Watch the video above and talk about it with a group or mentor. Learn more.

There's no list in the Bible of naughty words that we aren't allowed to use. So what?

Key Points:

  • Words have the power to create and the power to destroy. Our words, like God’s, have great power. We can build up others or destroy them with our words (Proverbs 18:21).
  • It’s not just about cussing. We can be hurtful, mean, vulgar, and offensive without ever uttering a cuss word (Ephesians 5:4). Discernment is crucial. (See excursus 1 below for more.)
  • Do your words fit the occasion? In Matthew 5:22, Jesus used the Aramaic (the language of first-century Israel) cuss word raca in order to tell his listeners not to call others “raca.” On that occasion, the word was appropriate because it was an important teaching moment.
  • Do your words give grace to those who hear? This is a tougher question to answer than “Did I say one of the words on the cuss list?” We must learn to live, think, and speak the way Jesus lived, thought, and spoke.

Quote This:

Ephesians 4:29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

See Also: Communication, Habits, Sin

Talk About It
  1. What is your initial reaction to this topic? What jumped out at you?
  2. Do you use cuss words? Why or why not?
  3. Read Ephesians 4:29. How can you let your words be good and helpful for “building up” others?
  4. Read 1 Peter 3:9-10. What do these verses teach us about how we should speak? 
  5. Read James 3:9-12. What do these verses teach us about how we should speak?
  6. How do you think the way you speak would change if you put it through the filter: “Are these words good for building up?”
  7. Think about how you speak regularly. Where did you pick up your speech patterns? At home, church, school, or somewhere else?
  8. Have you ever spoken the wrong words on the “wrong occasion” or heard someone else do it? What happened, and how can we learn to discern the right from the wrong occasion?
  9. How can you use your words to serve the purpose of building God’s kingdom on earth and in the hearts of others?
  10. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.