29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
Verse 29 is an admonition against the improper use of speech, the sins of the tongue.
29 Let no corrupt [rotten, insipid, putrid] word proceed out of your mouth,
Rotten communication is the opposite of building others in the faith—edification. Ancient Greek used the word “corrupt” for rotten fruit and other spoiled food. Repulsive language is out of character for a converted person.
Eph 5: 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.
but what is good [beneficial]
Believers are to speak with the idea of benefiting others.
for necessary edification,
This phrase is literally “for the edifying of the need.” Edification should take place where it is needed. Edification is for meeting spiritual needs. At times this may involve censure but other times the consolation of a believer. All speech should be constructive so that it will build rather than break others down.
Pr 15: 23 A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, And a word spoken in due season, how good it is!
25: 11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold In settings of silver.
The controlling standard for what we say to others is whether it is encouraging, uplifting, and instructive.
that it may impart grace to the hearers.
Edification has the purpose of ministering grace to its hearers. Blunt facts often destroy relationships. Our speech should have a grace element; it should bless others.
Lu 4: 22 So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”
A foul mouth comes from a foul heart.
There is a connection between the mouth and the heart (Mt 12:34). When people become Christians, their speech changes. Fellowship in the body of Christ requires integrity in communication. The central principle is that believers are to build each other in edification.
If we cannot build others, we should keep silent. “Build up or shut up” is the idea. Our words are to benefit others. Profanity, off-color jokes, or other vulgarity is out of character for someone who claims close connection to Jesus the Lord. These words tear down the edification of others. Genuine biblical speech is helpful to others and pleasing to God. Speech that encourages, uplifts, and is constructive is characteristic of those who love the Lord.
There is a stark difference between unwholesome talk and caring talk. Christians use words to build people. This wholesome environment is the new reality of being a Christian.