HTS Theological Studies
versión On-line ISSN 2072-8050
versión impresa ISSN 0259-9422
STEYN, Gert J.. 'Think before you speak': The power of the tongue by Philo and James. Herv. teol. stud. [online]. 2015, vol.71, n.1, pp.01-07. ISSN 2072-8050. http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/HTS.V71I1.3027.
It is appropriate to reflect on the ability of language in pursuing and establishing peace. This contribution briefly explores the Jewish Wisdom literature, the Jewish-Hellenistic philosophy of the corpus Philonicum and the wisdom genre of James 3 as valuable sources on the power of the tongue. At least five practical guidelines regarding speech and its role in the creation of peace are deduced from these three collections of literature: the tongue might be small, but its effects are powerful; believers' speech should be characterised by truth and honesty; there are times when one needs to speak up and openly; but there are also times that one should be cautious and rather keep quiet; wisdom is needed in exercising the ability to differentiate when to speak and when to keep quiet. It is important, however, to develop the ability to distinguish when to speak and when to keep quiet.