He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.
For years, it was said that women would speak about 20,000 words per day while men only speak around 7,000. But, more and more research is showing that nowadays men and women are both speaking around 16,000 words per day.
Some of those words that are spoken are very well thought out, while others are just blurted out.
Mark Twain said,
“It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”
Solomon is warning us to learn how to restrain our words and to keep a level head. The ESV says our verse this way, “Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.”
Proverbs, and the Bible for that matter, is full of wisdom on how we should use our words.
Ecclesiastes 5:2 reiterates Proverbs 17:27, “Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few.”
The words in Ecclesiastes are talking about making promises or saying hasty words straight to God but I believe that we can carry this over to our communication with those around us. We should take the time to think about our words and not just “shoot off” at the mouth.
As I was child I played baseball for years at a local recreational park. Each year I hoped that I would not be on one particular coach’s team simply because every call that did not go his way he would just go off on the umpires. To the point that many games he was tossed from the game! I guess you could say that he had a very short fuse. We all know something like that.
Solomon is saying in the second part of our verse that a man of understanding has an “excellent spirit” or has a “cool spirit”. Having a cool spirit means that one is not soon angry, but is calm, and not easily provoked to wrath.
Are you a person of “few” words and of an “excellent spirit”?
Lord, I pray that you would make us all men and women of knowledge and understanding. May our words be thought out and spoken wisely and may our demeanors be calm and not easily provoked. May we live our lives in a way that would be pleasing to You!