Ephesians 4:29 “Warning Against Unwholesome Talk”


Ephesians 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”


Unwholesome talk can have destructive consequences. An example can be seen in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. After the virus surfaced in Wuhan and quickly spread to other parts of China and the rest of the world, the US President Trump started calling the Covid-19 virus, “the China virus” or “the Wuhan virus”. Certain news agencies supportive of President Trump joined in the chorus by blaming China for spreading the virus. The spread of such unwholesome talk caused discrimination to rise against Asian communities and businesses in many places around the world. Some Asians suffered verbal abuses, many Chinese restaurants and businesses in Western countries suffered sharp drops in business. Some were even physically threatened.

While this may be an extreme example, there are similar examples that we ourselves may be guilty of without realizing it. How many of us have forwarded a video or a SMS without checking if it was fake news or its accuracy? And if it was fake or wrong, we would have been a party to ruining the reputation of the person or product that the video or SMS was talking about. How many of us have passed along some gossip about someone because it was news? By doing so, we would have painted that person in an unfavorable light. We would have helped tear that person down instead of building that person up.

That was why in Ephesians 4, the apostle Paul gave some instructions for Christian living. Christians were encouraged to seek righteousness and holiness. Paul gave some practical examples like speaking truthfully, seeking reconciliation when a Christian had been angry with someone and in v.29, watching what they say. Paul knew that careless words and unwholesome talk can damage someone’s character and reputation. It was much better to build someone up with our words, to encourage someone than to destroy them.

Let us pray: Heavenly Father, please forgive us for the times when we have unwittingly or without thinking spread rumors or gossip regarding other, when we have fallen into the sin of unwholesome talk about others. Help us instead to build up others, to be an encourager and supporter of others so that the body of Christ may be strengthened. In the precious name of the Lord Jesus we ask. Amen.



  1. How may we be guilty of spreading unwholesome talk?
  2. What changes will you make to prevent unwholesome talk from your lips and how can you encourage someone instead?
  3. What words can you use to build someone up this week?
  4. Apart from the examples given in this devotion, what other examples of unwholesome talk have you seen that had destructive consequences?