The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil.
According to A Dictionary of American Proverbs, there are lots of variations to the rule, “Think before you speak.” One version says, “Think before you leap.” Another says, “Think more and talk less.” Another says, “Think twice and say nothing.” And yet another says, “You can think what you like, but don’t say it.”1
However it’s put, this is biblical advice. It’s easy to open our mouths and let the words fly. We’re living in a day when people talk without using the filters of wisdom. But wise people study how to answer. One of the best ways of doing this is to pray before speaking. This is what Nehemiah did. “Then the king said to me, ‘What do you request?’ So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king…” (Nehemiah 2:4-5).
Every child of God can develop a reputation for giving good advice. We can be people to whom others come for counsel. By God’s grace, we can be respected for our quiet wisdom. But only if we learn to think—and to pray—before we speak.
Think before you speak, but don’t speak all that you think.
An old American proverb