Useful Bible Studies > Ephesians Commentary > chapter 4
By his word, God created the world (Genesis 1:3-26; John 1:1-3). However, people often use their words for an opposite purpose: to spoil, to ruin and to destroy (Psalm 12:1-5). So, they speak lies, cruel and evil words, or words that have no good purpose. They laugh at other people, to insult them; or they make cruel plans against them.
An evil person uses his words to make other people weaker. A Christian should use his words to make other people stronger in their relationship to God. In Ephesians 4:29, and often elsewhere, Paul compares such a Christian to someone who builds a house (for example, Romans 14:19; 1 Corinthians 3:10-11; 1 Thessalonians 5:11). We make people stronger when we encourage them to trust Christ. We often call that ‘edifying’. No person’s life is truly strong without Christ (Matthew 7:24-27).
James warned Christians that their words could be evil, as well as good (James 3:1-12). He urged them to choose their words carefully (James 1:19); otherwise, their religion has no value (James 1:26). In other words, acts of religion such as our prayers and gifts achieve nothing if our speech is evil. Real religion should show itself in the things that we say and do (compare James 2:14-17).
Every Christian should pray, with Psalm 19:14, that his words will please God. That is only possible when our hearts, in other words, the inner attitudes of our minds, please God. When we invite Christ into our lives, he will show us a new and better way to live and to speak (Colossians 3:8-17).
Next part: Christians should not cause the Holy Spirit to be sad (Ephesians 4:30)
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© 2019, Keith Simons.