I’ve been wanting for some time to write something about the Bible’s connection between the heart and the mouth.
Here are some relevant passages:
We have seen this one in a previous post on psalm 141:
3 Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth;
keep watch over the door of my lips!
4 Do not let my heart incline to any evil,
to busy myself with wicked deeds
in company with men who work iniquity,
and let me not eat of their delicacies!
Prov 4: 23-24
23Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.
24Put away from you crooked speech,
and put devious talk far from you.
20The tongue of the righteous is choice silver;
the heart of the wicked is of little worth.
21The lips of the righteous feed many,
but fools die for lack of sense.
14But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.
26 if I have looked at the sun when it shone,
or the moon moving in splendor,
27and my heart has been secretly enticed,
and my mouth has kissed my hand,
28this also would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges,
for I would have been false to God above.
3My words declare the uprightness of my heart,
and what my lips know they speak sincerely.
2Everyone utters lies to his neighbor;
with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.
3You have tried my heart, you have visited me by night,
you have tested me, and you will find nothing;
I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.
14Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
3My mouth shall speak wisdom;
the meditation of my heart shall be understanding. –
28The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer,
but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.
33Your eyes will see strange things,
and your heart utter perverse things.
2 Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. –
6For the fool speaks folly,
and his heart is busy with iniquity,
to practice ungodliness,
to utter error concerning the LORD,
to leave the craving of the hungry unsatisfied,
and to deprive the thirsty of drink.
8 Their tongue is a deadly arrow;
it speaks deceitfully;
with his mouth each speaks peace to his neighbor,
but in his heart he plans an ambush for him.
2You plant them, and they take root;
they grow and produce fruit;
you are near in their mouth
and far from their heart.
9If I say, “I will not mention him,
or speak any more in his name,”
there is in my heart as it were a burning fire
shut up in my bones,
and I am weary with holding it in,
and I cannot.
20 Is Ephraim my dear son?
Is he my darling child?
For as often as I speak against him,
I do remember him still.
Therefore my heart yearns for him;
I will surely have mercy on him,
declares the LORD.
10Moreover, he said to me, “Son of man, all my words that I shall speak to you receive in your heart, and hear with your ears.
2 If you will not listen, if you will not take it to heart to give honor to my name, says the LORD of hosts, then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you do not lay it to heart.
34 You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
18But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.
45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. –
8But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
What of all this then?
There is a deep connection between heart and mouth and thus between what they represent
Ultimately Jesus is the Word of God.
Jesus is introduced as such in Gen. 1:3, as explained in John 1:1-5:
3And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
This is why the connection with the heart and the mouth is so vital in the Bible.
God the Father speaks. Jesus acts. In the power of the Spirit.
In other words, the intent originates in the heart, is expressed by words through breath as we speak.
This is a Gospel image.
The Words of God, as expressed in Jesus, resounds with the very intent of God, with God’s heart, with the initiator – God the Father.
We will do well as Christians to live this Gospel image and in so doing to give testimony to our God, within whom there is no discrepancy between intent and action.
Let’s not be hasty to speak. And when we do, may we be able to stand by what we say:
A word fitly spoken
is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.