Skip to main content

20 Reasons The Bible Gives for Holding Your Tongue

Timothy is a Christian who enjoys creating visual art and writing. He has a B.S. in psychology.

Holding Your Tongue

Did you ever open your mouth and say something you regretted saying later. James in his epistle has this to say about the tongue in chapter 3, verses 5-10:,

“All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.

The words you use in your daily stroll through life can do a lot of good when used correctly but be warned they can do a lot more damage to someone when used incorrectly. This is why the Bible puts a lot of emphasis on speech. God’s Word also seeks us to help us learn what we say comes from the heart. Here are 20 reasons the Bible says you need to watch what you say or how to properly use your tongue.


1. When you’re angry - Proverbs 14:17

It is ill advised to speak when you're angry because words one spoken in anger can never be taken back. They will always linger like smoke in the air distorting The relationship between you and the other person.

2. When you don’t know the whole story. - Proverbs 18:13

Gossip is big business, but when you speak and don't have the full details. It can ruin another person's reputation who may have been innocent

3. When you don’t know if the story is true or not. - Exodus 23:1

Being a False witness is just as bad if not worse than gossip because once spoken it can hurt the reputation of someone who may not be guilty of anything.

4. If your words will offend someone else. Colossians 3:8

The Bibles says to, “put away slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.” Sometimes the things you say may not sound bad to you but in the end they will offend someone else.

5. if your words will be a poor reflection of you or your family and friends. Proverbs 27:19.

Again you have to be careful what you say to and about people because it is not just a reflection on you but also your family.

6. When you’re tempted to make a joke about someone. Proverbs 14:9

Sometimes when you're telling a joke about someone it can backfire and lead to a lot on anguish and hurt

7. When you’ll regret your words later. Proverbs 8:8

In the heat of the moment words can be said which are often regretted later. The key is to think before you speak.

8. When you’re tempted to make light of God. Ecclesiastes 5:2

Do not under any circumstances allow your words to make light of God and what He has done for you and others.

9. If your words give people the wrong idea about you. Proverbs 17:27

Do not tell lies to inflate who you are in front of others.

10. When it is none of your business. Proverbs 14:10

It is often tempting to tell others what they should be doing but when it is none of your business in the first place stay quiet. A good example of this one is when you don’t like the way someone is parenting their children. You become to tell them how you would parent them...don’t.


11. When you feel a lie coming. Proverbs 4:24

The Bible tells us unequivocally not to use the same mouth to praise God and then lie to other people. We should seek to tell the truth no matter how hard it is or how much it hurts.

12. When you seek to damage someone’s reputation. Proverbs 16:27

It is easy to use words to put another person down but put yourself in the other person’s shoes. If someone said something wrong about you how would feel?

13. If you words will destroy a relationship. Proverbs 25:28

There have been many a relationship ruined by people saying the wring thing at the wrong time. Even if you think it is the right time think twice before you speak once.

14. When you should be listening instead of speaking. Proverbs 13:1

There is a reason God gave you two ears and one mouth. You should be listening more than you're talking.

15. When you words will come back to haunt you. Proverbs 18:21

Politicians are good at speaking. The problem is many times what they say comes back to haunt them because they can’t live up to their promises. In this age of social media and videos you need to be careful with your words and actions.

16. When you’ve resorted to nagging. Proverbs 19:13

Nobody likes a nag. Parents are good at nagging their children but that doesn't mean it works for everyone. Learn to be patient with people. It will take some work but it will be well worth it In the end.

17. When you’re using your words to gain some influence. Proverbs 15:1

Speaking to gain influence can be words used in intimidation, anger, bribes, slander and the list goes on. Anytime you use your words to gain power over another in order to influence a decision is wrong.

18. When you’re yelling. James 3:9

Yelling never helped settle anything. Learn to talk things out instead.

19. If you’re supposed to be working. Proverbs 14:23

Work time is for doing work not for conversing.

20. When you may have to eat your words later. Proverbs 18:21

There use to be a quaint old saying,"You have foot in mouth disease." This simple phrase eludes to the fact that you should not speak when you have no facts to back up your claims. This means you will regret what you said later.

Some Parting Words

There you have 20 instances the Bible says when choosing the wrong words or not remaining silent in the first place are wrong. Psalm 19:4 sums it up best, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”

© 2020 Timothy Whitt

Related Articles