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What’s in a word? – 20 verses to think about

What you read or listen to, what you think, and what you say—none of this is ever insignificant, especially if you want to be a disciple of Jesus.

Each one of the verses below is a forceful reminder of the power of words, how important it is to guard our hearts and our minds, and how seriously God regards these things. As a whole, this collection of verses is a mighty exhortation to consciously live before God’s face, where we are on holy ground!

Take these exhortations to heart, and test yourself: what are you letting in, and what are you letting out? Do the thoughts and words you drink of and use drag you and others down, or build up with eternal value? Are you yourself a spring of living water?

Psalm 19:14

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.”

Psalm 39:1

“I said, ‘I will guard my ways, Lest I sin with my tongue; I will restrain my mouth with a muzzle, While the wicked are before me.’”

Psalm 141:3

“Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.”

Proverbs 4:23

“Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.”

Proverbs 10:32

“The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, But the mouth of the wicked what is perverse.”

Proverbs 21:23

“Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.”

Matthew 12:33-37

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Matthew 15:18-20

“But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man …”

John 4:14

“… but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

Ephesians 4:29-30

Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God …”

Ephesians 5:3-4

“But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.”

Colossians 3:8

“But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.”

Colossians 3:16-17

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

Colossians 4:6

“Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.”

1 Timothy 4:12

“Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”

2 Timothy 2:16-17

“But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their message will spread like cancer.”

Hebrews 13:15

“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.”

James 1:26

“If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.”

James 3:2-12

“For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. … Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. … no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.”

1 Peter 3:10

“He who would love life and see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit.”

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