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:
- 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:
- It doesn’t nourish (edify) anyone.
- It can make you sick; it can cause negative harm with regular use.
- It creates a negative, unhealthy atmosphere.
- 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.