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What Does the Bible Say About How We Should Speak?

“So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” James 3:5-8 (ESV)

As Christians, and as people who have been “born again”, we have been given a position of authority to bring life into any situation and glorify God. It is therefore critical that we align how we speak with how Jesus speaks. Imitating Christ is the goal of a Christian life. Our sanctification must lead us to a life and character that is similar to Christ.

Philippians 2:5 (NCV) states, “In your lives, you must think and act like Christ Jesus.” Firstly, we know that Jesus does not lie. Jesus communicates with people maturely and healthily. It doesn’t matter whether you are inside your house or in your office, you have the ability to choose your words wisely and think of the character of Jesus at all times. By doing this, we become better witnesses of God and more accurate representations of God. Speaking like Jesus can bring people closer to the kingdom. We share the sweet gospel of Christ through words, but how can this be sweet if we have zero understanding of the character of Jesus? Or if we do have the understanding, but our words do not reflect Him? Remember that sharing the gospel involves using words. How can these words bring refreshment and healing to the soul if we don’t know how we should speak? 

Speak Biblically 

The Bible is the only manual we need regarding how we are to speak, as the Bible itself contains truth. Luke 6:45 said, “for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” When the Bible says “heart”, it is referring to what you think, feel, and desire. Remember that your mouth speaks what is inside your heart, but since God has given us new hearts and removed our hearts of stone (Ezekiel 36:26), it is important that we now speak the language of Jesus. The heart of a Christian is where Jesus dwells and is enthroned. Therefore, let us learn to speak with His heart. 

Speak Like Jesus 

When Jesus is enthroned in our hearts, it should be wholesome talk that comes from our mouths (Ephesians 4:29). Our speech should build up others and help other people become happier and more successful in life. Always remember that God detests a man who stirs up dissension among brothers (Proverbs 6:16-19).  For this reason, we must make sure that we guard our lips, just as we guard our lives (Proverbs 13:3). We should focus on taking time to listen and speak slowly, in a way that is relevant to the situation at hand (James 1:19). Let us minister grace to the hearers. Speaking by itself, as the Bible indicates, is a ministry through which we serve others.  Since we have the righteousness of God, we can make sure that we study how to answer instead of giving our opinions straight up (Proverbs 15:28). We have the ability to control our thoughts and our tongues. Let the words that flow from our mouth bring encouragement and inspiration.

Be Conformed to the Image of Christ 

The Bible also said that our conversations should always be full of grace and seasoned with salt so that we may know how to answer everyone (Colossians 4:6). Again, we need to think, act, and speak like Jesus Christ. As mentioned earlier, we are encouraged by the Bible to speak less (James 1:19), but it is also wise that we are slow to speak. We must be conformed to the image of Christ. As we see in the Bible, Jesus chose his words carefully and prayerfully. Reading the Bible should help us get a clear idea of how Christ spoke to the people. Knowing how Jesus talked to others should help us become better Christian communicators. Remember that in order for us to advance the Gospel, we need to know the right words to say and the Christlike way of saying them. 

Who doesn’t want to hear pleasant and inspiring words? How lovely it is to be able to heal a broken heart using gracious words. How invigorating it is to speak words of encouragement rather than harsh criticism! By speaking gently and gracefully like Jesus Christ, you will be able to win far more souls, and winning over souls is one of the true marks of being a Christian.

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