume Solomon had quite a few children since he had…ahem…“seven hundred wives” and “three hundred concubines” (I Kings 11:3). Nevertheless, when it comes to the wisdom sayings he wrote out, he seems to have one “son” (singular) in mind — presumably Rehoboam, the son who would become king.
Therefore, in honor of my son’s eighteenth birthday, I’ve selected eighteen (18) Bible proverbs that (I believe) serve as a wonderfully practical guide for life on this earth.
The proverbs below do not reflect my list of the “best” or even necessarily my “favorite” proverbs. Rather, they are selected as foundational proverbs for young people to consider as they enter their adult years.
You might say these are proverbs to help with “adulting.”
I share these proverbs in the order they appear in the book of Proverbs, and I share them without commentary. It’s my hope that my son (and those who read this article) will read them and meditate on them before God.
They are provided below in the classic King James Version. While more modern translations may be easier to read, the classic KJV evokes more careful thought and the language serves to help differentiate these sayings in a way that will hopefully make them more distinct — and special — in our minds.
May the Holy Spirit speak through these proverbs as you read them and reflect upon them.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.
Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.
These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.
Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.
In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.
It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom.
Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.
Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.
The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.
Let the proverbs above serve as a foundational guide to your bright future ahead.
God bless you!