Rapidity of speech can and should be corrected. The teacher must learn daily in the school of Christ, that he may speak in such a way as to make the best and most lasting impression upon his hearers. The appointed guardian of truth, he must conscientiously guard the sacred treasures. He is not to gather only a limited number of surface truths, but is to purchase the field, that he may possess the treasure it contains. He is to seek to improve in methods of labor, and make the very best use of the organs of speech. If the words of truth are of sufficient importance to be spoken before an audience, they are of sufficient importance to be spoken distinctly. The guidance of the Spirit never leads to indistinctness of speech. The Spirit takes the things of God and presents them through the human instrument to the people. Then let them come from our lips in the most perfect manner possible.


The Lord designs that every minister shall reach perfection in his work, overcoming everything in voice, in attitude, in manner of address, which would lessen his influence. This it is his duty to do. “Be ye therefore perfect,” Christ says, “even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).

It is natural for us to expect more from the ministration of the man whose manner of address and tone of voice is attractive than from him whose ways do not please. Two men may handle the same Scriptures and bear a full gospel testimony; one, because he has been careful to overcome his defective pronunciation, because he has learned to control his voice, not allowing it to swell to a high key, may be a most successful worker; the other may have a knowledge of the Word, yet he leaves an impression upon his audience that is not agreeable. He appears excited, and all who hear him wish that he would calm down and talk earnestly, but calmly and unexcitedly.

By talking in a high key, the speaker detracts considerably from his usefulness. There are others who talk so low that their words can scarcely be heard. Another laborer will speak hurriedly, rushing his words one upon another. Half that he says is lost, for the hearer cannot take in the precious words coming from his lips. These are defects which should be overcome.

The habit should be acquired of speaking slowly, yet earnestly and solemnly, with all the assurance which the Word of God can give. Then the hearer gets the benefit of every sentence. Every word is spoken distinctly, and makes its impression upon the minds. Rapid speaking and pitching the voice to a high key is an imperfection which every one should overcome if he would make the most favorable impression when bearing the message from God to the world. Let the Word of God come as a savor of life unto life.

If God’s servants will consider this matter rationally, if they will place themselves under the control of sound reason and good judgment, they will see that these errors need not be perpetuated. They will see that such defects can be overcome, and their efforts in the pulpit be of far greater advantage to the hearers, and far less taxing to themselves. Every minister should bear in mind that he is giving to the people the message which God has given him, and that this word involves eternal interests.


Speak the truth in love and in pity for those who turn the truth to fables. Bear in mind the fact that the Lord Jesus is present in your assemblies. He would have you manifest dignity, calmness, and composure of spirit. When you rush one word right upon another, half the power is taken out of your discourse.


This article is excerpted from the book The Voice in Speech and Song, pp 258-260, by Ellen G. White.