The tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit.
Bad and good result from the power of speech; those who love speech will reap the consequences of how they use it. This proverb carries the weight of a warning to those who love to talk and those who skillfully use speech for bad ends. Sooner (usually) or later (for those who are skilled), one will eat the fruit of one’s wicked ends.
Over and again, the proverbs teach the power of the tongue for good and ill, and thus the necessity to exercise godly wisdom. Do not be quick to speak. Think before you do speak. Seek such a heart that the words which pour out of it will be good and true. Death and life are in the power of the tongue both for those who hear your words and you yourself.
Those of you who are given the gift of speech, such as teachers, trainers, preachers, and counselors, all the more you must use your gift wisely. For as you use your gift of speech, so your reward will be measured out to you, good or ill. The same holds true for anyone in a position of authority over others – parent over child, teacher over student, supervisor over employee, elder over church member. Your speech carries power for death or life. A momentary comment can lift up the spirits of a person that he will never forget; it can also tear him down and be a bitter memory.
Such power should humble us and lead us each day to pray for wisdom to use our tongues wisely and for good, and for mercy for the times we misuse them. Such power should lead us to the wise words of truth found in Scripture. For it is there that all words spring from and lead us to the life that is in Christ.
Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness— 2 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, 3 and which now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior,
4 To Titus, my true son in our common faith:
Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
Appointing Elders Who Love What Is Good
5 The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint[a] elders in every town, as I directed you. 6 An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe[b] and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. 7 Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. 8 Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. 9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.
Rebuking Those Who Fail to Do Good
10 For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group. 11 They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain. 12 One of Crete’s own prophets has said it: “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.”[c] 13 This saying is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith 14 and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the merely human commands of those who reject the truth. 15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. 16 They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.