Whisperer, Backbiter, Tattler, and Busybody

by Beth Johnson

Bible Studies for Women: 

Oh, what joy to see young girls—no matter the ages—showing affection and care for each other! Because of more than one unfortunate experience I know that this kindness between girls is not always reality, nor is it always the case between young ladies or older women! It is all too common to witness women of all ages acting in ways that are unkind to each other and unbecoming of the Lord. Here are some ideas on how to nip gossip and “fair-weather” friendships in the bud—before they bloom.

Les Noisettes or The nut gatherers by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1882, Wikimedia, Public DomainUnfortunately little girls learn to be tattlers, whisperers, talebearers, backbiters and busybodies early in life. You can see them huddled together on playgrounds and other places while the boys race up and down with a ball or play tag. It could be that boys have more natural physical energy while the girls are taught to be sedate and quiet. The problem is not that boys cannot be guilty of the same sins, but little girls seem more prone. Should mothers sit idly by and watch this happen? What must we do?


It is the tendency to talk behind another person’s back that causes hurt feelings and depression in those who are ostracized. First and foremost we as mothers and grandmothers must be Titus 2 women to any female younger than we are.

Titus 2:3

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things.  

Câlinerie or  A Little Coaxing by William Adolphe Bouguereau, 1890, Wikimedia, Public DomainAs mothers, it can be easy to see the sweetness in our children at home, but not to see the reality of their behavior in public. It can also be easy to accept the explanation and excuse a child gives rather than getting to the heart of the matter. This unfortunately fosters and perpetuates a negative tendency in our children. 

Third, and most important, we women must be steeped in the Word and what the Lord says about such behavior. We should desire to have behavior that glorifies the Lord and shows that we love Him above all. Most likely, all of us have made mistakes in this area. But the plumb line of our behavior is to be the Word of God. How can we teach our daughters if we do not know the will of the Father ourselves? 


Proverbs 18:8

The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly. 

Proverbs 17:9

He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends. 

1 Samuel 24:9

And David said to Saul, Wherefore hearest thou men’s words, saying, Behold, David seeketh thy hurt?

Psalms 41:7

All that hate me whisper together against me: against me do they devise my hurt.

Proverbs 16:28

A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.

Genesis 3:1, 4-5

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 

5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

Romans 1:28-31

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;

29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 

31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

2 Corinthians 12:20

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:

Psalms 101:5

Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.

1 Timothy 5:13

And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house;
and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which
they ought not.

Are you a busybody: Αλλοτριοεπισκοπος [ Strong’s GK # 244 ] an inspector of another? Are you meddling with other people’s concerns?

1 Peter 4:15

But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.

2 Thessalonians 3:11

For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. 

1 Timothy 5:13

and withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.

How do we handle those who would come to us with these tales? 

Proverbs 25:23

The north wind driveth away rain: so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue.

Proverbs 26:20

Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.


Finally, can we aspire to be like the Psalmist who carefully chooses his friends? Do we see the need to teach our daughters the same principles?

Psalm 15:1-3

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.

14 thoughts on “Whisperer, Backbiter, Tattler, and Busybody

  1. Sherry, you are so right. It is a heart that is showing. People do not fear the warnings given by God these days…
    To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men (Titus 3:2).
    Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you (Eph. 4:31-32).
    The Greek word is blasphemia (blas-fay-me’-ah); from NT:989; vilification–the KJV translates it as: blasphemy, evil speaking, railing.
    We ought to fear to do that whether it is of acquaintances, brothers and sisters in Christ, the dignities in our government, or the God of heaven and earth to whom we owe everything.
    Thanks for reading.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Beth, you’re right that people no longer fear God’s warnings. And yes, we even rail against those in authority over us, so I was glad to see you include this in your statement. We are to pray for them. To see wrongdoing and address it is one thing, but to scorn and mock instead of praying is wrong.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I agree, Beth. What I shared was not condemning or of an evil heart but was lauding God’s forgiveness of the sin the person had done years ago and that I didn’t like that that person was being treated as though she had done something unforgivable. At first I refused to say what the sin was but she prodded incessantly to tell her. I did just to move the conversation we were having about forgiveness along. Besides, I trusted her! aCk!

      Well, it reached the person we were talking about and she didn’t bother to mention the “forgiveness” part of what I said.

      Liked by 1 person

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