© 1999 James A. Fowler

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I. Representative Biblical references.

    A. Old Testament
         Exod. 20:16 - "you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor."
         Prov. 6:12 - "a worthless person, a wicked man,...one with a false mouth"
         Prov. 12:22 - "lying lips are an abomination to the Lord"
    B. Varying Greek words in New Testament.
         1. Greek words pseudes, pseudomai, pseudos, pseustes - false, lie
              Eph. 4:25 - "laying aside falsehood, speak truth, each one of you"
              Col. 3:9 - "do not lie to one another...you have laid aside old self"
              I Jn. 2:22 -"Who is the liar...the one who denies Jesus is the Christ"
         2. Greek words apatao, apate, exapatao - deceive
              Eph. 4:22 - "old man corrupted with lusts of deceit"
              Eph. 5:6 - "let no one deceive you with empty words"
              Gal. 6:3 - "if anyone thinks he is something...deceives himself"
    C. Greek words plane, planos - deception, error
         Matt. 24:4 - "see to it that no one misleads you"
         Gal. 6:7 - "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked"
         Eph. 4:14 - "trickery of men, craftiness in deceitful scheming"
    D. Greek words dolios, dolioo, dolos, doloo - false, deceitful
         Mk. 7:22 - "from heart of man proceed deeds of deceit"
         II Cor. 11:3 - "as serpent deceived Eve..you might be led astray"
         I Pet. 2:1 - "putting aside all guile (deceit) and hypocrisy"

II. Some Biblical examples of lying, deception, falsehood.

    A. Serpent - Gen. 3:1-5
    B. Cain - Gen. 4:9
    C. Abraham - Gen. 12:10-20; 20:1-18
    D. Isaac - Gen. 26:6-11
    E. Jacob - Gen. 27:6-35
    F. Laban - Gen. 29:15-30
    G. Hebrew midwives - Exod. 1:15-21
    H. Rahab - Josh. 21-6; 6:17,22-25
    I. Ananias and Sapphira - Acts 5:1-11

III. Spiritual source of lies, deception, error

    A. God cannot lie. Contrary to His character of Truth.
         Numb. 23:19 - "God is not a man, that he should lie"
         Heb. 6:18 - "it is impossible for God to lie"
         Titus 1:2 - "God, who cannot lie"
         Jn. 8:32,36 - "the truth shall set you free...the Son..."
         Jn. 14:6 - "I am the way, the truth, and the life"
         I Jn. 2:27 - "is true, and is not lie"
    B. Lying, falsehood, error, deception is the character of the Evil One, Satan.
         Jn. 8:44 - "devil, no truth in him...he is a liar, and the father of lies"
         I Jn. 4:6 - "the spirit of error"
         Rev. 12:9 - "devil and Satan...who deceives the whole world"
         Rev. 20:10 - "the devil who deceived them"
    C. Fallen mankind identified with Satan's character of lie and deceit
         II Cor. 11:3 - "serpent deceived Eve..."
         Ps. 58:3 - "those who speak lies go astray from birth"
         Rom. 1:25 - "they exchanged the truth of God for the lie"
    D. Lying, deception, falsehood in man derived from Satan - ek diabolos
         Jn. 8:44 - "devil..the father of lies"
         Acts 5:3,4 - "Satan filled your heart to lie to Holy Spirit"

IV. Christian behavior

    A. Should represent and manifest the character of God's Truth
         Matt. 5:37 - "let your 'Yes' be 'Yes', and your 'No' be 'No'"
         Eph. 4:15 - "speak the truth in love"
         Eph. 4:25 - "speak truth, each one of you"
    B. Should not misrepresent the character of God
         Lk. 3:14 - "do not accuse anyone falsely"
         Eph. 4:25 - "laying aside falsehood"
         Col. 3:9 - "do not lie to one another"
         1. Inconsistency of such misreprsentation
              James 3:14 - "do not be arrogant, and lie against the truth"
              I Pet. 2:1 - "putting aside all guile (deceit) and hypocrisy"
              I Jn. 1:6 - "if walk in darkness, we lie, and do not practice the truth"
              I Jn. 4:20 - "If says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar"
         2. Severity of punishment - Acts 5:1-11; 13:6-11; Rev. 21:8,27; 22:15

V. Religion is the hotbed of lying, deceit, falsehood and error.

    Jn. 8:44,45; Rom. 16:18; II Cor. 4:2; 11:3, 13-15; Eph. 4:14; I Thess. 2:9; I Tim. 4:1,2;
    II Tim. 3:13; II Pet. 2:3; 3:17; I Jn. 2:26; II Jn. 7; Jude 11

VI. Some practical questions and considerations

    A. Are some personalities more prone to lying than other personalities?
    B. Do exaggeration, embellishment, inflation of figures qualify as lying?
    C. Are there degrees of lying? ex. "little white lies"
    D. What is meant by the term "pathological liar?"
    E. Does the end ever justify the means of lying?
    F. Is there such a thing as a "loving lie"?
    G. Does the omission of information qualify as a lie?
    H. Does the phrase, "speak the truth in love" (Eph. 4:15), create an intrinsic conflict?



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