Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Colossians 4:6
“The voice is an entrusted talent, and it should be used to help and encourage and strengthen our fellowmen. If parents will love God and keep the way of the Lord to do justice and judgment, their language … will be of a sound, pure, edifying character. Whether they are at home or abroad, their words will be well chosen.” –The Adventist Home, p. 434
“The voice and tongue are gifts from God. Words mean very much. They may express love, devotion, praise, melody to God, or hatred and revenge. Words reveal the sentiments of the heart. They may be a savor of life unto life or of death unto death. The tongue is a world of blessing, or a world of iniquity.” –The Seventh-Day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, p. 1159
IN THE FAMILY CIRCLE
“The very best school for voice culture is in the home life. Study in every way, not to annoy, but to cultivate a soft voice, distinct and plain…. Mothers should themselves act like Christ, speaking tender, loving words in the home. The right culture and use of the power of speech has to do with every line of Christian work; it enters into the home life and into all our intercourse with one another. We should accustom ourselves to speak in pleasant tones, to use pure and correct language, and words that are kind and courteous. Sweet, kind words are as dew and gentle showers to the soul. The Scripture says of Christ that grace was poured into His lips, that He might “know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary.” And the Lord bids us, “Let your speech be alway with grace,” “that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” … If we follow Christ’s example in doing good, hearts will open to us as they did to Him.” –My Life Today, p. 114
“Courtesy, even in little things, should be manifested by the parents toward each other. Universal kindness should be the law of the house. No rude language should be indulged; no bitter words should be spoken. All may possess a cheerful countenance, a gentle voice, a courteous manner; and these are elements of power. Children are attracted by a cheerful, sunny demeanor. Show them kindness and courtesy, and they will manifest the same spirit toward you and toward one another.” –The Adventist Home, p. 421
“If impatient words are spoken to you, never reply in the same spirit. Remember that ‘a soft answer turneth away wrath’ (Proverbs 15:1). And there is wonderful power in silence. Words spoken in reply to one who is angry sometimes serve only to exasperate. But anger met with silence, in a tender, forbearing spirit, quickly dies away.
“Under a storm of stinging, faultfinding words, keep the mind stayed upon the word of God. Let mind and heart be stored with God’s promises. If you are ill-treated or wrongfully accused, instead of returning an angry answer, repeat to yourself the precious promises: ‘Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good’ (Romans 12:21).” —The Ministry of Healing, p. 485–486
“The tongue is a little member, but the words it frames have great power. The Lord declares, ‘The tongue can no man tame.’ It has set nation against nation, and has caused war and bloodshed. Words have kindled fires that have been hard to quench. They have also brought joy and gladness to many hearts. And when words are spoken because God says, ‘Speak unto them My words,’ they often cause sorrow unto repentance. . . .
“A Power for Good—The apostle, seeing the inclination to abuse the gift of speech, gives direction concerning its use. ‘Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth,’ he says, ‘but that which is good to the use of edifying.’ The word ‘corrupt’ means here any word that would make an impression detrimental to holy principles and undefiled religion, any communication that would eclipse the view of Christ, and blot from the mind true sympathy and love. It includes impure hints, which, unless instantly resisted, lead to great sin. Upon everyone is laid the duty of barring the way against corrupt communications.” –The Voice in Speech and Song, p. 17–18
THE RIGHT USE
“The great responsibility bound up in the use of the gift of speech is plainly made known by the Word of God. ‘By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned,’ Christ declared. And the psalmist asks, ‘Lord, who shall abide in Thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in Thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbor, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbor. In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoreth them that fear the Lord. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved [Psalm 15:1-5].
“‘Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile’ [Psalm 34:13]. The wild beast of the forest may be tamed, ‘but the tongue can no man tame’ [James 3:8]. Shall we not all, old and young, learn to converse in the language that is spoken by those who are translated into God’s kingdom? Shall not our words be such as will be heard with pleasure by our Heavenly Father? . . .
