At this time of the year many Christians and leaders use Proverbs 29:18 because of its emphasis on vision,
“Where there is no vision, the people perish:” KJV
Proverbs 29:18 is misquoted because it’s NOT about OUR personal goals
Yes, you were made to have vision and make a difference by reaching a higher goal. However, I believe this verse is not only one of the most misquoted New years passages, but also one of the most misunderstood in the Bible.
This new year’s season Christians will quote this passage as they include goals for making their life better along with new year’s resolutions. Perhaps church leaders will quote this verse as they speak of a vision to construct great buildings or ministry facilities.
Come on! Do you actually think people will perish because you can’t stop smoking, you don’t lose weight, or the church construction project isn’t finished?
Well … maybe YOU will perish, since heart disease and cancer are the leading causes of death in the U.S.A.
While there is nothing wrong with goal setting or having a building to meet in, this passage is NOT talking about fulfilling YOUR vision, your destiny, or your hopes and dreams.
God’s vision is “that no one should perish”.
Here’s a photocopy of a poster that I got back in the 1980’s from New Tribes Mission. It is very vivid because it shows unsaved people walking off a cliff and falling into the eternal flames of hell:
“No vision”; These two words are also translated in other versions of the Bible as “no word from God” and “no revelation”.
Proverbs 29:18 is actually speaking of what happens when the Word of God is neglected, ignored or unheard.
People perish because they have never heard a Word from God. Many living souls like this Asian taxi driver don’t even know what a Bible is. They have no hope.
II Peter 3:9 expresses the heart of God in that He doesn’t wish for ‘any to perish but for all to come to repentance.’ Seeking and saving the lost is why Christ came. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
But how can they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? Romans 10:13-18
That’s why I’m compelled to share the life-changing gospel message with these unreached people , who so desperately need truth and hope in their lives. Globe Internationals UPG initiative is a great solution for proclaiming God’s word to perishing people.
Those Who Hear the Word of God Are Happy
Simply put, “the people perish” without the Word of God!
But what about the rest of this verse?
“but he that keepeth the law, happy (or blessed) is he.”
Psalm 19:7-11 says the law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
In Matthew 28:19 -20 We are told to go and make disciples of all Nations, baptizing them and teaching them to obey all God’s commands or laws.
The 1568 Bishops Bible states: When the Word of God is not preached, the people perish: but well is him that keeps the law. (modern English)
When someone hears the word of God and obeys it by following Christ he is well, he is happy, he’s blessed!
So the TRUE meaning of Proverbs 29:18 is ,
Where the Word of God is neglected, ignored, not heard, or not preached forth, the people will perish; But those who do hear the Word of God AND obey it, are happy and blessed!
Making God’s Vision our Vision
Yes, it’s true, to accomplish anything significant in life you must first have a mission, a goal, a hope, a vision.
But what if we make God’s vision our main purpose?
Here’s my New years vision. It’s not just my vision, it fulfills God’s vision:
“Declare His Glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples!”
You can view more about this vision here: 6 Answers to Questions About Our Vision .
It’s True: You Really Have A Greater Purpose In Life. And Here it is…
So many of us are struggling to find a higher purpose and real meaning in life. Perhaps you too want to be a person who makes a difference while at the same time being fulfilled in life.
To help you not only have God’s vision but also His mission, I wrote an article to help you discover your greater purpose in life.
This new year, I hope you will also adopt God’s vision to proclaim His Glory in all Nations so people will obey Him, be happy and not perish.
Do you think I’m right by stating that Proverbs 29:18 is the most misquoted Bible verse during the New Year?
I appreciate your input below.