In the world we live in today there are many methods that we use to communicate instantly with many people. With this ability comes great opportunity to spread the gospel. This ability also comes with great responsibility. We must be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves” if we wish to fulfill God’s will as proclaimed to us in the Bible. Many people speak bluntly and some interject their own opinions or prejudice in conversations without regard to the feelings of others, and often without thorough Bible knowledge.
I Peter 4:11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
An oracle is a person through whom a deity is believed to speak or one giving wise and authoritative decisions or opinions. The Bible gives several warnings on how to speak and that there will be some who claim to be members of the body of Christ whose speech will not be in accordance with God’s will. Acts 20:30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
I Timothy 4:1-2 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
I Timothy 5:13 And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not Jude 8 Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.
With these warnings to watch for those who would corrupt the gospel also comes instructions for us in how to communicate and the actions that we should take toward all people. Titus 2:1 But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: Titus 3:2 to speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.
James 1:19-22 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save our souls. But be ye doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
James 4:11 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. I Peter 2:1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, I Peter 3:10-11 For He that will love life, And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; Let him seek peace, and ensue it.
Many today seem to think those that are elected officials, public servants, paid workers or entertainers do not deserve this respect as commanded. Many will say harmful, hateful things and then respond with “I was only telling the truth” or “I was only joking”. Scripture warns us of the harm these sayings can cause.
Proverbs 18:19 A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: And their contentions are like the bars of a castle. Matthew 18:6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Matthew 23:5 Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.
Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. I Timothy 2:1-3I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
The final two verses I wish to share are admonitions to us on our responsibility as disciples of Christ and on how we should speak to show Christ’s love for all. I Corinthians 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. James 5:20 let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
Homer Lenderman, Jr.