SPECIAL TOPIC: HUMAN SPEECH

I. OPENING THOUGHTS FROM PROVERBS

A. Language is part of the image of God in mankind (i.e., creation is spoken into existence and God talks to His human creation).  It is a vital part of our personhood.

B. Human speech enables us to communicate to others how we feel about life.  Therefore, it reveals who we really are (Pro. 18:2; 4:23,20-27).  Speech is the acid test of the person (Pro. 23:7).

C. We are social creatures.  We are concerned with acceptance and affirmation. We need it from God and from our fellow humans. Words have the power to meet these needs in both positive (Pro. 17:10) and negative (Pro. 12:18) ways.

D. There is tremendous power in human speech (Pro. 18:20-21)—power to bless and heal (Pro. 10:11,21) and power to curse and destroy (Pro. 11:9).

E. We reap what we sow (Pro. 12:14).

II. PRINCIPLES FROM PROVERBS

A. The negative and destructive potential of human speech

1. the words of evil men (1:11-19; 10:6; 11:9,11; 12:2-6)

2. the words of the adulteress (5:2-5; 6:24-35; 7:5ff; 9:13-18; 22:14)

3. the words of the liar (6:12-15,19; 10:18; 12:17-19,22; 14:5,25; 17:4; 19:5,9,28; 21:28; 24:28; 25:18; 26:23-28)

4. the words of the fool (10:10,14; 14:3; 15:14; 18:6-8)

5. the words of false witnesses (6:19; 12:17; 19:5,9,28; 21:28; 24:28; 25:18)

6. the words of a gossip (6:14,19; 11:13; 16:27-28; 20:19; 25:23; 26:20)

7. the words too quickly spoken (6:1-5; 12:18; 20:25; 29:20)

8. the words of flattery (29:5)

9. too many words (10:14,19,23; 11:13; 13:3,16; 14:23; 15:2; 17:27-28; 18:2; 21:23; 29:20)

10. perverted words (17:20; 19:1)

B. the positive, healing and edifying potential of human speech

1. the words of the righteous (10:11,20-21,31-32; 12:14; 13:2; 15:23; 16:13; 18:20)

2. the words of the discerning (10:13; 11:12)

3. the words of knowledge (15:1,4,7,8; 20:15)

4. the words of healing (15:4) 

5. the words of a gentle answer (15:1,4,18,23; 16:1; 25:15)

6. the words of a pleasant answer (12:25; 15:26,30; 16:24)

7. the words of the law (22:17-21)

III. THE OT PATTERN CONTINUES IN THE NT

A. Human speech enables us to communicate to others how we feel about life; therefore, it reveals who we really are (Matt. 12:33-37; 15:1-20; Mark 7:2-23).

B. We are social creatures. We are concerned with acceptance and affirmation. We need it from God and from our fellow man. Words have the power to meet these needs in both positive (2 Tim. 3:15-17) and negative (James 3:2-12) ways.

C. There is tremendous power in human speech; power to bless (Eph. 4:29) and power to curse (James 3:9).  We are responsible for what we say (Matt. 12:36-37; James 3:2-12).

D. We will be judged by our words (Matt. 12:33-37; Luke 6:39-45) as well as our deeds (Matt. 25:31-46). We reap what we sow (Gal. 6:7).

 

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