Proverbs on the Tongue

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Pastor Scott L. Harris

Grace Bible Church, NY

November 18, 2012

Proverbs on the Tongue

Selected Scriptures


I do not know how anyone figured this out, but according to statisticians, on an average day a person will speak between 18,000 and 30,000 words with women having a higher average than men. Proverbs 10:19 states, “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise.” No wonder our mouths get us in trouble. Every culture recognizes this as expressed in this interesting poem.

“The boneless tongue, so small and weak, Can crush and kill,” declares the Greek

“The tongue destroys a greater horde,” the Turk asserts, “Than does the Sword.”

The Persian proverb wisely saith, “A lengthy tongue – an early death!”

Or, sometimes takes the form instead, “Don’t let your tongue cut off your head.”

“The tongue can speak a word whose speed,” Say the Chinese, “outstrips the steeds.”

The Arab sages said in part, “The tongues’ great storehouse is the heart.”

From Hebrew was the maxim sprung, “Thy feet should slip, ne’er let the tongue.”

The sacred writer crowns the whole, “Who keeps his tongue doeth keep his soul.”

James 3:1-12 succinctly describes the power and contrasting uses of the tongue. “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh.

While the tongue is the specific object James speaks about in this passage, it is easy to see that it is being used in reference to what the tongue does and not the object itself. The bit controls the horse, the rudder steers the ship and the ember starts the forest fire. What the tongue does is communicate ideas, thoughts and emotions through speech. As we examine this topic this morning and talk about the tongue, the mouth and speech, I want you to keep it clearly in mind that the larger issues here is communication of every type and not just the one form of using the tongue to speak.


Paul makes a very relevant comment in 1 Corinthians 14:7-11 in discussing the necessity of clear speech and language in communication. “Yet even lifeless things, either flute or harp, in producing a sound, if they do not produce a distinction in the tones, how will it be known what is played on the flute or on the harp? For if the bugle produces an indistinct sound, who will prepare himself for battle? So also you, unless you utter by the tongue speech that is clear, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air. There are, perhaps, a great many kinds of languages in the world, and no kind is without meaning. If then I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be to the one who speaks a barbarian, and the one who speaks will be a barbarian to me.

Paul has given a basic explanation of communication theory. If your message is not clearly communicated and understood by the recipient, then there will be miscommunication and misunderstanding. In order for me to share an idea, thought or emotion with you the following steps must be taken. 1) I must encode the message in my mind into a language. 2) I must transmit the message to you. 3) You must receive the transmission of the message. 4) You must decode the message. In every step there are dangers of miscommunication.

A) I might not be able to clearly encode my message into a language. B) I can be unclear or confusing in my communication of the message whether it is verbal, written or visual. Things such as tone of voice or body language may not match the verbal message. My hand writing could be illegible to others or I might write too cryptically by using phrases instead of full sentences. This later problem is a major source of miscommunication in texting and instant messaging. C) There can be noise or interference in the transmission. Background noise could make it hard to hear or the electronic communication method such as a cell phone may cut in and out. In a series of written notes, one could get lost or misdirected. D) The person receiving the message may not decode the message properly due to any of the previously mentioned problems or due to being hard of hearing, having poor eyesight, or not paying close enough attention. E) The person receiving the message may misunderstand the message because they place a different meaning on the words used, tone of voice or body language. They may also be reading into your message their own thoughts and assumptions and therefore confusing its meaning.

Communication can be hard work, but it is well worth the effort put into it because miscommunication is a lot harder to correct and overcome. Proverbs does not address the problems related to communication theory, but it has a lot to say about the even bigger issue of what is meant to be communicated. Assuming that a person has clearly encoded and transmitted his message so that it is received and decoded properly by the recipient, the message itself can run to the extremes of being either a blessing or a curse.

The Power of the Tongue

James has already described the power of the tongue by comparing it to the bit in a horse’s mouth, the rudder on a ship and a match that starts a forest fire. He says it is untamable and inconsistent for it expresses both blessings and curses. There are quite a few Proverbs that also express the power of the tongue.

What we communicate to others can build up or it can destroy them. Proverbs 11:9, “With his mouth the godless man destroys his neighbor, But through knowledge the righteous will be delivered.” What is true for individuals is also true for communities. Proverbs 11:11,“By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, But by the mouth of the wicked it is torn down.” Proverbs 10:14 adds, “Wise men store up knowledge, But with the mouth of the foolish, ruin is at hand.”

