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Shorter Catechism

Q 78. What is forbidden in the ninth commandment?

A. The ninth commandment forbiddeth whatsoever is prejudicial to truth, or injurious to our own, or our neighbor’s, good name.1

Larger Catechism

Q 145. What are the sins forbidden in the ninth commandment?

A. The sins forbidden in the ninth commandment are, all prejudicing the truth, and the good name of our neighbors, as well as our own,2 especially in public judicature;3 giving false evidence,4 suborning false witnesses,5 wittingly appearing and pleading for an evil cause, outfacing and overbearing the truth;6 passing unjust sentence,7 calling evil good, and good evil; rewarding the wicked according to the work of the righteous, and the righteous according to the work of the wicked;8 forgery,9 concealing the truth, undue silence in a just cause,10 and holding our peace when iniquity calleth for either a reproof from ourselves,11 or complaint to others;12 speaking the truth unseasonably,13 or maliciously to a wrong end,14 or perverting it to a wrong meaning,15 or in doubtful and equivocal expressions, to the prejudice of truth or justice;16 speaking untruth,17 lying,18 slandering,19 backbiting,20 detracting,21 talebearing,22 whispering,23 scoffing,24 reviling,25 rash,26 harsh,27 and partial censuring;28 misconstructing intentions, words, and actions;29 flattering,30 vainglorious boasting;31 thinking or speaking too highly or too meanly of ourselves or others;32 denying the gifts and graces of God;33 aggravating smaller faults;34 hiding, excusing, or extenuating of sins, when called to a free confession;35 unnecessary discovering of infirmities;36 raising false rumors,37 receiving and countenancing evil reports,38 and stopping our ears against just defense;39 evil suspicion;40 envying or grieving at the deserved credit of any,41 endeavoring or desiring to impair it,42 rejoicing in their disgrace and infamy;43 scornful contempt,44 fond admiration;45 breach of lawful promises;46 neglecting such things as are of good report,47 and practicing, or not avoiding ourselves, or not hindering what we can in others, such things as procure an ill name.48

  1. Leviticus 19:16

    You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand up against the life of your neighbor: I am the Lord.

    Psalm 15:3

    who does not slander with his tongue
    and does no evil to his neighbor,
    nor takes up a reproach against his friend;

    Proverbs 6:16-19

    There are six things that the Lord hates,
    seven that are an abomination to him:
    haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
    and hands that shed innocent blood,
    a heart that devises wicked plans,
    feet that make haste to run to evil,
    a false witness who breathes out lies,
    and one who sows discord among brothers.

    Luke 3:14

    Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.” (ESV)

  2. Luke 3:14

    Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”

    1 Samuel 17:28

    Now Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spoke to the men. And Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, “Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your presumption and the evil of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.”

    2 Samuel 16:3

    And the king said, “And where is your master’s son?” Ziba said to the king, “Behold, he remains in Jerusalem, for he said, ‘Today the house of Israel will give me back the kingdom of my father.’”

    2 Samuel 1:9-10

    And he said to me ‘Stand beside me and kill me, for anguish has seized me, and yet my life still lingers.’ So I stood beside him and killed him, because I was sure that he could not live after he had fallen. And I took the crown that was on his head and the armlet that was on his arm, and I have brought them here to my lord.”

    2 Samuel 1:15-16

    Then David called one of the young men and said, “Go, execute him.” And he struck him down so that he died. And David said to him, “Your blood be on your head, for your own mouth has testified against you, saying, ‘I have killed the Lord‘s anointed.’” (ESV)

  3. Leviticus 19:15

    “You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.

    Habakkuk 1:4

    So the law is paralyzed,
    and justice never goes forth.
    For the wicked surround the righteous;
    so justice goes forth perverted. (ESV)

  4. Proverbs 19:5

    A false witness will not go unpunished,
    and he who breathes out lies will not escape.

