The Ninth Commandment

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

What is the New Testament meaning of this commandment?

We should honor and love God by recognizing and respecting our neighbor's inherent right to innocence and personal honor by refusing to belie, betray, slander, misrepresent or raise injurious reports against him, by apologizing for him, speaking well of him, placing the best interpretation on all of his actions, and by loving him as we love ourselves.

In addition to one's body, wife and possessions there is another inherent right that God has given to man: his innocence, honor and good name. One has from God the right to stand with integrity and honor before his community and his family.

An individual has no more fight to defame, betray or injure a person's character than he has to steal his possessions, commit adultery with his wife, or take his life. A good name is more precious than diamonds, and in some cases more valuable than life. No one wants his honor rooted in the muck by the snout of a pig.

We are under obligations to God to help our neighbor in the preservation of his honor and his integrity. This is done by speaking the truth, especially in courts, by defending the Word of God and those who properly proclaim it, by refusing the tongue the sinful urge of injuring or molesting a neighbor.

False witnessing is primarily the work of the tongue, whether it is done by false preachers who warp and twist the scriptures, by witnesses before courts whose sinful purposes give vent to lying tongues, or out of court in the market place of life where slander and gossip are loose without a bridle.

If one cannot stand before a judge with his charge, then let him keep silence. If he can stand before a judge, then let him keep silence until he stands before the judge.

Please read the assignment for this lesson.

Exodus 20:16; 23:1-3;
Deuteronomy 19:15-21;

II Kings 5:1-27;

Proverbs 6:16-19; 12:17; 14:5; 19:5, 9;

Matthew 24:9-12; 26:57-75.

Copyright in 1978 by R.O.Corvin. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.