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Proverbs: Day

Day 17


Today's Text: Proverbs 17

“Whoever restrains his words has knowledge,
and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.”

(v.27, ESV)

Have you ever been in a conversation with a girlfriend, just innocently shooting the breeze about this or that? Then the chat turns to venting – an inconvenience here, a one-sided relationship there, a strong yet unnecessary opinion about someone or something.

And then it happens – is it safe to say that each of us has done this or heard this at least once in their adult life?

“I shouldn’t be telling you this but…”


“…wait. I probably shouldn’t be saying this… okayiwill…”

or, the ever-famous line from the South:

“Bless her heart, I love her to death, but…”


Why is it that we just can’t keep our mouths closed sometimes? Be it in a conversation with a friend that turns ugly into gossip before we know it, or in talking with a person we should be hearing, but we just want to be heard. We flap our jaws with idle chatter, ignorant opinions and destructive talk all day long.

Well, maybe you don’t. But the Holy Spirit still catches me on this more often than I’d like to admit.

Some of the people I respect the most are the ones who say the least. They’re the ones who pause for a moment when you ask them a question before they respond. They’re the ones who (unlike me, I’m afraid), are comfortable with long pauses and don’t jump to fill the air with any word that will make noise.


Carefully chosen words.

Being slow to speak and quick to listen.

“Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise;
when he closes his lip, he is deemed intelligent”
(v.28, ESV)


Yes, these verses are about behavior more than they are about our hearts – at least at first glance. Act this way, and you will be wise. Or at the very least, you won’t be a fool, right?

But the Bible isn’t about teaching us to act a certain way, is it? The whole book of Proverbs isn’t about about showing us the right way to behave.

“For God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7, NASB)

So. Taping my mouth shut isn’t going to get me into Heaven. Though it will probably get me into a lot less trouble.


Being slow to speak isn’t just about being wise or foolish – it’s about obedience. Our behavior is borne from our love for Christ. He has shown us how to live wisely, and we obey his instructions because we fear him.

Read Luke 6:45 & Matthew 12:34, & Proverbs 18:2 (yep, the fool & his mouth are a continued theme in Proverbs…). What do they have to say on the subject?

Have you even spoken when you should have remained silent? How did that get you into trouble? What would have happened if you hadn’t said anything?

Have you ever kept quiet when you really wanted to speak? How did that go for you?

What other verses in chapter 17 struck you today? (interesting to see verse 5 bring us back to 14:31! And verse 14 – I love that word picture!)


Remember: Grace Days

Saturday: SheShares – link up to your tweets, instagrams and blog posts to share what God is doing in your life through #SheReadsTruth

Sunday: Rest. Catch-up day, or other form of study in Proverbs or elsewhere.

Monday: Chapter 18

  • A joyful heart is good medicine,
    but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

    Sometimes I get upset or depressed. often in those moments, i won't let myself be encouraged or cheered up. For some reason when we feel that way its almost as if we don't want to come out of it. But it is having a joyful heart (which comes only from God) which heals us of those things.

    God I ask that you would fill my heart with Joy which surpasses my circumstances and my emotions. Transform my attitude and the way i approach situations. Let my joyful heart me medicine to me and to other people who are struggling. Let me be an encourager. Thank you for joy

  • 1-She reads truth: mark vs that make me uncomfortable.
    2-Read in diff translations:

    ESV- Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.
    MSG- Overlook an offense and bond a friendship; fasten on to a slight and—good-bye, friend! 
    AMP- He who covers and forgives an offense seeks love, but he who repeats or harps on a matter separates even close friends. 

    ESV- A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
    MSG- A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired. 
    AMP- A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones. 

    3- write in my own words:
    17:9 If we hold grudges and bring up the past, we ruin relationship; but love always hopes and keep no record of wrong, rather it covers and forgives…
    17:22- A joyful heart brings healing but a broken, crushed spirit leaves you exhausted.

    4- definitions:
    Offense: 1. A violation or breaking of a social or moral rule; transgression; sin.
    2. a transgression of the law; misdemeanor.
    3. A cause of transgression or wrong.
    4. something that offends or displeases.
    5. the act of offending or displeasing.

    Forgive: 1. to grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, debt, etc.); absolve.
    2. to give up all claim on account of; remit (a debt, obligation, etc.).
    3. to grant pardon to (a person).
    4. to cease to feel resentment against: to forgive one’s enemies.

