What Does The Bible Say About The Power of Words?

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

What is there about words that can build up or destroy?  How can we use the power of words in an encouraging and uplifting way?

Words can be Healthy

Proverbs 16:24 “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”

There is little doubt that words can build up and words can tear down so why not use your words as verbal vitamins to those who hear them?  We can use words in such ways that they make people feel good and be sincere in complimenting people and not with insincere flattery since Paul never used words in such a way (1 Thess 2:5). I can always find at least one good thing to say about a person and if given the choice, I choose to make my words be like honeycomb.

What Does The Bible Say About The Power of Words

Encouragement from Words

1Thessalonians 4:18 “Therefore encourage one another with these words.”

To encourage someone means to give them courage so we can help those who are going through difficulties and give them the courage to endure by the words we speak. What were “these words” that Paul was writing about? He was telling the Thessalonians that “the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord” (1 Thess 4:16-17).  This should encourage us to know that the Lord is coming back for us and that we have hope in His promise that we “will always be with the Lord.”  How great is that?

Avoiding Word Wars

1 Timothy 6:3-4 “If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions.”

Refuse to get dragged into useless debates over things that are non-essential.  Too many Christians major in the minors and minor in the majors so avoid getting into “unhealthy cravings for controversy and for quarrels about words” because some actually crave these types of debates so stand firm in what the essentials are and refuse to get into an argument over things where the Bible is silent and over things that are not essential.  Nothing good ever comes from this so instead “Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from” Paul (2 Tim 1:13) and learn “not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.” (2 Tim 2:14).

Every Idle Word

Matthew 12:36 “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the Day of Judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Did you know that you will be judged for every careless or idle word that you will ever speak?  If we realize this, we might watch our tongue more carefully.  God is keeping track of every single thing we say and our words can come back to haunt us when we stand before the Lord to give an account for them.  Every word of ours will be used to justify us or they will be used to condemn us.  Speak carefully therefore because we cannot put back into our mouth the words that, once released, will do either good or bad.  Measure each word as carefully as you would dispense medicine to a sick child.

The Fewer the Words, the Better

Ecclesiastes 6:11 “The more words, the more vanity, and what is the advantage to man?”

The chances that you will say something wrong are lessened by the fewer words that you speak.  I have discovered that the more we say the greater the chance that we’ll say something wrong.  Those who speak fewer words seem to be those who are wiser.  Sometimes saying nothing is better than saying the wrong thing.  Isn’t it a bit hard to take when you are around those who incessantly talk?  I find that if I hold my tongue, I have never regretted it but I have regretted my words when I say too much because “A fool multiplies words” (Eccl 10:14).  It is so true that “When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent” (Prov 10:19).

Gossiping Words

Proverbs 18:8 “The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body.”

Obviously, the “whisperer” is the one who is gossiping and God calls this one of the 7 things that He hates and is detestable to Him as it says in Proverbs 6:19 “a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.”  Gossip is like slandering someone’s good name and is the same thing as assassinating their character. Gossip has brought division to many churches and nothing will harm the church and the individual more than gossip. It hurts the person being gossiped about and the one who gossips will surely stand before God to give an account for what they’ve said (Matt 12:36).

The Word of Life

John 5:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”

Jesus is the Word (John 1) and His words can impart eternal life if they are believed.  Jesus equates hearing His words and believing them with having eternal life.  If they hear His word and believe them then that person “does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”  Can anything more powerful be said about the words of Jesus?  When others were leaving Jesus, He looked at the disciples and asked if they were going to leave also. Peter wisely stated “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).  The answer is no one but Christ has the words of eternal life and since He is the only Way that we can be saved (Acts 4:12) you should “declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved” (Rom 10:9-10).  If a person is saved, then they should be professing it with the mouth for all to hear.  Every believer should publicly proclaim and profess with their words that Jesus is Lord and that God raised Him from the dead because “it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and declare with your mouth.”


If you have professed Christ to others and believed in your heart that Jesus is God, lived a sinless life, died for  your sins, and raised Him from the dead then your sins are forgiven and you are declared righteous in God’s sight (2 Cor 5:21).  There is life in the words of Jesus but there is also death in refusing to believe His words.  As He says “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them” (John 3:36).  Now, go and tell someone and use words that are found in the Bible so that others might be saved too by the Words of God (Rom 10:9-13; Acts 4:12; John 3:16-17).

Take a look at this article too: A Bible Study on Gossip

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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