Questions For Further Study
1. Astruc compares our context with the intercession of Moses after the misconduct of the spies and the golden calf . Explain the connection.
2. And Balak saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites . The two kings on whom we relied were not able to withstand them. How much less will we be able to! What is the point of Rashis explanation and what impression does he correct? What prompted his comment? In answering, compare Rashis comment to Genesis 18, 3 on the first word to the sidra.
3. And the sent of messengers unto Balaam to call him saying, Behold there is a people come out of Egypt Behold, they cover the face of earth, and they abide over against me. A nameless people who have broken out like slaves to carve out estates for themselves and dwell in a land not their own.
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What Does The Bible Say About Swearing To God
The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 1:13 as well as Galatians 1:20 Paul of Tarsus swears oaths. The Bible says in the Hebrews chapter 6 verse 17 God himself swears by vow. Therefore, the majority of Christian churches are of the belief in the fact that false or void swearing oaths are not allowed. John Calvin argued that only swearing against God is not right.
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The Old Testament Priesthood & Cursing
Cursing is not becoming of priests. Moses was instructed to advise Aaron, Israels first priest, that they profane not my holy name . The priest was that individual who represented the people before God. The chief ministry of the priest was prayer. He naturally had a higher view of God than the typical Jew. God specifically told the priest not to desecrate Gods name.
The New Testament teaches the priesthood of all believers. Every Christian has access by prayer to God directly through the blood of Jesus . We are a part of the royal priesthood . Just as the Old Testament-priest had the highest view of God, so the New Testament priest should have a high view of God. If the Christian priest has a correct understanding of who God is, he will not take his name in vain.
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What Does The Bible Say About Cussing
We are going to look at some of the most common verses used to answer this question. But theres too many to look at all of them in a single blog post. If you want a complete list go here: What the Bible Says About Profanity
Ephesians 5:4, Colossians 3:8, James 3:6-10, and Proverbs 4:24 are the four passages I hear most commonly used in discussions about four-letter words. Most Christians use these passages as proof texts as to why we shouldnt use foul language.
In essence weve boiled down these verses to mean one thing. Dont cuss. But that interpretation sells short the depth of what the Bible is actually communicating.
Take the Apostle Paul for example. Several times in his letters he tells his readers to avoid filthy language, unwholesome talk, foolish talk, course joking, slander, and other things of the sort. Hes using broad categories but never prohibits using any specific curse word.
What the Bible makes clear is that its a sin to use our words belittle, demean, pervert, or attack. But you can do all of those things without ever using a swear word.
But what about cussing when we stub our toe or using a strong word to better express what we are feeling? The Bible doesnt give us a direct answer.
Heres what I would argue. I dont think God really cares about the specific words we use. Rather, he cares about the manner in which we use them.
Words are powerful. And we ought to be careful to use them in a way that honors God and builds people up.
Bible Verses About Cuss Words And Swearing
1. Romans 3:13-14 Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave. Their tongues are filled with lies.Snake venom drips from their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.
2. James 1:26 If a person thinks that he is religious but cant control his tongue, he is fooling himself. That persons religion is worthless.
3. Ephesians 4:29 Dont use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
4. Psalm 39:1 For Jeduthun, the choir director: A psalm of David. I said to myself, I will watch what I do and not sin in what I say. I will hold my tongue when the ungodly are around me.
5. Psalm 34:13-14 Then keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies! Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
6. Proverbs 21:23 Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble.
7. Matthew 12:35-36 Good people do the good things that are in them. But evil people do the evil things that are in them. I can guarantee that on judgment day people will have to give an account of every careless word they say.
8. Proverbs 4:24 Remove perverse speech from your mouth keep devious talk far from your lips.
9. Ephesians 5:4 and there must be no filthiness or foolish talk, or vulgar joking, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.
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The Growth Of Cursing
For centuries, vulgarity was used primarily by the unlearned those who never learned to read or who had little or no education. They picked up such words from other unlearned people, some of them in the backwoods areas of our country. Those who did have the privilege of an education did not use such language at least not in public. Originally, the media would not reproduce curse words in print. There was the danger that women and children would see or hear such words and be made vile because of them.
