Q. My 12-year-old son corrected an acquaintance when he used the F-word. John told him that he was breaking the third commandment to which the boy replied, “Show me where in the Bible it says I cannot use that word”. What specific Scripture can John reference in correcting this boy’s vulgar language?
A. The 3rd Commandment (Exodus 20:7) only covers misusing the name of the Lord. It was intended to prohibit putting a curse on another person by invoking the Lord’s name. Ordinary vulgar language is not covered there.
In Ephesians 4:29 Paul said it’s inappropriate for Christians to let any unwholesome talk come out of our mouths, that we should only speak to and about others in a way that’s uplifting to them.
In Ephesians 5:4 Paul went on to say that obscenity, foolish talk and coarse joking, are also out of place, but that we should instead let thanksgiving be our desired topic of discussion.
These are better verses to use in reminding other believers that coarse language is not appropriate for children of the King. Remember,
“You have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven” (Hebrews 12:22-23). That’s something to be thankful for.