What Does the Bible Say About Lying: A Christian Study

by Derek Hill · Print Print · Email Email

All throughout the Bible, there are scriptures that discuss the topic of lying.  Some explain how certain people lied.  Others talk about the consequences of lying.  I would venture to say that lying can be one of the easiest of sins to commit.  One little sentence leaves the lips and all is well again.  We all fall prey to it on occasion and it sometimes creates more chaos then we could have imagined.  Other times you can get away with a little white lie (here on earth; not before the throne).  Lying is nothing new.  In fact, it is what introduced Adam and Eve to the very first sin.  So, let us start at the beginning after creation was complete.

What Does The Bible Say About Lying

Proverbs 6:16, 17 and 19 – There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue…a false witness who breathes out lies.

The Very First Lie

In Gen 2:16-17 God says to Adam, “you may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat it you shall surely die.”  Quick side note, creation was not finished here because God had not made Eve yet.  In Gen 2:18-23, the next passage, God then creates Eve from one of Adam’s ribs.  After this, creation was then finished.  In Gen 3:1-5 we are introduced to the serpent (Satan) and his very first temptation to Eve; now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.  He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘you shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”  And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”  But the serpent said to the woman, You will not surely die.  For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  This is also where we are introduced to Satan’s greatest weapon, the half-truth.  Satan knew that they would not die right that second, but he did know that they would die eventually and that was not part of God’s plan.  Adam and Eve believed the half-truth.  They indeed did not die that day, but they still died.

Are All Lies Considered Sin?

By certain events in the Bible, I am saying no.  How can this be?  Let us look at two examples as I explain.  Exodus 1:16-21 starts with the king of Egypt saying to two midwives, “when you serve as a midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live.”  But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king commanded them, but let the male children live.  So the king of Egypt called the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this, and let the male children live?”  The midwives said to Pharoah (here is the lie), “because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women, for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.”  So God dealt well with the midwives.  And the people multiplied and grew very strong.  And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families.  The fear of God is why the midwives lied.  They knew that murder was wrong.  They didn’t lie for selfish reasons; they lied because they feared God.

Joshua 2:1-21 tells the story of Rahab the prostitute and how she lied to save two spies that Joshua had sent to check out Jericho and other local areas of the land.  Her lie came from the same position as the midwives.  Verse 8b-9a says, she came up to them on the roof and said to the men, “I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the fear of you (the spies) has fallen upon us.  She feared the spies because they had God with them, thus this also makes her fear God.  Her lie also was not for selfish gain.  It was the fear of God that drove her to this decision.  Anytime a person lies for the honest, true fear of God, I believe they will not be held accountable for it.  It is those that lie for other reasons such as: selfishness, lust, greed and all sorts of other human endeavors that the lie becomes sin.

When a Lie Becomes Sin

Lies become sin when any tiny hint of selfishness is there.  Acts 5:1-9 is a perfect example.  Ananias and Sapphira were a married couple that sold a piece of their property.  They kept a portion of the money back for themselves but they wanted to look good in front of others, so they lied and said they were giving all of the profit to the church. In verses 3-5 Peter says to Ananias, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land?  While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own?  And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal?  Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart?  You have not lied to men but to God.”  When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last.  Men in the church carried him out and buried him.  Later on Sapphira comes into the church knowing nothing about what happened to her husband.  Verses 7-10a says, after an interval of about three hours his (Ananias) wife came in, not knowing what had happened.  And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.”  And she said, “Yes, for so much.”  But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord?  Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.”  Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last.  Their lies were built around a false pretense to look like generous, giving people to the rest of the church.  God does not accept this behavior.

Other Verses About Lying

Proverbs 6:16, 17 and 19 There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue…a false witness who breathes out lies.

Leviticus 19:11-12You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; you shall not lie to one another.  You shall not swear by My name falsely, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord.

Psalm 24:4-5He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.  He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

There are so many possible passages that could have been chosen for this article.  I encourage you to research further into the heart of God and how lying affects us and those around us through reading His Word.  I hope you have been blessed by God’s Word as you have read it.  He is worthy of all praise!

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The Holy Bible, English Standard Version

“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”


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