Do you struggle with gossip or know someone who does? Are you seeking Biblical answers to gossip? Are you wondering what the Bible says about gossip? You might be looking for the right answers in the wrong places.
So, how can you know the right thing to do when it comes to gossip? And what does the Bible say about gossip? How can you best learn how to deal with gossip if you don’t know where to look in the Bible?
You may not know this, but the Bible does talk about gossip, lies, and slandering! In fact, there are examples of gossiping in the Bible, advice on what to do if someone is talking about you behind your back, and plenty of scriptures on gossip!
If you are a Christian or just wonder what God’s Word says about gossip, this article is for you. We will go through the Bible verses about gossip and how to handle gossip Biblically!
So, sit back and trust the Bible and God to lead you to the answers you are seeking regarding gossip, slander, and so much more!
Before we get started, it’s recommended that you say a prayer for understanding and guidance so that you get the most out of what you read.
This is what David said to God when he wanted to avoid gossip! You will find encouraging words like this in your heart as you pray.
Take control of what I say, O Lord, and guard my lips. – Psalms 141:3 (NLT)
What is Gossip?
Gossip is talking about other people’s private lives, according to the Oxford Dictionary. It can also mean casual conversation about other people that is often untrue. It’s usually used in a derogatory fashion.
When looking at the first definition, it is easy to see that we should just keep our mouths shut when it comes to the private lives of others.
There is really no need to spread rumors, but what does the Bible say about gossip?
The Bible defines gossip in the same manner. God’s Word also warns us against being around people who gossip or spread rumors about others.
You must not pass along false rumors. – Exodus 23:1a (NLT)
Instead, we are encouraged by the Word of God to build one another up, not tear each other down by spreading gossip.
So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. – 1 Thes. 5:11 (NLT)
Rather than gossiping about our fellow humans, we should talk positively about them or not talk about them at all.
My grandmother always says, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” I wholeheartedly agree that this is a great motto to live by!
Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut. – Proverbs 10:19 (NLT)
Bible Verses About Gossip
The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences. – Proverbs 18:21 (NLT)
And if they are on the list, they will learn to be lazy and will spend their time gossiping from house to house, meddling in other people’s business, and talking about things they shouldn’t. So I advise these younger widows to marry again, have children, and take care of their own homes. Then the enemy will not be able to say anything against them. – 1 Timothy 5:13-14 (NLT)
A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret. – Proverbs 11:13 (NIV)
Where there is no fuel, a fire goes out; where there is no gossip, arguments come to an end. – Proverbs 26:20 (CEV)
The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts. – Proverbs 18:8 (NIV)
All who hate me whisper about me, imagining the worst. – Psalm 41:7 (NLT)
Do not go about spreading slander among your people. Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the Lord. – Lev 19:16 (NIV)
Stay away from gossips – they tell everything. – Proverbs 20:19 (CEV)
And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. – James 3:6 (ESV)
In the same way, their wives[a] must be respected and must not slander others. They must exercise self-control and be faithful in everything they do. – 1 Timothy 3:11 (NLT)
How to Handle Gossip Biblically
Do not join in.
One way to handle gossip Biblically is to not participate in it. If others around you are gossiping about someone, leave the situation or try to change the subject.
There’s no need to listen or take part in gossip. Refuse to participate! God gave us one mouth and two ears for a reason; keep that mouth shut!
Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. – James 4:11a (NLT)
The Bible instructs us to be unique, to stand out, and be different from those of this world. We are to set an example through our actions, so there is no reason to gossip or listen to the gossip of others. You can’t give a gossip confidence, so avoid those who choose to act this way.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. – Romans 12:2 (NLT)
Do things for the good of others, not to harm them in any way. The Bible calls us to serve each other with love. Make a conscious choice to avoid gossip since there’s nothing lovely about it. If someone talks negatively about you, just think how sad their life must be, and move on!
For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. – Gal. 5:13 (NLT)
Related: How to Deal with Gossip (Clever Ways to Cope)
The Biblical Consequences of Gossip
Gossip can ruin friendships.
How would you like it if your friends all talked about you behind your back? A true friend is able to keep a confidence and not tell anyone secrets that were confided in him or her.
It’s very hard to open up to someone who you suspect will probably be sharing this information with other people. How can you trust them with anything you have to say?
