22 Bible Verses About Gossip and How to Deal Biblically

Bible verses about gossip remind us how serious the sin of gossip is and that we should know how to guard our words when we speak about others!

Gossip is an interesting word. Its meaning is so different today than it did so many years ago. It is quite like the word it describes. Gossip starts as one thing and then by the end of the day, after so many retellings, it becomes something else. 

Gossip is hard to stop. It easily entices people and yet it has to be stopped. It does no one any good. Most of the time, it brings a world of harm to those touched by it. Gossip has been around even in the Old Testament days. Let us look and listen to what the Bible says about this.

9 Bible Verses About Gossip and Slander

Proverbs 11:13

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

Everything we tell others, whether they may be jokes, secrets, or confessions, comes with trust. We trust that the other person would understand, sympathize, or keep it to themselves. When we betray that trust, relationships can end in the blink of an eye.

Proverbs 16:28

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

Trust is part of communication. Trust is part of relationships. People can betray our trust. When this happens, even the strongest relationships can be broken.

Psalm 141:3

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

Our tongue is treacherous. There are times when it is so hard to control it. Let us ask God to help us control our words so we do not hurt anyone.

Proverbs 10:18

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

I believe we all have experienced being mad at someone for what they did. We might even have been tempted to spread what they have done to everyone we meet. Also, we want people to know how terrible they are. We might even be tempted to exaggerate a little bit. We must fight it. Surrender it to God and let Him avenge you.

Proverbs 26:20

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

Gossip does fan the flames of conflicts. Instead of spreading gossip, Proverbs 26:20 reminds people about the importance of peace and peace of mind.

Psalm 41:5

“My enemies speak evil of me: “When will he die, and his name perish?”

There will always be people who for some reason wish us harm and would spread lies about us. This is not an excuse to give them the same treatment.

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.”

Words are powerful. It affects us and those that are around us. We should always help build others up and use the power of words to be blessings to others.

James 1:26

“Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.”

Truthfulness and self-discipline are marks of Christianity. We should always put it into practice.

Proverbs 18:21

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

Our words and actions have the power to build and break others. That kind of power should be used with utmost responsibility and humility.

What Do These Bible Verses Say Gossip Brings

Betrayal

People sometimes go through tough times. In these circumstances, these people need someone to lean on. They need to tell someone about their troubles or maybe they need someone to give them advice. This involves trust.

Betraying this trust by telling other people what has been shared with us in confidence is not a good Christian practice. It adds to the troubles that person is already going through. By breaking their confidence, we cause them harm.

Conflict 

Gossip can be a form of betraying the confidence someone gave us by sharing personal details of their lives with us. It can also be a form of spreading rumors. Rumors are not-so-good things that we heard from someone and without confirming if it is true or not, we spread it to other people. It eventually spreads to a lot of people and it possibly ruins the reputation and image of the person in the center of it. 

This would understandably result in conflicts. The same thing would happen if we betrayed someone’s trust by spreading their secrets. Matthew 5:9 says that peacemakers are blessed because they will be called children of God. Stirring up conflict by spreading secrets and rumors is not a good way of making peace and therefore not a good way of being a child of God.

Separation

Gossip hurts a lot of people. Hurt results in people drawing back from us. Our usual automatic response to pain is to pull away, right? When we accidentally touch something hot, or if we bump into something, our reaction is not to ask for more. Our response would be to pull back. We do not run towards pain. We run from it.

Gossip brings a world of hurt to a lot of people. Like physical pain, people’s response to emotional pain is also to pull away from what is causing it. This results in separation. Even good relationships built and strengthened by so many years can come tumbling down because of the hurt caused by gossip.

Stains

The victim of gossip is not the only one who is affected by all this. The ones who spread rumors and gossip are also affected. It stains us as it is going against the will of God. Also, it has consequences. It can rob us of peace. Knowing we did something wrong can take away our peace of mind. We can also experience shame. 

Another sad consequence of spreading rumors and gossip is that it marks us. We become labeled as gossipers. People would refrain from talking to us for fear of it getting out. People can even start to avoid us completely. Gossip ruins people.

What Does the Bible Say About Gossip?

What is gossip?

Gossip is not just about backbiting. Some of us think that gossip is all about saying bad and degrading things behind a person’s back. Although this is an aspect of gossip, it is not strictly limited to this. Gossiping can also mean betraying someone’s trust by spreading a private matter they shared with us in confidence.

Are gossiping and slander considered a sin?

Yes. We are taught to love one another. And we are taught to build relationships. We are taught to lift each other. We have never been taught to bring people down, to put a strain on relationships. Gossiping never aims to build people up. It is not a product of love. Therefore, it does not come from God and it is not of God because God is love.

How to differentiate gossip from news

There can be a thin line between spreading news and spreading gossip at times. How do we know when to stay quiet and when it is okay to talk? We can ask ourselves these questions before we do anything.

Am I breaking someone’s confidence?

It is important to respect people’s wishes. If someone told us a secret and made us promise to never share it with anyone, we should respect that. However, there are times when the secret is a life-and-death situation. Maybe someone’s life is in danger or someone’s life can be greatly affected by this. We can then seek professional help from someone trustworthy and who gives utmost importance to the welfare of the people involved.

