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What Does the Bible Say about Anger?

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The Bible doesn't say "Never be angry." In fact, it portrays Jesus, the perfect man, the Son of God, driving the greedy money-changers out of the Temple ( ). We are expected to be angry at oppression, at the injustice in the world, at blatant cruelty -- in other words, angry at sin.

But this isn't the kind of anger most of us feel. Don't we usually feel anger -- sometimes boiling rage -- at being slighted, ignored, insulted? Don't pride and ego lead to most of our anger? This kind of anger the Bible warns against. It promises sad consequences if we persist in it.

My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Your anger can never make things right in God's sight. James 1:19-20

Don't be quick-tempered, for anger is the friend of fools. Ecclesiastes 7:9

Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God. For it is written, "I will take vengeance; I will repay those who deserve it," says the Lord. Instead, do what the Scriptures say: "If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink, and they will be ashamed of what they have done to you." Don't let evil get the best of you, but conquer evil by doing good. Romans 12:19-21

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger. Proverbs 15:1

Stop your anger! Turn from your rage! Do not envy others -- it only leads to harm. Psalm 37:5

A fool is quick-tempered, but a wise person stays calm when insulted. Psalm 12:16

Stay away from fools, for you won't find knowledge there. Proverbs 14:17

Keep away from angry, short-tempered people, or you will learn to be like them and endanger your soul. Proverbs 22:24-25

Mockers can get a whole town agitated, but those who are wise will calm anger. Proverbs 29:8

A hot-tempered person starts fights and gets into all kinds of sin. Proverbs 29:22

"I say, if you are angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you say to your friend, `You idiot,' you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell." Matthew 5:22

"Don't sin by letting anger gain control over you." Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry. Ephesians 4:26

Now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don't lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old evil nature and all its wicked deeds. In its place you have clothed yourselves with a brand-new nature that is continually being renewed as you learn more and more about Christ, who created this new nature within you. Colossians 3:8-10

The Book of God's Promises, copyright 1999 by J. Stephen Lang. All rights reserved, used with permission.

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About The Author

J. Stephen

J. Stephen Lang is the author of more than ten books about the Bible, including the bestselling The Complete Book of Bible Trivia, 1,001 Things You Always Wanted to Know About the Bible but Never Thought to Ask, The Bible on the Big Screen, Everyday Biblical Literacy, and The Complete Book of Bible Promises. Lang is a regular contributor to Today's Christian, Discipleship Journal, Christian History and other periodicals. He lives in Seminole, Florida.