A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered. Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.
The image of a boisterous, arrogant preacher filling the air with thousands of words as he lectures on and on is not the biblical ideal at all. The Bible presents us with an image of a quite different sort: someone of quiet confidence, who is even-tempered and chooses his words wisely and economically.
It is a long observed saying in agreement with the passage from Proverbs, that he who knows little soon says it. More often than not in communication, less becomes more and more becomes less.
A man of understanding has learned that most of his vocabulary and phraseology does not bring honor and glory to God, that, as Jesus said, broad is the way that leads to death but narrow is the way that leads to life. Everything off the top of our heads is not uplifting of mood or edifying of the spirit. A man of understanding has learned that truth is narrow and realized the importance of keeping to the subject. In the Christian context, this means to be anchored in the truth of God in Christ Jesus. Paul could write, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins…” (1 Cor. 15:3), and regardless of what other matters he addressed, he viewed them all in light of the truth of Christ. He never strayed too far from the cross, rather he saw that the sacrifice and life of Christ impacted all of life.
A man of understanding has also learned that graciousness in speech is far more often used of God than any other kind of talk. Paul also wrote, “The Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful” (2 Tim. 2:24). Gracious words win hearts, and gracious words come from the life of someone grounded in God’s truth and in Christ Himself. Being even-tempered means to have a dignified, composed spirit, and describes someone not given to passions and pointless biases, but having equanimity of mind.
The path of victory and usefulness for the Christian is marked constant dependence on Christ in knowledge and in daily guidance. The man grounded in the truth of God and who lives in fellowship with God, is characterized by a quiet confidence in Christ.
Lord, let us live with a quiet confidence in Your truth and Your guidance. Amen.