This Week’s Catechism – 7/7

Doctrinal Standard WSC #76 & 77

  • Q. What is the ninth commandment?
  • A. The ninth commandment is: You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
  • Q. What does the ninth commandment require?
  • A. The ninth commandment requires us to tell the truth and to maintain and promote it and our own and others’ reputations, especially when testifying.

Memory Verse(s)

  • I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth (I John 2:21, ESV).


  • Study Passage: John 14:1-17
  • Support Passages: Genesis 20; Genesis 27:1-27; Proverbs 11:13; Joshua 8:3-29; Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25; I Samuel 16:1-13
  • Bible Story: Joshua 2


  • “ But what is truth? This is the question Pontus Pilate asked, and it has been asked again and again since man fell in Adam’s transgression. God created man to think his true thoughts after Him. So long as man accepted God’s word and obeyed His commands, he knew and spoke only the truth. But when the Devil deceived man he began to try to find the standard of judgment, or truth, in his own reason. He was thus the victim of the lie of Satan, and could not speak the truth. As Jesus once said to the unbelieving Jews: ‘Ye are of your father the devil, and the lust of your father ye will do. He was a murder from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar and the father of it’ (John 8:44). Truth, then, is that which is in accord with the mind of God. And it is only the regenerated person – the person who repents and believes – who can again learn to speak the truth. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. It is only when we are in union with him that we can really know the truth. This does not mean the converted person will, as soon as he is converted arrive at perfection in his knowledge of, and obedience to, the truth. No believer, in this life, perfectly attains unto truth. But he does come to know truth, and he does attain to a more and more perfect conformity to the truth.
  • In order to speak the truth, then, two things are essential. (1) First, it is necessary that we speak what we sincerely believe to be the truth. We cannot say that a person is truthful if he himself does not believe what he is saying. (2) But it is also necessary that we speak what actually is. We cannot say that a person is telling the truth unless he speaks what is in accord with existing reality. It is not enough, in other words, that we simply repeat something as true, which we have heard from others. For this reason the Bible condemns gossip. ‘Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people’ (Lev 19:16). The godly man does not take up ‘ a reproach against his neighbor’ (Ps 15:3). He doesn’t believe everything he hears, especially when it is an evil reports. Before he tells anyone else he wants to know whether or not it really is true.”[1]

Discussion Questions

  • What is the ninth commandment?
  • What does the ninth commandment require?
  • What is truth?
  • Provide a definition or explain what it means to lie?
  • How were lies a major part of Adam and Eve’s first sin?
  • How can lies destroy relationships?


[1] Williamson, C.I. (2003). The Westminster Shorter Catechism – 2nd Edition. Phillipsburg, New Jersey, USA; P&R Publishing Company.

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"Him we proclaim,
warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom,
that we may present everyone mature in Christ."
(Colossians 1:28, ESV)

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