Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

Speech (Facilitator's Guide)

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Two teenage girls talking to each other. Introduction

“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?

· We must give account for what we say.
· We will either be justified (declared guiltless from the penalty of sin, Galatians 3:24 Galatians 3:24Why the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
American King James Version×
) or condemned by what we say.

2. Why should we be concerned about our words?

· Luke 12:3 Luke 12:3Therefore whatever you have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which you have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed on the housetops.
American King James Version×
What we speak in private “will be proclaimed on the housetops.”
· Malachi 3:16 Malachi 3:16Then they that feared the LORD spoke often one to another: and the LORD listened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought on his name.
American King James Version×
When those who fear the Lord speak, God listens.
· Luke 6:45 Luke 6:45A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
American King James Version×
Our words reveal what is in our heart.

3. What is an “idle word”?

· Idle means “lacking worth or basis; vain chatter”. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
· “Idle word” implies what you say when you are not thinking; talking without engaging mind.
· 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 mouth of fools pours fourth foolishness.”

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.

· Our words have the potential to hurt others or to help others.  They have the potential to hurt our eternal standing with God.
· Proverbs 13:3 Proverbs 13:3He that keeps his mouth keeps his life: but he that opens wide his lips shall have destruction.
American King James Version×
“He who guards his mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction.”

 

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.

· David showed that he wanted his words and the meditation of his heart to be pleasing to God.
· David was a “man after God’s own heart”, so we should try to learn from him.
· Psalms 34:12-13 Psalms 34:12-13 12 What man is he that desires life, and loves many days, that he may see good? 13 Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking guile.
American King James Version×
– This scripture shows David’s attitude toward words.  He sees the correlation between desiring life, loving days of good and keeping his tongue from speaking guile.

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

· 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.”

· 1 Samuel 10-11 – Nabal responded with harsh words after David had asked for some nourishment after he protected Nabal’s sheep in the wilderness.
· 1 Peter 2:21-23 1 Peter 2:21-23 21 For even hereunto were you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judges righteously:
American King James Version×
– We should follow in the steps of Christ “who when He was reviled did not revile in return…”

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

· “Soft answer” – These words are filled with gentleness and love; grace.
· “Turns away wrath” –People will not keep an argument or quarrel going if the other party refuses to participate or answer back.
· 1 Samuel 25:23-31 1 Samuel 25:23-31 23 And when Abigail saw David, she hurried, and lighted off the ass, and fell before David on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, 24 And fell at his feet, and said, On me, my lord, on me let this iniquity be: and let your handmaid, I pray you, speak in your audience, and hear the words of your handmaid. 25 Let not my lord, I pray you, regard this man of Belial, even Nabal: for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him: but I your handmaid saw not the young men of my lord, whom you did send. 26 Now therefore, my lord, as the LORD lives, and as your soul lives, seeing the LORD has withheld you from coming to shed blood, and from avenging yourself with your own hand, now let your enemies, and they that seek evil to my lord, be as Nabal. 27 And now this blessing which your handmaid has brought to my lord, let it even be given to the young men that follow my lord. 28 I pray you, forgive the trespass of your handmaid: for the LORD will certainly make my lord a sure house; because my lord fights the battles of the LORD, and evil has not been found in you all your days. 29 Yet a man is risen to pursue you, and to seek your soul: but the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the LORD your God; and the souls of your enemies, them shall he sling out, as out of the middle of a sling. 30 And it shall come to pass, when the LORD shall have done to my lord according to all the good that he has spoken concerning you, and shall have appointed you ruler over Israel; 31 That this shall be no grief to you, nor offense of heart to my lord, either that you have shed blood causeless, or that my lord has avenged himself: but when the LORD shall have dealt well with my lord, then remember your handmaid.
American King James Version×
– Abigail’s soft words turned away wrath of David, who intended to hurt her husband, Nabal, and all of his household because of Nabal’s unkind and selfish attitude.

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?

· Proverbs 16: 22 – a fool refuses to be corrected
· Proverbs 10:18 Proverbs 10:18He that hides hatred with lying lips, and he that utters a slander, is a fool.
American King James Version×
– a fool spreads slander in his speech

· Proverbs 10:11 Proverbs 10:11The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covers the mouth of the wicked.
American King James Version×
– the speech of a fool often leads to violence

· Proverbs 10:19 Proverbs 10:19In the multitude of words there wants not sin: but he that refrains his lips is wise.
American King James Version×
– “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his tongue is wise.”

· Proverbs 20:32 Proverbs 20:32
American King James Version×
– “The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, but the mouth of the wicked what is perverse.”

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.

· “Knowledge rightly” – 2 Timothy 2:15-16 2 Timothy 2:15-16 15 Study to show yourself approved to God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase to more ungodliness.
American King James Version×
“Be diligent to show yourself approved to God, worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  But shun profane and vain babbling, for they will increase to more ungodliness.”

· What does this statement mean? –It means that we need to use what we know for God’s purposes; for improving your thoughts, words and deeds; for helping others and for positive outcomes.

10. What is a “wholesome tongue”?

· Wholesome means “health and well-being of mind and spirit; prudent”. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
· Proverbs 16:27 Proverbs 16:27An ungodly man digs up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire.
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.”

· 2 Timothy 2:14 2 Timothy 2:14Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.
American King James Version×
– “Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of themselves.”


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!

· Perverse means “turned away from what is right and good: corrupt; improper or incorrect.” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
· A perverse tongue makes you feel discouraged and depressed because you are opposing God’s way.  Your conscience may tell you your words are wrong.  A perverse tongue creates discouragement and depression in the hearers as well as the speaker.

