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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Proverbs 14:15

 

 

The naive believes everything, But the sensible man considers his steps.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Simple - In the bad sense (compare Proverbs 1:22).


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:15". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/proverbs-14.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Proverbs 14:15

The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.

Simplicity and prudence

Such belief is not to the discredit of the simple man, but to the disgrace of the man who misleads him. No character is more admirable than that which is marked by simplicity and consequent trustfulness; it is only because the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, and the courses of this world are so much out of line, that simplicity is not only undervalued, but sometimes contemned. The prudent man is put in apposition to indicate that he is a man of affairs, who understands a good deal of the ways of the world, and who looks below the surface to find real meanings; this kind of prudence is itself an affirmation of the wickedness of the world: prudence in itself may or may not be a virtue; everything depends upon its origin and its purpose: when a man is so prudent as to suspect everybody, to regard every word as a trap, and every proposition as a lure to destruction, his prudence simply signifies that he has found out that he is in a bad world, and that everything is to be examined with a view to detecting in it the spirit of selfishness and all evil. Whether simplicity or prudence would in the long run the more prevail cannot now be told, because no fair test can be applied. Certainly Jesus Christ would seem to teach that simplicity is better than wariness, and that trustfulness is nearer to the Spirit of God than is suspicion. It is right to understand the men by whom we are surrounded, and to obtain some notion of their spirit and purpose, in order that we may conduct ourselves aright towards them. This is what God Himself does: to the froward He shows Himself froward; to the meek He is all gentleness; to the trustful He is all grace. There are men who pride themselves upon their prudence, not knowing that their prudence may have been gained through an experience which has cost them dearly, and which has revealed in many instances their folly and their incompetence. The prudence of the wise man will be placed at the disposal of the simple, and will not be wholly devoted to the confounding of those whose intentions are evil. Wherever one man is wiser than another he is a debtor to the man who is not so wise, and is bound to pay him of the gold of wisdom, that the man may be able to manage his affairs in the world with discretion and success. (J. Parker, D.D.)

The credulous and the cautious

I. The hastily credulous. “The simple believeth every word.”

1. One of the strongest tendencies in man’s mental nature is his propensity to believe. It is one of the most voracious appetites of the soul. The child opens its mental mouth, hungering for tales from the nurse’s lips, and will eagerly swallow up everything that is said.

2. The thoughtless yielding to this tendency is an immense loss. “The fool rageth, and is confident.” The fool sees no danger, dreads no harm. He rushes recklessly forward into mischief.

II. The cautiously believing. “The prudent man looketh well to his going.” True prudence is indicated by two things.

1. A dread of evil. “A wise man feareth.” True dread of evil is consistent with true courage. Few, if any, displayed more heroism than Noah, yet, being moved by fear, he prepared an ark. Evil, both physical and moral, is a bad thing in the universe, and it is right to dread it, as we dread poisonous serpents and ravenous beasts. True prudence is indicated--

2. By a departure from evil. “He departeth from evil.” Moral evil is the heart of all evil, and this he forsakes. He shuns it as an enemy to God and the universe. The prudence is indicated--

3. By mental greatness. He is dignified with knowledge. He is “crowned with knowledge.” Caution in believing is necessary for three reasons.

Prudent going

“Why are you treading so carefully?” said a donkey to a heavily laden horse. “You’ll never get home at that rate.” “Do you want to know?” was the answer; “it is because I remember there’s a stone on the road somewhere about here. I stumbled over it this morning on my way to work, and I don’t mean to have another fall this evening.” (Mrs. Presser.)


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Proverbs 14:15". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/proverbs-14.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

"The simple believeth every word; But the prudent man looketh well to his going."

He is a simpleton indeed who believes everything that he hears, or for that matter, everything that he reads in the newspapers. This also applies to many a religious pulpit. It is always the part of a wise man to weigh with the utmost care and attention the messages that are continually being shouted at him from all directions.


Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:15". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/proverbs-14.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

The simple believeth every word,.... Every thing that is said to him every story that is told him, and every promise that is made him; and so is easily imposed upon, and drawn in to his hurt: every word of God, or doctrine of his, ought to be believed; because whatever he says is true, he cannot lie; every word of his is pure, free from all error and falsehood; it is a tried word, and found to bear a faithful testimony, and, if we receive the witness of then, the witness of God is greater; besides, his word is profitable for instruction, and for the increase of peace, joy, and comfort, and is effectual to saving purposes: every word of Christ is to be believed, who is a teacher sent from God; whose mission is confirmed by miracles, and whose doctrine is not his own as man, but his Father's; he is the faithful witness, and truth itself; his words are more than human, and besides are pleasant and wholesome: and every word and doctrine of his apostles, who received their mission commission, and doctrines from him, is also to be believed; but every spirit, or everyone that pretends to be a spiritual man, and to have spiritual gifts, is not to be believed; but the words and doctrines of ordinary men and ministers are to be first tried by the unerring rule of the sacred Scriptures; yea, the doctrines of the apostles were examined by them; see 1 John 4:1; they are "simple", weak, silly, foolish persons, that believe all they hear, whether right or wrong, true or false, good or hurtful; they are children in knowledge, who are tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine, and are deceived with good words and fair speeches, Ephesians 4:14, Romans 16:18. This truly describes the followers of the man of sin; who give heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; who believe as the church believes; that believe with an implicit faith; believe every word and doctrine the pope and councils say they should, though ever so absurd; as, for instance, the doctrine of transubstantiation: these are "simple" or fools with a witness, who give up their understandings, and even their senses unto, and pin their faith upon, another;

