Anger Refs
 We have all lost our tempers at some time. Is it wrong to do so? Is it wrong to be angry at all? In this chapter, we shall explore what the Bible says about anger.

John 2:13–17

On two occasions Jesus cleared the temple area of people who were selling animals and changing money. This passage describes the first time he did so at the start of his ministry. The other time we are told about was a few days before he died (Mark 11:15–17). Both occasions were at Passover time. Trading in the buildings near the temple was permitted under Jewish law. At the busy feast times, trading was also permitted in the Court of the Gentiles (the outermost court of the temple area). It seems that on these two Passovers, the trading had extended into the holy area as well.

1. Why was Jesus angry?
2. Did he lose his temper?
3. Was it right to use a whip to drive people out? Would it be right for you to do it?

Jesus appears to have become very angry on the two occasions when he cleared the temple. He is also described as being angry with the Pharisees for their stubborn hearts. We know Jesus never sinned, so clearly he was not sinning by being angry. However he seems to have become angry on only a few occasions. Mark 3:5

In this he was like his Father. God is described as “slow to anger”
Exodus 34:6 and “restraining his anger”. Psalm 78:38 Nevertheless, many people have suffered God’s anger over the years and many will suffer his anger in the future. Paul wrote to the Romans

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. . . for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. (Romans 2:5–8)

God’s anger
Exodus 34:6; Deuteronomy 31:17; 2 Kings 22:13,16–17; Psalm 30:4–5; 78:38; John 3:36; Colossians 3:5–7; Romans 2:5; Revelation 19:15.
Jesus’ anger
Mark 3:5; 11:15–17; John 2:13–17.
The danger of anger
Matthew 5:22; Ephesians 4:26; Proverbs 14:17; 22:24; 29:22.
Be not easily angered
1 Corinthians 13:5; James 1:19–20.
Refrain from anger
Psalm 37:8; Colossians 3:8; Galatians 5:19–21.

Do you have an anger problem?

1. Do you get angry quickly?
2. Do your angry feelings linger on?
3. Do you want to get even with those who make you angry?

If your answer to any of these questions is yes, then your anger is leading you to sin. Tell God how you feel, confess that it is a sin and ask him to help you overcome it.

Anger and sin
What is the difference between being angry and losing your temper?
When you lose your temper you lose control of your actions.
Without control, it is much easier to sin. The Proverbs say

A quick-tempered man does foolish things. . . (Proverbs 14:17)


An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins. (Proverbs 29:22)

In the New Testament also, the warning is given:

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. (James 1:19–20)

Each of these verses shows that being angry is dangerous because you are more likely to sin when angry.

However, the Bible does not say that anger itself is a sin. Paul wrote

In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry. (Ephesians 4:26)

1. Read Matthew 5:21–22.

(a) Jesus says we should not insult our brother by saying “Raca”. Use a Bible dictionary to find out what this means. What is a modern equivalent?
(b) How do you understand these verses in the light of the other verses on anger?
(c) Is Jesus saying we should never be angry?
(d) Have you ever called someone a fool? Should you?

2. Read Nehemiah 13:23–27. Did Nehemiah do the right thing?
3. Is it a sin to lose your temper?
4. Discuss possible strategies for controlling your anger.
5. Does the reason for one’s anger determine whether it is right or wrong? For example:

(a) Is it a sin to be angry at an injustice done to another?
(b) Is it a sin to be angry at an injustice done to yourself?

1. Read Psalm 37:8, Colossians 3:8 and Galatians 5:19–21. How do you understand these passages in the light of Ephesians 4:26 and the fact that Jesus was angry at times?
2. Think of a time when you were very angry. Were you right to get angry? Did you do anything wrong while you were angry?
3. Read Romans 12:17–21.

(a) What is the difference between anger, resentment and vengeance? Should a believer ever feel resentment or take vengeance?
(b) What does verse 20 mean in practice?

• The dimensions of a disciple: planning for spiritual growth by Stan Dawes (published by the author, 1993), pages 53– 58. An interesting and practical discussion about the danger of anger.

16. Temptation
17. Sin
28. Repentance
29. Forgiving one another
55. The law of love