Mature speech with Doug Williams

Bible Lifestyle
Doug Williams Mature Speech blog on TBN UK

In 1 Corinthians 13:11, Paul outlines four areas that we can assess, to see if we are growing and becoming mature: how we speak, how we think, how we reason, and how we distance from childish behaviour. In episode one of Growing Old or Growing Up, Pastor Doug Williams gave us some great advice and wisdom on checking our speech and hearts, focusing on speech that is unclean, and speech that is untrue…

Speech that is unclean:  

‘Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.’
(Ephesians 4:29 NIV)

“The word that Paul uses about wholesome speech is the word ‘sapros’, it’s the word/term that means corrupt or rotten and actually, in the first century, it was primarily used about vegetable or animal matter,” Doug explains. This word paints a picture of the seriousness of our speech. The idea that, to God, the words we choose could be seen as rotten or putrid is an important realisation. Doug continues: “And that’s the idea with Sapros, if you saw some rotten meat or some rotten fruit you’d go: ‘I am not putting that in my mouth.’ Paul said there’s certain phrases and words that are maggot ridden.”

God can help us to have a different standard with what comes out of our mouths. We should be passionate about choosing language that honours God and shows others where we place our value. Shaping our words carefully is a real sign of maturity. Doug explains, using scripture, that what we fill our hearts and minds with is bound to come out when we’re under pressure. He says: “Well you know what it’s like – you soak a sponge in whatever liquid you want but, when you squeeze it, that’s all that’s coming out.”

We need to be careful not to fill our hearts and minds with the rotten parts of the culture which surrounds us, but instead focus on the good things. Our words should build up, bring delight and joy, and be laced with grace.

‘A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.’ (Luke 6:45 NIV)  

Speech that is untrue

‘Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.‘’(Ephesians 4:15 NIV)

Truth and lies are referred to many times in the Bible, and truth is something that is incredibly important to God. Doug encourages us: “I believe God wants to challenge the church to be truth tellers.”
In some ways, it can be hard to spot our speaking habits. This is because we often catch ourselves in the moment, and reflect on our choices after we’ve spoken. Doug helps us to identify some key characteristics that we can align our speech with: “If I use the words like honest, transparent, faithful – are these the words that best describe you as a truth teller? Because in our culture, it’s become so easy to lie.”

From saying: “I’m fine”, to calling in ‘sick’ or falsely embellishing a CV – there are so many small examples of where lying within the workplace can become a common occurrence among colleagues. We can often be tempted to lie when the reward seems greater than the means to get it. For example, slightly adapting our age to receive a benefit or money off. Doug challenged us: “We preach a lot about the love of God but there are things that God hates too – and a couple of things that God hates are to do with lies. Number one: a tongue that’s a lying tongue.” This description points towards those of us who develop the habit of lying or embellishing the truth on a regular basis.

Doug also touched on the importance of being a truthful witness, and providing the honest account of the things that happen around us. “The other thing it says is this: God hates a lying witness. That’s somebody who under oath says I promise to tell you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, then they still lie. God hates that,” Doug explains.

The beginning of the Growing Old or Growing up series has certainly been challenging! But these really helpful messages are sure to make us grow in God and relationships. For more on speech, check out episode one.


Taylor Bentliff

Taylor works within our brand team at TBN UK, looking after the majority of our editorial copy and wording across online, print, and production platforms. Taylor has spent 10 years working in Christian media and loves to bring words together to share God's truth.

You may have seen her on various TBN UK programmes including Big Church Day Out, TBN Meets, Start Your Day, Praise, and Partner Time.

She is also a Bible teacher and shares some of her passion for the Word of God on the channel and on our exciting new Grow with TBN UK platform. Why not join one of her workshops!

She is also the founder of Clarity Magazine for Christian women, and on the Leadership Team for Newday, a Christian youth event coming soon to TBN UK!