31 Bible Verses About Gossip and Slander (with Explanations)

While casual conversation often involves sharing information about others, the Bible offers nuanced perspectives on navigating this, drawing a clear line between harmless exchange and harmful gossip or slander.

This exploration is not about imposing rigid rules or judgment, but about using the wisdom of scripture to spark reflection and engage in meaningful conversations. As we turn the pages together, let these verses illuminate the impact our words hold, empower us to choose kindness over negativity, and guide us towards building communities rooted in truth, understanding, and compassion.

Remember, the words we choose have the power to heal or harm – let’s choose wisely.

Also Read: Bible Verses About Building Relationships (with Explanations)

Bible Verses About Gossip and Slander

Proverbs 11:13

A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.

This proverb, “A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret,” serves as a profound and poignant reminder of the paramount value of trust and confidentiality in the tapestry of relationships.

It transcends mere advice, delving into the fundamental elements that uphold the very essence of strong and meaningful connections between individuals.

Moreover, the proverb invites us to consider the ripple effect of gossip on the broader landscape of human connections.

Proverbs 16:28

A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.

Proverbs 16:28 highlights the disruptive impact of gossip, emphasizing its role in sowing discord and driving a wedge between close relationships.

It urges individuals to be mindful of the consequences of their words, promoting harmony and unity rather than contributing to conflict.

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.

Ephesians 4:29 provides a foundational principle for speech in the Christian life. It calls believers to speak words that are constructive and uplifting, avoiding harmful gossip.

The verse emphasizes the power of words in shaping a positive and encouraging environment, focusing on building up rather than tearing down.

Proverbs 20:19

A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much.

Proverbs 20:19 offers practical wisdom by advising individuals to be discerning in their associations.

It warns against close connections with those who habitually engage in excessive talking and gossip, recognizing the potential harm such relationships can cause through betrayal of confidences.

James 4:11

Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.

James 4:11 links slander with a violation of God’s law, stressing the spiritual consequences of speaking ill of others.

The verse encourages believers to practice love and respect, refraining from judgmental speech that undermines the principles of God’s law and disrupts the unity within the Christian community.

Proverbs 10:18

Whoever conceals hatred with lying lips and spreads slander is a fool.

Proverbs 10:18 exposes the folly of using slander to mask underlying feelings of hatred. It challenges individuals to address conflicts openly and honestly, promoting transparency over deceitful speech.

The verse emphasizes the importance of wisdom in communication, discouraging actions that perpetuate foolishness.

Exodus 23:1

Do not spread false reports. Do not help a guilty person by being a malicious witness.

Exodus 23:1 issues a clear command against spreading false reports and participating in malicious witness.

It underscores the significance of truthfulness and integrity in both speech and actions, urging individuals to uphold justice and righteousness by refraining from contributing to falsehoods and slander.

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.

In Colossians 3:8, the Apostle Paul addresses the Colossian Christians, urging them to eliminate slander from their lives. This verse is embedded in a broader exhortation to put off negative behaviors and cultivate a Christlike character.

The specific mention of slander underscores its incompatibility with a life transformed by the teachings of Jesus. By calling believers to rid themselves of slander, Paul emphasizes the need for a speech that reflects the love, grace, and truth found in Christ.

Psalm 101:5

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 presents a divine perspective on slander, with the psalmist expressing God’s stance against those who engage in secret defamation. This verse reveals God’s intolerance for arrogance and pride, especially when manifested through slanderous speech.

It serves as a reminder that God is aware of our words, even those spoken in secrecy, and calls believers to align their hearts and speech with humility and love.

Titus 3:2

to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.

Titus 3:2 outlines a set of virtues for believers, including the injunction to avoid slander. The verse emphasizes the importance of cultivating a peaceful, considerate, and gentle demeanor towards everyone.

By highlighting slander as something to be renounced, the passage underscores the role of positive speech in fostering harmony and understanding within the Christian community.

Matthew 12:36

But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.

In Matthew 12:36, Jesus emphasizes the accountability for our words. This stern warning underscores the seriousness of speech, including gossip and slander.

Believers are reminded that their words carry weight and will be subject to judgment. This verse challenges individuals to be mindful of their speech, encouraging a commitment to wholesome and constructive communication.

1 Peter 2:1

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.

Peter, in 1 Peter 2:1, instructs believers to rid themselves of various negative behaviors, including slander. The verse aligns with the broader biblical theme of transformation and sanctification, emphasizing the need for Christians to actively remove harmful attitudes and practices from their lives.

