What does the Bible say about the way I speak?

The Bible has plenty to say about the words that come out of our mouths. Are you ready to hear it?

The Bible has plenty to say about the words that come out of our mouths. Are you ready to hear it?

We know that God speaks to us through his living word, but what does the Bible say about the way we speak? We’re not talking about whether he prefers a Scouse or Geordie accent here, or whether we say our Ts and Hs properly. We’re really looking at the content of our speech, and whether it is edifying to those around us.

Proverbs 18:21 says that: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” That’s why it’s so important that we make sure we’re speaking life rather than death whenever we open our mouths.

We should be soft and gentle with our speech

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger… A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit” (Proverbs 15:1-4).

“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).

We should stop with the rude jokes and crude expressions

“Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving” (Ephesians 5:4).

“But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth” (Colossians 3:8).

We should listen more than we talk

“Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent” (Proverbs 17:28).

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (James 1:19).

We should do good with positive words rather than harm with negative ones

“There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing… Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad” (Proverbs 12:18-25).

“…avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness” (2 Timothy 2:16).

We should always speak the truth

“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (Ephesians 4:15).

“Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit” (Psalm 34:13).

We should use our mouths to give thanks to God

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).

“Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving” (Ephesians 5:4).

We should stop boasting and moaning!

“Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed” (1 Samuel 2:2-3).

“Do all things without grumbling or questioning” (Philippians 2:14).

We should ask God to help us keep our speech sweet

“Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!” (Psalm 141:3).

“Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble” (Proverbs 21:23).

This may all sound like a bit of a tall order, but don’t forget that we have the Holy Spirit to help us. One verse we often hear quoted when it comes to our speech is Luke 6:45: “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Remember that we can only be ‘good’ if we have the Spirit dwelling in us and speaking through us, so ask him to purify your heart and speech today.