Proverbs 16:23

The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.


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Wise men cannot hide their wisdom; it is obvious by their speech. Wise men do not waste their wisdom; they teach their mouths and lips to speak kindly and profitably. How a man talks says more about his degree of wisdom or folly than any other action. Fools cannot hide their stupidity, for their words reveal their folly quickly and surely (Ec 10:12-13).

Reader, do you desire to be great in the sight of God and men? Success requires a good and honest heart, where all the issues of life begin (Pr 4:23; Matt 12:34-35; 15:16-20). The noble, pure, and wise intentions in the heart will soon teach and transform the rest of the person, especially speech. Because words are so obvious to others and carry such an impact for good or evil, excellent speech is a high goal of a person seeking to be great.

Are you a tree of life? “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit” (Pr 15:4). God gave you a tongue for more than passing food down your throat. He gave you a tongue to glorify Him and to comfort and help others, which is why He calls it your “glory” (Ps 30:12; 108:1; Col 3:16). How well do you use it?

Your tongue can do great good or harm, and God and men will reward you accordingly (Pr 18:21). Excellent words are beautiful things that men love (Pr 15:23; 24:26; 25:11).

Do you limit your words? A wise man knows the danger of much speaking (Pr 10:19). He knows even a fool appears wise, when he is silent (Pr 17:27-28). Silence is golden.

Are you slow to speak? God gave you two ears and one mouth, so be quick to hear and slow to speak (Jas 1:19). Hasty speech will make you worse than a fool (Pr 29:20).

Do you study before speaking? Blurting out thoughts or talking in the heat of emotion is foolish. You should hear the whole matter and study before speaking (Pr 15:28; 18:13).

Do you love graciousness? A wise man’s words are gracious, because they flow from a pure heart, and even kings desire and favor such speakers (Pr 22:11; Eccl 10:12; Col 4:6).

Do you teach others? When you speak, you should communicate certain words of truth (Pr 22:17-21; I Pet 3:15). Your goal is to edify or build others up (Pr 16:24; Eph 4:29).

Are you a good comforter? Do not be merry around those cast down (Pr 25:20). Comfort the feebleminded (I Thess 5:14). Do not cause misery like Job’s friends (Job 16:2).

Do you hate foolish talking and jesting? God hates the inane cackling of fools, and He will judge the world for their sitcoms and such a waste of speech (Eccl 7:1-6; Eph 5:3-5).

Are you guardian of the reputations of other men? Hate backbiting, slander, talebearing, and whispering (Pr 6:16-19)! Do not do these sins, and stop them in others (Pr 25:23).

In order to have good speech, you must first cleanse the heart, which is the source of your words. If you do not make the heart good, your words will never be good. Confess your foolish and evil thoughts to God, and pray for Him to help you guard your lips (Ps 19:14; 139:23-24; 141:3; Isaiah 6:5). Then you need to fill your heart with the pure words of scripture to have beautiful and helpful things to say (Pr 22:17-21; Ps 37:30; 119:46,172).