    Proverbs 6:16

    There are six things that the Lord hates,
    seven that are an abomination to him: (ESV)

  5. Acts 6:13

    and they set up false witnesses who said, “This man never ceases to speak words against this holy place and the law, (ESV)

  6. Jeremiah 9:3

    They bend their tongue like a bow;
    falsehood and not truth has grown strong in the land;
    for they proceed from evil to evil,
    and they do not know me, declares the Lord.

    Jeremiah 9:5

    Everyone deceives his neighbor,
    and no one speaks the truth;
    they have taught their tongue to speak lies;
    they weary themselves committing iniquity.

    Psalm 12:3-4

    May the Lord cut off all flattering lips,
    the tongue that makes great boasts,
    those who say, “With our tongue we will prevail,
    our lips are with us; who is master over us?”

    Acts 24:2

    And when he had been summoned, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying:

    “Since through you we enjoy much peace, and since by your foresight, most excellent Felix, reforms are being made for this nation,

    Acts 24:5

    For we have found this man a plague, one who stirs up riots among all the Jews throughout the world and is a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.

    Psalm 52:1-4

    52:1 Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man?
    The steadfast love of God endures all the day.
    Your tongue plots destruction,
    like a sharp razor, you worker of deceit.
    You love evil more than good,
    and lying more than speaking what is right. Selah
    You love all words that devour,
    O deceitful tongue. (ESV)

  7. Proverbs 17:15

    He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous
    are both alike an abomination to the Lord.

    1 Kings 21:9-14

    And she wrote in the letters, “Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth at the head of the people. And set two worthless men opposite him, and let them bring a charge against him, saying, ‘You have cursed God and the king.’ Then take him out and stone him to death.” And the men of his city, the elders and the leaders who lived in his city, did as Jezebel had sent word to them. As it was written in the letters that she had sent to them, they proclaimed a fast and set Naboth at the head of the people. And the two worthless men came in and sat opposite him. And the worthless men brought a charge against Naboth in the presence of the people, saying, “Naboth cursed God and the king.” So they took him outside the city and stoned him to death with stones. Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, “Naboth has been stoned; he is dead.” (ESV)

  8. Isaiah 5:23

    who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
    and deprive the innocent of his right! (ESV)

  9. 1 Kings 21:8

    So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal, and she sent the letters to the elders and the leaders who lived with Naboth in his city. (ESV)

  10. Leviticus 5:1

    5:1 “If anyone sins in that he hears a public adjuration to testify, and though he is a witness, whether he has seen or come to know the matter, yet does not speak, he shall bear his iniquity;

    Acts 5:3

    But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land?

    Acts 5:8-9

    And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.” But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.”

    Deuteronomy 13:8

    you shall not yield to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him, nor shall you conceal him.

    2 Timothy 4:16

    At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! (ESV)

  11. 1 Kings 1:6

    His father had never at any time displeased him by asking, “Why have you done thus and so?” He was also a very handsome man, and he was born next after Absalom.

    Leviticus 19:17

    “You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. (ESV)

  12. Isaiah 59:4

    No one enters suit justly;
    no one goes to law honestly;
    they rely on empty pleas, they speak lies,
    they conceive mischief and give birth to iniquity. (ESV)

  13. Proverbs 29:11

    A fool gives full vent to his spirit,
    but a wise man quietly holds it back. (ESV)

  14. 1 Samuel 22:9-10

    Then answered Doeg the Edomite, who stood by the servants of Saul, “I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, and he inquired of the Lord for him and gave him provisions and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”

    Psalm 52:1-5

    52:1 Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man?
    The steadfast love of God endures all the day.
    Your tongue plots destruction,
    like a sharp razor, you worker of deceit.
    You love evil more than good,
    and lying more than speaking what is right. Selah
    You love all words that devour,
    O deceitful tongue.

    But God will break you down forever;
    he will snatch and tear you from your tent;
    he will uproot you from the land of the living. Selah (ESV)

  15. Psalm 56:5

    All day long they injure my cause;
    all their thoughts are against me for evil.

