Proverbs 13--Guiding Light Principles of Those Who Fear the Word


PROVERBS 13 – Guiding Light Principles of Those Who Fear the Word


Proverbs 13:9, “The light of the righteous rejoices, But the lamp of the wicked will be put out.”

Proverbs 13:13, “He who despises the word will be destroyed, But he who fears the commandment will be rewarded.”

This chapter shows some guiding light principles of the one who fears the word chooses to live by. In another way, it also contrasts the failure of the wicked whose candle burns out. Observe:

  1. OBEDIENCE TO PARENTS (Prov. 13:1)
  1. A wise son heeds his father’s instruction (cf. Prov. 4:1-5; 10:1; 15:5; Eph. 6:1-3).
  2. In contrast, the scoffer is unteachable. He will have no part in stronger instruction—a rebuke.
  1. TONGUE CONTROL (Prov. 13:2, 3)

The tongue can be a great tool for good or evil. A man is rewarded by the fruit of his mouth. The fruit of his mouth is his well-planned and thoughtful speaking (Prov. 12:14; 18:20).  My take from this text: "Guarded words keep you alive. An unrestricted jaw can bury you alive."

  1. DILIGENT WORK ETHIC (Prov. 13:4)

The Bible unreservedly condemns laziness. The sluggard desires the nice things others have but is unwilling to work for them. The one who fears the command will work if he is able (2 Thess. 3:10). The reality of being in want should become a teacher to the sluggard (Prov. 18:9; 19:15). Enabling the slothful only further encourages idleness. Remember, the Lord met laziness with wickedness with great disapproval (Matt. 25:26).

  1. HONESTY (Prov. 13:5, 6)

List the seven things God hates (Prov. 6:16-19). How much honesty is involved in each of these things? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


  1. NOT TRUSTING IN EARTHLY RICHES (Prov. 13:7-11; 1 Tim. 6:9, 10)

A poor rich man has great wealth but nothing else. A rich poor man has little wealth but riches that cannot be weighed by an earthly balance. The one who hordes riches for himself ends up in deep poverty and the one who gives away finds greater treasures (11:24; 28:27).

Fill in the Blanks:

“Whoever ____________ his ____________ to the ____________ of the ____________ Will also ____________ himself and not be ____________” (Prov. 21:13).

The righteous have “light” (Prov. 13:9; cf. Gen. 1:3; 1 Jn. 1:7) whereas the wicked have a flickering lamp or candle that is near extinguished.  The righteous can clearly see where they must go and how they must behave, but the wicked are scheming, often to their own hurt.

  1. FOLLOW THE WORD AND FLEE EVIL (Prov. 13:12-21)



  • Despise the word, destroyed
  • Way of the unfaithful, hard
  • Wicked messenger, trouble
  • Disdains correction, poverty & shame
  • Companion of fools, destroyed
  • Fears the commandment, rewarded
  • Good understanding, favor
  • Faithful ambassador, health
  • Regards a rebuke, honor
  • Walks with wise men, wise
  1. LEAVE A LEGACY (Prov. 13:22-25)

The life of a righteous man can be carried on as an inheritance to his children and grandchildren. He can farm his small piece of land and find an abundance of food meanwhile the stomach of the wicked will be in want (13:25). The righteous man also imparts discipline to his children (13:24). The corrective disciplinary measures that use a rod can be a form of love. However, the one who never uses or even sparingly uses the rod hates his child. Discipline should be prompt, not delayed. In these last few verses, we see the righteous man on the domestic front. He is careful to leave a legacy to his children by his disciplined example and his use of discipline.  

We see the chapter start with the child and his relationship with his father. It ends with the father’s relationship with his children (13:1, 22-25).  These seven principles are critical to learn in youth and enact throughout life. Are any of these challenging to you? Success here is measured by your reception and relationship to parental instruction with the word of God. It is naturally worked out in your speech, work duties, work dealings (honesty), and finally your parenting.

—Steven J. Wallace