ChristianAnswers.Net WebBible Encyclopedia

What is a…
lie

also known as: lying, deception

A lie is an intentional violation of the truth. Lies are emphatically condemned in Scripture (John 8:44; 1 Timothy 1:9-10; Rev. 21:27; 22:15).

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” —Jeremiah 17:9

The 9th commandment to the Israelites is,

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. —Exodus 20:16 NKJV

Many people are continual, habitual liars. The Book of Revelation refers to those who love to lie and practice lying (Rev. 22:14-15). The Book of Proverbs says,

An honest witness does not deceive, but a false witness pours out lies. —Proverbs 14:5 NIV

…it is better to be a poor man than a liar. —Proverbs 19:22b NASB

The Lord detests lying lips,
but he delights in people who are trustworthy. —Proverbs 12:22 NIV

You [God] destroy those who speak lies;
the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man. —Psalm 5:6 ESV

Paul urged the Colossian Believers to always tell each other the truth,

Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices… —Colossians 3:9 NASB

Paul warned his friend Timothy of the future deceits and lies,

…the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron… —1 Timothy 4:1-2 NASB

Jesus Christ said of the Devil,

…He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. —John 8:44 NASB

Book of Revelation

Satan is called “the deceiver of the whole world” (Revelation 12:9). Revelation also speaks of…

…those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie… —Revelation 3:9 NASB

The end for unrepentant liars

Scripture prophecies the end judgment for unrepentant liars who reject Christ,

for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” —Revelation 21:8 NASB

People in Scripture who commited a lie

(keeping in mind that all people are sinners, and lying is a sin committed by virtually every human being at some time)

  • Satan through a serpent—deceived Eve / The Devil is “the father of lies.”
  • Cain, the first son of Adam—after murdering his younger brother Abel, he lied to the LORD about his knowledge of the whereabouts of Abel, saying, “I do not know.” (Genesis 4:9 NASB)
  • Abraham—represented his attractive wife to the Egyptians, including their Pharaoh, as merely his sister (she was his half-sister), concealing his marriage to her for safety concerns (Genesis 12:11-15; 20:2) / Abraham told the same lie to the Philistine King Abimelech for the same reason. That lie backfired when the king added her to his harem.
  • Sarah—lied to the LORD about laughing at the His promise that she would bear Abraham a son at her (and his) advanced age (Genesis 18:12-15 KJV)
  • Isaac—said his beautiful wife was his sister out of concern for his safety (Gen. 26:7)
  • Jacob—deceived his blind father Isaac (27:24) / He also deceived his surly father-in-law Laban by not telling him that he was fleeing to another land (Gen. 31:20-27 KJV).
  • Jacob’s sons—lied to their him about what happened to his favored son Joseph
  • Laban and his daughter Leah—deceived Isaac on his marriage day (switched brides) / Laban also lied to Jacob by cheating him of his wages 10 times (Gen. 31:7)
  • Rachel, the beautiful daughter of Laban—lied to her father after stealing his household idols and then hiding them in her tent in a camel saddle. As he searched for them, she further concealed them by sitting on the saddle and saying to him, “Let not my lord be angry that I cannot rise before you, for the manner of women is upon me” (in other words, she claimed she could not get up because of having her menstrual period), never revealing to her father that the stolen items he was desperately searching for at that very moment were concealed right under her (Gen. 31:19-35).
  • Wife of Potiphar (aka Potifar)—falsely claimed that Jacob’s son Joseph tried to rape her—in reality, she was the offender who propostioned Joseph and was rebuffed (Genesis 39:13-18 NIV)
  • Rahab—lied to guards of the city of Jericho to protect 2 Israelite spies (Joshua 2:4-6 NASB)
  • King Saul—lied to David (falsely promised the king’s daughter Merab would be given to David as his wife as a reward)
  • Prince Jonathan—lied to his father King Saul to test his desire to kill David (1 Samuel 20:6)
  • Hebrew midwives—lied to Pharaoh to protect male babies (Exodus 1:15-19)
  • Princess Michal, daughter of King Saul—lied to her father to save David’s life (1 Samuel 19:14)
  • Samson—lied to Delilah 3 times about the source of his great strength (Judges 16)
  • Gehazi, the servant of Elisha—lied by telling Naaman the healed Aramean that Elisha sent him to ask for 2 talents of silver and 2 changes of clothing. Afterward, he lied to Elisha when asked, “Where have you been?” He said, “Your servant went nowhere” (2 Kings 5:20-27).
  • Prophet Micaiah—initially lied to Ahab, king of Israel, and Judah’s King Jehoshaphat about their future fate (1 Kings 22)
  • Judas Iscariot—his kiss of affection to Jesus Christ, when Judas was actually selling Him to His enemies who planned to kill Him
  • Peter—3 times he denied knowing Jesus of Nazareth
  • Ananias and Sapphira—2 early church members (a married couple) purposely lied to Peter, the Church and God about the proceeds of their sale of real estate (Acts 5 NASB).

Truly BIG LIES, so huge that they strongly adversely affect millions or billions in our present world

(partial list, with more planned later)
  1. Man and the universe developed into existence on their own through some “scientifically” explainable processes. —Evolutionism
  2. There is no Creator; God absolutely does not exist. He is a figment of human imagination. —Atheism
  3. There is no clear evidence for a divine being, therefore no such being probably exists, although one can’t be absolutely sure. Based on everything humanity knows, it seems best to live our lives with the assumption that no god exists. —Agnosticism/Secularism
  4. If there is a Creator of some kind, this being is unknowable and clearly not involved or concerned with us—our behavior, our distress, our success or anything else. We are strictly on our own, so behave accordingly. —Agnosticism/Secularism
  5. The Earth, including every human, is merely a tiny, insignificant, meaningless speck in a vast universe governed only by time and chance. —Evolutionism/Atheism/Agnosticism/Secularism
  6. Humans are merely animals; therefore, do whatever seems best to insure your survival and your personal pleasures and success. If there is any meaning in human life, that is it. —Evolutionism/Atheism/Agnosticism/Secularism
  7. There is no ultimate right or wrong; there is no such thing as sin or God’s laws to be obeyed—these are merely concepts developed by Jews and Christians to control behavior to their liking. At most, right and wrong are fluid concepts of different societies and times. There are no true absolutes. —Evolutionism/Atheism/Agnosticism/Secularism
  8. Having casual sex with someone is no big deal.
  9. Sex = Love
  10. All too often, the 3 word claim, “I love you”—falsely uttered by millions each day.
    (See: • What is LOVE? Answer • What is TRUE LOVE? Answer)

Hebrew and Greek words

Hebrew words in Scripture translated as “lie” or to be a “liar”:
אכזב —transliteration: akzab
בּד —transliteration: bad
כּזב —transliteration: kazab
כּחשׁ —transliteration: kachash
שׁקר —transliteration: sheqer

Greek words:
ψευδής —transliteration: pseudes (meaning: liar or false)
ψεύστης —transliteration: pseustes (meaning: liar)

ALSO SEE:

  • What is a HYPOCRITE? Answer
  • Ten Commandments
  • What is SIN? Answer
  • What is TRUTH? Answer
  • What is a WITNESS? Answer
  • Ananias and Sapphira—lied to their Christian community and God, and God made a quick example of them as a warning to all and to clearly display his fury with liars
  • leasing—Old English word
  • What is THE FEAR OF THE LORD? and why is it very important? Answer
Article Version: October 11, 2017