Rough Language & Hard Sayings of the Bible : LUSENET : HCDL-OLD : One Thread

Hopefully we can start out by locating and listing the rough language and hard sayings that are to be found in the Bible - all of them, so that we can examine their context, etc.


-- Charles Burgess (, October 29, 1998



I am beginning this by first "laying all of my cards on the table, face up". In other words, I want to share with you how I am apppoaching this. I'm not implying that these are the rules, or that everyone has to do it this way. Everyone is an adult here, each can determine for themselves how to best approach this. My way is not binding upon you.

First of all, I would like to assure all of you: that with every message/post that I read I will give it's author the benefit-of-the- doubt that he/she is trying (and is) to be: sincere; helpful; curious; intelligent; and worth my time. I do not try to read into the message the personality of it's author or make a judgement on any aspect of the author's personality from the content of the message, nor do I take things personally- I can't and won't do it, because of the limitations of this medium.

Most who communicate in e-forums are not best-selling authors, I've certainly NOT mastered the English language by any measure. It is too easy in a medium/forum such as this to come off as a know-it-all or a know-nothing-at-all, when in fact you are just trying to be helpful. Remember - I cannot hear the inflection in your voice or read your body language as you speak, all of which are vital clues in communication, which also is difficult even when face-to-face.

I have never been in a "Institutional Church." The very word - "church" as used in to New Testament, is not an institution.

All that I have known since coming to Christ 24 years ago, is the New Testament church, as described in the New Testament.

We are not Catholic nor Protestant, we are only christians, following the Holy Scriptures and the leading of the Holy Spirit, meeting from house-to-house with other christians who also want to be just christians, as described in the New Testament.

In other words, I have none of the "baggage" that leaving a "IC" would entail. But I am sensitive to the pain of those who have been traumatized in connection to a "IC"...weep with those who weep, rejoice with those who rejoice...

Through a OLD study, maybe a edifying inquiry into these hard sayings and rough language alluded to, in its real context, can be made. I begin by remembering that the apostle Peter stated that the scriptures are not subject to private interpretation. It is sometimes this private interpretation that can drive "scripture twisting". So, you will never hear these words form me: "I interpret this as...", etc.

I remember that Jesus thanked his Father above, for making the word of God so simple that the least of society would understand and respond to it, but hidden its understanding from the scribes and pharisees(read..."theologians") who couldn't comprehend this Christ. I read and interpret the scriptures just as I would other literature, yet with reverence for its Author. After all, God did in fact "write" the greatest work of literature that the world has ever known.

And I am guided by a few warnings about arguing over the meaning of words, etc. God didn't intend for our understanding of what He has to say, to differ to such a degree as it seems. In the Bible, it generally just means what it says. And when the Holy Spirit speaks, he doesn't say anything that differs much from the scriptures...He speaks mostly to the timing of it application in a particular situation. God does what He does, and says what He says, and means what He says and does.

As for me, I have no point to prove. The Lord asked of me for my unconditional surrender and obedience to His will...handed me the cup. I took it with both hands...and drank deeply, heartedly. Not my will, but let Thy Will be done. I have counted the cost.

Jesus said, "if you have done it to the least of these, my brethren, you have done it to Me." How I have treated my brothers and sisters in the body of Christ, is how I have treated Jesus Christ Himself...defines how I will treat you, my brothers and sister. This is a sobering realization. If you have counted the cost...then drink the cup.

your brother in Christ Jesus,


-- Charles Burgess (, October 29, 1998.

I'm not sure if this is going be an 'answer' but here goes....

Some horrid images from the OT >>>Ezekial was asked to eat dung for breakfast as a message to the Israelites.

The Israelites were asked to kill the men but take the virgins from the tribe of Benjamin as wives ( correct me here please.) Culural rules aside in my mind the eqivalent of rape or date rape...

Jesus talked with Samaratine women and ate with prostitutes and chose NOT to be offended. I think he that actualy enjoyed the contact with these 'real' people.... ( There is no hard evidence for this except that he did it often.)

Jesus called the pharasises a Unrinal. Hmmm, sounds swear wordish I think.

My point is? There is NO one style that God uses to speak to us. We should be ready and listening to all styles as a means for God to comunicate to our hearts.

BUT, if the message is debasing of a human or against the Holy Spirit then we need to ignore. TEST ALL words.....

-- Martin Irwin (, October 29, 1998.

should we use rough language in an email list

Here is my current take on this issue.

I think it is clear that there are numerous times in the scriptures where rough and offensive language is used.

But the question is: Does that mean that we should allow that type of language on HCDL.

