There are several themes in Chapter 6 that illustrate the importance of our speech.
Proverbs 6 - Words Can Be Snares & Indicators
1. We have the potential to set traps for ourselves with our words. How many times have you asked yourself - "Why did I have to say that?" Verse 2 depicts the ability of our words to act as snares. And isn't it the truth. When we go through our day gossiping or lying, don't we know that we always end up trapped in the drama or web of lies?
2. Our words are indicators of our value and character. Verse 12 mentions that a "worthless person" and a "wicked man" both speak perversely. If you were to ask 5 of your closest friends how they would characterize you based on the words you speak, would they say that you are wise or worthless, upright or wicked? Our words definitely paint our persona and influence other's perception of us.
Vs. 2 “You are snared by the words of your mouth; You are taken by the words of your mouth.”
Vs. 12 “A worthless person, a wicked man, walks with a perverse mouth.”
Vs. 16 “These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him;”
Vs. 17 “A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood,”
Vs. 18 “A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil,”
Vs. 19 “A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.”
Proverbs 13 - Words Can Destroy or Preserve
Similar to the theme found in Chapter 6, we observe in Proverbs 13 that our words have the ability to preserve or destroy us. Chapter 6 mentions that our words have the ability to ensnare us. Verse 3 of Chapter 13 takes one step further and argues that not only can our words ensnare or trap us, but they have the ability to destroy us.
As a precaution, we are advised to guard our mouth. This implies a conscious endeavor to restrain our speech. Not for the sake of hindering freedom, but for the sake of one's own prosperity. Consider the negative impact that might come from putting someone down or lying.
Vs. 3 “He who guards his mouth preserves his life, But he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction.” - Also reference Proverbs 21:23 for additional evidence on the need to guard the mouth.
Proverbs 15 - The Positive Outcomes of Good Speech
Chapter 15 speaks to the potential for the good can come from our speech.
1. Our words can incite peace (just as much as they can anger). - Verse 1
2. Our words can utilize knowledge. - Verse 2
3. Our words can disperse knowledge. - Verse 7
4. Our words can bring joy. - Verse 23
Vs. 1 “A soft answer turns way wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.”Vs. 2 “The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.:Vs. 7 “The lips of the wise disperse knowledge, But heart of the fool does not do so.”Vs. 23 “A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, And a word spoken in due season, how good it is!”
Proverbs 16 - The Positive Outcomes of Good Speech
In stride with the good outcomes of our speech mentioned in Chapter 15, verse 24 of Chapter 16 describes pleasant words as a "honeycomb", "sweetness to the soul", and "health to the bones".
Vs. 24 “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones."
Proverbs 18 - Words Hold the Power of Life & Death
One the clearest depictions of the power of our speech can be found in Verse 21 of Chapter 18, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue". It doesn't get much clearer / more powerful than that. We have the ability to speak into existence life or destruction. I urge you to pause and consider this passage. Consider the implications. To speak life or destruction is not an ability to be easily overlooked. It's a power to be feared and taken seriously.
Vs. 7 “A fools’ mouth is his destruction, And his lips are the snare of his soul.”Vs. 21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who live it will eat its fruit.”