So does Proverbs 4:23 have anything to do with young ladies guarding their hearts (emotions) in relationships like many books and resources suggest?
Let’s look ahead at Proverbs 5 it begins “My Son, …”
Just a note – chapter breaks and verses breaks are not original to the text. They were added rather recently in the course of Biblical History. So don’t ever get hung up by thinking a chapter break means anything more than just an arbitrary division.
Anyway Proverbs 5 could very easily continue on with the thought expressed in Proverbs 4. Because as we’ll see it fits right together.
1 My son, be attentive to my wisdom;
incline your ear to my understanding,
2 that you may keep discretion,
and your lips may guard knowledge.
3 For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey,
and her speech is smoother than oil,
4 but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
sharp as a two-edged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death;
her steps follow the path to Sheol;
6 she does not ponder the path of life;
her ways wander, and she does not know it.
Let us compare Proverbs 4:24-27 and Proverbs 5:1-6
Heart Proverbs 4:23
Speech Proverbs 4:24 and Proverbs 5:3-4
Eyes Proverbs 4:25
Feet Proverbs 4:26-27 and Proverbs 5:5-6
Notice what all we are instructed to guard or keep. We are to guard our heart (Proverbs 4:23). Guard our mouths by putting away crooked and devious speech (Proverbs 4:24, Proverbs 5:3-4). Guard our eyes by looking straight ahead (Proverbs 4:25). Guard our feet by keeping to the path (Proverbs 4:26-27, and Proverbs 5:5-6).
Guarding or keeping our hearts isn’t referring to our emotions or feelings necessarily. Guarding our hearts is referring to avoiding sin. Watching what we say, watching where we look, and watching where we walk.
Guard Your Heart series