A photo of a Bible open to the verse "Do not bear false witness" while a person's hand holds a torn paper symbolizing the destructive consequences of slander.

What Does The Bible Say About Slander?

Slander and gossip are unfortunately common occurrences in our world today, both online and in person. With social media and digital communication, rumors can spread faster than ever. If you’ve ever been the victim of slander or wondered what God thinks about gossiping, you’ve come to the right place.

The Bible has a lot to say about slander, gossip, and the power of our words. In a nutshell, Scripture clearly condemns slander, gossip, and speaking ill of others. God calls us to use our words to build others up, not tear them down.

What is Slander According to the Bible?

Spreading False Rumors

Slander is the act of spreading false or malicious statements about someone that damage their reputation. According to the Bible, slander is a serious sin that violates the 9th commandment which says “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16).

The book of Proverbs warns that “A perverse person spreads strife, and a slanderer separates close friends” (Proverbs 16:28).

Jesus taught that slander comes from the heart and defiles a person (Matthew 15:19-20). The apostle Paul instructed believers to “put away falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor” (Ephesians 4:25). He also wrote that slanderers are “haters of God” and rebellious against Him (Romans 1:30).

Slander often stems from envy, hatred, malice and a lack of self-control. It destroys relationships, reputations and can deeply hurt the person being slandered.

Damaging Someone’s Reputation

The primary way that slander harms someone is by damaging their reputation. According to one study, over 70% of defamation cases involve harm done to a person’s reputation. Slander takes away the good name that someone has built through integrity and hard work.

Proverbs 22:1 states, “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches.”

Some examples of slanderous statements that can ruin reputations include: falsely accusing someone of a crime, lying about them committing adultery or sexual immorality, claiming they acted unethically in business, or spreading rumors that they abused or mistreated someone.

These types of malicious falsehoods can cost a person their career, relationships, community standing, and ability to gain future opportunities. That is why slander is strongly condemned in Scripture.

The book of Proverbs warns that “The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body” (Proverbs 18:8). This indicates that slander spreads quickly and people often find it tempting to listen to.

However, Christians are exhorted to avoid participating in this destructive sin. Believers should be peacemakers who defend the truth and protect the reputations of others rather than engaging in harmful gossip or rumors.

Overcoming the temptation of slander requires prayer, wisdom and self-control empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Bible Verses about Gossip and Slander

Exodus 23:1

This verse warns against spreading false reports and joining wicked people by giving false testimony. As Proverbs 10:18 states, “Whoever spreads slander is a fool.” Instead of gossiping, Christians should speak truth and build others up with their words (Ephesians 4:29).

Psalms 101:5

God hates gossip and slander. In this psalm, David vows to destroy those who secretly slander their neighbors. Gossip often spreads behind people’s backs, but God sees all and knows the harm it causes. As 1 Peter 2:1 advises, we should rid ourselves of all malice and deceit.

Proverbs 11:13

Gossips cannot be trusted to keep secrets, but those who are trustworthy conceal private matters. As GotQuestions.org notes, gossip often stems from a desire for power and attention. To resist gossip, we can focus on building others up instead of tearing them down (Ephesians 4:29).

Matthew 12:36-37

Jesus warns that we will give account on judgment day for every careless word we speak. Gossip and slander can deeply wound people. As BibleStudyTools.com explains, only one in ten people forgive slanderers. So we must bridle our tongues to avoid sin (James 1:26).

Ephesians 4:29

Rather than gossip, our speech should build others up. Ask God to guard your mouth from slander but open it to share His truth and grace. As OpenBible.info notes, our words have power to give life or destroy it (Proverbs 18:21).

May we speak words that minister grace to those who hear (Ephesians 4:29).

1 Peter 2:1

Peter urges believers to rid themselves of evil attitudes that fuel slander, so they can grow in their salvation. Gossip often flows from bitterness, jealousy, and hatred in the heart. We must ask God to cleanse our hearts and set a guard over our lips (Psalm 141:3), so we can serve others in love.

James 4:11-12

James condemns speaking evil of or judging others, noting that this places us in the position of judging God’s law. BibleStudyTools.com warns that God takes slander seriously and gossip hinders relationships. So we must guard against this to live in fellowship with God and others.

Why Does God Forbid Slander and Gossip?

Gossip is Ungodly and Destructive

The Bible clearly states that gossip and slander should be avoided, as they are destructive sins that can deeply hurt others (Proverbs 11:13). According to research, nearly 96% of people have participated in workplace gossip at some point, often without considering its ethical or legal consequences.

