The Ninth Commandment

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“You Shall Not Give False Testimony against Your Neighbor”

Exodus 20:16


Ask any parent and they will tell you the habit of lying begins at a very early age. David writes in Psalm 58, “Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward and speak lies.”  Obedience to this commandment is one of our earliest attempts at building character.


In this commandment God is intending to protect us against defamation of character and to uphold our reputations.   He knew that our human nature would make lying easy.


James warns us how dangerous “the tongue” is by saying, “Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” James 3:5-6


  • Omitting truth is tell a LIE
  • Twisting the truth is LYING
  • Inventing facts is LYING
  • Making promises and not acting on them is LYING


Once labeled as a liar it is almost impossible to get our good reputation back. But what about “Little White Lies” that protect feelings?

The Bible tells us to, “speak the TRUTH in love”. Ephesians 4:15  

White lies are NOT necessary; but tact, kindness and courtesy should always be practiced.


What Did Jesus say about the 9th Commandment?


  • “I am the way, the TRUTH and the life.” John 14:6
  • Jesus said these sins are endemic in the human heart in Matt 15:18-19
  • “Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” John 18:37b
  • “Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’, ‘No’…” Matt 5:37a

Roxanne Harlien