12 Bible Verses about Gossip

verses about gossip

  • Psalm 101:5 ESV
    Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly
        I will destroy.
    Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart
        I will not endure.
  • Psalm 141:3 NIV
    Set a guard over my mouth, Lord;
        keep watch over the door of my lips.
  • Proverbs 11:13 NIV
    A gossip betrays a confidence,
        but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.
  • Proverbs 16:28 NIV
    A perverse person stirs up conflict,
        and a gossip separates close friends.
  • Proverbs 17:9 ESV
    Whoever covers an offense seeks love,
        but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.
  • Proverbs 18:7-8 NIV
    The mouths of fools are their undoing,
       and their lips are a snare to their very lives.
    The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;
        they go down to the inmost parts.
  • Proverbs 20:19 NIV
    A gossip betrays a confidence;
        so avoid anyone who talks too much.
  • Proverbs 25:9-10 ESV
    Argue your case with your neighbor himself,
        and do not reveal another’s secret,
    10 lest he who hears you bring shame upon you,
        and your ill repute have no end.
  • Proverbs 26:20 NIV
    Without wood a fire goes out;
        without a gossip a quarrel dies down.
  • Romans 1:29-30 ESV
    They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,
  • Ephesians 4:29 ESV
    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.
  • 1 Timothy 5:13 ESV
    Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but alsogossips and busybodies, saying what they should not.

One Week Without a Voice: Lesson One

I woke up last Tuesday, my throat ablaze with scratchy, swollen soreness, and when I opened my mouth to respond to breakfast requests from my kids–there was nothing but squeaky attempts at language.  I pushed out the word, “Breakfast?” and then handed around the cereal bowls as requested.  Thus ended our morning conversation.

This was a problem.  Having only finished one night of our five-night long Vacation Bible School, I had a week of speaking and singing ahead of me.  A week of object lessons and praise songs. A week of yelling out our Bible point for each night and a week of rallying excitement among the kids.

And no voice.

I gargled and drank tea.  I used throat spray and became a chain sucker of cough drops.  I drank enough water to float away and faithfully popped vitamins every night.

But my chief strategy became rest.  All day, every day I didn’t speak.  If necessary, I whispered, but mostly I was a silent member of my household.

A week as one of the voiceless got me thinking about what we say and how we say it, how our words reflect our heart, how we’re called to be listeners, and more.

Lesson One: What I Say Is Who I Am

By the end of each hushed day last week, I stepped onto the stage at church and spoke the first full-voiced words in about 24 hours.  “Welcome to VBS!  We’re so glad you’re here tonight . . . ”  My only normal vocalizations each day were lessons about God’s Word to children.

That week reminded me of the story about a woman who sought closeness to God, so she joined a convent and took a vow of silence.  One day each year, each woman was allowed to speak just two words to the Mother Superior.  After one year, the woman stood in the long line and spoke just two words when it was her turn:  “Bed hard.”  A year later, she stood in line again to say, “Food bad.”  The third time around, she stood before the Mother Superior to say, “I quit.”

“I’m not surprised,” said the Mother Superior.  “You’ve been complaining since you got here.”

I wonder, at the end of a normal day when my voice is unrestricted and I can chatter on at will, what is it that I’ve been talking about?

Complaining and whining?

Criticizing others?


Correcting my kids?

Waxing eloquent about myself?

Praising God and sharing from His Word?

Encouraging others?

What about you?  How do you put your voice to use each day?

Out of necessity last week, the only way I could really use my voice was talking about God.  The moment that Vacation Bible School ended and I climbed into the minivan with my kids, I returned to a life of silent listening and, if necessary, whispered prompts to get others talking.

Words have power and impact.  They can build others up, fill their spirit with strength and courage, and point them to Christ.  But words can also rip people apart, tearing their spirits down to tiny shreds of defeated nothingness.  Indeed, “death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits” (Proverbs 18:21 ESV).

With such weaponry in our arsenal, with such power housed in a simple voicebox, you would think we’d be more cautious about what we say.  Like the nun who could only speak two words a year or like me who had 30 minutes to talk in a 24-hour day, we could prioritize and speak only what is necessary, true, and God-honoring.

But I’m not always so careful.  I sometimes forget that my voice is a precious gift and that my words have impact.  It’s too easy just to babble off whatever pops into my head sans filter.

The real issue here isn’t just speaking without thinking.  It’s that ultimately, “out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45b ESV).

Essentially, at the end of the day if we’ve used most of our words to gossip—then we’re a gossip.

And if we’ve spent most of our day complaining—then we’re a complainer.

If our conversation has mostly been about criticizing other people—then we’re negative.

