“Harsh” – unpleasantly sharp or rough; unpleasantly crude, abrupt, or strained so as to be offensive to one’s mind or feelings; stern; severe; unfeeling; cruel.


Matt. 3:1, 7-10         What did John the Baptist (a spiritual leader – Lk. 1:13-17, 66; 3:2-3; Jn. 1:6; Matt. 3:13) say to the Pharisees and Sadducees (Jewish religious leaders) in Matt. 3:7-8?


Does John seem to be rather harsh with these Jewish religious leaders?

Is this right to do, and why?


Matt. 12:34           What did Jesus call the Pharisees?

Does that seem rather harsh to say to these Jewish religious leaders?



Matt. 12:46-50; Mk. 3:32-34            What did Jesus say and do when someone told Him that His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak with Him?


Does this seem like both a rather harsh thing to say about His family as well as a harsh way to treat them?



Matt. 15:1-3, 7-14               What does Jesus call some of the scribes and Pharisees (Matt. 15:7)?

And how does He describe them (Matt. 15:8-9)?


Does this seem harsh to say?                            Why did Jesus say this about them (Matt. 15:3)?


How did the Pharisees take Jesus’ statement (Matt. 15:12)?

How does Jesus respond to their being offended (Matt. 15:14)?


How do you feel about this response of Jesus’, and why?


Matt. 16:6-11; Mk. 8:17-21              What did Jesus say about or call His disciples in Matt. 16:8-9, 11 and Mk. 8:17?


Does Jesus’ calling them “little of faith”, “not understanding”, and “hardened of heart” seem rather harsh under the circumstances that they were in?



Matt. 21:18-19         What did Jesus say to the fig tree, and what prompted Him to do this?


What immediately happened to the tree?

Does this seem rather harsh to say and do?                   Why?


Matt. 23:13-33         What does Jesus call the scribes and Pharisees in Matt. 23:13, 15, 23, 25, 27-29, and why?


What does He call them in Matt. 23:15?

And in Matt. 23:16, 24, 26?

In Matt. 23:17, 19?

In Matt. 23:25?

In Matt. 23:27?

In Matt. 23:28?

In Matt.23:33?


Aren’t all these words (descriptions) rather harsh about religious leaders?

Is Jesus spiritual and right in saying these things, and why (1 Pet. 2:22)?


Mk. 7:24-28         What did the Syrophoenician woman want Jesus to do?


What did Jesus call the woman by implication?

Does implying that she was a dog seem rather harsh?                  Why?


Lk. 9:37-41          What does Jesus say to the large crowd which wanted Jesus’ disciples to cast out a demon from a boy (Lk. 9:41)?


Does Jesus’ comments seem harsh for the situation at hand?                     Why?


Lk. 9:59-60          What does the person whom Jesus challenges to follow Him ask?


How does Jesus respond to this request?

Does Jesus’ response seem harsh and unreasonable?                 Why?


Lk. 9:61-62          What does another potential follower first request of Jesus?

What does Jesus say in response?

Does Jesus’ response seem harsh and insensitive?                   Why?


Lk. 11:42-46        Do Jesus’ remarks about the Pharisees seem harsh?                    Why?


What did one of the lawyers say to Jesus in reply?

What was Jesus’ response to the lawyer?

And does this response seem harsh?                              Why?


Lk. 12:54-57        What did Jesus call the multitudes?                    Why?


Do Jesus’ remarks seem a bit harsh to such a large audience, whom He probably doesn’t even know personally (unless He used His omniscience)?



Lk. 13:14-17        What did Jesus call the synagogue official and others there?                     Why?


What was happening to all of Jesus’ opponents?

Do Jesus’ remarks to His opponents seem overly harsh?                  Why?


Lk. 13:31-32       What does Jesus call King Herod?                             Why?


Does Jesus’ name-calling seem appropriate for a spiritual, godly, perfect person?



Lk. 23:27-31        What does Jesus tell the weeping women?


Do Jesus’ comments seem inappropriate and harsh for people who seemed to care about Jesus, as expressed by their weeping?



Jn. 2:13-16           What did Jesus do in the temple?


Does Jesus seem to be acting harshly in this incident?

If so, was it right?                Why?


Jn. 8:41-47           Whom does Jesus say is these Jews’ father?

And what does He say they want to do?

What was the devil from the beginning?

Do Jesus’ remarks about these Jews’ father being the devil and wanting to murder Him seem harsh?


Whom does Jesus say these Jews are not of (Jn. 8:47)?                                 Is that harsh to say?


Acts 6:5, 8-15; 7:1-2          How is Stephen described (Acts 6:8, 10)?


What did Stephen call the members of this religious Council composed of the high priest, Pharisees, and Sadducees (Acts 7:51-53)?


Does Stephen seem harsh in saying these things?



Acts 8:13, 18-23         Does Peter seem harsh in dealing with Simon, who only offered Peter money to have the authority to have people receive the Holy Spirit when he would lay hands on them?



Acts 13:8-11        Who was Saul filled with?

