In this lesson from Proverbs 18:21, kids will learn about the power of words.
This is a continuation of lessons from Proverbs. This lesson focuses on the tongue and the power of our words to bring life and death. Students will discover that we need God to use our tongues wisely.
Bible Passage: (Selected Scriptures)
Bible Story Title: Proverbs-The Power of Words
Target Age Group: Ages 5-11 (K-5th Grade U.S.A.)
Target Time Frame: 60 Minutes
Original Teaching Context: Sunday School
Supply List: Bibles, word puzzle and coloring page, markers/crayons, slips of paper with the Scriptures regarding words that bring life and words that bring death for students to read during the lesson, copies of ways to pray for our words
Learning Goal: Students will learn that we need God to use our tongues wisely
Learning Activity #2: After the lesson have students act out scenarios where one student uses unkind words and another chooses kind words to respond.
Take Home: At the end of the lesson there is a sheet (Daily Prayers to use our words wisely) to help students to pray.
Memory Verse: Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
Bible Lesson: Proverbs-The Power of Words
(Begin with prayer)
Play the guessing game ‘What am I’? I can hide or I can show myself. I am made up of many muscles. I am usually always wet. I can hurt people or help people. I can be curled. I help people taste food. I am usually pink. (Ask questions until a student answers a tongue)
God created each of us with a tongue. A tongue is an important part of our body. A tongue helps us to eat our food and speak. When used to speak our tongues are very powerful.
Let’s read our memory verse together: Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
Have you ever been hurt by someone’s words? (Allow time to share) Have you ever been helped by someone’s words? This verse is talking about the two powers our tongues have. We can use our power to bring death. Death comes when we use our tongues for evil and harming others. We can use our power to bring life when we use our tongues for good by helping others.
Big Question: Why do we need God? We need God to use our tongues wisely.
1. Words that bring life
Let’s go to the Book of Genesis to look for evidence that words have the power. Read Genesis 1:3. How did God create light? (He used His words to speak it into existence) The rest of the chapter is filled with God said, ‘Let there be’ and the world and all that is in it was created. God’s Words are so powerful that they have power to create life!
God the Father spoke to God the Son and God the Holy Spirit and said, “Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness.” (Genesis 1:26) Man was created in God’s image. God made the first man from the dust of the ground and breathed His breath into his nostrils and he became a living being. (Genesis 2:7)
Before sin entered the world Adam and Eve walked in the garden and talked with God. Being made in the image of God, Adam and Eve had the power to use their words to speak life and glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
Let’s look at Scriptures that show us how our words can bring life (if you made slips of these verses have students read their verse):
Proverbs 16:24 “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”
Proverbs 10:11a “The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life”
Proverbs 12:18b “The tongue of the wise brings healing.”
Romans 10:9 “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
2. Words that bring death
In the beginning of God’s creation death did not exist. In the beginning Adam and Eve’s words could only be life giving words. When sin entered the world it brought death and words now had the power of life and the power of death.
Let’s look in our Bibles to see how God describes our tongues:
James 3:3-9 “If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. 4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.
What did you learn about our tongues as we read this passage of Scripture? (Allow responses)
Here are some Scriptures that teach us that our tongues have the power of death (if you made slips of these verses have students read their verse):
Proverbs 12:18 “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” When we are not careful with our tongues our words are like stabbing someone in the heart with a sword.
Psalm 55:21 “His speech was smooth as butter, yet war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords.” Sometimes we pretend to be kind with our words but we are being dishonest and are ready to harm others with our words. (Flattery)
Proverbs 15:1 “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” When we choose to use harsh words we stir up anger.
3. We need God to use our tongues wisely
Our tongues are powerful! The verses in James 3 showed us that our tongues are powerful and cannot be tamed. What a great reminder that we need God to use our tongues wisely!
We learned a few weeks ago that we need to “Keep your heart with all vigilance, and from it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:23) Proverbs 21:23 tells us something similar about our tongues. “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.”
We need God to save us from sin and change our hearts. Our ‘hearts are deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?’ (Jer. 17:9) When we put our faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of our sin we become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). As a new creation we now have the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of us. He gives us the power to obey what God teaches us so that we can daily walk in wisdom.
We need to spend time reading, studying and meditating on God’s Word so His truth is filling our hearts, guarding us from sin. When our hearts are filled with God’s Word our mouths will speak life because God’s Words are life. (The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:45) We will have His power to share the Good News with others so that when they believe the power of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection will save them. (Romans 1:16-17)
Scriptures we can use to help us pray for God to help us use our tongues wisely (if you made copies of the daily prayers for life giving words. Hand them to the students to look at together. There are 7 prayers that you can pray one for each day of the week or all seven every day):
- Make my words and the thoughts of my heart acceptable in Your sight. Psalm19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”
- Keep me from speaking when what I say could get me in trouble. Proverbs 21:23 “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.”
- Help me to be committed not to sin with my mouth. Psalm 17:3b “I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.”
- Keep my words focused on praising You and pointing others to You. Psalm 71:15 “My mouth will tell of Your righteous acts, of Your deeds of salvation all the day,”
- Fill my heart with your Word so that my tongue will speak your truth in my conversations. (Luke 6:45)
- Help me to share your Words that bring eternal life. (“Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” John 6:68)
- Help me speak words that build up others. Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up,”
As we close in prayer let’s take a few minutes to pray silently to the Lord. If He has shown you sin in the words you speak, take this time to confess your sin and turn from it and ask for His help to speak words that bring life.
(Close in prayer)
Daily Prayers to use my words wisely
1. Lord, please make my words and the thoughts of my heart acceptable in Your sight. Psalm19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”
2. Lord, please keep me from speaking when what I say could get me in trouble. Proverbs 21:23 “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.”
3. Lord, help me not to sin with my mouth. Psalm 17:3b “I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.”
4. Lord, please keep my words focused on praising You and pointing others to You. Psalm 71:15 “My mouth will tell of Your righteous acts, of Your deeds of salvation all the day,”
5. Please fill my heart with your Word so that my tongue will speak your Truth in my conversations. (“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45)
6. Help me to share your Words that bring eternal life. (“Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” John 6:68)
7. Help me speak words that build up others. Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up,”
For more inspiration, browse these related lesson ideas from our website:
- Bible Lesson: Using Words to Encourage (Proverbs 12)
- Bible Lesson: Proverbs-Wisdom is applying God’s Truth
- Proverbs Bible Lesson: God Gives Us Everything
- Bible Lesson: A Believer’s Power (Ephesians 3)
- Bible Lesson: Proverbs-Two Paths: Pride & Humility