Proverbs 15:1

ESV A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
NIV A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
NASB A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.
CSB A gentle answer turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath.
NLT A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.
KJV A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

What does Proverbs 15:1 mean?

Solomon offers wise advice about how to respond to anger. He says a soft or gentle answer can defuse a potentially explosive situation. The word translated "wrath" here means rage. This is the kind of volatile anger that eventually leads to physical conflict. When we're insulted or angry, the easiest course of action is to become furious and respond to the other person's rage with similar rage. However, if a person chooses to respond to rage with harsh, hurtful words, he will make matters worse. Cutting, bitter responses only cause the enraged person's anger to escalate; that results in further hostility.

In contrast, a cool temper refuses to fight fire with fire. The wise person answers gently, and that gentleness extinguishes the fire. At the very least, it gives no more fuel for it to burn. A calm, polite response can take a great deal of tension out of an argument.

This response calls for wisdom, thoughtfulness, concern for the other person, and self-discipline. Romans 12:19–20 tells us not to avenge ourselves, but to know the Lord will repay the wrong. The believer's responsibility is to show kindness to an enemy: "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:21).
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