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Our DAILY GOSPEL DEVOTIONAL is the story of Jesus from Incarnation to Ascension. This is a chronology and harmony of the gospel accounts in which the ongoing narrative and doctrinal context are carefully considered. In one year we reflect on every passage of every gospel.
May God bless you as we follow the disciples on the journey through the earthly life of Jesus Christ.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Words Like Arrows

He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.
(Proverbs 17:27)

The book of Proverbs solidifies its teachings by posing its truths in many forms. This verse, telling us to use only those words that are necessary, is given to us again in Proverbs 10:19 – In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise. This is done throughout the book, so as to concretize the ideas in our minds and hearts.

Now let’s think about that a minute. Consider that fact, that in different forms the verses are said over and over again. In the light of that, this verse seems to contradict its own logic. Yet this is not a problem upon review. Sparing our words means being deliberate in our speech. When we do this we lessen the likelihood of “putting our foot in our mouth”. If we have knowledge we do not need to decorate it with many words, we can get right to the heart of the matter.

That doesn’t mean that we cannot or should not repeat what we have to say, or say it in a different way, in order for it to hit the target. The Apostle Paul said to the Philippians, “To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you” (Philippians 3:1 – NASB). Shooting a million arrows is no good if none hit the target, and if we shoot only one but it hits the heart, much better. And sometimes a hard heart needs several hits.

It is about being intentional with our words versus beings careless with them; that is what we should understand. We can also use different contexts and different situations with different words to convey the same truths. We need to consider our audience and learn to discern not only what to say but when and how to say it. Then our words can become a word in due season (Proverbs 15:23), and a word fitly spoken (Proverbs 25:11).

To be able to convey complex truths in a simple manner is a highly prized skill, and should be a goal of every theologian, pastor, and teacher of God’s Word. The “excellent spirit” here can also be translated “calm spirit”. Someone who knows what they are talking about can wait to speak since what they say will have resonance. The ESV renders Proverbs 17:27 thusly: Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.

This is not to say that speaking less is always the right thing to do, or that the person who uses the least words is always the wisest. Often we do need more than a few simple words to fully convey and discern complex truths and situations. Getting the point across is the point. Having said that, if we were more selective with our words, we would be more effective with our words.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

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13 Comments:

At 11:03 PM, Blogger Taliesin said...

JD, thanks for this reminder. Proverbs had a major impact on the way I viewed my speaking as a young Christian. This is something I need to revisit more often.

 
At 12:42 AM, Blogger Craver VII said...

What a relief it will be not to be concerned about measuring our words when we are in heaven!

I have not been drunk since July of 1986 (my 21st birthday). One of the biggest motivations for keeping a clear head is that drunkeness loosens the lips. Folks say, "he doesn't mean that..." Rubbish! At least, for me, it was the opposite. You see, I had a tendency to say EXACTLY what I meant.

Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh. Well, I know what's in my heart. And on this side of eternity, it's best to keep my words in check, lest they hurt someone when I do not intend to cause harm.

Of course, sometimes (like in your last post), I stay quiet to avoid betraying my stupidity. I pondered, and considered how I might want to respond, but there was nothing I felt I could add.

 
At 1:49 PM, Blogger Craver VII said...

Buehler? Buehler? (crickets chirping)

 
At 9:52 PM, Blogger Even So... said...

I guess everyone is reeling from getting hit...

 
At 11:09 PM, Blogger Craver VII said...

Between the heavy topics of words today and sin/repentance yesterday, I thought it might lighten things up to hear a mom's testimony here:
http://raisingcain.wordpress.com/2006/09/25/true-confessions/
She walks into the room and her little guy thinks he's busted, so he says, "No more eat crayons, no."
I can identify with the mom who must force herself to hold back laughing as she takes the chewed-up Crayolas from his tiny fingers.

 
At 11:26 PM, Blogger Even So... said...

9-26-06

 
At 11:34 PM, Blogger Even So... said...

This post is included in our book "Voice of Vision: Devotional Arrows Aimed At The Heart"...

 
At 11:42 AM, Blogger Paul said...

Indeed. ;)

 
At 12:32 PM, Blogger MrsEvenSo... said...

Good post, honey!

 
At 6:29 PM, Blogger Joe said...

I have seen your comments around the blogosphere, but this is the first time I have visited here.

Great post and nice looking blog.

I have two sisters who live in Inverness.

That's Citrus County, no?

 
At 7:12 PM, Blogger Even So... said...

Thanks Joe...I really don't comment as much as I might like to anymore, but I do try and venture out into the blogosphere and read as much as I can...my wife and I were over to your place some time ago and commented, good stuff you got over there too....

And yes sir, Inverness is right there in good old Citrus County...our church is on HWY 200 just north of 491

 
At 10:25 PM, Blogger Dan said...

Awsome post JD. The words and the amount of words we use are indeed very important.

 
At 6:00 PM, Blogger Even So... said...

Indeed Dan...you Maine-iac...

:-)

 

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