Proverbs 13:20

Walking with Wise Men


1. In this proverb, the theme is companions.

2. Some companions are wise; others are fools…

3. In either category, the point is that one’s companions exert a great deal of influence… for good or for evil.

20a He that walketh with wise men shall be wise…

1. The book of Proverbs is all about wisdom… words of wisdom… gems of wisdom… the ways of wisdom… the signs of wisdom… the benefits of wisdom…

2. In this proverb, Solomon describes a unique way to become wise: associate with wise men!

a. His implication is that wisdom rubs off on you!

b. Walk with wise men and their wisdom will rub off on you.

c. Walk with wise men and you will become a wise man!

3. If you want to be wise… if you want to be good, you must keep good company… associate with those who exhibit wisdom.

4. In one sense, a man’s character is known by the kind of company he keeps.

a. You can tell a lot about a person by the friends he chooses to associate with.

b. There is an old saying, “Birds of a feather flock together.” Watch as the Canada geese line up in their formations to fly south for the winter. There will not be one robin or one blue jay in the bunch… nothing but Canada geese.

5. A man’s character is known by the company he keeps. This is true in the spiritual realm as well.

a. Lev. 19:2 – if we walk with God, HIS character of holiness should rub off on us!

b. Mark 10:43-45 – Christ’s example as a humble, selfless servant should have rubbed off on the disciples.

c. Acts 4:13 – it became obvious to the onlookers that the apostles had spent time with Jesus. His character, wisdom, grace, and strength rubbed off on them.

d. Ps. 119:63 – So too the believer who walks with spiritually minded men…obedient God-fearers.
• The one who walks with spiritually minded men is much more likely to become spiritually minded.
• Choose friends who fear God and keep His Word… not only believers, but believers who are walking with God and have a testimony for Christ.
• If there is no fear of God, then there will be undertones of murmuring, ridiculing spiritual things, undercutting the teaching ministry of the Word, making fun of those who want to do what’s right…
• This can even happen in church!
• What is a person’s ATTITUDE towards God and spiritual things? Is he sincere? Does he mock? Make jokes? Act irreverently?
• Then don’t walk with that person—no matter how “cool” they think they are! God calls him a fool…


• David delighted in the SAINTS… men who were holy in their lifestyles… set apart to God…
• and excellent (noble; moral excellence)

6. WALK… wisdom doesn’t rub off when you have a passing acquaintance with wise men… but rather a walk.

a. Walk: one’s whole course of life… the general direction of one’s life…

b. This speaks of one who has determined not just to walk with wise men on occasion, but to make it the whole course of his life!

c. He has purposely chosen NOT to walk with fools but with the wise.

d. He carefully chooses his close friends and has made a conscious decision to walk with wise men…

e. For the believer, this means another believer of like precious faith who walks with God… faithfully… consistently… one who loves God and desires to honor Him in everything… one who spends time in the Word… one who loves righteousness and shuns evil… one who is led by the Spirit… and seeks to bring glory to God with his whole life…

f. Amos 3:3 – can two walk together except they be agreed?

7. This does not mean that we will not ever be with those who are not wise.

a. We are commanded to live in the world… but not to become CONFORMED to the world… not to become LIKE the world. In it but not of it.

b. We will have lots of acquaintances in the world… but our close friends should be wise, discerning, Spirit filled believers

c. We will be with carnal believers at times… but we should not seek to be with them for close friendship, but rather for ministry… to help them… to provoke them to higher ground… to encourage them to live for the Lord and not to love the world.

8. HOW does walking with wise men make us wise?

a. Walking with someone implies conversation… interaction…

b. Prov. 27:17 – Iron sharpens iron. Wise men actually make each other wiser by discussing ideas… views… spiritual things… they will challenge your thinking if it seems to be conformed to the world… and cause you to defend it or change…

c. Prov. 2:20 – those who walk with wise men learn to appreciate the way they walk and will KEEP it (guard it… protect one another… with a warning… encouragement… help along the way…)

d. Mal. 3:16 – God fearing people stick together and SPEAK together… fellowship and share together in spiritual things.

e. Heb. 10:24 – walking with wise men means that if we begin to pursue folly, they will PROVOKE us back to the way of good things… good counsel… advice… warning… even a loving rebuke now and then…

20b But a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

1. Companion: to associate with; be a friend of; to be companions; to be a special friend.

a. When it’s time to pick your close friends, walk with wise men and avoid the wise guys!

b. Wise guys think they are cute… think they are cool… think they are popular… and people laugh when they tell their jokes… and often play along with their game to their face.

c. But oftentimes, they are not laughing with him, but AT him… those same people turn away are repulsed by their folly and stupidity.

d. Prov. 4:14-16 – associating with evil men also rubs off on you. They don’t sleep until they have caused you to fall… DOWN to their level.

e. Don’t let the wrong crowd drag you down to their level. If you associate with them, it will.

f. When you get in with the wrong crowd, you BECOME the wrong crowd!

g. Therefore, stay away! Walk with wise men—who know and love the Lord.

2. Just as walking with wise men rubs off on you, so too walking with foolish men rubs off on you.

a. Prov. 16:29 – violent men will encourage you to become a violent man.

b. Prov. 22:24-25 – angry men will teach you to become an angry man… and to blow up easily… uncontrolled… short fused…

c. Prov. 23:20-21 – wine bibbers are not good companions. You may learn their ways too… or druggies.

d. Prov. 28:7 – a companion of riotous men shames their father. (Riotous = worthless; vile; light; vain.)

e. Are YOU associating with these kinds of people? Take a good look at them. Is that what YOU want to become? You will, if you keep associating with them.

3. Psalm 1:1-3 – blessed is the man who does NOT walk with the ungodly… with sinners… and with the scornful.

a. It appears that the psalmist implies here that the blessed man does NOT walk with the ungodly and with fools… because he loves the Word of God.

b. It is implied (I think) that he therefore walks with those who love God’s Word and live it!

c. Instead of being destroyed, he is strong and fruitful, like a tree planted near water—where it receives all it needs for growth and strength.

4. I Cor. 15:33 – Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

a. This New Testament verse pretty much sums up the last part of the proverb.

b. Communications (homilia) companionship, intercourse, communion.

c. If the ones you commune with on a daily basis… fellowship together with… are evil, it will have a corrupting effect on your life!
» Your love for holiness will be adversely affected.
» Your attraction to earthly things will increase.
» Your fear of God will be diminished.
» Your horror over sin will be neutralized.
» Your resolve to obey God’s Word will be weakened.
» Your separation from the world will be compromised.
» Your zeal to evangelize will cool down…
» You may not notice it at first, but it will happen… gradually… a change will take place in your life.
» If you see that beginning to happen FLEE! Seek good, godly fellowship and friendship.

d. Corrupt = destroy; ruin… just as the proverb said.

e. The world is FULL of such fools. We can’t avoid being around them… but we can CHOOSE not to commune with them… become close friends… seek to walk with them.