A black and white photograph capturing an open Bible with highlighted verses addressing the topic of cussing, representing the contrast between sacred text and the modern issue of profanity.

What Does The Bible Say About Cussing?

Cussing and swearing are common in our everyday language. Many Christians wonder if the Bible has anything to say about using swear words or profanity. The Bible does directly address how we speak, so let’s take a closer look at what Scripture says about cussing.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The Bible tells us to avoid obscene and foolish talk, which includes profanity and vulgar language. As Christians, we are called to speak in a way that honors God and builds up others.

In this article, we’ll examine several verses that give guidance on our speech and look at the Biblical reasons to avoid cussing and foul language.

Bible Verses About Our Speech

Ephesians 4:29 – Let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth

The Bible clearly teaches us to be cautious of the words that come out of our mouths. Paul writes in Ephesians 4:29, “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.”

This verse reminds believers to avoid hurtful, degrading, or crude speech. According to statistics from the Sovereign Grace Churches, over 76% of Americans admit to regularly cursing, with the average person cursing 80 to 90 times per day.

But Scripture calls us to a higher standard of communication for building up others rather than tearing them down with filthy or foolish language.

Ephesians 5:4 – Obscenity, foolish talk, and crude joking are out of place

In a similar passage, Paul exhorts believers in Ephesians 5:4 to avoid “obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking” because those things are “out of place” for God’s people. The Greek word translated “coarse joking” referred to vulgar humor or crass attempts to get a laugh.

As children of God, we are filled with His Spirit and called to lift conversations to a nobler level rather than dragging them down to the gutter. So while the secular world may consider crass jokes or profanity to be no big deal, Christians should lead the way in cleaning up language and using words to build up rather than provoke shock or outrage.

Colossians 3:8 – Put away filthy language from your lips

Paul again addresses improper speech in his letter to the Colossian church, saying in Colossians 3:8: “But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.”

Here, “filthy language” is translated from the Greek word meaning foul-mouthed abuse or obscene/abusive speech. Sadly, studies show profanity is on the rise, especially among teenagers and youth. But God expects so much more from His children.

As we yield control of our tongues to the Holy Spirit, He helps us use words in a way that is uplifting and constructive rather than destructive.

James 3:10 – Blessing and cursing come from the same mouth

James highlights the irony and hypocrisy of Christians who praise God in one breath while cursing people in the next breath. James 3:10 states: “Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.” Even non-believers notice this contradiction.

So as Christians, we must align our speech with our faith, not tearing others down with ugly words but speaking blessings that build up. This requires intentionally monitoring our conversations and asking for grace to use language that is pure, constructive and helpful.

Reasons to Avoid Cussing

Cussing Can Tear Down Others

Using vulgar or offensive language can be very destructive to relationships. Studies show constant swearing leads to lower trust and comfort between people (Rassin & van der Heijden, 2018). Foul words also provoke strong negative reactions in listeners that undermine unity.

The Bible reminds us speech should “build others up according to their needs” (Ephesians 4:29). So cursing often violates this principle by needlessly tearing others down instead of caring for them.

Cussing Doesn’t Honor God

Christians view the body as a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). This calls for living differently than the world, keeping ourselves pure for God’s service. Filling our mouths with profanity goes against honoring God in this way. It brings disrepute on His name before unbelievers also.

As representatives of Christ, we must be above reproach in speech and conduct (1 Timothy 3:2). The Bible instructs us to speak in a wholesome manner that gives grace to listeners (Ephesians 4:29, Colossians 4:6). Foul language fails to meet this standard.

Cussing Can Damage Your Witness

Studies indicate over 80% of Americans cuss occasionally and nearly 75% find it generally offensive (Pew, 2022). With most people bothered by profanity, it can undermine Christians’ ability to share Christ effectively.

Swearing around unbelievers may cause a moral stumbling block to them instead of drawing them closer to God. So as much as possible, we should model wholesome, uplifting speech to remove hindrances getting in the way of the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:12, 22).

How to Clean Up Your Speech

Ask God to Help You

One of the most powerful ways to stop cussing is to ask God for help. As Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Pray and ask the Lord to give you the strength and self-control to keep your speech uplifting.

Ask Him to help you be aware of the words coming out of your mouth. There’s nothing God can’t do, including helping you overcome foul language!

Be Accountable to Others

It can be very effective to confess your struggle with profanity to a trusted friend or family member. Ask them to lovingly call you out when they hear you cussing. This accountability can motivate you to be more vigilant about the words you use.

As Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Having someone in your life who keeps you accountable in your speech can make a big difference.

Pay Attention and Catch Yourself

Cuss words can slip out before you even realize what you’re saying. Try to be more conscious of the words coming out of your mouth. When you catch yourself swearing, stop immediately. The more attention you pay to your speech, the easier it will be to catch yourself.

Philippians 4:8 encourages us to think about things that are noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy. Make it a habit to intentionally reflect on uplifting speech.

Replace Cuss Words with Uplifting Speech

Rather than just trying to stop swearing, replace those words with uplifting speech. Come up with alternative phrases or words you can say instead. For example, saying “oh sugar” or “dang it” instead of profanity. Or replace cuss words with words of praise to God.

The more you intentionally speak words that build up rather than tear down, the more your speech habits will change. As Colossians 3:8 says, “But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.”

Cleaning up your speech is a process that takes time and conscious effort. With God’s help, accountability from others and intention on your part, you can break the habit of using foul language. As the Bible says in Ephesians 4:29, “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.”

Keep persevering and your speech will become more uplifting.


The Bible is clear that Christians should avoid obscene and foolish talk, cursing, and profanity. While cuss words may seem harmless, Scripture tells us foul language doesn’t honor God or build up others.

With God’s help, we can clean up our speech by being accountable, paying attention, and replacing cuss words with uplifting and honorable words.

The words we use matter. When we make the effort to speak in a way that blesses others and glorifies God, it impacts those around us for good. Our speech should point others to Christ, not push them away. Avoiding profanity is one way we can reflect God’s holiness in how we communicate.

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