Honesty vs Truthfulness

I learned a bitter but true lesson in writing my last blog. It was an extended definition of two words. Words I thought meant the same. Words I have been interchanging all of my life.

So, what two words did I have confused? Underdeveloped definitions have hindered my thoughts.

So, what brought about this new development? Not actually a what, but a who—my wife. A retired first grade teacher. In proofing my last blog, she went to her phone. AKA information database for the answer. She said what I had written did not make sense. Being the hardheaded husband that I am (did I really say that?), I wanted to justify my writing. Finally, after reading the phone’s content, I said I need to do some rewriting—again. Back to the drawing board to correct and improve the edition. 


This brings me to the point. What is the difference between being truthful and honest? Is there a difference? Now I can say yes. 

Being honest is telling the truth, but to a point. It can involve leaving out some crucial details that change the meaning. It may get you to draw a different, but wrong conclusion. 

An illustration I heard years ago fits here. Johnny got in trouble at school. But when he related the incident at home, it came out like this. Mommy, I didn’t do anything. That was an honest answer. But the truth is, he did not do any math, spelling, reading, homework, or any other assignment. 

Johnny was honest, but not truthful. Telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth reveals the entire story. 


Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Our Lord was saying, I am telling you everything. I am not leaving anything out. Without me, there is no salvation or no other way to heaven. It is only through me. That is the truth. 


Jesus did not leave out any details. He was truthful.

That is the biblical example of truthfulness. Maybe if we learned and practiced the difference between being honest versus truthfulness, we would improve our lives and those around us.

Author: Frank

The Christian life is an adventure. It’s also a journey. Frank’s pilgrimage has been a lifelong endeavor in helping others in their spiritual walk. His foundation of biblical communication (teaching, preaching and writing) has taken his passion to another step, blogging. It is intended that these blogs will enrich your life and it is hoped that you will pass them on to encourage others.

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