but the prudent man looketh well to his going; or "its going"F15לאשרו "gressum illius, sc. sermonis", Baynus, so some in Mercerus. ; to the course and tendency of the word he hears, or the doctrine which is proposed to his faith; he considers well whether it is agreeable or is contrary to the perfections of God; whether it derogates from the glory of any of the divine Persons; whether it makes for the magnifying the riches of God's grace, and for the debasing of men; or for the depreciating of the one, and setting up of the other; and whether it is a doctrine according to godliness, or not, that tends to promote holiness of heart and life, or to indulge a loose conversation; and according to these criteria he judges and determines whether he shall believe it or not. Or, "to his going"; that is, to the going of the deceiver and impostor; he observes narrowly the methods he takes, the artifices he makes use of, the cunning sleight by which he lies in wait to deceive; how craftily he walks, and handles the word of God deceitfully; and he takes notice of his moral walk and conversation, and, as our Lord says, "ye shall know them by their fruits", Matthew 7:16. Or else the meaning is, and which seems to be the sense of our version, that he looks well unto, and carefully observes, his own goings; he takes heed to his ways, that they are right; that he is not in ways of his devising and choosing, but in God's ways; in the way of life and salvation by Christ; in the path of faith on him, and in the way of holiness; that he has chosen the way of truth, and walks in that; and that every step he takes in doctrine is according to the word of truth; and that whatever he does in worship is agreeably to the divine rule; and that every path of duty he treads in is according to the same, and as he has Christ for a pattern, and the Spirit for a guide; and that his walk is as becomes the Gospel, worthy of the calling wherein he is called, and that it is circumspect and wise; and such a man may be truly said to be a "prudent" man: the Targum is,

"he attends to his good;'

and so he does.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:15". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/proverbs-14.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

word — He is credulous, not from love, but heedlessness (Proverbs 13:16).


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:15". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/proverbs-14.html. 1871-8.

Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

15 The simple believeth every word;

But the prudent takes heed to his step.

We do not translate, “every thing,” for “word” and faith are correlates, Psalms 106:24, and פּתי is the non-self-dependent who lets himself be easily persuaded by the talk of another: he believes every word without proving it, whether it is well-meant, whether it is true, whether it is salutary and useful, so that he is thus, without having any firm principle, and without any judgment of his own, driven about hither and thither; the prudent, on the other hand, considers and marks his step, that he may not take a false step or go astray, he proves his way (8a), he takes no step without thought and consideration ( בּין or הבין with ל , to consider or reflect upon anything, Psalms 73:17, cf. Psalms 33:15) - he makes sure steps with his feet (Hebrews 12:13), without permitting himself to waver and sway by every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14).


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The Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.

Bibliography
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:15". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/proverbs-14.html. 1854-1889.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

Note, 1. It is folly to be credulous, to heed every flying report, to give ear to every man's story, though ever so improbable, to take things upon trust from common fame, to depend upon every man's profession of friendship and give credit to every one that will promise payment; those are simple who thus believe every word, forgetting that all men, in some sense, are liars in comparison with God, all whose words we are to believe with an implicit faith, for he cannot lie. 2. It is wisdom to be cautious: The prudent man will try before he trusts, will weigh both the credibility of the witness and the probability of the testimony, and then give judgment as the thing appears or suspend his judgment till it appears. Prove all things, and believe not every spirit.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Proverbs 14:15". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/proverbs-14.html. 1706.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Eager readiness to believe what others say, has ever proved mischievous. The whole world was thus ruined at first. The man who is spiritually wise, depends on the Saviour alone for acceptance. He is watchful against the enemies of his salvation, by taking heed to God's word.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Proverbs 14:15". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary

on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mhn/proverbs-14.html. 1706.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.

The simple — A foolish man.

Looketh — He orders his dealings in the world with due circumspection, not considering so much what other men say as what he ought to do.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:15". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/proverbs-14.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Proverbs 14:15 The simple believeth every word: but the prudent [man] looketh well to his going.

