Anger is an explosive emotion with lasting effects. It is not a sin to be angry. There are circumstances in which anger is the correct response. However, the way we express our anger and what we do due to our anger can be damaging and even sinful.
The Bible says a lot about anger. It talks about the sources of human anger, the consequences of sinful anger, ways to control our anger, and how to forgive. Below are some helpful Bible verses about anger.
Bible verses about the source(s) of anger
1. James 4:1, 2 NIV- What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet, but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.
Covetousness is a common source of anger. When we are tricked into comparing what we have against what someone else has, it stirs up jealousy. Jealousy leads us to forget that it is God who is in control of everything. When we forget this very important fact, anger can easily take root in our hearts.
2. Galatians 5:19, 20 NIV- 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.
“Fits of rage,”; as the Bible puts it, is not a fruit of the Spirit of God. It is an uncontrollable and destructive reaction to things not going our way. The Bible tells us that this is an act of the flesh. By virtue of being born into sin and shaped in iniquity (Psalm 51:5), we have the nature of Adam. This nature is not naturally in alignment with the things of God.
3. Proverbs 22:24, 25 NIV- Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared.
There is no denying that we are constantly being influenced by and influencing others. Who we are, most often than not, is an amalgamation of our closest friends and family. If we are close friends with someone who has no interest in controlling anger, then we are under that person’s influence. The more time we spend with this person, the easier it becomes to conform to their way of being. This is especially true if that person has the dominant personality in the relationship. We are encouraged to choose our relationships wisely, as this can also be a source of our uncontrollable anger.
4. Ephesians 6:4 KJV And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Provocation is another well-known source of anger. In Ephesians 6, the warning is given to parents; however, it can be applied across the board. It charges us to realize that we have a responsibility to each other. The passage reminds us that we can be triggers to other people and should be mindful of our own actions and not just expect others to be mindful of our emotions.
5. Psalm 37:7, 8 NIV Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.
Similar to comparing the possession of others is the act of comparing accomplishments. When we become obsessed with the accomplishments of our peers or even strangers, it distracts us from the will of God in our own lives. God knows the plans He has for us.
They are plans to prosper us and to give us an expected end. (Jeremiah 29:11) When we become angry because of someone else’s success, we say to God that our plans for ourselves are greater than His. That should never be the posture of our hearts. It is clear to see how thinking like this can lead to sinful anger.
6. Proverbs 15:1 NIV- A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
God expects us to be peacekeepers. In Matthew 5:9 we are told that there is a special blessing pronounced on peacemakers. Anger is sometimes the result of us failing to de-escalate a situation. It can be difficult, and certainly against our nature, not to retaliate when we feel attacked. However, Jesus tells us through His manservant that a gentle word can often de-escalate misunderstandings and avert crisis.
Bible verses about the consequences of anger
7. James 1:19, 20 NIV- My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angrybecause human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
Human anger is dangerous as it takes us outside of the will of God. Think about how we behave when angry; what we say, how we think, and what we say. Our apologies after a “fit of rage” often involve us taking back what we said with words like, “I did not mean it.” Remember, we never have to take back things that are done in the Spirit of Christ.
8. Proverbs 15:18 NIV- A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.
Anger leads us to become troublemakers among our brethren. If we’re led by anger, it clouds our judgment and our decision-making skills. It leads us to reject authority and oppose our leaders when we don’t get our way. It results in us looking for information to support our position, regardless of whether or not it is correct. This spirit will only sow and reap division.
9. Romans 12: 19 NIV- Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
Wanting to “right our wrongs” is a natural instinct. We love justice, and God does too. Revenge, however, is not justice. Revenge is man’s way of playing God, and this is never a good thing. When we give in to anger, we assume a role that was never ours, to begin with, and wield a power that is too much for us to properly handle.
10. Proverbs 14:17 NIV- A quick-tempered person does foolish things, and the one who devises evil schemes is hated.
Anger makes us stupid. The Bible says it politely, but the reality is we often cringe at our own angry behavior. God wants us to be His representatives in all things. God is wisdom and the beginning thereof. When we allow anger to cause us to act foolishly, we do not represent Christ and His love, compassion, or temperance.
11. Titus 1:7 NIV- Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.
There is a repeated emphasis on the importance of being good stewards throughout scripture. The Bible tells us in Luke 12:47 that those who know God’s will and don’t do it “will be beaten with many stripes.” We also see him call the servant that buried his talent in Matthew 5:26 a wicked and slothful servant. When we give in to anger, we act as poor stewards of God’s grace.
12. Romans 2:5 NIV- But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.
Romans warns us about the long-term effect of anger and unforgiveness. The Bible explains that we are not exempt from the very things we are angry with each other about. To be angry with someone, and unwilling to forgive them, places us in the same position as them. We are no more righteous than the ones who wrong us when we refuse to forgive.
Bible verses about anger management
13. Proverbs 29:11 NIV- Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.
One of the keys to anger management is exercising wisdom. Proverbs 9:10 tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. When we walk in the wisdom of God, He will reveal to us suitable alternatives to anger. The Spirit will impress on our hearts what to say and how to react to please God and expose the other person to grace.