This appears to have been a fear that was justified. Today, many women and children think they are more socially acceptable when they use every vile word they can think of. Children are applauded by other children on the streets of our cities when they come up with a lewd reference to sex.
The mass media newspapers, radio, motion pictures made themselves slowly available to spread filthy language across the world. Until 1938, moviegoers were not subjected to vulgarity it all began as they shockingly discovered with the movie Gone With the Wind, in which Clark Gable cursed in the presence of Vivian Leigh. That started a snowballing effect in the use of profanity in movies now, the situation is hopeless. Even movies suggested for general audiences contain vile and lewd words.
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Taking A Look At The Bible
Many biblical references have been spoken to address the concept of cursing with implications not to do so and some popular mentions are seen in the following:
The Bible is used to convey the heart and thoughts of God, and in understanding the reasoning for why it has been emphasized not to curse, the purpose is to help open ones eyes to understand the fact it can lead to the thoughts and actions of sin. It must be remembered that what is borne from God are the fruits of the spirit such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control, and goodness. These are attributes that will lead people on a path towards righteousness and hence eternal life which is a hope many individuals share or hold close within their heart.
Cursing reverts an individual to not going through this path because curses are representative of the actions of the flesh which include sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery idolatry and witchcraft hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy drunkenness, orgies, and the like. It concludes with the fact individuals who portray words or actions related to this will not be able to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
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.
Luke 6:45 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 a 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.
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Problem #: Rule Of Audience Ignored
Some readers will have already spotted whats wrong with applying these verses to Israel. Hint: proof-texting, or finding a verse, any verse, even tangentially on the same topic as your theory to back it up .
With how commonly proof-texting is used in Christianity, you would not know that this breaks one of the foundation rules for interpreting the Bible correctly: paying attention or regard to context.
The principle proof-texting often violates is the rule of audience. In both verses above, the audience or subject is one of the patriarchs. Its not talking about the nation of Israel, let alone the modern nation of Israel 3500 years removed from ancient Israel.
As for righteous Abraham and Isaac, its easy for me to accept that, for as long as they lived, they were protected in this way. They were righteous men with a special calling. But what about their descendants who those verses do not directly speak about?
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So Is Cursing A Sin Is Swearing A Sin
At this point weve kind of danced around the question. So, lets attack it end on. Is cursing a sin?
In and of itself using a curse word is not a sin. Theres nothing special about that word that makes it a sin. What matters is the way that you use that word. If you use it in a way that attacks, demeans, or perverts then that is a sin.
Words are not the issue. They are simply that, words. Each word has a proper place and a time that they can be used. Any word that is used to tear someone down is wrong. But just because weve placed certain words on the do not say list doesnt make them a sin. Its how, when, and where we use them that dictates whether they are good or bad.
I know that we want the black and white answer. Most Christians what to know exactly where the line is so that they can go right up to it but not cross it. But the Bible rarely gives us that. Instead it calls us to evaluate our lives and see if we are living in a manner worthy of the calling God has place on us.
Thats a higher calling. Its not just about the avoidance of a few bad words. Instead its about looking at the larger picture of what we say and how we say it.
How Can We Praise A Holy God With Our Mouth Then Use It For Profanity And Bad Language
15. James 3:9-11 Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you cant draw fresh water from a salty spring.
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What Actually Makes A Word Profane
The Gospel Coalition goes on to explain that profanity is bad not because it describes bad things but because its use insults and sullies good things, which includes all of God’s creations. Another Christian publication, Relevant Magazine, has a slightly different take on profanity. The publication “the leading platform reaching Christian twenty- and thirtysomethings” and proclaims its intention “to address the gritty stuff of life even when it makes us uncomfortable.” Indeed, Relevant points out that the Bible itself is full of profanity, quoting Biblical scholar Tremper Longman, who pointed out a verse in Song of Songs in which a woman admires her “well-hung husband” and noted that when it comes to the Bible, “ranslations are filtered through a bit of political correctness.”