9th commandment you shall not bear false witness

9th Commandment: You Shall Not Bear False Witness

Exodus 20:16

What is the Ninth Commandment?

Exodus 20:16

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

The Father of Lies

Who is the Father of Lies? Satan himself. (See John 8:44.) The very word “devil” means slanderer.

Satan used slander to corrupt Adam, by slandering God’s character. (Read Genesis 3:3-5.) In the Book of Job, Satan appeared before the throne of God and slandered Job, a man who loved God with all of his heart. (Read Job 1:8-11.) Satan has always been bearing false witness about Jesus. (See Matthew 26:59.)

What Does it Mean to Bear False Witness?

There are many ways to break the ninth commandment.


“Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness” (Exodus 23:1b). In God’s courtroom, the one who set the murderer free will be condemned of murder, and the one who accused the innocent will suffer the penalty the innocent suffered.


“A lying tongue hates those who are crushed by it, and a flattering mouth works ruin” (Proverbs 26:28). Flattery and hypocrisy are two sides of the same coin, and God’s Word forbids it.

Rumors & Slander

“You shall not circulate a false report” (Exodus 23:1a). 

“Do not speak evil of one another, brethren” (James 4:11a). When you listen to backbiting, you are as guilty as the person who gives it—whether the matter is true or not.

Not Speaking Up

When the Bible says, “You shall not bear false witness,” it implies that you will bear true witness. So if you keep silent when a criminal deed is done or a good man is criticized, you break the ninth commandment. (See Leviticus 5:1.)

Is Lying a Sin?

Proverbs 6:16-19

These six things the LORD hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.

If you make a practice of lying, the Bible says plainly that “you are of your Father the devil,” (see John 8:44) and, “All liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8b). 

The God of Truth

“You shall not bear false witness” implies, “You shall bear true witness.”

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8; emphasis added).

A witness tells what he has seen and heard—just the facts. And if you fail, that is part of your witness: tell how God forgave you.

Living By the Truth of God

How do we transfer these things so that our children permeate society with the truth of God?

Teach the Truth of God

The Word of God is truth, so teach the Word of God to your children. Show them that when they tell a lie they are acting like the devil, and when they tell the truth they are acting like Christ. Give them a theological reason.

Model the Truth of God

If you fail to tell the truth to your children, your home is on the road to disaster. If you have ever made a promise to your child and failed to keep it, ask that child for forgiveness. 

Let your children know you are a truth-speaker.

Discipline in the Truth of God

Your children should know you will not put up with these three D’s: Disobedience, Defiance, and Dishonesty. In those moments, judgment should be stern, kind and swift. 

If you want your home to win, go back to what God has said.

Known for his evangelistic zeal and uncompromising commitment to the Word of God, Adrian Rogers was one of the greatest preachers, respected Bible teachers, and Christian...

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