What does the Bible actually say about cussing?

Christians typically try to soften their language and refrain from using swear words. But what does the Bible have to say about it? That’s the question I’m going to try to answer using scripture. 

If you’ve ever been told not to cuss by a Christian, they may have quoted Ephesians 4:29 at you. That’s probably the most well-known verse about swearing. It says:

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

– Ephesians 4:29 ESV

Now, that clearly makes cussing sound like a bad thing. In this verse the word “corrupting” is the Greek word “sapros”  which means rotten or decay. So if you really think about it, cuss words are pretty rotten and when used against someone, they can break down that person or cause decay.

So right there in that first verse I quoted, I think we’ve just about answered the question. Not only is there this very clear verse, but there are others that say we need to watch what we say (see Mark 7, Matthew 12). 

To sum it all up, we need to be careful how we speak. Life and death are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 8:21). There are plenty of other verses I could have quoted as well, like Romans 12:2, where it tells us not to conform to this world. 

Let’s use our words to build people up and honor God. 

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