A friend asked me to examine the claim - based on Proverbs 18:21 - that our words can cause physical sickness or healing.
"The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit."
When I studied commentaries, I found that most Bible scholars agree that the reference to life and death is related to false testimony, not health.
Next, I let the rest of Scripture interpret this verse, studying other passages to see if any confirmed this Proverbs 18:21 doctrine.
I couldn't find a single passage (not even Proverbs 18:21) that clearly or directly attributed sickness to spoken words.
James three devotes 18 verses to the power of the tongue, but never addresses physical sickness, healing, or death.
I concluded that words are powerful. They express love, hate, encouragement, hypocritical judgment, truth, or lies. But Scripture doesn't support the belief that human words alone cause life or death.*
In fact, Deuteronomy 32:39 says God alone has that power.
* unless, of course, it refers to giving testimony that convicts or acquits a murder suspect, as most Bible Scholars believe is the intent of Proverbs 18:21.
If you need more to convince you that your words do not have the power of life and death, sickness and health, please take a few moments to work through the Bite Size Bible Study today. I think you will benefit from the extra explanations and Scripture passages.