“Be angry and do not sin”

Psalm 4:4
Be angry and do not sin;
on your bed, reflect in your heart and be still.

Ephesians 4:26
Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger,

Ephesians 4:26 – Be ye angry, and sin not – That is, if ye are angry, take heed ye sin not. Anger at sin is not evil; but we should feel only pity to the sinner. If we are angry at the person, as well as the fault, we sin. And how hardly do we avoid it. Let not the sun go down upon your wrath – Reprove your brother, and be reconciled immediately. Lose not one day. A clear, express command. Reader, do you keep it?

–John Wesley

The Septuagint, which is copied by St. Paul, Ephesians 4:26, translate this clause, Οργιζεσθε, και μη ἁμαρτανετε; Be ye angry, and sin not. The Vulgate, Syriac, Ethiopic, and Arabic, give the same reading; and thus the original רגזו rigzu might be translated: If ye be angry, and if ye think ye have cause to be angry; do not let your disaffection carry you to acts of rebellion against both God and your king. Consider the subject deeply before you attempt to act. Do nothing rashly; do not justify one evil act by another: sleep on the business; converse with your oten heart upon your bed; consult your pillow.

–Adam Clarke

Psalms 37:8
Refrain from anger and give up [your] rage;
do not be agitated-it can only bring harm.

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

Colossians 3:8
But now you must also put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth.

James 1:19-20
My dearly loved brothers, understand this: everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger, 20 for man’s anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness.

12 Responses to ““Be angry and do not sin””

  1. 1 Iris

    I have always thought the verse acknowledges the reality of anger, yet instructs us not to act irresponsibly out of that emotion. The emotion is real and most of the time will be destructive unless we allow this Scripture to train us in how to express that emotion. To deny its existence or to suppress it with no expression usually results in inappropriate behavior when an unguarded moment occurs. To learn to express it in ways that do not harm, yet are honest, is a walk with the Holy Spirit in our time with Him. He is able to show us how to express it and how to use it.

  2. 2 Scripture Zealot

    Thanks for your thoughts. The problem is I’m not sure how to express it. And also, should it always be expressed given the latter quoted verses?

  3. 3 Iris

    Good and valid point! In the arena of human emotions, if they do not get settled in peace with the Lord, they will not be settled. I do not think any expression of these outside of our time with the Lord will do anything but harm. If we learn to be real in our time with Him, these things will become a part of the past — even the “Be angry…” part. He is the answer to all we are and need. 

  4. 4 Scripture Zealot

    And good point from you. I always seem to think “express” means outward.

  5. 5 Tom Braund

    The Greek word means “excessive anger” but cannot be conveyed as there is no transliteration into English.

  6. 6 Scripture Zealot

    Tom, couldn’t it say something like “excessive anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness.” ? I would think there is a human, fleshly, worldly component too.

  7. 7 Stan McCullars

    Jeff, you are correct. The English language has words to express what is written in the Greek. In this case, the word in question is used to speak of the anger of God and the anger of people. It should be noted that the word is translated consistently across English translations.

  8. 8 Scripture Zealot

    Thanks Stan.

    Also, to be picky, transliteration is phonetically making an English word out of a Greek word. So γὰρ, gamma alpha rho, often translated as “for”, would be ‘gar’ in English. Don’t I sound smart and everything.

  9. 9 Tom Braund

    You could paraphrase that way, I suppose. It seems to fit. I think it’s more like “excessive anger opens the door to Satan” is more accurate, which I got from another verse related to this one. What do you think?

  10. 10 Scripture Zealot

    Hi Tom,
    I don’t know Greek so I’m not qualified to comment on that. But it sounds really good to me. It’s a tough one, especially since it’s a quote from Psalms which is a little different.

  11. 11 Tom Braund

    Hi Jeff,
    Yes it is a tough one. There are a few tough ones in the Bible. They take a huge amount of observation to find all the related verses is a job in itself. Then interpreting what you find in order to come to what the Lord means by it takes prayer, illumination, and putting together your knowledge, understanding and wisdom. And to do all this, one must believe (all four parts) or it won’t work because the result will be distorted, a clue that it’s not from the Lord.

    It’s good to see your approach to things. Thank you for working to get the correct interpretations. That way you’re not leading people astray.

    I don’t know the Greek either. I get it from my Pastor who has the languages and this word is one that was a word necessary to understand this verse and therefore the context.

  12. 12 Scripture Zealot

    I didn’t realize I mentioned the Psalm ref in the post and repeated it in the comment. Duh.

    Thank you. For a few years now I’ve been trying to clear up gross misinterpretations I’ve had or common things people say that may not be Biblical, at least in the NT, or trying to get at the tougher ones. I try not to teach, just pass on what I learn.

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