The Myth of “Righteous Anger”

Incredible HulkThe United States of America in the twenty-first century is a profoundly angry culture, and in contemporary discourse anger (often labeled “outrage”) is almost regarded as a virtue.

By starkest contrast, when the Lord Jesus and his apostles teach about human anger their message is fairly simple and pretty clear. Anger is spiritually dangerous and often is simply equated with sin. Does the Bible teach a category of “righteous anger” on the part of Jesus’ disciples? I would say, “not really.”

To be sure, there is a place for anger, and for vengeance. But it does not belong to the disciples of Jesus. That prerogative belongs to God alone…

…to read the rest of what Professor Gibbs has to say, click over to his new essay “The Myth of ‘Righteous Anger’: What the Bible Says About Human Anger.”





8 responses to “The Myth of “Righteous Anger””

  1. Rev. Harlan Limmer Avatar
    Rev. Harlan Limmer

    Will be published in Journal?

    1. Jeff Gibbs Avatar
      Jeff Gibbs

      Dear Brother Harlan,

      I think that the plan only includes the present on-line availability. One can, of course, distribute and copy as needed.

      All the best,

      Jeff Gibbs

  2. Pastor Bob Sharp Avatar
    Pastor Bob Sharp

    Dear Dr. Gibbs,

    Thanks so much for this thoughtful and well-researched Paper. This topic has arisen a few times, usually in Bible study, and your scholarship will prove very helpful.

    Rich Blessings to you and your students,
    Bob Sharp

  3. Mark R. Pflug Avatar
    Mark R. Pflug

    Caught my eye. I remember studying the subject and preaching on it back in 1974. My anger will always be tainted by sinful prideful ego. Only God can have a holy anger and that is directed at sin and ha paneros – the evil one.
    Even anger at oneself for being weak and sinful is wasted energy in hopes of gaining relief from the pain of being sinful – only God in Christ can relieve that pain.

    1. Jeff Gibbs Avatar
      Jeff Gibbs

      Dear Mark,

      Amen and amen to your comments!

      Jeff Gibbs

    2. Jeff Gibbs Avatar
      Jeff Gibbs


      I”m grateful that you think it will be useful! Hope you are well!


  4. Mark B. Stirdivant Avatar
    Mark B. Stirdivant

    Would it be valid to conclude that Divine anger, and then also “righteous anger,” is appropriately classified as His “alien work”? God did not create anger (in my estimation of what I’ve studied) and can only react in wrath. I like the statement in the TDNT article you cited: “God’s wrath is that of wounded love” (V, 420, 425). Thanks!

    1. Jeff Gibbs Avatar
      Jeff Gibbs


      Insofar as I’m understanding the “alien work” concept, yes, I think that might be right. God is (as we might say, of course) a little more complex than we are, and able to do/be all sorts of things at the same time.

      All the best,


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