A Father’s Advice to His Son

Text: Proverbs 4:20-27

Much of the book of Proverbs contains wisdom that a father wished to pass down to his son. However, this counsel is not only applicable to a son; this is for all of us. In this lesson, we are going to take a look at Solomon’s advice to his son in our text. We will then see what we can learn from it and how it applies to receiving the wisdom in God’s word.

Be Willing to Listen (v. 20)

  • It does not matter how much wisdom someone has to share if one is not willing to listen
  • A willingness to listen leads to wisdom (Proverbs 19:20; 2:1-5)
  • A refusal to listen will cause one to go astray (Proverbs 10:17)
  • We must be quick to hear (James 1:19) – God gave us the ability to listen (Luke 8:8); we must use it

Do Not Forget What You Were Taught (v. 21)

  • Listening is the first step – after that, we must remember what we were taught
  • Not depart from your sight – seeing, reading, studying (Deuteronomy 6:7-9)
  • Keeping it in your heart – thinking, meditating (Deuteronomy 6:6; Psalm 119:11)
  • Do not let these slip (Hebrews 2:1) – must continually remind ourselves (1 Timothy 4:13, 16) and be reminded (2 Peter 1:12-15)

This Teaching Is for Your Benefit (v. 22)

  • There is often a temptation to view teaching like this as an unnecessary hindrance/restraint
  • Yet this wisdom is from God (Proverbs 8:22-23) – therefore, it leads to life (Proverbs 8:35); so it is valuable (Proverbs 23:23)
  • Following a different path only leads to troubles – in this life (Proverbs 13:15) and beyond (Proverbs 10:25)
  • The words of Christ lead to eternal life (John 6:68) – nothing more valuable (Philippians 3:7-11)

Watch Over Your Heart (v. 23)

  • Our heart is what directs us in this life (Proverbs 27:19) – watch/keep (KJV) means to guard/protect
  • Prevent what is corrupt from entering (Psalm 101:3)
  • Think on things that are good and right (Philippians 4:8)
  • Jesus warned about this as well (Matthew 15:18-19) – must obey the Lord “from the heart” (Romans 6:17)

Be Honest in All Things (v. 24)

  • We are to keep our speech truthful – not to resort to lies/deception; do not be careless (Proverbs 12:17-19)
  • Deceitful – word means distortion; change the truth
  • Devious – word means deviation; leave the truth
  • We must always strive to speak what is right (Ephesians 4:25) – strive to imitate the nature of God (Titus 1:2)

Stay Focused on the Goal (v. 25)

  • Our goal is to please the Lord and reach the reward – do not become distracted
  • Remember that the things of this life are only temporary (1 John 2:17) – so ultimately unimportant
  • Remember that the reward is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)
  • Press on toward the goal (Philippians 3:14) – do not allow anything to distract you from this (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Keep on the Right Path (v. 26-27)

  • There is a path that we are to follow that has been given by the Lord
  • His word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105)
  • He has warned that we must not depart from it to the right or left (Deuteronomy 5:32; Joshua 1:7)
  • We must follow the narrow way that leads to life (Matthew 7:13-14) – do not deviate from the path


  • Solomon invited his son to “give attention to [his] words” (Proverbs 4:20)
  • This is also an invitation to us today – give attention to what God has revealed in His word
  • If we will hear God’s word and follow what it teaches, we can have life – eternal life

When you subscribe, you’ll also receive 3 free PDF’s: Plain Bible Teaching on the Gospel, the latest issue of Plain Bible Teaching Quarterly Review, and Road Trip.