What is Gossip in the Bible?


Gossip is a topic that has been discussed throughout the ages, and its negative effects on relationships and communities are well-known. In the Bible, gossip is considered a sin and is strongly discouraged. In this blog post, we will delve into the biblical understanding of gossip, explore how it is addressed in Scripture, and discuss ways to avoid falling into the trap of gossiping.

The Bible is full of guidance on how to live a righteous and godly life, and one area it speaks to is our use of words. Words are powerful tools that can build up or tear down, and gossip is one way we can misuse the gift of speech. The book of Proverbs offers a great deal of wisdom regarding the use of our words, including several verses that address gossip.

As followers of Christ, it is essential to recognize the power our words hold and strive to use them in a manner that reflects the love and grace of our Savior. Let us embark on this exploration of gossip in the Bible, seeking understanding and wisdom, so that we may apply these lessons to our own lives and relationships.

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gossip in the Bible

Gossip Defined

Gossip, as defined by the Bible, typically refers to the spreading of rumors or idle talk about others, especially when the information is harmful, slanderous, or untrue. Proverbs 11:13 (NKJV) says, “A talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter.” A talebearer, or gossip, is someone who shares private or sensitive information about others without their knowledge or consent.

Gossip in the Old Testament

The Old Testament contains several instances where gossip is condemned. In Leviticus 19:16 (NKJV), the Lord commands, “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 highlights the destructive nature of gossip and emphasizes the importance of respecting others’ privacy.

Another verse that speaks to the danger of gossip can be found in Proverbs 26:20 (NKJV): “Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; and where there is no talebearer, strife ceases.” This passage underscores how gossip can fuel conflict and create division within a community.

Gossip in the New Testament

The New Testament also addresses gossip and highlights the importance of using our words wisely. In Ephesians 4:29 (NKJV), Paul writes, “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 verse encourages us to speak words that build up others and promote grace, rather than engaging in harmful gossip.

In 2 Corinthians 12:20 (NKJV), Paul expresses his concern for the Corinthians, stating, “For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults.” Among these negative behaviors, we see gossip (“backbitings” and “whisperings”) listed as a cause of strife and disunity in the church.

The Consequences of Gossip

Gossip not only damages relationships but also has consequences for the person spreading it. Proverbs 18:8 (NKJV) says, “The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, and they go down into the inmost body.” This verse suggests that gossip may initially seem enjoyable to those who share it, but ultimately, it can cause harm to the gossipers themselves.

Additionally, Proverbs 20:19 (NKJV) warns, “He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with one who flatters with his lips.” This passage serves as a reminder to avoid engaging with those who gossip, as they may betray our trust and spread harmful information about us as well.

Combating Gossip in Our Lives

As believers, it is important to examine our own lives and ensure that we are not engaging in gossip. To combat gossip, we can practice the following:

  1. Guard our words: Before speaking about others, consider whether our words are true, helpful, and necessary. As James 1:26 (NKJV) says, “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.”
  2. Seek to build up others: Instead of tearing others down with our words, we should strive to encourage and uplift them. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NKJV) urges, “Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.”
  3. Pray for wisdom: Ask God for wisdom and discernment in our speech. Psalm 141:3 (NKJV) provides a prayer we can emulate: “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.”
  4. Refuse to participate in gossip: When others engage in gossip, we can choose not to participate and instead redirect the conversation to a more positive topic.

Encouraging Others to Avoid Gossip

As members of a community, we also have a responsibility to encourage others to avoid gossip. We can gently remind others of the biblical teachings on gossip and its consequences, and model appropriate behavior in our own conversations. By doing so, we help promote a more loving and supportive environment within our families, churches, and communities.

In Romans 14:19 (NKJV), Paul writes, “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.” As followers of Christ, we should strive for peace and unity in our relationships, which includes avoiding gossip and promoting edification instead.


Gossip is a sin that can cause great harm in our relationships and communities, and the Bible provides clear guidance on the importance of avoiding it. By understanding the biblical teachings on gossip, we can make a conscious effort to guard our words and use them to build up others rather than tearing them down.

As we seek to live lives that honor God and reflect the love of Christ, we must be mindful of the power of our words and strive to use them wisely. By avoiding gossip, we contribute to a more loving, supportive, and unified community that reflects the values and teachings of our Savior.

May we continually turn to Scripture for guidance and wisdom, seeking the strength and grace to live lives that glorify God and bear witness to the transformative power of His love. And as we grow in our understanding and practice of using our words for good, may we be a light to others and a testament to the transformative power of the Gospel.

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