Tag Archives: Language

Powerful Words

Proverbs 12:6

“The words of the wicked [are] to lie in wait for blood: but the mouth of the upright shall deliver them.”
“The words of the wicked are like a murderous ambush, but the words of the godly save lives.” (NLT)

The Power of Words

Words have great power. Words can build up, and words can tear down. Words can point in the right direction, but words can also lead astray. Words can encourage, and words can cripple. Words can heal, and words can hurt. There can be no doubt that words spoken thoughtlessly or without wisdom can cause untold damage. The statement in this proverb that words can be like a murderous ambush provides a serious warning about how we choose to speak, and the words that leave our lips.

Be Careful What You Say

As a teenager I can remember being told to put my brain in gear before opening my mouth! This was good advice. Before we open our mouths we have to consider how our words will be received. What is their purpose? Every word is important. Every word has the potential to be good or to be evil. Be careful what you say!

Say What You Need To Say

Then there are the words that we find difficult to say. These are the words that should restore relationships, or ‘save lives’ as the NLT translates this proverb. We all know what these words are, and we have all struggled to say them with heartfelt meaning. These are words for our families, and for our friends:

“I’m sorry.”

“I forgive you.”

Remember that it is not only the words we speak, but also how we say them. I know when my children are sorry, and I know when they are not. They know when I have forgiven them, and they know when I haven’t.

Then there is God and the things we say to Him. God knows our hearts completely. He knows when we are sorry, and He knows when we are not. He knows when we are hungry for Him, and He knows when we have no space for Him in our busy lives. Here are three words we need to say to Him with meaning.

“I love You.”

Say what you need to say.

Listen

Say what you need to say (Say – John Mayer).

Be careful little lips what you say. For empty words and promises lead broken hearts astray (Casting Crowns – Slow Fade).

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Contrasting the Parallelisms

A New Section

You may notice that starting here in chapter 10, the verses read a little differently. The reason is that here we see the beginning of the second part of this book (Prov. 10:1-22:16) which contains what are called “parallelisms.”

Parallelisms are grammatical and poetical devices which both help make a point and make the point easier to process while including an easier-to-remember element.

Sometimes parallelisms are antithetic (Prov. 10:1-15:33), while others are synthetic (Prov. 16:1-22:16). The first use two lines of prose to make a contrast; the second uses two lines to point out similarities.

A good extra-biblical example of antithetic parallelism can be seen in the words of Sir Winston Churchill (House of Commons, 22 October 1945):

The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”

A good example of antithetic parallelism from chapter 10 might be the following verse:

Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins. – Proverbs 10:12

Churchill made a positive point about capitalism, but he did it by contrasting the “vice” of capitalism with the “virtue” of socialism. Solomon highlighted the caring and peaceful value of love by contrasting it with strife: false love can be exposed by the debris it stirs up.

However, neither kinds of parallelisms are meant to be understood as all-encompassing. Some are best understood as being more “rule-of-thumb” than absolute (i.e., Prov. 22:6 says: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it,” yet some children leave and never return).

Unpacking It All

Because there is no real way to connect all of these parallelisms into one coherent message, unlike the previous chapters which addressed particular themes, we could take a long time unpacking each one. Therefore, I would encourage you to go back and check out our past commentary on Proverbial Thought which dealt with each individual verse. You can do that by clicking on the tabs at the top of the page (chapters 9-12 will be uploaded soon).

But for now, since this time we are going through Proverbs in a more condensed fashion, we will only be addressing the verses which most stand out to the particular writer.

I’m looking forward to reading what the Holy Spirit shows the other writers. It should be interesting.

That being said…

Thinking of Proverbs 10:12 (as seen above), isn’t it wonderful when we choose not to bring up past wrongs, but rather let things lie, even cover them with a blanket of grace?

Solomon isn’t talking about sweeping guilt under a rug or denying wrongdoing or sin (such as abuse); he’s talking about forgiveness.

Sometimes the better part of forgiveness is to keep some things packed away and forgotten. Real love seeks healing; false love (hatred, selfishness, pride) demands a never-ending string of “I’m sorry’s” and never lets the dust settle on the past.

Above all, maintain constant love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins. – 1 Peter 4:8 CSB


Tongue-Tied

Proverbs 22:12

12 The eyes of the Lord preserve knowledge, and he overthroweth the words of the transgressor.

Getting Confused

In Genesis chapter 9, immediately after the Flood, God told Noah’s family to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.

