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What does the Bible say about lying? Is lying a sin? | GotQuestions.org

Lying is condemned

Why this is important: The bible is clear on the issue of lying. It is condemned. A lie is a statement that is contrary to fact, spoken with the intent to deceive. If I tell you it is noon, and then discover that my watch is wrong, I did not tell a lie. But if I gave you the wrong time so you would be late to a meeting and I would benefit from it, that would be a lie.

Satan is a liar; and he wants us to believe that God is a liar. “Yes, has God said?” (Gen. 3:1) is the way Satan works. Whenever we speak truth, the Spirit of God works, but whenever we tell a lie, Satan goes to work. We like to believe that we help people by lying to them, but such is not the case.

We may not see the sad consequences of lying immediately, but ultimately they will come. “You know that no lie is of the truth” (1 John 2:21). Hell is prepared for “whosoever loves and practices a falsehood” (Rev. 22:15). This does not mean that anybody who ever told a lie will go to hell, but rather that those whose lives are controlled by lies—they love lies and they make lies—are lost forever. The follower of Jesus has a life is controlled by truth.

Note the reason Paul gave for telling the truth: We belong to each other in the Messiah. He urged us to build the body in love and he urged us to build the body in truth. “Speaking the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15). As “members one of another” we affect each other, and we cannot build each other apart from truth. The first sin that was judged in the early church was the sin of lying.

  • Ephesians 4:25 (CSB) — 25 Therefore, putting away lying, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another.
  • Colossians 3:9–10 (CSB) — 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self. You are being renewed in knowledge according to the image of your Creator.
  • Psalm 34:12–13 (CSB) — 12 Who is someone who desires life, loving a long life to enjoy what is good? 13 Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from deceitful speech.
  • Exodus 20:16 (CSB) — 16 Do not give false testimony against your neighbor.
  • Leviticus 19:11–12 (CSB) — 11 “Do not steal. Do not act deceptively or lie to one another. 12 Do not swear falsely by my name, profaning the name of your God; I am the Lord.
  • Proverbs 6:16–17 (CSB) — 16 The Lord hates six things; in fact, seven are detestable to him: 17 arrogant eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood,
  • Proverbs 12:22 (CSB) — 22 Lying lips are detestable to the Lord, but faithful people are his delight.
  • Jeremiah 17:9–10 (CSB) — 9 The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable—who can understand it? 10 I, the Lord, examine the mind, I test the heart to give to each according to his way, according to what his actions deserve.