The purpose of this blog is to Glorify God in every word, every sentence, every paragraph.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
What does the Bible say about Integrity?
The Old Testament Hebrew word that is translated "integrity" in the King James Version is "tome." This word conveys several meanings all combined into one idea: completeness, prosperity and innocence. Usually the concept of integrity is related to a heart condition that includes blamelessness and uprightness.
When Abimelech, the king of the Philistines had taken Abraham's wife, Sarah, into his harem without knowing that she was married, God actually appeared to the king in a dream to warn him. The king protested that he had "walked in his integrity." Other translations express the same protest as "a clean conscience and clean hands." This story is found in Genesis 20.
King Solomon of Israel is another person for whom integrity was important. When God appeared to him as he was dedicating the first temple in Jerusalem, God challenged the king to maintain a life of integrity. In return for integrity, Solomon's dynasty would last forever. This divine charge is found in 1 Kings 9:4. Perhaps the charge to Solomon resonated with his father; King David's reputation as a leader whose life was based on integrity. See Psalm 78:72.
One of Job's defenses to his friends was his integrity. See Job 27:5. Alternate translations for this word in Job are "blameless" and "upright." Other verses in the Bible consider integrity as a basis on which to be judged. See Psalm 7:8. Even God argued that Job's integrity was a reason for his blessing when Satan was trying to derail his faith. See Job 2:3. Integrity is a protection. See Psalm 25:21. Integrity is even seen as a guide for life according to the Bible. See Proverbs 11:3.
Without God, however, integrity is not maintainable. According to Psalm 41:12, King David's integrity was upheld by God. It was accompanied by God's mercy, by victory over his enemies and by a tangible access to God's presence. He even prayed that his integrity would protect him in Psalm 25:21.