29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Eph 4:28–32). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Eph 5:4). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
8 But now you must put them all away: ranger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Col 3:8–10). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
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. 35 The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. 36 I tell you, son the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, 37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Mt 12:34–37). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Jas 3:6–10). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life: The mouth is a poetic use of one of the organs of speech and refers to the words or thoughts spoken by the righteous, that is, a good, honest person. Fountain of life is similar to “tree of life” used in 3:18. See there for comments. The expression is used in Psa 36:9 (Hebrew verse 10), where it refers to God as being the source or creator of all life. In 16:22 Wisdom is a fountain of life. In this verse the expression refers to the words of the righteous, perhaps because such people are identified with the wise and with wisdom. In translation a fountain of life must often be expressed as a simile; for example, “… are like a fountain that gives life.” Fountain renders a word that is also applied to a well dug by people or to a naturally occurring spring.
But the mouth of the wicked conceals violence: See verse 6. The mouth of the wicked parallels and contrasts with the mouth of the righteous. The contrast here, as in verse 6, is between the words of good people, which are compared to a life-giving fountain, and the evil that hides in the words or thoughts of the wicked. We may translate, for example,
• The words of good people are like a spring that gives life,
but the words of the wicked hide the harm they will do.
Hatred stirs up strife: Hatred refers to extreme dislike or hostility toward others. Stirs up translates a verb meaning to arouse, awaken, or incite. Strife is plural in the Hebrew and refers to discord, conflict, disharmony, quarrels, and fighting between people.
But love covers all offenses: Love, the opposite of Hatred, refers to harmonious and affectionate relations with positive feelings toward others. Covers renders the same Hebrew verb as used in verses 6 and 11 where “conceals” is used. Covers is here used metaphorically with the sense of “forgives.” Offenses renders a word that is often used in the Old Testament to mean sin against God. It is sometimes used in Proverbs as a personal offense committed by people against each other. This saying is a clear appeal for people to love others instead of making them enemies.
We may translate, for example,
• If you hate others, you will fight with them,
but if you love them, you will forgive the wrongs they do.
Reyburn, W. D., & Fry, E. M. (2000). A handbook on Proverbs (pp. 225–226). New York: United Bible Societies.