How Can I Stop Swearing? Answers From the Bible

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

It’s so easy for us to lose our temper and use words we normally don’t use, so how can we stop swearing and especially using God’s name in vain?

A Learned Language

It’s so easy for us to lose our temper and use words we normally don’t use, so how can we stop swearing and especially using God’s name in vain? It seems to come more naturally for some than for others. Perhaps they were raised in a family that consistently used profane language and took the Lord’s name in vain all the time. When you’ve been raised since a youth hearing it, it’s much harder to rid yourself of foul language, but there is hope. Because it is a learned language by being around those who swear, it’s harder to unlearn it and we can start to use other words in place of swear words. My wife says, “Oh my!” while I say, “Oh no!” but neither of us have ever used foul language anyway, so it’s easy for us to avoid taking God’s name in vain. For those who have been steeped in it since birth, it’s much more difficult, but it’s not impossible. Substitution of swear words is a good place to start for some and works well in their avoiding filthy language.


We can substitute other words for when we’re angry and want to use foul language. We can use euphemisms, but we must be careful because many euphemisms are very nearly the same thing as taking God’s name in vain. A few examples are “Jeeze” (for Jesus) and “Oh my gosh” for “Oh my God,” but many believers use “Oh my God” in a vain way or as an expression of surprise or at a time of danger, and that’s taking God’s holy name and using it in a useless, careless and vain manor. Others customarily use “Oh Lord!” when in trouble or surprised by something good. Either way, you can be sure we can say “Jeeze” but God hears Jesus’ holy name used in a vain or useless way. And you can be sure He is not pleased with that.

Our Language

Jesus warned everyone that it will be “by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matt 12:37). Words certainly mattered to Jesus as He warned us all that “on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak” (Matt 12:36). Those words include our profanity, curse words, swearing and certainly, using God’s name in vain. Using filthy language ruins a believer’s testimony and is contrary to the command to “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Eph 4:29), so we must guard our tongue and stop the profanity. There is no place for a believer to talk like the world.

Come Out of Her

We are to be apart from the world and not sound like the world does today. Even on TV and the Internet, foul and filthy language is commonly accepted as normal, but God commands us that there should “be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving” (Eph 5:4). It is obvious that foul language has no place in the life of a Christian and we are told to “put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth” (Col 3:8). Jesus commands us to “Come out of her, my people” (Rev 18:4), meaning we shouldn’t sound like the world we’re supposed to have come out of. We’re not to be of this world.

Swearing an Oath

It is not wise for us to swear oaths to people or God. In fact, we’re told to “not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation” (James 5:12). We do not have the ability to bring to pass things that we swear to make happen. God does. We cannot change one thing outside of the will of God, so to say, “I swear I’ll be there,” or “I swear I’ll do that,” is slippery ground to stand on because something may come up and we may not be able to be where we swore we would be at. It is better to promise that you’ll do your best to be there or do that, but we can’t swear to God about anything. God considers that sin.

Stop and Think

If we start training our minds to think before we speak, we might better keep guard of our tongue. If we stop before we say something, we might avoid saying something rash or using a swear word or profanity. Think about what Jesus would say in a certain situation or how would Jesus react in a given situation. We must be led by the Spirit to be able to speak in the Spirit. We can grieve the Spirit; we can quench the Spirit, and we can suppress the Spirit by acting on impulse or without first thinking. Pray to God to help you guard your tongue and let no unwholesome talk come out of our mouths.


Before I close, may I ask you this? Has God brought you to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ (Mark 1:15)? If not, my prayer for you is you will heed Jesus’ warning that “unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:5). Repent today and trust in Christ today or face God’s judgment after death (Heb 9:27) or at Christ’s appearance (Rev 20:12-15), whichever comes first.

Here is some related reading for you: Christian Swearing and Swear Words – A Lesson on Guarding Your Tongue

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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