This is a sphere that holds particular interest for me! One of the main reasons that drove me to complete the School of Biblical Studies in 2009 was that I wanted to know what was in the Word so that I could be more confident that I was conveying God’s truth through my writing.
I am sure that most of us would agree that our words reveal our much about our thoughts, and that our words are important. I think many Christians would also believe that our communication should convey truth. But what else can we glean from Scripture about communication? Quite a lot! Here’s a start:
What gems can be found in Scripture about how should we go about communication?
Note: Remember as we go that the sphere of communication is like that of arts and entertainment; it is weaved throughout Scripture rather than having passages where it can be seen to hold centre-stage.
1) The Power of Words
Right from the start, we can see that words have power; God created the world through the power of His Word:
- And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. (Genesis 1:3)
- And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” (Genesis 1:6)
- And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. (Genesis 1:9)
We have seen above that God’s words have power and that they can create, but what about ours? A great deal is said in the Bible about the tongue and how powerful our words can be. We see that the communication can be used to build up, or to break down, and that we are called to speak words of life:
So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. (James 3:5-10)
Proverbs, of course, speaks a great deal of the tongue and is a great place to start a study in to the power of words:
- The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the heart of the wicked is of little worth. (Prov 10:20)
- The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, but the perverse tongue will be cut off. (Prov 10:31)
- There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Prov 12:18)
- Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment. (Prov 12:19)
- The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly. (Prov 15:2)
- A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit. (Prov 15:4)
In what situation do you find it hard to speak, write, or otherwise communicate in love? With what person or people do you find it hard to speak words of life and encouragement? Who do you find difficult to build up?
Now for the hard part, what is one small step that you can take to modify your communication with them? How will you actively reign in your tongue? Perhaps you need to think of something you appreciate in them and keep this in mind as you talk. Or maybe you can spend some time considering their strengths and then share them one by one with the person over the course of a week.