What is the Meaning of the Word Raca in the Bible
Bible Teaching
Brother Todd  

What Is The Meaning Of The Word Raca In The Bible?

The Meaning of the Word Raca in the Bible:

What is the meaning of the word RACA in the Bible? Jesus said that if you use the term “Raca” you could face judgement. Is that true? The word Raca is found in the Bible in the book of Matthew. It is a word that is used to describe someone who is considered to be worthless or contemptible. Understanding what Jesus meant can bring life to you and the way you relate to others. Keep reading because we have a lot to say about the meaning of the word Raca after the section on anger. 

In Matthew 5:21-26 Jesus continued to teach the “Sermon on the Mount.”  His teaching was so dynamic and unique because it was teaching that got to the heart of matters and exposed the erroneous thinking of the religious leaders of the day. In fact, Jesus’ teaching deals with the heart behind our actions. 

21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sisterwill be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.”

23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you,24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”

25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you; you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.”

Jesus was teaching a righteousness that surpasses that of the Pharisees. The Pharisees were masters of using the law to their own advantage. They trapped others in their laws that were impossible to keep. They also added oral laws through their traditions which Jesus often countered in the Gospels. 

Jesus saw right through to their hearts because the actions of the Pharisees revealed what was in their hearts.  Likewise, our actions show what is in our hearts. 

It is from this point of view that we approach the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus wants us to understand the heart of God, and to practice and teach God’s commands from the perspective of law fulfilled in Jesus and as love for God and others. The law as God intended was good. Man corrupted it. Jesus completed it. 

What is the Meaning of the Word Raca in the Bible: Gods Kingdom

The Kingdom heart is proof of God’s Kingdom among us. We can look at what Jesus meant as:

  1. The law stated “Thou shalt not murder”. In Christ’s Kingdom even anger and insults are an improper response to one another.  
  1. When it comes to sex, if a Pharisee wanted another woman, he simply divorced his wife for any reason, even for bad cooking, and married the woman he was lusting after. In the Kingdom we don’t cultivate lust. Lust is equivalent to adultery according to Jesus. 
  1. The Pharisees made oaths and vows to manipulate. Kingdom people only say how things truly are or are not. No verbal manipulation. 
  1. Old way was an eye for an eye. New way is don’t harm, but help, the one who has damaged you or hurt you. 
  1. Hate your enemy. Love and bless your enemy. 

Many of the teachings Jesus gave in the Sermon on the Mount were an illustration to show how the old system has failed as it has only produced an outward action, and how the law doesn’t really deal with the main problem which is people’s hearts. Jesus’ illustrations bring us to terms with what is in our own hearts. 

He brings this matter into the area of murder. Everyone knew that murder was wrong according to the Law of Moses. Jesus saw that even though many people could keep the law regarding murder, that anger was an emotion that could lead to murder. 

Anger is an emotion that caused much discord in society and in all relationships. Anger that leads to outbursts and rage is clearly sin in the Bible. Christians hurt their relationships and their marriages by not dealing with anger in an appropriate, biblical way. 

It’s great that we don’t murder people. But our hearts are still not right if we are harboring anger and anger controls the center of our emotional being. 

Consider what the Bible says about anger and controlling your emotion in Proverbs 16:32:

He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.”

Let’s think about how anger works: 

  • Anger first comes by surprise, simultaneously. 
  • Then people actively receive it and decide to indulge it. 
  • Then one can become an angry person with a supply of anger ready to explode at anytime. Like a supply of an explosive gas that only needs a spark to go off. 
  • Anger shows self-righteousness and vanity. 
  • A person feels justified to have outbursts of anger, or to resent someone, often leading to senseless rage. 
  • The anger seems to become a part of a person’s character or personality. 
  • The angry can put a lot of time and energy and work into staying angry. 
  • Anger can govern actions and cause terrible consequences.
  • It can reproduce itself in the hearts and minds of everybody that comes in contact with it. 

It has been said, cut the roots of anger and you will wither the tree of human evil. 

When somebody wrongs us and we are angry we correct the wrong through persistently loving, not harboring anger. This way we don’t add even more anger to the person who has wronged us, or ourselves become angry. 

If we avenge our anger because of feeling justified to do so we are acting out. We need to beware that our “feeling justified” can become full-blown self-righteousness. If self-righteousness tells us we deserve to hurt that person and causes us to mistreat that person, we are deceived. 

We may think that we have a right to hurt the person who hurt us. The thought that we have a duty to hurt that person can produce terrible consequences. 

Sometimes those consequences can haunt us for the rest of our lives. Ruined relationships and even ruined marriages can be a result. Things done in anger and things said in anger feel so good at the moment but the damage it does far surpasses that moment of feeling good. 

Colossians 3:8 says to “Lay aside anger.” 

Ephesians 4:26-27 teaches that to retain anger, to cultivate anger is the way that we give the devil an opportunity to do destructive work. 