Gossip stems from several ungodly roots like jealousy, arrogance, boredom, and anger. It can swiftly ruin reputations and relationships over unverified information. The book of Proverbs warns that “a perverse person spreads strife, and a slanderer separates close friends” (Proverbs 16:28).

God Values People’s Reputations

The Lord understands that everyone makes mistakes, but values each person’s dignity and reputation. Needlessly spreading rumors about others goes against His command to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). It can permanently damage lives and livelihoods over hearsay rather than truth.

As an alternative, God calls us to speak directly with those involved to resolve issues privately and peacefully (Matthew 18:15-17). Striving for restoration rather than retaliation is the more ethical option.

Slander Can Ruin Relationships and Divide People

Slander and gossip often aim to turn others against someone out of jealousy or vengeance. But the Bible warns “there is great danger when people stop thinking for themselves and let others do their thinking for them” (GotQuestions.org).

False rumors can fester and prevent reconciliation and forgiveness within a community.

What Does the Bible Say About Repenting from Slander?

Ask Forgiveness from God and Those You Wronged

The Bible tells us that slander, or speaking falsely about others, is a sin. Proverbs 10:18 says, “Whoever conceals hatred with lying lips and spreads slander is a fool.” If we have slandered someone, the first step is to ask for forgiveness from God.

First John 1:9 tells us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” We should pray and ask God to forgive us and also to give us the courage and humility to ask forgiveness from those we have wronged.

The next step is to go to the person or people we have slandered and sincerely apologize. This takes humility. James 5:16 instructs, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”

By admitting our wrongdoing and asking forgiveness, we open the door for healing in the relationship.

Make Restitution Where Needed

In some cases, slander has caused damage to someone’s reputation or livelihood. If possible, we should make restitution. The Bible says in Leviticus 6:5-7, “When anyone has done wrong and is found guilty, that person must return what was taken or make restitution for damage done, add one fifth to it, and give it to the person who was wronged.”

Zacchaeus is a good example; when he repented, he promised to pay back those he had cheated four times over (Luke 19:8).

Making things right can go a long way in repairing broken trust. We should do what we can to restore the person’s reputation that we tarnished through gossip or lies. This may mean retracting the false statements we made and clarifying the truth with those who heard them.

Though difficult, setting the record straight is important.

Speak Words That Build Up

Ultimately, we must replace slander and insults with uplifting speech. Ephesians 4:29 says, “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.”

Instead of tearing others down, we should look for ways to encourage them. This not only mends broken relationships but also honors God.

When tempted to gossip and complain, we can ask God to help us hold our tongues. Psalm 141:3 says, “Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.” As we repent from slander and make a habit of speaking words that build up, our relationships and lives will be enriched.

This change of heart and habits honors God and represents Him well to others.

How to Deal with Being Slandered

Pray for Your Enemies

When facing slander or lies spread about you, one of the best things you can do is pray for the people spreading them. Jesus commanded his followers to “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).

This can be difficult, but bringing your pain and frustration to God in prayer can help give you the strength and perspective to get through it.

Ask God to bless the people slandering you – this aligns your heart with His desires for them. Pray that the lies would stop and the truth would be revealed, but focus more on praying for their good than for the situation to be made right.

God sees what is happening and will defend you in His timing (Psalm 31:14-15).

Don’t Try to Get Even

It’s understandable to want to set the record straight and defend your reputation when facing false accusations. However, trying to get even with your accusers or spread negative things about them rarely helps. Often it just perpetuates the conflict.

Proverbs urges, “Do not say, ‘I’ll do to them as they have done to me; I’ll pay them back for what they did'” (Proverbs 24:29). Take the high road instead. Let your gentle, truthful response stand on its own without attacking others. Your integrity will become evident over time.

Trust God to Defend You

One of the best ways to deal with slander is to trust God to defend your name rather than trying to do it yourself. Psalm 31:14-15 says that God is our strong defender and knows the threats and lies being spread about us. Surrender your desire toprotect your reputation to Him.

This allows God’s peace to guard your heart from anxiety and gives Him room to either stop the lies in His timing or redeem them for your good and His glory. Believe that He sees everything happening and will make your righteousness shine like a new day, no matter how dark the current accusations (Psalm 37:6).

For more on dealing with lies and learning to forgive, check out this article.


Slander and gossip are clearly prohibited in Scripture. God values truth, integrity, and each person’s reputation. While it can be incredibly hurtful to be on the receiving end of slander, we must avoid retaliation and trust God to vindicate us.

The Bible calls us to repent from slander, make restitution where needed, and use our words to build others up in love. With God’s help, we can overcome the temptation to speak negatively about others and instead speak life and truth.

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