Importance of Voice Training
By M.E. Cady
While every true minister of the gospel is conscious of needed help from God in gaining a knowledge of Bible truth, it is a fact that not all recognize God's willingness to aid in giving utterance to the truths learned. The apostle Paul recognized that the same power which enables one to gain a knowledge of truth assists in giving utterance to that truth, and to him this was cause for rejoicing and thanksgiving. He writes, " I thank my God on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; that in everything ye are enriched by Him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge." 1 Cor. 1: 4, 5.
A speaking voice enriched by the grace of Christ through the operation of the Holy Spirit is befitting the messenger bearing God's truth for this hour. The beauty and the appeal of the gospel must not be marred by weak and defective utterance.
The high importance attached to the effectiveness of the speaking voice is set forth by Paul in the fourteenth chapter of First Corinthians: " Except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood" ["significant words," margin], how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air. . . . Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown [not understood] tongue."
In the writings of the Spirit of prophecy we find the following comment on this scripture: " The principle presented by Paul concerning the gift of tongues is equally applicable to the use of the voice in prayer and social meeting. . . . If you have acquired the habit of speaking in a low, indistinct way, you should regard it as a defect, and put forth earnest efforts to overcome, that you may honor God and edify His children."—" Counsels to Teachers," p. 245.
When Moses pleaded inability to speak acceptably, the Lord assured him of divine aid in conquering this deficiency. The Scripture account of this experience is stated thus: " Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since Thou hast spoken unto Thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. And the Lord said unto him, Who bath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say." Ex. 4: 10-12.
To the prophet Jeremiah was given encouragement of a similar nature:
"The word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou tamest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Then said I, Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord. Then the Lord put forth His hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put My words in thy mouth." Jer. 1: 4-9.
Priests and Levites, the ministers of the old dispensation, recognized the importance of voice training in effectively reading and speaking to the people, for it is stated: " So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading. . . . All the people wept when they heard the words of the law." Neh. 8: 8, 9.
Concerning the beauty and effectiveness of Christ's manner of speaking, we read: " All bear Him witness, and wondered at the gracious 'words which proceeded out of His mouth." Luke 4: 22. " The common people heard Him gladly." Mark 12: 37. " Never man spake like this man." John 7: 46. " The Saviour's voice was as music to the ears of those who had been accustomed to the monotonous, spiritless preaching of the scribes and Pharisees. He spoke slowly and impressively, emphasizing those words to which He wished His hearers to give special heed. Old and young, ignorant and learned, could catch the full meaning of His words. This would have been impossible had He spoken in a hurried way, and rushed sentence upon sentence without pause. The people were very attentive to Him. . . . Christ's manner of teaching was beautiful and attractive, and it was ever characterized by simplicity. . . . There were no high-sounding words used, to understand 'which it was necessary to consult a dictionary. . . . This is the way in which He would have us present His truth to others. The power of speech is of great value, and the voice should be cultivated for the blessing of those with whom we come in contact."—"Counsels to Teachers," pp. 239, 240.
Those who have heard the voice of Mrs. E. G. White in public address or in personal conversation, will readily recall the rich, sonorous quality, the measured rhythm of sentences, and the varied modulation of tones expressing joy or sadness of heart and the earnestness and conviction of soul. The principles concerning voice culture which are found in her writings were fully exemplified in all her public and personal ministry.
For convenient reference, the bibliography on voice culture as given us through the Spirit of prophecy, is indicated as follows: [See also " Gem Statements From the Spirit of Prophecy."]
Manner of speaking: " Testimonies," Vol. II, pp. 615-618; Vol. IV, pp. 404, 405.
Voice culture: " Testimonies," Vol. IV, pp. 380-383.
Speech: " Christ's Object Lessons," pp. 338-343.
Christ's manner of teaching: " The Desire of Ages," pp. 252-255.
Necessity of doing our best: " Counsels to Teachers," pp. 237-247.
Importance of simplicity: " Counsels to Teachers," pp. 253-255.
Washington, D. C.