Is It A Sin to Cuss? What Does the Bible Say

By Charalampos •  Updated: 04/18/23 •  6 min read

Everyone knows that there are many sins, including those that a person commits in his own words.

Many people say that using bad words is a sin, but others believe that it’s acceptable in certain circumstances. In this article, we will find out whether cussing is a sin.

What Does The Bible Say About Cussing?

The Bible has verses that speak about the use of language. Ephesians 4:29 says, «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.»

This verse asks believers to use words that are good for the people around them.

Why Believers Should Avoid Obscene Talk

Also, Colossians 3:8 says, «But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.» 

So, that’s why obscene talk is something that believers should avoid. The Bible has many verses that can prove this opinion.

Why Blessing and Cursing Shouldn’t Come from the Same Mouth

For example, James 3:10 says, «From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.»

A person can’t pray and swear at the same time, if a person uses swears, then his prayer will be weak because he is in a bad state of mind. Believers shouldn’t cuss and then bless someone or pray. This thing can cause confusion for everyone around.

The Importance of Watching Our Words

Matthew 12:36-37 says, «I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words, you will be condemned.»

That is, a person should watch his words, not only profanity is a sin, but also empty talk.

«For there are many rebellious people who engage in useless talk and deceive others.» (Titus 1:10)

The Bible calls us to treat our speech with wisdom. Speech is a gift given to us from God, so speaking words that have no meaning can be a sin, swears are also included in this group.

«Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.» (Ephesians 5:4)

«But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.» (James 5:12)

Church Fathers on Profanity

profanity and Church Fathers opinions

The Church Fathers had a common opinion on the use of profanity.

Saint John Chrysostom’s View on the Shameful Nature of Swearing

Saint John Chrysostom wrote, «I am ashamed to speak of those things which are done by many persons in secret, things which it is a shame even to mention, and much more to do. For if words of that sort are not even to be uttered because of the indecency of their nature, how much less are they to be done!»

The saint says that even mentioning swearing is shameful and sinful.

Saint Augustine of Hippo’s Perspective on the Importance of Purity in Speech

Saint Augustine of Hippo said, «Let your words be few and well-ordered and let them be always accompanied with prayer, and with the purity of mind and heart. For it is not the multitude of words that is acceptable to God, but the purity of the heart from which they proceed.»

A person’s speech with bad words is not only a sin but also hurts his soul. A person punishes himself for using it. In this state of soul, it’s impossible to read the Bible and pray normally.

Saint John Cassian’s Advice on the Importance of Gracious Speech

Saint John Cassian wrote, «It is written: ‘Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt.’ Salt gives flavor and preserves from corruption. So let the speech of the faithful be gracious and always seasoned with grace, preserving from all corruption and bitterness.»

The saint’s words are consistent with the general opinion. A Christian should do everything in accordance with the commandments and the Bible, including his speech should be pure and he shouldn’t disgrace himself and Christianity.

The Importance of Purity in Speech According to Saint Isaac the Syrian

Saint Isaac the Syrian wrote, “He who desires to be with God, must be pure not only in his actions but also in his speech. For just as the fruit of a tree derives its sweetness and nourishment from the root, so too does the speech of man draw its purity and strength from his heart.”

The saint makes us understand that not only actions can be sinful, but also words. With our speech, we can easily offend other people, and create a bad opinion about ourselves.

Christians should repent even when a bad word comes into their mind, thus developing the habit of not even thinking about such words.

Saint Gregory of Nyssa’s Perspective on the Importance of Graceful Speech

Saint Gregory of Nyssa wrote, «Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt; that is, let it be pure and without pollution, uncorrupted and chaste. No unchaste word, no word of folly or impure jesting, ought ever to cross the lips of a Christian.»

The saint also says about the rejection of bad words in Christianity, in this case, there can be no exceptions. Bad words lead a person away from peace of mind and introduce his soul into a demonic state. That’s why pagans often used bad words in their worship.

Final Thoughts

We can see from both the Bible and the Church Fathers that cussing isn’t something normal and Christians shouldn’t use it.

The Bible shows that our words have significant consequences and that we will be held accountable for them before God. The Church Fathers speak about the importance of purity and avoiding bad language.

Overall, the Church Fathers were clear in their condemnation of cussing. They showed the importance of using pure speech. All Christians should say everything with wisdom, seeking to maintain the purity of their hearts and minds in all do.

That’s why the use of swearing is a sin and should be avoided. These words don’t carry any semantic value, and they often have pagan roots.

If a person regularly uses bad words and doesn’t repent of it, then it will be very difficult for him to focus on prayer and do it with a pure heart since the use of obscene language is an act against God, that is, a person’s intentional distance from Christ and turning to dark forces.


Charalampos is an Orthodox Christian who wants to help others learn about Christianity. His main goal is to help people understand the Bible and how to apply its teachings in their everyday lives. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing sports, and hiking.

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