My recent journey through Proverbs has stirred me to post a few topical sections from this book. (And it just so happens that our VBS this year is also on Proverbs). This first one has to do with the tongue. Controlling my tongue has been a great struggle in my life. Many relationships have been affected by a poor choice of words and even of tone. And the battle for the tongue wages onward.
The scriptural importance is also clear. The book of James speaks of its importance by observing that those who control their tongue are able to control their entire self. Taming the tongue takes so much discipline that one who masters such a tool is able to even exemplify self-control upon his life. Here is a list of Proverbs (not exhaustive) that relate our speech as Christians and how we must use our mouth:
4:24 Put away from you a deceitful mouth And put devious speech far from you.
5:3-4 For the lips of an adulteress drip honey And smoother than oil is her speech; But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, Sharp as a two-edged sword.
6:12 A worthless person, a wicked man, Is the one who walks with a perverse mouth,
6:19 A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers.
8:6-8 “Listen, for I will speak noble things; And the opening of my lips will reveal right things. 7 “For my mouth will utter truth; And wickedness is an abomination to my lips. 8 “All the utterances of my mouth are in righteousness; There is nothing crooked or perverted in them.
8:13 The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way, And the perverted mouth, I hate.
10:6 Blessings are on the head of the righteous, But the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
10:8 The wise of heart will receive commands, But a babbling fool will be ruined.
10:18-21 He who conceals hatred has lying lips, And he who spreads slander is a fool. 19 When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise. 20 The tongue of the righteous is as choice silver, The heart of the wicked is worth little. 21 The lips of the righteous feed many, But fools die for lack of understanding.
10:31 The mouth of the righteous flows with wisdom, But the perverted tongue will be cut out.
12:22 Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, But those who deal faithfully are His delight.
13:3 Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, But those who deal faithfully are His delight.
15:1-2 A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. 2 The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, But the mouth of fools spouts folly.
16:21 The wise in heart will be called understanding, And sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.
16:24 Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
16:27-28 A worthless man digs up evil, While his words are like scorching fire. 28 A perverse man spreads strife, And a slanderer separates intimate friends.
17:27-28 He who restrains his words has knowledge, And he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. 28 Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; When he closes his lips, he is considered prudent.
18:6-7 A fool’s lips bring strife, And his mouth calls for blows. 7 A fool’s mouth is his ruin, And his lips are the snare of his soul.
21:23 He who guards his mouth and his tongue, Guards his soul from troubles.
29:5 A man who flatters his neighbor Is spreading a net for his steps.
29:20 Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
31:26 She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.