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“I know I should not take God's name in vain, and I know I should not tell a lie because the Ten Commandments say not to do so. But does God care how I speak otherwise?” Has that question ever crossed your mind? Actually God's Word gives many principles about how we should and should not speak. This discussion guide will lead you to discover those principles.

Evidence from Scripture

Matthew 12:36 Matthew 12:36But I say to you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
American King James Version×
– “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the Day of Judgment.” (37) “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

1. From these verses, how can we tell that God attaches great importance to our speech?

2. Why should we be concerned about our words?

3. What is an “idle word”?

Proverbs 18:21 Proverbs 18:21Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
American King James Version×
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.

4. Explain how “death and life” are contained in the words we speak.

Psalms 19:14 Psalms 19:14Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
American King James Version×
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.

Psalms 141:3 Psalms 141:3Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.
American King James Version×
Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.

  

5. How concerned were men such as David and Solomon about their speech? What should our attitude be?

Proverbs 15:1 Proverbs 15:1A soft answer turns away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
American King James Version×
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

6. Can you point to a biblical example or relate a personal experience as evidence of the validity of this proverb?

7. What is a “soft answer”? Why does such an answer “turn away wrath”?

Proverbs 15:2 Proverbs 15:2The tongue of the wise uses knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools pours out foolishness.
American King James Version×
The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly; but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.

8. How can you tell a wise person from a fool? What difference is there in their speech?

9. How does one use “knowledge rightly”? What does the statement mean?

Proverbs 15:4 Proverbs 15:4A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.
American King James Version×
A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.

10. What is a “wholesome tongue”?

11. Why would a perverse tongue cause discouragement and depression?

Proverbs 15:23 Proverbs 15:23A man has joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!
American King James Version×
A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, and a word spoken in due season, how good it is!

12. Explain the meaning of this proverb. What's the lesson regarding our speech?

Proverbs 20:19 Proverbs 20:19He that goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flatters with his lips.
American King James Version×
He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with one who flatters with his lips.

13. What's so bad about gossip?

14. What's so bad about flattery?

Proverbs 25:15 Proverbs 25:15By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaks the bone.
American King James Version×
By long forbearance a ruler is persuaded, and a gentle tongue breaks a bone.

  

15. Just how does a “gentle tongue break a bone”?

Ephesians 4:29 Ephesians 4:29Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers.
American King James Version×
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

16. What is “corrupt communication”?

17. How can our words build others up? What about when someone needs to be corrected?

18. What does it mean “impart grace”? How does our speech do that?

Ephesians 5:4 Ephesians 5:4Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
American King James Version×
Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.

Colossians 3:8 Colossians 3:8 But now you also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
American King James Version×
But now you must also put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.

19. What constitutes “foolish talking”? Can you give some examples?

20. What constitutes “coarse jesting”? Can you give an example?

21. What is “filthy language”? How do you define it? How would you recognize it? What are its characteristics?

 Summary

1. Summarize what God tells us about how we are to speak. What does “love” have to do with it?

2. What do your peers believe about speech? Do they watch their words? Why or why not? Do they look for principles to guide their speech? Do they use “filthy language,” “coarse jesting,” etc.?

3. What do you now believe after this study? Do you think it is important to consider how you speak? Do you see wisdom in the counsel the Bible gives?

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