What Joy a Man Feels

What joy a man feels
When he’s found the right words
For just the right occasion.

Like apples of gold
In a silver setting
Are words fitly spoken.

About this Song:

Yes, I know this little piece is almost too short to call a song, but that’s okay. It’s still complete within itself, even though I normally use it to preface “It’s Better to Be Poor,” which I’ll post next week. These words come from two Scripture passages: Proverbs 15:23 and Proverbs 25:11. I’ve included those passages in each of five translations below.

New International Version (NIV)
Proverbs 15:23

23 A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—and how good is a timely word!

Proverbs 25:11
11 Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a ruling rightly given.


Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Proverbs 15:23
23 Giving the right answer at the right time makes everyone happy.

Proverbs 25:11
11 The right word  at the right time is like precious gold set in silver.


The Message (MSG)
Proverbs 15:23

23 Congenial conversation—what a pleasure! The right word at the right time—beautiful!

Proverbs 25:11
11 The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewelry. . .


New King James Version (NKJV)
Proverbs 15:23
23 A man has joy by the answer of his mouth,
And a word spoken in due season, how good it is!

Proverbs 25:11
11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold
In settings of silver.


Good News Translation (GNT)
Proverbs 15:23
23 What a joy it is to find just the right word for the right occasion!

Proverbs 25:11
11 An idea well-expressed is like a design of gold, set in silver.

Isn’t that the goal of all speakers and writers–both secular and sacred–to convey a well-expressed idea? We–most of us, anyhow–wouldn’t waste time trying to communicate unless we either had something worthwhile to say or thought we did.

As a published novelist, I know first-hand what a struggle finding just the right word can be. I not only make frequent use of a dictionary and a thesaurus, but occasionally also use a “flip dictionary,” which allows me to look for words related to a given object. (For example, suppose I wanted to learn what the bathroom on a ship is called. I could look up “ship.”)

I’m reminded of a joke I heard years ago. An apartment building housed no one but music students. All day long, one could walk by and listen to the sounds of people practicing scales–up and down, down and up. But this one future cellist played only a single note–an A-flat. Somebody finally got up the nerve to ask why he played only one note hour after hour while everyone else was playing scales. His response? “I listen to the rest of you–day in and day out–and you keep searching for the perfect note. I’ve already found mine.”

Are you looking for just the right word–or don’t you have anything worthwhile to say? If you’re a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, you always have something to talk about, although your “right words” may not always fall on receptive ears.

How about leaving a comment? I’d love to hear from you.

For a free lead sheet of this little song, click the Lead Sheets tab at the top of this page, click on “See list of available lead sheets,” and look for “What Joy a Man Feels” in the drop down list.

Links you might be interested in:

Look for me again next Wednesday. Better still, subscribe to receive these weekly posts by email.

Best regards,


About Roger E. Bruner

Seventy-five-year-old Roger E. Bruner is the author and publisher of twenty Christian novels and the writer of more than two hundred Christian songs and choruses, a handful of musical dramas, and a number of shorter works. He sings, plays guitar and bass, and records his original songs in his home studio. He is active in his church's nursing home ministry He also plays bass guitar on the church raise team. Married for seventeen years to Kathleen, he has one grown daughter. Kathleen has two. Roger enjoys reading, moderate exercise, photography and book cover design (he's done all of his own except for Rosa No-Name), playing Snood, making walking sticks, and complaining about the state of the nation while continuing to pray for it.
This entry was posted in Best Words, Bible, Gold, Proverbs, Silver, Words and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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