“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be PUT AWAY from you, along with all malice. ” – {Eph 4:31}

Paul gives us a picture of two garments and the contrast between them… One is the picture of the old self, before conversion, the other is the new self, Christlike! One is  the self life, without God as Ruler and is like a sewerage with all its contents, foul odor versus a beautiful spring, teeming with life and goodness, blessings towards others!

John Wesley on one occasion was sharing the Gospel with a crowd and  had rotten fruit and vegetable thrown at him, hitting him on his coat, and clothes. When he had finished and left to his next destination, the first thing he did was change his clothes. He was not comfortable in filthy, soiled clothing. He put on clean, fresh clothes. He took the soiled off and put on a new clean outfit… this is what Paul is saying in this passage. He is writing to believers and as believers there are times when we are offended we choose to put on the old life, attitudes, actions in response and at that moment we are saying to the LORD, “I will not do as You say! I refuse to do things Your way, I reject Your right to rule and tell me how to live at this moment!” Sin is serious, shocking, offensive to God and damaging in our relationships

Look at bitterness’s companions…

1.– “ALL BITTERNESS“-{Pikria} –

Longstanding resentment which refuses to be reconciled. An unwillingness to forgive!! It keeps a person in continuous  animosity, that harbors resentment and grudges and keeps a record of wrongs. The person has been offended and instead of responding with Christlike behavior, forgiveness, chooses instead to fall back into the old way of responding, they choose un-forgiveness! They constantly play the offense over and over in their mind and it feeds their bitterness,  making them sour. It is a settled hostility, animosity, resentment, un-forgiveness! They set themselves up in opposition to the person. Sour, unkind. Resentful.

BE CAREFUL not to  take up a grudge and nurse it,  for it will grow into a root of bitterness and it will infect, influence others and not for their good, but their detriment! Your sin  can affect others!

Bitterness -“Pikria”-“To Cut.” Originally meant pointed or sharp, as describing arrows, fig. of what is sharp, penetrating to the senses, bitter repugnant taste or smell and finally what is “painful” to the feelings! It refers to something that is acidic, that will literally eat you alive…

“For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”   -{Acts 8:23} Bitterness is sin. A prisoner to sin. It is depravity!

“Pikria” was used literally to describe plants that produced inedible or poisonous fruit. Greeks defined this word as long-standing resentment, as the spirit which refuses to be reconciled. (think of it as synonymous with the deadly poison of an unforgiving spirit!) So many of us have a way of nursing our wrath to keep it warm, of brooding over the insults and the injuries which we have received. In the NT pikria is used in a metaphorical sense to describe animosity, resentfulness, harshness or an openly-expressed emotional hostility against an enemy. “Pikria’ defines a settled hostility that poisons the whole inner man (it does more damage to the one who is bitter, than to the intended “victim”!). Somebody does something we do not like, so we harbor ill will against him.” – {preceptaustn}

Bitterness is a self chosen state of resentment, animosity, that refuses to forgive and soils and spoils relationships! It is poisonous!

Bitterness embraced is love displaced! 


2. – “WRATH”

{“Thumos” from thuo= move impetuously, particulary as the air of wind, water, a violent motion or passion of the mind; move violently, rush along, describes Passion -as if breathing hard.”  – {preceptaustin} –

It conveys the idea of swelling and eventually bursting.To Explode, like a Volcano! Explosive! Blow Up! That which infuriates within and explodes as a result! “Bitterness leads to the explosion on the outside of what is going on in the inside!”{preceptaustin}

Jesus spoke the truth and they did not like it to such an extent they wanted to throw Him off  cliff. This “wrath’ can be so filled with hatred it is willing to kill  someone who crosses their path! “And all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw Him off the cliff.”-{Luke 4:28-29.}

Outbursts of Anger is characteristic of a person not in a right relationship with God…” 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  “-{Gal 5:19-20} and look at what is said of those who Practice such…” . I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.  “-{Gal 5:21}. It is a manifestation of a person who “…will not  inherit the kingdom of God!” “Wrath” outbursts of anger is serious it says a lot about the spiritual condition of an individual!

