Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth but that which is good to the use of edifying that it may minister grace unto the hearers.  (Eph 4:29)

What does the Lord mean in this verse by corrupt communication? 

The word corrupt is a strong word indicating something rotten.  It’s used in several versions of Matthew 7:17-18 and elsewhere in the Bible.  It can certainly be used to describe instances of: 

  • profanity;
  • disparaging comments;
  • a persistent conversation full of unbelief and doubt;
  • unkind remarks;
  • using the Lord’s Name in vain; or
  • using mean-spirited words.

Some common implications of this type of corrupt speech are:

  1. It doesn’t nourish (edify) anyone.
  2. It can make you sick; it can cause negative harm with regular use.
  3. It creates a negative, unhealthy atmosphere.
  4. It’s symptomatic of a rotten tree (source), see Mt 12:34-37.

Our conversation should be holy and nourishing, creative and untainted.  (Eph 4:29)  Our words should edify [educate; improve; instruct] those who hear them.  We should encourage one another in our faith in God and in His Word.  (Heb 3:13; 1 Thes 4:18, 5:11) 

When we conform to God’s way of talking about our lives, He rejoices over us and takes joy in pouring out His blessings upon us.

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