Proverbs has 99 direct verses out of 915 ( That’s nearly 11 percent) on the topic of “Wisdom concerning Speech.” Proverbs very clearly presents the theory that ‘Speech’ (of a person) sooner or later determines if a person is foolish or wise; wicked or upright (Example Proverbs – 10:18; 17:27,28; 10:11)
With words, you express your inner being especially if there is hatred and violence within (Proverbs 10:18a; 10:6) which is concealed and not revealed. Therefore, the root of speech problem is not just ‘words’ but the inner life, the attitude, the thought etc.
The ways we can be careful in the usage of speech according to Proverbs is;
- Know that God does not like lying speech. Out of the six things that the Lord hates, lying is one. (5:17)
- Know that when words are many – Sin is around the corner. (10:19)
- Know that harsh words can stir up fights, arguments and basically the anger of the other person. (15:1)
Thus wrong usage of words could result in Spiritual, Personal and Social bondages.
On the other hand good speech or wise speech or speech with good motive can bring healing in all the above three areas – Spiritual, Personal and Social.
- The words that are gracious are pure in His sight (15:26) – Getting us the vertical favour.
- The mouth of the Righteous is a fountain of life (10:11a) deeply satisfying us inwardly
- A gracious speech will attract even the elite to be your friends (22:11) – Getting us the horizontal favour.
James in the New Testament teaches us that ‘Tongue’ is one thing that is unstable and can very dangerous if not controlled properly. Proverbs presents the simple truth that right standing with God brings wisdom and power that helps in how we choose our words. For some people this may seem to be difficult for various reasons but if we give ourselves to the Lord He can give us the power to talk right
“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver” (Prov 25:11)
The apples here are most probably talking about the fruit from the citron tree which was golden in color and very fragrant with good nutritious values. In ancient days oriental ladies served these fruits which were pleasant, nourishing and bright to look at. They would serve this beautifully placed in elaborately figured silver vessels
This is the description Solomon gives about words aptly spoken. He is comparing words to apples and elaborated silver vessel to the one’s who speak those apt words. Speaking the right word and saying it at the right time requires ‘sensitivity’. Insensitive people will find it difficult to speak right words and can damage relationships. Words have great power. I know relationships that went sour purely because of inappropriate words. Notice any healthy life affirming relationship and you will find words being used sensitively & lovingly.
All of us have friends and people around us. Most of our waking hours we are speaking – Whether we speak or not we are communicating…Let’s be sensitive to the needs, feelings and problems of those around so that we will learn to speak right words at the right time and with the right attitude.
“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone.” (Colossians 4:6) and in conclusion let us pray like Agur the son of Jakeh prayed, “… Remove far from me falsehood and lying…” (Proverbs 30:8a)