Journey in the Word

Karen Ingrid Clark

Walking In Wisdom – Wisdom in Speech

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Week Two – Day 1 – Monday, January 23, 2017wk02d01

Read Proverbs 12:25 and Proverbs 15: 1 – 4.   SOAP Proverbs 15:1

PROVERBS 12:25 25 Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.

PROVERBS 15:1-4 1 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. 2 The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly. 3 The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good. 4 A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.

How has someone else’s words encouraged your heart just when you were needing it? What did they say?

O – There are LOTS of contrasts here today!   Those “but’s” are showing me the importance of my speech – and how it affects others.

Positive Effects:

  • Good words – makes one glad (good, beneficial, that which builds one up brings joy and gladness)
  • Soft answer – turns away wrath (soft, gentle, thoughtful answers
  • Tongue of the wise – commends knowledge (speaks knowledge that is pleasing and acceptable
  • Gentle tongue- is a tree of life (soothing tongue that speaks words that build up and encourage

Positive speech builds up others, and brings joy to them.  It diffuses anger with soft, gentle, and thoughtful answers.  (thinking before speaking!)  The wise person will demonstrate knowledge by his or her speech, not so much in what they “KNOW”, but their wisdom.  Positive, encouraging words are “life-giving” and build up others.

Negative Effects:

  • Anxiety in a heart – weighs him down (anxious fear in the inner man causes depression – do we create this in people with our words??)
  • Harsh words – stir up anger – grievous, to cause pain – to stir up as in a fire
  • Mouths of fools – pour out folly (babbling mouth of fools- stupid fellow, dullard, simpleton, arrogant one – pour out, gush, belch
  • Perverseness in a tongue – breaks the spirit (speaking words that overwhelm, depress, or are deceitful – crush the spirit-  to shatter, break, fracture, crush, cause destruction and hurt

On the other hand, negative words can stir up anger, and tear people down.  Gushing out  words without thinking, or words that harm just shows how much of a “fool” we are.  But, the damage is done to others, causing pain, destruction, hurt, and can actually break the spirit.

A – What are my words like?  Do they build up and encourage, or do they tear down?  Are my words thoughtless?  I know that, as a teacher, I had to watch the careless joking with students, so that my words could not be hurtful.  As adults, we can sometimes use sarcasm as joking, but it really is hurtful.  I have had to curb my tongue many times with students.  I am so much more careful now with my speech.

As I have scrolled through social media over the past weekend, I saw the “babbling,” and negativity.  Oh, how my heart hurts to see hate, and scorn, and destruction in writing – on both sides of issues.   I tend to keep my mouth (fingers) shut, and to keep negativity out of my writing and timeline.  But – it creeps in, insidiously, through the posts of others.   I vow to NOT post negative comments, and if I don’t agree, or if it is controversial, I stay quiet.  I have had to do that with family members, concerning the LGBT community, women’s rights, and so on.  It IS hard!

I think of one of the quotes that I used in my classroom, from the movie “Bambi.”  Thumper’s mother said, “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”  That is sage advice in today’s society.

I know that there ARE times that we need to speak up, to be honest, to stand for the rights of those who are disenfranchised.  BUT it takes wisdom, thought, and God’s heart to do it graciously, with love, and

How has someone else’s words encouraged your heart just when you were needing it? What did they say?   To be honest, it is WRITTEN words that have encouraged my heart the most.  I have been able to go back and reread them.  I have notes from former students and their parents that I reread from time to time, notes from my dad, or cards from my mother that I ‘rest’ in from time to time.  There are emails that were encouraging, or cards from a friend that just touch my heart.   Maybe it was something I did, or a relationship that was treasured, but whatever the case, it was stemming from encouragement and affirmation of a positive relationship.

How can I be used in the same way?  How can my written words be ones of affirmation to those around me?  How can I take that stack of cards in my desk drawer, and use them to encourage others??  May my words this week be refreshing and life-giving.

P – Father God, I know that people will know us by what we do, and what we say.  May the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord.  May I give a soft, gentle answer to those who question me, and respond in love.  May my tongue be wise, and gentle, spilling over in life-giving words that heal and help, not hurt.  May sarcasm be a thing of the past, and gentleness rule in my speech today.  May the beauty of Jesus be seen in me, today, and each day.  Amen.

Study Notes:    (from lumina study notes, Strong’s)

Proverbs 12:25

Anxiety –  “anxiety” (dÿ’agah) combines anxiety and fear – anxious fear (e.g., Jer 49:23; Ezek 4:16); and for the verb (e.g., Ps 38:18; Jer 17:8).

Heart – (leb) inner man, mind, will, heart, understanding the heart; also used (figuratively) very widely for the feelings, the will and even the intellect; likewise for the centre of

“bows it [= his heart] down.” (shachah)  – to bow down, to repress – Anxiety weighs heavily on the heart, causing depression. The spirit is brought low.

“good.” The Hebrew word “good” (towb) refers to what is beneficial for life, promotes life, creates life or protects life. The “good word” here would include encouragement, kindness, and insight – the person needs to regain the proper perspective on life and renew his confidence.

tn Heb “makes it [= his heart] glad.” (samach) –  The similarly sounding terms shachah, (“weighs it down”) and  samach,( “makes it glad”) create a wordplay (paronomasia) that dramatically emphasizes the polar opposite emotional states: depression versus joy.

Proverbs 15: 1 – 4

“soft answer.” The adjective (rakh, “soft; tender; gentle”; BDB 940 s.v.) is more than a mild response; it is conciliatory, an answer that restores good temper and reasonableness (W. McKane, Proverbs [OTL], 477). Gideon illustrates this kind of answer (Judg 8:1-3) that brings peace.

“word of harshness”; KJV “grievous words.” The noun (’etsev, “pain, hurt”) refers to something that causes pain.  For example, Jephthah’s harsh answer led to war (Judg 12:1-6).

“raises anger.” A common response to painful words is to let one’s temper flare up. (to spring up, grow, rise)

Fool – (kĕciyl) fool, stupid fellow, dullard, simpleton, arrogant one

“makes knowledge acceptable” (yatab) – to be good, be pleasing, be well, be

Spouts  (naba) means “to pour out; to emit; to cause to bubble; to belch forth.” The fool bursts out with reckless utterances (cf. TEV “spout nonsense”).

Soothing – (marpe’ )  health, healing, sure , sound and wholesome

“a tongue of healing.” A healing tongue refers to speech that is therapeutic or soothing. It is a source of vitality.

“perversion in it.” (celeph)  Crookedness, viciousness.  A tongue that is twisted, perverse, or deceitful is a way of describing deceitful speech. Such words will crush the spirit (e.g., Isa 65:14).

Crushes – (sheber) – to shatter, break, fracture, crush, cause destruction and hurt


May the Words of my Mouth – (Ellie Holcomb) –


May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart

Be acceptable in Your sight Oh, Lord, my rock

You are my rock Oh, Lord, my rock and my redeemer


Oh, the heavens, they declare what You have done

And the dark is chased away by the rising sun

But even in the darkest nights the stars shine on

Creation sings redemption’s song


May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart

Be acceptable in Your sight Oh, Lord, my rock

You are my rock Oh, Lord, my rock and my redeemer


Oh, You shine Your perfect light into my soul

Restoring all the innocence transgression stole

Covering my brokenness with all Your love

So I can join redemption’s song


May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart

Be acceptable in Your sight Oh, Lord, my rock You are my rock

Oh, Lord, my rock and my redeemer Oh, Lord, my rock You are my rock

Oh, Lord, my rock and my redeemer


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