What We Say Matters – 23 Proverbs About Choosing Words Wisely

“Good words are worth much and cost little.”

— George Herbert

The spoken word can inspire or discourage, create happiness or pain. They can incite anger or invoke passion. Words can bring death or life. What we say is even more powerful than our actions. This is why we must be careful of what we say and always choose our words wisely.

Today we seem to come across more rudeness than kindness. Social media is an overflow of harsh and hateful words, regardless of the topic. Unfortunately, this is a trait rapidly flooding the physical world too.

“Words, like nature, half reveal and half conceal the soul within.”

— Alfred Lord Tennyson

Jesus told us: “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.” “The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.” (1)

In the Bible, the book of Proverbs has hundreds of centuries-old truths on many subjects: wisdom, morality, diligence, self-control, fear of God, kindness towards enemies, treatment of the poor, laziness, justice, and control of the tongue – to name just a few. Proverbs can be considered an owner’s manual with practical advice for daily life.

Most of the book of Proverbs can be attributed to King Solomon, who ruled Israel from 970 – 931 BCE. He had a passion for knowledge and wisdom (1 Kings 3:9-12) and was reknown for speaking proverbs (1 Kings 4:32). Besides being an astute political ruler, he was a scientist, businessman, poet, moralist, and preacher. (p. 321)

Here are 23 proverbs as a guide
for having more wisdom with our words. 

Proverbs 10:19 NLT
Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.

Proverbs 10:31 TLB
The good man gives wise advice, but the liar’s counsel is shunned.

Proverbs 11:9 TLB
With their words, the godless destroy their friends, 
but knowledge will rescue the righteous.

Proverbs 11:12 NLT
It is foolish to belittle one’s neighbor; a sensible person keeps quiet.

Proverbs 12:6-7 NLT
The words of the wicked are like a murderous ambush, 
but the words of the godly save lives.

Proverbs 12:13-14 NLT
The wicked are trapped by their own words, but the godly escape such trouble.
Wise words bring many benefits, and hard work brings rewards.

Proverbs 12:18-19 NLT
Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.
Truthful words stand the test of time but lies are soon exposed.

Proverbs 13:3 TLB
Self-control means controlling the tongue! A quick retort can ruin everything.

Proverbs 15:1 NLT
A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.

Proverbs 15:4 NLT
Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.

Proverbs 15:28 TLB
A good man thinks before he speaks; the evil man pours
out his evil words without a thought.

Proverbs 16:24 NLT
Kind words are like honey; sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.

Proverbs 17:27-28 NLT
A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their
mouths shut, they seem intelligent.

Proverbs 18:4 TLB
A wise man’s words express deep streams of thought.

Proverbs 18:13 NLT
Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish.

Proverbs 18:20 NLT
Wise words satisfy like a good meal; the right words bring satisfaction.

Proverbs 18:21 NLT
The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.

Proverbs 20:15 NLT
Wise words are more valuable than much gold and many rubies.

Proverbs 21:23 NLT
Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble.

Proverbs 25:18 NLT
Telling lies about others are as harmful as hitting them with an ax, wounding
them with a sword, or shooting them with a sharp arrow.

Proverbs 26:20-21 NLT
Fire goes out without wood, and quarrels disappear when gossip stops.
A quarrelsome person starts fights as easily as hot embers light charcoal
or fire lights wood.

Proverbs 29:20 NLT
There is more hope for a fool than for someone who speaks without thinking.

Proverbs 31:26 NLT
When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.

Luke 6:45 NLT; Matthew 12:37 NLT
Halley’s Bible Handbook, p 321

5 responses to “What We Say Matters – 23 Proverbs About Choosing Words Wisely”

  1. These are wonderful. In Judaism – we have a book of ethics called Pirkei Avot. Some of my favorite quotes are – “Say little and do much.” (1:15)”Do not say something that cannot be understood, thinking it will be understood later.” (2:5)

  2. I love reading Proverbs!! Amazing words of wisdom. A few years ago I read one chapter in Proverbs every day each month. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I agree with what Dominique said. Sometimes it's better not to say anything at all. What's the one about the person who opens their mouth and reveals how foolish they are? LOL!

  4. Today, so many people don't believe in saying nothing at all. They have to voice their opinion even if it is hurtful and not helpful at all. We would be better off if we could go back to that basic tenet.

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