This adage has had several words transposed but its truth cannot be denied.
One of the earliest versions said: “The tongue is mightier than the blade.” Several years later, it read, “The word is mightier than the sword.”
Thanks to olde English, here’s an interesting turn of words: “The dashe of a Pen, is more greeuous than the counterbase of a Launce.”
Even William Shakespeare couldn’t resist putting this thought into Hamlet, Act 2: . . .”many wearing rapiers are afraid of goosequills.”
It is said that the adage decorates a wall of the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress.
So what’s the Biblical wisdom, the origin, the truth of this adage?
Proverbs 18:21 advises to use our tongue cautiously because it is a weapon wielding the power of life and death. In other words, just by opening our mouths we can cut others down or we can build them up. Proverbs also says that evildoers can be trapped by their “sinful” talk, which allows the innocent to escape!
In fact, the author of Proverbs touts the wisdom of holding our tongues, weighing our answers, and using our tongues as a tree of life.
The Apostle Peter gives another really good reason for controlling our tongues. He says that if you love life and want to enjoy good days, keep your tongue from evil. (1 Pet. 3:10)
In my opinion, this one of the sweetest verses with regard to our tongues:
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. (Col.4:6, NIV)
Sure, seasoning makes food taste better. Which is why grace, God’s unmerited favor, coupled with well-seasoned words, adds wisdom to our answers.
The Bible certainly shares a lot of food for thought, pun intended, about our tongues. But what does God’s word have to say about the pen is mightier than the sword?
Hebrews 4:12 tells us:
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Able to cut on both sides, a two-edged sword is an offensive and defensive weapon. And because God’s word is both written (penned) and alive through the Holy Spirit, there is no denying its truth and might.
If we feel ill-prepared for daily battles, let’s practice using our sword (the Bible). We’ll find each word as sharp and true as ever.
By author eMarie
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Hi Sherry! Yes, our words are vital and do make a difference! Thank you for stopping by!!
Words make a difference. They can wound or heal. Our speech and our writing matter. God can work through our words to change hearts when we seek His guidance. That’s exciting:)
Me too!!! Thanks for stopping by!! 🙂
I love that verse from Hebrews. Thank you.
Great point!! We need to study and hide God’s Word in our hearts!!! It’s our best weapon!! 🙂
A small part with a big impact!! Thank you for stopping by Valerie! 🙂
Yes, we do need to be careful how we use our “powerful weapon!”
Good post, eMarie!
Love this, Erma! Jesus gave us a good example of spiritual “fencing” with Satan during His temptations in the wilderness. Satan’s temptations were thrusts, using scripture taken out of context, that Jesus parried with truth kept in context. A good reason we all need to study and know our Bibles.
Thank you for stopping by, Dave!! I appreciate your faithfulness!!! 🙂
Full of grace.
Thank you for this!