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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

February 28, 2023

The Bible Edge


Everyone needs an Edge, Believers can have the Bible Edge


James 1:19

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:


It’s been said by many that “God gave us two ears and one mouth so that we could hear twice as much as we speak.” While the science of that statement is questionable at best, the picture it paints is noteworthy. It probably is a good rule of thumb to listen at least twice as much as we speak. God’s Word says that every person should be swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to wrath. That is His Bible Edge on the matter of personal communications.


In today’s proverbial public square there is much spoken, written, and reported about the use of social media, so called. Consider the cell phone. It is much more than a phone. Calls can be made and received, it’s a clock, a calculator, a calendar, and a clearing house for information through the world wide web. All forms of communication come through our phones, verbal, written, and visual. This is not news, everyone knows this, but as one preacher said a few years ago, “The cell phone is a wonderful tool but a terrible toy.”


With such power as the handheld phone of today wields it can be used for good or for bad. Same with the tongue. It has within its power the ability to bless or the ability to destroy. The tongue is at the same time the best and worst part of a person. Sir Walter Raleigh said this: “It is observed in the course of worldly things, that men’s fortunes are oftener made by their tongues than their virtues: and more men’s fortunes overthrown thereby than by their vices.”


Being slow to speak is not being slow in speech. It is being cautious and necessitates thought coupled with self-restraint to be slow to speak. Being swift to hear takes no great grace except the will and determination to do so. Listen swiftly, speak slowly. For words once spoken can never be retracted. Their wounds or their benefits last well beyond their verbal vibrations. For words are placed in the heart and bring forth fruit of either type, good or bad.


Being slow to speak assists in being slow to wrath. How? The time to listen, digest what is heard, and think through that which has been communicated gives relief to the immediate emotional desire for anger. It could be said that being slow to speak is an equivalent to “counting to ten” before speaking. Someone once said that by examining the tongue a medial physician can diagnose many diseases of the body and philosophers the diseases of the heart.


In interpersonal relationships the Bible Edge for today is to be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.


William Howe, Ph.D.


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