Growing up in a Christian background, my parents tried their best to enforce virtues and values in us that aligned with the Christian doctrine. Among the key values, my parents ensured we carried on was shunning away from Gossip. This is because the scripture highly condemns Gossip and uses our tongues to pull each other down. However, I have never known how frequently this word has been used in the Bible. So, how many times is Gossip mentioned in the Bible?
Gossip is mentioned in the Bible over 50 times. Some biblical passages use the name gossip, while others use names like slandering and talebearing to mean gossiping. Generally, the scripture condemns gossiping and urges Christians not to engage in such acts (2 Corinthians 12:20).
Join me as I discuss deeper about Gossip and what the Bible has to say about it. I will also analyze the consequences of Gossip and what Christians should do to gossipers. Keep reading to learn more.
What does the Bible say about Gossip?
The Bible classifies Gossip as a sin. In the book of Romans, Apostle Paul clearly says gossiping is not accepted in the Christian life, and God has poured his wrath towards those who sin in such a way (Romans 1:29b-32). In this passage, Paul illustrates the seriousness of Gossip and notes that those who do so deserve to die.
Additionally, Paul goes ahead in the book of 1 Timothy 5:12-13 and cautions widows from being idle and entertaining the act of gossiping. This passage was linked to the nature of most women as many women liked spending a lot of time at each other’s homes in idleness. In such a setting, it is quite easy to get yourself gossiping about others. Paul warns against such acts.
Proverbs also have a lot to say about Gossip. The scripture in the book of Proverbs 20:19 says that Gossip is a betrayer of confidence, and thus we should avoid those people who talk a lot. Proverbs 11:12-13 notes that a man who can hold his tongue is understanding, and a trustworthy person can keep a secret, but Gossip is the betrayer of confidence. From the above biblical passages, it is clear that the Bible condemns gossiping.
Bible verses about Gossip
Proverbs 16:28: This verse highlights how Gossip can create strife and division, which in turn leads to the breakdown of friendships and relationships.
Proverbs 26:20: This verse illustrates that Gossip fuels conflicts and arguments, but disputes can be diffused if we refrain from spreading rumors or engaging in Gossip.
Psalm 101:5: This verse reveals God’s displeasure with those who engage in slander and Gossip. This puts emphasis on the importance of humility and integrity.
2 Corinthians 12:20: This verse highlights gossip as one of the negative behavior that can cause discord and disorder within a community.
Leviticus 19:16: – This verse instructs against spreading slander or Gossip. It highlights the importance of preserving life and promoting love and respect for others.
1 Timothy 5:13: This verse warns against the harmful consequences of idleness and Gossip. It emphasizes the need to avoid idle talk and focus on productive pursuits.
Exodus 23:1: This verse reinforces the importance of truthfulness and integrity as it cautions against spreading false rumors or bearing false witness, which can harm innocent individuals.
Types of Gossip in the Bible
Several types of Gossip appear in the Bible. While the specific term “gossip” may not always be used, the principles and warnings against spreading harmful or false information are applicable. Some few types of Gossip, as mentioned in the Bible, include;
Slander: Slander refers to making false spoken statements about someone with the intent to harm their reputation. It involves spreading lies or damaging rumors. The Ninth Commandment in Exodus 20:16 warns against bearing false witness, which includes spreading slanderous Gossip.
Backbiting: Backbiting involves speaking negatively about someone behind their back, often criticizing or mocking them. Proverbs 25:23 advises against backbiting and compares it to a bad taste in one’s mouth.
Talebearing: Talebearing refers to spreading secrets or private information about others, often to cause harm or stir up conflict. Leviticus 19:16 warns against talebearing and notes that we should not hate or stand against the life of others.
False witness: False witness involves giving untrue testimony or spreading false information that can harm others. Proverbs 6:19 lists bearing false witness as one of the things the Lord hates. The Bible encourages believers to use their words to build up others, speak truthfully, and promote love and unity rather than engage in harmful Gossip.
What are the consequences of Gossip according to the Bible?
Gossip, as depicted in the Bible, is portrayed as a negative and destructive behavior with significant consequences. Proverbs 16:28 describes Gossip as something that stirs up conflict and causes division among friends and acquaintances. When someone engages in Gossip, they often betray the trust of others by sharing confidential or sensitive information (Proverbs 20:19). This betrayal of confidence damages relationships and can lead to broken trust and severed friendships.
The Bible also warns that Gossip has the power to affect individuals deeply. It describes the words of Gossip as enticing and capable of penetrating into the innermost parts of a person (Proverbs 18:8). Gossip can easily spread and take root in the hearts and minds of those who hear it, leading to lasting damage.
Furthermore, the Bible emphasizes that the tongue has great power and that Gossip is a destructive force (James 3:5-6). Gossip is seen as an expression of sinful nature and is associated with evil. It is seen as a dangerous fire that can quickly spread, causing harm and chaos.
The Bible thus encourages believers to use their words for building others up and speaking in a manner that benefits those who listen (Ephesians 4:29). Instead of tearing others down through Gossip, believers are urged to speak truthfully, constructively, and with the intention of encouraging and edifying others.
What is the definition of Gossip according to the Bible?
In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for “gossip” means a scandal monger or the one who reveals secrets. A gossiper is simply someone that has privileged information about others and, instead of keeping the information a secret, goes ahead and reveals that information to other people who do not need it. Most gossipers, as portrayed in the Bible, often spread information (either false or true) with the intention of painting others with a bad image and exalting themselves (Leviticus 19:16). They often talk about the falls of others and the information they spread often causes shame and embarrassment to the other party.
How Should Christians Respond to Gossip?
As stated above, the Bible is clear that Gossip is a sin. Therefore, Christians need to respond to Gossip just like they respond to other sins. Jesus explains to us in the book of Mathew 18:15 how we should deal with sin. Christ urges us that if we see one of us sinning, we need to approach the person alone and talk to him. If he listens and stops sinning, then you will have gained one of you in Christ. However, if he doesn’t, talk to two more witnesses and go talk to him. If he still does not listen, then tell the Church.
However, it is key to note that sometimes it might be hard to recognize Gossip because it is quite easy to be a victim of one. However, if your brother comes to tell you stories about others in an attempt to shame others or make themselves look good, then you should shun away from such. Therefore, when caught in such a situation, you need to challenge the slander and not allow yourself to engage in topic discussion with others.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.