The tongue of a disciple (1)

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.

Proverbs 25:11 (ESV)

Words are the main tool we use in our ministry. We use words when we teach, when we sing or when we counsel. Without words (or signs for those who use sign-language) we could hardly do anything. This is why it is vital that we use our tongue in the right way. The Bible is full of verses about the proper or improper use of words. In this series we will look at some of them.

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. This illustration may refer to oranges (golden apples) presented in a basket of silver filigree-work. This is a beautiful presentation of fruit in a setting of great value. Words are the fruit of our lips and when they are presented well, they are of great value and even beauty. Words fitly spoken are words that are well-chosen and perfectly fit for the situation in which they are said. They are spoken at the right time and in the right place. They are spoken with the right motive, have the right content and aim at the right goal. Some words may be perfectly right in one situation and completely wrong in another. When we understand the difference and can handle it wisely then our words will be fitly spoken.

Jesus is the model example of a person whose words were always well chosen. He found words of deep comfort for those who needed consolation. When He taught, His words were clear, simple and well-illustrated. Where He had to take a stand against false teachers, like the Pharisees, His words were fearless and unambiguous. When he had to rebuke His disciples, His words were characterized by patience and kindness. When He preached the gospel, all … marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth (Lukas 4:22). He could preach for hours (Mark 6:34-35) without adults or children getting bored. They all understood that His words fit their situation exactly. Whatever the situation was, Jesus always found the right words.

A wife, who had lost her dear child, got so depressed that she locked herself up in her room to be alone with her pain. Finally, her husband convinced her to go on a short walk. While they were walking she bent down to pick a flower. Her husband pretended to hinder her. She moaned and said, “Even a little flower is denied me?” He softly answered, “Were you not denying God your flower and find it hard that I deny you this one?” The stricken mother saw the need for this soft rebuke and not long afterward was able to say, a word in season, how good it is! (Prov. 15:23).

May God give us the longing for and ability to utter words that are well chosen, fitly spoken, beautiful and valuable, like apples of gold presented in a settling of silver.

Gerd Walter