While words are “just words,” every word carries a meaning and an influence that is used to communicate and that’s why words matter. Our ability to use words to communicate is a gift from God called language. How we use language is a choice by man and as with most things, there is a good choice and a bad choice in how words are used.
Strictly speaking, profanity means to take God’s name in vain—to profane it. Dictionary.com defines it as an adjective meaning “characterized by irreverence or contempt for God or sacred principles or things; irreligious” and as a verb meaning “to misuse (anything that should be held in reverence or respect); defile; debase; employ basely or unworthily.” The Bible gives examples of profanity, including:
God commanded holiness of the priests of Israel and commanded that they not profane (pollute, debase) themselves (Lev 21:4)
God spoke of Judah profaning (violating) God’s holiness when they aligned themselves with pagan nations (Mal 2:11).
We are never to profane God in any way, not His name, His Person, His statutes, His teaching or anything else that is of Him or represents Him. Why? Because He is holy and therefore is due all honor and respect.
A lot of words used today are called profanity but are actually just vulgar speech. Vulgar speech is defined by dictionary.com as, “characterized by ignorance of, or lack of, good breeding or taste:” It’s really more a matter of propriety that we refrain from using vulgar speech.
Language is a gift from God and the words that make up a language should be respected and used appropriately.
Language (using words) is how we communicate and, in our communication, we are to reflect God. That’s why the apostle Paul commands us to avoid foolish speech and coarse joking (Eph 5:4) because by avoiding such and by choosing our words wisely, we honor the One who gave us words, the One we represent—Jesus.
Christian apologists Alex McFarland and Shari Abbott answer some of life's many questions concerning the gospel, faith, and the Bible by sharing Truth for a New Generation and Reasons for Hope found only in Jesus. For more information about apologist, evangelist, author, and religion and culture analyst, Alex McFarland, visit www.alexmcfarland.com. For more information about Shari Abbott, executive director of Reasons for Hope* Jesus, click here.
Truth for a New Generation (TNG) serves nationwide, featuring a multi-year conference tour and student-led club program to equip teenagers, parents, grandparents, and others who lead them to live for God. TNG's mission is to creatively communicate a compelling Christian worldview to the next generation by giving answers to tough questions, based on the truths of Scripture, and to build up the Body of Christ to stand strong and boldly proclaim the gospel in the world. For more information and resources visit www.truthforanewgeneration.com.
Be Ready Always...
to give a reason for the Hope that you have (1 Peter 3:15). When you can’t share the gospel with your words, share it by leaving tracts that tell people about God's grace.
When leaving a tract, always be diligent to pray about the short gospel message. Pray that it be found by someone who is in need of Jesus’ saving grace, and pray that the person will have a tender heart and open ears to receive the gift Jesus desires to give them.
By the power of the Holy Spirit, even a small tract can help in turning a broken sinner from darkness to light.
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