Our words hold great power. They set the tone of our homes and lives. They hold more weight than we would like to admit.
Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.
Colossians 4:6 NASB
I love word studies, digging into the meanings, which is done a lot in this post. Just a warning, but I think it’s well worth it.
What do you think of when you hear the word ‘grace’? The word used for ‘grace’ in the above verse is Charis, which is translated:
that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech
good will, loving-kindness, favour
of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues
what is due to grace
the spiritual condition of one governed by the power of divine grace
the token or proof of grace, benefit
a gift of grace
thanks, (for benefits, services, favours), recompense, reward
If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. James 1:26
We are going to break this down a bit.
The word for ‘religious’ used here means to fear or worship God.
Let’s talk about that bridle for a minute. That word, chalinagōgeō, means :
to lead by a bridle, to guide
to bridle, hold in check, restrain
A bridle is not something that magically appears on a horse. It has to be put on.
This man’s religious worship is…
Mataios, which is: devoid of force, truth, success, result.
If we are not intentionally guiding or holding our tongue in check, our worship is devoid of truth.
What we say if we call ourselves Christ followers matters. Why?
The Bible commands it.
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
Sapros, the word used here for unwholesome means:
corrupted by one and no longer fit for use, worn out
of poor quality, bad, unfit for use, worthless
And that word for grace? Yup, charis. In this case, benefit.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.
Ephesians 5:1-4 (italics mine)
Aischrotēs, the word for filthiness, is translated obscenity, filthiness.
Mōrologia, silly, is translated foolish talking.
Coarse jesting is the word eutrapelia, which translates to scurrility (making offensively rude or abusive remarks), ribaldry (ribald meaning obscene, vulgar, coarse) and low jesting.
These things are not fitting for Christ followers who are admonished to be imitators of God, offering our lives as a fragrant sacrifice to God.
Our speech is a telling reflection of our what is in our hearts. The soil of our hearts bears fruit into our lives.
“For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush. The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.”
Is you speech full of that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness? Does it benefit those who listen? Would someone listening to you talk know that you are different?