Chapter
Verse

Proverbs 15:28

ESV The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.
NIV The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil.
NASB The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, But the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.
CSB The mind of the righteous person thinks before answering, but the mouth of the wicked blurts out evil things.
NLT The heart of the godly thinks carefully before speaking; the mouth of the wicked overflows with evil words.
KJV The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.

What does Proverbs 15:28 mean?

This relates to the proverb contained in verse 2, which distinguishes between a wise tongue and one that "pours out folly" (Proverbs 15:2). It also reflects the principle given in verse 18 which commends being "slow to anger" (Proverbs 15:18). Righteousness, wisdom, humility, and self-control are closely tied together in the book of Proverbs (Proverbs 10:19; 11:2). A righteous person does not blurt out the first thing that comes to mind. Instead, he carefully considers what to say, so that his answer will be right and honoring to the Lord (Proverbs 15:23).

Unlike the righteous person who ponders an answer before he gives it, the wicked person carelessly pours out words. The term translated "evil" here does not just refer to immorality, but also to disaster and misfortune. Careless answers can mislead others and cause them harm. Like a polluted water source, the person who speaks without thinking pollutes his environment.

Taking time to prepare an answer is in keeping with the admonition James gives in James 1:19: "Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak." Often, there is more than one side to a situation (Proverbs 18:17). It is important, therefore, to gather as much information as possible before giving an answer (Proverbs 15:22). That does not have to come only after a question is asked; it can refer to preparation as well. It honors the Lord to be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks a reason for our hope (1 Peter 3:15).
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