Gossip – Are Your Words Helpful and Good or Hurtful?

Gossip can mess up friendships. It can also destroy a person’s reputation. Be careful not to say hurtful things about others.

Revised: Wednesday, July 17, 2019


The focus of this study, gossip, is the negative aspect of the activity; wicked gossip. FYI, to gossip or share info about others is not always a sin or negative.

A worthless person digs up evil [gossip] — it is like scorching fire on his lips (CJB). 28 Gossip is spread by wicked people; they stir up trouble and break up friendships (TEV) [Proverbs 16:27-28].

Think about this:

The word gossip is not found in the KJV or NKJV. But that does not mean it is not in the Bible. In fact, according to Dodson in 3 John 1:10 the word ‘prating’ is actually ‘gossip’ or ‘I gossip against’. So stay with me and complete this Bible study on gossip.

Key Points:

  1. Talebearer

    One who spreads rumors, scandal, etc., with the intent to do harm. It is listed as one of the ‘thou shalt not’s’ in the Moral Law. More related to slander than to gossip. Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: [Leviticus 19:16].

  2. Desired

    Are you quick to listen to gossip? Feed on this word and maybe it will change your mind. Wrongdoers eagerly listen to gossip; liars pay close attention to slander [Proverbs 17:4 (NLT)].

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What is gossip?

Picture of a sunset for the gossip bible study

spreading rumors – talebearer – busybody – whisperer


A gossip or ‘talebearer’ is one who spreads or repeats a rumor or things heard. It is usually of a personal, dramatic, or intimate nature about others.


  • Calumny – Slander; a false accusation of a crime or offense, knowingly or maliciously made to hurt someone’s reputation.
  • Fable – A story that is not true; a falsehood.
  • Inquisitor – A unnecessarily curious person; one who asks more questions than is necessary or proper; prying.
  • Newsmonger – One who spends much time in hearing and telling news; a person who spreads news; especially a gossip.

Proverbs 18:6-8

The interesting part of this wisdom is that it begins speaking of a fool’s words. Is it also foolish to gossip? Are the words dainty morsels or something that wounds?

A fool’s lips come into strife, and his mouth invites beatings. 7 A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are a snare to his soul. 8 The words of a gossip {talebearer} are like dainty morsels {wounds}: they go down into a person’s innermost parts. (WEB)

NOTE: the KJV used ‘talebearer’ from the Hewbrew נִרגָּן nirgan (neer-gawn’) 1. a slanderer; the Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB) add ‘gossip, talebearer’ to the meaning. Perhaps the KJV translators interpretion is questionable; ‘wounds‘ from the Hebrew לָהַם laham (law-ham’) v. 1. (properly) to burn in, i.e. (figuratively) to rankle. 2. to gulp, swallow greedily.

Proverbs 20:19

A gossip goes around revealing secrets, so don’t get involved with a talkative person (CJB). The one who reveals secrets is a constant gossip; avoid someone with a big mouth (HCSB). A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much (NIV).

NOTE: again the KJV translators use ‘talebearer’ this time from the Hebrew רָכִיל rakiyl (raw-keel’) n-m. 1. slander, carry tales, talebearer; informer. Others including those of the original Hebrew language use or acknowledge using the word ‘gossip’.

Most believe gossip involves three people, the gossip—for this discussion we’ll call the ‘busybody’, the ‘listener’ and the one whom the info is about—the ‘victim’. Sometimes, the ‘busybody’ does not know the identity of the ‘victim’; so the ‘victim’ can often also be the ‘listener’. Has this happened to you, have you been the listener/victim?

Gossip (talebearer) is also the title of a person who regularly tells personal or exciting info about others. Rumor – an unverified account or explanation of events circulating from person to person and pertaining to an object, event, or issue in public concern.

Wisdom speaks

Be careful, what you share with others may be shared with others. People that like to talk may not be trustworthy.

It is foolish to speak scornfully of others. If you are smart, you will keep quiet. 13 No one who gossips can be trusted with a secret, but you can put confidence in someone who is trustworthy [Proverbs 11:12-13 (GNT)].

Some theorists have proposed that gossip is actually a pro-social behavior intended to allow an individual to correct their socially prohibitive behavior without direct confrontation of the individual. By gossiping about an individual’s acts, other individuals can subtly indicate that said acts are inappropriate and allow the individual to correct their behavior (Schoeman 1994) – Wikipedia.