He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends. – Proverbs 17:9 (NKJV)
You can safely assume that a woman who speaks rumors about you to someone else will reveal your secrets with anyone who will listen! But here’s a secret you may not know: Her gossip reveals her lack of wisdom and knowledge! A wise friend will guard your words with their very being!
Gossip can make people believe things that are not true.
If you’ve ever been around negative people, you know that gossip and lies go hand-in-hand. Often, as more people are interested in what someone who gossips has to say, they start to elaborate, exaggerate, or just plain lie about the actual circumstances.
This can lead to people spreading rumors – things that are completely untrue! Maybe the original listener did not mean for it to be taken this far, but it’s like the game of “telephone” – words get distorted as they are passed from person to person!
Just as damaging as a madman shooting a deadly weapon is someone who lies to a friend and then says, “I was only joking.” – Proverbs 26:19 (NLT)
If you want somebody to know the truth about you, only share this information with a trustworthy soul. And if you sense someone does not have your best interests at heart, you should trust your gut and keep your secret!
Gossip can ruin your reputation.
When gossip turns to lies, it can quickly become the truth in the eyes of other people. Maybe your boss learns that you used to partake in activities you wanted to keep private, for example.
Also, if you are the one gossiping, you just look like a fool. It makes you look insecure, for that matter! People will think negatively of your personal life if you have to talk bad about others to feel good about yourself.
Foolish talk will get you into a lot of trouble. Saying foolish things is like setting a trap to destroy yourself. – Proverbs 18:6-8 (CEV)
To keep your reputation, it’s best to not gossip with others. If you do engage in this unsavory activity, people will fear that their secrets will be spread and stop confiding in you!
Gossip is not the Christian thing to do.
So, you think you are a strong Christian? And, you think you have Christ in your heart and are living a Christ-like existence? Honestly, if you gossip, you are not acting like Christ in any manner.
Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. – James 1:26 (NIV)
Can you really imagine Christ wasting time spreading rumors and gossip about others?!? Don’t you think your time could be better spent doing something else??
Also, think of yourself as a beacon of light to non-believers. You are to be a good example to them. They might not know right from wrong and are instead looking to you for guidance as to how to live a holy life. Ensure you set a Christ-like example in your behavior.
So when I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, spreading malicious nonsense about us. Not satisfied with that, he even refuses to welcome other believers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church. – 3 John 1:10 (NIV)
Gossip leads to trouble.
Not only can gossip lead to alienation and a lack of real relationships with others, but according to Verywell Family, rumors and gossip can lead to anxiety, suicidal impulses, depression, and even eating disorders! It just doesn’t feel good, so why do it?
Troublemakers start trouble, just as sparks and fuel start a fire. – Proverbs 26:21 (CEV)
Imagine causing someone physical discomfort or pain by spreading rumors about them! This should encourage you to not gossip in the future!
A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends. – Proverbs 16:28 (NIV)
Gossip is a sin.
As you can see what James declares in the New Testament, taming the tongue is never easy, but when we don’t watch what we say, we are doing something evil, something full of poison!
People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. – James 3:7-8 (NLT)
If your heart is on fire for Christ or even if you are just learning the world of Christianity, you should be aware by now that sin is bad and not a desirable thing to do. It can damage your eternal future and your life here on earth!
They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips. – Romans 1:29 (NIV)
Examples of Gossip in the Bible
What does the Bible say about gossip? Gossip is actually mentioned quite a few times in the Old and New Testament! Proverbs has many warnings about being a gossip or gossiping about other people, so clearly, in Biblical times, gossip was as much of a problem as it is today.
Here are a few examples of gossip in the Bible.
John spoke of a leader named Diotrephes who didn’t want to have anything to do with him and the others. He was a bad influence and did spread gossip against them (3 John 1:10). In reality, this man was making things up, and John wanted to be clear about that to Gaius, the recipient of the letter.
David talks to God about his enemies in the Psalms; he was surrounded by people who were against him. They spread rumors about him (Psalm 31:13), pretended to be his friends just to gather gossip about him, and spread it everywhere (Psalm 41:6), and was a favorite topic of town gossip as people made fun of him (Psalm 69:11-12).
Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome about the things that sinful people were doing. These people were wicked and did not know God. They behaved foolishly, and he listed quite a few things they were doing wrong in Romans 1:29.
Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip.
For a complete list of what those sinful people were doing, read Romans 1:18-32. At the end of the chapter, Paul even says they are encouraging other people to do these things. This is probably the reason he is warning the Christians about these sinners; he doesn’t want them to be led astray.
What Does the Bible Say About Gossip and Slander?
Slander is saying something false, malicious, or defamatory about someone else. It’s so similar to gossip that it is often used interchangeably in the Bible.
Proverbs 10:18 explains that if you decide to participate in slander, you will look like a fool. Not only will you come across as insecure if you talk maliciously about another person, but your integrity will also be damaged when the truth is revealed!
Instead, we are instructed (1 Peter 3:16) to speak gently and respectfully about one another, keeping our conscience clear. That way, people will see Christ living within us.
Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone. – Titus 3:1-2 (NIV)
What Does the Bible Say About Gossip and Backbiting?
Backbiting is saying something mean or spiteful about someone, usually when they are not present. It’s basically talking about someone behind their back. When you do this, people could be thinking a million different negative things about you!
The Bible clearly says that someone who participates in backbiting is sure to get an angry look from other people. Backbiting is very similar to slandering and gossiping.
You might get an angry look from the people you are talking to because they think it’s rotten of you to badmouth someone, but more likely, you will get a look of anger from the person you are talking about!
The north wind produces rain, and a backbiting tongue, angry looks. – Proverbs 25:23 (CSB)
More Gossip Resources
- How to Deal with Gossip: 23 Dynamic Ways to Win – This original article will help guide you on some practical ways to eliminate gossip from your life or deal with it properly if you are the victim of gossip! Be sure to check it out!
- Stop the Runaway Conversation: Take Control Over Gossip and Criticism – With real-life examples and Biblical truths, the author helps with murmuring and gossip by helping you choose words that give life, not lies!
- Resisting Gossip: Winning the War of the Wagging Tongue – This Pastor talks about what God has to say about gossip, warnings from the Bible about gossip, and more with this life-changing book!
- Gossip: Ten Pathways to Eliminate It from Your Life and Transform Your Soul – Learn how to have positive interactions with other people, improve yourself, and heal relationships with the help of this book!
- Keep It Shut: What to Say, How to Say It, and When to Say Nothing at All – Learn how to use your words more productively, stop breaking hearts with gossip, and grow in your relationship with God with this book’s help!
Frequently Asked Questions
What does the Bible say about listening to gossip?
Be wary (Prov 11:13); think about it. How trustworthy is a person who is gossiping about someone who isn’t there to defend themselves? Anything you say or do could be the next item of gossip, so watch carefully how you act around a person who gossips!
What is a prayer for those who gossip about you?
Ask God to enter the hearts of those who spread gossip, lies, and slander, to soften their hearts, and to help them live more pure lives. Pray that the root cause of the gossip goes away, and you will no longer be treated as an enemy or hated person.
Where in the Bible does it talk about gossip?
Gossip is listed next to sin in Romans 1:29. James also cautions against letting your tongue be untamed. Because of the negative nature of gossip, as listed in the Bible, it is something we should seek to understand well and avoid participating in!
What does the Bible say about gossip and lies?
Proverbs 17:4 is clear about what the Bible thinks about gossips and liars. Someone who is wicked will listen closely to such nonsense, and liars pay attention to other liars. The NLT version of the Bible says that wrongdoers eagerly listen to gossip, while liars listen to slander!
What is the root cause of gossip?
Generally, the root cause of gossip is a jealous person. However, there is always the case of the person that just likes to know the next secret because that is what they find entertaining. Some people get accustomed to the bad habit of gossiping and do it without thinking!
If you now know the answer to the question, “What does the Bible say about gossip?” you have fully grasped the concepts explained in this article.
We are excited to have you as a reader, and we hope you now know that gossiping is never a good choice!
Perhaps, you will now work to build up your fellow Christians rather than tear them down!
Do you know someone who is a gossip? What do you plan to do about their slanderous nature? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments!
Please share this article on social media, and let’s get the word out that gossiping is just not the best answer in life!
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. – Eph. 4:29 (NIV)