I was talking to a friend in the ministry about some of the sins God considered serious. We looked at how God punished different people who had sinned differently. The sin of lying appeared amongst those that God detests, and we saw examples of grave punishment people were given for lying. We decided to look at lying in the Bible and decided first to ask ourselves, how many times is lying mentioned in the Bible?
Some scholars have noted at least 150 plus Bible verses talking about lying. From the serpent lying to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3 to Ananias and Sapphira lying to the Holy Spirit in Acts 5, several Bible verses have exposed different contexts where lying was used. While in some verses, the sin is ignored, in some, we have also been shown the consequences of lying.
I welcome you to join me as we delve into lying in the Bible. I will look at the different Bible verses about lying. I will also look at the Bible verse where lying first appears in the Bible. Furthermore, I will explain some examples of lying and examples of God lying in the Bible and the punishment for lying. Read to the end to learn more about lying in the Bible.
What Does the Bible Say About Lying?
The Bible says in Proverbs 12:22 that lying lips are an abomination before God, to mean that God dislikes it when someone lies. The same is echoed in Proverbs 6:16-19 where lying is mentioned under the six things that the Lord hates. It is further mentioned as an abomination in the same verse.
In Psalm 101:7, God says that those who like lying will not dwell in His house and that those who utter lies will not be allowed to continue doing so as God watches, while in Psalm 31:18, King David declares curses upon the people who have been telling lies that they may mute forever.
Proverbs 12:19 says that truthful lips will endure forever while, consequently, a lying tongue will only exist for a moment as it is bound to be destroyed by God.
Colossians 3:9-10 warns Christians against lying to each other since they are new creatures in Jesus Christ who should not lie like in their old days.
In John 8:44, Satan is said to be the father of lies whose focus is lying to and misleading the people of God from the truth.
In 1 John 2:4, we are told that any person who claims to know Jesus Christ but fails to keep His commandments is lying and does not bear any truth in them, as Proverbs 24:28 forbids us from telling lies against our neighbours and from lying with our lips.
In Proverbs 21:6, we are warned against acquiring property using a lying tongue as this is a trap that could lead to your death, while in Psalm 34:13, we are told to keep our tongues from evil and our lips from lying.
In Psalm 109:2, King David laments about the wicked people who are speaking against him with lying tongues, while in Psalm 120:2, he asks God to deliver him from lying lips and deceitful mouths.
In Hosea 4:2, lying is mentioned as one thing that breaks all bounds, leading to constant bloodshed.
In 1 Kings 22:21-23, God is noted allowing a lying spirit to work in His prophets as the wrath for the people’s disobedience.
Isaiah 32:7 describes the devil’s character as evil, using his lying tongue to deceive the poor.
In Acts 3, Ananias makes the mistake of lying to the Holy Spirit and dies instantly. Three hours later, his wife Sapphira lies and dies before Apostle Peter.
This is just a portion of what the Bible says about lying and how God reacts to lying when done by His people.
Where does lying first appear in the Bible?
Lying first appears in the Bible in Genesis 3. In the verse, the devil visits Eve disguised as a serpent in the Garden. He then asks her why God had forbidden them from eating the fruit at the tree in the middle of the Garden. Eve explains that God had warned them that they would die if they ate the fruit.
With his lying tongue, the devil manages to convince Eve to eat the fruit, promising they will acquire knowledge to know good and bad. As soon as both Adam and Eve eat the fruit, they realize that they are naked, marking the beginning of the fall of man.
Examples of Lying in the Bible
Ananias and Sapphira lying to the Holy Spirit
Acts 3 tells us about the incident where Ananias sold a piece of land, carried part of the money, and hid some for himself. He was rebuked for lying to the Holy Spirit when he presented the money before the Apostle Peter and instantly died.
Midwives lying to Pharaoh to protect the lives of newborn babies
Exodus 1:17-21 tells us the instance where the Hebrew midwives had to lie to Pharaoh. At the time, Pharaoh had commanded them to kill all the newborn boys, so they had to lie that the Hebrew women were giving birth to the boys before they arrived so they did not have a chance of killing them.
