Sin is not ended by multiplying words,
but the prudent hold their tongues.

Proverbs 10:19 (NIV)

When words are many, transgression is not lacking,
    but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.

Proverbs 10:19 (ESV)

I like the contrast and the closeness between the two ways the Bible translators choose to render this verse. I believe the underlying principle remains the same, although on the surface there is some tension or even disagreement about the meaning here.

In the NIV editors’ interpretation, talking more won’t remove guilt. But in the ESV interpretation, lots of talking creates a fertile environment for sin to take hold. Quite the contrast! One is about sin that has already happened and the other is about opening oneself up to temptation.

The principle, as I said, is the same. If we seek righteousness, we should learn to tame the tongue, as James said in his epistle. The words of our mouth must match the word of God, in Spirit if not in actual quotation. We must practice and demonstrate prudence. What does that mean? Learn when not to speak!

Ethan Kirl