If anger is left to fester and is unchecked, it can lead to something more destructive. Often when someone makes us angry many times we withdraw to a safer place, but still harbor ill-will, or negative feelings towards that person. This leads to contempt.


Jesus takes his teaching on anger and really goes even farther into the heart. He teaches that in his Kingdom there is a destructive attitude that is even more prevalent in life and in our relationships than anger. 

What is it? It is something that Jesus described by using the term “Raca”. 

What is the Meaning of the word Raca in the Bible:

In Matthew 5:22 Jesus uses the term “Raca”.  This term is so serious that Jesus condemns calling somebody “Raca” and says if somebody does use the term they will be called before the Sanhedrin. The one who calls somebody a “fool” will be in the danger of the fire of hell. 

How could Jesus condemn calling somebody “Raca” or “fool” as worse than anger? 

It is because these words show what is in somebody’s heart. They reveal contempt for others. 

The word RACA in the Bible means USELESS.  RACA indicates contempt. Contempt usually brews for a long time. Having contempt for one person can often lead to having contempt for many people. 

The Biblical term RACA could even be an imitation of the sound of spitting or a snort of contempt. 

What is contempt? The Biblical word means to despise, to look down upon. Contempt is the feeling that a person or a thing is beneath consideration, worthless, or deserving scorn. The meaning of Raca is “worthless” according to some Bible commentators and the Collins Dictionary. 

It takes a serious attitude of contempt to consider another person as useless or worthless. 

Filthy language and name calling, insulting others, are expressions of contempt. The meaning and usage of the word Raca in the Bible is clearly an insult. 

What is the Meaning of word Raca in the Bible: Contempt In Marriage

Contempt can exist in the marriage relationship. Some readers are already recognizing that it exists in their own marriage. What does contempt look like in marriage? One example is rolling the eyes. 

One time a husband turned around and caught his wife rolling her eyes at him. He said what are you doing? She quickly said, Eye-aerobics. I’m pretty sure she invented that exercise on the spot. It’d take a long time to get your heart rate up from rolling your eyes. 

In a marriage a contemptuous heart can manifest itself through disrespect, disdain, mockery, name-calling, aggressive humor, sarcasm, scoffing, meanness, disgust, feelings of superiority, arrogance, and being dismissive.

Contempt is the most corrosive behavior in a marriage. 

Contempt and resentment work together. 

Contempt is looking down on your mate. It is feeling like your spouse/ your marriage is not worth your time! 

Contempt becomes a filter that you see everything about your spouse as negative.  

Contempt sees the outside of your spouse: the moodiness, anger, fear, complaining, impatience, and all the mistakes. 

Love sees past the annoying qualities of your spouse and sees the positive qualities within. 

We tend to misjudge our spouses as we are with them a lot and see them at their best and their worst. The tendency to remember the worst and to only focus on that tempts most marriages. 

I simply don’t have the opportunity to always be on my best behavior, and my wife doesn’t have the opportunity to be perfect all the time either. The grace we have received from God should be extended to our spouse. 



Focus on the things that are positive. Do some small positive things for your spouse everyday. Tell your spouse several positive things about them every day.

Proverbs 25:11 says, “Like apples of gold in settings in of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances.” 

Don’t wait until it’s too late. You don’t want your marriage, or any other relationship for that matter, to end because of your contempt for your spouse. 

Do as Jesus said in Matthew 5:24 and be reconciled to your spouse.“First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” Jesus prioritizes the urgency of reconciling with people higher than your financial offerings.  

There is an urgency here to not delay, to make things right first before you do anything else. 

You probably have never used the word Raca before. But if you mumbled under your breath that your spouse is worthless or useless or any other disparaging adjective than you have indeed shared the same heart as those who have called others Raca. 

Your children probably can easily absorb contempt as well and know the judgements you have made about your spouse and keep them under. Contempt isn’t doing your marriage or your family any good at all.  

Here’s the good news. In the Kingdom you can repent from and renounce contempt and pray for your contemptuous attitude to be gone. 

The answer to any sin problem is Jesus. Call out to him. If you don’t know him repent of your sins and ask him to be the Lord and Savior of your life. 

A Prayer to End Contempt in Your Marriage:

Lord, deliver me and my spouse from the attitude of contempt, as well as unforgiveness, hatred, anger, bitterness, and abuse that is poisoning our minds and relationship.

Fill up every space in our hearts with your peace, love, and joy so that there’s no room for negative emotions.

Lord, teach us to treat one another with dignity, love, and respect. I ask for grace and emotional strength to avoid the use of anger and unforgiveness as a weapon to fight against my spouse.

I pray that we will no longer allow our emotions to be manipulated and used to drive a wedge between us.

Help us Lord to fight contempt with seeing and focusing on the positive in our spouse in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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