I have examined three articles on “Anger” from various Bible dictionaries: Easton’s Bible Dictionary, Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, and the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915 edition). The reason why I have done this is because sometimes I express what I believe to be righteous anger against sin, and am misunderstood as sinning in this. There are some Christian teachers out there who teach, by quoting various Bible verses, that all forms of anger are a sin, or that only God is allowed to express anger, because only He is without sin. Philo (d. 50 A.D.) seems to have been the first to blend Old Testament teaching on anger with Greek Stoicism, maintaining that a perfect being cannot express any anger. Without quoting a profuse amount of Bible verses to you, I refer you to click on the Bible dictionaries for references. But below, I will summarize the teaching of the Bible on anger, as clearly as I can…
(1) God’s Anger is always righteous–and is a patient, but fierce response to sin.
(2) Man’s Anger comes in two categories–unrighteous anger and righteous anger.
(a) Unrighteous Anger is without reason, excessive, or drawn out; it is the usual way that humans express anger; it is thoughtless, impatient, and unrestrained; it causes conflicts, gets people into trouble, and should be avoided. Jesus warns that hateful expressions of anger, through insults, put men in danger of God’s judgment (Matthew 5:22); it is a selfish, vindictive, self-justifying anger, driven by personal revenge.
(b) Righteous Anger is rare, and often misunderstood, because it is only experienced by godly Christians…it is an emotion of displeasure on account of something evil that presents itself to our view…it is not sinful. So long as it is couched in careful thought, patience, and restraint–and is only directed at sin–it may be called righteous. It becomes necessary when speaking out truthfully against sin, but the anger should be quickly expressed, quickly ended, and short-lived. Godly people may react to expressions of sin in the same way that God does–in a desire to see repentance–but not a desire of personal vengeance, revenge, or a childish “getting back” at someone. Jesus gives us the best example of how to express righteous anger (Matthew 23:1-36; Mark 3:5; 11:15-17; John 2:13-17).