Luke 20 Lesson

Speaking The Truth In Love


What does it mean to, “Speak the truth in love?” That will be the focus of today’s lesson.

We will begin in the book of Luke.

Luke 20:1-8 contains a fascinating exchange between Jesus and the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus was preaching and teaching in the temple when the scribes and Pharisees attempted to turn the crowd against Him by saying to Jesus:

  • “Tell us by what authority You are doing these things, or who is the one who gave You this authority ?”Luke 20:2.

Jesus responded to their question with a question of His own:

  • “I will also ask you a question, and you tell Me: Was the baptism of John from heaven or from men? ”– Luke 20:3-4.

Jesus knew that this question would be hard for them to answer because they did not feel comfortable answering it either way. If they answered, “From heaven,” they knew that Jesus would say, “Why did you not believe him?” And if they answered, “From men,” they feared they would be stoned to death by the people who believed correctly that John was a prophet. 

If the scribes and Pharisees always spoke the truth in love, their answer would have been easy. But sadly, they were not guided by the truth. Instead of answering honestly according to their beliefs, they calculated which answer they thought would benefit them the most before speaking. Whether it was true or not! 

The teachable moment for us is this, don’t do that!

As Christians, we are commanded to tell the truth. It is our responsibility to say what is right, true, and pure. The words that we speak are to be honest, they are to glorify God, and they are to build others up. Our words should never be used to bring glory to ourselves or to tear others down.


Telling the truth should be important to anyone who calls themselves a Christian. God commands us to be truthful. One of the fastest ways to lose credibility as Christians is to get caught in a lie. Fortunately for us, if we are speaking the truth in love, we never have to worry about that!

The following verses highlight the importance that God places on speaking the truth in love:

  1. Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord.” - Proverbs 12:22,
  2. “Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each oneof you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. ” - Ephesians 4:25,
  3. “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” - John 8:31-32,
  4. Truthful lips will endure forever, but a lying tongue is only for a moment.” - Proverbs 12:19.


The Apostle Paul wrote these words in his first letter to the Corinthians. “Let all that you do be done in love.” That certainly includes how we speak to one another. This means both the words we use, and how we use them.

Our words are powerful! With them, we can build people up, or we can cut them down.

James wrote about the power of the tongue in this thought-provoking passage:

  • “But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it, we bless our Lord and Father, and with it, we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.” – James 3:8-10.

Notice the strength of the words that James uses in his writing. He refers to the tongue as “a restless evil” and a “deadly poison.”


The words that we use must satisfy two criteria:

  1. They must be truthful,
  2. They must be delivered in love.

As God brings people into our lives, we need to be mindful of the things that we say to them, and how we say them. Our words should build people up, not tear them down. They need to be honest and spoken with the love of Jesus.

We will end today’s lesson with the following verse:

  • Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head,  even Christ.” - Ephesians 4:15.


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How can you apply what you have just learned?

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I am in full agreement with your remarks, as Christians it is very important for us to be truthful in our interaction with others. Regardless if the truth is popular or unpopular, in season or out of season with the majority. We don’t take a stand on issues base on opinion polls, because what is popular today doesn’t mean that it’s right, its truth or its just.

We are not politicians who often twist themselves into a pretzel to be like by the majority of their voters, and when they are eventually voted out they are respected by only a few. It was the author Flannery O'Connor who stated;
“The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.”

While speaking the truth is important, like-wise speaking it in love is just as important. Love is what make our words palatable to others like good tasting food. As the Apostle Paul urges us in Colossians 4: 6,
“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

When we speak the truth in love, added with a little grace it touches hearts and change behaviors. As found in Proverbs 16: 21,
“A wise, mature person is known for his understanding.
The more pleasant his words, the more persuasive he is.” GNT.

Pat Dermody

“Words spoken in love “ resonated with me. It made me realize I should stop and think before I speak. The words we choose can make a difference in how the listener feels afterwards. Do I lift them up, or them down. In some cases, it might even be better to not speak.

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How can you apply what you have just learned?

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When I am suffering, I can remind myself of what the scriptures say about suffering. I need to remember that God is working on me and accept whatever path He leads me to - even if it is harder than I would like it to be. In short, I can trust more in Him and less on myself.

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Always show positivity in God's power to help me overcome suffering, stand for the truth and declare same in love.