Skip to main content

Proverbs 16:22 & meaning...


is a fountain of life to one who has it, but the punishment of fools is their folly.

Proverbs 16:22


Proverbs 16 [20.] He who heeds the Word finds prosperity.

    Whoever trusts in Yahweh is blessed.

The wise in heart shall be called prudent.

    Pleasantness of the lips promotes instruction.

Understanding is a fountain of life to one who has it,

    but the punishment of fools is their folly.

The heart of the wise instructs his mouth,

    and adds learning to his lips.

Pleasant words are a honeycomb,

    sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.


Wisdom Literature: The Book of Proverbs is part of the Bible's wisdom literature, which includes practical teachings and insights about how to live wisely and righteously. Solomon, renowned for his wisdom, is traditionally credited with writing many of these proverbs.

Themes: Common themes include the contrast between wisdom and folly, the benefits of living a righteous life, and the consequences of foolishness and wickedness.

  • Key Elements of the Verse:

Understanding as a Fountain of Life: This metaphor suggests that understanding, or wisdom, is a source of life-giving sustenance. It nourishes, refreshes, and sustains those who possess it.

Punishment of Fools: In contrast, fools experience the negative consequences of their own folly. Their lack of wisdom leads to their downfall and suffering.

Theological Significance

  • Value of Wisdom:

Life-Giving Wisdom: Understanding and wisdom are depicted as sources of life. This aligns with the biblical view that wisdom, which begins with the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 9:10), leads to a flourishing and fulfilling life.

Protection and Guidance: Wisdom protects individuals from making harmful decisions and guides them on the path of righteousness and well-being.

  • Consequences of Folly:

Self-Inflicted Suffering: The punishment of fools is their folly. This means that the consequences of foolish behavior are inherent in the actions themselves. Fools bring trouble upon themselves through their lack of understanding.

Moral and Practical Dimensions: Folly is not just a moral failing but has practical, real-world consequences. Foolish decisions lead to negative outcomes, affecting both the individual and those around them.

Applications for Our Lives

  • Pursuing Wisdom:

Seek Understanding: Actively pursue wisdom and understanding through prayer, studying Scripture, and learning from wise and godly individuals. Proverbs 2:6 says, "For the LORD gives wisdom. Out of his mouth comes knowledge and understanding."

Apply Wisdom: Wisdom is not just about knowledge but about applying that knowledge in practical and godly ways. Strive to live out the principles of wisdom in your daily decisions and interactions.

  • Avoiding Folly:

Recognize Foolishness: Be aware of behaviors and attitudes that are considered foolish according to biblical standards. These might include pride, impulsiveness, and disregard for God's commands.

Learn from Mistakes: When you experience the consequences of folly, use those experiences as learning opportunities. Reflect on your actions and seek to grow in wisdom.

  • Impact of Wisdom on Community:

Influence Others: Your pursuit of wisdom can positively impact those around you. By living wisely, you set an example and can offer guidance and support to others.

Build a Wise Community: Encourage a culture of wisdom in your family, church, and community. Promote values of understanding, careful decision-making, and reverence for God.


Proverbs 13:14: "The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, turning one from the snares of death." This verse reinforces the idea that wisdom provides life and protection, steering individuals away from harmful paths.

James 1:5: "But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach; and it will be given to him." James encourages believers to seek wisdom from God, who generously grants it to those who ask in faith.

John 4:14: "But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never thirst again; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life." Jesus speaks of the living water He provides, which parallels the life-giving nature of wisdom described in Proverbs.

Conclusion: Proverbs 16:22 encapsulates a profound truth about the value of wisdom and the consequences of folly. Understanding is depicted as a fountain of life, offering nourishment, guidance, and protection to those who possess it. In contrast, folly leads to self-inflicted suffering and punishment.

For us today, this proverb serves as a powerful reminder to seek and apply wisdom in our lives. By pursuing understanding and living wisely, we can experience the life-giving benefits that come from aligning ourselves with God’s truth. Conversely, recognizing and avoiding folly helps us to avoid the negative consequences that arise from foolish decisions.

Embracing wisdom not only enriches our own lives but also positively impacts those around us. As we grow in understanding, we can influence our families, communities, and the broader world, fostering environments where wisdom and righteousness thrive. Ultimately, our pursuit of wisdom leads us closer to God, the true source of all understanding and life.

beware - simpleton
PIB Scriptures are derived from the World English Bible


Chat    Topics     Index     WorldWideWitness