Proverbs 4:13
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.

New Living Translation
Take hold of my instructions; don't let them go. Guard them, for they are the key to life.

English Standard Version
Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life.

New American Standard Bible
Take hold of instruction; do not let go. Guard her, for she is your life.

King James Bible
Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Hold on to instruction; don't let go. Guard it, for it is your life.

International Standard Version
Hold on to instruction, do not let it go! Guard wisdom, because she is your life!

NET Bible
Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; protect it, because it is your life.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Hold my instruction fast and do not forsake her; keep her because she is your life.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Cling to discipline. Do not relax your grip on it. Keep it because it is your life.

JPS Tanakh 1917
Take fast hold of instruction, let her not go; Keep her, for she is thy life.

New American Standard 1977
Take hold of instruction; do not let go.
            Guard her, for she is your life.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Take fast hold of chastening; do not let go; keep this; for it is thy life.

King James 2000 Bible
Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is your life.

American King James Version
Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is your life.

American Standard Version
Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: Keep her; for she is thy life.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Take hold on instruction, leave it not: keep it, because it is thy life.

Darby Bible Translation
Take fast hold of instruction, let [her] not go: keep her, for she is thy life.

English Revised Version
Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.

Webster's Bible Translation
Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.

World English Bible
Take firm hold of instruction. Don't let her go. Keep her, for she is your life.

Young's Literal Translation
Lay hold on instruction, do not desist, Keep her, for she is thy life.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

4:1-13 We must look upon our teachers as our fathers: though instruction carry in it reproof and correction, bid it welcome. Solomon's parents loved him, therefore taught him. Wise and godly men, in every age of the world, and rank in society, agree that true wisdom consists in obedience, and is united to happiness. Get wisdom, take pains for it. Get the rule over thy corruptions; take more pains to get this than the wealth of this world. An interest in Christ's salvation is necessary. This wisdom is the one thing needful. A soul without true wisdom and grace is a dead soul. How poor, contemptible, and wretched are those, who, with all their wealth and power, die without getting understanding, without Christ, without hope, and without God! Let us give heed to the sayings of Him who has the words of eternal life. Thus our path will be plain before us: by taking, and keeping fast hold of instruction, we shall avoid being straitened or stumbling.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 13. - The short but urgent admonitions in this verse may be explained by the knowledge which the father has of the temptations to which youth is exposed and the liability of youth to fall into them, as well as by the fact that Instruction, or Wisdom, is the bestower of life. This latter conviction is the reason why he urges "taking fast hold" of Wisdom. The tenacious grasp with which the shipwrecked sinking sailor lays hold on any spar or plank floating near will illustrate the kind of grasp with which Wisdom is to be held. It is no less a virtue to keep and hold fast a good thing than to get it at the first beginning (Muffet). Instruction (musar), usually of a disciplinary nature (see Proverbs 1:3), here more particularly the instruction of the father, but in a wider sense wisdom generally, with which it is synonymous, as appears from the feminine, "let her not go, keep her," musar being masculine; or the feminines may refer back to "Wisdom" in ver. 11. So Mercerus and Buxtorf. For she is thy life (ki hi khayyeka); i.e. she brings life to thee. Wisdom is represented as the bestower of long life, in Proverbs 3:2, 16, 18. Just in proportion as Wisdom is retained and guarded, so is life secured, and so far as the hold upon her is lost, so are the hopes of life diminished. Life depends upon the observance of her precepts.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Take fast hold of instruction,.... Not the law, as Jarchi and Gersom interpret it; but the instruction of wisdom, the doctrine of Christ or the Gospel; see Proverbs 8:1; which is an instruction into the mind and will of God, concerning the salvation of men; into the grace of God, showing that salvation, in all its branches, is of pure grace; into the person and offices of Christ, and into the business of salvation through him; into the doctrines of peace, pardon, righteousness, and eternal life by him. This should be "taken fast hold of"; in order to which, men should take heed unto it, attentively hear it; they should come with a cordial affection to it, and an eager desire after it, or they will never lay fast hold on it; for taking fast hold, as it supposes a careful attention to the Gospel, so a reception of it in the love of it, and an eagerness to be possessed of it: such may be said to take fast hold on it, who receive it into their hearts, and not into their heads only; head knowledge of the Gospel instruction is not hold fast enough, it must be heart knowledge of it; it is taken fast hold on when it is mixed with faith when heard; when it is digested and incorporated as it were into men, and becomes the ingrafted word; when men are led experimentally and practically into it, and are not hearers only, but doers of it; and, being thus taken fast hold of,

let her not go; the instruction of wisdom, or the Gospel of Christ; do not drop it, nor depart from it, nor waver about it; nor be languid in a profession of it, nor indifferent to it: "be not remiss" (x), as the word signifies; or let not thine hand be remiss, or let not thine hand go; having, as it were with both hands, took fast hold of the Gospel, hold it fast, neither drop it through negligence and carelessness, nor suffer it to be taken from thee by fraud or force;

keep her, for she is thy life; which may be understood either of the Gospel, Wisdom's instruction, which should be kept as a rich treasure, and not parted with at any rate; since it is the means of quickening dead sinners; of showing sensible ones the way of life by Christ; of producing faith in them, by which they live upon him; and of maintaining and supporting the spiritual life in them, and of reviving and comforting them under the most drooping and afflictive circumstances; a man would as soon part with his life surely as part with this! Or else, seeing the feminine gender is here used, which does not agree with the word translated "instruction", but with "wisdom", mentioned Proverbs 4:11; so Aben Ezra; therefore Christ may be here meant, who is to be kept as the pearl of great price, being more precious than rubies and all desirable things, and especially since he is the "life" of his people: he is the author and maintainer of their spiritual life; he is their life itself, it is hid with him; and because he lives, they live also: all the comforts and supplies of life are from him, and he is their eternal life; it is given through him and by him, and ties greatly in the enjoyment of him.

(x) "ne remittas", Tigurine version, Mercerus, Gejerus, Michaelis.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

13. (Compare Pr 3:18). The figure of laying hold with the hand suggests earnest effort.

Proverbs 4:13 Additional Commentaries
Listen to a Father's Instruction
12When you walk, your steps will not be impeded; And if you run, you will not stumble. 13Take hold of instruction; do not let go. Guard her, for she is your life. 14Do not enter the path of the wicked And do not proceed in the way of evil men.…
Cross References
John 6:63
The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you--they are full of the Spirit and life.

Proverbs 3:18
She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed.

Proverbs 3:22
they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck.

Song of Solomon 3:4
Scarcely had I passed them when I found the one my heart loves. I held him and would not let him go till I had brought him to my mother's house, to the room of the one who conceived me.
Treasury of Scripture

Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is your life.


Proverbs 3:18 She is a tree of life to them that lay hold on her: and happy is …

Proverbs 23:23 Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.

Acts 2:42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, …

Acts 11:23 Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted …

1 Thessalonians 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which …

Revelation 2:13 I know your works, and where you dwell, even where Satan's seat is: …

Revelation 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of …


Genesis 32:26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaks. And he said, I will not …

Songs 3:4 It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom …

Luke 24:27-29 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them …

John 4:34-42 Jesus said to them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, …


Proverbs 3:22 So shall they be life to your soul, and grace to your neck.

Deuteronomy 32:47 For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life: and …

Ecclesiastes 7:12 For wisdom is a defense, and money is a defense: but the excellency …

John 6:68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? you have …

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