In this article we address a question that is very clear in the Bible: Is lying a sin or is it okay to tell the untruth? I’ve put something together.
Is lying a sin? Lying is a sin and is not acceptable for a Christian. There is no exception to this at all.
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Is lying a sin in the Bible?
If we want to decide what is a sin and what is not a sin, we must see what God’s opinion is. Because a sin is always a violation of God’s ideal standards, which He has given us as laws.
Or in short: If God forbids it or God does not approve of it, then it is a sin!
And we can read the opinion of God in the Bible. Therefore, let’s have a look at important Bible passages on the subject.
Lying is a Sin? – Bible verse
The Bible speaks out against lying at many crucial points. In the following sections you will find the corresponding verses and their explanations.
The 8th Commandment
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.Exodus 20:16
The commandment of not lying is found in the 10 Commandments and is thus considered a core element of Christian ethics. The 10 commandments are accepted as basic rules of conduct by God (even if he gave it “only” to his people Israel at that time).
So it is not just a minor matter before God – It is so important to Him that He passes it on to people as a core message.
What is interesting is this: If you read other translations that are closer to the original text, you might read a different core point from this commandment:
You shall not testify against your neighbor as a false witness.Deuteronomy 20:16
The focus here is on testifying in court (“bearing witness”). It is to ensure that a just verdict is rendered against someone – based on the pure truth.
Martin Luther goes so far in his explanation of this commandment as to say, “If you can’t testify to it in court, don’t say it at all.
If the commandment applies, so to speak, only to not saying anything false about someone – are other kinds of lies allowed? No. There are other biblical passages that confirm the character of “not telling falsehoods”.
Lying in the Proverbs and Psalms
Also in the wisdom literature and the Psalters we find clear statements about lying, which are not only limited to a statement of judgment – yes, they even hint at a punishment!
False lips are an abomination to the LORD, but he who practices truth pleases him.Proverbs 12:22
Or to put it less flowery: He who speaks falsely has God against him. But he who speaks the truth, God likes him. (That “lips” are written here is due to the fact that the Hebrew language is very flowery and figurative).
How much it is an abomination, we can read in the following passage:
LORD, save my soul from the lying lips, from the false tongues!Psalm 120:2
God says that the soul can take a damage if it is confronted with lies by other people! I think that psychological problems, caused by false claims, can be read in here without any problems. (But this subject would go beyond the scope of this article).
There are other passages where God condemns the lie as bad – and the liar too! So it absolutely belongs to the clearest commandments of God!
In the Gospels
Also in the New Testament this commandment is confirmed and one could have the feeling that it was even tightened. (But this could be my subjective feeling).
But let your speech be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay. That which is above is of evil.Matthew 5:37
This quote comes directly from Jesus. While in the Old Testament one could often argue that “only” giving false testimony in court is a sin (which can be seen in some of the rules of the Jews), Jesus goes further here.
He doesn’t say that you can only say yes or no – He says that the statement is clear and unintelligible and never a false statement – no matter what the situation. (Which makes the irony thing difficult).
While this is relatively vers in the Gospels, this principle of “always speaking truth” is clearly affirmed in 2 Corinthians 1:15-22!
Is white lies a sin?
On the subject of lying, there is no doubt on the page whether lying is a sin or not: lying is a sin. Anyone who tells the untruth sins.
And yes: this means that basically everyone in the world is a liar.
Is lying always a sin?
When you study the Bible, you realize: Whoever says what is not true is lying. But at what point is this the case? Do white lies apply? Is irony okay? Do socially acceptable untruths apply? (Like small talk) There is no direct answer to these individual questions, and presumably everyone can think of some situation where they make a statement that “isn’t so bad if it’s false”.
I think that this is not in the sense of the inventor. Such thoughts come from original sin and lead to more sins. At this point, we should say radically: lying is not allowed. Under no circumstances.
Is it a sin to lie for a good cause?
There could be, possibly maybe, situations when you don’t want to tell a person something you know. Here it is necessary to clarify: Does the person opposite have serious reason to know the truth or not? If it comes to a statement at the police or before the court: In no case lie;- even if it hurts to tell the truth!
When it comes to a surprise party and not to tell the birthday boy or girl anything: Again, please stick to the truth! When in doubt, something like this goes: “I won’t tell!”. If you really don’t say that, it corresponds to the truth.
It is also no problem to tell someone that you know something, but don’t say it! (Provided that it does not pursue the purpose the other one consciously a wrong thought into the head to put! Important!)
…and if I am wrong?
I think it’s no problem to make a statement that later turns out to be false – as long as you can assume in good conscience that you are telling the truth at the moment of the statement.
Why is lying a sin?
Why God has declared a lie to be a sin, you would have to ask Him yourself. The fact that God considers it a sin should be enough reason for Christians not to lie under any circumstances.
But not lying also has various advantages: As a Christian, you build up a relationship of trust and can develop a reputation as faithful and reliable. Such a person is nice to have around – so you can practice charity without problems and share the gospel much easier.
Summary: Is lying a sin in christianity?
Lying is a sin in christianity and there is no reason to tell the untruth. God does not like anyone to tell the untruth – if in doubt, it is better not to say anything at all than to (deliberately) say something wrong.