We do not need to speak in all situations but instead listen and learn; even fools if they keep silent are considered wise, while those who stay silent in the face of ridicule exhibit self-control (1 Sam 10:27; Prov 10:19, 11:12, 17:28). The Bible’s counsel is, “Let your words be few” for they often condemn and get people into trouble (Eccl 5:2; Jas 3:2-10).

It is vital to have periods away from distractions to hear the Lord so “Be silent in the Lord’s presence and wait patiently for Him…For my hope is from Him” (Ps 37:7, 62:5). He won’t shout above the noise or compete for our attention. Hearing from God is determined by our seeking Him (Jer 29:12-14). Don’t be afraid of silence, allow Him to minister peace and confidence into your heart through quiet meditation (Ps 4:4). God is not so often found in activity and noise as in stillness and silence so when communing with Him, don’t do all the talking – allow Him time and space to speak, and you to hear (1 Kgs 19:11,12)!

Wise people are not always silent, but they know when they should be, for “There is a time to be silent and a time to speak” (Eccl 3:7). It is impossible to argue with a person who remains in control of themselves and silent, however, especially in a marriage, when various ‘situations’ arise there should be open yet calm discussion so harmony can be restored, rather than sullen, tension-filled silence.

We must also speak up against evil and especially if the welfare of others is at stake. When we know people are going to a Christ-less eternity unless they repent, it is our responsibility to warn them – “I cannot keep silent” (Lev 5:1; Est 4:14; Prov 31:8,9; Isa 62:1; Jer 4:19; Ezek 3:18,19, 33:7-9; Mt 10:32,33; Eph 5:11). “This is the day of good

How will people hear about Jesus                                 if we keep silent?

news, and we are keeping it to ourselves – this is not right”, said the lepers (2 Kgs 7:9). We may not know all the answers but like the blind man to whom Jesus restored his sight we can testify, “I was blind but now I see” (Jn 9:25).

Satan tempts us to not speak up for Christ, however, our lifestyle and words should match each other, and together form a powerful witness. The Bible says our verbal praise to God and good works silences the ‘ignorant talk of foolish men’ and those opposed to us (Ps 8:2; 1 Pet 2:15).

Jesus boldly proclaimed the Word of God, challenging the religious beliefs of the day but when the attack was personally directed at Him by those who were intent on bringing about His death He did not attempt to defend Himself against their accusations, but remained silent or just declared the truth of His mission (Isa 53:7; Mt 26:62-64). God is not obligated to respond to our questions even when we cry out to Him earnestly as Job did (Job 30:20). He is testing what is in our hearts – do we really trust Him?

The instruction given to the women to be silent in the church was because as new converts they didn’t have the knowledge in the OT Scriptures, like the Jewish men traditionally had, and by abusing their new Christian freedom they were bringing chaos into the early church (1 Cor 14:34; 1 Tim 2:12). 

See also: quiet, solitude.

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