“With the talent of speech we are to communicate the truth as we have opportunity. It should ever be used in God’s service; but this talent is grievously abused. Words are spoken which do great harm.” –The Voice in Speech and Song, p. 19, 14
“When some attempt to speak calmly, without excitement and excessive gesticulation, they become embarrassed, and feel a lack of freedom, because they are restraining themselves from following their old habits. But let all such feelings, which are mere excitement, go to the four winds. That freedom of feeling that would result in your committing suicide is not sanctified.” –The Review and Herald, February 5, 1880
“As those who claim to be Christians, we are under solemn obligations to reveal the truth of our profession by our words. The tongue is a little member, but what an amount of good it can do if the heart is pure! If the heart is stored with good things, if it is stored with Christlike tenderness, sympathy, and politeness, this will be shown by the words spoken and the actions performed. The light shining from the Word of God is our guide. Nothing so weakens a church as a wrong use of the talent of speech. We dishonor our Leader our words are not such as should come from the lips of a Christian.” –The Voice in Speech and Song, p. 20
“In my younger days I used to talk too loud. The Lord has shown me that I could not make the proper impression upon the people by getting the voice to an unnatural pitch. Then Christ was presented before me, and His manner of talking; and there was a sweet melody in His voice. His voice, in a slow, calm manner, reached those who listened, and His words penetrated their hearts, and they were able to catch on to what He said before the next sentence was spoken. Some seem to think they must race right straight along or else they will lose the inspiration and the people will lose the inspiration. If that is inspiration, let them lose it, and the sooner the better.” –Evangelism, 670
THE SPEECH TO IMITATE AS PATTERN
“As soon as He could talk, Christ used the talent of speech, in the family circle and among friends and acquaintances, in a way that was without fault. Not one impure word escaped His lips.” –Welfare Ministry, p. 286–287
“What He taught, He lived. ‘I have given you an example,’ He said to His disciples, ‘that ye should do as I have done.’ ‘I have kept My Father’s commandments.’ John 13:15; 15:10. Thus in His life, Christ’s words had perfect illustration and support. And more than this; what He taught, He was. His words were the expression, not only of His own life experience, but of His
own character.” –Education, p. 78–79
“The appearance and words of Jesus during His trial made a deep impression upon the minds of many who were present on that occasion.” –Early Writings, p. 174
“The Saviour never suppressed the truth, but He uttered it always in love. In His intercourse with others, He exercised the greatest tact, and He was always kind and thoughtful. He was never rude, never needlessly spoke a severe word, never gave unnecessary pain to a sensitive soul. He did not censure human weakness. He fearlessly denounced hypocrisy, unbelief, and iniquity, but tears were in His voice as He uttered His scathing rebukes. He never made truth cruel, but ever manifested a deep tenderness for humanity.” –Gospel Workers, p. 117
“Multitudes who were not interested in the harangues of the rabbis were attracted by His teaching. They could understand His words, and their hearts were warmed and comforted. He spoke of God, not as an avenging judge, but as a tender father, and He revealed the image of God as mirrored in Himself. His words were like balm to the wounded spirit. Both by His words and by His works of mercy He was breaking the oppressive power of the old traditions and man-made commandments, and presenting the love of God in its exhaustless fullness.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 204
“Even in His childhood He spoke words of comfort and tenderness to young and old…. He was an example of what all children may strive to be…. In His words and actions He manifested tender sympathy for all. His companionship was a healing, soothing balm to the disheartened and depressed.” –Sons and Daughters of God, p. 151
“Through the help that Christ can give, we shall be able to learn to bridle the tongue. Sorely as He was tried on the point of hasty and angry speech, He never once sinned with His lips. With patient calmness He met the sneers, the taunts, and the ridicule of His fellow workers at the carpenter’s bench. Instead of retorting angrily, He would begin to sing one of David’s beautiful psalms; and His companions, before realizing what they were doing, would unite with Him in the hymn. What a transformation would be wrought in this world if men and women today would follow Christ’s example in the use of words.” –The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 936
“The culture and right use of the voice are greatly neglected, even by persons of intelligence and Christian activity. There are many who read or speak in so low or so rapid a manner that they cannot be readily understood. Some have a thick, indistinct utterance; others speak in a high key, in sharp shrill tones, that are painful to the hearers. Texts, hymns, and the reports and other papers presented before public assemblies are sometimes read in such a way that they are not understood and often so that their force and impressiveness are destroyed.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 335
“When voice culture, reading, writing, and spelling take their rightful place in our schools, there will be seen a great change for the better. These subjects have been neglected because teachers have not recognized their value. But they are more important than Latin and Greek. I do not say that it is wrong to study Latin and Greek, but I do say that it is wrong to neglect the subjects that lie at the foundation of education in order to tax the mind with the study of these higher branches.” –Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 218
“Let all make the most of the talent of speech. God calls for a higher, more perfect ministry. The truth is too often marred by the channel through which it passes. The Lord calls upon all who are connected with His service to give attention to the cultivation of the voice, that they may utter in an acceptable manner the great and solemn truths He has entrusted to them. Let none mar the truth by defective utterance. Let not those who have neglected to cultivate the talent of speech suppose that they are qualified to minister, for they have yet to obtain the power to communicate. . . .