Rahab is lying to protect spies sent by Joshua
In Joshua 2, Joshua sent two Israelite spies to check over Jericho, and their presence was noticed. The king asked their host Rahab, to present them, but she hid them and lied that they had already left. By lying, she protected the two men who had been sent from the land of God.
Jezebel lying to get Naboth killed
In 1 Kings 21, Jezebel writes a letter to the elders and nobles living in Naboth city, lying that Naboth had cursed God and the king and had to be stoned to death. These letters, written and sealed in King Ahab’s name, sealed the fate of poor Naboth, who was killed for refusing to give his ancestral vineyard to the jealous king.
Abraham lying to Pharaoh to protect himself
In Genesis 12, a famine is witnessed, forcing Abraham and Sarah to go to Egypt for food. Since Sarah was beautiful, Abraham feared the Egyptians would kill him to get his wife. He, therefore, lies to Pharaoh and his men that Sarah is his sister.
Sarah lying to God
Abraham and Sarah were visited by God to be given the good news that they would be given a child in their old age. When Sarah hears this message, she laughs because she doesn’t believe she could get pregnant at such an age. When asked why she laughs, Sarah fears and lies to God in Genesis 18:15 that she did not do it.
Jacob laid to Isaac to get his brother’s blessings
In Genesis 27, Isaac sends his eldest son Esau to hunt some game meat for him, prepare it and get his blessings. However, Rebekah orders Jacob to slaughter a lamb, prepare it and go for the blessings. Jacob follows her instructions and lies to his father that he is Esau and acquires his brother’s blessings.
Isaac lying about his wife to protect himself
When Isaac visited Gerar with his wife in Genesis 26:6-11, he feared that his wife was very beautiful and he could be killed for that. He, therefore, lies to Abimelech that Rebekah is his sister before it is finally revealed that she is his wife.
The sons of Jacob lying to him about Joseph
When the other sons of Jacob start feeling jealous of Joseph, they decide to sell him to Egypt. They then picked a colourful robe, applied it with animal blood, and took it to their father. In Genesis 37:32, they give the robe to their father, lying to him that it belongs to Joseph.
Laban lies to Jacob
In Genesis 29, Jacob visits his uncle Laban and works for seven years to get Rachael, Laban’s younger daughter. Laban lies to Jacob on the wedding night and gives him his elder daughter Leah much to his disappointment.
What is the punishment for lying in the Bible?
For lying and causing the death of Naboth in 1 Kings 21, Jezebel was punished by being killed in the most humiliating ways despite having been a queen. In 2 Kings 9:30-37, she is thrown down from the palace and dies on the spot for her lies.
For lying to the Holy Spirit in Acts 5, Ananias and his wife Sapphira face instant death in the church. They had sold a piece of land and hidden some of the offerings for themselves.
These two instances have made some Christians assume that the punishment for lying in the Bible is death.
Examples of God lying in the Bible
Numbers 23:19 tells us that God is not a man that He should lie. However, some scholars have analyzed instances in the Bible that have been assumed to show that God, too, can lie.
In Matthew 16:28, Jesus Christ, also called God the Son, tells many that some would not taste death until they see his second coming. That is estimated to be about 2000 years ago. There is no record of a person from that time still existing. Some scholars have therefore assumed that, in this instance, God lied.
In Genesis 2:7, God tells Adam and Eve that eating the forbidden fruit would result in their death on the same day. However, after eating the apple, Adam is recorded as living over 900 years before finally tasting death. Some scholars have also assumed this to be where God lies in the Bible.
They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, right? Being raised by Christians significantly impacted my life since I started professing Christ from a young age. My passion for the Christian faith made me pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology. I am a believer and pastor dedicated to spreading the word of God. I have been in the Christian ministry for over a decade and am currently ministering in Life Christian Church. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Please check the About Us Page for more details.