What Does Raca Mean in the Bible?
Do you know the meaning of raca as recorded in the Bible? Jesus was warning people who use derogatory words; especially when anger sets in. There are consequences and repercussions in await.
Have you ever found yourself reading Matthew 5:22 and bumped into the word “Raca”? There you would feel like a stranger. This is a very common experience many Christians have gone through —including me. You see, your conscience will quickly start asking “what is the meaning of raca?”
The scriptures command us to build each other up —not to tear down or demoralize ourselves in any way. And just a single word can jeopardize someone’s life or revive him. (Proverbs 12:25)
I believe before you finish this piece of content, you would never be alienated when reading this supposed verse from the book of Matthew. I will share with you the meaning of raca from the Bible and give other references.
“But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” (Matthew 5:22)
Jesus sent a stern warning to people who outburst in anger and trample upon their friends through abusive words.
What Does Raca Mean In The Bible?
Raca] ריקה is derived from the Hebrew word רק rak —to be empty. It refers to vanity, emptiness, worthless fellow, and shallow brains. It is a term of great contempt. This derogatory word when used is punishable among the Gentoos by a heavy fine.
The entire verse of Matthew 5:22 distinguishes the different types of punishment prepared for offenders according to the magnitude of the offense.
God, Himself is the righteous Judge and so commands all His children to be obedient to His Word. He punishes or rewards according to one’s actions or behavior.
By taking the verse in context we could see —it highlights the various punishment for various verbal abuse such as using the word “raca” on a fellow human. God detests such kinds of injurious words powered by anger and evil passions. Anyone found using raca and other derogatory words would have to meet their just recompense and reward.
What Is That Council Responsible For Punishing People Who Use The Word Raca?
The council known by the Jews as Sanhedrin is made up of 72 elders, who alone punish by stoning. These elders also handle some of the highest crimes and inflict the punishment of stoning. It is the ancient Jewish court system.
When we look at the entire verse, we could see that the punishment has been differentiated according to the offenses committed.
1. Anger against a brother without a cause — judgment (punishment of strangling)
2. Usage of the word raca — danger of the council.
3. Usage of the word fool — danger of hell fire; Jesus alludes to the valley of Hinnom, a burning place near Jerusalem (burnt alive in the valley of Hinnom)
You can see from above that the degree of punishment increases according to the offenses at stake.
Other Relating Bible Verses About Raca
Since raca means vain, empty, shallow brain…, we can find relevant verses that highlight how some people fit into this category.
1. “Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself!” (2 Samuel 6:20)
2. “But would you like evidence, you empty fellow, that faith without works is useless?” (James 6:20)
3. “Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth, but such as is good for building up as the need may be, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29)
Finally, raca is an abusive word that should be avoided by Christ’s followers. Jesus warned us to be very careful how we respond to situations with offensive words. We are told by the Bible that everyone will account for every single word that comes out of the mouth on judgment day.
God presides over heaven’s judgment seat. And as the court of the Jewish people used to punish offenders —so as the Lord will punish unrepented sinners.
Anthony Eshun is a Christian blogger from Ghana, saved by grace. Loves the Bible, life coaching, and evangelism. With over 5 years of experience in blogging, he has reached out to thousands of people around the world.