I recently came across Proverbs 25:11 anew when a friend suggested it as a theme for a women’s night. Intrigued, I began to study it more in depth in one of my favorite ways—reading it in different Bible translations. I’ve personally found this a great way for me to reflect and meditate on a piece of scripture. Here is Proverbs 25:11 in a number of translations:
Like apples of gold in settings of silver, is a word spoken at the proper time. (NASB)
Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a ruling rightly given. (NIV)
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. (NKJV)
Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket. (NLT)
Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken at the right time. (AMP)
I love the imagery this verse evokes, comparing a word spoken at the right time to apples of gold in settings of silver. Imagery of something beautiful, precious, costly, and valuable. Our words, used in season, are precious and valuable, lovely and uncommon.
Now, the Bible has so much to say about words. Words carry a lot of weight to them, more than we may realize. In fact, if we go right back to the beginning of Genesis, it was words God used to create the entire universe. Genesis 3:10 tells us that darkness reigned, “Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.” God used words all throughout the creation process to speak new things into existence. How incredible to think we serve a God who can fabricate new things and call things into existence—not just at the creation of the world, but in our current situations, too.
I love reading through David’s Psalms, which pour forth so many words of worship to our God. I love Psalm 19 in particular, where David writes about creation declaring the glory of God: “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” (Psalm 19:1) and finishes the Psalm with: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.” (Ps 91:14).
I want to be like this—a woman who uses words to show others a glimpse of how incredible our Lord is. A woman who declares to those around her God’s glory. A woman who uses words like apples of gold in settings of silver. A woman who intentionally uses her words to encourage others, to lift up and not tear down, to encourage in the sense of “calling others to courage”. To be a woman who speaks hope, who speaks life, and who speaks truth into the lives of others.
I’ve seen the power and impact words can have on a person, both positively and negatively. Personally, I have many childhood memories of words being used to taunt and tease me about my unusual first name, ‘Sinapi’. Words that caused a lot of pain and shame; words not at all reminiscent of apples of gold in settings of silver. In my adult years, as I began a writing ministry, Her Mustard Faith, I discovered the real meaning of my name—’mustard seed’. The same Greek word used in the New Testament. How beautiful that after years of negative words being spoken about my name, ‘Sinapi’, God would bring redemption and a writing ministry that would serve women around the world by encouragement with words.
A friend recently sent me the following acrostic around the word ‘apples’, in relation to the verse in Proverbs:
A: Are my words appropriate?
P: Are my words pleasant?
P: Are my words pure?
L: Are my words lovely?
E: Are my words encouraging?
S: Are my words soft?
These are such good questions to reflect on, and principles I aim to follow with my writing ministry. This acrostic also reminds me of Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” The more we meditate and think on such things, the more the words we speak will be like apples of gold in settings of silver. After all, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (Luke 6:45 NIV).
Isn’t God amazing, the way He works and weaves and orchestrates things in our lives? Isn’t it amazing the way He speaks life and calls new things into existence? Isn’t it amazing the way He uses beautiful, lovely, valuable and precious words to encourage our hearts and reveal Himself to us?
Like apples of gold in settings of silver—I pray I can be a woman who uses her words, in season, in a way that is beautiful and lovely and valuable and precious to those around her.