    Matthew 26:60-61

    but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward and said, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to rebuild it in three days.’”

    John 2:19

    Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” (ESV)

  16. Genesis 3:5

    For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

    Genesis 26:7

    When the men of the place asked him about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” for he feared to say, “My wife,” thinking, “lest the men of the place should kill me because of Rebekah,” because she was attractive in appearance.

    Genesis 26:9

    So Abimelech called Isaac and said, “Behold, she is your wife. How then could you say, ‘She is my sister’?” Isaac said to him, “Because I thought, ‘Lest I die because of her.’” (ESV)

  17. Isaiah 59:13

    transgressing, and denying the Lord,
    and turning back from following our God,
    speaking oppression and revolt,
    conceiving and uttering from the heart lying words. (ESV)

  18. Colossians 3:9

    Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices

    Leviticus 19:11

    “You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; you shall not lie to one another. (ESV)

  19. Psalm 50:20

    You sit and speak against your brother;
    you slander your own mother’s son. (ESV)

  20. Psalm 15:3

    who does not slander with his tongue
    and does no evil to his neighbor,
    nor takes up a reproach against his friend; (ESV)

  21. James 4:11

    Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.

    Jeremiah 38:4

    Then the officials said to the king, “Let this man be put to death, for he is weakening the hands of the soldiers who are left in this city, and the hands of all the people, by speaking such words to them. For this man is not seeking the welfare of this people, but their harm.” (ESV)

  22. Leviticus 19:16

    You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand up against the life of your neighbor: I am the Lord. (ESV)

  23. Romans 1:29-30

    They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, (ESV)

  24. Genesis 21:9

    But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, laughing.

    Galatians 4:29

    But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. (ESV)

  25. 1 Corinthians 6:10

    nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (ESV)

  26. Matthew 7:1

    7:1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. (ESV)

  27. Acts 28:4

    When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.”

    James 2:13

    For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. (ESV)

  28. Genesis 38:24

    About three months later Judah was told, “Tamar your daughter-in-law has been immoral. Moreover, she is pregnant by immorality.” And Judah said, “Bring her out, and let her be burned.”

    Romans 2:1

    2:1 Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. (ESV)

  29. Romans 3:8

    And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.

    Psalm 69:10

    When I wept and humbled my soul with fasting,
    it became my reproach.

    Nehemiah 6:6-8

    In it was written, “It is reported among the nations, and Geshem also says it, that you and the Jews intend to rebel; that is why you are building the wall. And according to these reports you wish to become their king. And you have also set up prophets to proclaim concerning you in Jerusalem, ‘There is a king in Judah.’ And now the king will hear of these reports. So now come and let us take counsel together.” Then I sent to him, saying, “No such things as you say have been done, for you are inventing them out of your own mind.”

    1 Samuel 1:13-15

    Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman. And Eli said to her, “How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you.” But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord.

    2 Samuel 10:3

    But the princes of the Ammonites said to Hanun their lord, “Do you think, because David has sent comforters to you, that he is honoring your father? Has not David sent his servants to you to search the city and to spy it out and to overthrow it?” (ESV)

  30. Psalm 12:2-3

    Everyone utters lies to his neighbor;
    with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.

    May the Lord cut off all flattering lips,
    the tongue that makes great boasts, (ESV)

  31. 2 Timothy 3:2

    For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, (ESV)

  32. Luke 18:9

    He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt:

    Luke 18:11

    The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.

    Acts 12:22

    And the people were shouting, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!”

    Exodus 4:10-14

    But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” But he said, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.” Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses and he said, “Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Behold, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart.

    Romans 12:16

    Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.

    Galatians 5:26

    Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

    1 Corinthians 4:6

    I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another. (ESV)

  33. Luke 9:49-50

    John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you.”

    2 Corinthians 10:10

    For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account.”