The ruin caused by a foolish mouth could be of others or even of self. Proverbs 18:7 warns about this self destructive f
orce, “A fool’s mouth is his ruin, And his lips are the snare of his soul.” How does a fool’s speech cause such harm? Proverbs 12:16 explains that a characteristic of fools is that their anger is known at once since they do not have the self control to conceal a matter. Being easily provoked, fools lash out and provoke others. Proverbs 25:23, “The north wind brings forth rain, And a backbiting tongue, an angry countenance.” When two fools meet, it gets worse. Proverbs 30:33, “For the churning of milk produces butter, And pressing the nose brings forth blood; So the churning of anger produces strife.” That strife can then lead to violence. Proverbs 18:6, “A fool’s lips bring strife, And his mouth calls for blows.”

Speaking too much is another source of ruin. Proverbs 13:3, “The one who guards his mouth preserves his life; The one who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.” Proverbs 10:19 warns, “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise.” A wise man knows when to remain silent. Proverbs 17:27-28 explains, “He who restrains his words has knowledge, And he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; When he closes his lips, he is considered prudent.”

The tongue has the power to calm or intensify. Proverbs 15:1, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.” A wise man is careful in what and how much he says. A fool is not.

Most of us grew up learning the adage, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” It was meant to encourage us to ignore or walk away from those who speak as fools. However, the adage is wrong. Proverbs 25:15, “By forbearance a ruler may be persuaded, And a soft tongue breaks the bone.” Words do hurt. They can break bones through the consequences of what they cause. Proverbs 18:21 even says that “Death and life are in the power of the tongue . . .” How? Words can stir people to commit murder. The Sanhedrin did this in the stoning of Stephen in Acts 7. Words can also prevent murder as Gamaliel was able to do in Acts 5.

What is communicated in court or to authorities will affect the judgments pronounced. That is why Proverbs 16:10 warns, “A divine decision is in the lips of the king; His mouth should not err in judgment.” The truthfulness of a witness is imperative for justice to be done. Proverbs 14:25, “A truthful witness saves lives, But he who utters lies is treacherous.” That is why “Righteous lips are the delight of kings, And he who speaks right is loved” (Proverbs 16:13).

What is communicated is also powerful to bring healing. Proverbs 12:18, “There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, But the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 16:24 adds, “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” The wise know how to encourage others and restore hope in God even in difficult circumstances, and most of us have personally experienced the positive physical effect that has.

What is communicated can also deliver from harm as Proverbs 12:6 points out, “The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood, But the mouth of the upright will deliver them.” A good example of this is in Acts 23 when Paul’s nephew revealed the plot to murder him resulting in the Roman commander moving Paul to a safer location.

Proverbs 18:20 is important to me since I make my living through communicating, “With the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach will be satisfied; He will be satisfied with the product of his lips.”

The Proper use of the Tongue

James 3 contrasted the tongue being used to both bless the Lord and to curse men. Giving praise to God is a proper use of speech while cursing arises from wickedness (Psalm 10). In Romans 14:11, Paul quotes from Isaiah 45 that a day is coming when every knee shall bow and every tongue shall give praise to God.

Several Proverbs contrast the proper use of the tongue in speaking wisdom with the folly of fools. Proverbs 10:31, “The mouth of the righteous flows with wisdom, But the perverted tongue will be cut out.” Here again is the connection between a righteous character and wisdom while a warning is given to the wicked. Proverbs 15:2, “The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, But the mouth of fools spouts folly.” The wise not only speak with wisdom, but they also make that knowledge acceptable to the naive while the one who lacks understanding but is still proud declares things that are deficient in disdain for the truth.

Part of wisdom is speaking with appropriate timing. Proverbs 15:23, “A man has joy in an apt answer, And how delightful is a timely word!” Related to this is speaking when conditions are right – Proverbs 25:11,“Like apples of gold in settings of silver Is a word spoken in right circumstances.”

Another part of wisdom is answering only after hearing to gain the truth and then thoughtfully considering what should be said. Proverbs 15:28, “The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer . . .” Proverbs 16:23, “The heart of the wise instructs his mouth And adds persuasiveness to his lips.” This is contrasted with the foolish, “. . . But the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things” (15:28). The consequence of their rashness is described in Proverbs 18:13, “He who gives an answer before he hears, It is folly and shame to him.” Tragically, such folly is common even in Christian circles. Be sure you clearly understand what the other person it talking about before answering otherwise you might find yourself giving a foolish opinion that is not even related to the actual problem or subject.

