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Proverbs on Speech

Here is a sampling of what Proverbs has to say about our speech. There are over 90 individual proverbs on speech, and these are representative of what is taught.


The significance of words. Proverbs 10:11, “The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life.” Matt 12.36-37, “I tell you, on the Day of Judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Words can destroy. Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Proverbs 16:27, “A worthless man plots evil and his speech is like a scorching fire.”

Lying is hatred. Proverbs 26:28, “A lying tongue hates its victims.”

Reckless words. Proverbs 12:18, “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts.”

False Flattery. Proverbs 29:5, “A man who flatters his neighbor
spreads a net for his feet.”

Empty words. Proverbs 14:23, “In all toil there is profit but mere talk tends only to poverty.”

Gossip. Proverbs 20:19, “A gossip betrays a confidence so avoid a man who talks too much.” Proverbs 18:8, “The words of a whisperer are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts.”

Words that divide friends. Proverbs 16:28, “A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends.”

Words that divide community. Proverbs 11:11, “By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted but by the mouth of the wicked it is overthrown.”

Words that diminish worship. James 3:10-12: “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water. How can the same mouth curse and bless?”

Words that heal. Proverbs 16:24, “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”

Words that are honest. Proverbs 24:26, “An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.” Ephesians 4:25, “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.”

Words that are few/limited. Proverbs 10:19, “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.” Proverbs 17:28, “Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.”

Words that are tempered. Proverbs 15:1, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 25:15, “A gentle tongue can break a bone.”

Words that are timed and appropriate. Proverbs 25:11, “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”

Words that feed the faith. Proverbs 13:14, “The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life
that one may turn away from the snares of death.”

Words that rebuke gently. Proverbs 27:5, “Better is open rebuke than hidden love.”

Words that encourage in truth. Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupt talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

Consider the heart. Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Luke 6:45, “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

Seek to learn from the wise. Proverbs 13:20, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”

Solicit help and pray. James 1:26, “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.”