The Bible on Slander, Gossip, the Tongue, Etc.

The Bible on Slander, Gossip, the Tongue, Etc. October 13, 2021

Or, the Opposite and Antithesis of What Dominates Social Media 24-7 (Christians Sadly and Scandalously Included)

[all passages: RSV]


Oh yeah, gossip
Gossip, oh yeah
Runs thick and fast, no one really sees
Quite what bad it can do
As it shapes you into something cold
Like an Eskimo igloo
It’s all across our lives
Like a weed, it’s spread
‘Till nothing else has space to grow
The devil’s radio
(George Harrison, Devil’s Radio, 1987)


Exodus 20:16 (RSV) You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (cf. Dt 5:20; Mt 19:18; Mk 10:19; Lk 18:20)

Psalm 15:2-3 He who walks blamelessly, and does what is right, and speaks truth from his heart; [3] who does not slander with his tongue, and does no evil to his friend, nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor;

Psalm 31:18 Let the lying lips be dumb, which speak insolently against the righteous in pride and contempt.

Psalm 34:13 Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit.

Psalm 39:1 . . . I will guard my ways, that I may not sin with my tongue; I will bridle my mouth,

Psalm 50:19 You give your mouth free rein for evil, and your tongue frames deceit.

Psalm 52:2-4 you are plotting destruction. Your tongue is like a sharp razor, you worker of treachery. [3] You love evil more than good, and lying more than speaking the truth. [Selah] [4] You love all words that devour, O deceitful tongue.

Psalm 59:12-13 For the sin of their mouths, the words of their lips, let them be trapped in their pride. For the cursing and lies which they utter, [13] consume them in wrath, . . .

Psalm 62:4 . . . They bless with their mouths, but inwardly they curse.

Psalm 101:5 Him who slanders his neighbor secretly I will destroy. The man of haughty looks and arrogant heart I will not endure.

Psalm 109:2 For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me, speaking against me with lying tongues.

Psalm 119:69 The godless besmear me with lies, . . .

Psalm 120:2 “Deliver me, O LORD, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue.”

Psalm 140:3 They make their tongue sharp as a serpent’s, and under their lips is the poison of vipers.

Proverbs 6:16-19 There are six things which the LORD hates, seven which are an abomination to him: [17] haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, [18] a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, [19] a false witness who breathes out lies, and a man who sows discord among brothers.

Proverbs 9:7-8 He who corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury. [8] Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; . . .

Proverbs 10:6 . . . the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.

Proverbs 10:18 He who conceals hatred has lying lips, and he who utters slander is a fool.

Proverbs 12:13 An evil man is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, . . .

Proverbs 13:3 He who guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.

Proverbs 17:4 An evildoer listens to wicked lips; and a liar gives heed to a mischievous tongue.

Proverbs 18:7 A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to himself.

Proverbs 19:9 A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who utters lies will perish.

Proverbs 20:19 He who goes about gossiping reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with one who speaks foolishly.

Proverbs 21:23-24 He who keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble. [24] “Scoffer” is the name of the proud, haughty man who acts with arrogant pride.

Proverbs 26:28 A lying tongue hates its victims, . . .

Jeremiah 9:5 Every one deceives his neighbor, and no one speaks the truth; they have taught their tongue to speak lies; they commit iniquity and are too weary to repent. . . . [8] Their tongue is a deadly arrow; it speaks deceitfully; with his mouth each speaks peaceably to his neighbor, but in his heart he plans an ambush for him.

Jeremiah 18:18 . . . Come, let us smite him with the tongue . . . 

Micah 6:12 . . . your inhabitants speak lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.

Wisdom 1:11 Beware then of useless murmuring, and keep your tongue from slander; because no secret word is without result, and a lying mouth destroys the soul.

Sirach 5:13-14 Glory and dishonor come from speaking, and a man’s tongue is his downfall. [14] Do not be called a slanderer, and do not lie in ambush with your tongue; for shame comes to the thief, and severe condemnation to the double-tongued.

Sirach 19:6 and for one who hates gossip evil is lessened.

Sirach 21:26 The mind of fools is in their mouth, but the mouth of wise men is in their mind.

Sirach 22:22 If you have opened your mouth against your friend, do not worry, for reconciliation is possible; but as for reviling, arrogance, disclosure of secrets, or a treacherous blow — in these cases any friend will flee.

Sirach 22:27 O that a guard were set over my mouth, and a seal of prudence upon my lips, that it may keep me from falling, so that my tongue may not destroy me!

Sirach 23:8 The sinner is overtaken through his lips, the reviler and the arrogant are tripped by them.

Sirach 28:16-18 Whoever pays heed to slander will not find rest, nor will he settle down in peace. [17] The blow of a whip raises a welt, but a blow of the tongue crushes the bones. [18] Many have fallen by the edge of the sword, but not so many as have fallen because of the tongue.

Sirach 51:2 or thou hast been my protector and helper and hast delivered my body from destruction and from the snare of a slanderous tongue, from lips that utter lies.

Matthew 15:19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander.

Matthew 15:18-19 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a man. [19] For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander.

Mark 7:22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.

Luke 3:14 Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Rob no one by violence or by false accusation, . . .”

Luke 6:45 . . . the evil man out of his evil treasure produces evil; for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Romans 1:29-30 They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, they are gossips, [30] slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,

Romans 3:13-14Their throat is an open grave, they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” [14] “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”

1 Corinthians 5:11 But rather I wrote to you not to associate with any one who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber — not even to eat with such a one.

1 Corinthians 6:10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.

2 Corinthians 12:20 For I fear that perhaps I may come and find you not what I wish, . . . that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder.

Ephesians 4:29, 31 Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear. . . . [31] Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice,

Colossians 3:8 But now put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth.

1 Timothy 5:13 Besides that, they learn to be idlers, gadding about from house to house, and not only idlers but gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not.

1 Timothy 6:4 he is puffed up with conceit, he knows nothing; he has a morbid craving for controversy and for disputes about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, base suspicions,

Titus 3:2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all men.

James 1:26 If any one thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this man’s religion is vain.

James 3:5-18 So the tongue is a little member and boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! [6] And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is an unrighteous world among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the cycle of nature, and set on fire by hell. [7] For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by humankind, [8] but no human being can tame the tonguea restless evil, full of deadly poison. [9] With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who are made in the likeness of God. [10] From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brethren, this ought not to be so. [11] Does a spring pour forth from the same opening fresh water and brackish? [12] Can a fig tree, my brethren, yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh. [13] Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good life let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. [14] But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. [15] This wisdom is not such as comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. [16] For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. [17] But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity. [18] And the harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

James 4:11 Do not speak evil against one another, brethren. He that speaks evil against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law.

1 Peter 2:1 So put away all malice and all guile and insincerity and envy and all slander.

1 Peter 3:10 For “He that would love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking guile;


Photo credit: Gossip Icon #427917 [Free Icons Library]


Summary: I collect numerous Bible passages that condemn slander, a wicked tongue, gossip, evil-speaking, reviling, lying lips, a false witness, lies, calumny, etc., ad nauseam.

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