by Henry Morris, Ph.D.
"Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks." (Ephesians 5:4)
In the book of Ephesians are included several guidelines for the Christian's speech—how we should talk and what we should talk about. These are not easy rules to follow, but are necessary if we would please our Savior and be effective in our Christian lives and witness.
As our text indicates, vulgar talk, idle chatter, and coarse jesting should "not be once named among you, as becometh saints" (5:3). "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers" (4:29).
The same applies to bitter, angry, malicious speech. "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice" (4:31). And certainly our communications should be true and trustworthy. "Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor" (4:25).
Thus, our words should not be crude or obscene, idle or foolish, bitter or angry, false or malicious. Instead, they should be good words, true words, gracious words, intended to edify—that is, build up—our hearers in their own Christian lives.
Further, if we would win others to Christ, we must always be "speaking the truth in love" (4:15). What we say to them must be fully in accord with both biblical truth and genuine Christian love. Finally, we should "be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (5:18-20). Gracious, edifying words can only come from a thankful heart. HMM