    Acts 2:13

    But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”

    Job 27:5-6

    Far be it from me to say that you are right;
    till I die I will not put away my integrity from me.
    I hold fast my righteousness and will not let it go;
    my heart does not reproach me for any of my days.

    Job 4:6

    Is not your fear of God your confidence,
    and the integrity of your ways your hope? (ESV)

  34. Matthew 7:3-5

    Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (ESV)

  35. Proverbs 28:13

    Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper,
    but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.

    Genesis 3:12-13

    The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

    Proverbs 30:20

    This is the way of an adulteress:
    she eats and wipes her mouth
    and says, “I have done no wrong.”

    Jeremiah 2:35

    you say, ‘I am innocent;
    surely his anger has turned from me.’
    Behold, I will bring you to judgment
    for saying, ‘I have not sinned.’

    2 Kings 5:25

    He went in and stood before his master, and Elisha said to him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?” And he said, “Your servant went nowhere.”

    Genesis 4:9

    Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” (ESV)

  36. Proverbs 25:9-10

    Argue your case with your neighbor himself,
    and do not reveal another’s secret,
    lest he who hears you bring shame upon you,
    and your ill repute have no end.

    Genesis 9:22

    And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside. (ESV)

  37. Exodus 23:1

    23:1 “You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness. (ESV)

  38. Proverbs 29:12

    If a ruler listens to falsehood,
    all his officials will be wicked.

    Psalm 41:7-8

    All who hate me whisper together about me;
    they imagine the worst for me.

    They say, “A deadly thing is poured out on him;
    he will not rise again from where he lies.” (ESV)

  39. Acts 7:56-57

    And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him.

    Job 31:13-14

    “If I have rejected the cause of my manservant or my maidservant,
    when they brought a complaint against me,
    what then shall I do when God rises up?
    When he makes inquiry, what shall I answer him? (ESV)

  40. 1 Corinthians 13:5

    or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;

    1 Timothy 6:4

    he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, (ESV)

  41. Matthew 21:15

    But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant,

    Numbers 11:29

    But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” (ESV)

  42. Ezra 4:12-13

    be it known to the king that the Jews who came up from you to us have gone to Jerusalem. They are rebuilding that rebellious and wicked city. They are finishing the walls and repairing the foundations. Now be it known to the king that if this city is rebuilt and the walls finished, they will not pay tribute, custom, or toll, and the royal revenue will be impaired.

    Daniel 6:3-4

    Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other presidents and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. Then the presidents and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him. (ESV)

  43. Jeremiah 48:27

    Was not Israel a derision to you? Was he found among thieves, that whenever you spoke of him you wagged your head? (ESV)

  44. Matthew 27:28-29

    And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”

    Psalm 35:15-16

    But at my stumbling they rejoiced and gathered;
    they gathered together against me;
    wretches whom I did not know
    tore at me without ceasing;
    like profane mockers at a feast,
    they gnash at me with their teeth.

    Psalm 35:21

    They open wide their mouths against me;
    they say, “Aha, Aha!
    Our eyes have seen it!” (ESV)

  45. Jude 1:16

    These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.

    Acts 12:22

    And the people were shouting, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” (ESV)

  46. Romans 1:31

    foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.

    2 Timothy 3:3

    heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, (ESV)

  47. 1 Samuel 2:24

    No, my sons; it is no good report that I hear the people of the Lord spreading abroad. (ESV)

  48. 2 Samuel 13:12-13

    She answered him, “No, my brother, do not violate me, for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do this outrageous thing. As for me, where could I carry my shame? And as for you, you would be as one of the outrageous fools in Israel. Now therefore, please speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from you.”

    Proverbs 5:8-9

    Keep your way far from her,
    and do not go near the door of her house,
    lest you give your honor to others
    and your years to the merciless,

    Proverbs 6:33

    He will get wounds and dishonor,
    and his disgrace will not be wiped away. (ESV)


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Copyright © Tim Hopper. Based on Calendar of Readings in the Westminster Standards by Dr. Joey Pipa. Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. · ·