It is Explosive, Destructive Emotion!


3. – “ANGER” – {Orge} –

  • Is a long standing  septic emotioninner attitude of deep resentment. A smoldering, deep seated that refuses to be pacified. It is a Habit. It is nursed along and maintained. It is Resentment with hostility. It is Under The Surface. Holding it within. It is long-lasting, slow burning. Only God and the believer know about it. “For man’s anger does not bring about the life God desires”-{James 1:20}. The anger of man never achieves the righteousness of God, which the believer is to pursue! “…anger resides in the hearts of fools “-{Eccl 7:9}…”An angry person starts fights; a hot-tempered person commits all kinds of sin.”-{Prov 29;22} – “A  gentle answer turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up strife”-{Prov 15:1} “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered,”-{Prov 22:24} ” Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.“-{Ps 37:8} “

“Don’t give in to worry or anger; it only leads to trouble.{evildoing}.” – (Psalm 37:8). “People with quick tempers cause a lot of quarreling and  trouble.”–  {Proverbs 29:22) 

“…But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.”- {Col 3;8}


4. – “CLAMOR” -{Krauge}

When you get loud! Shouting! It is anger expressed through loud, shouting down words towards others! A Public outcry of strife  that reveals a loss of control. Scorn, scolding,  A Yelling tone. Shouting. A Loud Cry. {Acts 23:9 “a Great Uproar“… Matt 25:6 “Shout“… } Noisy, Accusative, Furious. It was used of an out of control crowd rioting in rioting. It was used of people who were loudly insistent making a demand or protest,. It is Noisy shouting! It comes out of an angry heart!


5. – “SLANDER”– {Blasphemia from blapto = hinder, injure, hurt, fromphemitospeak..}

It  refers to verbal abuse that seeks to wound, hurt someone’s reputation,  through evil reports, speaking… that which is hurtful to the reputation of others! It speaks with intent to harm! Speech that seeks to Defame, disrespect others. It is Abusive Language against a person’s reputation! Insulting speech. When used against God it is Blasphemy. When used against another person it is Slander! It comes froth from a bitter heart!

Blasphemia means literally to speak to harm and in general therefore means to bring into ill repute and so to slander, to defame (to harm the reputation of by libel or slander), speak evil of, to rail at (revile or scold in harsh, insolent, or abusive language and rail stresses an unrestrained berating), to speak calumny (noun form = a misrepresentation intended to blacken another’s reputation = the act of uttering false charges or misrepresentations maliciously calculated to damage another’s reputation), to calumniate (verb form = to utter maliciously false statements, charges, or imputations about – calumniate imputes malice to the speaker and falsity to the assertions)  “- {preceptaustin}

A Slanderer;

A. Separates Close Friends;  “A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip {slanderer} separates close friends.”-{Prov 16:8}

B. Is A Fool;  “Whoever conceals hatred with lying lips and spreads slander is a fool.” -{Prov 10:18}

C. Is Not Trustworthy, Reveals Secrets;  A slanderer {Gossip} walks around revealing secrets, but a trustworthy person keeps a confidence.” – {Prov 11:13 CEB} – “No one who gossipscan be trusted with a secret.., {Good News Bible} Just remember the person who is often gossiping to you will be gossiping about you!

D. Is A Bitter Person; In this context in Ephesians 4:31-  Slander comes forth from a bitter heart!

” Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.  ” – {James 4:11}


6. “MALICE”– {Kakia- Bad Feeling.} –

Evil. Wickedness. Inherhent {permanent } unrighteousness. Mean spirited,Vicious attitude. Spiteful. “bad heartedness.”

