Being Wise with Our Words (2 of 8) by Jonathan McLeod

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Being Wise with Our Words (2 of 8)
Series: Wise Steps
Jonathan McLeod
Proverbs 18:21a

Death and life are in the power of the tongue (Prov. 18:21a).


Proverbs is a book about wisdom, and its key verse is 1:7, which says, ''The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.'' If we desire to be wise, we must begin with an affectionate rev-erence for God. When we have an affectionate reverence for God, we will seek to obey God's wise commands.

One of God's commands is ''Love your neighbor as yourself'' (Lev. 19:18). We often disobey this command by speaking foolish words. According to Ray Ortlund, the book of Proverbs ''has more to say about our words than anything else it addresses in our lives-more than money, sex, or family.'' Perhaps Proverbs says so much about our words because saying the right words is our greatest struggle.

[Read Proverbs 18.]


When I was a kid, I used to say, ''Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me.'' But is there anyone who has never been harmed by words? We shouldn't underestimate the power of our words. Proverbs 18:21 says, ''Death and life are in the power of the tongue.''

Our words have the power to do great GOOD or great EVIL, so we must be wise with our words.

In the book of James, the tongue is compared to a small spark, and James writes, ''How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!'' (James 3:5).


Sometimes people think that a sin like gossip is a ''little sin,'' but it destroys churches. The book of Proverbs addresses the sin of gossip.

''Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends'' (Prov. 17:9; cf. 16:28).
''The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body'' (Prov. 18:8).
''An evildoer listens to wicked lips, and a liar gives ear to a mischievous tongue'' (Prov. 17:4).
''Whoever goes about sl ...

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