by Mike Johnson

The story is told of a farmer who drove his team of mules into town, but he was very late in returning. His wife asked him what had taken so long. The farmer replied, "Well, on the way back I had to pick up the preacher, and from then on, these mules didn't understand one word I said." Although this is a humorous story, it is a story which illustrates the hypocritical attitude of many. The typical person today, however, probably would not care whether or not a preacher was present when he used profanity.

Profanity has become very common and in fact is very acceptable in our society today. Most movies playing at the theater today have dialogue saturated with vulgarity. Profanity is also being used much more frequently on television and words are being used which would not have been allowed just a few years ago. In everyday society, bad language is at an all time high. People can use profanity in almost any setting without fear of censure. "Toilet language," "sex language," and the use of God's name in vain is extremely popular.

The Christian, however, no matter how wicked that society gets, is to avoid profanity. Colossians three discusses the new life in Christ. It points out that Christians are to put off the old man with his sin and put on the new man. Verse eight lists various sins that Christians are not to practice such as anger, wrath, and blasphemy. It also points out that Christians are to put off "filthy communication" ("filthy language" NKJV) from their mouths.

Ephesians 4:29 says, "Let no corrupt communications ("unwholesome words" NASB) proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying that it may minister grace to the hearers." Instead of using "corrupt communications," we are to use the kind of speech which "edifies" and "ministers grace" to the hearers. Actually, to use corrupt communication is to "grieve" the Holy Spirit (v. 30).

The standards of the Christian is to be higher than the standards of the world. No matter how filthy the language of the world becomes, the Christian is not to use profanity. He is to put away all "filthy language."


[Editor’s Note: Thanks to Mike Johnson for the article! Mike can be reached at: Mike Johnson, 2137 Penhall Drive NE, Huntsville, AL 35811,]

Email the Editor at