The corrosive nature of malice can poison relationships and breed negativity.
If you seek insights on overcoming malice and embracing kindness, join us on a transformative journey through verses in the Bible that address this destructive emotion.
Discover the teachings and wisdom contained within these scriptures, offering guidance on cultivating love, compassion, and forgiveness to counteract the toxic effects of malice.
Also Read: 21 Bible Verses about Evil Thoughts (With Commentary)
Bible Verses about Malice
Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.
This proverb highlights the destructive nature of malice, as it incites conflict and discord. Love, on the other hand, is an antidote to malice, as it has the power to forgive and cover offenses.
1 Peter 2:1
So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.
As part of Christian living, this verse urges believers to rid themselves of malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander. Instead, we are called to embrace a pure heart and sincere love for one another.
For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.
This verse explicitly links malice to selfish ambition and jealousy, stating that it leads to disorder and every vile practice. As followers of Christ, we are called to purity and humility, which stand in direct contrast to selfish motives and desires.
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
In this passage, Paul admonishes the believers to rid themselves of all malice, along with bitterness, anger, slander, and other negative attitudes that can lead to division. Instead, they should embrace forgiveness and love, imitating Christ’s example.
But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.
Similar to Ephesians 4:31, this verse instructs believers to remove malice along with other destructive attitudes and behaviors such as anger, wrath, slander, and obscene talk. Instead, they should pursue godly character and speech that edifies others.
1 Corinthians 14:20
Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.
As children lack discernment and are easily swayed to harm others, believers must strive for mature thinking and behavior. This includes avoiding malice and other harmful attitudes and instead seeking love, wisdom, and faithfulness.
For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.
Paul reminds Titus and the readers that they too were once enslaved to malice and envy before they received salvation. By acknowledging their struggles, they can more fully understand the grace and mercy that they have received and extend it to others.
1 John 3:15
Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
This verse illustrates the gravity of malice as it equates hatred towards one’s brother as being a murderer. This extreme comparison highlights the severity of harboring malice and the need to repent and seek reconciliation.
Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
This verse encourages believers to turn away from any evil attitudes and actions, including malice, and actively seek ways to promote peace and reconciliation. Pursuing peace requires intentional action and reflects the character of Christ.
But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
Jesus’ teaching on loving one’s enemies reiterates the importance of living a life free from malice. He commands us to pray for those who harm us, allowing us to seek healing and forgiveness in our relationships.
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
This passage lists various works of the flesh, including enmity, strife, and jealousy, which are linked to malice. It emphasizes that engaging in such activities can lead one to forfeit their inheritance in the kingdom of God. As believers, we are called to live by the Spirit and bear fruit that reflects God’s character.
2 Corinthians 12:20
For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder.
Paul expresses his concern that the believers in Corinth may have harbored malice towards each other, leading to quarreling, slander, and disorder. His words serve as a warning against the dangers of allowing malice to fester and divide a community.
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.
This verse instructs believers to cultivate genuine love towards others while also despising evil and holding onto what is good. It emphasizes the importance of rejecting malice and embracing love as a way of life.
1 Peter 3:9
Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.
This verse challenges believers to resist the temptation to retaliate when they are wronged or insulted. Instead, they are called to bless others, which reflects Christ’s sacrificial love for us.
Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
This verse highlights the value of loving others, explaining that it fulfills the law. By loving our neighbors, we will not harm them with malice or other negative attitudes and actions.
Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles,
This proverb warns us against rejoicing when our enemies are defeated or stumble. It challenges us to resist the temptation to be ruled by malice and, instead, embrace love and humility towards others.
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
Jesus’ teaching on forgiveness highlights the importance of rejecting malice and instead extending grace and mercy towards others. Forgiveness acknowledges our own need for God’s forgiveness and reflects our desire to be like Christ.
Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips and harbors deceit in his heart; when he speaks graciously, believe him not, for there are seven abominations in his heart.
This proverb illustrates the deceitful nature of malice, as those who harbor it may pretend to be gracious while harboring ill intentions. It reminds us to be discerning and cautious in our relationships, especially when dealing with those who seek to harm us.
1 Peter 1:22
Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart
This verse emphasizes the importance of sincere, brotherly love among believers. It encourages us to pursue love from a pure heart, which cannot coexist with malice and other negative attitudes that harm relationships.
with perverted heart devises evil, continually sowing discord,
This proverb describes the person who harbors malice towards others, using their perverted heart to continually sow discord and cause harm. It warns believers not to imitate their behavior and instead pursue love and unity in all their relationships.
What does the Bible say About Malice?
In the Bible, malice is portrayed as a negative and destructive attitude or intention that resides in the human heart. It is often associated with a desire to harm others or engage in wicked actions deliberately. The concept of malice is repeatedly condemned and discouraged throughout the Scriptures.
One of the clearest statements about malice can be found in the New Testament, in the letter of the Apostle Paul to the Ephesians (Ephesians 4:31), where he admonishes believers to “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.” This verse highlights malice as a part of “all types of evil behavior” that Christians should avoid.
In various other passages, the Bible urges followers to replace malice with love, kindness, and forgiveness. For instance, in Colossians 3:8-9, Paul again advises believers to “rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” Instead, they are encouraged to “clothe themselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” (Colossians 3:12).
Moreover, the teachings of Jesus also emphasize the importance of loving one’s enemies and praying for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:43-44), which stands in direct contrast to harboring malice or seeking revenge.
Overall, the Bible’s message regarding malice is clear: it is an attitude that contradicts the principles of love, kindness, and forgiveness taught in Christianity. Followers are urged to avoid malice, let go of bitterness, and strive to live in harmony with others, demonstrating the transformative power of God’s love in their lives.