What does the Bible teach about slander?

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By BibleAsk Team


What does the Bible teach about slander?

Slander, as defined is false spoken statement that damages someone’s reputation. The Scriptures provide clear instruction that believers should not do this sin, emphasizing the importance of truthful speech, love, and reconciliation.

In Proverbs 10:18, it says, “Whoever conceals hatred with lying lips and spreads slander is a fool.” This highlights the foolishness and sinfulness of spreading false information about others. James 4:11 advises believers not to speak evil against one another, emphasizing the importance of maintaining love and harmony within the community. Ephesians 4:31 urges Christians to get rid of “all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” Overall, the Bible teaches that slander damages relationships, undermines trust, and contradicts the values of truth and love that Christians are called to uphold.

Old Testament Perspective:

  1. Exodus 20:16 – The Ninth Commandment: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
    This commandment serves as a foundation for understanding the gravity of spreading false information about others.
  2. Proverbs 16:28 – “A perverse man sows strife, and a whisperer separates the best of friends.”
    Here, the Bible highlights the divisive nature of slander and its potential to damage relationships.
  3. Proverbs 17:4 – “An evildoer gives heed to false lips; a liar listens eagerly to a spiteful tongue.”
    This verse warns against being drawn into the act of spreading false information.
  4. Leviticus 19:16 – “You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people; nor shall you take a stand against the life of your neighbor: I am the Lord.”
    This verse emphasizes the importance of refraining from spreading harmful rumors.

New Testament Perspective:

  1. Matthew 15:19 – “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.”
    Jesus teaches that slander originates from a corrupt heart and underscores the need for internal transformation.
  2. Matthew 18:15-17 – “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.”
    Jesus provides a framework for conflict resolution within the Christian community, encouraging direct communication rather than spreading rumors or slander.
  3. Ephesians 4:29-32 – “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” This passage urges believers to speak with kindness, avoiding slander and promoting unity within the body of Christ.
  4. Colossians 3:8 – “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.” Slander is listed among the harmful behaviors that Christians are called to put away.
  5. James 4:11-12 – “Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law.” James emphasizes the incompatibility of slander with a righteous and God-honoring life.

Consequences and Remedies:

  1. Proverbs 26:27 – “Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, and he who rolls a stone will have it roll back on him.”
    The Bible warns that those who engage in slander may face consequences themselves.
  2. Matthew 12:36-37 – “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.”
    Jesus emphasizes the accountability for our words, underscoring the seriousness of slander.
  3. Proverbs 6:16-19 – The Lord detests “a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.”
    Slander is an abomination to God, and believers are called to avoid such actions.
  4. 1 Peter 3:10 – “For ‘He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit.'”
    Peter echoes the Old Testament wisdom, encouraging believers to guard their speech against slander.

Christian Response:

  1. Matthew 5:44 – “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”
    The Christian response to slander is rooted in love, forgiveness, and prayer.
  2. Romans 12:17-21 – “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
    Christians are called to respond to slander with kindness, seeking reconciliation rather than retaliation.
  3. Galatians 5:22-23 – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
    The fruit of the Spirit includes qualities like love, kindness, and self-control. Cultivating these virtues helps believers resist the temptation to engage in slander.
  4. Matthew 7:1-5 – “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”
    Jesus warns against hypocritical judgment and encourages believers to address their own faults before pointing out others’. This teaching promotes humility and self-reflection.

In summary, the Bible condemns slander as harmful, destructive, and foolish behavior. Slander involves making false and malicious statements about others, which can cause damage to individuals and communities. The teachings emphasize that spreading false information is sinful and equate it with harboring hatred. Believers are advised to avoid speaking evil against one another to maintain love, respect, and harmony within the community.

God’s people are urged to eliminate bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, and slander from their lives, as these behaviors are incompatible with the values of love and unity that they are called to uphold. The Bible consistently reinforces that slander contradicts the principles of truth and love essential to Christian living.

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