The godly woman described in Proverbs 31 “. . . opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue” (31:26). Her life fits well the personification of wisdom described in Proverbs 8:6-8 who says, “Listen, for I will speak noble things; And the opening of my lips will reveal right things. For my mouth will utter truth; And wickedness is an abomination to my lips. All the utterances of my mouth are in righteousness; There is nothing crooked or perverted in them.”

It is also proper to speak the truth and to judge righteously. “He who speaks truth tells what is right . . . “ (Proverbs 12:17). Ephesians 4:15 adds that the manner of our speaking the truth is to be in love. Proverbs 31:9, “Open your mouth, judge righteously, And defend the rights of the afflicted and needy.” Truth and justice are contrary to the natural bent of man to lie for personal gain or self protection, but God promises a blessing to the righteous – “Truthful lips will be established forever . . .” (Proverbs 12:19).

Proper speech is wholesome seeking to build others up. Proverbs 10:31-32, “The mouth of the righteous flows with wisdom . . . “The lips of the righteous bring forth what is acceptable . . .” Ephesians 4:29 summarizes, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”

Proper communication will also bring other blessings including protection, good and life and therefore is valuable. Proverbs 14:3, “In the mouth of the foolish is a rod for his back, But the lips of the wise will protect them.” “From the fruit of a man’s mouth he enjoys good . . .” – Proverbs 13:2.“A soothing tongue is a tree of life . . . – Proverbs 15:4. Because of these things, Proverbs 10:20 states, “The tongue of the righteous is as choice silver . . .”

Trouble from the Tongue

Communication that reflects righteousness can bring great blessings, but it when what is communicated is sinful or is done sinfully, it can bring great trou
ble. Proverbs gives many warnings about wrong uses of the tongue and the resulting damage. What each type has in common is the bent toward sin.

When the heart is unrighteous, even the attempt to use what should be good, a Proverb, becomes either useless or even harmful. Consider Proverbs 26:7 & 9, “Like the legs which are useless to the lame, So is a proverb in the mouth of fools,” and “Like a thorn which falls into the hand of a drunkard, So is a proverb in the mouth of fools.”

Gossip is the first type of unrighteous speech that I want to address. The English word gossip refers to the spreading of rumor about the private matters of others behind their backs. There are several aspects to gossip.

Proverbs 18:8 & 26:20-22 uses the word “whisperer” (ragan) referring to speaking softly to describe the manner of gossip. This is its secretive, behind the back nature. “For lack of wood the fire goes out, And where there is no whisperer, contention quiets down. Like charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, So is a contentious man to kindle strife. The words of a whisperer are like dainty morsels, And they go down into the innermost parts of the body.” The destruction caused by the whisperer is seen in Proverbs 16:28 where the same word is translated as “slanderer.” “A perverse man spreads strife, And a slanderer ]whisperer[ separates intimate friends.” It is important to note that it may not be the intention of the whisperer to cause such damage, but the danger of doing such damage is there nevertheless.

Proverbs 11:13 and 20:19 both use the same word (rakîl) to describe the spread of gossip. The root word means to “go about” as in trading, in this case it is personal information and rumor that is being traded. It is translated as “talebearer” in Proverbs 11:13,“He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets, But he who is trustworthy conceals a matter,” and “slanderer” in Proverbs 20:19, “He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets, Therefore do not associate with a gossip.” Gossip in this verse is from a root word (pat”) that means to entice or deceive. The nature of gossip can change rapidly when it goes beyond just indiscretion and starts becoming malicious. It can escalate from this to slander (dibb”) that is a defaming, evil report as used in Proverbs 10:18 which says such a person is a fool. Tragically, there a lot of these kinds of fools around who are happy to defame others if they think it will get them ahead. They are not just gossips, they are malicious gossips which purposely slander.

As a general rule, if you would not say it directly to the person, then you should refrain from saying it when they are not present. That does not mean you cannot get advice about how to deal with a problem you’re having with someone, but then you must go deal with the problem. If you do not, then you are gossiping and possibly slandering as well. If you are the one hearing about the problem, then you can be part of the solution by holding them accountable to deal with it. If you do not, then you become part of the problem by letting others gossip to you, and if you repeat it, they you are also a gossip. If you hold gossips accountable for what they say, they will quickly stop gossiping to you.