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Picture of desert wind power for the gossip bible study

Gossip – Are Your Words Helpful and Good or Hurtful?

A warning against ungodly behavior. Paul cautioned the church at Rome to not be like those who fail to obey God. Pay careful attention to the list of sins; whisperers=gossips or gossipers.

Romans 1:28-32

They did not like to retain God in their knowledge, so God gave them over to a reprobate (depraved) mind, to do things that are not fitting. 29 They are filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil mindedness; they are whisperers,

30 backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, unforgiving, and unmerciful. 32 They know the judgment of God, that those who commit such things are worthy of death! And yet, they not only do the same, but also approve of those who do them. (NSB).

NOTE: verse 29 ‘[They were] secret backbiters and gossipers’ – G5588 ψιθυριστής psithuristes (psith-oo-ris-tace’) 1. a secret slanderer. Verse 30 ‘slanderous’ KJV ‘backbiters’ – G2637 κατάλαλος katalalos (kat-al’-al-os) adj. 1. talkative against, i.e. a slanderer. (AMP) ‘Slanderers’


When you listen to gossip, you are just as guilty as the person telling the story, gossip cannot spread if no one listens. Jesus said in Luke 6:31 “And exactly as you would want people to treat you, treat them also the same.” Child of God, do you want others, sharing your secrets, saying things about you that are hurtful? Before you take part in gossip, think first, take the ‘victim’ position.

I actually overheard someone whom I respected talking about me in a negative way, it did not feel good. Unlike backbiting, gossip ‘whispering’ is not always done behind your back or when you are not present. Some people are so wicked, careless and mean that they will say hurtful things about you in-your-face.

2 Corinthians 12:19-21

All this time have you been thinking that we are defending ourselves to you? we speak before God in Christ: but we do all things, dearly beloved, for your strengthening. 20 For I fear that when I come, I shall not find you as I wish, and you shall not find me to be as you wish; lest perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of wrath, rivalries, slander, gossip, conceit, disorder:

21 And I fear that, when I come again, my God may humble me before you, and I shall mourn over many who have sinned and have not repented of the impurity and sexual sin and licentiousness which they have committed (RKJNT).

[Skip this note] NOTE: verse 20 ‘slander’, the KJV translators used ‘backbitings’ from the Greek καταλαλία katalalia (kat-al-al-ee’-ah) meaning defamation, evil-speaking, detraction, backbiting, slandering. ‘Gossip’ – the KJV translators used ‘whisperings’ from the Greek G5587 ψιθυρισμός psithurismos (psith-oo-ris-mos’) n. 1. whispering, i.e. secret detraction 2. (by implication) a slander 3. whispering, gossip.
Summary: both backbitings [slander] and whisperings [gossip] are listed as sinful behavior requiring repentance. Paul mentions this is the third time (2 Corinthians 12:14, 13:1) that he is coming to them; he warns them.” 2 Corinthians 13:2 “…and being absent now I write to them which heretofore have sinned, and to all other, that, if I come again, I will not spare:” [read 2 Corinthians 13:1-10].

Yours words

Malicious, evil or wicked conversation about others is never done in love or a loving manner. Are your words destroying others? Indeed, the whole law has been summed up in this one precept — ‘You must love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ 15 But, if you are continually wounding and preying on one another, take care that you are not destroyed by one another [Galatians 5:14-15 (OEB)].

Do your best to make your words good and helpful! When you talk, do not say hurtful things. But say what people need—words that will help others become stronger. Then what you say will help those who listen to you [Ephesians 4:29 (ICB)].

1 Timothy 3:8-13

Deacons, likewise, must be serious, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for gain; 9 Holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience. 10 Let these be tested first; then, if blameless, let them serve as deacons.

11 In the same way, the women must be serious, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things. 12 A deacon must be the husband of but one wife, ruling his children and his own house well. 13 For those who serve well in the office of deacon acquire for themselves a good standing, and great boldness in their faith in Christ Jesus (RKJNT).

