Luke 20 Lesson

Speaking The Truth In Love


What does it mean to, “Speak the truth in love?”  

This is an important question for Christians to think about, and it will serve as the focal point for today’s lesson. 

We will begin today’s lesson in the book of Luke with a fascinating exchange that took place between Jesus, the scribes, and the Pharisees:

  • “On one of the days while He was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders confronted Him, and they spoke, saying to Him, “Tell us by what authority You are doing these things, or who is the one who gave You this authority?” Jesus answered and said to them, “I will also ask you a question, and you tell Me: Was the baptism of John from Heaven or from men?” They reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From Heaven,’ He will say, ‘Why did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ all the people will stone us to death, for they are convinced that John was a prophet.” So they answered that they did not know where it came from. And Jesus said to them, “Nor will I tell you by what authority I do these things.” - Luke 20:1-8.

Jesus knew that this question would be hard for them to answer.

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, their answer would have been easy.  But sadly, that was not the case. 

Instead of answering honestly according to their beliefs, they calculated which answer they thought would benefit them the most before speaking.   Regardless of whether it was true or not! 

This is not the way that Christians are supposed to behave! 

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 should:

  1. Be honest,
  2. Glorify God,
  3. Build others up.  


Telling the truth should always be a priority for Christians. 

That is what we are commanded to do. 

One of the fastest ways to lose credibility as a Christian is to get caught in a lie.  

The secular world loves to point out any hypocritical acts that are done by Christians. 

Fortunately for us, if we are speaking the truth in love, we never have to worry about that!


As we reflect on the importance of speaking the truth, consider the following four verses:

  1. “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord.”- Proverbs 12:22,
  2. “Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of 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 the following words in his first letter to the Corinthians:

This scripture refers both to the words that we use and how we use them. 

Our words matter!

They are powerful!  

With them, we can build people up, but we can also cut them down.  

James wrote:

  • “Noone 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 Christians speak must satisfy the following 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.  

Our words should 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, evenChrist.” - Ephesians 4:15.



Virtual Bible Study™

1) What did today’s Bible study make you think or feel?
2) What questions do you have?
3) How can you apply what you have learned to something specific in your life?


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Virtual Bible Study™

1) What did today’s Bible study make you think or feel?
2) What questions do you have?
3) How can you apply what you have learned to something specific in your life?



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.