Insight from Proverbs concerning communication

Who amongst us has struggled with foot in mouth disease? You know, that awkward moment when all eyes turn to you and you become painfully aware that you have said something you should not have said. Or, perhaps, you have said something in a way that simply came across in the wrong way? Unfortunately, we have all been there and done that.

The following insight concerning communication with one another is taken directly out of the Proverbs. I hope it will be as beneficial all who read these verses, as it has been for me to arrange them here for your perusal.

4:23-24… Above all else, guard your heart,for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity keep corrupt talk far from your lips.

6:12-15… Troublemakers and villains, who go about with corrupt mouths, who wink maliciously with their eyes, signal with their feet and motion with their fingers, who plot evil with deceit in their hearts—they always stir up dissension. Therefore disaster will overtake them in an instant; they will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy.

6:16-19… There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up dissension in the community.

10:6… Blessings crown the head of the righteous, but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked.

10:8… The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin.

10:11… The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.

10:13-14… Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning, but a rod is for the back of one who has no sense. The wise store up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool invites ruin.

10:18-21… Whoever conceals hatred with lying lips and spreads slander is a fool. Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value. The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of sense.

10:31-32… From the mouth of the righteous comes the fruit of wisdom, but a perverse tongue will be silenced. The lips of the righteous know what finds favor, but the mouth of the wicked only what is perverse.

11:9… With their mouths the godless destroy their neighbors, but through knowledge the righteous escape.

11:11-13… Through the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is destroyed. Those who have no sense deride their neighbors, but those who have understanding hold their tongues. Gossips betray a confidence, but the trustworthy keep a secret.

12:6… The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood, but the speech of the upright rescues them.

12:13-14… Evildoers are trapped by their sinful talk, and so the innocent escape trouble. From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things, and the work of their hands brings them reward.

12:17-19… An honest witness tells the truth, but a false witness tells lies. The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.

12:22-23… The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy. The prudent keep their knowledge to themselves, but a fool’s heart blurts out folly.

13:2-3… From the fruit of their lips people enjoy good things, but the unfaithful have an appetite for violence. Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.

13:17… A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a trustworthy envoy brings healing.

14:3… A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride, but the lips of the wise protect them.

14:5… An honest witness does not deceive, but a false witness pours out lies.

14:7… Stay away from the foolish, for you will not find knowledge on their lips.

14:23… All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.

14:25… A truthful witness saves lives, but a false witness is deceitful.

15:1-2… A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.

15:4… The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.

15:7… The lips of the wise spread knowledge, but the hearts of fools are not upright.

15:14… The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.

15:23… A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—and how good is a timely word!

15:28… The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil.

16:1… To human beings belong the plans of the heart, but from the LORD comes the proper answer of the tongue.

16:10… The lips of a king speak as an oracle, and his mouth does not betray justice.

16:13… Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value persons who speak what is right.

16:21… The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction.

16:23-24… The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent, and their lips promote instruction. Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

16:27-28… Scoundrels plot evil, and on their lips it is like a scorching fire. The perverse stir up dissension, and gossips separate close friends.

16:30… Those who wink with their eyes are plotting perversity; those who purse their lips are bent on evil.

17:4…. A wicked person listens to deceitful lips; a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue.

17:7… Eloquent lips are unsuited to a godless fool—how much worse lying lips to a ruler!

17:9… Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.

17:14… Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.

17:20… One whose heart is corrupt does not prosper; one whose tongue is perverse falls into trouble.

17:27-28… Those who have knowledge use words with restraint, and those who have understanding are even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.

18:2… Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.

18:4… The words of the mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a rushing stream.

18:6-8… The lips of fools bring them strife, and their mouths invite a beating. The mouths of fools are their undoing, and their lips are a snare to their very lives. The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts.

18:13… To answer before listening— that is folly and shame.

18:20-21… From the fruit of their mouths people’s stomachs are filled; with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied. The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

18:23… The poor plead for mercy, but the rich answer harshly.

19:1… Better the poor whose walk is blameless than a fool whose lips are perverse.

19:5… A false witness will not go unpunished, and whoever pours out lies will not go free.

19:22… What a person desires is unfailing love; better to be poor than a liar.

19:28… A corrupt witness mocks at justice, and the mouth of the wicked gulps down evil.

20:15… Gold there is, and rubies in abundance, but lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel.

20:19… A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much.

21:6… A fortune made by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare.

21:23… Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.

21:28… Those who give false witness will perish, but a careful listener will testify successfully.

22:11-12… One who loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace will have the king for a friend. The eyes of the LORD keep watch over knowledge, but he frustrates the words of the unfaithful.

22:14… The mouth of an adulterous woman is a deep pit; a man who is under the LORD’s wrath falls into it.

23:9… Do not speak to fools, for they will scorn your prudent words.

23:15-16… My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad indeed; my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right.

24:1-2… Do not envy the wicked; do not desire their company; for their hearts plot violence, and their lips talk about making trouble.

24:7… Wisdom is too high for fools; in the assembly at the gate they must not open their mouths.

24:26… An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.

24:28-29… Do not testify against your neighbor without cause— would you use your lips to mislead? Do not say, “I’ll do to them as they have done to me; I’ll pay them back for what they did.”

25:9-13… If you take your neighbor to court, do not betray another’s confidence, or the one who hears it may shame you and the charge against you will stand. Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a ruling rightly given. Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is the rebuke of a wise judge to a listening ear. Like a snow-cooled drink at harvest time is a trustworthy messenger to the one who sends him; he refreshes the spirit of his master.

25:15…Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone.

25:18… Like a club or a sword or a sharp arrow is one who gives false testimony against a neighbor.

25:20… Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on a wound, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.

25:23… Like a north wind that brings unexpected rain is a sly tongue—which provokes a horrified look.

26:4-5… Do not answer fools according to their folly, or you yourself will be just like them. Answer fools according to their folly, or they will be wise in their own eyes.

26:7… Like the useless legs of one who is lame is a proverb in the mouth of a fool.

26:18-26… Like a maniac shooting flaming arrows of death is one who deceives a neighbor and says, “I was only joking!” Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down. As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome person for kindling strife. The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts. Like a coating of silver dross on earthenware are fervent lips with an evil heart. Enemies disguise themselves with their lips, but in their hearts they harbor deceit. Though their speech is charming, do not believe them, for seven abominations fill their hearts. Their malice may be concealed by deception, but their wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.

26:28… A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin.

27:2… Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips.

27:14… If anyone loudly blesses a neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse.

28:23… Whoever rebukes a person will in the end gain favor rather than one who has a flattering tongue.

29:5… Those who flatter their neighbors are spreading nets for their feet.

29:8-9… Mockers stir up a city, but the wise turn away anger. If a wise person goes to court with a fool, the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace.

29:12… If a ruler listens to lies, all his officials become wicked.

29:19-20… Servants cannot be corrected by mere words; though they understand, they will not respond. Do you see someone who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for them.

30:7-8… “Two things I ask of you, LORD; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.

30:10… “Do not slander servants to their master, or they will curse you, and you will pay for it.

31:8-9… Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.


Today’s New International Version – International Bible Society – © Copyright 2001, 2005