“Ministers of the gospel should know how to speak with power and expression, making the words of eternal life so expressive and impressive that the hearers cannot but feel their weight. I am pained as I hear the defective voices of many of our ministers. Such ministers rob God of the glory He might have if they had trained themselves to speak the word with power. No man should regard himself as qualified to enter the ministry until by persevering effort he has overcome every defect in his utterance. If he attempts to speak to the people without knowing how to use the talent of speech, half his influence is lost, for he has little power to hold the attention of a congregation.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 382–383, 381
“The gift of speech has been greatly abused and widely perverted from its intended purpose; but let those who claim to be children of the heavenly King awake to their responsibility, and make the most of this talent.” –Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 245–246
“The teachings of Christ were impressive and solemn; His voice was melodious. And should not we, as well as Christ, study to have melody in our voices? He had a mighty influence, for He was the Son of God. We are so far beneath Him and so far deficient, that, [even if we] do the very best we can, our efforts will be poor. We cannot gain and possess the influence that He had; but why should we not educate ourselves to come just as near to the Pattern as it is possible for us to do, that we may have the greatest possible influence upon the people? Our words, our actions, our deportment, our dress, everything, should preach. Not only with our words should we speak to the people, but everything pertaining to our person should be a sermon to them, that right impressions may be made upon them, and that the truth spoken may be taken by them to their homes. Thus our faith will stand in a better light before the community.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, p. 617–618
“Responsibility of Youth—Young men and women, have you, as individuals, purchased at infinite cost, sought to study to show yourselves approved unto God, workmen which need not be ashamed? Have you brought to God the precious talent of your voice, and put forth painstaking effort to speak clearly, distinctly, and readily? However imperfect may be your manner of utterance, you may correct your faults, and refuse to allow yourself to have a nasal tone, or to speak in a thick, indistinct way. If your articulation is distinct and intelligible, your usefulness will be greatly increased. Then do not leave one defective habit of speech uncorrected.” –Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 215
“The great educating book is the Bible, and yet it is little read or practiced. Oh, that every individual would seek to make of himself all that he could, improving his opportunities to the very best of his ability, purposing to use every power which God has given him, not simply to advance his temporal affairs, but to advance his spiritual interests. Oh, that all might search diligently to know what is truth, to study earnestly that they might have correct language and cultivated voices, that they might present the truth in all its elevated and ennobling beauty. Let no one imagine that he will drift into some position of usefulness.” –Ibid., p. 256
“The voice should be cultivated so as to promote its musical quality, that it may fall pleasantly upon the ear and impress the heart…. The Lord requires the human agent not to move by impulse in speaking, but to move calmly, speak slowly, and let the Holy Spirit give efficiency to the truth. Never think that in working yourselves up to a passion of delivery, speaking by impulse, and suffering your feelings to raise your voice to an unnaturally high key, that you are giving evidence of the great power of God upon you…. When you strain the organs of speech, the modulations of the voice are lost. The tendency to rapid speaking should be decidedly overcome. God claims of the human instrumentality all the service that man can give.” –Evangelism, p. 668
“The science of reading correctly and with the proper emphasis, is of highest value. . . . Our Words a Channel for the Communication of Truth—We should receive the education essential in the line of conversation that we may know how to speak right words and how to speak in a proper tone, that our words may be a power for good. The truth is no truth to us unless it is brought into the inner courts of the soul. When this is done, our words are a channel through which truth is communicated to others. Sow the seed beside all waters, not knowing which shall prosper, either this or that. But be constantly educating yourself in how to use properly the faculty of speech. As you speak to others, lift your heart to God, praying that He will prepare their hearts to receive the heavenly seed. No man or woman can be that which they might be as laborers together with God in propagating the seed of truth without making earnest, painstaking effort in voice and word culture.” –The Voice in Speech and Song, p. 187, 189
“The gift of speech is a valuable talent. Never despise or demit this gift. Thank God for entrusting it to you. It is a precious gift, to be sanctified, elevated, and ennobled. As a sacred trust, the voice should be used to honor God. It should never utter harsh, impure words or words of faultfinding. The gospel of Christ is to be proclaimed by the voice.” –Ibid., p. 14
Ellen G White
Compiled by Victor Shumbusho