If we’ve monopolized conversations with our own opinions and thoughts—then we’re selfish and self-focused.

The words we toss about with little thought and no constraint are peeling back the covers of our heart and showing what’s really in there.  And sometimes it’s ugly.

That means we don’t just need to filter our words; we need God to do some heart changing, too.

This isn’t advocacy for fake living, pasting cardboard smiles onto our faces and pretending everything is fine when it’s not.

Even with God, we can speak with honesty.  Job, steeped in tragedy, said, “Therefore I will not keep silent; I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul” (Job 7:11).  David, Asaph and other Psalmists clearly felt freedom to express hurt and anger to God.

Yet, we can survey the overall tone and content of our daily speech and discover the tone and content of our heart.  Then, we can let God change us from the inside out.

If you could only talk for 30 minutes today, what would you use that time to say?

You can read more devotionals on this topic here:

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King

A Plan to Be Better

I tucked my oldest girl into bed last night and she told me, “Today at school, Mrs. Davidson explained all about how people make plans to be better.  So I made a plan for the new year.”

I expected her to announce a strategy to get a dog or be a princess or learn pointe in ballet or be a famous artist–the true aspirations of her little heart.

Instead, she said, “I’m planning to get up in the morning early and get ready for school easier every day.  Did you make a plan to be better this year, mom?”

“I haven’t chosen a resolution,” I said.  “Do you have any suggestions?”

Without any hesitation or even time to take a breath, she said, “I think you should play more video games!”

Perhaps that translates to “Be a more fun mom and play with my kids more often.”  That’s certainly a resolution worth making!

David lived long before the time of New Year’s resolutions, fad diets, gym memberships, and self-help books.  Still, he wrote a psalm of “I wills” that translates into some worthy goals for all of us in 2012.

I will praise God more.

David began with this promise to God, “I will sing of your love and justice; to you, Lord, I will sing praise” (Psalm 101:1).  It’s a reminder to be grateful and to give testimony to others of God at work in your life.  Give thanks everyday.

I will strive for the blameless life.

David continued, “I will be careful to lead a blameless life .  . . I will conduct the affairs of my house with a blameless heart” (Psalm 101:2).

We can’t be perfect.  Every mom will lose it occasionally.  Every wife will mess up.  Every friend will forget. We all sin.

Yet, still we can “be careful,” as David says.  We can allow God to work on our hearts and clean out the dark and dusty places.  We can ask for His help controlling our tongue and our tempers.  We can pray that He will guide us as moms, wives, sisters and friends and help us become more godly every day.

I will guard my heart and mind.

We used to sing as kids, “Oh be careful little eyes what you see  . . .  be careful little ears what you hear . . . be careful little feet where you go”

David said it this way, “I will not look with approval on anything that is vile. I hate what faithless people do; I will have no part in it.  The perverse of heart shall be far from me;
I will have nothing to do with what is evil.” (Psalm 101:3-4).

Sometimes we excuse a little sin or shrug off feelings of discomfort about that show, or song, or movie, or book or relationship.

When God looked out on the sin-laden world during the time of Noah, He “regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled” (Genesis 6:6, NIV).

The Message says it this way: “God was sorry that he had made the human race in the first place; it broke his heart.”

This year, consider making that your standard for what you see, what you hear, where you go and what you do.  Will this break the heart of God?

I will watch my words.

In his epistle, James wrote: “Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another” (James 4:11).

‘Slander’ sounds so harsh.  Perhaps we feel it’s okay to speak our minds or criticize when it’s the truth.

Not according to James.  Beth Moore notes in James: Mercy Triumphs: “the Greek word translated ‘slander’ in NIV also means ‘criticize’ (HCSB) and ‘speak against’ (NASB).

So, if it was said critically about another person, it was sin.  We need to be women with gracious tongues, not judgmental or critical ones.

David goes a step farther:  ” Whoever slanders their neighbor in secret, I will put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, I will not tolerate” (Psalm 101:5).   Not only was he not going to speak slander, he wouldn’t even listen to it from others.

I will invest in Godly friendships

David finished off the Psalm with these words:

“My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; the one whose walk is blameless will minister to me. No one who practices deceit will dwell in my house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in my presence. Every morning I will put to silence all the wicked in the land; I will cut off every evildoer from the city of the LORD” (Psalm 101:6-8).

This year, find ways to build into relationships with others who love God.  Join a small group.  Find a Christian mentor.  Choose someone to befriend who you can mentor in turn.  God never intended for us to walk this Christian life alone.

There you have it.  David’s “I will” list.

What has God placed on your heart for the new year?

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2011 Heather King