“The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered.”
2 Timothy 2:16
“Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.”
As we have already seen this week, the Bible has MUCH to say about how we use our words. But did you know that Scripture also teaches that sometimes, it is just better to avoid speaking at all?
Proverbs 17:27 says, “The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint.” Proverbs 10:19 says, “Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues.” Proverbs 29:11 says, “Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.” Proverbs 17:28 says, “Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.”
In each one of these proverbs, God associates an overuse of words with sin, and quietness with wisdom, knowledge, and discernment. Later, in the New Testament, Paul echoes that sentiment when he refers to “godless chatter.” The implications are obvious. Paul is saying that sometimes, it is just best to be quiet.
But why? As you connect the dots on these passages, it almost appears that the “godless chatter” the Bible condemns is somehow connected with vanity (pride). The man discussed in Proverbs was always talking, trying to impress people with his knowledge. He used words to make himself seem important, to elevate himself, to be an authority, to win an argument and always have the last word.
But God calls us beyond that. He doesn’t want us to use our words to build ourselves, but rather to build His kingdom. By the way, sometimes, just being quiet allows us to participate in other means of communication – listening, empathizing, understanding, caring. After all, actions speak louder than words.
Read Proverbs 10:19. Name a time when you should have held your tongue, but didn’t.
What are some ways that we participate in “godless chatter”?
A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.