Five Words

“I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.” [1 Corinthians 14:19 NIV]

Photo by Sanja Gjenero

This Scripture and indeed, the whole passage surrounding it, is talking about the speaking of tongues. However, this one line struck me in another way — especially as a purveyor of words.

We know from James, that words have great power. The strength that flows from our mouths is likened to fire, or the rudder of a ship (see James 3:1-11). Our words are capable of great damage, or great reparation. Basically it comes down to our control of our words — how we choose to use them.

In this verse, I think, it seems that we can waffle on for hours, not doing harm, and yet not conveying anything of worth. If you think about it, we can be quite adept at beating around the bush, or hinting at what we really mean without actually coming out and saying it. Or, we can just speak for the sake of it — to enjoy the sound of our prattling tongues.

I daresay it would be better if we didn’t waste our words on meaningless waffle. If we need to say something, we should just say it, choosing our words with care and wisdom. Not blurting. Not with insensitivity. But to the point, in a way that might bring change for the better.

Because in the end, wouldn’t all of us rather speak five intelligible words to build someone up, than then thousand words that in the end, mean very little?

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Published in: on 19th November, 2012 at 10:02 am  Leave a Comment  
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