When I was growing up, my mom would repeatedly say to us children, “Think before you speak!” We didn’t always speak words that were helpful and a blessing to each other. She would encourage us to consider the impact of our words before we spoke them. This is a great principle to apply in life. Since God’s Word is what helps, encourages, and lifts up our thinking, we want to be thinking the Word so that we can speak the Word. Speaking edifying words will build up those around us.
Psalm 19 sets a wonderful vision for the words we think and speak.
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.
As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we want our words to line up with God’s Word so that they are acceptable and a blessing. When our words are in agreement with His Word, we will be speaking words that build up. This is why a first step toward the goal of building up with our words is to know what the Word of God says.
When we know God’s Word, we can speak words that edify and build up. One great way to get to know the Word is to simply read the Bible. When we read the Bible daily and spend quality time in it, we allow the Word to saturate our thoughts.
Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of [pertaining to] Christ.
By taking the time to read God’s Word, we can grow in our understanding of it. Not only is it God’s desire for us to read His Word in our day and time, this has been God’s desire for His people since Old Testament times.
Deuteronomy 17:18 and 19:
And it shall be, when he [the king] sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites:
And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear [respect, reverence] the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them.
Look at the importance God places on knowing His Word. Here, the king was to write his own copy of the Word. God wanted His truths deeply impressed upon the hearts of the rulers. Then what they would say and do would be a product of the truth of the Word they read.
Let’s read what Jesus Christ said regarding man’s need for God’s Word.
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
We need all of God’s Word. We receive this Word by reading it and making it our own. Physical food is necessary to stay alive, but the Word from God is what gives us life more than abundant. As we read and enjoy the Bible, we learn that all Scripture is profitable.
II Timothy 3:16:
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
What a fabulous reality! God’s Word is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, which is instruction in righteousness. We receive great profit from the Word as we read and apply it daily.
In the next verse we learn the purpose God had in giving us His Word.
II Timothy 3:17:
That the man of God [the one who speaks for God] may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
The word “perfect” means to be outfitted, equipped, like a ship ready for a voyage. Its inventory includes everything needed to make that voyage a success in every way. As our knowledge of God’s Word grows, we are outfitting ourselves for voyages unto good works. Drawing from the rich inventory of truth we have read, we are equipped to speak words that build up those around us.
Another way to know the Word is to study the Word. When we study God’s Word, we look at it in greater detail.
II Timothy 2:15:
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
When we put forth diligent effort to study and receive instruction in the Word, we can reach our goal of speaking edifying words. That is because God’s Word is profitable. It is exactly what we need.
Years ago I began to enjoy the sport of scuba diving. Some sports can be enjoyed with a basic understanding and a little instruction; however, scuba diving demands detailed study time and training to be safe and successful. Because scuba gear is very specialized, just getting in the water with it on is not enough. I needed to know what type of equipment was necessary, how to use it correctly, and how and in what order to put it on.
I also learned how to read weather signs and understand the tides. I practiced in the water until I knew how long I could stay under before I needed to come up. In addition, I received very specific training regarding resurfacing from great depths.
Even before I went into the training pool wearing my gear, I had spent many hours in the classroom reading and studying. After this instruction and written testing, I went into the pool with the equipment and was able to put on my gear in the correct order. What excitement I felt as I sat under the water and enjoyed breathing with my tank and regulator. It was awesome! All my studying and instruction had paid off—I could safely breathe under the water and enjoy a whole new realm of discovery.
Learning the details of that sport brought me great satisfaction. Learning the details of God’s Word brings even greater rewards. As we study the Word and rightly divide it, our understanding grows. With this understanding in our thoughts, we can speak words that build up others….
This is an excerpt from the September/October 2006 issue of The Way Magazine.
Copyright© 2006 by The Way International. All rights reserved.
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