NOTE: verse 11 ‘malicious gossips’, the KJV translators used ‘slanderers’ from the Greek διάβολος diabolos (dee-ab’-ol-os) {Strong’s G1228} 1. a slanderer (used only once in NT) 2. (specially; most used in NT) Satan; the Devil 3. prone to slander, slanderous, accusing falsely a calumniator, false accuser, slanderer.

Giving birth used to be a social (ladies only) event, in which a pregnant woman’s female relatives and neighbours would gather. As with any social gathering there was chattering and this is where the term gossip came to mean talk of others.

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Gossip wrap-up

The Scriptures advise you to not be a gossip. It also suggests that you avoid people that spread gossip.

2 Timothy 3:1-5

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these (NASB).

NOTE: verse 3 ‘malicious gossips’, the KJV translators used ‘false accusers’ again from diabolos (‘slanderers’). 2 Timothy 3:3 (SENT) They’ll be callous and obstinate. They’ll spread vicious rumors. They’ll be wild and out of control, with no love of what’s good.

Matthew 12:35-36

A good person, from his good stores, produces good things; while an evil person, from his evil stores, produces evil things. 36 I tell you that for every careless thing that people say, they must answer on the ‘day of judgment (OEB).

Gossip in the body of Christ is not new, but I hope you understand, it is a sin when it is not helpful and good. The message in 2 Timothy 3:3 and 5; people will gossip and be ‘false accusers’, but we must avoid them, do not take part in talking about others. I pray that you practice self-control. It is one way to make sure you are not guilty of corrupt/evil speaking.

1 Thessalonians 5:21-23

Put everything to the test. Accept what is good and don’t have anything to do with evil. I pray that God, who gives peace, will make you completely holy. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept healthy and faultless until our Lord Jesus Christ returns (CEV).

Check your words, are they good and helpful or hurtful? Be blessed my friends avoid wicked gossip and have a wonderful day— Tim ☺.

Bible study Scriptures Outline

Note: parenthesis (#) enclose the key verses.

Summary: Proverbs 16:27-28; Leviticus 19 (16); Proverbs 17:4.

What is Gossip? Proverbs 11:12-13, 18:6-8 and 20:19.

Whisperer: Ecclesiastes 7:21-22; Romans 1:18-32 (29-30). Luke 6:27-36 (31); 2 Corinthians 12:14-21 (19-21); Galatians 5:7-15 (14-15). Ephesians 4:25-32 (29); 1 Timothy 3:8-13 (11).

Wrap-up: 2 Timothy 3:1-9 (1-5); Matthew 12:33-37 (35-36); 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28 (21-23).

Related articles

Slander || Backbiting || Self-control

Question for “Gossip – Your Words Helpful and Good?”: Is your conversation about others helpful and good?

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Copyright information:


(CJB) Taken from the Complete Jewish Bible by David H. Stern. Copyright © 1998. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, 6120 Day Long Lane, Clarksville, MD 21029. www.messianicjewish.net. || (GNT) and (TEV) Scripture quotations marked (GNT) are from the Good News Translation in Today’s English Version- Second Edition Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society. Used by Permission. || (HCSB) Scripture quotations marked HCSB®, are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. HCSB® is a federally registered trademark of Holman Bible Publishers. || (ICB) Scripture taken from the International Children’s Bible®. Copyright © 1986, 1988, 1999 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


(NASB) Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. || Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. || (The Message) Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.


Both references to wikipedia are from http://en.wikipedia.org || Dodson

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  1. Gossip
    Wisdom says you should avoid anyone who talks too much (i.e., a #gossip). Gossip is evil talk… Click/Tap the link below 4 more.

    Newly enhanced for mobile devices ? have a fabulous weekend!

    Message in the picture:
    Gossip reveals secrets and breaks up friends

    Scriptures for the day:
    Proverbs 11:13 Gossips can’t keep [go/walk around revealing] secrets, but a trustworthy person can [keeps a confidence; covers up a word].
    [Expanded Bible (EXB)]

    Proverbs 20:19 A person who talks about others [a gossip] tells secrets. So avoid anyone who talks too much.
    [New International Readers Version (NIRV)]

    Proverbs 16:27-28 Evil people look for ways to harm others; even their words burn with evil.

    28 Gossip is spread by wicked people; they stir up trouble and break up friendships.
    [Good News Translation (GNT)]

    Please share this with your family and friends!
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    Saturday, September 02, 2017

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