Be Truthful – Exploring the Passages

Below are some preliminary questions to assist in the study of this passage. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download).

1. What does Proverbs 12:22 (printed below) tell us is the Lord’s attitude towards deceit?

Lying lips are detestable to Jehovah, but he delights in those who deal truthfully. (Proverbs 12:22)

Proverbs 12:22a is an extremely emphatic statement revealing the Lord’s revulsion to deceit; literally it reads: “Detestable to Jehovah are deceitful lips” (note Proverbs 6:16-19). Why is this the case? This is so because truth is an integral part of the very character and being of God (Isaiah 65:16a); furthermore, deceit is in opposition to and at enmity against all that God is.

2. How does Proverbs 13:5 (printed below) describe the righteous man’s attitude towards lying?

A righteous man hates lying; but a wicked man is loathsome and will be put to shame. (Proverbs 13:5)

Note that the righteous man does not only abstain from the practice of deceit, but he has a moral revulsion to it: he “hates lying.” A righteous man holds the same view as the Lord God Himself; he regards lying and all forms of deceit to be contemptible and detestable. A righteous man comes to understand that truth is sacred, because it originates from God and is part of His holy character; and, that deceit is either a malicious assault against what is holy or a self-seeking/self-preserving sacrifice of what is holy.

3. According to Proverbs 12:19 (printed below,) how durable and long lasting is deceit?

The lips of truth shall be established forever; but a lying tongue is but for a moment. (Proverbs 12:19)

In contrast to “lips of truth,” a lying tongue shall not be established; it shall not be permanent, secure and enduring. Far from being established, a lying tongue is “but for a moment” (literally, “for the blinking of an eye.”) From the perspective of God’s eternal truth, falsehood is only “for a moment;” it is short lived, fleeting, non-durable; it will be forever banished and consumed by the awesome truth of God.

4. What conduct is being described in Proverbs 20:14 (printed below?) What lesson does this proverb teach with regard to honesty in our business transactions?

“It is no good! It is no good!” protests the buyer; then off he goes and boasts about his purchase. (Proverbs 20:14)

“‘It is no good! It is no good!’ protests the buyer.” He insists that the article is of poor quality, it is not worth the price the seller is asking; the seller must lower his price if he hopes to make the sale. But after making his purchase at a lower price, “off he goes and boasts about his purchase.” Thus, he has not only cheated the seller out of a fair price, he now proceeds to mock the man he has just cheated. What does the Scripture command? Our business transactions are to be characterized by fairness and honesty.

5. What form of deceit is described in Proverbs 26:28 (printed below?)

A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth causes ruin. (Proverbs 26:28)

Note that “a flattering mouth” is put into the same category as “a lying tongue;” both are deceitful and both are destructive. Flattery is a calculated manipulation of someone for personal gain: “A man who flatters his neighbor is spreading a net for his feet.” (Proverbs 29:5)