Proverbs 24:26

Every man shall kiss his lips that giveth a right answer.

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Excellent speech, appropriate answers, and words of truth are wonderful things. Good men perceive and respect such wise use of language. They will love the man who answers matters well with noble lips. Here is a goal for prudent men – excellent speech.

The tongue and lips – the faculty of speech – are potent tools for good or evil. In many proverbs and elsewhere in the Bible, men are strongly warned against misuse of the tongue and exhorted to wise use of it (Pr 10:19; 12:18; 15:4; 18:21; Jas 1:19; 3:2-10).

One of the most direct routes to wisdom and godliness is learning excellent speech. Evil or foolish speech is the quickest and clearest evidence of a fool (Pr 17:28; 18:7; Eccl 5:3). But good words and answers of a noble man are as beautiful as fine art (Pr 10:20; 25:11).

A wise man by virtuous use of his mouth can feed many (Pr 15:4,23; 10:21). And good men love those who speak well (Pr 12:14; 16:13; 22:11; Job 6:25). By the little context of this proverb, see the emphasis on the beauty of judges giving right answers (Pr 24:23-25).

Excellent speech is by diligent use of Solomon’s rules. Excellent speech requires preparation (Pr 15:28), hesitation (Pr 25:8), humiliation (Pr 26:12), limitation (Pr 17:27), discretion (Pr 26:4-5), certain words of truth (Pr 22:21), and graciousness (Pr 22:11).

One of the basic rules for professional success is gracious speech coming from a pure heart (Ps 22:11), for wise men speak graciously (Ec 10:12). Even high and mighty men will honor the person that speaks righteously (Pr 16:13). Can you improve your speech?

One of the basic rules for relational success is gracious speech. A woman that learns to be gracious with her words will always be esteemed by others (Pr 11:16; 31:26). It is soft and gentle words that win the hearts of others, even when they are angry (Pr 15:1; 25:15).

Paul would say, “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Col 4:6). He understood the purpose and object of speech to be the kind and gracious building up of the hearer (Eph 4:29). Do your words provide health to hearers, or do you leave them bleeding (Pr 12:18; 16:24)?

The Lord Jesus was the Master at giving right answers (Matt 22:46). Consider with great pleasure how He responded to efforts by the Jews to trap Him in His words, for He would confound them on the spot. When He spoke in general, the people were astonished (Matt 7:28-29). His enemies said, “Never man spake like this man” (John 7:46)!

He also blessed His disciples with wisdom and speech to confound their enemies, even without preparation (Luke 21:12-15). The deacon Stephen brought the great hatred of the Jews on him for their inability to resist his wise speech by the Spirit of Christ (Acts 6:10). If His preachers are described as having beautiful feet (Is 52:7: Rom 10:15), should they not also qualify for a kiss on the lips, since they bring the glad tidings of good things?

It is your Christian duty to grow in the ability to teach and defend the truth of the gospel. Paul rebuked the Hebrew saints for their lack of progress toward teaching (Heb 5:12-14). And Peter exhorted his readers to be ready to give reasonable answers, not feelings, for their hope in Jesus Christ (I Pet 3:15). Dear reader, do you deserve a kiss on the lips?