Seduction is another wrong use of the tongue. Proverbs gives specific warnings about the “smooth tongue of the adulteress,” )Proverbs 6:24(. Proverbs 2:16, 7:5 and 7:21 all warn about her use of flattery to entice her victim with her many persuasions. Proverbs 22:14 warns, “The mouth of an adulteress is a deep pit; He who is cursed of the Lord will fall into it.” But the seductress is not the only one that uses her tongue to lead the naive astray into her trap. There are many that use their communication abilities to deceive others.

Flattery is sweet to hear, but it is artificial. Some might consider it polite lying, but lying is still sin and once the motives are examined, it’s evil is fully exposed. The English word, flatter, means to praise excessively especially from motives of self-interest. This matches very well the Hebrew word used in Proverbs (halaq) which originated as a reference to smoothing metal but developed an application to speech that was smooth and deceptive (Psalm 55:21). Proverbs 29:5 exposes the motives in warning, “A man who flatters his neighbor Is spreading a net for his steps.” Flattery is meant to entrap its prey. Flattery is used because it works, and it works because people like to hear others praise them whether it is true or not. Flattery feeds the ego, builds up pride and blinds the hearer to the danger that is upon him. Its destructive force is expressed in Proverbs 26:28, “A lying tongue hates those it crushes, And a flattering mouth works ruin.” The lying tongue and the flatter have the same goal in mind. The latter is just more pleasant to listen to in the process of being destroyed.

Be wary of those with smooth speech that flatter. Benjamin Franklin wisely said, “The same man cannot be both friend and flatter.” Your first defense is having enough humility and an honest evaluation of yourself not to believe it. Treat it like chewing gum – enjoy it briefly, but don’t swallow it. The godly prefer and practice themselves Proverbs 28:23, “He who rebukes a man will afterward find more favor Than he who flatters with the tongue.” The righteous seek to be true friends as described in Proverbs 27:6, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.”

Deception comes in more ways than just flattery. Proverbs gives many additional warnings about deception. Proverbs 26:24-25 warns, “He who hates disguises it with his lips, But he lays up deceit in his heart. When he speaks graciously, do not believe him, For there are seven abominations in his heart.” The deceiver conceals his real heart and motives and is pleasant in his communication using courtesy and kindness. Proverbs 12:20, “Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil . . .” This does not have to spill into flattery to be effective. All that is necessary is to hide the truth. Be careful about the character of those who give you counsel. Proverbs 12:5, “The thoughts of the righteous are just, But the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.”

There are many forms of deception that are common to marketing. We think we are getting one thing, but in the end it is something else. Is it really new and improved, bigger, stronger, more effective and better for you? Compared to what? And why do I have to act immediately? Do I really believe the item will never again be on sale? The contrast in Proverbs 14:8 is sobering, “The wisdom of the sensible is to understand his way, But the foolishness of fools is deceit.” Yet all of us have played the fool and been deceived. While I understand the need for marketing, God does not look on deception with favor. Proverbs 3:32, “For the devious are an abomination to the Lord; But He is intimate with the upright.” Proverbs 14:2 indicates the feeling is mutual, “He who walks in his uprightness fears the Lord, But he who is devious in his ways despises Him.”

Offering some pleasure, a gift or an advantage are also effective deceptions. Most are simply means of exploiting you for financial gain, but as these next two Proverbs reveal, it can be much more serious. Proverbs 16:29, “A man of violence entices his neighbor And leads him in a way that is not good.” Proverbs 1:10-24 and 2:12-15 warn in detail about the particular danger of joining in with sinners to gain fun and profit. It is death in the end. This Proverb also fits those who use enticements to set up their victim to be exploited. Proverbs 10:6 addresses this saying, “Blessings are on the head of the righteous, But the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.”

“He who speaks truth tells what is right, But
a false witness, deceit”
(Proverbs 12:17), so be careful to “Put away from you a deceitful mouth And put devious speech far from you” )Proverbs 4:24(. “Do not be a witness against your neighbor without cause, And do not deceive with your lips” (Proverbs 24:28). You need to even be extremely careful about your sense of humor for Proverbs 26:19 compares a man who deceives a neighbor in a joke to a madman who throws firebrands, arrows and death.

Lying is the at the root of gossip, seduction, flattery and deception, and Proverbs is very clear that lying is evil. Proverbs 6:17-19 lists a lying tongue and a false witness who utters lies as two of the things God hates and considers to be abominations. Proverbs 12:22 reinforces that saying, “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, But those who deal faithfully are His delight.” Many people think they will gain by lying, and they may in the short term as proven in our last round of elections, but ultimately it is a deception. Proverbs 21:6, “The acquisition of treasures by a lying tongue Is a fleeting vapor, the pursuit of death.” Proverbs 19:9, “A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who tells lies will perish. That is contrasted in Proverbs 12:19 with honesty, “Truthful lips will be established forever, But a lying tongue is only for a moment.”

