James 1:19 - Be Quick to Listen and Slow to Speak.

James 1:19 (NIV) My dear brothers and 
sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick 
to listen, slow to speak and slow to become 

James 1:19 (NLT) Understand this, my dear 
brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to 
listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.  

James 1:19 (MSG) Post this at all the 
intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up 
with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in 
the rear.  


   Most of us will readily admit that our 
mouths at times have caused us grief and sorrow. If 
only we would pay attention to the apostle James 
encouragement to listen more than we talk, we would be so 
much better off. I suppose if God had wanted us 
to talk more than we listen, we would have two 
mouths and one ear, but that is not the case. 
   I have always been a big talker and have 
often committed to listen more and talk less: 
however, my commitments have been short-lived because 
the mouth seems to be a wild animal with a mind 
of its own. The Bible says that no man can tame 
the tongue (see James 3:8). We need Gods help! 
   I have learned to pray daily about my 
mouth. I ask God to put a guard on it so I don't 
sin with my tongue (see Psalm 141:3) and to let 
the words of my mouth and the meditations of my 
heart be acceptable to Him (see Psalm 19:14). 
Gods Word is filled with Scriptures about the 
importance of our words. Let us always remember that we 
have one mouth and two ears, which is a good 
indicator that we should listen more than we talk. 
   Father, I cannot tame my own tongue, but 
I do ask You to help me think before I speak 
and listen more than I talk. [My Time with God 
by Joyce Meyer] 

   Do you ever look back on conversations 
you've had and think, "Man, I can't believe I said 
that!" or, "Wow, I thought I was being so funny, 
but it backfired big time. I really hurt my 
friend'? Most of us have plenty of cringe-worthy 
moments that we wish we could take back. Sometimes 
we speak without thinking first, and other 
times we don't realize the way our words reveal 
the motives of our hearts. 
   If you want to build stronger 
relationships with those around you, then you will have to 
ask God to guide your words. I love Psalm 141:3 
because it gives me comfort to imagine God placing a 
guard beside my lips to prevent me from saying 
things that don't honor the Lord. 
   He's committed to helping us control what 
we say when we focus on him and his Word. If 
you ask God to help you with what you say, then 
you can relax and trust that his Spirit will 
guide you. There might be a second where you pause 
to think about the impact your next words will 
have on the person hearing them. Or you may not 
talk nearly as much as you once did. Remember, 
our words communicate more than what they're 
literally saying. They reveal who's in control of our 
   Lord, I know that you want me to bless 
and build up others with my words. Guard my lips 
and give me your power to control what I say. 
[Daily Power by Craig Groeschel re Psalm 141:3] 


The conclusion of the introduction of James 
(vv. 2"18) is that enduring trials leads to a 
crown of life (v. 12) and yielding to temptation 
can lead to physical death (v. 15). Since that 
is the case, the believer in the midst of a 
trial needs to be swift to hear, slow to speak, 
and slow to wrath. These three exhortations 
reveal the outline of this letter (see 1:21"2:26 
for swift to hear; 3:1"18 for slow to 
speak; 4:1"5:18 for slow to wrath). [Nelson 


Active listening makes a worthwhile 
conversation. When we talk too much and listen too little, 
we communicate to others that we think our 
ideas are much more important than theirs. James 
wisely advises us to reverse this process. Put a 
mental stopwatch on your conversations and keep 
track of how much you talk and how much you 
listen. When people talk with you, do they feel that 
their viewpoints and ideas have value? [Life 
Application SB] 

Spiritual listening is always followed by 
action. It is important to listen to what Gods 
Word says, but it is much more important to obey 
it, to do what it says. We can measure the 
effectiveness of our Bible study time by the effect it has 
on our behavior and attitudes. Do you put into 
action what you have studied? [Life Application 

   I've often found myself, especially in 
recovery small groups, thinking about what I'm going 
to say as soon as I get a chance rather than 
listening to what someone else has to say. Reflecting 
on those times, I realize that I wasn't showing 
much love or respect to the person who was 
talking. It may have even slowed my recovery.  
   We all need to practice the art of 
listening. I can think of three good reasons: (1) We 
might learn something. (2) It's the polite and 
respectful thing to do. (3) God's Word instructs us to 
do so. [Celebrate Recovery Daily Devotional by 
John & Johnny Baker] 

