With our morals and values being challenged at every corner in today’s world, I thought a study on what the Bible says about profanity would be in order. I will be the first one to admit that when I first got saved, and at a couple of other times in my life, I allowed myself to have quite the potty mouth. So my intent with this post is not to point fingers at those who do not have very good control over their tongue, but instead to give you a reasoned approach to the question of cursing and the biblical mandates concerning our speech. So we will look at 3 things. We will look at what it means to take the Lord’s name in vain, look at other types of corrupt communication, and finally look at the habitual use of profanity and it’s effect on how other people view you.
Using The Lord’s Name In Vain
“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.
This commandment given by Moses is specifically talking about references to God. The Hebrew word for “in vain” is “shav” which means empty, worthless, or without thought. So the commandment is not to use the name of God in such a way that conveys that God is worthless, or you are using the name without meaning or reverence.
I find it interesting that it is only the Christian God that people use in their speech as a curse word. You do not see people using Mohammed or Buddha’s name in this manner. It is only God or Jesus Christ that are used in such a demeaning or worthless way. So clearly in the Bible, using the name of God or Jesus, is against the commandment of God. The Bible speaks against it. So what about other forms of cursing?
The word for corrupt in the Greek is the word “Sapros” which means rotten, putrefied, corrupted by one and no longer fit for use, worn out, of poor quality, bad, unfit for use, worthless. It is words that are worthless and rotten or degraded. They are the type of words that lower the level of the conversation by making the conversation less than it could be. Degrading male or female body parts is one example of corrupt communication. In fact, using sexually degrading words is very common forms of profanity.
So the Bible again is clear about this type of communication. It encourages the believer to rise above degradation and corruption and speak words that uplift and give grace to the hearer.
Ephesians 5:4 Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes – these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God.
Why Is The Bible Against Profanity?
When it comes right down to it, the Bible promotes lifting you and others up rather than degrading you or them. When you do not control the manner of speech you use, you are the one that is harming the way you look to others. God wants you to shine, and if you place dirt and filth on something meant to shine, it no longer shines. Many times in our lives, we look for what we can do the least in order to get by. The Bible encourages us to do our best and cursing is not our best.
Profanity also reveals what is in our hearts. Jesus said that the mouth speaks what is in the heart.
A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.
I have found that what I think about and what I meditate on is what will come out of my mouth. If all we listen to day after day is foul language, then we will use foul language. This happened to me when I was driving truck for a living. Truck drivers have a bad problem with potty mouths. The more I heard it, the more I used it. So if you are struggling with having a potty mouth, take a look at what you are listening to all the time and change it.
God wants to use your words to impart grace to others and to be attractive so that others will follow you. People do not follow others who do not rise above the crowd. Be the type of person that rises above the crowd.
5 Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.