Speech in the New Testament.

This week, we will look at what the New Testament says about God's grace as evidenced in our speech.

The average person has 30 conversations a day, and each one is an opportunity of grace.

The New Testament talks about our speech in multiple places. Galatians 6:1-2 and Matthew 18:15-17 reference the use of speech in helping someone who is spiritually stuck. James 1:19, 1:26, and 3:1-18 address private and public speech.

Colossians 4:2-6 urges us to use good speech as a witness to others. Unbelievers should notice a difference in our life, disposition, and character. This gives opportunity for us to share about Christ with those who need Him. We ought to be conversational with them so they can notice this difference.

There may not seem to be many New Testament passages directly addressing our speech. Why could this be? Luke 6:43-45 shows the nature and source of godly speech. Good speech is a natural result of spiritual growth. Discretion and wisdom comes from the Holy Spirit. Good words are naturally produced from a good heart and are one way the fruit of the Spirit evidences itself.

All of us should be growing in how to speak lovingly. We assume growth and do not evaluate each other based on our performance. Every time we speak is an opportunity for growth and to minister grace to the body of Christ. Our speech should aim to encourage and build others up. If our first inclination is to be encouraging, poor words would stand out like weeds in a well-cultivated garden.

Matthew 12:33-37 is a passage that Jesus spoke to religious unbelievers. Like vipers, they often travel in groups and blend in until they attack a victim with a bite. Our application should consider the passage's original audience! Giving an account for "every careless word" is not something that believers will face. When we are in Christ, God no longer measures us by our words; He loves us because of Christ. As believers, God does not measure us by our speech or performance. He loves us unconditionally because of Christ. We should love others the same way.

Application Points

  • Why do you think the New Testament doesn't give much instruction about our speech?
  • Where does good speech come from? What is its aim?
  • How does godly speech build up the body of Christ? How does good speech also give opportunity with those outside our church family?
  • If God doesn’t evaluate believers according to our speech or other behavior, why and how does He love us? How should we love others?
  • Try reading the whole book of Proverbs, looking for the theme of godly speech.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:9-11 – Continue to grow.
  • Ephesians 4:29 – Use your words to build others up.
  • John 1:18 – Jesus is the Word of grace, salvation, and a full explanation of God and His character.
  • Proverbs 15:4, 12:18, 12:25, 16:14, 18:21 – Wisdom regarding our speech.