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 WHAT IS "GOSSIP"?
  

 

 

WHAT IS “GOSSIP”?  

Surprisingly the word gossip is not found in the KJV version of the Bible although some modern translations use that word in place of  the KJV "backbiter or whisperer".

Webster 1826 Dictionary defines "gossip" as:

"One who runs from house to house, tattling and telling news; an idle tattler.  

A definition of how the word gossip is used in Modern English reads:

1. rumor or talk of a personal, sensational or intimate nature

2. a person who habitually spreads intimate or private rumors or facts

3. trivial, chatty talk or writing.

Is gossip sin?  According to those definitions gossip could not be classified as a sin because sin is "transgression of the law. "   None of those definitions could be construed as transgression of the ten commandments.

The negative aspect of gossip:

"Gossip is distinguished from sharing information in two ways:

1. Intent. Gossipers often have the goal of building themselves up by making others look bad and exalting themselves as some kind of repositories of knowledge.

2. The type of information shared. Gossipers speak of the faults and failings of others, or reveal potentially embarrassing or shameful details regarding the lives of others without their knowledge or approval. Even if they mean no harm, it is still gossip."

This kind of "sharing information" may not be sin but could easily cross over the line of  "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.".   And yet there could be situations where it would be good to warn others of  "embarrassing or shameful details regarding the lives of others without their knowledge or approval" if they need that information to avoid injury or harm.

When would gossip be a sin?

The KJV does speak of  "backbiters and whisperers". The confusion about gossip arises when Christians use the  word "gossip" ("Talk of a personal, sensational or intimate nature.")  in place of "backbiters or whisperers"  which refers to lies or intent to harm another.

Rom 1:29  Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,  Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

And again in  2nd Corinthians:

2Co 12:20  For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults:

Gossip  (backbitings, whisperings,)  would certainly be a sin if the accusations were not true.  We can also be certain that if our intent is to harm the reputation of another it would be contrary to Jesus' teaching of the Golden Rule:

Mat 7:12  Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

As Jesus taught us it is the intent of the heart which God judges.  When we "...speak of the faults and failings of others, or reveal potentially embarrassing or shameful details regarding the lives of others without their knowledge or approval."  we must be very careful that what we say is true and spoken without intent to harm another or lift up ourselves.

dk


DEFINITIONS:

 Whisperers:  (Greek) psithuristēs  a secret calumniator:
Caluminator:    To make maliciously or knowingly false statements about.

 Backbiter:  (Greek) Katalos:  talkative against, that is, a slanderer
 Slander:  A false and malicious statement or report about someone.

gossip:   (Modern English)

1. rumor or talk of a personal, sensational or intimate nature

2. a person who habitually spreads intimate or private rumors or facts

3. trivial, chatty talk or writing.

The Seven Deadly Deceptions Of Counterfeit Christianity
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