14. Proverbs 4:23 NIV- Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
We can only speak loving words if they are in our hearts. We can only reflect Christ if He sits on the throne of our heart. Who or what fills our hearts will depend on our diet. What are we feeding our minds? What type of content do we consume? When we guard our hearts, we fill it with God’s word and put on His whole armor so that we can stand against the wiles of the devil (Ephesians:11-13)
15. Luke 6:31 KJV- And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
Living by this principle can save us from a majority of the conflict we experience. If we treat each other the way we want to be treated, our apologies come easier, and our ability to be thoughtful and considerate increases significantly. This is an effective way to manage anger as it pushes us to see the human being before us and not just the offense.
16. Philippians 4:6 KJV- Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
The greatest weapon that every believer has against the devil’s attack is prayer. When God says, “make your request known unto God,” there was no disclaimer, caveat, or exception. If you struggle with controlling your temper or acting in a way that glorifies God when you’re upset, take that to Him. Do not be ashamed or afraid to admit to God that you are broken. He already knows. He is available, willing, and waiting to help you overcome anger.
17. Galatians 5:22, 23 KJV- But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such, there is no law.
For us to cultivate the fruits of God’s Spirit, we have to spend time in His presence. The more we seek and see God, the more we become like Him, for “by beholding we become changed.” (2 Corinthians 3:18). Seeking out godly community and spending quality time in His presence is key to ripening the fruits of His Spirit within us.
18. Romans 12:21 KJV-Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
This passage presents us with another method of de-escalating conflict. Though we may be tempted to return the same actions and energy that we receive from someone who hurts us, God says this is not the way. Showing love, patience, and understanding in the face of anger and conflict will often stir up the same response in the other person.
19. Ephesians 4:27 NIV - And do not give the devil a foothold.
At the end of the day, we must remember that though the source of our conflict has a human face, our true fight is not with them. Ephesians 6:12 reminds us that we don’t wrestle with flesh and blood, but with spiritual wickedness in high places. When we harbor anger against another person, we are giving the devil a foothold in our lives. We allow him to control our emotions instead of handing them over to God.
Bible verses about anger and forgiveness
20. Colossians 3:17 NIV- Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Forgiving as God forgave us is not always easy, but it is required of us. If we keep the fact that we are sinful and need forgiveness at the forefront of our minds, it will help us forgive. Unforgiveness comes from pride that should have no place in our hearts.
21. 1 John 2:1, 2 NIV- My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
When we make mistakes in anger or cause someone to sin in anger, we have an advocate in heaven who is willing to plead on our behalf. Christ wants to set us free from the bondage of anger and the snare of unforgiveness. He knows it is poisonous to us and separates us from Him. His invitation remains open and available to us daily to take his yoke so we can find rest.
22. 1 Peter 2:23 NIV- When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him, who judges justly.
There was none more righteous on this Earth than Christ. He was not deserving of the treatment He received, yet He allowed it to happen without protest. His love for us was so deep that while we were busy persecuting and crucifying Him, He was busy praying for and forgiving us. Your anger is not too vile for Him to forgive today.
23. Ephesians 4:31, 32 NIV- Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.
God constantly reminds us that He is the benchmark for our lives. His love and forgiveness should be the standard we hold ourselves to and not the standard set by the world. By surrendering ourselves to God for refinement, He can get rid of our bitterness, rage, and anger.
24. Leviticus 19:17, 18 NIV- “‘Do not hate a fellow Israelite in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in their guilt. Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.
God, in this passage, shows us the difference between correcting in love and correcting in rage. We are not entitled to judging others and self-righteous indignation because we are flawed and sinful. However, we can often tell the difference between right and wrong. When we have been wronged, we can point it out without making the situation worse and being quick to forgive.
25. Ephesians 2:1-5 NIV- As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
Mercy is a gift that has been freely given to us without merit. Ephesians here reminds us that we were all in a state of condemnation and death. Our renewed lives are found solely in Christ, and through Him only we are saved. Knowing this should make us more willing to lead each other away from the ledge of anger and into the rest of forgiveness.
26. 1 Corinthians 13:4, 5 NIV- Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
It is only true love that leads to forgiveness. We can love because Christ first loved us. The love of God looks nothing like the love portrayed in the world. God’s love is without conditions. It is patient and kind. It is not easily angered and keeps no record of wrongs. If we become a library for all the wrongs that have been done against us, we won’t have enough room for God. God wants us to love as He does. This also means He wants us to forgive as He does.
God is not completely against anger, but God is completely against sin. He tells us to “Be angry, and sin not.” God does not want us to be passive about injustice, but instead, He wants us to take our burning issues to Him. If we let God lead while we’re angry, we are guaranteed to end up in a place of understanding and forgiveness. However, if we allow our flesh to lead, we will come away feeling resentful and looking like fools. Take your anger to God and let Him lead.