Ephesians 4:31 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Ephesians 4:31, NIV: Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

Ephesians 4:31, ESV: Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

Ephesians 4:31, KJV: Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

Ephesians 4:31, NASB: All bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and slander must be removed from you, along with all malice.

Ephesians 4:31, NLT: Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.

Ephesians 4:31, CSB: Let all bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander be removed from you, along with all malice.

What does Ephesians 4:31 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul quickly rattles off six areas of sin which Christians should make a conscious effort to avoid.

First is bitterness, a defect in our attitude which can cause trouble with other people (Acts 8:23; Romans 3:14; Hebrews 12:15). Bitterness is closely related to jealousy (Romans 13:13), and to dissatisfaction (1 Timothy 6:6).

Paul's second flaw to be "put away" is wrath. The Greek term here is thymos, which implies something hot, fierce, and passionate. This could fairly be described as "rage." Anger which boils over to the point that it controls us, causing us to act wildly or carelessly, is not righteous anger, it is "wrath."

Third, Paul notes anger. Paul has recently made it clear that not all anger is a sin (Ephesians 4:26). And yet, anger is mentioned here as something to be "put away." While there is such a thing as "righteous anger," that kind of feeling is temporary, based on a specific situation, and rooted in a sense of righteousness. Jesus' clearing of the temple is the classic example (John 2:13–17). Paul's reference here is to the more worldly type of anger, which results from frustrations in life. This is the "persistent" anger which becomes a habit. Irritations and annoyances cannot always be avoided, but we can work to limit how much anger we express in our lives.

Fourth, Paul lists clamor, using the Greek word kraugē. This term implies noise, commotion, and uproar (Acts 23:9). Believers are not to be known as obnoxious, riotous, troublemaking, annoying people. This word is also translated as "quarreling," with Paul emphasizing that believers are to "put away" an argumentative attitude.

Fifth, Paul speaks against slander, which involves speaking false evils about others. The concept of slander doesn't only include lies, however. Any attempt to put others down, in an inappropriate way, is still "slander."

Sixth, Paul adds malice. In this case, he uses the word kakia, which implies evil intent. The word carries the idea of deliberate harm, or an intent to injure. This is the attitude which actively hopes to see others suffer consequences, harms, or troubles. Malice is the attitude which leads to revenge (Proverbs 20:22; Romans 12:19). Believers are not to be known for evil, but are to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).