Ver. 15. The simple believeth every word.] You may draw him any way with a wet finger, persuade him to anything, as Rehoboam, that old baby. Nηφε και μεμνησο απιστειν, was a very good rule of Epicharmus. Be not light of belief; try before you trust; look before you leap. Alioqui saliens antequam videas, casurus es antequam debeas, (a) Wisdom would, that as men should not be too censorious ("This man blasphemeth," said they of our Saviour), so neither too credulous, as the giddy headed Galatians were to their seducing doctors; - "I [Galatians 1:6] wonder that ye are so soon removed," &c. Let us leave to the Papists Ministrorum muta officia, populi caeca obsequia - their ministers’ dumb services, their people’s blind obediences; and ever count it a singular folly to take men’s bare authority in matters of faith, and not to "prove the spirits whether they are of God," [1 John 4:1] as those "noble" Bereans did, and are worthily renowned for it. [Acts 17:11]

But the prudent man looketh well to his goings.] He looketh not so much what others believe, or not believe, do or not do, as what he is bound to believe or do. He pins not his faith to another man’s sleeve; he frames not his pace by another man’s practice, but walks by line and by rule, treads gingerly, steps warily, lifts not up one foot till he finds sure footing for the other, as those [of] Psalms 35:6. This is to "walk exactly, accurately, (b) not fools, but as wise." [Ephesians 5:15]


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:15". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/proverbs-14.html. 1865-1868.

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

v. 15. The simple, the inexperienced, believeth every word, without examining its truth, be is driven to and fro without any judgment of his own; but the prudent man looketh well to his going, watching every step, not attempting anything without the most careful consideration.


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Bibliography
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:15". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/proverbs-14.html. 1921-23.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Proverbs 14:15. The simple believeth every word Bochart observes well upon this verse, that as prudence, without simplicity, degenerates into craft; so simplicity, without prudence, is no better than downright folly. We must follow our Saviour's counsel, and unite the serpent with the dove.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:15". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/proverbs-14.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The simple, either the harmless man, or rather a foolish man, because he is opposed to the prudent, believeth every word; is easily deceived with the smooth words and fair pretences of false and deceitful men.

To his going; either,

1. To his own going, as this is generally understood; he ordereth his conversation and dealings in the world with due circumspection, not considering so much what other men say as what he ought to do. Or,

2. To the going of the deceiver, whose the word in the former clause is supposed to be. So the sense is, He judgeth of men’s words and professions by their conversation; which is a good rule,


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Proverbs 14:15". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/proverbs-14.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

15. Every word — Or, every thing. He is over credulous.

Looketh well to his going — Is observant of his steps, looks well where he puts his foot, and does not place it anywhere until he is sure of his footing. The figure is very descriptive of a prudent, wary, or careful man, as opposed to the over-credulous simpleton. Bochart observes here: “Prudence without simplicity degenerates into craft: and simplicity without prudence is no better than mere fatuity” — imbecility of mind. “To believe every word of God is faith; to believe every word of man is credulity.” — Muenscher. Comp. Proverbs 14:8.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:15". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/proverbs-14.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Proverbs 14:15. The simple — A foolish man; believeth every word — Is easily deceived with the smooth words and fair pretences of false and deceitful men; but the prudent man — The man well instructed and truly wise; looketh well to his goings — Either, 1st, To his own goings: he ordereth his conversation and dealings in the world with due circumspection, not considering so much what other men say as what he ought to do. Or, 2d, To the goings of the deceiver: that is, he judges of men’s words and professions by their conduct, which is a good rule. He is cautious, examining before he believes, and trying before he trusts, especially in matters of great moment; and considering things maturely before he does as he is advised. Bochart observes well upon this verse, that “as prudence without simplicity degenerates into craft, so simplicity without prudence is no better than downright folly. We must follow our Saviour’s counsel, and unite the serpent with the dove.”


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Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:15". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/proverbs-14.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Innocent. Good and unsuspecting; (Josue ix. 14., and 1 Corinthians xiii. 7.) or rather credulous, 1 John iv. 1. (Calmet) --- Septuagint, "the man who is not bad." --- Steps. Septuagint, "repenteth." (Haydock) --- No, &c. This occurs (chap. xiii. 13.) in several copies: but here it is omitted in Hebrew, &c.


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:15". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/proverbs-14.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

word: or thing.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:15". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/proverbs-14.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.

The simple believeth every word - whether, true or false, useful or injurious. "Charity," indeed, "believeth all things" (1 Corinthians 13:7); but not things that are palpably untrue. It is the truth which it readily believes. It believes all that it can with a good conscience believe to the credit of another, but not anything more. Epicharmus says, 'The sinews and limbs of faith are not rashly to believe' (Acts 17:11).

But the prudent (man) looketh well to his going - whether it tends to grace and salvation, or to sin and perdition: he 'believeth not every word,' as, for instance, the flattering words of seducers, who commend to him false doctrine or licentious practice (cf: Ephesians 5:15).


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:15". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/proverbs-14.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(15) The simple.—See above on Proverbs 1:22.

Believeth every word.—And so, having no fixed principles by which to go, often takes a wrong step; while the prudent man considers well (Proverbs 14:8) whither each step will lead, and therefore does not go astray.


Copyright Statement
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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:15". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/proverbs-14.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.
simple
4:26; 22:3; 27:12; Romans 16:18,19; Ephesians 4:14; 5:17; 1 John 4:1
the prudent
8; Amos 5:13; Acts 13:7

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:15". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/proverbs-14.html.

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