October 1, 2007 by Stacy McDonald

Bearing False Witness

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Q. 145 – What are the sins forbidden in the ninth commandment?

A. The sins forbidden in the ninth commandment are, all prejudicing the truth, and the good name of our neighbours, as well as our own, (1 Sam. 17:28, 2 Sam. 16:3, 2 Sam. 1:9,10,15–16) especially in public judicature; (Lev. 19:15, Hab. 1:4) giving false evidence, (Prov. 19:5, Prov. 6:16,19) suborning false witnesses, (Acts 6:13) wittingly appearing and pleading for an evil cause, out-facing and overbearing the truth; (Jer. 9:3,5, Acts 24:2,5, Ps. 12:3–4, Ps. 52:1–4) passing unjust sentence, (Prov. 17:15, 1 Kings 21:9–14,10–11,13) calling evil good, and good evil; rewarding the wicked according to the work of the righteous, and the righteous according to the work of the wicked; (Isa. 5:23) forgery, (Ps. 119:69, Luke19:8, Luke 16:5–7) concealing the truth, undue silence in a just cause, (Lev. 5:1, Deut. 13:8, Acts 5:3,8–9, 2 Tim. 4:16) and holding our peace when iniquity calleth for either a reproof from ourselves, (1 Kings1:6, Lev. 19:17) or complaint to others; (Isa. 59:4) speaking the truth unseasonably, (Prov. 29:11) or maliciously to a wrong end, (1 Sam. 22:9–10, Ps. 52:1–5) or perverting it to a wrong meaning, (Ps. 56:5, John 2:19, Matt. 26:60–61) or in doubtful or equivocal expressions, to the prejudice of truth or justice; (Gen. 3:5, Gen. 26:7,9) speaking untruth, (Isa. 59:13) lying, (Lev. 19:11, Col. 3:9) slandering, (Ps. 50:20) backbiting, (James 4:11, Jer. 38:4) talebearing, (Lev. 19:16) whispering, (Rom. 1:29–30) scoffing, (Gen. 21:9, Gal. 4:29) reviling, (1 Cor. 6:10) rash, (Matt. 7:1) harsh, (Acts 28:4) and partial censuring; (Gen. 38:24, Rom. 2:1) misconstructing intentions, words, and actions; (Neh. 6:6–8, Rom. 3:8, Ps. 69:10, 1 Sam. 1:13–15, 2 Sam. 10:3) flattering, (Ps. 12:2–3) vain-glorious boasting; (2 Tim. 3:2) thinking or speaking too highly or too meanly of ourselves or others; (Luke 18:9,11, Rom. 12:16, 1 Cor. 4:6, Acts 12:22, Exod. 4:10–14) denying the gifts and graces of God; (Job 27:5,6, Job 4:6) aggravating smaller faults; (Matt. 7:3–5) hiding, excusing, or extenuating of sins, when called to a free confession; (Prov. 28:13, Prov. 30:20, Gen. 3:12–13, Jer. 2:35, 2 Kings 5:25, Gen. 4:9) unnecessary discovering of infirmities; (Gen. 9:22, Prov. 25:9–10) raising false rumors, (Exod. 23:1) receiving and countenancing evil reports, (Prov. 29:12) and stopping our ears against just defense; (Acts 7:56–57, Job 31:13–14) evil suspicion; (1 Cor. 13:5, 1 Tim. 6:4) envying or grieving at the deserved credit of any, (Numb. 11:29, Matt. 21:15) endeavoring or desiring to impair it, (Ezra 4:12–13) rejoicing in their disgrace and infamy; (Jer. 48:27) scornful contempt, (Ps. 35:15–16,21, Matt. 27:28–29) fond admiration; (Jude 16, Acts 12:22) breach of lawful promises; (Rom. 1:31, 2 Tim. 3:3) neglecting such things as are of good report, (1 Sam. 2:24) and practicing, or not avoiding ourselves, or not hindering what we can in others, such things as procure an ill name. (2 Sam. 13:12–13)

Q. 144 – What are the duties required in the ninth commandment?

A. The duties required in the ninth commandment are, the preserving and promoting of truth between man and man, (Zech. 8:16) and the good name of our neighbour, as well as our own; (3 John 12) appearing and standing for the truth; (Prov. 31:8–9) and from the heart, (Ps. 15:2) sincerely, (2 Chron. 19:9) freely, (1 Sam. 19:4–5) clearly, (Josh. 7:19) and fully, (2 Sam. 14:18–20) speaking the truth, and only the truth, in matters of judgment and justice, (Lev. 19:15, Prov. 14:5,25) and in all other things whatsoever; (2 Cor. 1:17–18, Eph. 4:25) a charitable esteem of our neighbours; (Heb. 6:9, 1 Cor. 13:7) loving, desiring, and rejoicing in their good name; (Rom 1:8, 2 John 4, 3 John 3–4) sorrowing for, (2 Cor. 2:4, 2 Cor. 12:21) and covering of their infirmities; (Prov. 17:9, 1 Pet. 4:8) freely acknowledging of their gifts and graces, (1 Cor. 1:4–5,7, 2 Tim. 1:4–5) defending their innocency; (1 Sam. 22:14) a ready receiving of a good report, (1 Cor. 13:6–7) and unwillingness to admit of an evil report, (Ps. 15:3) concerning them; discouraging tale-bearers, (Prov. 25:23) flatterers, (Prov. 26:24–25) and slanderers; (Ps. 101:5) love and care of our own good name, and defending it when need requireth; (Prov. 22:1, John 8:49) keeping of lawful promises; (Ps. 15:4) studying and practicing of whatsoever things are true, honest, lovely, and of good report. (Phil. 4:8)

The Westminster Larger Catechism : With Scripture Proofs. Oak Harbor, WA : Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1996, S. Question 144

Taken from The Westminster Larger Catechism : With Scripture Proofs.


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6 Responses to “Bearing False Witness”

  1. Sarah E. says:

    This is wonderful to read, Stacy.

    I was just sitting here amazed, and wondering how you (and possibly your husband) found the time to pull all this together…and then I read the bottom, that it is from the Westminster Catechism. I guess you can tell I am not that familiar witb the catechism! This might be just the thing that convinces me to read and possibly learn the catechism :-). I think that just this passage alone could provide meaty Bible study for quite some time.

    This is such a timely post. I pray God’s blessings to you for speaking the truth winsomely and in His love.

    Blessings to you today,

    Sarah E.

  2. Sarah says:

    This is exactly why we need a Savior because we can’t do this on our own!


    -Sarah B.

  3. Bonnie says:

    The truth is simple and straight-forward, isn’t it? What a wonderful compilation, and how wise of our fathers to, with the Lord’s guidance, bring it all together for us in the catechism. Thank you for posting this.

    Bonnie in FL

  4. Stacy McDonald says:

    Hi Sarah,

    That is funny! No, this was penned many years ago. :-) Unfortunately, the Westminster Catechism (as well as the Westminster Confession of Faith) has been largely forgotten by the modern church. I think it’s time for a return to solid/sound doctrine. If you’re interested, here is a link to the whole Shorter Catechism online: http://www.shortercatechism.com/

  5. Sarah E. says:

    Thanks so much for the link. I’ll have a look. Blessings to you, Sarah E.

  6. Theresa says:

    I have reading through your past articles and this was VERY timely for me. I just printed out these two questions last night as I was putting together a Plants Grown Up study on control of the tongue. Thank you for sharing this with the Scriptures.


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