This Week’s Catechism – 7/14

Doctrinal Standard WSC # 76 & 78

  • 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 forbid?
  • A. The ninth commandment forbids anything that gets in the way of the truth or injures anyone’s reputation.

Memory Verse(s)

  • “A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will not escape” (Proverbs 19:5, ESV).


  • Study Passage: Leviticus 19:9-18
  • Support Passages: Exodus 20:16; 1 Samuel 17:28; Leviticus 19:16; Psalm 15:3
  • Bible Story: Jeremiah 23:23-40


  • “The Catechism mentions (false testimony) as a special concern of the ninth commandment. This means there are certain times and circumstances when the sin of lying (which is evil at all times) is even more heinous that at other times. If we are called as witnesses in a court of law, for example, we are charged by duly appointed authority to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. The very fact that the oath is necessary in such instances is a reminder of the fact that we are too carless, ordinarily, as respects the truth. Yes, as Jesus taught us, we ought to learn to speak in our daily conversations, in such a way that truth has the same priority with us at all times, as it would for unbelievers in a solemn trial in court-room (Matt. 5:33-37). Let us conclude our study of the ninth commandment then, with a brief consideration of some ways in which we can study greater obedience. (1) one of the things that we can do is to think before we speak. ‘ In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.’ (Prov. 10:19). We need to learn what an unruly member the tongue is, and we need to know what a great fire it can ignite (James 3:5). At the same time we need to remember that (2) silence can be as wrong as an evil speaking. If we know that a wrong has been done and do not speak up, we are guilty when our very silence will seem to express our consent (Lev. 5:1). (3) Perhaps the chief need is to consider God, rather than man, as the one that we must please. So much of what we say is really calculated to please people. We want to win their approval, or gain some advantage from them. But when a man realizes that nothing really matters except to please God, then his speech will change radically. This reminds us that there is only one way that we can ever learn to speak the truth. It is by a saving relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the way, the truth, and the life. And no man can obtain the truth except in Him.” [1]

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

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(Colossians 1:28, ESV)

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