A servant will not be corrected by mere words; For though he understands, he will not respond. Proverbs 29:19

In today’s Proverb devotion at West Woods Christian Academy, we unwrapped the meaning and application of the verse above.

The term servant may throw us off a bit because it sounds condescending. However, all believers should be of a servant’s spirit, and in general all of us are under some level of authority or another.

This verse indicates, that as those under authority, sometimes words/directives from our authority(parent, coach, teacher, boss etc.)  or “mere words” are not taken seriously enough. Though “he understands” he will not respond. The underlying principle seems to be that unless there are known consequences to not listening, there may be no weight to the words/directives given. There must be a healthy respect and fear of not listening or obeying the authority structure God has set in place.

Imagine a society where law enforcement says to the average citizen, “Don’t steal what doesn’t belong to you”. Most people would take that seriously, and obey the directive of the authority. Why would most people obey the authority? Is it their inner sense of right and wrong alone? That would be great, if it were true, but most likely it is taken seriously because it is backed up by law and consequences for breaking the law.

In parenting, coaching, teaching, and any form of leadership, our directives and instruction must not be mere words. It is human nature for children and adults to become “hard of hearing” if mere words are not backed up by “teeth in the words”. Consequences must be present, but need not be used frequently, thoughtlessly, or randomly. Hopefully, occasional reminders are sufficient to motivate us to listen. That still small voice of God instructs us to listen to and respect those God has placed within our authority structure. Our society, homes, churches, and schools would greatly benefit.

Warmly in Christ,

Bill Kane


West Woods Christian Academy

Hamden, Connecticut

New Haven County