In the letter to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul writes of unity based on a platform of seven “ones” (Eph. 4:1-6) and the purpose and length of spiritual gifts (vs. 7-16) for the benefit of the early church in its work. In verse fifteen, we find a passage coupling the idea of truth and love together. “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:”
While the phrase “speaking the truth” is found in the original to be “truthing in love,” it is the opposite of what is found by deceivers lying in wait (v. 14). “Truthing in love” brings forth the idea that not only what we speak, but how we deal with one another as Christians is important to God. In verse fifteen, the apostle Paul joins Truth and Love together. There have been plenty of examples where truth without love & compassion for a soul has been expressed with a harshness that has left the hearer (whether a Christian or not) repelled, revolted, and now “hell-bound” as a result. On the other hand, there have certainly been instances where because of love (so-called) trying not to hurt one’s feelings, the truth was never stated, taught, preached, or even seen in example. Both extremes should be avoided and a healthy balance should be sought.
Near the end of this chapter, Paul writes: “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (v. 29). Paul continues to admonish his readers with: “and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (v. 32).
In the next chapter, Paul sums up his thoughts and writes: “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love...” So, not only our speaking, but our walking must be coupled together with love. We do so for the spiritual maturing of the church, as well to be a “sweet-smelling savour” unto God.