Bible Study Guides – Misusing the Talent of Speech

November 3, 2013 – November 9, 2013

Key Text

“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.” Ephesians 4:31.

Study Help: “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, 1162, 1163; Testimonies, vol. 2, 185–187.


“Slanderous speeches, which is in truth cannibalism, will not be spoken by those who are feeding on that which is the Bread of Life, the Word of the living God.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 145.


  • What is the root of evil speaking? Matthew 15:18–20; Proverbs 24:9, first part.
  • How do evil words hinder the work of the Holy Spirit in our heart? Ephesians 4:30, 31.

Note: “Closely connected with Christ’s warning in regard to the sin against the Holy Spirit is a warning against idle and evil words.” The Desire of Ages, 323.

  • What is the twofold curse of criticism? Romans 2:1. Who gets hurt the most, and why? Proverbs 18:8.

Note: “Evilspeaking is a twofold curse, falling more heavily upon the speaker than upon the hearer. He who scatters the seeds of dissension and strife reaps in his own soul the deadly fruits. How miserable is the talebearer, the surmiser of evil! He is a stranger to true happiness.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 176.


  • What type of effect does anger have on its victim? Job 5:2.

Note: “When one once gives place to an angry spirit, he is just as much intoxicated as the man who has put the glass to his lips. Learn the eloquence of silence.” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 582.

“The sin of evilspeaking begins with the cherishing of evil thoughts. Guile includes impurity in all its forms. An impure thought tolerated, an unholy desire cherished, and the soul is contaminated, its integrity compromised. ‘Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death’ (James 1:15). If we would not commit sin, we must shun its very beginnings. Every emotion and desire must be held in subjection to reason and conscience. Every unholy thought must be instantly repelled. To your closet, followers of Christ. Pray in faith and with all the heart. Satan is watching to ensnare your feet. You must have help from above if you would escape his devices.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 177.

  • What advice does God’s word give to those struggling with anger? Ephesians 4:26; James 1:19, 20.

Note: “Severe tests will come to you. Put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember that by vehemence you will wound yourself. If under all circumstances you will sit in heavenly places in Christ, your words will not be charged with bullets that wound hearts and that may destroy life.” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 578.

  • What noble character quality will be evident in those who are slow to anger? Proverbs 14:29; 16:32.

Note: “Speech is a precious talent. You can speak fretfully, or you can speak pleasantly. Remember that it will not hurt your influence to speak pleasantly, but that it will sweeten your influence.” The Review and Herald, July 6, 1905.


  • What prayer should we repeat when we are among gossipers? Psalm 39:1.

Note: “Christians should be careful in regard to their words. They should never carry unfavorable reports from one of their friends to another, especially if they are aware that there is a lack of union between them. …

“What harm has not the church of Christ suffered from these things! The inconsistent, unguarded course of her members has made her weak as water. Confidence has been betrayed by members of the same church, and yet the guilty did not design to do mischief. Lack of wisdom in the selection of subjects of conversation has done much harm. The conversation should be upon spiritual and divine things; but it has been otherwise.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 186.

“The spirit of gossip and talebearing is one of Satan’s special agencies to sow discord and strife, to separate friends, and to undermine the faith of many in the truthfulness of our positions.” Ibid., vol. 4, 195.

  • What is the best cure for gossipers and news carriers? I Thessalonians 4:11.

Note: “If a word is dropped that is detrimental to the character of a friend or brother, never encourage this evil-speaking; for it is the work of the enemy. Remind the speaker that God’s word forbids this kind of conversation.” The Review and Herald, February 25, 1904.

  • What promise is given to those who overcome the habit of gossiping? Isaiah 58:9.

Note: “When in the company of those who indulge in foolish talk, it is our duty to change the subject of conversation if possible. By the help of the grace of God we should quietly drop words or introduce a subject that will turn the conversation into a profitable channel.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 337.


  • How does God regard those who talk too much? Ecclesiastes 5:3; Proverbs 10:19.

Note: “The talent of speech is a gift of God, and when we hear so much useless, meaningless chit-chat, we may be assured that those who thus use this precious gift are not Christians. They are not abiding in Christ, nor is Christ abiding in them. Every tree is known by its fruits. ‘A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things’ (Matthew 12:35). What a flood of evil and rubbish flows forth because of the talent of speech. And how many are denying Christ by their speech! Instead of making a good confession of Christ by their manner of conversation they say, ‘I know not the Man.’ It is easy enough to have a form of godliness; but to make a whole-sided confession of our faith in Christ, means that our words, and dress, and spirit shall testify to the fact.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 65, 66.

“There is altogether too much jingling of words. They sound upon the ear, but are spoken in so hurried a manner that the hearers cannot get the sense of one word before another is spoken, and another, and the meaning is lost. Every word should be spoken plainly, so that it may have its full significance.” The Youth’s Instructor, September 16, 1897.

  • How did Peter misuse the talent of speech? Mark 14:66–72. What warning should we heed from his experience?

Note: “Many who do not shrink from active warfare for their Lord are driven by ridicule to deny their faith. By associating with those whom they should avoid, they place themselves in the way of temptation. They invite the enemy to tempt them, and are led to say and do that of which under other circumstances they would never have been guilty. The disciple of Christ who in our day disguises his faith through dread of suffering or reproach denies his Lord as really as did Peter in the judgment hall.” The Desire of Ages, 712.


  • How does God evaluate a man or woman who is hasty and impatient in speech? Proverbs 29:20; 25:28. In what category is hasty speech placed?

Note: “In one moment, by the hasty, passionate, careless tongue, may be wrought evil that a whole lifetime’s repentance cannot undo. Oh, the hearts that are broken, the friends estranged, the lives wrecked, by the harsh, hasty words of those who might have brought help and healing!” Education, 236, 237.

  • How can we have victory at the moment we are tempted to become heated with passion? Matthew 11:29; James 4:7. Why should we not worry about vindicating our rights?

Note: “We must give others an example of not stopping at every trifling offense in order to vindicate our rights. We may expect that false reports will circulate about us; but if we follow a straight course, if we remain indifferent to these things, others will also be indifferent. Let us leave to God the care of our reputation. And thus, like sons and daughters of God, we shall show that we have self-control. We shall show that we are led by the Spirit of God, and that we are slow to anger.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, 1160, 1161.

“Jesus did not contend for His rights.” The Desire of Ages, 89.


1 What ammunition does the word of God provide to protect us from getting angry?

2 What can we do to protect our church from the poison of gossip?

3 How might the Lord be trying to reveal that some of us belong to the category of those who talk too much?

© 2007 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.