Bible Study Guides – Training the “Vocal Cords”

December 15, 2013 – December 21, 2013

Key Text

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13.

Study Help: The Voice in Speech and Song, 181–190, 294–297; Testimonies, vol. 6, 380–383.


“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.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 382.


  • How does the example of Christ inspire us to master breathing, speaking, and reading skills? Luke 4:16, 22.

Note: “The culture and right use of the voice are greatly neglected, even by persons of intelligence and Christian activity.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 335.

“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.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 382, 383.

  • Why have some been unwilling to improve their faulty speaking and reading habits? I Timothy 6:3, 4, first part.
  • What character quality must we possess in order to learn? James 4:6, last part.

Note: “If those who have defects in their manner of utterance will submit to criticism and correction, they may overcome these defects.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 239.


  • How should we use even our vocal organs to the glory of God? James 3:9, 10.

Note: “When a speaker talks in the proper way, taking deep, full inspirations, and throwing out the voice in clear, distinct tones, the whole being is benefited. The exercise of my lungs in deep breathing, as I have engaged in public speaking, has been a life-preserver to me.

“Care is always to be taken not to strain the vocal organs. They are to be kept as smooth as possible.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 200.

“The human agent must take himself in hand. God has given him physical and spiritual powers, and these need to be constantly cultivated and improved. In a great measure, physical weariness may be avoided by speaking slowly, calmly, unexcitedly.” Ibid., 201.

“Many have died who might have lived had they been taught how to use the voice correctly. The right use of the abdominal muscles in reading and speaking will prove a remedy for many voice and chest difficulties, and the means of prolonging life.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 297.

  • In whose hands is the breath of every living being? Job 12:9, 10. Why is correct breathing so important?

Note: “The training of the voice has an important place in physical culture, since it tends to expand and strengthen the lungs, and thus to ward off disease. To ensure correct delivery in reading and speaking, see that the abdominal muscles have full play in breathing and that the respiratory organs are unrestricted. Let the strain come on the muscles of the abdomen rather than on those of the throat. Great weariness and serious disease of the throat and lungs may thus be prevented. Careful attention should be given to securing distinct articulation, smooth, well-modulated tones, and a not-too-rapid delivery. This will not only promote health, but will add greatly to the agreeableness and efficiency of the student’s work.” Education, 199.


  • Why is reading called a science, and what can we do to master this rare but valuable skill? Nehemiah 8:8.

Note: “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, 335.

“The science of reading correctly and with the proper emphasis is of highest value. No matter how much knowledge you may have acquired in other lines, if you have neglected to cultivate your voice and manner of speech so that you can speak and read distinctly and intelligently, all your learning will be of but little profit; for without voice culture you cannot communicate readily and clearly that which you have learned.” Evangelism, 666.

“The one who gives Bible readings in the congregation or in the family should be able to read with a soft, musical cadence which will charm the hearers.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 380.

“Those who consider it a little thing to speak with an imperfect utterance dishonor God.” Evangelism, 665.

“It is Satan that would keep men in ignorance and inefficiency, that they may be developed in a one-sided way which they may never be able to correct.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 256.

  • How careful should we be with our voice when presenting the truth? Galatians 4:20.

Note: “They [ministers] should speak with reverence. Some destroy the solemn impression they may have made upon the people, by raising their voices to a very high pitch and hallooing and screaming out the truth. When presented in this manner, truth loses much of its sweetness, its force and solemnity. But if the voice is toned right, if it has solemnity, and is so modulated as to be even pathetic, it will produce a much better impression. This was the tone in which Christ taught His disciples. He impressed them with solemnity.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 615.


  • What importance does grammatically correct speech have in our teaching and preaching? How can poor pronunciation be corrected? Isaiah 32:4, last part.

Note: “It becomes every minister of Christ to use sound speech, which cannot be condemned.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 709.

“We should accustom ourselves to speak in pleasant tones, to use pure and correct language, and words that are kind and courteous.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 336.

  • Why is distinctness important in speech? I Corinthians 14:7–9.

Note: “In reading or in recitation the pronunciation should be clear. A nasal tone or an ungainly attitude should be at once corrected. Any lack of distinctness should be marked as defective. Many have allowed themselves to form the habit of speaking in a thick, indistinct way, as if their tongue were too large for their mouth. This habit has greatly hindered their usefulness.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 239.

“When you speak, let every word be full and well rounded, every sentence clear and distinct to the very last word. Many as they approach the end of a sentence lower the tone of the voice, speaking so indistinctly that the force of the thought is destroyed. Words that are worth speaking at all are worth speaking in a clear, distinct voice, with emphasis and expression.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 383.

“Every minister and every teacher should bear in mind that he is giving to the people a message that involves eternal interests. The truth spoken will judge them in the great day of final reckoning. And with some souls the manner of the one delivering the message will determine its reception or rejection.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 336.

“Those who gain correct ideas on the subject of voice culture will see the necessity of educating and training themselves so that they may honor God and bless others. They will put themselves under patient, efficient teachers and learn to read in a way that will preserve the melody of the voice.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 247.


  • What key feature was evident in Christ’s voice, and how can it be evident also in our voice? Psalm 45:2.

Note: “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.” Evangelism, 670.

  • What example, set by Timothy’s mother and grandmother, should be imitated by Christian mothers today? II Timothy 1:5; 3:14. How can parents assist their children in the practical aspects of voice culture?

Note: “Parents, train yourselves to speak in a way that will be a blessing to your children. Women need to be educated in this respect. Even the busy mothers, if they will, can cultivate the talent of speech and can teach their children to read and speak correctly. They can do this while they go about their work. It is never too late for us to improve.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 381, 382.


1 What may be causing us to cherish incorrect speech habits?

2 How can we improve our breathing techniques?

3 Is your voice too loud, too soft, too thick, too thin, too slow, too rapid, too low or too high-pitched?

4 How can we develop clear, correct pronunciation and speech?

5 How can we more closely imitate Christ’s voice?

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