Why Does the Bible Warn So Much Against Being Deceived?

There are many warnings in the Bible against being deceived.  Here are three from the New Testament to get our study started:

1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”

Galatians 6:7  Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.

1 John 3:7  Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.

Such warnings are commonplace, and they range from general warnings to warnings about deceit on specific topics.  In fact, the idea of deceiving and lying is a fairly common theme in the Bible.  Depending on the English version, the word “deceive” and its variations occur about 65 times throughout the Bible.  (That’s an average of about once per book.)  Meanwhile, liar and its variations appear about 20 times, while lie to and lied to appear about 10 times.  This doesn’t count, of course, instances in which we read about someone lying in a narrative that doesn’t come out and use one of these words or terms.  Even if we count our estimate at a modest 95 occurrences, however, we end up with roughly 1.5 mentions of lying per book in the Bible, on the average.

And if that’s not enough to cement the topic of lying/deceit as an important one, God’s bold statement that the place of liars is in the Lake of Fire should certainly do it:

Revelation 21:8  But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

I note that it’s not just some liars, but all of them that are in view in this passage.  The wise believer, therefore, would do well to heed these passages.

1 Corinthians 3:18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.

1 John 1:8  If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

Galatians 6:3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

James 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves

James 1:26  If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.

I could go on, of course, but the people who are interested in being honest have already seen enough, while those looking for a way out of total honesty will still be looking for a way out even if I show them every passage there is.

The reason the Bible talks about it so much is that every time we think about anything, decide on anything, write anything, or tell anybody anything, we have an opportunity to be dishonest.  Every time.  Just as we have an opportunity to fall down every time we walk, we have an opportunity to make moral errors every time we think or communicate.  God knows this, of course.  Hence, all the mentions of it in the Bible.

And if I understand the Bible correctly–and I do–God is simply not interested in the eternal company of people who are not fully committed to the truth.


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