Sunday, May 19, 2013

What Does the Bible Say About Swearing (Profanity)?

King James Version of the Bible
King James Version of the Bible (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

Psalm 19:14

King James Version (KJV)

        In recent weeks on my main blog Tossing It Out I have been offering a Monday series on the topic of swearing and the use of profanity in conversation.  This series came about as a result of some conflict during the Blogging from A to Z Challenge from bloggers who like to engage such language into their blog posts and were upset that the A to Z organizers had asked them to label their blogs with adult content warnings.

        Several bloggers--including some who proclaimed to be Christians--expressed that they had no problem with hearing others use profanity or for some even using it themselves.   Some of them stated outright that the Bible doesn't say anything about profanity being wrong while others asked where in the Bible the admonition against profanity was made.   A few conceded that there is clear censure of using the Lord's name in vain, but didn't see any problem with other types of crude language. 

        I don't think any of these people have been reading their Bible very closely if at all.  As is often the case, many people will cite what the Bible says based on what they think it should say, what they want it to say, or what they've heard others say that the Bible says.  So where does the Bible say that speaking and even reading certain types of language is wrong?

       Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Philippians 4:8

New International Version (NIV)

        One can find many instances in the Bible that not merely suggest, but pretty clearly state what our language should be.  It seems to be the vogue of our age for many to take Bible verses and inject them with more liberal interpretations.  Some might say that those verses were written in the olden days and no longer apply to our modern times.  What do you think?

          Here's a final thought on this:   Words mean something.  Words have histories, inferences, and connections.  When something is said a mental image is created.  That's what words do.  If we are saying something we are planting seeds in our minds and the minds of others.  Even if the Bible didn't say anything about the use of indecent language, sheer logic should tell us there is a problem connected with the use of such language.

           These days it seems that logic is often the offensive term.  

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Ephesians 4:29

New International Version (NIV)

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  1. God topic, Arlee. You express my own views quite elloquently. For those of us who are trying to follow God, I would add to your list of scriptures Ephesians 5:3-4 "Since you are God's people, it is not right that any matters of sexual immorality or indecency or greed should even be mentioned among you. Nor is it fitting for you to use language which is obscene, profane, or vulgar. Rather you should give thanks to God."

  2. Good post, LEE, and I think PAM's comment was a great addition to it.

    It's always amazing to me to find the stuffs determined people are able to read INTO or OUT OF The Bible, according to their wishes.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  3. Well written with the message coming across.


  4. Wonderful post and I agree completely. Just last night I read, "But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language coming out of your mouth." (Col 3:8)

  5. It is so encouraging to find people who not only still believe in the Bible and God, but are committed to following Him. This post captures the heart of God's message to honor and obey Him in everything we do. We are to be in the world, but not of the world. The topic is profanity, but it could be applied anywhere. The Bible is God's Truth, not the truth we want at the moment.

  6. I would just ask this of everyone: As Christians, what are we called to do? Answer: Follow Jesus, be like Jesus. Whether or not it is written in the Bible, Jesus was pretty clear about what He wanted of us (prior to the establishment of Christianity). He said to love one another and follow Him. That's it. No extra loopholes or mandates except that we should strive to be a representative of Him so that others will follow Him, too. If you're busy cussing one day and going to church on Sunday, what message are you sending? He gave us Himself as an example to emulate. The more we can try to be like him, the better. Soooo... if these folks can make a good argument that cussing glorifies Him and that through their bad language they are bringing others to Christ.... ok. :)

  7. Thank you for your comments and for the addition of more verses to strengthen the case against unclean language. I think the Bible is very clear on the issue. Those who think they need to revise what the Bible says in order to conform for a modern world are merely creating their own false theologies.

    Yes, Dana, I'm waiting for that convincing argument that can justify using bad language. We should go among sinners, but we should not sin with them. I can't see where sinning glorifies God.


  8. Lee, I agree. It's interesting. There are some folks at work who cuss regularly, but when they are around me they don't. I never said a word about it, but they know I am a Christian, so they don't do it around me. I really appreciate it.

    Thanks for posting about this. Since you run the A to Z, they shouldn't have anything to say. Either they label their blog's content or they don't participate.

  9. Thank you, Dawn. I appreciate it when others respect the sensibilities of those who might be offended by certain types of speech or activities and refrain from doing them in their presence. I am amazed at the number of people in restaurants and other public places will loudly use unclean language without any regard to who might be around them. To me this is totally inconsiderate.

    It seems like these days many people want others to come down to wherever they are to accommodate them. We can look at churches and other organizations that have traditionally high moral ideals being pressured to allow things that are against the values they believe in. And yet try to put up the 10 commandments in a public place or have prayer in school and many are totally against that. For many freedom of speech and rights only apply to what they believe.



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