Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. Proverbs 29:18
This verse is often quoted to show the importance of long term goals in the church, particularly in the mind of the pastor. A person would define “vision” as the goals or ambitions of the pastor. For example, it might be said that it was the pastor’s “vision” for this congregation that they double in size over the next decade.
While it’s admirable to hope and pray for success in spreading the gospel and church growth, that’s not actually the sense of this text. Keep reading…
The word VISION has reference to the work of the prophets. They were originally called “seers,” due to their ability to have divine visions or prophesy. They “saw” visions. A vision, for a prophet or seer, was a word from God Himself. We have many of these visions today in our Bibles!
In short – a “vision” in this text is a word from God. So, rather than saying
“Where there is no pastoral ambition, the people perish,” this text is saying “where there is no word from GOD, the people perish.”
We have a word from God in our time, even though God has ceased sending prophets among the people. It’s called the Bible. Without it, we perish. With it, we are happy!