The problem I see is the inherant problems in an email forum:

1. You cannot hear tonal inflections 2. You cannot see facial expressions or body language.

Therefore email is much harder to truly communicate in than face to face. It is far too easy to misinterpret what someone is saying in email, than it is face to face.

From our experience on HCDL, we see that it is very easy to misinterpret what someone is saying. Offense can be taken when none is intended. And online wars can start over a misunderstanding.

For this reason I think in email land we need to be extra careful to watch what words we use.

When rough language was used in the scriptures it was always face to face and real. To say that gives us the right to communicate that way in email, I think makes a jump that assumes too much.

Also, people process written communication much differently than they process spoken communication. To swear in print, and to use it to get your point across where someone actually hears you, requires a writing ability beyond most of our scope. Most swearing in print, merely causes the one written to, to stop hearing you.

Also this whole issue is: How do we know that we have the approval from God to swear in a specific situation. Obviously this is subjective at best. We have a very diverse group on HCDL. Opinions on either sides of issues might often feel they have the right to swear. Who's to judge which is God and which isn't. For the sake of civility and communication I think it would be best to lay off swearing on list.

At least that's how it looks from where I sit.


-- Barry Steinman (, October 30, 1998.

Hi, all.

I'm an angry guy, and at times I've taken lots of encouragement from the harsh words which Jesus and certain prophets used, 'cause I said harsh things, too. However, most of what gets said these days when referring to those harsh words is simply an expression of the flesh.

A Bible teacher I heard years ago said "A man is not qualified to be a prophet until, when he pronounces the judgment of God, he does it with tears in his voice." He was not talking about theatrical effect; he was talking about a man bearing the heart of God. God does not bring judgment readily, and even when He does, it has the purpose of redemption. The assessment, "This is irredeemable, I have to cut it off," is the most solemn and hurtful thing God could ever do, and He never does it without tears of regret and loss streaming down His face.

Have you ever been rebuked by a good boss? I have. The words may be harsh, but it doesn't feel like a rebuke, exactly. You go away feeling clean. You know you've been corrected; you also know you've been treated fairly, you've been loved, and you've been honored.

Have you ever had God call you a false prophet? I have. I've never felt more loved in my entire life. Stripes that wound scour away evil. He scourges every son whom He receives.

It is possible for a person to harden when rebuked; such a person may hear the love, but reject it because of pride. The Pharisees may have felt insulted by the harsh words of Jesus, but I doubt that they completely missed how he felt about them personally. Every word was calculated to redeem. He loved those people deeply; that's why He could say what he said.

So, when I hear harsh words, my question is, how clearly does the love of God show through the words? How much is redemption in the heart of the man who speaks them? Forget the delivery; are you hearing the heart of the Father? Careful, you might miss it because of your pride, but if you're willing to listen, you'll hear. Or maybe all you'll hear is personal hurt (anger is a secondary emotion, usually prompted by fear or pain,) and then you'll know you're hearing the flesh, and not the Father.

Personally, I know very few people who practice the kind of love to deliver a rebuke in the name of the Father consistently, and the ones I know who ARE capable, almost never do it. Nearly all the anger I hear in the Church is flesh.

-- Phil Weingart (, October 30, 1998.

Well, that's what I get for talking before listening...

I just read back through the discussion which prompted this OLD, including Chris Kirk's reply to Bud and Dude. There was nothing at all in that post, not one word, which constitutes "harsh words" in my mind. That was one of Kirk's milder posts, done in a beautiful spirit. He just used some words which our culture calls, improperly, "swearing." I was not offended in the least.

Of course, since there are those who are offended by these words, we should be careful with whom we use them. Chris did apologize, 'cause Earl Bennett was offended. Good. But there ain't a thing in scripture or good sense which says we shouldn't say "shit" when we talk about the things to which it refers, and we shouldn't say "asshole" when we're talking about original sin (as in, "...we're ALL assholes!"), etc.

We should be a great deal more concerned with completely polite and acceptable words being spoken entirely out of the flesh, resulting in division and discouragement. THOSE are "unwholesome words which we should not allow to proceed out of mouths." "Shit" spoken in a loving post like Chris' constitutes nothing of concern whatsoever.

Just my opinion.

-- Phil Weingart (, October 30, 1998.

Greatings: Martin, Barry, and Phil, in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

It is so good to have you to help this start.

Each of you has brought forth from your heart a vital perspective of rough language and hard sayings of the Bible. Each of us view this precious gemstone through different facets.

This can be a very difficult subject. The waters are very deep here, so lets us wade carefully. But not fearfully. Remember that Jesus walked upon the water. And not only Jesus, but Peter also...a mere human being...who as long as he kept his eyes focused of Jesus...walked on the water. Let us keep our eye on our Lord.

