The OT Decalogue does not contain any prohibition of lying—but there are many terms in which the evils of falsehood are denounced. It is a power of sheol, the infernal world (Isa. 28: 15) and it is especially represented by idolatry (Jer. 10: 14) and by false prophecy (Jer. 29: 9) which leads people to their destruction. Falsehood is illusion.

In the NT falsehood is above all demonstrated in a refusal to accept the claims of Christ, who is the Truth (John 14: 6) whereas the devil, among whose children the unbelieving Jews are numbered, is a liar and the father of falsehood (John 8: 44).

According to Paul (Col. 3: 9) falsehood is a characteristic of unredeemed persons, and in the gospels it is by engaging in false witness that the Sandhedrin is able to secure a conviction of Jesus (Matt. 26: 59). In the epistles we encounter false apostles (2 Cor. 11: 5) who assert themselves over genuine apostles, possibly teaching a form of Gnostic doctrine or ethics. Perhaps even worse, there were those in the time of the early Church who were ‘false Messiahs’ or ‘Christs’, that is they imposed on the expectation of their social group by falsely claiming to be such a person (Mark 13: 22; Matt. 24: 24).