   Ever left a conversation feeling cheated 
because it was so one-way that you might as well 
have not been present? Maybe you know someone who 
has a habit of cutting people off midsentence so 
they can offer their own opinions on a subject. 
Or someone who rattles on with one personal 
story after another, without giving anyone else a 
chance to share. Whew! Some conversations can leave 
us feeling exhausted after trying so hard to 
jump in. 
   We have good reasons to ask the Lord to 
guard our mouths. We also have to control our 
mouths if we want to develop good listening skills. 
When we listen well to others, it communicates 
respect and shows them we care. Jesus demonstrated 
the power of being an effective listener. People 
felt comfortable sharing their needs and sorrows 
with Him: Martha and Mary after their brother, 
Lazarus, died and the woman cured of a long-term 
bleeding illness. People also felt emboldened to ask 
Him questions: the Samaritan woman at the well, 
a Jewish ruler named Nicodemus, His 
   Our failure to listen patiently to others 
can make us miss out on so much: the chance to 
make a new friend or deepen an existing 
relationship, the opportunity to encourage a fellow 
believer, or the chance to share Jesus with someone 
who needs to hear about Him. Even worse, if this 
inability carries over to our prayer lives, we may 
miss out on hearing that still, small voice. Yes, 
a guard over my mouth is something I need for 
sure. by Dianne Neal Matthews 
   Faith Step: How can you improve your 
listening skills? Ask Jesus to help you imitate Him in 
this area. [Mornings With Jesus 2019 Devotional 
by Guideposts and Zondervan re Psalm 141:3] 

Dialogues of the Deaf
   It is impossible to overemphasize the 
immense need humans have to be really listened to, 
to be taken seriously, to be understood. No one 
can develop freely in this world and find a full 
life without feeling understood by at least one 
other person . 
   Listen to the conversations of our world, 
between nations as well as those between couples. 
They are for the most part dialogues of the 
   So wrote Dr. Paul Tournier, the eminent 
Swiss psychiatrist and author. His words convict 
me. They usually do  but these especially. 
Because they probe at an area of weakness in my own 
life. Not a glaring weakness; a subtle one. One 
that I'm able to hide from most folks because I'm 
often the one who's expected to talk. But some 
time ago it began to dawn on me that I needed to 
cultivate a discipline far more difficult than talking 
 and one that required an exceptional amount 
of skill. 
   I don't mean just hearing. Not simply 
smiling and nodding while somebody's mouth is 
moving. Not merely staying quiet until it's "your 
turn" to say something. All of us are good at that 
game - cultivated in the grocery store, local 
laundromat, or on the front steps of the church 
   Dialogues of the deaf! Sounds come from 
voice boxes; guttural noises are shaped into words 
by tongues and lips. But so little is listened 
to - I mean really taken in. As Samuel Butler 
once stated: "It takes two people to say a thing 
- a sayer and a sayee. The one is just as 
essential to any true saying as the other." 
   Illustration: Children. They express 
their feelings. Deep down in their fragile, inner 
wells are a multitude of needs, questions, hurts, 
and longings. Like a tiny bucket, their tongues 
splash out these things. The busy, insensitive, 
preoccupied parent, steamrolling through the day, misses 
many a cue and sails right past choice moments 
never to be repeated. 
   Or how about the person we spot without 
Christ? Have you ever practiced listening 
evangelism? Unless we're careful we usually unload the 
goods and go for the win. But people bruise 
easily. Sometimes irreparably. We must take care not 
to fold, spindle, mutilate, or assault! Sure, 
the gospel must ultimately be shared, but taking 
the time to listen patiently and respond calmly 
is an essential part of the process. I nodded 
with agreement when I read the admonishment of a 
rough and ready tycoon as he began the meeting 
with: "Now listen slowly!" 
   Check out Christ with the woman at the 
well (John 4). He could have blown her away with 
an endless barrage of verbal artillery. He 
didn't. He genuinely listened when she spoke; He 
"listened slowly." He read the lines of anxiety on her 
face and felt the weight of guilt in her heart. 
As she talked, He peered deeply into the well 
of her soul. It wasn't long before she found 
herself completely open, yet not once did she feel 
forced or needlessly embarrassed. His secret? He 
listened. He studied every word, each expression. Even 
the tone of her voice. 
   What does it take? Several things. Rare 
qualities. Like caring. Time. Unselfishness. 
Concentration. Holding the other person in high esteem. 
Sensitivity. Tolerance. Patience. Self-control. And - 
perhaps most of all - allowing room for silence 
while the other person is thinking and trying to 
get the words out. Wise is the listener who 
doesn't feel compelled to fill up all the blank 
spaces with verbiage. 
   Solomon said it clearly in Proverbs 20:12:
      The hearing ear and the seeing eye,
      The LORD has made both of them.
   Two ears. Two eyes. Only one mouth. Maybe 
that should tell us something. I challenge you to 
join me in becoming a better listener. With your 
mate. Your friends. Your kids. Your boss. Your 
teacher. Your pupils. Your clients. Your fellow 
Christians as well as those who need to meet Christ. 
   If those who battle with blindness need 
Seeing Eye dogs, we can be certain that those who 
struggle through dialogues of the deaf need Hearing 
Ear friends. [Chuck Swindoll www.insight.org. re 
Pro. 20:12] 