Slander is singled out as an impediment to spiritual growth, urging believers to pursue a life marked by sincerity and love.

Romans 1:30

slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant, and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents;

Romans 1:30 places slander in the context of a list of vices associated with a godless and rebellious mindset. This verse highlights the destructive nature of slander by positioning it alongside other morally reprehensible actions.

It serves as a cautionary reminder of the broader consequences of engaging in malicious speech and the importance of aligning one’s conduct with God’s righteous standards.

1 Corinthians 6:10

nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

In 1 Corinthians 6:10, Paul includes slanderers in a list of behaviors that are incompatible with inheriting the kingdom of God. This verse underscores the severity of slander by associating it with activities that stand in direct opposition to the values of God’s kingdom.

It serves as a call to repentance and transformation, challenging believers to turn away from slander and embrace the redemptive work of Christ.

Matthew 7:1-2

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

In Matthew 7:1-2, Jesus addresses the issue of judgment, which can often be closely linked to slander. This teaching reminds believers of the reciprocity in judgment – the standards they apply to others will be applied to them.

It encourages humility and compassion in our interactions, discouraging the tendency to engage in destructive criticism or slanderous speech.

Proverbs 17:9

“Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.”

Proverbs 17:9 highlights the role of love in relationships, urging individuals to cover offenses rather than spreading gossip.

This verse emphasizes the power of forgiveness and discretion, as repeating offenses can lead to the breakdown of close friendships. It calls for a mindset focused on reconciliation and restoration rather than perpetuating conflict through slanderous talk.

1 Timothy 3:11

“In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.”

In 1 Timothy 3:11, Paul provides qualifications for women in the church, specifically cautioning against malicious talk. This verse underscores the importance of maintaining a reputation marked by respect, temperance, and trustworthiness.

It serves as a reminder that individuals, regardless of their gender, should be intentional in their speech, avoiding gossip and slander for the sake of maintaining a godly testimony.

Psalm 34:13

“keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies.”

Psalm 34:13 offers a concise yet powerful exhortation to guard one’s speech. The psalmist urges believers to refrain from evil speech and falsehoods.

This verse echoes the broader biblical theme of the importance of words, emphasizing the need for intentional and truthful communication. It encourages believers to cultivate a speech that reflects God’s character.

Proverbs 26:20

“Without wood, a fire goes out; without a gossip, a quarrel dies down.”

Proverbs 26:20 uses the metaphor of fire to illustrate the connection between gossip and conflict. Just as a fire requires fuel to burn, a quarrel often needs gossip to sustain it.

This verse highlights the role of gossip in perpetuating discord and advises individuals to refrain from contributing to conflicts by spreading damaging information.

Ephesians 4:31-32

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Ephesians 4:31-32 provides a comprehensive guideline for interpersonal relationships. The passage not only discourages slander but also promotes a positive transformation of character.

Believers are encouraged to replace negative behaviors with kindness, compassion, and forgiveness. This verse emphasizes the transformative power of Christ’s forgiveness as a model for how believers should treat one another.

Psalm 141:3

“Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.”

Psalm 141:3 is a heartfelt plea for divine intervention in speech. The psalmist acknowledges the potential for destructive words and requests God’s help in guarding against them.

This verse reflects the humility and awareness needed to navigate the challenges of communication, acknowledging our dependence on God for wisdom and restraint in our speech.

Luke 6:45

“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”

In Luke 6:45, Jesus provides profound insight into the connection between the heart and speech. This verse emphasizes the importance of cultivating a heart filled with goodness to produce positive and edifying speech.

It serves as a reminder that our words are a reflection of the condition of our hearts, highlighting the need for inner transformation to combat gossip and slander.

Proverbs 25:23

“The north wind brings forth rain, and a backbiting tongue, angry looks.”

Proverbs 25:23 draws a vivid parallel between the impact of a backbiting tongue and the chilly north wind that precedes rain. This metaphor highlights the negative consequences of slander, suggesting that it stirs up emotional storms and contributes to discord.

The verse encourages believers to be aware of the potential harm their words can cause, urging them to speak with wisdom and kindness.

Colossians 4:6

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

Colossians 4:6 provides a practical guideline for Christian speech. The verse encourages believers to season their words with grace and wisdom, reflecting a Christlike attitude in their interactions.

This approach fosters positive communication and helps believers navigate conversations with others in a manner that honors God and promotes understanding.

James 3:5-6

“Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.”

James 3:5-6 vividly illustrates the powerful and potentially destructive nature of the tongue. The analogy of a small spark causing a great forest fire emphasizes the need for vigilance in controlling our speech.