Would it be okay if someone would share information about me?

Ask yourself. If the roles were reversed, would we be okay with other people sharing this information about us? If the answer is no, then we probably should refrain from sharing it. More often than not, putting ourselves in their shoes can get our perspective in order.

Am I about to share it with someone who can help the person?

Sometimes, people tell us things that are too heavy or too concerning and we fear for them. We must think about it, weigh our options, pros and cons, and if we decide that they need help from someone more capable than us in their area, we can ask for help.

The better thing to do though is to convince them to seek help from someone more capable. Let us reassure them that we would be with them every step of the way. 

4 Bible Verses About Spreading Gossip

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.”

It is not our role to judge. It is not in our values as Christians to spread baseless rumors.

Psalm 50:20

“You sit and testify against your brother and slander your own mother’s son.”

Gossip does not choose its victims. This is why we should always keep watch and avoid the temptation to participate in it.

Romans 1:29-30

“Being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents”

Participating in gossip in spreading unkind words about people behind their backs is not following the will of God. Turn back from this.

1 Timothy 5:13

“Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers but also busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they ought not to.”

We should prioritize Godly and holy things and thoughts in our lives.

3 Bible Verses About What Will Happen to People Who Gossip

Proverbs 6:16-19

“There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.”

There are three things here that are connected to gossip: lying tongue, false witness, and a person who stirs up conflict. All these things can be seen in gossip. Gossip may involve lies, and false witnesses, and it always involves conflict.

2 Corinthians 12:20

“For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorder.”

The Fellowship of believers is not exempted from conflicts and disagreements. But, we must put making peace our utmost priority.

Psalm 101:5

“Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly I will destroy. Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart I will not endure.”

God keeps His word and He is fair and just. He will not let sins go unpunished. There is punishment waiting for those that ruin other people’s reputations by spreading gossip.

3 Bible Verses That Teach Us How to Avoid Gossiping

1 Timothy 5:19

“Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses.”

There is credibility brought by numbers. But, the more important thing to consider is the credibility of the people standing as witnesses.

Exodus 20:16

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

This is part of the ten commandments. We are commanded to be truthful and not say anything untrue that would hurt our brothers and sisters.

Proverbs 18:7-8

“The mouths of fools are their undoing, and their lips are a snare to their very lives. The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts.”

Spreading gossip betrays confidence and this does not bring anything good to anyone, not for the people at the center of the gossip nor the person spreading them.

3 Best Bible Verses to Memorize to Help Avoid Gossip

Proverbs 21:23

“Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.”

We can never underestimate the peace that comes from our silence. So many conflicts and problems can be avoided in our silence.

Matthew 7:12

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

The Golden Rule. We have standards. We have a list of things that we want others to do and not to do to us. It seems only fair that we should give others the courtesy we expect from them.

Psalm 34:13

“Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit.”

God is the God of truth. If we go about spreading harmful and untrue words about other people, we are not honoring God’s nature.

How to Deal with Gossip and Lies Biblically

We may not be someone who participates in gossip and spreads rumors, but maybe there has been a time or two when someone shared some gossip with us. How should we deal with this?

Distract them

When someone comes to you with what you know is gossip, try distracting them by changing the topic into something good and positive like a most-awaited upcoming event, or something your child or a niece or nephew did. It can be subtle or it can be straightforward. This way, you turned their gossip into something better.

Say something good about the person

This is one of the most effective ways to avoid being caught up in a gossip web. The moment they start sharing tidbits of private information or baseless rumors, you can just say, “Oh speaking of them, did you know they brought me casserole when I was sick? That was so nice and thoughtful of them.” The person would most likely stop gossiping about them. Who knows? Maybe saying something good about the person can change their minds and perspectives.

Be straightforward yet polite

Just be direct. Tell them that you would rather talk about something else. If you are close to the person they are talking about, tell them that you respect the person and know that they are a good person. 

Pay attention to the holes in the story

If you notice that there are holes in the story like if they are contradicting themselves or things just do not add up, point it out to them. It may let them know that you are not easily swayed and if they genuinely believe the story, it may lead them to see that it is not real and make them walk away from it.

Invite them to pray

Now some people use prayer requests to gossip. They would start the sentence with, “Let’s pray for Sam. I don’t know if you’ve heard but I heard that he and his wife are having problems because of money. Divorce might even be a problem.” Most of the time, they do not even get to pray for the person because they are busy trading stories. 

If someone approaches you with gossip, gently and politely cut them off by asking them to pray with you. Focus the prayer on more positive things and you can even slip a request for God’s strength to avoid gossip.

In Summary

Gossip is never good. It will lead us down a rabbit hole. Also, it destroys people, relationships, trust, and credibility. It does so much harm to so many people.  We have been called to be holy. We have been called to love, to be peacemakers, to be blessings to others. Gossiping is not the way to do this.

It can be very tempting to participate. Whenever we are tempted, we can always ask God for strength and guidance to overcome the temptation. We must stay away from it because it will do a lot of good in the end. God will work through us.

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Alex Shute
EDITOR
Alex Shute, MBA
Alex is a family man and entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. His passion is to serve the global Church and bring people of diverse backgrounds together to learn & grow.