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Proverbs 6:20-23 meaning...

In these verses from the book of Proverbs, we encounter a father's admonition to his son regarding the importance of heeding parental guidance. It highlights the value of parental wisdom and guidance. The passage addresses a son directly, urging him to keep his father's commandment and hold on to his mother's teaching. This reflects the cultural emphasis on the role of parents as sources of wisdom, knowledge, and moral instruction.

  • A Call to Obedience and Respect:

The father's commandment and the mother's teaching symbolize not only practical guidance but also moral and spiritual values passed down through generations. The verse encourages the son to obey and respect his parents' teachings as a means of navigating life's challenges.

  • A Heartfelt Connection:

The imagery in verses 21 and 22 portrays an intimate connection between the son and the teachings of his parents. The son is instructed to bind these teachings continually on his heart and tie them around his neck. This visual metaphor underscores the importance of internalizing and cherishing the wisdom received from parents.

  • Guidance in Every Situation:

The verse also emphasizes that these teachings are not limited to specific times or situations. They are meant to be a guiding presence throughout the son's life. Whether he is walking, sleeping, or awake, the teachings will provide direction, protection, and companionship.

  • Walking in Wisdom:

The idea that the teachings will "lead" the son when he walks underscores the concept of wisdom as a guiding force in making decisions. The son is encouraged to carry the principles of his parents with him, allowing them to inform his choices and actions.

  • A Lifelong Conversation:

The final line of verse 22 suggests a continuous interaction between the son and his parents' teachings. Even when he awakes, the teachings will "talk with" him. This conveys the idea that the lessons learned from parents become an ongoing dialogue, influencing the son's thoughts and perspectives.

  • The Commandment as a Lamp and Teaching as Light:

Verse 23 introduces a powerful metaphor—the father's commandment is described as a "lamp" and the mother's teaching as "light." This imagery conveys the idea that these teachings provide clarity in the midst of darkness, illuminating the path of righteousness and wisdom.

  • Reproofs of Instruction and the Way of Life:

The verse concludes by mentioning the "reproofs of instruction" as the "way of life." This highlights the corrective aspect of guidance. Reproofs or corrections are essential for growth and learning. They guide the son away from harmful paths and toward the way of life, emphasizing the transformative power of wisdom.

  • Significance for Today:

Proverbs 6:20-23 holds timeless significance for believers today. While it directly addresses the relationship between parents and children, it also carries broader lessons about wisdom, guidance, and the transmission of values.

  • Honoring Wisdom and Heritage:

These verses remind us of the importance of honoring the wisdom of those who have come before us. It encourages us to value the teachings of our parents, mentors, and elders, recognizing their significance in shaping our character and decisions.

  • Internalizing Truth:

The passage also underscores the need to internalize and cherish wisdom. It's a call to go beyond superficial adherence and to truly make wisdom a part of our inner being, allowing it to shape our thoughts, attitudes, and actions.

  • Guidance in Every Aspect:

The imagery of guidance during walking, sleeping, and waking moments speaks to the holistic nature of wisdom. Just as the son is guided in all aspects of life, we too are invited to seek wisdom's direction in every area of our lives.


As we reflect on Proverbs 6:20-23, may we embrace the value of parental wisdom and the broader concept of guidance from those who impart valuable life lessons. May we internalize and honor the teachings that shape our character and decisions, allowing wisdom to be our constant companion in all aspects of life.


Proverbs 6:20-23. My son, keep your father’s commandment, and don’t forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them continually on your heart. Tie them around your neck. When you walk, it will lead you. When you sleep, it will watch over you. When you awake, it will talk with you. For the commandment is a lamp, and the law is light. Reproofs of instruction are the way of life.