Proverbs 18:20-24 Rewards for Speech

From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled;
    with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied.

21 The tongue has the power of life and death,
    and those who love it will eat its fruit.

22 He who finds a wife finds what is good
    and receives favor from the Lord.

23 The poor plead for mercy,
    but the rich answer harshly.

24 One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin,
    but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Rewards for Speech

Friendship and marriage are enhanced by affirming words.  Of course, touch, gifts, quality time and acts of service also factor, but the emphasis in this passage is on speech.  You get direct results from the kind of speech that you use.  If you create a safe place and respond lovingly to unlovely acts, you will get a safer and warmer relationship in response.  If you respond with throwing as much hurt and bad history at the other person you will likely ruin the relationship over time.  If we love to work with our words and to avoid being thoughtless and rash, the fruit of our efforts will be sweet.

If you are isolated and alone, odds are that you have not opened up and been vulnerable.  In protecting yourself you can become a rock or an island.  It is not a way to find a soul mate.  It is not a way to create a friendship that is intimate and special.  If you find someone that you can share your deepest thoughts with, that trust might be returned.  You may find the kind of friend that people find seldom in a lifetime.


  1. What is the fruit of well chosen words?
  2. What does a spouse bring?
  3. What is the difference between companionship and friendship according to this passage?
  4. How does this passage warn against superficial friendships with flighty people?
  5. How do you cultivate a descriptive and powerful vocabulary?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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