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Lesson 13

The Ten Commandments- Part 9

"A false witness will not go unpunished,
and he who breathes out lies will not escape.” (Proverbs
1. What is the dictionary definition of a lie?

A false statement deliberately presented as being true.

2. What is the difference between a lie and discretion?

A lie is a false statement intended to deceive, whereas discretion is

wise self-restraint in speech.

3. Do you think it is ever okay for a Christian to tell a lie in order to protect

No, I think it shows a lack of faith in God. He will accomplish His Will
regardless of my 'help''.

4. What is the difference between a white lie, a half-truth, a fib and an


There is no difference.

5. How many lies must one tell to be a liar?

Just one. You need only murder one person to be a murderer.

6. What will happen to all liars?

They will all have their place in the lake of fire.

The Larger Catechism

Question 144: What are the duties required in the ninth commandment?

Answer: The duties required in the ninth commandment are, the preserving and promoting of
truth between man and man, and the good name of our neighbor, as well as our own; appearing
and standing for the truth; and from the heart, sincerely, freely, clearly, and fully, speaking the
truth, and only the truth, in matters of judgment and justice, and in all other things: Whatsoever; a
charitable esteem of our neighbors; loving, desiring, and rejoicing in their good name; sorrowing
for, and covering of their infirmities; freely acknowledging of their gifts and graces, defending
their innocency; a ready receiving of a good report, and unwillingness to admit of an evil report,
concerning them; discouraging talebearers, flatterers, and slanderers; love and care of our own
good name, and defending it when need requires; keeping of lawful promises; studying and
practicing of: Whatsoever things are true, honest, lovely, and of good report.

Question 145: What are the sins forbidden in the ninth commandment?

Answer: The sins forbidden in the ninth commandment are, all prejudicing the truth, and the good
name of our neighbors, as well as our own, especially in public judicature; giving false evidence,
suborning false witnesses, wittingly appearing and pleading for an evil cause, outfacing and
overbearing the truth; passing unjust sentence, calling evil good, and good evil; rewarding the
wicked according to the work of the righteous, and the righteous according to the work of the
wicked; forgery, concealing the truth, undue silence in a just cause, and holding our peace when
iniquity calls for either a reproof from ourselves, or complaint to others; speaking the truth
unseasonably, or maliciously to a wrong end, or perverting it to a wrong meaning, or in doubtful
and equivocal expressions, to the prejudice of truth or justice;speaking untruth, lying, slandering,
backbiting, detracting, tale bearing, whispering, scoffing, reviling, rash, harsh, and partial
censuring; misconstructing intentions, words, and actions; flattering, vainglorious boasting,
thinking or speaking too highly or too meanly of ourselves or others; denying the gifts and graces
of God; aggravating smaller faults;hiding, excusing, or extenuating of sins, when called to a free
confession;unnecessary discovering of infirmities; raising false rumors, receiving and
countenancing evil reports, and stopping our ears against just defense; evil suspicion; envying or
grieving at the deserved credit of any, endeavoring or desiring to impair it, rejoicing in their
disgrace and infamy; scornful contempt, fond admiration; breach of lawful promises; neglecting
such things as are of good report, and practicing, or not avoiding ourselves, or not hindering:
What we can in others, such things as procure an ill name.

The Heidelberg Catechism

Question 112. What is required in the ninth commandment?

Answer: That I bear false witness against no man, (a) nor falsify any man's words; (b) that I be
no backbiter, nor slanderer; (c) that I do not judge, nor join in condemning any man rashly, or
unheard; (d) but that I avoid all sorts of lies and deceit, as the proper works of the devil, (e) unless
I would bring down upon me the heavy wrath of God; (f) likewise, that in judgment and all other
dealings I love the truth, speak it uprightly and confess it; (g) also that I defend and promote, as
much as I am able, the honor and good character of my neighbor. (h)

(a) Prov.19:5 Prov.19:9 Prov.21:28 (b) Ps.15:3 Ps.50:19-20 (c) Rom.1:29-30 (d) Matt.7:1-
2 Luke 6:37 (e) John 8:44 (f) Prov.12:22 Prov.13:5 (g) 1 Cor.13:6 Eph.4:25 (h) 1 Pet.4:8

Is It Ever Right To Lie?

I heard a denominational preacher teaching a lesson on the need to lie under certain
circumstances. [He] used the story of Rahab the harlot (Joshua 2) to substantiate his
teaching. This shows earthly wisdom on the part of these teachers, because even
among those who know that the Bible condemns lying, the truth of what Rahab did
(viz., she lied), and the fact she is mentioned in a positive manner in the New
Testament, has caused some perplexity among God's people (cf. Hebrews 11:31 and
James 2:25). During his lesson, the aforementioned preacher used this illustration:

Suppose there was someone chasing after me with a shotgun threatening to

kill me. Here you come walking down the street and here I come running
around the corner and pass you by. Soon, here comes the man with the
shotgun. He stops and asks you which way I went; I hope, for my sake, you'll
tell him a lie.

What this teacher wanted those who heard him to think was that they were under a
higher obligation to show mercy to him than they were to tell the truth to the man
with the shotgun.

• First of all, one is not under any obligation, morally or otherwise, to give an
answer to the gunman. Jesus did not sin by refusing to answer some
questions asked of Him (cf. Matthew 27:11-14; Luke 23:8,9), and neither
do we!
• Secondly, as God's Word instructs, one ought to do unto his neighbor as he
would have his neighbor do unto him. In this case, this might entail
preventing or subduing the potential assailant, if possible. But under no
circumstances is one under any Biblical obligation to aid, answer, or assist
the evildoer.

Now, let's consider the case of Rahab. What Rahab did in assisting the spies to
escape (viz., she lied) was wrong, and consequently, it is nowhere praised in the
Scriptures. Those who use the case of Rahab to justify lying, simply "err not knowing
the Scriptures, or the power of God" (Matthew 22:29). Neither Hebrews 11:31 nor
James 2:25 commend Rahab for lying. Instead, she is commended for the faith she
exercised in believing God.

The Way of Escape

One is never permitted to lie, much less morally obligated to do so. The only moral
obligation one is under with reference to lying is not to do it. This, and this alone, is
the clear teaching of God's Word. The Bible clearly teaches: "No temptation has
overtaken [us] except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not
allow [us] to be tempted beyond what [we] are able, but with the temptation will
also make the way of escape, that [we] may be able to bear it" (I Corinthians
10:13). The promise to the Christian is that GOD IS FAITHFUL, and that in His
faithfulness, He will not allow us to be tempted BEYOND WHAT WE ARE ABLE TO
BEAR, and through His power He will MAKE FOR US THE WAY OF ESCAPE.

We must not be mistaken concerning the "Scriptures" (God does not permit lying)
"nor the power of God" (with every temptation, He will make a way of escape). Let
us be of the mind to do His will in all things and then trust in His power to take care
of us. When we pray, let us pray: "And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us
from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.
Amen" (Matthew 6:13).