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The term "backbiting" refers to a form of slander that is made against someone, not to their face, but "behind their back." It's most often used for one of two reasons; the accuser lacks the moral courage (there will be no cowards in the Kingdom of God i.e. "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone," Revelation 21:8 KJV) to make their accusation directly to the one that they have found fault, or because their accusation is a lie that would be readily proved so by the accused person.

True Christians are not "backbiters" because true Christians are not liars ("Thou shalt not bear false witness"), and if they ever rightfully have a problem with a fellow Christian, Jesus Christ instructed how it was to be dealt with in an open and honest way:

"Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican." (Matthew 18:15-17 KJV)

"Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things"

King David referred to "backbiting" by means of the Hebrew word, pronounced raw-gal, which means to go about spying i.e. a tattler. David asked, "Who shall dwell in Thy holy hill" in speaking of the Kingdom of God. The answer? Those who are not backbiters (he that "speaketh the truth in his heart" and "he that backbiteth not with his tongue") will be in the Kingdom of God.


"A Psalm of David. Lord, who shall abide in Thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in Thy holy hill?

He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour." (Psalm 15:1-3 KJV)

The apostle Paul (see Paul's Ministry) encountered and warned against the same thing as David did. Paul used the Greek word, pronounced kat-al-al-os, which means a defamer, which is here translated as "backbitings":

"For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults" (2 Corinthians 12:20 KJV)

Paul warned against "backbitings" in the true Church of God because it causes division and falling away if not repented of. The same Greek word, kat-al-al-os, that is used to describe the backbiting in the verse quote above is also used to refer to one of the bitter fruits of apostasy i.e. "as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind":

"And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them" (Romans 1:28-32 KJV)

Fact Finder: Why is Satan ("satan" is actually just a Hebrew word, pronounced saw-tawn, that means accuser) referred to as a "snake in the grass"?
See The Whisperer

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