    Joyful: full of joy, as a person or one’s heart; glad; delighted.

  • I hate to admit it, but I find myself in these situations quite often. I usually try to keep quite, but sometimes I join in and not in bad way, usually just a "yeah I agree" or a "I feel so bad for her". You see my intentions are good, but my flesh is weak, so as much as I try to convince myself that what I said was not hurtful, I still had something to say. Next time I am in a situation like that, I am really going to try and just keep my mouth shut when a conversation comes up about someone, or even better, I can just avoid temptation all together and just get up and walk away. (I'll say I have to use the restroom) After all that is what He says to do in His word. Matthew 26:41.

  • These verses were very humbling. I've totally followed that exact path, described in the post (are you guys eavesdropping on my conversations?? lol). The cross references really illuminated it for me, as well. If I want to be slow to speak and quick to listen, I need to have a gracious, understanding, and forgiving heart first–not a heart full of prideful opinions I'm just bursting to blurt out. There are soooo many times I've spoken out when I should have remained silent, and I regret each and every single one of those times. There are a few times when I was dying to speak and did not–and I never have felt regret for those times. Go figure! Thanks for this post today–definitely words I needed to hear and take to heart.

  • Verse 28 spoke to me as well. wow!

  • The ONE verse that spoke to me today seems to tie in perfectly with verse 28 that you mentioned, Raechel.
    "He who covers and forgives an offense seeks love, but he who repeats or harps on a matter separates even close friends." (v.9 AMP)
    I had a pretty good idea what this verse means, but after I took the time to read Matthew Henry's commentary on it, I REALLY felt convicted.
    God wants me to forgive those who wrong me in order to demonstrate His love and promote UNITY. When I choose instead to hold a grudge and then vent my frustration about that person to anyone who is willing to listen, I divide friendships. I do a lot more damage than I realize. I not only hurt the person I'm venting about, but I'm also dragging "innocent bystanders" into my negativity as well.
    If I am honest, I have to say that I have been MOST guilty of this when it comes to my husband.
    Can you all relate? I am too quick to share with my mom or my sister when he says or does something that irritates me. Why?? All that happens as a result is that their opinion of him grows lower and little by little they lose respect for him. I don't want that!
    How much better would it be for ALL of us if I simply kept the matter between me and my husband? (P.S. I'm not talking about BIG things like abuse or committing crimes..of course things like that should not be kept private!) You all know what I am talking about–just the little daily annoyances that truly need not be shared with others for any good reason.
    This is an area I really need to work on, so I'll be committing this verse to memory for sure!
    My ultimate desire is to communicate God's love to others, NOT to create division in relationships.

    • Erica S.

      Verse 9 really convicted me too, Amy! How often do I end up repeating minor things that bug me, when I should just let the matter drop!

  • Verse 4: "Evil people relish malicious conversation; the ears of liars itch for dirty gossip." MSG

    This verse really made me realize something–we shouldn't even LISTEN to malicious talk or gossip! It's not ok to just not contribute to the conversation–we should *shut it down or walk away*. Then another thing occurred to me as well. In today's society, "conversations" aren't just face to face anymore–they're through so many media outlets, so this applies (at least for me) to conversations on Facebook, gossip magazines/shows, etc. We get caught up in "watching a train wreck" so to speak, but we shouldn't…we shouldn't go there. If we can't shut it down, we should walk away. Click away from that article or Facebook conversation. Turn the channel. Throw the magazine away.

    It's hard because I think we like to see the "drama" in life, but I'm praying today that God will help me to not be drawn to the "drama".

  • You are so right- sometimes we don’t even know when we’re gossiping. No exact verse stood out to me today, but this chapter showed me how fools act and what there punishment looks like. Maybe I can’t be innocent of every thing listed,at times can I be a fool?

  • Good morning all,
    I am prone to experiencing anxiety, and usually it rears its head in the form of nitpicking, reminding, cajoling, prompting, and sometimes outright complaining and admonishing. But this book of Proverbs has been a blessing, because every morning it reminds about my motor mouth. Binding my tongue and providing me with wisdom are now petitions I take to the Lord in prayer. Proverbs 17:14 really spoke to me – "starting a quarrel is like breaking a dam…" I am thankful for this period of self-examination and moving closer to God's will for me.

Further Reading...