A Biblical Perspective of Verbal Abuse
by Kerby Anderson
The Bible clearly warns us about the dangers of an angry man.
Proverbs 22:24 says, "Do not associate with a man given to anger; or go with a hot-tempered man." And Proverbs 29:22 says,
"An angry man stirs up strife, and a hot-tempered man abounds in transgression."
It is not God's will for you (or your friend) to be in a verbally abusive relationship. Those angry and critical
words will destroy your confidence and self-esteem. Being submissive in a marriage relationship (Ephesians 5:22) does not
mean allowing yourself to be verbally beaten by your partner. 1 Peter 3:1 does teach that wives, by being submissive to their
husbands, may win them to Christ by their behavior. But it does not teach that they must allow themselves to be verbally or
Here are some key biblical principles. First, know that God loves you. The Bible teaches, "The LORD is close
to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." (Psalm 34:18)
Second, deal with your feelings of guilt. You may be feeling that the problems in your marriage are your fault.
"If only I would do better, he wouldn't be so angry with me." The Bible teaches in Psalm 51:6 that "Surely You desire truth
in the inner parts; You teach me wisdom in the inmost place." Even though you may have feelings of guilt, you may not be the
A related issue is shame. You may feel that something is wrong with you. You may feel that you are a bad person.
Psalms 139:14 says, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full
Finally, you should realize that you can be free from being a victim and agree with God that you can be free.
2 Corinthians 3:17 says, "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."
A key element in this area of verbal abuse will no doubt be confrontation of the abuser. It's important for
you to realize that confrontation is a biblical principle. Jesus taught about this in Matthew 18:15-20. I would recommend
that you seek help from a pastor or counselor. But I would also recommend that you gather godly men and women together who
can lovingly confront the person who is verbally abusing you. Their goal should be to break through his denial and lovingly
restore him with a spirit of gentleness (Galatians 6:1).
Verbal abuse is a difficult emotional problem, but there is hope if the abuser is willing to confront his
sin and get help.
© 2001 Probe Ministries International
About the Author
Kerby Anderson is the president of Probe
Ministries International. He received his B.S. from Oregon State University, M.F.S. from Yale University, and M.A. from Georgetown University. He is the author of several books, including
Genetic Engineering, Origin Science, Living Ethically in the 90s, Signs of Warning, Signs of Hope, and Moral Dilemmas. He
also served as general editor for Marriage, Family and Sexuality.
He is a nationally syndicated columnist whose
editorials have appeared in the Dallas Morning News, the Miami Herald, the San Jose Mercury, and the Houston Post.
He is the host of "Probe," and frequently serves as guest host on "Point
of View" (USA Radio Network).
He can be reached via e-mail at