What Does the Bible Say About Lying?

Lying is something that we see every day, and we might even remember having told a few 'small' lies ourselves to get out of trouble – or further into it. A lie, large or small, brings a lot of questions for someone's faith. What does the Bible say about lying?

What Does the Bible Say About Lying

The Bible has very clear thoughts about what it means to lie, and how any untruths are seen in the eyes of the Lord. Throughout the Bible, lying is never looked upon in a favorable context, but is shown as something that we should avoid as the faithful servants of God. Nothing good ever comes from a lie.

A lie takes us further away from truth in the Lord, and further away from the Lord’s message. Lying can go against our faith in what God has planned for us, and we cannot be truly faithful in the Lord if we go about to deceive anyone (or even ourselves).

Proverbs tells us that bread gained by deceit is sweet, but will also fill your mouth with gravel. It’s a clever metaphor for the nagging discomfort that we might feel after we have knowingly told a lie or deceived someone. We know that it was not morally right to do – and even though the first results are sweet, the long-term consequences are not.

“Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel.” Proverbs 20:17

Romans warns us to look out for liars and false prophets, and those who deceive. People who lie for a living (and know that they are doing it), cannot be faithful to the Lord through this unfortunate habit.

“I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.” Romans 16:17-18

The Lord’s path is never one that is paved with lies, but instead kindness and truth.

The book of Ezekiel has one of the most critical passages for liars. Lies can have serious consequences for people, including false imprisonment that only began with one small lie. Always remember that every lie or act of deceit can have consequences.

“You have profaned me among my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread,
putting to death souls who should not die and keeping alive souls who should not live, by your lying to my people, who listen to lies.” Ezekiel 13:19

Is Lying Against the Bible?

Yes, and the Bible is clear about this in several passages. In the book of Proverbs, it says that there are seven things that are considered an abomination to the Lord. Among these things, are those who devise wicked plants, who sow discord and those who have ‘a lying tongue’.

It is difficult to follow our faith in the Lord when we lie. Faithful people should always be truthful, and correct their mistakes if they have knowingly (or unknowingly) been deceitful towards anyone.

“There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.” Proverbs 6:16-19

The Bible says, in Psalm 101, that nobody who practices deceit shall dwell in the house of the Lord. Lies have no place mixed together with faith, and deceit only leads us on a one-way path away from the Lord’s plan for us.

“No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue before my eyes.” Psalm 101:7

This does not mean that lies are a mistake that cannot be fixed. Almost everyone remembers ‘that one lie’ they might have told, and the Bible is clear when it points out that there is redemption to be found in admitting and fixing our mistakes.

What Does the Bible Say About Lying

Is Lying a Sin?

Telling a lie is certainly not the opposite!

There are several passages in the Bible, including in Psalms and Proverbs, that point out lies and deceit as actions that are not in line with the Lord’s plan.

There are other parts of the Bible that are even more specific. Exodus says that no person shall bear false witness against their neighbor. When it speaks of bearing false witness, it means to lie about what you have witnessed – and it comes from close-knit communities where it was more common for people to give their neighbors up to authorities, sometimes for falsehoods.

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Exodus 20:16

The truth faithful always remain truthful. If you know that you have lied about something, bring your concerns to the Lord and correct your mistake. The true test lies in finding redemption after we have endured temptations or sin.

Leviticus 19 says that people shall not steal, or deal falsely. The same sentence says that people should not lie to one another.

“You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; you shall not lie to one another.” Leviticus 19:11

The Bible clearly tells us that lying is considered wrong in the eyes of the Lord – but the Bible also tells us that the faithful can find redemption in accepting Christ and fixing the mistakes that they might have made.

If a liar repents and accepts the Lord, redemption is still to be found. Those who continue to lie knowingly and do not halt their ways, will surely be held accountable for their actions.

Is Lying Wrong?

The Bible certainly does not condone lying, and a lie leads to nothing good in most of the parts of the Bible where it is mentioned. Specifically, the book of Matthew says that lies are one of the things that can ‘defile a person’ – or render their souls impure in the eyes of the Lord.

“But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.” Matthew 15:18

The Word does not encourage us to lie, but instead tells us to own up to our mistakes and seek truth for this is the Lord’s way. A passage in James tells us that we should let our yes mean yes, and no mean no – and this passage tells us, again, that truth is the way of the Lord.

“But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other
oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation” James 5:12

It is impossible to attain peace in the face of lies.

A clear path to the Lord cannot be paved with deceit.

Lying in the Bible

The Bible has further examples of lying and the effect that it can have on people, relationships and our relationship with God. There is no such thing as a ‘small’ lie, but even small untruths can have big impacts on our lives and the lives of others.

Does Lying Affect Relationships?

Yes, and the Bible tells us exactly how.

A passage in Colossians tells us that, once we have accepted Christ, there is no need to lie to each other. There are ways to leave our ‘old self’ behind even if we have made mistakes, and to turn over a new leaf with the help of the Lord.

“Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” Colossians 3:9-10

The Bible also tells us that we should never lie about our faith in the Lord. A passage in John cautions believers that those who say they know God (but their actions say the opposite) are not truthful in their hearts.

“Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is
not in him,” John 2:4

Proverbs goes on to tell us that lies have the power to destroy relationships and lives, as much as a sword or a sharp arrow. Lies do damage, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time: deceit takes us further away from the Lord.

Even untruths that seem like small ones can have a big impact on people’s lives – and that’s no way for the faithful to live.

“A man who bears false witness against his neighbor is like a war club, or a sword, or a
sharp arrow” Proverbs 25:18

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