Malice describes a vicious intention and expresses the desire to hurt another and rejoices in it

“Malice (2549) (kakia) refers to the quality of wickedness and thus in a moral sense means depravity, vice or baseness (James 1:211Peter 2:16Acts 8:22). It is the opposite of arete (note) and all virtue and therefore lacks social value. It denotes a vicious disposition, evilness, ill-will, spitefulness. John Eadie writes that kakia is a generic term that seems to signify “badhardiness” and is the root of all the previous vices. In reference to behavior kakia conveys the idea of a meanspirited or vicious attitude or disposition as indicated by words such as malice, ill-will, hatefulness, and dislike. It is an attitude of wickedness as an evil habit of one’s mind.

Kakia is used in NT to describe the wickedness which comes from within a person. 

Trench says kakia is “that peculiar form of evil which manifests itself in a malignant interpretation of the actions of others, an attributing of them all to the worst motive”

” One Greek scholar terms malice “the vicious character generally.” Malice is not only a moral deficiency but destroys fellowship. To varying degrees, the unsaved spend their life maliciously. In Romans Paul describes those who have refused to acknowledge God and are given over by God to a depraved mind as “being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips.” (Romans 1:29  {www.preceptaustin.}

“It is the word for inherent unrighteousness. It is vicious malice. It is a viciousness that comes along with that old garment. All these are relationship words. Isn’t that incredible? We keep seeing that.”-{Wayne Barber}

These are  ungodly attitudes that effect the life!

These are the Old Garment!


The verse begins and ends with “ALL.” { Pas} The word means without exception. All these toxic, sinful, destructive thoughts and deeds are to be put away without exception from our daily living. Let all that is Inconsistent with Love be put aside! – {Read 1 Cor 13:47; 1 John 3:16-18; John 13:34-35; 1 Cor 16:14}

He says ” Put it away, get rid of it, Lay it aside.”

” “PUT AWAY”-  (airo) means to lift up something, such as an anchor of a ship to that the ship could set sail (see Acts 27:13).

It is used figuratively here to picture taking up and carrying away {removing} these evil works just mentioned along with malice. It means to make a clean sweep of these vices.” {preceptaustin}

“Imagine these vices as the worn out, filthy, dirty coat our old unregenerate self once wore continually, for it was the only “coat” we owned, having inherited it from our forefather Adam (Ro 5:12-note, 1Cor 15:22). Now, that the old self has been crucified with Christ and made effectively inoperative (it can still spring into action if “fed” or stimulated!), let us put off the old “coat” (put away) and put on the new garment of Christ-likeness, that the world might see Him in our words and works (His life lived out through us, a new life, a supernatural life, an aroma of life to some who see, and an aroma of death to others who see and reject Christ’s offer of eternal life).

  • The aorist imperative is a command to be carried out even with a sense of urgency. The means to let it BE put away – I get the idea that we have to yield to the Holy Spirit, so that He can exert the influence or effect on our hearts which allows us to carry out this command. And if you doubt that this is the sense, just try to put away one of these negative traits in the “heat of the moment!”-{preceptaustin}

But How?

Put off that thinking in v 31 and replace by putting in a new thinking PATTERN and actions in v 32.. When you come into a situation or confronted by a situation, it may be asked, “What do you bring to it?” You bring kindness, tenderness, forgiveness! It is not a matter of feelings but by faith choosing to honor God by obeying Him…  The LORD will empower us to do so  “For it is God who is at work IN YOU both to Desire and Do for His Good Pleasure.”- {Read Phil 2:13}. He gives you the desire to and He will empower you to… and the way to do so is to make the choices of …

“BE BEING kind and BE BEING compassionate to one another, BE BEING forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”- v32.  “HAS FORGIVEN YOU.” is in the aorist tense which means His forgiveness is Finished, full, final! So we are to treat others by treating others likewise. GIVING forgiveness!

BE…” means ” Become…Bring into existence…” The verb is to continually do this, practice this and more and more become this type of person. Where you are Be Being Kind, Tenderhearted, Forgiving!


1. Recognizing your sin -( v 31)
2. Repent of it
3. Replace with new thinking and practice ” keep Repeating, “Be Being Kind, Be Being Tenderhearted, Be Forgiving, Just as God In Christ has forgiven you.” v 32