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I’ve had an ongoing argument with my teenage daughter, that saying the word that starts with “s” and ends with “hit” is neither swearing, nor against anything in the Bible. Swearing, is defined as making a solemn oath before a Court or God, and saying any foul word at random does not fit with either of those definitions in my book. Neither does it go against anything that I recall reading in the bible (which is most of it). The Bible clearly says one should not take the Lord’s name in vane. It does not, however, pronounce any modern English “swear” word as unacceptable, since no modern English swear word was in use at the time of the Bible’s writing (nor was the bible written in English), so how could they be? Who - besides God (and He isn't speaking on the issue) can decide what word is foul?

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Asked by Anonymous at 6:54 AM on Aug. 22, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

Answers (23)
  • Ephesians 5:4, TLB. "Dirty stories, foul talk and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead remind each other of God's goodness and be thankful!"
    Colossians 3:8, NIV. "But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips."
    Colossians 4:6, NIV. "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone."

    Answer by thehairnazi at 7:21 AM on Aug. 22, 2009

  • the bible doesn't call it sin, but rather suggests it not be done.

    Answer by thehairnazi at 7:22 AM on Aug. 22, 2009

  • Modern society is what dictates whether a word is socially acceptable or not.    Christian doctrine teaches that it is a sin because they expect their followers to be perfect and when they fall short of the mark (which they will do because perfection is unachievable)  they are then bullied into submission with fear and guilt.


    Answer by beeky at 7:23 AM on Aug. 22, 2009

  • Society decides what words are foul.

    That being said, Christians live in society and the fact of the matter is, breaking social rules can become a hinderance and a stumbling block for others. Generally, society places meaning on certain words as being "foul" and "innappropriate" or "offensive." Some people say "a word is a word and language is language. It shouldn't offend any body" but that to me asks people to remove the beauty of the written and spoken word. Certain words are MEANT to inspire different levels of emotions and intentions; it helps us get our point across and communicate with others. Our society says that a word like sh*t is often to be used in offense and is basically "toilet talk."

    So what would the Bible say about "toilet talk" (I sound like my mother now) and offending members of your community with your speech? (cont.)

    Answer by NovemberLove at 7:27 AM on Aug. 22, 2009

  • It is definitely a sin to swear (curse, cuss, etc.). The Bible makes this abundantly clear. Ephesians 4:29 tells us, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." 1 Peter 3:10 declares, "For, Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech." James 3:9-12 summarizes the issue, "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water."

    Answer by hinson7169 at 7:28 AM on Aug. 22, 2009

  • Why is it a sin to cuss / swear / curse? We should only allow good and positive things to come out of our mouths - things that will encourage other people (Ephesians 4:29). It is not right for praising and cursing to come out of the same mouth (James 3:9-12).

    If the Hebrew God and Jesus do it, then cursing is not a Sin.

    Genesis 3
    And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Adam is also punished, although less severely. He now will have to work for a living because he "hearkened unto the voice" of his wife. Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;


    Answer by hinson7169 at 7:28 AM on Aug. 22, 2009

  • My first example is from I Corinthians 8 where Paul tells the Corinthians that he has no problems eating food sacrificed to idols because idols are meaningless. However, if another person has a weak conscience and knowledge of you eating such food adds a stumbling block to their faith, you should not eat it. I can apply as much to foul language. If using curse words (which "curse word" IMHO, is much more appropriate a term than "swear word") adds a stumbling block to your DD or those around you, you should not do it.

    Along the lines of adding "stumbling blocks," Matthew 18:6 tells us that it is better to have a large millstone tied to your neck and be dropped to the bottom of the sea than to cause someone else [children] to sin (Children are used in this passage to example the principle of "childlike faith").

    Ephesians 4:29 "let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouth." (cont.)

    Answer by NovemberLove at 7:31 AM on Aug. 22, 2009

  • Matthew 12:34 says that what comes out of the mouth is a reflection of what is on the heart.

    Romans 14:19 says that our words should serve to build up one another.

    James chapter 3 tells us how to tame our tongues.

    The 10 commandments do indeed tell us not to take God's name in vain. This is not exclusively refraining from saing "Oh my G__." This also means "bearing God's name falsely." In other words, you shouldn't say or do any unwholesome thing while representing yourself as a Christian that would bear God's name fasely.

    Ephesians 5:4 "and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks."

    Colossians 3:8 "But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth."

    When Paul writes to the Ephesians, Colossians, Romans (etc) is he referring to a set Biblical list of words that are "no-nos?" cont.

    Answer by NovemberLove at 7:36 AM on Aug. 22, 2009

  • No, he's referring to unwholesome, course jesting and innappropriate language as defined by their socieities in their day and age that cause people around them to judge them and question their witness of God and testimony. He's takling about words that are offensive to THEM by society's standards that tear others down when a Christian ought to only be guilding others up. We should not add stumbling blocks to the faith of others.

    God's knows your heart and your intentions as well as the hearts and responses of those who hear your words. That is what makes something a sin or not. If someone is telling you that your foul language offends them (when it's not necessary for you to use it) we can assume it's most likely a sin. (cont)

    Answer by NovemberLove at 7:39 AM on Aug. 22, 2009

  • What should a Christian's speech be like? (from a passage about speaking God's wisdom):
    "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness." James 3:17-18

    Hope that helped! :-)

    Answer by NovemberLove at 7:40 AM on Aug. 22, 2009

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