Martin: you have brought forth a few of the many passages of hard sayings. There are many, both in the OT and the NT. Your point is a valid one.

By examining all of the hard/rough sayings, I have seen an aspect of the "personality" of the Lord our God, that drove me to complete and total surrender to Him...He accepts nothing less.

Barry: you have brought forth a perspective toward the issue of the appropiate context in which hard/rough sayings take place, especially among the body of Christ.

Solomon stated that there is a time for everything under the live/ up/tear down...etc. And the apostle Paul told Timothy to study to show himself approved of God, RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD OF TRUETH. The word is the sword of the Spirit - we need to be concerned with "friendly fire".

Phil: you brought forth the perspective of our "tone", the how or in what manner of tone we use. Remember Amos?

Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount, whooing us toward the more excellent way. He also cleared the Temple, and gave the Scribes and Pharisees such a lashing that they were kind enough to return the favor...the trial...40 lashes...crucifiction...etc.

We have a good start. Now we can get our feet wet.

your brother in Christ,


-- Charles Burgess (, October 30, 1998.

Response to Phil,

Phil I think the issue here again is how easy it is for misunderstandings to develop in an email discussion. To you Chris's post was loving and not offensive. To others it was harsh and hurtful. Who is right? I think that is a mute point. Not really worth discussing. Chris's heart attitude is between him and God.

The issue is, we must be very careful in email communication not to offend, since we know how easily words can be miscontrued.

We know for a fact that harsh words *do* offend many on HCDL. For that reason alone we should not use them.

I agree that people can use completely polite and acceptable words spoken entirely out of the flesh, resulting in division and discouragement. THOSE are "unwholesome words which we should not allow to proceed out of mouths." But again how words are meant and how they are perceived are often quite different. You may take someones words to be ones causing division, when their intent was not to do that at all. I do agree we should be careful about polite words that are meant to offend. I suppose the english are the most well versed at using polite words in an offensive matter. And agree those need to be watched as well.

But we know harsh, agressive words and profanity definately do offend people on HCDL. They will definately cause division, and will cause many to tune out and not listen. So they should not be used for that reason alone.

The politie offensive ones are harder to discern. So, it definately behooves us to be ever so careful to be gentle and not offensive in our communication on HCDL.

At least that is how it looks from where I sit


-- Barry Steinman (, October 30, 1998.

Dear brothers in Christ,

How might the following passage bear upon the issue of "context" and its bearing on the use of language, polite or vulgar?

1 Cor 9:19 - 23 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel's sake...

What contexts/situations can be identified from this?

What might the nature of these contexts be?

your brother in Christ,


-- Charles Burgess (, October 31, 1998.

Dear Martin,

I have begun an exhaustive search for rough and hard sayings, and word searches. It is my hope to post a listing of these with book/ch/verse references, etc. This is something that we all can contribute to...share the burden.

yours in Christ,


-- Charles Burgess (, November 02, 1998.

Hi all, Some pretty good dialoguing going on here. I've been hit hard by the pleas for dialogue and such by Barry STieman and Hal ( who needs no last name.) SO here's my attempt at opening up a bit.

My wifes a goody for bringing things home to me. She hates it when I ask her to speak a certain way or reason in a manner in which I like or use words I like to hear. This hits home to me.

I suspose I hate it too. My english teacher used to grade me on my language and I hated it. I enjoy a good tongue bash with slighly swear like words. It seems to find a emotion in me that just doesn't get touched that often. I relate well to the prophets of the OT testement because of their basness. I relate to the down and outs simply because they don't mince words. They call a spade a spade.

So, when someone comes to me and wants to control my speech because in there opinion they've got the better or more efficient way or my way is just un-needed I balk. I run for the hills and start shooting.

I cannot see this. If I can't express myself the way that feels the best then heck what am I doing here in the first place. I need a home where I can lay back and chew the cud and be myself. God asks no more of me why should my brothers and sisters ask of me.

-- Martin Irwin (, November 16, 1998.

There is a book that used to be available through CBD and other sources titled "The Hard Sayings of the Bible". It was reputed to list all the "hard Sayings" found in scripture.

You might find it helpful in researching the subject (if it's still available).

God Bless, B.R. Clifton

-- Bobby R. Clifton (, November 16, 1998.

Well, for me it all comes down to God's will on this matter.

It seems clear to me:

"Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them." (Ephesians 4:29 NLT)

And the words of our Lord:

"Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? You must have the qualities of salt among yourselves and live in peace with each other." (Mark 9:50 NLT)

In love,

John Contabile Covina, CA

-- John Contabile (, November 24, 1998.

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