What does the Bible say about cussing?

Some words are just not good words to say. The FCC restricts what it deems to be obscene and indecent speech from being broadcast on television before 10 pm. Some words cannot be aired on television at all. Movie rates are based in part on a films inclusion of certain restricted terms. Many people view cussing as adult speech, not appropriate for kids but a necessary way of communicating adult thoughts and feelings. Our society certainly has a lot to say about cussing, but what about the Bible. Does the Bible prohibit using cuss words?

How could the Bible forbid the use of certain words that didn’t even exist when it was written? The Bible does not contain a list of words forbidden to be spoken. To confuse the matter a little further, some words deemed profane in one culture are acceptable in others. The word “bloody” is a good example. In America it is a harmless word, rarely used an expletive. In England and Australia, “bloody” has a much stronger connotation and many consider it to be a “mild” cuss word. The obvious conclusion is that certain sounds and combinations of sounds are not sinful by themselves. As with all language, cuss words are given definition based upon context and intent. For example, the word damn can be used as profanity or as a legitimate synonym for condemnation. The Bible does not condemn the uttering of certain words.

What the Bible does say about human language is much more than “don’t say bad words”. The Bible teaches that a person’s speech comes from his heart. What comes out of the mouth has it’s source in who the person really is inside. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” When thinking about the use of cuss words and other profane language, one must recognize the relationship between what a person says and who he truly is.

The Bible forbids all use of words intended to hurt and cut down another. Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth.” Whether it be “you’re stupid”, “I hate you” or something much stronger, any words that wound or tear down are forbidden by the Bible. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” (Provbers 18:21) Every person has the ability to do severe harm or give great help through the words he speaks. The teachings of the Bible about a man’s words leaves no room for cussing. God commands that our words be used to encourage, comfort, strengthen and help others. All hurtful, belittling words are forbidden.

Ephesians 5:3-4 says, “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.” Any use of language that is sexually suggestive, provocative, obscene or makes light of sexual sin is forbidden by the Bible. Cuss words serve no purpose in aiding communication, in helping others or in promoting goodness. As a result, the Bible leaves no place for obscenity, profanity and other forms of indecent speech.

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