Together in Christ: 'Keeping Our Mouths Shut' — Proverbs 17:27-28

Sunday, September 1, 2024

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 17:27-28 NLT

Key Thought

Ouch! I'm a talker. Talking too much is one of my weaknesses. I have spent much of my spiritual life learning to listen. Listening instead of responding, thinking before reacting, and praying in advance of speaking are three related skills the Holy Spirit wants us to acquire and develop. [1] James, the half-brother of Jesus, [2] says it this way:

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. [3]

Mark Twain captured the essence of our verses when he said, "It is better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and prove it." Keeping our mouth shut as we listen, think, and pray before speaking requires us to be "even-tempered"! Our emotions, especially our anger, must be under control. Reacting rashly out of anger or quickly out of defensiveness nearly always gets us into unnecessary conflict. Let's encourage each other and pray for one another, to be slower to speak and quicker to listen and much slower to anger. We don't want to prove our foolishness by our rash behaviors and words.

[1] Ephesians 4:21-31.
[2] The traditional conservative view is that James is the half-brother of Jesus, a witness of the resurrected Christ, and a key leader. in the early Jerusalem church — Mark 6:3; 1 Corinthians 15:3-7; Acts 15:13-22.
[3] James 1:19-20.

Today's Prayer

Father in heaven, thank You for Your patience with my failings and faults. I genuinely seek to be transformed by the Holy Spirit into greater Christlikeness daily. Please bring Your godly people into my life to influence, correct, and guide me through their words and example. Open my heart, dear God, to welcome their influence, heed their correction, and follow their guidance as I seek the Holy Spirit's transformation of my character to be more like Jesus, in whose name I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • James 1:19-26
  • Ephesians 4:17-32


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Illustration of 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.

About This Devotional

Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.

'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.