21 Bible Verses About Anger

Consider what the Bible says about anger

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The Bible says, 'Be Angry and Sin Not' .

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All people feel anger at times. Anger is a normal, healthy emotion, and in itself, is not a problem. But unresolved anger left to fester and grow can fan the flames of bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness, and lead to a host of hindrances in the Christian life. As we consider these Bible verses about anger, we'll look for clues to finding hidden, unresolved anger and how to deal with it in a way that's pleasing to God.

What Does the Bible Say About Anger?

The Bible has much to say about anger. It is mentioned more than five hundred times in Scripture. Ephesians 4:26 tells us that anger is a God-given emotion and not a sin. How we deal with our anger determines whether we sin.

Anger is a natural reaction to injustice, as we see in Jesus Christ’s response to the hardened hearts of the religious Pharisees: "And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart" (Mark 3:5, ESV).

As a positive, healthy emotion, anger inspires problem-solving measures and compassionate responses. But aggressive, hate-filled displays of anger are sinful and unhealthy and typically cause injury, hurt, sadness, fear, and pain in others.

Both God and humans express anger. When used by God, anger is often described as God's wrath and refers to his absolute opposition to sin and evil: "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness" (Romans 1:18, NIV).

Be Angry and Sin Not

The Bible reveals that there are justifiable times when Christians may become angry. Jesus himself became angry (Matthew 21:12; Mark 3:5; 10:14; John 2:13–17). But when we experience anger, we must be extra vigilant in how we act, for righteous anger does not give us an excuse to sin.

Anger that results in sin could mean saying cruel words or behaving in harmful ways toward others. While it may be impossible for us to avoid angry feelings, we can keep ourselves from sinning.

When we let anger simmer in our hearts for more than a day, it allows the devil to gain control over our attitudes, our actions, and our relationships. And when we give him a foothold, we open ourselves up to worse anger and more sin. As Jesus taught us, we should deal with unresolved anger right away, before the day is over:

Ephesians 4:26-27
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. (ESV)

Psalm 4:4
Don't sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent. (NLT)

Psalm 37:8
Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper—it only leads to harm. (NLT)

Proverbs 15:1
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (ESV)

Proverbs 29:8
Mockers stir up a city, but the wise turn away anger. (NIV)

Proverbs 29:22
An angry person stirs up conflict, and a hot-tempered person commits many sins. (NIV)

James 1:19-20
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. (NIV84)

Anger Resides in the Lap of Fools

The Bible teaches that holding on to anger makes us foolish. Prolonged feelings of anger point to an unforgiving heart toward past offenses and people who have hurt us. This kind of gnawing unforgiveness eventually leads to resentment, deep bitterness, and even physical sickness that can harm us first and other relationships and people.

Short-tempered irritability is a sign of unresolved anger and often expresses itself in criticism or sarcasm disguised as teasing. It can also erupt into fury, contempt, violence, and abusive behaviors. No one wants to be seen as a fool, but it will only be a matter of time before our foolishness is revealed if we hang onto anger:

Ecclesiastes 7:9
Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools. (NIV)

Proverbs 14:17
A quick-tempered person does foolish things, and the one who devises evil schemes is hated. (NIV)

Proverbs 14:29
Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly. (ESV)

Proverbs 19:11
Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs.

Proverbs 29:11
Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end. (NIV)

Proverbs 30:33
As the beating of cream yields butter and striking the nose causes bleeding, so stirring up anger causes quarrels. (NLT)

Matthew 5:22
But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an 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. (NLT)

Get Rid of Anger

If you suspect you might have anger hidden in your heart, resolve to follow the Lord's directive to get rid of it. A wounded spirit is one of the main reasons for harboring anger. We tend to build walls of protection when we've been rejected, abandoned, or emotionally hurt. Anger is a powerful defense mechanism. Anger can also be a response to fear and frustration. Examine your heart to see if you have hidden anger and ask God to help you rid yourself of it.

Colossians 3:8
But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. (NLT)

Galatians 5:19–21
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (NIV)

Ephesians 4:29–32
Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not bring sorrow to God's Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of
redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. (NLT)

1 Timothy 2:8
Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. (NIV)

James 4:1–3
What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don't they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don't have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can't get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don't have what you want because you don't ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don't get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure. (NLT)

Don't Befriend Angry People

The Bible teaches that our friends inevitably influence our character. Since we tend to become like the people we associate with, there's wisdom in not befriending angry people.

Proverbs 22:24
Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare. (ESV)

2 Timothy 2:23–25
Again I say, don't get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people's hearts, and they will learn the truth. (NLT)

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Fairchild, Mary. "21 Bible Verses About Anger." Learn Religions, Feb. 9, 2021, learnreligions.com/bible-verses-about-anger-5085532. Fairchild, Mary. (2021, February 9). 21 Bible Verses About Anger. Retrieved from https://www.learnreligions.com/bible-verses-about-anger-5085532 Fairchild, Mary. "21 Bible Verses About Anger." Learn Religions. https://www.learnreligions.com/bible-verses-about-anger-5085532 (accessed March 23, 2023).