This passage serves as a sobering reminder of the far-reaching impact of gossip and slander, cautioning believers to handle their words with care.

1 Corinthians 10:31

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

While not explicitly addressing gossip or slander, 1 Corinthians 10:31 sets a foundational principle for the Christian life. This verse encourages believers to live in a manner that glorifies God in all aspects of their lives, including their speech.

Applying this principle to communication implies refraining from gossip and slander, aligning one’s words with the overarching goal of honoring God in every interaction.

Psalm 19:14

“May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

Psalm 19:14 is a prayer for the alignment of speech and inner thoughts with God’s standards. The psalmist expresses a desire for words and thoughts that are pleasing to the Lord, recognizing God as the ultimate source of strength and redemption.

This verse encourages believers to seek God’s guidance in their communication, promoting a speech that reflects divine wisdom and grace.

Proverbs 10:19

“Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues.”

Proverbs 10:19 imparts practical wisdom on the use of words. It suggests that excessive speech does not resolve sin or conflict; instead, it may exacerbate the situation.

The verse encourages prudence and restraint in speech, advising believers to choose their words carefully and avoid contributing to negativity through unnecessary or harmful talk.

1 Peter 3:10-11

“For, ‘Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.'”

In 1 Peter 3:10-11, the apostle Peter connects the quality of life to the manner of speech. This passage underscores the idea that controlling one’s tongue, avoiding evil and deceitful speech, is integral to experiencing a life marked by goodness and joy.

It goes beyond a mere prohibition of negative speech, emphasizing the positive pursuit of peace and goodness in our interactions with others.

Ephesians 5:4

“Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.”

Ephesians 5:4 addresses the broader context of speech, discouraging not only gossip and slander but also inappropriate and unedifying language. The verse encourages believers to maintain a standard of speech characterized by gratitude rather than engaging in vulgar or senseless talk.

This teaching emphasizes the transformative impact of speech on the overall atmosphere and relationships within the Christian community.

Proverbs 15:1

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Proverbs 15:1 offers practical wisdom on the power of gentleness in communication. This verse highlights the potential for speech to either diffuse or escalate conflict.

It encourages believers to respond with gentleness, promoting understanding and reconciliation. This teaching reinforces the biblical principle that the choice of words can significantly impact the dynamics of relationships and influence the course of interactions.

Also Read: Bible Verses About Building Relationships (with Explanations)

What Does the Bible Say About Gossip and Slander?

The Bible addresses the issues of gossip and slander in various passages, providing guidance on the use of speech and the impact of words on individuals and communities.

Here are some key themes from the biblical perspective:

Trust and Integrity:

Proverbs 11:13 (NIV) states, “A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.” This verse emphasizes the importance of trustworthiness and integrity in relationships. Gossip not only breaks trust but also goes against the principles of honesty and loyalty.

Destructive Consequences:

Proverbs 16:28 (NIV) warns, “A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.” This verse highlights the destructive impact of gossip on relationships. It contributes to conflicts, damages friendships, and disrupts harmony within communities.

Positive Communication:

Ephesians 4:29 (NIV) instructs believers, “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 encourages positive and edifying communication, emphasizing the power of words to uplift and benefit others.

Spiritual Consequences:

James 4:11 (NIV) connects slander with a violation of God’s law, stating, “Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it.” This verse emphasizes the spiritual consequences of slander, linking it to a departure from God’s standards of love and judgment.

Avoiding Malicious Speech:

Proverbs 20:19 (NIV) advises, “A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much.” This verse provides practical guidance on association, cautioning against close relationships with individuals who habitually engage in gossip and malicious talk.

A Short Prayer Against Gossip and Slander

Heavenly Father,

In Your presence, we seek refuge and guidance. We come before You, acknowledging the destructive power of gossip and slander. Grant us, O Lord, the strength to guard our tongues and the wisdom to use our words with kindness and grace.

Help us resist the temptation to engage in conversations that harm others or sow discord. May our speech be a reflection of Your love and truth, building up rather than tearing down. Create in us hearts that are quick to forgive and slow to speak ill of others.

We pray for discernment to recognize the harm in gossip and the courage to stand against it. Let our words be a source of encouragement and understanding. Strengthen our commitment to uphold the values of trust, integrity, and compassion in our interactions.

Lord, set a guard over our mouths, that we may not be agents of harm but instruments of Your peace. May our conversations be filled with gratitude, positivity, and a spirit of reconciliation.

In Jesus’ name, we humbly pray.