What does the Bible say?
Why do Christians cuss and use the same dirty words unsaved people use, what some refer to as christian cussing? Christians cuss because they are trying to fit in with the world or because they have dirty hearts full of sin, anger and bitterness. According to Jesus, cuss words that come from your mouth originate in your heart.
Jesus said: "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." Luke 6:45, American KJV
Paul said: "the poison of asps (an asp is a deadly viper) is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness" Romans 3:14, American KJV
To help clean up your dirty mouth, stop watching TV and movies which contain cuss words. Stop listening to "music" which contains cuss words. If you fill your ears and mind with cuss words or read books full of cuss words, then filth will pour from your mouth. Garbage in, garbage out.
Instead of garbage, fill your heart, mind, eyes, ears and mouth with scripture. Form the habit of reading scripture aloud to yourself and others, Nehemiah 8:8, Proverbs 1:20-23, 1 Thessalonians 5:27. When your heart and mind are full of scripture your mouth will stop your christian cussing.
This page is intended to give advocates of christian cussing scriptures to consider and questions to wrestle with which hopefully, will encourage you to clean up your language as you grow in grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, your Savior and Lord.
The Grace of God
The grace of God calls Christians to liberty in Christ Jesus, Galatians 5:1. We are to walk in the law of liberty, meaning the grace and freedom of the gospel, James 1:25. Yet while we Christians have liberty in Christ, that does not mean that Christians have "liberty" to fornicate or kill or commit adultery or have a filthy mouth. God has a lot to say in the Bible about our words, our speech and what comes out of our mouth.
Some Christians demonstrate the antinomian (lawless) attitude that because they have liberty in Christ, there are zero restrictions on their actions and they are free to do or say anything, without regard to what the Bible says. That is really reverse legalism and is just as wrong as legalism.
Sometimes people ask, 'How do you define christian cussing? Which words are actually profane?'
A cuss word is a curse word. To curse is the opposite of to bless. No matter how commonly used cuss words are, its always pretty clear which words are profane.
Will you surrender your profane mouth to God?
George Carlin had a monologue about words you can't say on TV. There are still words which are not to be used on network TV in prime time. If unsaved folks know that some words are beyond the pale and shouldn't be used on TV, why do some Christians continue to defend christian cussing?
Even if we are not language experts, all of us understand that certain words are considered profane by society and by our culture. Do Christians need to copy the rude crude indecent profane language of Christ-rejecting culture in order to communicate the gospel effectively?
Did getting saved transform your vocabulary?
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."
Two helpful questions
about christian cussing
- Is it necessary to turn the gospel into a verbally profane christian cussing episode of South Park or The Family Guy in order to reach this generation for Christ?
- Does your life resemble South Park or does it resemble Isaiah 6:3-8 - Holy, Holy, Holy?
Crude language and the
Law of Diminishing Returns
A. Some folks defend the use of profanity in order to make a point in a sermon. The problem is that using profane language as an attention getting strategy quickly loses its shock value. The audience you've acclimated to profane language, after a while, is no longer shocked by your christian cussing.
Then how do you make your point?
Do you employ even more vulgar language? Do you tell dirty jokes or make sexual innuendo about Jesus? Where does such a profane worldly strategy end?
Do your words glorify Jesus?
B. "Pardon my French!"
Some folks alibi their use of cuss words and crude language by saying, 'They're only words. They're not vulgar or profane or wrong in and of themselves.' Even if we grant the dubious logic of that argument, when you
say them as a Christian, they become more than words. We get to know each other by carrying on a conversation, using words.
Why are you are putting your stamp of approval as a Christian on christian cussing? People judge you by the words you use and Jesus said we will give account on judgment day for our words. Jesus says God will condemn us for the words we speak. Think about that before you cuss.
"For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." -Jesus, Matthew 12:37
C. Some folks argue that the Bible uses vulgar or common language and therefore its okay for Christians to use vulgar language and christian cussing. The problem with that argument is that the Christians I know who regularly use expletives in their speech rarely if ever, use language the way its used in the Bible. If you use language the way its used in the Bible, I don't have a problem with what you say. The problem is that your christian cussing isn't using language the way the Bible uses it.
Examples of alleged vulgar language
Are you famous
in the Bible
for your dirty mouth?
- skubalon - a Greek word used in the Bible only one time, in Philippians 3:8.
Skubalon usually means dung or excrement but can also mean the remains of a meal which are put in the garbage or rubbish or worthless stuff.