While controlled by God’s Spirit, what did Saul say to Elymas?


Does Saul seem harsh with Elymas?

If so, do you see that Saul was controlled by God when being harsh?

What does this show you about being controlled/filled by God’s Spirit while at the same time saying harsh but true things about people?


Rom. 16:17-18          Does Paul seem harsh in his instruction to these Christians to turn away from those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which they learned?


Or, harsh in saying that these contrary people are slaves of their own appetites?



1 Cor. 3:1-3          What does Paul call and say about these Christians?

Does he seem rather harsh with them?                    Why?


1 Cor. 4:18-21     Is Paul’s calling some of these church people arrogant, or his threatening to come with a rod seem harsh?



1 Cor. 5:1, 5, 9-13               What has Paul decided to do with this immoral church person?


Who doesn’t Paul want these Christians to associate with?

What does Paul want this church to do with this wicked man?

Do the above three things of Paul seem harsh?                             Why?


2 Cor. 7:8-11        What did Paul’s letter (harsh, probably) cause these Christians?

Is sorrow ever God’s will?

What does it produce (or can produce)?


Do you see now how harshness can be spiritual?


2 Cor. 13:2           What won’t Paul do if he comes to these Christians again?

Does this come across as being somewhat harsh of Paul?



2 Cor. 13:9-10           Why did Paul write these things while absent?


Who gave Paul this authority to be severe, if needed?

Therefore, is severity or harshness wrong or necessarily anti-spiritual?


Phil. 3:2-3            What does Paul tell these Christians to beware of?


Does Paul seem a bit harsh on these Judaizers (those trying to get Christians to conform to the Jewish customs and beliefs)?



1 Tim. 2:11-14         Does what Paul say about women and Eve in particular seem harsh?


Would a godly man, saying today what Paul said, be called a male chauvinist, and why?


1 Tim. 4:7       For whom were worldly fables only fit?

Does Paul seem a bit harsh and insensitive to old women?         Why?


2 Thes. 3:14         What does Paul tell Christians in Thessalonica not to do, and why?


Isn’t Paul being harsh in dealing with those who don’t follow his instructions in this letter?



Titus 1:7-14         What is an overseer supposed to be able to do (Titus 1:9)?



How does Paul tell Titus to deal with these wrong teachers and prophets (Titus 1:13)?



Is Paul telling Titus to be harsh in saying this?                Why?


Jas. 1:26            What does James say about the religion of a person who can’t bridle his tongue?

Isn’t James being harsh and judgmental?                Why?


1 Sam. 11:1-7             What happened when the Spirit of God came mightily upon Saul?

Was what Saul did and said harsh, cruel, and dictatorial?                 Why?


Would you have ever connected the Holy Spirit with anger before?



1 Ki. 18:1, 17-22, 27, 40         What does James 5:16-18 imply that Elijah was?

What did Elijah do to the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18:27, 40?


Doesn’t this seem harsh to do to people of another religion who believe in their god?



2 Ki. 1:9-12          How does Elijah respond to the orders of the king to “come down” from the hill?

Doesn’t this seem harsh for a man of God to say and do?           Why?


2 Ki. 2:23-24       What did the sons of the prophets say about Elisha (2 Ki. 2:9, 15)?


What did Elisha do to the young lads in the name of the Lord, and what resulted?


Doesn’t this seem harsh of Elisha for what the lads had done?                 Why?


How does God view people speaking against His appointed authority (Num. 12:8-9)?


2 Ki. 5:15-27              What is Elisha called in 2 Kings 5:20?

What did Elisha’s servant, Gehazi do wrong?


What did Elisha say in judgment to Gehazi (2 Ki. 5:27)?


Does what Elisha said seem harsh for the wrong Gehazi committed?                 Why?


Judges 8:14-17           What did the angel of the Lord and the Lord say to Gideon (Judg. 6:11-12; 7:9)?


What didn’t the leaders of the cities of Succoth and Penuel give Gideon and his army?


So what did Gideon do to these leaders (Judg. 8:16-17)?


Doesn’t this seem harsh to do just because these cities wouldn’t give them bread?



Neh. 13:4-9           What kind of person does Nehemiah seem to be (Neh. 1:1-2:6)?


What did Nehemiah do to Tobiah’s household goods?

Doesn’t this seem harsh and inconsiderate?                  Why?


Neh. 13:23-28             What did Nehemiah do to the Jews who married foreign women?

And what did Nehemiah do to one of the sons of Joiada, and why?


Was Nehemiah harsh in doing either of the above two things?


Jer. 1:1-10            What did God say to Jeremiah?

What does Jeremiah tell Israel (Jer. 10:8, 21)?


Is Jeremiah harsh in saying this?                  Why (see Jer. 10:1)?


What does Jeremiah pray (Jer. 18:23) for those who are against him (Jer. 18:18)?


Does this seem harsh and unforgiving?                Why?


Does God ever act this way (see Jer. 7:16-20; 14:10-12)?


Let us know what you think.