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)


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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