Monday, May 30, 2011

Summary of Philippians 4:8 on Swearing

Definition of Swearing: Crude and offensive language (and/or action) which often insults God and/or the recipient thereof. Includes (for this study) profanity, obscenities, epithets, and cursing.

There’s only two qualities left to examine from Philippians 4:8—the two overarching principles of this verse: “If anything is excellent or praiseworthy…”

So is swearing excellent or praiseworthy? (Excellence: anything that sets its craft over and above others for its good quality. Praiseworthy: brings praise to God.)

While swearing (both in the broader sense of insults to the narrower definition of obscenity and profanity) can be tactfully handled, it rarely is and overall usually does not show excellence in the use of language; rather it often reflects a degradation of words.

Likewise, swearing is almost never God-honoring. There are rare occasion a true curse may be called for, and the broadest sense of to insult can be employed in this way, as seen in the non-derogatory types of sarcasm. But most language of this category is an insult of God and/or the good He has made. As a result, most of it is not praiseworthy either.

And so what do we learn from this analysis of swearing? While it is a part of our real world (true), most of it is not respectful (noble), is not reflective of God’s character and commands (right), would contaminate us upon leaving our mouths (pure), does not please the senses or move the heart toward love (lovely), and rarely has a good reputation (admirable). As a result, swearing has very little to justify its use in fiction.

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