Using Scripture in Conversation
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit." (Proverbs 18:21)
When encouraging fellow believers to memorize Scripture, I usually emphasize the personal benefits of hiding God's Word in one's heart. In my opinion, the treasures of wisdom, peace, and encouragement found in the pages of the Bible make time spent memorizing it more than worthwhile. I do, however, believe that the practice of Scripture memorization is more beneficial than any of us can fully comprehend, as the fruit of our efforts are often enjoyed by others we come into contact with on a daily basis. Although most people tend to underestimate the power of the words they speak, the fact is that "death and life are in the power of the tongue. It's especially interesting to consider this statement in the light of Christ's words in Matthew 15:18,
"But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man."
The last few words of this verse often cause us to focus only on the ways in which our words can do harm, but following the simple logic of this statement leads me to the conclusion that the reverse must also be true: just as a filthy heart will lead to corrupt speech, a clean heart filled with wisdom and the Word of God will "always be with grace, seasoned with salt." (Colossians 4:6) My personal experience has been that quoting Scripture in day-to-day conversation isn't something I have to be intentional about if I'm being faithful in my Bible study and prayer life; it comes just as naturally as talking about news or the weather outside. After all, everyone talks about the things that influence their lives most. As Paul wrote in Romans 8:6, "To be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." Unfortunately, being spiritually minded is not something that comes naturally; it's something that requires much prayer and a daily commitment to flooding our hearts and minds with the truth of Scripture. Once we do that, quoting a Bible verse to a friend in need of encouragement will not only be possible, but will feel completely natural. What about you? Do you regularly share your memory verses with others, or do you tend to worry about what people will think of you for quoting Scripture? If this is an area of your life in need of improvement, consider a few of the possible ways a specific verse could be used in conversation and pray that God would help you be sensitive to those opportunities in the future.