Profanity, Introduction

ef2ec9a439ca3425ec341f11a181d519This is not a “how to” post!

I have been troubled recently about the amount of profanity I hear and see in our society. I was at a large, popular, store in my city the other day and heard someone spouting off swear words two aisles away! There were small children around. Granted that this is not my first experience with this kind of activity, but I did cause me to think more about how our society has gotten to this point.

The truly sad part about this situation is that I have seen/heard professing Christians use this kind of language too!

So, what do we need to know about profanity? I will will attempt to lay the ground work for a Biblical view of profanity, trying to answer three questions over the next few posts: (1) What is profanity? (2) What does the Bible say about profanity? and (3) Should Christians ever use profanity?

George Washington said,

“The foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing and swearing is a vice so mean and low that every person of sense and character detests and despises it.”

This was the attitude toward profanity, by most, for many years. However, it seems that the pendulum has swung the other direction. In today’s world profanity is commonplace. It is difficult to go anywhere to escape the foul speech of our society.

Mark Twain wrote,

“When you’re mad, count four; when you’re very mad, swear! But most of us don’t wait to count four! at least I don’t!”

People today do not use profanity only when they are angry; most use it in everyday conversations or when telling a story. This shift of principle begs the question “what is a proper theology of profanity?”

There are several passages in scripture that confront the importance of our speech. Take for example James 3:1-12: this passage deals with the power of the tongue. It is unfortunate, that in many “Christians,” the tongue has assumed a double function– blessing and cursing. The tongue has the ability to build up or to tear down.

Ephesians 4:1 encourages us to live our lives worthy of the calling that we have received. First Timothy 4:12 states that believers are to live as an example in all areas of life, including speech. Also, Matthew 12:36 reveals that every careless word will be judged.

In light of all of these passages a proper theology of profanity is important.

In the next post I will answer the question: What is profanity?


Check out the other posts here:


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