   Watch your words diligently. Words have 
such great power to bless or to wound. When you 
speak carelessly or negatively, you damage others 
as well as yourself. This ability to verbalize 
is an awesome privilege, granted only to those 
I created in My image. You need help in 
wielding this mighty, power responsibly.  
   Though the world applauds quick-witted 
retorts, My instructions about communication are 
quite different: Be quick to listen, slow to 
speak, and slow to become angry. Ask My Spirit to 
help you whenever you speak. I have trained you 
to pray - "Help me? Holy Spirit" - before 
answering the phone, and you have seen the benefits of 
this discipline. Simply apply the same discipline 
to communicating with people around you. If 
they are silent, pray before speaking to them. If 
they are talking, pray before responding. These 
are split-second prayers, but they put you in 
touch with My Presence. In this way, your speaking 
comes under the control of My Spirit. As positive 
speech patterns replace your negative ones, the 
increase in your Joy will amaze you. (Pro. 12:18; 
Jam. 1:19; Eph, 4:29) [Jesus Calling by Sarah 


Think before you speak. [Proverb]

Being quiet is sometimes the best thing to 
do. [My Time with God by Joyce Meyer] 


Proverbs is full of the perils of too hasty 
speech. "When words are many, transgression is not 
lacking, but he who restrains his lips is prudent" 
(Prov 10:19).  "He who guards his mouth preserves 
his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to 
ruin" (Prov 13:3). "Even a fool who keeps silent 
is considered wise" (Prov 17:28). "Do you see a 
man who is hasty in his words? There is more 
hope for a fool than for him" (Prov 29:20). 
[Barclay Commentary] 

In view of the repeated references to 
unbridled tongues found in this epistle (chs. 1:26; 
3:1"18; 4:11), it is apparent that James often 
encountered the problem of hasty speech. This evil is 
mentioned elsewhere in the Scriptures (see Prov. 
10:19; 17:27, 28; Eccl. 5:2). The emphasis is on 
being slow to begin speaking, not on speaking 
slowly. [SDA Bible Commentary] 





1st of 28: Divine Dining: 
2nd of 28: Pictures of the Divine: 
3rd of 28: A Dirty Bible: 
4th of 28: Cared For: 
5th of 28: Saved: 
6th of 28: You Can Change: 
7th of 28: Reprogramming Our Brains: 
8th of 28 Our Holy Father: 
9th of 28 Gifts of Service: 
10th of 28 The Holy Spirit: 
Live ongoing series in progress.


If anyone has a paraphrase, commentary or 
testimony on this passage of Scripture, either 
personal or otherwise, I would be interested in 
hearing from you.  Thanks in advance and let's keep 
uplifting Jesus that all might be drawn to Him. Fred