The Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q. 76. Which is the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment is, Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
Q. 77. What is required in the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment requireth the maintaining and promoting of truth between man and man, and of our own and our neighbour's good name, especially in witness-bearing.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism in Modern English:
Q.76. What is the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment is: You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour.
Q.77. What does the ninth commandment require?
A. The ninth commandment requires us to tell the truth and to maintain and promote it and our own and others' reputations, especially when testifying.
1. How can we maintain and promote truth between man and man?
We must speak the truth, the absolute truth to one another if we are to promote truth with each other. Further, we must speak truth of one another in all situations.
2. What does this commandment require in regard to our own good name?
This commandment requires, in regard to our own good name, that we must at all times act in such a way that we deserve our good name. Further, we must always defend our good name.
3. How can we deserve a good name before men?
We can deserve it by always acting in accordance with the Word of God. We must live a holy life, showing forth the fruits of the Spirit in our actions, words and thoughts.
4. How can we defend our good name before men?
We can defend our good name by clearing ourselves from all false accusations. This is a responsibility before God as taught in His Word (Acts 24:10-13). We can also defend our good name by giving God the glory for anything we have done which is praiseworthy in the sight of God (1 Corinthians 15:10).
5. How can we maintain and promote our neighbour's good name?
We can help our neighbour's good name by:
(1) Recognising his good qualities
(2) By rejoicing with him over his acts of goodness
(3) By refusing to listen to those who would seek to slander him and speak evil of him
(4) By giving honour to him as it is due
(5) By reproving him before others only when there is need to do so and then showing mercy towards him.