Is it Possible to be Angry and Not Sin?

by Bill Geiss

Download a PDF of this Word One Bible Study for Lent 3 Gospel.

Text: Mark 8:27-38 for the Second Sunday in Lent, Lectionary Series B


To help participants:

  1. Recognize that not all angry outbursts are productive.
  2. Recognize that action provoked by anger may at times be appropriate.
  3. To see that anger which Is not tempered but allowed to fester can and will be destructive.


  1. This Bible study has been designed for use in small groups of six to eight persons. If your group is larger than this, divide into two or more groups of no fewer than four and no more than eight. All groups need not be the same size.
  2. Choose a leader for each group by having each participant count the number of letters in their full name (including middle name). The person with the highest tally becomes the leader of the group.
  3. The leader’s primary job Is to keep the study on track, encourage every group member to participate and to serve as timekeeper so that each member gets a turn to share.
  4. Each group member should be allowed 2-3 minutes to speak on each discussion question. Allow any group member to pass if they wish to do so.


  1. Take some time to get acquainted.
  2. Have each participant tell his/her name and the story of how he/she got that name (e.g., “I’m named for my grandmother.” Or, “My parents were planning to name me ________ but ____________.” Or tell what his/her name means.
  3. To help participants recognize destructive anger, ask them to think about something or somebody that made them so mad that they have never been able to “forgive and forget.” Share with the group how that anger has been destructive to relationships.
  4. To help participants recognize that action provoked by anger can be productive, ask them to think back over the last week to something that really made them mad. Why did they get upset? What did they do about it? Share with the group.


  1. Read about a time when Jesus acted on His anger: John 2:13-22. What provoked Jesus’ angry outburst?
  2. Read James 1:19b-20 and Ecclesiastes 7:9. What advice do these passages offer? Is It good advice? Discuss.
  3. Now read Ephesians 4:26-27. Have there been times when your angry outbursts have given an opportunity to the devil? Share with the group.
  4. Is it possible to be angry and not sin? How does the example of Jesus in the Temple help us with this question? Discuss.
  5. When is acting on our anger appropriate? When would it be better for us to take “time out” and “cool off” before reacting? Discuss.


  1. Based on what we have learned from Jesus and from Scripture, what could we do differently the next time we get angry? Discuss.
  2. What did you learn about yourself and how you handle anger from this study?
  3. Is it always wrong to “blow your top?”


  1. Spend a few moments thinking about times when anger has controlled you, rather than you controlling it. Who might have been hurt by your outburst?
  2. Write a prayer of confession to God, asking for forgiveness for those times. Ask also for the courage to seek forgiveness from those you hurt.
  3. Consider using the Confession and Absolution on page 290 in Lutheran Service Book.
  4. Ask God to help you discern when anger and action on that anger are appropriate responses.

Originally published in Discovery Bible Studies 19, 1996.

Updated for youthESource in February 2015