“If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain….
“O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called ‘knowledge,’ for by professing it some have swerved from the faith.” 1 Timothy 6:3-5,20-21
“Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene… upsetting the faith of some…
“So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” 2 Timothy 1:13-14; 2:14-18,22-26
The troubles of irreverent babble are many and far-reaching. They begin with its source of a prideful, or misguided, or cantankerous, or malicious (or all of the above) heart. They spread as the words go out disrupting, deceiving, and polluting, the babble stirring up menace and confusion and division, even upsetting faith. They are hard to stop because babble once spilled is babble spread and uncontained. And so, we must do all we can to avoid or put a stop to the babble.
A slippery tongue, fueled by wayward thought or ignorance, gets us into trouble and causes friction. The fruit of the Spirit is self-control, and Jesus has called us to bear much fruit, so we are responsible for taking control of the words we produce. Don’t crave controversy, flee immaturity, have nothing to do with foolishness. (John 15:16; Galatians 5:22-23)
Instead, take hold of sound words, godly teaching, and righteousness among like-minded friends. Through loving behavior we can earn the trust of those who are misguided. Be alert to contradictions to truth, depravity, or controversy. With kindness and patience, ably teach and gently correct. When tempted to react or stir up, hold the tongue and breathe out peace.
Does the company we keep promote lofty ideas, uplifting conversation, or irreverent babble? Are we contentious in conversation, unyielding in opinion, or loose with our chatter? Where do we need specific discipline with our tongues, and how will we exercise both necessary restraint and bold edification? What can we do to call on the Lord from a pure heart ourselves, and with others?
Lord, help me avoid and stem the flow of irreverent babble. Fill me to overflow with what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable, that You might be known and revered. (Philippians 4:8)