Chaos and division have become rampant in culture, with snips, snipes and nasty rhetoric dominating much of our discourse. The dynamic has led many Christians to seek opportunities to find faith-affirming and God-centered content and to take steps to improve their own contribution to the dysfunction.
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Or perhaps you're finding yourself trapped in the midst of the cultural mess. If so, we have some powerful Bible verses about the tongue that are worth pondering — Bible verses about being careful what you say and, through your speech, honoring your faith and those around you.
If we start by looking at Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV), we see a powerful message about what it looks like when we live spirit-driven lives. Known as the Fruit of the Spirit, these sentiments offer powerful guidance.
The verses read: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."
Unfortunately, division has led some of us to abandon love, gentleness, self-control, goodness — well, perhaps the entire list — in the way we speak, tweet and Facebook at those who disagree with us. So, what does the Bible say about how we should be communicating? Here are some powerful Bible verses about being careful what you say:
Bible Verses About the Tongue: James 3:5-6 (NIV)
"The tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell."
This is one of the most powerful and stirring Bible verses about the tongue. These scriptures explain how damaging our mouths can be, specifically when unleashed and unrestrained. We can create a "world of evil" when we don't speak with love, kindness and goodness. And, in the end, that can truly corrupt and damage us, not just our verbal victims.
Being Careful What You Say: Proverbs 21:23 (NIV)
"Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity."
This is one of the simplest Bible verses about being careful what you say. At the end of the day, if we guard our mouths — which starts by guarding our hearts and living out Galatians 5 — we can protect ourselves from calamity. That's a pretty stunning and powerful reminder!
Taming the Tongue: 1 Peter 3:10-12 (NIV)
"For, 'Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
Part of having self-control and living out the Fruit of the Spirit is keeping our tongues from evil and deceitful speech. We are called to turn from evil, and this includes how we speak with those around us. We must consider this Bible verse about what we say, especially as we interact with those with whom we disagree.
Bible Verses About the Tongue: Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."
Sometimes, we simply want to win battles, but in doing so we often forget that we are supposed to be building others up. But in a culture that sometimes thrives on tearing opponents down, Bible verses about being careful what you say can help us recenter on our purpose: to love God and love others.
Hold Your Tongue: Proverbs 10:19 (NIV)
"Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues."
As we ponder Bible verses about the tongue, let's remember something essential: not everything we think or feel needs to be stated or typed. Part of having self-control is knowing when we need to refrain from saying something unhelpful. So, there are times when we need to hold our tongues.
Be Careful What You Say: Proverbs 18:21 (NIV)
"The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit."
In Proverbs 18:21, we once again see one of the most essential Bible verses about the tongue — one that warns of its ability to hold the "power of life and death." This is yet another essential reminder about how we should be speaking to others.
We hope this list of Bible verses about the tongue inspires you to think deeper, pray harder and love more. Want more inspiration? Check out our guide for Christian Movies That Teach the Fruit of the Spirit.