vs. Deception
Earning future trust by accurately reporting past facts

Key Verse

“Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.”
Ephesians 4:25

The operational definition of truthfulness is “earning future trust by accurately reporting past facts.” When your life and words consistently communicate what is honest and accurate, others will learn that they can trust you and believe what you say. Being truthful means reporting details accurately and admitting when you are wrong. Telling the truth can be difficult and often requires courage and humility. Truthfulness is not only speaking facts with your lips, but also acting with integrity and avoiding secret sins, recognizing that God sees and knows everything. Honest people have nothing to hide
because they have done what is right.

God’s Word gives an accurate account of God’s character, of past and future events, and of God’s moral truth.
A mirage in the desert appears when hot air creates an illusion of water that is not really there. When a weary traveler does not find the water he is expecting, he realizes he has been deceived. Deception causes people to base decisions on misinformation to their own hurt.

The opposite of truthfulness is deception. People may twist the truth in order to gain approval or avoid punishment. Deception often involves telling lies, stealing, or secretly doing what authorities said not to do. When caught doing wrong, a dishonest person may blurt out more falsehoods to cover up the initial offense. He misleads by leaving out important details, and may exaggerate, make excuses, or tell half-truths. A deceptive person might cheat on tests, making a teacher believe that the work is his own when it really is not. Although we are born with deceitful hearts, we can draw near to God and cleanse our hearts with His truth. (See Jeremiah 17:9, James 4:8.)

Evaluation Questions

  • Are my heart and mind daily submitted to the truth of God’s Word?
  • Does the presence of God motivate me to replace dishonest living with integrity?
  • Am I looking into God’s Word to double-check what I am taught about Him?
  • Do I receive God’s grace to reject pride and the temptation to exaggerate my achievements to others?
  • Do I ask others not to accurately say what happened, or do I encourage them to fully tell the truth?
  • Am I willing to relay facts accurately even if I may be punished or others may resent me?
  • Do I conceal or distort the truth when I’m afraid to tell what actually happened?
  • In my life, is God’s love for others stronger than the temptation to deceive or slander them?
  • Have I recognized why it is deceptive to ask one parent for permission when the other parent has already said no?

More About Truthfulness

“The true follower of Christ will not ask, ‘If I embrace this truth, what will it cost me?’ Rather he will say, ‘This is truth. God help me to walk in it, let come what may!’“
A. W. Tozer
Transformation results as we behold the Lord and yield to the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (II Corinthians 3:18). As we see God’s character through testimonies in Scripture, we grow in our understanding and obedience to His Word. Here are ten aspects of Truthfulness with supporting verses found in God’s Word.

God enables me to:


Give all the facts.

“For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips. All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them.” PROVERBS 8:7–8

Speak the truth.

“But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.” EPHESIANS 4:15

Beware of misleading others.

“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” ROMANS 16:17–18

Refrain from taking advantage of others.

“Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man.” II CORINTHIANS 7:2

Believe the truth.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” JOHN 5:24

Avoid all lying.

“A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies.” PROVERBS 14:5

Encourage others to tell the truth.

“Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” II TIMOTHY 2:1–2

Never cheat or steal.

“A false balance is abomination to the Lord: but a just weight is his delight.” PROVERBS 11:1

Admit when I am wrong.

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I JOHN 1:8–9

Refrain from exaggeration.

“Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” DEUTERONOMY 4:2

Truthfulness in Scripture

Samuel Delivers a Difficult Message

“And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him.”
I Samuel 3:18a
Eli the high priest welcomed the couple who had traveled to Shiloh to worship the Lord. This year they brought their young son Samuel to stay and to serve God at the temple of the Lord. Eli’s adult sons also served God as priests. Sadly, however, they did not know or obey the Lord. As Eli’s sons offered sacrifices, they often stole portions of the meat that belonged to God and shared them with Eli. They threatened anyone who opposed them and even committed immorality with women in the sacred place. Eli knew of his sons’ sins and rebuked them but did nothing to stop their wrongdoing. He honored his sons more than God. During this time, God rarely spoke to anyone in Israel. Even though Samuel served God, he did not yet know Him. One night as Samuel lay in bed, he heard a voice calling his name. Thinking it was Eli, Samuel ran to see what the priest needed. But Eli had not called young Samuel. When this happened three times in the same night, Eli realized that the Lord was calling Samuel! What message did the Lord give the boy? Would God give Samuel the courage to speak the truth and deliver the message, even if it was difficult?

Revealed in Nature


Lions don’t lie. They clearly reveal their intentions with the positions of their ears, the postures of their tails, the shapes of their mouths, and the sounds of their roars. A lion’s roar is louder than that of any other large cat and can be heard up to 5 miles away.

For Kids

Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum

The Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum uses examples from the lives of men and women in the Bible whose walk with God resulted in good character or whose lack of faith produced poor character. Through this study, children will learn that living honestly is a fundamental way that we love the Lord and others and is essential for healthy, trusting relationships.

View the Truthfulness booklet sample:

Get the complete Truthfulness booklet with all four lessons & activities:

Free Resources for Truthfulness

Enjoy these selections from the Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum that are fun and memorable!

Bible Story Coloring Page
Verse & Definition Word Search
Related Hymn Sheet Music
In the continuing conflict between good and evil, truth is the weapon that wins the war.