Proverbs 1:1 says the plans of the heart belong to man but the answer of the tongue from the Lord. What does it mean that the answer of the tongue is from the Lord?
We have to remember while reading Proverbs that it’s wisdom scripture. Often what you’ll see is wisdom and guidance for a true godly life. Look at the very beginning of the book:
The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel:
To know wisdom and instruction,
To discern the sayings of understanding,
To receive instruction in wise behavior,
Righteousness, justice and equity;
With this, we can understand that the intent of this book was for us to receive instructions in living wisely, with godly wisdom. Try to keep this in mind while reading in this book of the Bible.
The plans of the heart belong to man,
But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.
If you look at the whole of this passage of scripture you’ll see that it is comparing and contrasting those who are upright and those who are not. For instance, you’ll see a few verses later that man planning his own path is contrasted with the Lord ordering his steps. We could also compare Proverbs 16:1 with Proverbs 19:21, which says, “Many plans are in a man’s heart, but the counsel of the LORD will stand.”
Let’s look at Proverbs 16:1-2 in the Amplified Bible, “The plans of the mind and orderly thinking belong to man, but from the Lord comes the [wise] answer of the tongue. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirits (the thoughts and intents of the heart).” Now, hopefully just seeing the scripture illuminated more here we can already start to gain clearer understanding.
You see, man (mankind) has a tendency to plan and plan and plan and never seek whether or not it’s God’s plan or their own. Notice that in this Amplified version the word heart has been exchanged for the word mind. This means that man comes up with plans in their mind, but the real answer or we could say the wise answer is from the Lord. Remember Proverbs 3:5-6? “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Look also at Psalms 25:8, “Good and upright is the LORD; Therefore He instructs sinners in the way.” How about Proverbs 14:12?
“There is a way which seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.”
From the Lord’s tongue comes the wise answer to our lives. God’s way is the only way that truly works. The answer is the answer of His tongue.