For those who insist that since skubalon usually means excrement and is used in the Bible, therefore, its okay for Christians to use any profane expletive they wish to use, it should be noted that skubalon only occurs in classical Greek literature 211 times. It is most commonly used in Greek medical literature, where it occurs 98 times.
Oddly enough, skubalon is rarely used in vulgar and profane Greek comedies, plays and tragedies. This indicates that skubalon in first century AD usage was not considered vulgar in the way that the English word sh!t is today and the two words are not necessarily synonyms.
Had Paul intended a shocking scatological reference in Philippians 3:8, he could have used the Greek words kopros or skyr yet he did not use those words. You can't use Paul to defend your christian cussing. The point is that there are non-offensive words for excrement including dung (KJV), manure, feces and skubalon.
Skubalon is a non-offensive Greek word, not a profane word used for shock value. Our conclusion is that the Apostle Paul did not engage in christian cussing in Philippians 3:8.
- hell - from the Hebrew word, sheowl and the Greek word, hades. If you use this word the way it is used in the Bible - most "christian" cussers don't use hell in a Biblical way - then it is not considered a cuss word.
- damn - (short for damnation) from the Greek word, krima, meaning a decree of judgment, condemnation of wrong, the sentence of a judge, punishment. I've rarely heard this word used with its biblical meaning by anyone.
- ass - from the Hebrew, chamowr, referring to a female donkey, and from the Greek, onos meaning female donkey and hypozygion, meaning beast of burden, translated ass (female donkey) in the two verses where it occurs in the Bible. This word is frequently used as a slang reference to the backside or buttocks but rarely used as a proper reference to a female donkey.
- piss and pisseth - 2 Kings 9:8, 18:27, Isaiah 36:12, 1 Samuel 25:22, 1 Kings 16:11, from the Hebrew word, mayim, usually meaning water unless the context indicates human urine, and from the Hebrew word, shathan, meaning to urinate. This word is rarely used in the Biblical sense but is often used euphemistically to mean, "I'm angry!"
Principles to keep in mind
about our language
1. Dining with unsaved tax collectors because you want to witness to them, as Jesus did, is not the same as using the filthy language of an unsaved tax collector.
2. Grace engages the culture all of the time but grace is not a good excuse for using profane language and christian cussing. Crawling around in the cultural gutter is not good strategy for Christians.
Will you allow God to clean up your speech?
3. Having a dirty mouth is not a fruit of the Spirit.
4. Talking dirty doesn't encourage people to repent of sin and trust Christ. Modeling hypocrisy is not Biblical evangelism.
5. We do not need to talk dirty to be culturally relevant.
6. Christians are not chameleons, changing colors to blend with the culture. We are to be lights for Christ in the world, noticed and set apart because our actions and words are different.
What does the Bible say
about the words we speak?
- Christians are told to speak "sound words"
-2 Timothy 1:13
- Christians are told to assent and consent to "wholesome words" -1 Timothy 6:3
- Our words as Christians should be "comforting words" -1 Thessalonians 4:18
- "In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you." -Titus 2:7-8 - Does this apply to christian cussing?
- "Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity."
-1 Timothy 4:12
- Jesus said: “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” -Matthew 12:24 - Your christian cussing reflects a dirty heart.
- The Bible describes lost folks. "Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:" -Romans 3:13-14 - Is your mouth as dirty as the mouth of a lost man?
- "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD." -Psalm 19:14
- "Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving" -Ephesians 5:4
No foul or polluting language.
- "Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk ever come out of your mouth, but only such speech as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it." -Ephesians 4:29 - Do you still defend christian cussing?
- "Let your speech at all times be gracious (pleasant and winsome), seasoned as it were with salt, so that you may never be at a loss to know how you ought to answer anyone who puts a question to you." -Colossians 4:6
- "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another." -Galatians 5:12-13
- "That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;" -Ephesians 4:22 - Your mouth was supposed to get saved when you got saved.
- "And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell." -James 3:6
- "With it (our mouth) we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so." -James 3:9-10 - Is the Holy Spirit dealing with you about your christian cussing?
- "But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth." -Colossians 3:8 - Isn't it time you cleaned up your mouth?
- "I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” -Jesus, Matt 12:36-37
1. Do you agree the Bible
has something to say
about the words we speak?
2. Does your language
to those verses?
3. Will you allow
the Holy Spirit
to clean up your mouth?
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This page revised February 24, 2015