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.

· Controlling one’s tongue brings joy to the speaker and the hearers.
· Proverbs 25:11 Proverbs 25:11A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.
American King James Version×
– “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”

· Proverbs 12:25 Proverbs 12:25Heaviness in the heart of man makes it stoop: but a good word makes it glad.
American King James Version×
– “Anxiety of the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.”

13. What’s so bad about gossip?

· It is commanded in the Bible not to gossip.
· Leviticus 19:16 Leviticus 19:16You shall not go up and down as a talebearer among your people: neither shall you stand against the blood of your neighbor; I am the LORD.
American King James Version×
– “You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people.”

· Proverbs 11:13 Proverbs 11:13A talebearer reveals secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit conceals the matter.
American King James Version×
– “A talebearer revels secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter.”

· Proverbs 18:8 Proverbs 18:8The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
American King James Version×
– “The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, and they go down to the inmost body.”

· Proverbs 26:20 Proverbs 26:20Where no wood is, there the fire goes out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceases.
American King James Version×
– “Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; and where there is no talebearer strife ceases.”

· Gossips destroy lives and reputations.
· Luke 6:31 Luke 6:31And as you would that men should do to you, do you also to them likewise.
American King James Version×
– Christians are to treat others as they would like to be treated.

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.

· Flattery is used by people to get an advantage over someone.
· Proverbs 7:5 Proverbs 7:5That they may keep you from the strange woman, from the stranger which flatters with her words.
American King James Version×
– “The seductress who flatters with her words.”

· Flattering lips show hypocrisy. 
· Psalms 12:2-3 Psalms 12:2-3 2 They speak vanity every one with his neighbor: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak. 3 The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaks proud things:
American King James Version×
- It is a sign of ungodliness.

· Proverbs 29:5 Proverbs 29:5A man that flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his feet.
American King James Version×
- It traps those who listen to it.

· Proverbs 26:28 Proverbs 26:28A lying tongue hates those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth works ruin.
American King James Version×
– It can lead to ruin.

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.

· Proverbs 25:21-22 Proverbs 25:21-22 21 If your enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: 22 For you shall heap coals of fire on his head, and the LORD shall reward you.
American King James Version×
, Proverbs 15:1 Proverbs 15:1A soft answer turns away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
American King James Version×
– Gentle words break the resolve and resistance of stubborn hardhearted people.

· Examples of the right words “breaking” the resistance of someone

16. What is “corrupt communication”?

· Corrupt means “morally degenerate and perverted; depraved” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary).   It can also mean tainted and vicious.
· Corrupt communication could also mean hostile and angry words.
· Examples

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

· Words can encourage others to do rightly and make good choices.
· When someone needs to be corrected, well-chose, godly, loving words can be used.
· 2 Timothy 3:16-17 2 Timothy 3:16-17 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished to all good works.
American King James Version×
– “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

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.

· Strong’s Bible Concordance states the meaning of grace as the divine influence on the heart and its reflection in life; including gratitude.
· Our speech can help us turn to God and appreciate Him.

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

· Foolish is “lacking in sense, judgment, or discretion; absurd and ridiculous…”  (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
· Foolish talking is talking about silly things or talking in a rude manner.
· Examples of “foolish talking” are mocking others, institutions and things of God.  Talking about private matters too openly is another example.  Many radio, television and movies are full of foolish talking.

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

· Synonyms for coarse are vulgar, gross, and obscene.  Jesting is making fun of or mocking someone.
· Making fun of the things of God, people and sex with or without vulgar words are examples of coarse jesting.

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

· Speaking bad words, cursing, cussing, talking in angry or hateful ways are examples of filthy language.  Language that is any way goes against God’s commandments is filthy.
· Filth is defined as “moral corruption or defilement”. – (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
· Filthy language is the use of vulgar of obscene words.

· We recognize filthy language by asking ourselves some questions:
· Do our words honor and show love and respect toward God?
· Do our words honor and respect His law?
· Do our words show love and respect for ourselves and others?
· Do these words encourage and/or bring joy to the hearer?
· Are our words clean (above reproach, appropriate, not vulgar)?
· Would we want these words “proclaimed from the housetops”? (Luke 12: 31)
· Would we want God to hear us say these words?

· Characteristics of filthy language: negative, ungodly, rude, crass, slanderous, hateful, angry, etc.
· Breaking the third commandment would be filthy language as well.

 

Summary

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

· Philippians 1:27 Philippians 1:27Only let your conversation be as it becomes the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
American King James Version×
– “Let your conduct (conversation) be worthy of the gospel of Christ…”

· Colossians 4:6 Colossians 4:6 Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer every man.
American King James Version×
– Speak gracious words.

· Proverbs 21-23 – “Whoso guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from trouble.”  Speak with self-control.

· The love of God and our fellowman should motivate our speech.

· David’s example of love toward God can be seen in these words about his speech.  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 are acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.”

· Luke 6:45 Luke 6:45A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
American King James Version×
, Matthew 12:35 Matthew 12:35A good man out of the good treasure of the heart brings forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.
American King James Version×
– Our love of God is reflected in what we say.

· 1 Peter 3:15 1 Peter 3:15But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
American King James Version×
, I Peter 2:12 – Our love of God and our fellow may light the way for others, as evidenced by our words.

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.?

· Examples that support what has been discussed so far.
· Society tells them that it is good to express feelings.  Talking is encouraged in any way, shape or form. Peers can believe that any speech is acceptable.
· Peers do not usually look for principles to guide speech, rather are influence by current music, movies, media, 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?

· “Filthy language” and “coarse jesting” are everywhere in the world we live in.