A.W. Pink, an influential writer and Bible teacher of the 20th century, once said, “We have two eyes and two ears but only one tongue as if to show we should see and hear twice as much as we say!”
As challenging as his words may be, they do serve as a needed reminder of the biblical warnings regarding the use of our tongues. Here are just 8 verses for our consideration:
“Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.” Ps 34:13
“When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.” Prov. 10:19
“There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Prov. 12:18
“Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.” Prov. 13:3
“Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler.” Prov. 20:19
“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.” Matt 12:36-37
“Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.” Eph 5:4
“…let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” James 1:19
When we consider these Scriptures we cry out, “Who among us has not fallen prey to the sins of the tongue?” Certainly, we recognize the truth of James 3:2 that it would take a perfect man to not stumble in the use of the tongue! Thankfully, the perfect Man has come, and He has fulfilled all righteousness even regarding the tongue. The Servant of the Lord prophesied through the mouth of Isaiah, “The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught. The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious; I turned not backward” (Is. 50:4,5). The Lord Jesus faithfully heard and spoke the word of His Father and endured life unto death with a sinless tongue. Through his blood our sins of speech can be forgiven, by his life-giving tongue our weary souls may be sustained, and through his presence by the indwelling Spirit we too may learn to have a well-taught tongue.
“O be careful little tongue what you say!”
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.” Ps 20:14
Chuck Cook is the pastor of Grace Bible Church - Rolla.