Christian Faith and the
Teaching of Speech
Michael T. Ingram
I TEACH AT WHITWORTH COLLEGE in Spokane, Washington, which is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Many of the fifteen hundred undergraduate students have some Christian background. Some students are very committed to Christ and a local church, some are committed to Christ with no strong allegiance to a particular group, some are nominal Christians, and some profess no religious faith. Thus there is a wide range of faith perspectives on my campus.
My religious heritage is Southern Baptist. This faith tradition regards the Bible as the inspired authority for all areas of human activity. Many Southern Baptists value 2 Timothy 3:16, which affirms that "All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work." Scripture provides instruction on spiritual matters such as prayer and worship. It also provides instruction on topics like marriage, money management, and relationships. Southern Baptists emphasize discipleship and following Christ in all matters of life. Thus it is natural for Southern Baptists to examine the Bible for guidance on human communication.
As will be demonstrated in this essay, there are numerous biblical texts that consider the manner in which Christians should