Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary
The verb ψευδω (pseudo) means to lie. The English "pseudo" mostly signifies surrogacy or a playful pretending, but is much milder than the original Greek idea of willful and malignant misrepresentation and deception with intent and purpose.
In the Bible only the earlier and more common form ψευδομαι (pseudomai) is used, but since the essence of the concept of truth is very hard to define (as famously demonstrated by Pontius Pilate: John 18:38), the essence of lying is equally obscure. Still, even little children seem to naturally understand the difference between lying and telling the truth.
The apostle Paul frequently submits that he is not lying (Romans 9:1, 2 Corinthians 11:31, Galatians 1:20). The almighty God is incapable of lying (Hebrews 6:18) but the devil is the father of lies (John 8:44). Lying is generally unbeneficial (Acts 5:3, Colossians 3:9, James 3:14) but being the recipient of it for Jesus' sake demonstrates being blessed (Matthew 5:11).
Our verb comes with the following derivatives:
- The adjective ψευδης (pseudes), meaning false, deceptive or willful misrepresenting. In the New Testament this adjective is used once to describe so-called apostles who were found to be false (Revelation 2:2), and twice as substantive, hence denoting a liar (Acts 6:13, Revelation 21:8). This potent adjective occurs in the following list of compound derivations:
- Together with the common particle of negation α (a), meaning not: the adjective αψευδης (apseudes), meaning without lies (Titus 1:2 only, and again denoting the almighty God).
- Together with the noun αδελφος (adelphos), meaning brother: the noun ψευδαδελφος (pseudadelphos), meaning false brother; someone who lies about who his father is (2 Corinthians 11:26 and Galatians 2:4 only).
- Together with the noun αποστολος (apostolos), meaning apostle: the noun ψευδαποστολος (pseudoapostolos), meaning false apostle (2 Corinthians 11:13 only).
- Together with the noun διδασκαλος (didaskalos), meaning teacher: the noun ψευδοδιδασκαλος (pseudodidaskalos), meaning false teacher (2 Peter 2:1 only).
- Together with the verb λεγω (lego), meaning to speak: the adjective ψευδολογος (pseudologos), meaning false-speaking (1 Timothy 4:2 only).
- Together with the noun μαρτυς (martus), meaning witness: the noun ψευδομαρτυς (pseudomartus), meaning false witness (Matthew 26:60 and 1 Corinthians 15:15 only).
- Together with the verb μαρτυρεω (martureo), meaning to be a witness or to testify: the verb ψευδομαρτυρεω (pseudomartureo), meaning to falsely testify or to lie in court or as if in court.
- Together with the noun μαρτυρια (marturia), meaning a testimony: the noun ψευδομαρτυρια (pseudomarturia), meaning false testimony (Matthew 15:19 and 26:59 only).
- Together with the noun προφητης (prophetes), meaning prophet, or someone who speaks on behalf of someone else: the noun ψευδοπροφητης (pseudoprophetes), meaning false prophet (Matthew 24:11, Luke 6:26, 2 Peter 2:1).
- Together with the noun χριστος (christos), denoting anyone anointed with sacred oil (high priests, prophets and kings; see our articles on the names Christ and Antichrist): the noun ψευδοχριστος (pseudochristos), denoting someone who false claims to be anointed (1 John 2:26-27) but who is probably just being religious without any spiritual backing (Matthew 24:24 and Mark 13:22 only).
- Together with the noun ονομα (onoma), meaning name: the adjective ψευδωνυμος (pseudonumos), meaning falsely named or called (1 Timothy 6:20 only).
- The noun ψευδος (pseudos), meaning a lie or falsehood. This word covers a verbally expressed falsehood (2 Thessalonians 2:11, Ephesians 4:25, 1 John 2:21), but also more elaborate trickeries, schemes and idolatry (2 Thessalonians 2:9, Revelation 21:27, 22:15).
- The noun ψευσμα (pseusma), also meaning a lie (Romans 3:7 only).
- The noun ψευστης (pseustes), meaning a liar (John 8:44, Romans 3:4, 1 Timothy 1:10, Titus 1:20).