Is it a sin to curse? (What does the Bible really say about swearing/cursing?)

One core teaching of the scripture is that our tongue is a powerful organ, as the words that come from it can either build or destroy. Christ is clear that whatever comes out of our mouths reflects what is abundant in our hearts. That is not to say that Christians do not get angry and sometimes get an urge to curse; they do. But is it in accordance with the teachings of the scripture to curse? Is cursing a sin?

Bible scholars and Christians unanimously agree that cursing is a sin. The Bible is abundantly clear that we should only let wholesome talk and words that can build others come out of our tongues. The book of James 3 emphasizes that we should not curse with the same tongue we use to praise God. However, the scripture does not explicitly pinpoint modern swear words; it emphasizes that obscene and unholy speeches should not come out of our mouth(which most curse words are).

So, what does the Bible really say about cursing? Why should a Christian not curse? Does context matter when determining curse words? How can you stop cursing as a Christian? Which Bible verses talk about cursing? Continue reading to find the answers to these questions and more.

What does the Bible say about cursing?

The Bible condemns cursing. It notes that our tongues are very powerful and can wreak havoc and even kill. James 3:5-10 says, “How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. Every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it, we bless our Lord and Father, and with it, we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brother, these things out not to be so.”

James is quite clear that the same mouth that curses cannot worship God. Additionally, Christ teaches that whatever comes out of our mouths overflows from our hearts. Luke 6:45, “The good man brings good things out of the good stored in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart, his mouth speaks.”

Why shouldn’t you curse as a Christian?

Cursing is a sin and goes against the teaching of the scripture, hence why a Christian should not curse. Ephesians 4:29 says, “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.”

The book of 1st Peter 3:10 goes ahead and tells us, “For, whoever would love life and see good days, must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.” Jesus also notes that whatever we say comes from what is in our hearts. Therefore, Christians should not curse as it reflects the polluting sin that is abundant in our hearts. Whatever comes from the mouth of a Christian should not be obscene or able to destroy but should build and bring glory to Christ.

What does the Bible really say about swearing/cursing?
Does context matter when determining curse words? See below

Does context matter when determining curse words?

Some scholars argue that context matters when determining curse words. Their argument is quite persuasive as cursing words can be relative depending on the culture and time. A certain curse word might be termed inappropriate in one context and okay in the other context. For example, a cuss word considered obscene and disrespectful in today’s world might not have been such a decade or even a century ago. What is important is whether the word is culturally obscene. However, as Christians, we should avoid using curse words whatsoever.

How can you stop cursing as a Christian?

Though most of the time, cursing is used when someone is mad to relieve tension and anger, some Christians get addicted to these words and keep saying them out of habit without even thinking of their impact and how unhealthy these words are. Mindlessly saying cursing or swearing words is unhealthy and unholy and goes against the teachings of the scripture.

To break the cursing loop, they must change what they feed themselves. There is a saying that goes, “what you watch and read is what you become.” Constantly watching movies and surrounding yourself with people addicted to using curse words will make you mimic them. Therefore, to break the loop o cursing as a Christian, you should be careful of what content you consume and be intentional about breaking the habit. Proverbs 22:24-2 says, “Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.”

Secondly, you have to introspect your thoughts for you to stop cursing intentionally. Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Additionally, working on yourself and striving to express yourself healthily when angry will help a Christian stop using curse words. Curse words are often said when someone is mad and trying to express their anger. Therefore, finding a healthy way that expresses your anger will limit you from using curse words. As a Christian, you should never forget that whatever comes from you should glorify God.

Seven bible verses about cursing

James 5:12 says, “But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.”

Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupt talk come out of your mouths, but only such as good for building, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

Romans 12:2 reads, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what the will of God is, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Mathew 12:36 notes, “I tell you, on the day of judgment, people will give account for every careless word they speak.”

Proverbs 8:13 says, “The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.”

Provers 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love will eat its fruits.”

Mathew 15:11 says, “It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”


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