Lying is a revelation of a person’s character. Proverbs 14:5, “A trustworthy witness will not lie, But a false witness utters lies.” Sadly, our nation is becoming increasingly characterized by unrighteousness and so set themselves up to be deceived by other liars. Proverbs 17:4 explains, “An evildoer listens to wicked lips; A liar pays attention to a destructive tongue.” How bad is it? Again, the last election is strong evidence of a people that want to be deceived, but perhaps even worse is this quote overheard in the halls at a major international business in a complaint about a co-worker, “He should be professional enough to know when he should tell the truth.” Since when did truth become optional whether the person is a professional or not? Without truth, which is the foundation for trust, how can any kind of business or trade flourish? The reason there are now so many business lawyers is because of the lack truth.

When lying becomes part of the legal system, then justice is perverted. Proverbs 19:28, “A rascally witness makes a mockery of justice, And the mouth of the wicked spreads iniquity.” Again, the liar may get away with it in the short term, but God’s justice will eventually catch up with them. Proverbs 19:5, “A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who tells lies will not escape.” Proverbs 29:26, “Many seek the ruler’s favor, But justice for man comes from the Lord.”

How serious is lying? Consider what is said in Revelation 21:8, “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murders and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” God is so serious about lying that He excludes all liars from heaven and instead condemns them to their just penalty.

Perversion of truth is what underlies all sin. Eve was deceived in the Garden of Eden and ate the forbidden fruit. Adam rejected the truth he had been given by God and joined her in sin. Men pursue the wickedness of their own selfish desires because they reject God’s revelation of truth including the law He has written on their conscience (Romans 2). The perversion that is in the heart will then flow out in what is communicated.

Jesus said in Matthew 15:18-19 that what proceeds from the mouth comes from the heart and that is what defiles a man. This includes things such as evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness and slanders. People have problems with their mouths because their hearts are perverse. All men start in that state for we are born in sin, but you do not have to remain there. Proverbs 11:20 states, “The perverse in heart are an abomination to the Lord, But the blameless in their walk are His delight.” How does a person with a perverted heart and has a mouth that gossips, deceives and lies become blameless?

That is what the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is all about. Jesus, the second person of the eternal Godhead, becoming a man, lived a sinless life, died on the cross as the substitute payment for sin and then rose from the dead to redeem you and break your bondage to sin (Romans 6). It is by God’s grace that you can be saved through faith in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. You cannot earn it, for all your righteous deeds are as filthy rags before our holy God (Isaiah 64:6). Eternal life is granted to you solely on the basis of believing God’s promise that Jesus is who He claims to be and His work of redemption is sufficient for you. There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).

Because the Lord cleanses the heart from its perversity, you can begin to properly communicate what is right and to cease from saying what is sinful. Proverbs 21:23, “He who guards his mouth and his tongue, Guards his soul from troubles.” The Lord also calls you to walk in wisdom and grants that wisdom in order “To deliver you from the way of evil, From the man who speaks perverse things” (Proverbs 2:12). He changes you from being one of the foolish and wicked into being righteous and wise. You will also be able to recognize what is sinful and protect yourself from the perversity of others.

If you do not yet know the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior, then today is the day of salvation. Recognize your sinfulness and turn from it casting yourself upon the mercies of the Lord Jesus and He will forgive and save you from your sin.

May the Lord grant to each of us an increasing understanding of Himself and His will that we might better reflect Him in everything that we might say or write.


Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Count how many times the word “tongue” is said. 2) Discuss with your parents how to guard your mouth from improper speech


Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. What are the necessary steps to successful communication with others? What are some of the reasons communication can be so difficult and unsuccessful? How powerful is the tongue? Explain, give examples. What are proper uses of the tongue? Give examples. Why is it wrong to answer before you have fully heard and understood? What are some of the clues that can help you know the appropriate time and circumstances to speak? How are these related to motivations? What is gossip and what are its various elements? How can you keep from being a gossip? How can you end gossip? What is flattery and why is it wrong? How do you defend yourself against flattery? What is at the heart of deception? How is deception used in marketing? How can you protect yourself against it? How is deception used by the violent? What is lying and what does the Lord think of it? Can lying lead to success – short term? – Long term? Explain. What happens when lying is allowed in the legal system? What is the origin of the perversion of truth? How is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ a solution to this problem? How much of your communication could fall into categories of gossip, flattery, deceit, lying or perversion of the truth? What needs to change? How will you make those changes? Who w
ill encourage you & hold you accountable to make those changes?


