"Promoting schoolwork" may seem like strange language. Sporting events, school plays, and political causes are promoted, but schoolwork?
However, the Bible uses this language. Over and over, Proverbs pleads with young people to listen to instruction and warns of the folly of those who ignore it. Proverbs 16:21 assumes that promoting instruction is a good thing, and this verse states a simple but profound teaching principle:
The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction.
This translation is from the NIV. Here are three other translations of the same verse; the additional translations help to clarify the importance of the way in which instruction is given.
The wise of heart is called discerning, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness. (ESV)
The wise are known for their understanding, and pleasant words are persuasive. (NLT)
Anyone with a wise heart is called discerning, and pleasant speech increases learning. (HCSB)
Pleasant words encourage and attract; harsh words discourage and alienate. Threats may produce fear and compliance, but they are not nearly as effective pleasant words, which encourage cooperation, enthusiasm, and affection. Pleasant words promote instruction!
[Read the rest of the article at Shepherd Press.]