Introduction: What percentage of the good and bad in your life comes
from what you have said? Have you said something in the past that
has made your life much worse? This week we look at the importance of
what we say. King Solomon has much inspired advice on this topic. So
let’s dig in!

  1. Apples of Gold vs. Road Apples

    1. Read Proverbs 25:11. What do you think of when you read
      “apples of gold in settings of silver?” Is this something
      desirable? Something you would like to own? Or, something
      totally worthless?

      1. Since the text says we are talking about words here,
        what kind of word is like a golden apple on a silver

    2. Read Matthew 12:34-37. How important are our words? (Jesus
      says they are “outcome determinative” when it comes to our

      1. If we are saved by faith and not works, how is it
        possible that our words are so important? (Jesus
        tells us that our words reflect what is in our

      2. Anyone know about “road apples?” (“Road apples” are
        what horses leave behind as they walk along the road.
        You don’t want to step in them.)

      3. What approach would you take to having golden apples
        and not road apples come out of your mouth? (Jesus
        tells us in Matthew that our words originate in our

    3. Read James 3:4-6. Does James suggest that what we say
      comes out of our heart? Or, is he adding an additional
      idea here? (James is adding a new idea here. He says that
      what we say influences our thinking. Two things are
      happening when we speak. First, what we say reflects what
      we think – our “heart.” But more than that, what we say
      reinforces our thinking.)

      1. Does that mean that a change of heart is the only way
        to correct our speaking? (No! This is an important
        point that we need to understand before we get into
        Proverbs specific advice on words. Although we must
        have a changed heart, we can (and should) watch what
        we say to help influence our heart the right way.
        This is an area of “works” that we must understand
        has an impact on our faith. We cannot change our
        heart, only God can do that. But, we can determine to
        limit the damage that our words do to our thinking.)

      2. Is watching our mouth because of its influence on our
        thinking the only reason to be careful about what we
        say according to James? ( James 3:5 tells us we can
        “burn down a forest” with ill considered words.)

    4. Read Proverbs 4:20, 23-27. Do you see any relationship
      between verse 23 and verses 24-25? (Verses 24-25 describe
      the “avenues to the soul.” What you see and what you say
      influences your heart. Guarding your heart, according to
      King Solomon, is the highest goal. Why? Because it is the
      “wellspring of life.”)

    5. I had a church member, now passed away, who was so
      missionary-minded she would often bring new people into
      church. The problem was her harsh and critical words
      towards current members. Once, when we were discussing her
      ill-considered words, she said “That’s just the way I am,
      I speak my mind.” I mildly suggested that perhaps she
      needed a change in the way she was. She did not see the
      sin in her words, but she could see the damage.

  2. Apples of Gold Illustrated

    1. Let’s explore the right words. This week I was telling my
      son how, when I was a teen, observing my (younger) brother
      taught me a great deal about how to relate positively to
      other people. What have you learned in life about this?
      If you want someone to like you, what do you say to them?
      What “secrets,” what “inside tips” do you have for
      attracting people to you? Helping them to like you?

    2. Let’s read King Solomon’s tips. Read Proverbs 12:25. Is
      the context important here? How important is it that our
      kind words be spoken in the context of a person’s “anxious
      heart?” (If you know a person, if you care for them, you
      can consider what kind word will directly address their
      concerns and anxieties.)

    3. Read Proverbs 15:30. If I told you to put this text into
      practice with your co-workers, your spouse or your
      children, what, exactly, would you do? (You start out with
      a smile on your face. “Good news” to a person can often
      be a compliment on their work or their appearance.)

    4. Read Proverbs 16:24. What is a pleasant word? What is the
      natural reaction to hearing pleasant words?

    5. How you speak is a choice. What we have learned so far is
      that we should:

      1. Have a smile on our face;

      2. Speak in a kind way to address a person’s worries;

      3. Compliment others when possible; and,

      4. Speak pleasantly.

      5. Will you determine to do this?

    6. Just how powerful can the influence of our words be? Read
      Proverbs 25:15. Do you want to break any bones? What does
      this text mean? (Persuading a ruler means you can change
      the course of the country. A bone is the strongest part of
      the body. Words are stronger than that according to King

  3. Road Apples Illustrated

    1. Read Proverbs 28:23; Proverbs 29:5; Proverbs 27:6 and
      Proverbs 26:28. I just encouraged you to compliment those
      around you. Do these texts show I am giving you wrong
      advice by suggesting flattery?

      1. How do you square Proverbs 15:30 (giving “good news”)
        with these texts? ( Proverbs 26:28 is the key.
        Dishonest compliments tend to ruin a person. Honest
        compliments are good news.)

      2. Read Proverbs 22:10. What is a “mocker?” (One who
        insults people.)

        1. Does this advice about mockers, those who insult
          others, teach us anything about complimenting

    2. Read Proverbs 27:1-2. Is praise for others like flattery?
      Is it good or is it bad to give praise?

      1. What kind of praise does King Solomon say is wrong?
        (Self praise.)

      2. Haven’t you heard the line, “If I don’t honk my own
        horn, no one else will.” Why does the Bible say that
        is bad advice? (If you are boasting about what you
        will be able to do in the future, the Bible warns
        that the future is not in your hands.)

    3. Read Proverbs 29:20. Have you ever been in a debate and
      later came up with a sharp response that you wish you had
      thought of at the time? We all want to be quick. What is
      wrong with a fast response? (This is where you words are
      quicker than your brain. You regret your hasty and ill-considered response.)

      1. Let’s add Proverbs 18:13 to this discussion. How do
        you guard against speaking too quickly? Does someone
        here have some kind of plan that they follow to avoid
        responding too quickly? (Read Proverbs 15:28. The
        Bible tells us to carefully think about our answers.)

      2. One fellow in my office became upset, marched into
        the boss’s office, and quit. The next day he thought
        better of it, and told the boss he changed his mind.
        The boss, to my surprise, told him it was too late to
        change his mind. That taught me to never make a snap
        decision or immediately voice my thoughts when it
        comes to changes in employment. It proves the wisdom
        of the Bible’s advice on hasty words.

    4. Here is another “road apple” to keep in mind at the
      office. Read Proverbs 30:10. We don’t have servants
      anymore. Does this advice about what not to say still
      apply at our work? If so, how?

    5. Friend, our words are important! Not only do they affect
      our heart and our life, they affect those around us. Will
      you determine to be more careful about how you use your

  4. Next Week: “What Hath God Wrought?”