© 1999 James A. Fowler

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I. Various words used in Scripture.

    A. Hebrew word rakil
Lev. 19:16 - "you shall not go about as a slanderer"
         Prov. 11:13 - "he who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets"
         Prov. 20:19 - "he who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets"
         Jere. 6:28 - "rebellious, going about as a talebearer"
         Jere. 9:4 - "goes about as a slanderer"
    B. Greek word psithurismos - "to whisper" - psst
         Rom. 1:29 - filled with unrighteousness, full of deceit, gossips, slanderers"
         II Cor. 12:20 - "slanderers, gossip.."
    C. Greek word phluarus - "to babble"
         I Tim. 5:13 - "gossips and busybodies"
    D. Greek word diabolos - "to throw through, to slander"
         I Tim. 3:11 - "malicious gossips"
         II Tim. 3:3 - "malicious gossips"
         Titus 2:3 - "malicious gossips"

II. Defining gossip.

    A. To spread secrets or rumors - Prov. 11:13; 20:19
    B. False accusations, slander
    C. To reveal personal facts about another.
         1. "Did you know...?" "Have you heard...?"
         2. What information about others is legitimately passed on to others?

III. Biblical evaluation of gossip.

    A. Antithesis of righteousness - Lev. 19:16; Prov. 11:9; Rom. 1:29
    B. Antithesis of faithfulness - Prov. 11:13
    C. Product of corrupt mind - Rom. 1:28
    D. Used by wicked people - Jere. 6:28
    E. Stirs up trouble - Jere. 9:4
    F. Breaks relationships - Prov. 11:9; 16:28
    G. Causes anger - Prov. 25:23
    H. Epidemic among those who do not know God - Rom. 1:28-32; II Cor. 12:20; II Tim. 3:3
    I. Gossip is sin - diabolic - contrary to character of God
         1. ego-enhancing - tear others down to build self up
         2. comparison

IV. Gossip in the midst of Christian community.

    A. Violates and dissipates "community of trust" in Body of Christ.
    B. Destructive, divisive
    C. Done subtlely under pretense of prayer requests
    D. Church discipline sometimes necessary

V. Avoiding gossip.

    A. Love does not act unbecomingly - I Cor. 13:5
    B. Choose your mind-set - Phil. 4:8; Col. 3:2
        1. Old saying:
             "Simple people talk about other people.
             Average people talk about things.
             Wise people talk about ideas."
    C. Do not say anything about another person that you would not be willing to say to directly.
    D. How should we respond when someone begins to gossip?
         1. Don't participate
         2. Avoid - Prov. 20:19
         3. Change subject
         4. Confront

VI. Practical considerations of passing information about another.

    A. Letters of recommendation.
    B. Preaching illustrations.
    C. Counseling confidentiality.
    D. Those in positions of authority.



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