Proverbs 4:20-27

Introduction: I spent the last three weeks speaking about the spirit of a man and the need of having a generous spirit.

Question: Is there a difference between spirit and heart in the bible?

In the great majority of its occurrences in the Scriptures, the word “heart” is used figuratively. It is said to stand for “the central part in general, the inside, and so for the interior man as manifesting himself in all his various activities, in his desires, affections, emotions, passions, purposes, his thoughts, perceptions, imaginations, his wisdom, knowledge, skill, his beliefs and his reasonings, his memory and his consciousness.”

—Journal of the Society of Biblical Literature and Exegesis, 1882, p. 67.

Question: Is there a difference between heart and soul? This question is a little more complex. I would look at above reference for consideration and study.

Transition: What I want to do now is look at Proverbs 4:20-27 and provide guidance / insight into what Solomon is pointing us toward.

The Hebrew word for heart here is 03820 לֵב leb {labe} Meaning: 

  • 1) inner man, mind, will, heart, understanding
  • 1a) inner part, midst 1a1) midst (of things)
  • 1a2) heart (of man) 1a3) soul, heart (of man)
  • 1a4) mind, knowledge, thinking, reflection, memory
  • 1a5) inclination, resolution, determination (of will)
  • 1a6) conscience

I will get back to this in a moment.

What we shouldn’t confuse is the heart with the mind!

Of course, the heart is an organ in one’s chest, but of greater intensity biblically is its metaphorical use for the ‘internal wellspring of the acting self’.

As opposed to our head being the central location of our thinking, but the heart, when used by the ancient Hebrews used ‘heart’ comprehensively to indicate the inner person, the ‘I’ that is the location of a persons will, thought (Prov. 16:1, 9; 19:21) and feeling (Prov. 14:10, 13; 17:22).

Thus, all of a person’s actions (Pro. 15:13; 2 Sam. 7:3), especially speech (Pro. 16:23), flow from the heart, expressing its content, whether good or bad (Gen 6:5; 8:21; Matthew 12:33-35).

Most important, one’s basic disposition toward God is a matter of the ‘heart’ (Prov 3:5); 19:3; Deut. 6:5; 8:1).

Like a deep well, the heart has a hidden depth.

When seeking to replace Saul, the Lord finds in David ‘a man after his own heart’ (1 Sam 13:14).

Against this background, we can understand the absolute urgency of the admonition of Pro 4:23.


Transition: So, watch this…the close connection of the heart and the external organs and actions that give expression to it are revealed here.


  1. The Mouth / Speech – 24

‘Deceitful’ / ‘crooked’ mouth. Also, literally ‘distorted’.

  • We are to ‘put away’
  • ‘turn aside’

Which is part of the larger conversion from evil that ‘fools’ find so difficult (3:7; 4:27; 13:19)


  1. Eyes – verse 25


  1. Feet / Walk / Path – verse 26


Verse 26b, ‘And let all your ways be established, (NKJ)

  1. Feet / Ways Established

{koon} Meaning:  1) to be firm, be stable, be established 1a) (Niphal) 1a1) to be set up, be established, be fixed 1a1a) to be firmly established 1a1b) to be established, be stable, be secure, be enduring.

2. Do not turn to right or left

3. Remove yourself from evil

: Of great interest is what follows…Proverbs 5 warns against the peril of our eyes and feet to adultery/fornication/promiscuity.

Conclusion: Play video on Youtube

  • What types / kinds of words do we use? Offensive? Hurtful? Mean? Critical? Or Loving, Encouraging, Compassionate and Tender?
  • What are we watching?
  • Where are we going?
  • What are we thinking?


All conditions of our ‘I’!