Sermon Notes – 11/18/2012

Proverbs on the Tongue


James 3:1-12

The “tongue” is the object, but the reference applies to all forms of ________________


Communication – 1 Corinthians 14:7-11

To communicate a message must be encoded, transmitted, received and ______________.

Miscommunication can occur at ____________ step – lack clarity, noise, interference, misunderstand

The Power of the Tongue

Build up or ___________ – Proverbs 11:9, 11; 10:14

___________others or self – Proverbs 18:7; 12:16; 25:23; 30:33; 18:6

Speaking ____________vs remaining silent – Proverbs 13:3; 10:19; 10:19; 17:27-28

____________or intensify – Proverbs 15:1

Break ____________- Proverbs 25:15

__________ & death – Proverbs 18:21 – cf. Acts 5, 7

__________or injustice – Proverbs 16:10; 14:25; 16:13

Bring ____________ – Proverbs 12:18; 16:24

_______________ from harm – Proverbs 12:6 cf. Acts 23

Make a ____________- Proverbs 18:20

The Proper use of the Tongue

Giving __________ to God – James 3, Romans 14:11

Communicate ___________- Proverbs 10:31; 15:2

Appropriate ____________ and circumstances – Proverbs 15:23; 25:11

Listen and thoughtfully consider ____________ answering – Proverbs 15:28; 16:23 cf 15:28; 18:13

Speak ____________ and with kindness – Proverbs 31:26; 8:6-8

Speak _____________ & judge righteously – Proverbs 12:17; Ephesians 4:15; Proverbs 31:9; 12:19

Speak what is wholesome and _________________ – Proverbs 10:31-32, Ephesians 4:29

Proper communication brings _______________ and is valuable – Proverbs 14:3; 13:2; 15:4; 10:20

Trouble from the Tongue

An unrighteous heart perverts even what is good into something _________or harmful – Proverbs 26:7, 9

Gossip – the spreading of rumor about private matters of others __________ their backs

A “_________” is secretive and causes destruction even if unintentional – Proverbs 18:8; 26:20-22, 16:28

A “____________” trades in personal information and rumor – Proverbs 11:3; 20:19

A “gossip” is _____________ and will entice or deceive )Proverbs 20:19(

A fool can easily escalate gossip into defaming _____________- Proverbs 10:18

In general, if you would not say it to someone’s face, ___________ say it at all.

If  you seek advice to deal with a problem with someone, then _______________ the problem

If you give advice about dealing with a problem with someone, hold them _____________to work it out

Seduction – Proverbs 2:16; 6:24; 7:5, 21 & 22:14 all warn to ____________ the seductress

Flattery – is to praise excessively especially from motives of __________________

Flattery has ___________ motives and seeks to entrap its prey and destroy – Proverbs 29:5; 26:8

_________protects against flattery – The godly prefer truth and rebuke to flattery – Proverbs 28:23; 27:6

Deception disguises the real ____________with courtesy and kindness – Proverbs 26:24-25; 12:20; 12:5

Deception is common in marketing, but it is ___________which God rejects – Proverbs 14:8; 3:32; 14:2

Offers of pleasure, gifts or an advantage are used to ________or destroy – Prov. 16:29; 1:10-24; 2:12-15

Speak ________& avoid all forms of deception – even cruel humor – Proverbs 4:14; 12:17; 14:28; 26:19

Lying is __________ and is at the root of gossip, seduction, flattery and deception

Lying is an ________________ to God – Proverbs 6:17-19; 12:22

Lying may yield short term gains, but in the end it brings ______________ – Proverbs 21:6; 19:9; 12:19

Lying reveals a person’s _____________ – Proverbs 14:5; 17:4

Lying in the legal system ______________ justice – Proverbs 19:28; 19:5; 29:26

Perversion of truth is what underlies all __________- Genesis 3, Romans 1, 2, 3

Perversion arises from the _________and flows out the mouth – Matthew 15:18-19; Proverbs 11:20

The _________of the Lord Jesus Christ is the only thing that can bring about a cleansed heart – & mouth

A ____________ heart leads to proper communication – Guard your mouth & tongue

________can guard your mouth and soul and deliver you from those who are evil – Proverbs 21:23; 2:12

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