So what did the people do within a few generations?

In Genesis 11 we find that they tried to settle in one place together and build a tower to live in there. It became known as the Tower of Babel, because these people transgressed God’s command. They refused to do as God commanded, so he confused their languages (the creation of different languages) and scattered them around the planet (the creation of different people groups).

In other words, God overthrew their words.

Preserved through Denial

However, God has a knack for keeping around some faithful friends.

This is the real reason Israel was established: to keep the record of God’s goodness and expectations of humanity, and to bring about His reconciliation with the world.

Israel could barely maintain a small minority of faithful followers, though. As a nation, they largely denied God’s truth.

Today, we live in a world of people who present confusing “facts.” Even when their own facts go against reason, they persist in their arrogance and often cause more confusion.

This is true within and outside of the Church.

Fortunately, God preserves sound knowledge through His Bible, through His Holy Spirit, and through a relative few who study matters and come to clear conclusions.

Are you slow to speak and quick to listen (James 1:19) and therefore grow in and preserve knowledge, or do you repeat whatever sounds good to you and spread confusion?

Wise Lord, help us to control our minds and tongues, that we may not cause more confusion and chaos but peace and understanding.


Powerful Words

Proverbs 12:6

“The words of the wicked [are] to lie in wait for blood: but the mouth of the upright shall deliver them.”
“The words of the wicked are like a murderous ambush, but the words of the godly save lives.” (NLT)

The Power of Words

Words have great power. Words can build up, and words can tear down. Words can point in the right direction, but words can also lead astray. Words can encourage, and words can cripple. Words can heal, and words can hurt. There can be no doubt that words spoken thoughtlessly or without wisdom can cause untold damage. The statement in this proverb that words can be like a murderous ambush provides a serious warning about how we choose to speak, and the words that leave our lips.

Be Careful What You Say

As a teenager I can remember being told to put my brain in gear before opening my mouth! This was good advice. Before we open our mouths we have to consider how our words will be received. What is their purpose? Every word is important. Every word has the potential to be good or to be evil. Be careful what you say!

Say What You Need To Say

Then there are the words that we find difficult to say. These are the words that should restore relationships, or ‘save lives’ as the NLT translates this proverb. We all know what these words are, and we have all struggled to say them with heartfelt meaning. These are words for our families, and for our friends:

“I’m sorry.”

“I forgive you.”

Remember that it is not only the words we speak, but also how we say them. I know when my children are sorry, and I know when they are not. They know when I have forgiven them, and they know when I haven’t.

Then there is God and the things we say to Him. God knows our hearts completely. He knows when we are sorry, and He knows when we are not. He knows when we are hungry for Him, and He knows when we have no space for Him in our busy lives. Here are three words we need to say to Him with meaning.

“I love You.”

Say what you need to say.

Listen

Say what you need to say (Say – John Mayer).

Be careful little lips what you say. For empty words and promises lead broken hearts astray (Casting Crowns – Slow Fade).


Tongue-Tied

Proverbs 22:12

12 The eyes of the Lord preserve knowledge, and he overthroweth the words of the transgressor.

Getting Confused

In Genesis chapter 9, immediately after the Flood, God told Noah’s family to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.

So what did the people do within a few generations?

In Genesis 11 we find that they tried to settle in one place together and build a tower to live in there. It became known as the Tower of Babel, because these people transgressed God’s command. They refused to do as God commanded, so he confused their languages (the creation of different languages) and scattered them around the planet (the creation of different people groups).

In other words, God overthrew their words.

Preserved through Denial

However, God has a knack for keeping around some faithful friends.

This is the real reason Israel was established: to keep the record of God’s goodness and expectations of humanity, and to bring about His reconciliation with the world.

Israel could barely maintain a small minority of faithful followers, though. As a nation, they largely denied God’s truth.

Today, we live in a world of people who present confusing “facts.” Even when their own facts go against reason, they persist in their arrogance and often cause more confusion.

This is true within and outside of the Church.

Fortunately, God preserves sound knowledge through His Bible, through His Holy Spirit, and through a relative few who study matters and come to clear conclusions.

Are you slow to speak and quick to listen (James 1:19) and therefore grow in and preserve knowledge, or do you repeat whatever sounds good to you and spread confusion?

Wise Lord, help us to control our minds and tongues, that we may not cause more confusion and chaos but peace and understanding.