What Does The Bible Say About Complaining? A Christian Study

by Derek Hill · Print Print · Email Email

Our lives are very busy and on the go.  First it’s work, then grocery shopping, and then household maintenance, and then making dinner, and time with the kids, and time with your spouse, and more importantly time with God.  Let’s face it; our lives are jam-packed full of things to do and that can create serious stress at times.  In those times of stress how do you conduct yourself?  Do you allow the circumstances to dictate your reaction, or do you rise above them?  We all have fallen prey to complaining and to be completely honest, complaining really is summed up in four words, “it’s all about me”.  People complain because they aren’t feeling the way they want or things aren’t happening the way they want.  Let’s take a look at some Bible passages and see what it says about complaining.

Be Careful

James 5:9 – “Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.

The Judge is standing at the door and He is listening.  Complaining is sinful to God and He will not tolerate sin in any circumstance.  Look at God’s reaction to the people of Israel in the Old Testament.  “And the people complained in the hearing of the Lord about their misfortunes, and when the Lord heard it, his anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some outlying parts of the camp.” (Numbers 11:1) The Lord hates sin, and unless repentance is made you will be on very rocky soil.

It’s Black And White

Philippians 2:14 – “Do all things without grumbling or questioning.”

Philippians 2:14 – “Do all things without grumbling or questioning.”

There is no grey area in the captioned passage above.  God calls us to rise above our stresses and trials without complaining.  Is it ok to feel emotions of discouragement, disappointment, anger, sadness and loss?  Absolutely yes, but even in the emotional chaos we need to act on truth and not on our feelings.  Feelings come and go, but truth will always remain.

Truth Triumphs Over Feelings

1 Thessalonians 5:18 – “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

There is no room for debate here.  God wants us all to be thankful in every single circumstance we face.  I’m not saying this is always easy because it isn’t.  But, with Christ as our foundation we can overcome the trials and stresses of each day. “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)  The truth sets us free from the bondage of sin and gives us a new life in Christ.  With the truth of the Word of God, you and I can be proactive instead of reactive.  You and I have the choice to either complain or make the best of things.  So, why not show God honor by living a life that loves instead of a life that grumbles?

A New Attitude

So how do we change our hearts and minds to stop complaining?  Well, Romans 12:2 says, “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.”  You have to accept the new life you have been given in Christ.  Complaining is a poor attitude and you need to have the transformation of your mind to stop living in the flesh.  Remember, complaining is all about “me”.  It is self-serving and completely the opposite of we are called to do.  We are to show love and serve others, not serve our own flesh.  One of the best verses to memorize to fight the temptation to complain is Philippians 4:8 which 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.”  All of these “things” put your focus off of you and onto other things.  Do you have a spouse?  How about it!  Thinking about how lovely/handsome they are is one great way to deter the negative thoughts.  Do you have children?  How about it!  Think about how much joy they bring to your life!  Do you love Jesus?  How about it!  Think about His love for you on the cross!  The more you focus on others, the less time you will focus on your own desires.


Complaining is an easy trap to fall into when we aren’t spending time with God.  Less of God means more of “me”.  We all need to approach the throne in humility and acknowledge our need for Jesus.  When you spend time with God, whether its acts of service, prayer, or Bible time, He will fill your cup to overflowing through the Spirit!  So, I encourage you all, as I must do as well, to pray every single day.  Read your Bible every single day.  Share the Gospel every single day!  I hope you have been encouraged in your walk with the Lord today.  God bless you all as you continue to live a life worthy of the calling!

More to read: Bible Study Methods

Resources – “Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”.

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