The primary theme running through Proverbs 15:1-5 is the power of speech.
Verse 1--A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Verse 2--The tongue of the wise dispenses knowledge,
but the mouths of fools pour out folly.
Verse 3--The eyes of the Lord are in every place,
keeping watch on the evil and the good.
Verse 4--A gentle tongue is a tree of life,
but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
Verse 5--A fool despises a parent's instruction,
but the one who heeds admonition is prudent.
What instructions to guide one in daily godly living do these verses declare?
1. It takes the "sting" out of an angry statement for the one addressed to answer kindly and gently. By contrast, a person can arouse anger in a peaceful situation with a harsh statement.
2. A person's speech betrays her or his thoughts in the heart. Thus, a wise-hearted individual communicates knowledge to her or his hearers, while a fool-hearted individual conveys folly.
3. Like Proverbs 5:21 and 22:12, Proverbs 15:3 proclaims that nothing escapes God's all-seeing eyes (see Hebrews 4:13). He observes with deep interest every small act of kindness (Matthew 25:31-46) and every sinful, oppressive deed by the powerful (2 Samuel 12:1-7).
4. The "gentle" [Hebrew "healing"] tongue stimulates life and vitality in the heart of the recipient, while a "perverse" tongue discourages the heart of the hearer.
5. Assuming one's parents are God-centered people and have the child's best interests at heart, it is obvious that the child serves himself or herself best by listening to and carefully weighing the parents' instruction.