The Meaning of Proverbs 20:27 Explained

Proverbs 20:27

KJV: The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.

YLT: The breath of man is a lamp of Jehovah, Searching all the inner parts of the heart.

Darby: Man's spirit is the lamp of Jehovah, searching all the inner parts of the belly.

ASV: The spirit of man is the lamp of Jehovah, Searching all his innermost parts.

What does Proverbs 20:27 Mean?

Verse Meaning

God searches out our innermost thoughts and feelings. Solomon compared our "spirit" (lit. "breath," Heb. nishmat, cf. Genesis 2:7) to a lamp God uses to investigate all the darkened crannies of our being in this very graphic proverb. Here the spirit is almost equivalent to the conscience (God"s Word also searches, cf. Hebrews 4:12).
"Breath typically goes in and comes out of a person, giving life; but it also comes out as wisdom and words." [1]

Context Summary

Proverbs 20:16-30 - "the Glory Of Young Men"
What a wonderful thought is given in Proverbs 20:27! We stand like a row of unlighted candles until God's Spirit kindles us. Has the Divine Nature ever bent over your nature, communicating to it its glow and fire? If so, be very careful that no puff of wind shall extinguish that sacred spark; and see that it is supplied with the daily nutriment it requires. The whole paragraph seems to indicate the clear shining of this light, which must not be hidden under a bushel, but placed on the stand, that it may give light to all who come in. So let your light shine that men may admire neither the lamp-stand nor the wick, but the glory of the light of God radiating from you.
Such a soul will be true, Proverbs 20:17; will be wise, Proverbs 20:18; will eschew tale-bearing and flattery, Proverbs 20:19; will honor the parents that gave it birth, Proverbs 20:20; will win a good inheritance by patient industry, Proverbs 20:21; will wait on the salvation of God, Proverbs 20:22; will accept God's guidance, Proverbs 20:24; will follow mercy and truth, Proverbs 20:28; will be strong, and pure, and faithful. Such should be the glory of all young men and maidens if their old age shall be beautiful, Proverbs 20:29. [source]

Chapter Summary: Proverbs 20

1  Proper Living

What do the individual words in Proverbs 20:27 mean?

[is] the lamp of Yahweh the spirit of a man Searching all the inner depths of his heart
נֵ֣ר יְ֭הוָה נִשְׁמַ֣ת אָדָ֑ם חֹ֝פֵ֗שׂ כָּל־ חַדְרֵי־ בָֽטֶן

נֵ֣ר  [is]  the  lamp 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular construct
Root: נִיר 
Sense: lamp.
יְ֭הוָה  of  Yahweh 
Parse: Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: יהוה 
Sense: the proper name of the one true God.
נִשְׁמַ֣ת  the  spirit 
Parse: Noun, feminine singular construct
Root: נְשָׁמָה  
Sense: breath, spirit.
אָדָ֑ם  of  a  man 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular
Root: אָדָם 
Sense: man, mankind.
חֹ֝פֵ֗שׂ  Searching 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Participle, masculine singular
Root: חָפַשׂ  
Sense: to search, search for, to search out, disguise oneself.
חַדְרֵי־  the  inner  depths 
Parse: Noun, masculine plural construct
Root: חֶדֶר  
Sense: chamber, room, parlour, innermost or inward part, within.
בָֽטֶן  of  his  heart 
Parse: Noun, feminine singular
Root: בֶּטֶן  
Sense: belly, womb, body.