Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
1 Timothy 1:13
Sound words have a form, an exemplary pattern, a typification by which their nature is determined; and it is neither a literary nor auditory matter. Truly, their form is the state of the man from whence they proceed, even as a good mould brings forth a shapely moulding. Therefore the Lord said that from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
The words of a good form are the fruit of the “faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” And this form is not seen in a mere tone of voice or manner of presentation, but in the condition of the soul who speaks. For the heart abounding in deceit may speak well outwardly; but inwardly be full of wicked schemes. Conversely, the heart abounding in goodness may speak poorly outwardly; but inwardly be filled with the knowledge and love of the holy.
And the words of a man, no matter the carefulness or roughness of their delivery, are always laced either with the presumptuous stench of self-deceit, or with the earnest aroma of Christ; and by the Spirit of wisdom, these can be known to the hearer. To this end, the man of God, in order to hold fast the form of sound words, must make himself subject to the form of Christ’s sound Life.
For the form of sound words IS the Life of Christ in a man; and the holding fast to that form of sound words is what holds a man sound in God, and God’s word sound in him.
Then Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.”