This is a tough one for me personally. When it comes to my speech, I typically default to something sarcastic or straight to the point, which can be unthoughtful, rude, and far from glorifying God. Now I’m not saying there’s not a place where we can have humor and make jokes or sometimes we need to get to the point of something we are trying to say, but at the end of the day, we can know the difference on wise speech or foolish speech from reading the Bible.
If you think about it, speech is huge! You actually get to choose the very words that come out of our mouth to who is standing right in front of you. We can literally decide to tell them something encouraging and Godly, or tear them down and really hurt them.
Luckily, when we as followers of Jesus make mistakes, we can confess sin with our mouth to Him and also confess to others. It’s an incredible thing to see our speech make such a difference in someone’s life when we tell them the truth and love them with our words, including, sharing the Gospel with them.
Here is what the Bible has to say with scripture on speech:
Proverbs 21:23 – Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.
James 3:2-3 – For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well.
Ephesians 4:29 – Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
Matthew 15:11 – It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.
Colossians 4:6 – Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
Ephesians 5:4 – Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.
Psalm 141:3 – Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!
Proverbs 15:1 – A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
1 Peter 3:10 – For whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.
Proverbs 15:4 – A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
Ephesians 4:15 – Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.
Proverbs 16:24 – Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.
Proverbs 25:11 – A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.
Ecclesiastes 9:17 – The words of the wise heard in quiet are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools.