What Does The Bible Say About Cursing? A Christian Study

by Derek Hill · Print Print · Email Email

Cursing is a topic found throughout all of the Bible.  It deals with 2 different issues: actual swearing and actual curses.  It is common today to hear curse words and think nothing of it.  We have become so desensitized to swearing that some parents hear their 7 year old do it and they don’t even bat an eye.   As Christians, what can we learn about cursing from the Bible?  Let us look to God’s Holy Word for answers on this topic.

2 Tiers of Swearing

The Bible is very clear that there is one curse word that is worse than all of the others.  When you take the Lord’s name in vain you are sinning against the 3rd Commandment which says, “you shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.” (Exodus 20:7)  This is the first tier.

God wants us to control our tongue because it will always be the best choice.

God wants us to control our tongue because it will always be the best choice.

The second tier is any other filth that we may speak.  A few verses that touch on this are the following:

“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)

“But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.” (Colossians 3:8)

“From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.” (James 3:10)

Actual Curses from God

Throughout the Old Testament you will read passages of God cursing or mentioning that He will curse a person/people because of disobedience.  Right in the beginning in Genesis after the fall, God curses the serpent (Satan) as it says, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.” (Genesis 3:14)  God also curses the ground because of Adam as He says, “cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life.” (Genesis 3:17)  Later on in Deuteronomy chapter 28:15-68, God gives a list of curses that will come out of disobedience.  The passage starts like this: “But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you.  Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the field.  Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.  Cursed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock.  Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out.” (Deuteronomy 28:15-19)  God is serious and He wants and deserves perfection from us.

Consequences When We Curse Or Swear

Jesus says in Matthew 5:22, “but I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.”  These are serious words.  Anytime you look at your fellow brother/sister in Christ and call them a “fool”, you are in liability to the fires of hell.  Repentance is a must!  Reconciliation to that brother/sister is a must!

Also, those who are not in Christ that do curse and swear cause even more trouble for themselves and others.  Here are some verses about this:

“Whoever goes on slandering reveals secrets.” (Proverbs 11:13a)

“The counsels of the wicked are deceitful.” (Proverbs 12:5b)

“An evil man is ensnared by the transgression of his lips.” (Proverbs 12:13a)

“Whoever guards his mouth preserves life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.” (Proverbs 13:3)

“A harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1b)

Conclusion

The Bible is chalk full of verses that deal with cursing and swearing.  This is an issue that needs to be addressed in all of us.  Every time an angry thought enters our mind, we should rebuke Satan and choose kindness.  If anger stirs up inside of us, it will eventually come out and it can really damage our witness to other people.  God wants us to control our tongue because it will always be the best choice.  The tongue of the wise commends knowledge.” (Proverbs 15:2a)  “A gentle tongue is a tree of life.” (Proverbs 15:4a)  God bless you as you live a life worthy of the calling!

Take a look at this related article:

Christian Swearing and Swear Words

Resources – The Holy Bible, English Standard Version “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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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

William April 15, 2013 at 5:57 am

With a work life time back ground in the military and corrections I confess to cussing , but since confessing to Jesus if I would fall into a fit of cussing I pray and ask for forgiveness .

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Derek Hill April 15, 2013 at 3:04 pm

You can be sure that you will always be forgiven when you ask God for it William. Thank you for being real about this issue. God bless you!

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Robert April 15, 2013 at 6:59 am

Great article Derek,
Christians are supposed to be so different from the world (in a good way) that we shine as lights in a perverted generation. When we use the same vulgarities as the world, it’s difficult to say we are different. God bless you, brother.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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Derek Hill April 15, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Thank you Robert. I completely agree. We are supposed to look different. We are supposed to be the salt and light of the earth. God bless you, brother!

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Chris October 10, 2017 at 7:29 pm

Unfortunately, we as humans always fall short. It does not matter how Christian you are… we always fall from grace at one point in our lives or another. Even if you stay close to God and follow in his path you will still fall short. You can look in any church…… You have greedy pastors stealing money, or having sex with somene their congregation. You have Christians who are one way in church and hateful, envious, greedy, lustful, jealous, slanderous, backstabbing in their personal life. God always new we would always be sinners. The key is to always repent our sins to the lord and pray that we change and glorify Him.

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Jack Wellman October 10, 2017 at 7:45 pm

Well said Chris…and yes, some churches and pastors are crooked today, but certainly not all of them. I know that some Christians don’t act like Christians, but I don’t know any personally who have all the traits you mentioned, such as “hateful, envious, greedy, lustful, jealous, slanderous, backstabbing in their personal life.” Perhaps you have had such experiences, but we are no better than others, and we all fall short, but there are many solid pastors, churches, and Christians. I believe what you described is the minority of true believers.

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Bill Hope April 15, 2013 at 9:19 am

I’ve worked hard over the years to clean up my “potty mouth” but sometimes in the heat of the moment I can still let something bad fly. (Like Bill Cosby said that when you’re going to have a car accident “First you say it and then you do it!”) All you can do like any sin is ask forgiveness, fall back on God’s grace and move on. The past is the past, the future I can’t control but I can control the moment.

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Derek Hill April 15, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Amen Bill! God will always forgive when you ask Him. I like what you said, “The past is the past, the future I can’t control but I can control the moment.” Very wise words my friend. God bless!

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Jack Wellman April 16, 2013 at 10:55 am

Great work my friend. I wrote an article recently on gossip and though I received next to no comments on it, this article is so much better. We are revealing what is in our hearts by what we say. Well done brother.

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Derek Hill April 16, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Jack, thank you for being so kind. I haven’t had a chance to read your article yet, but I will shortly. Whatever comes out of our mouth has its roots already inside our hearts and minds. It is so important to make a conscious effort every day to think Biblical thoughts and keep our minds focused on how to love others. God bless you and thank you again for such kindness. I already know your gossip article is full of really good content. You always hit the nail on the head!

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Pamela Rose Williams April 17, 2013 at 11:34 am

Both great articles brothers. I am blessed!

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JK Thompson April 16, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Derek,
I am so glad I came across this article. I used to curse as a teen, thinking it helped me ‘fit’ in but many years ago I stopped knowing in my heart that it was not right.

I have people around me that still curse and it really affects me. It does not physically hurt me but I always cringe on the inside when I hear it…it spiritually hurts me. I wonder if others feel this way too.

The verses you mention in your article are definitely appropriate. What are your thoughts regarding ‘hearing’ others curse (Just think about some of the secular songs these days that children and teens are exposed to) and how it affects us.

Thank you in advance for your insight!

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Pamela Rose Williams April 17, 2013 at 11:51 am

Hi JK, I know your question is directed to Derek, but I just wanted to share experience that I have had. I know that definitely when you hang around someone that uses filthy language your language turns to filth as well. Take a look at children for example. Children that are raised in an environment where those around them curse learn that cursing is a normal way to speak … hence they curse as well. My husband always says that water seeps to the lowest level … a good analogy, I think. So when you surround yourself with people that do ungodly things, you do ungodly things as well. This is not to say that we should avoid spending some time with the unsaved people on this planet, after all how can we share Jesus if we are not out there with them … just not MOST of our time.

I too used to use some foul language albeit none like we hear today. Since I met my Saviour I have let the Holy Spirit lead me to have more edifying speech. One of the things I do is ask those around me to refrain from the language when I am present. I do it politely and usually get good response and lots of apologies. I will also do the same with music that is not edifying … I politely ask them to turn it down. Of course I am a lady and maybe some would comply just because of that, I can’t say for sure.

Now, when someone uses foul language and then says “excuse my French”, I always remind them that the words they were speaking was not French and that I do not excuse it. You see, by the time they say that (as an excuse) they already know that they did wrong and should be confronted for it. In order to apply a remedy to a problem we must first admit that we have that problem. In order to eliminate the sin of cursing, we must first admit that we have sinned. We are all guilty of sin and there are none righteous, no not one. AND if we say that we have no sin we make God a liar, the truth is not in us. (Rom 3:10; 1 John 1:10)

A good Scripture to commit to memory when you desire to have better speech and all around “good conversation” is:

Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”

I say this one before my feet hit the floor in the morning.

I hope you do not mind me sharing what was in my heart with you JK. I am so glad you dropped in.

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Derek Hill April 17, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Wonderful story Pam! Thanks for sharing!

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Derek Hill April 17, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Hello JK. I know all about cursing as I used to do it a lot when I was in highschool and early college. I never once took into consideration those around me and how my mouth might affect them. I appreciate your question. With cursing being a sin, I think it is appropriate to remove yourself from the situation if possible. If not, I would go Pam’s route and ask them to please refrain from it. If they choose to still curse, then I would turn the situation around in your spirit and pray for them. Instead of allowing them to hurt you, pray for them. Pray that God would soften their hearts. Pray that God would convict them of their sin. I hope this helps brother. God bless!

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Nicholas April 23, 2013 at 1:09 am

PLEASE PRAY FOR ME , I CONFESS TO THE LORD HOW SORRY I AM FOR DOING THIS , I HATE I DO IT AS SOON AS I DO IT . I PRAY RIGHT THEN FOR FORGIVENESS , BUT I FEEL SOMETIMES I KNOW GOD FORGIVES ME , BUT IF I JUST KEEP DOING IT AND GET TO THINKING I WILL CONFESS RIGHT THEN THAT JUST ISN’T GOOD ENOUGH ON MY PART , IT IS SURELY A BAD HABIT . I SMOKE AND I WANT TO ASK OTHERS TO PRAY THAT I CAN QUIT THIS TOO .

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Derek Hill April 23, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Prayers are on the way Nicholas! I learned to stop swearing myself when I started looking at the people around me and taking them into consideration before speaking. Now that is a sin that is not with me anymore, Praise the Lord! I also used to smoke and l must encourage you to cling to God like never before. Smoking can be difficult to quit, but in the long run you will be sooooo much happier and glad that you did it! God bless you! I am praying for you!

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Kris June 3, 2013 at 3:55 am

Mat 15:18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

Why ? It exposes what is IN the heart…..

Luk 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

The heart is where the WORD of God is to be ingested and digested.

Pro 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life.

Mat 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with [their] lips; but their heart is far from me.

To claim Christ is LORD of one’s life but to deny obeying what HE has said is to claim HiS NAME IN VAIN.

Luk 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

It is a vain thing to say we love God and to ignore His commands such as

Mat 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

And

2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

And to not do …

2Cr 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

1Jo 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

Jhn 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

Thus the word of God is not going to be vain or of no effect but will bring forth the ‘transformation’ thus …we will no ‘take ‘ the ‘NAME ‘ of the LORD ….in vain or without effect.

Mar 7:7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men.

Worship is more than a ritual or routine, worship is how we are IN HIM ….

Psa 51:6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden [part] thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

Jhn 4:24 God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth.

What is ‘spirit’ of GOD and HOW do we receive it?

Jhn 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, [they] are spirit, and [they] are life.

It is not a feeling or sensation …nor anything of this world ….it is His WORD.

Jam 1:21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

To “fill up ‘ on the spirit of GOD we are to be filled with HIS WORD.

1Pe 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

Thus Christ will ‘know’ us or we will be ‘impregnated ‘ by HIS SEED which IS the Word of GOD …that never fails and will never pass away.

Mat 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

Mat 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all [men] for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

1Pe 1:25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

Hbr 13:5 [Let your] conversation [be] without covetousness; [and be] content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

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Jack Wellman June 3, 2013 at 11:35 am

Kris, this is so good…it is like a Bible study on profanity and even though many Christians use substitutionary words for curse words, it is no more acceptable than using the real ones…for example, “oh my gosh” is just using “oh my God” and that to me, is sin and using God’s name in a profane way. thank you for your contribution that is spot on the mark.

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Derek Hill June 3, 2013 at 4:22 pm

Thank you for the scriptures that parallel this topic, Kris! This was a wonderful comment from you and I am encouraged by such devotion. God bless you and thank you, again!

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WonderHisLove June 3, 2013 at 3:40 pm

Dear Jack,

Your testimony and various articles warm my heart . I perceive in your words kindness but a firm commitment to God ‘s Word . I find your way of ministering to be both encouraging and merciful yet steadfast upon the truth .

Thank you , I am so glad I found this site with your various comments upon Biblical truths. It seems you are indeed a Berean! This is indeed something I needed to find among so many who I have found are serving up increasing larger portions of doctrines of men .

Many praises to God for your efforts in following Him in all your ways!

Truely you have not taken His name in vain and His Word has not been in vain in you either! So refreshing!Go Jack Go!

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Derek Hill June 3, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Hello WonderHisLove! This is actually not Jack’s article lol! But I couldn’t agree more with you. Jack is a noble man of character. His articles are always on the mark and I have learned so much from him through reading his writings. God bless you!

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Wonder June 3, 2013 at 11:09 pm

OOPS! brain freeze…well you did a great job here my friend!

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Derek Hill June 4, 2013 at 4:23 pm

LOL! I appreciate the kind words. God bless you!

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Nicholas June 3, 2013 at 9:53 pm

The Bible verses reall help , thanks !!!!!!!!!!!!

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Derek Hill June 3, 2013 at 10:12 pm

All glory to God, brother! He gave me the verses in His Holy Word. I am glad that God has spoken to you and helped you through this article. It is a privilege to be a vessel that spreads the Good News to others. God bless you!

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ellen December 7, 2015 at 9:54 am

it sounds very crazy but i just can”t take it out of my mind I had a very bad argument with my younger brother, whom i love dearly, since we are not rich, i am the one who took care of him, i want him to become a good guy and earn well so that my mom and dad wouldn’t have to suffer much again, so i let him study and do everything i could to make him happy, working really hard but every single penny i earn i did all i could for him. But i feel that He doesn’t study hard enough. after working for 10 hours was so tired and kept thinking so oneday i couldn’t control myself and scold him, he talk back to me, fought so hard and trying to lie his hand on me, hitting the wall, mirror and all there was a blood all over, telling me that you are just a girl and do you think i will be afraid of you, and telling me a lot so i feel so pained so i curse him that You will never become successful in life. i really wanted to take it back, But i can’t. Do you think God will fullfill my curse? what will i do? i wanted him the best for everything, i want my parent to see him success, i want him to be happy.

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Jack Wellman December 7, 2015 at 1:01 pm

Only God can curse and blessing. No human has any power to do anything like that so you are not going to harm him by using only words. You are worried over nothing. Have you repented and trusted in Christ?

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akwasi christian January 19, 2016 at 9:59 am

serving god with all your heart is the most proficient thing on this earth
speaking the truth is hard but saying it lead you to eternity

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nataska February 28, 2016 at 8:55 am

I am a Christian.. when I get angry I cuss…I REALLY AM TIRED OF LIVING LIKE THIS…. a double minded man is unstable in all his ways…that’s what the bible says…please pray for me…I WANT TO STOP THIS.

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Aaron January 28, 2017 at 3:23 pm

You know what’s funny well maybe not funny, I am a very even tempered person and I really dont get angry or upset, but I do use profanity and I dont direct it toward anyone that I can think of, for example I would say F that I’m not hanging out that late…?? I am really not trying to justify it I just don’t really have any ill will toward people but I use cuss words liberally in everyday conversation….?!?!? Not a good person huh??

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Andrea Borelli March 2, 2017 at 4:52 pm

Hi Derek,

I just want to say that your article has really helped me understand the sinful nature of cursing. I would very much like to ask of you to please pray for my Dad. He always curses at people on the road, and being there in the car with him while hearing these words is hurtful to me. What can I do to have more patience with my Dad? I’m 25 years old and attending community college.

God bless you always,

Andrea

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Mason Walter April 20, 2017 at 8:06 pm

I am 12 and
In turning 13 in a couple months I used to curse a lot but now I don’t at all. But, my friends curse a lot and say some bad stuff is it a sin for me to hang out with these people cause im stressing over it.

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Jack Wellman April 20, 2017 at 8:25 pm

The Bible says bad company corrupts good morals so you may have too. At least find a few friends who are less offensive because the way Jesus and God’s name is blasphemed is hard for me to hear too.

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Pr. Ssenyonga Vincent October 8, 2017 at 2:22 am

Hello Praise Jesus Derek I appreciate the good work the Lord is using through you I wonder weather you do mission trips?

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