Bible Topics: Secrets: When to keep, and when not to

Definition: Something kept from the knowledge or view of others, or shared only privately with a few.

1. Keeping secrets is related to faithfulness and loyalty.

* Joshua 2:1,4,14 [Rahab the harlot, knew that the Lord was going to give the land to the children of Israel, so she secretly harbored and hid the two spies.] And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot’s house, named Rahab, and lodged there. … 4 And the woman took the two men, and hid them, and said thus [to the soldiers of Jericho who searched for the men], There came men unto me, but I wist not whence they were. … 14 And the men [whom Rahab had hidden] answered her [after the soldiers had gone], Our life for yours, if ye utter not this our business. And it shall be, when the Lord hath given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with thee. [For the whole story, see verses 1-21 and chapter 6:17-25, as well as Hebrews 11:31, where Rahab, an ancestor of David and of Jesus, was named as a heroine of the faith.]

* Proverbs 11:13 A talebearer [gossip] revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter. [See also 20:19.]

2. Keeping secrets can be a matter of the protection of the Lord’s work.

* Judges 16:4-6,15-21 [When Samson was enticed to reveal the secret of his strength by Delilah, it caused him to lose his strength, and then to be captured and blinded by his enemies.] And the lords of the Philistines came up unto [Delilah], and said unto her, Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him: and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver. 6 And Delilah said to Samson, Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth, and wherewith thou mightest be bound to afflict thee. … 16 And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death; 17 That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a rasor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother’s womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man. 18 And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines. … 19 And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him. … 21 But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house. [Samson had fought mightily against the enemies of Israel, but this mistake cost him his freedom, his eyesight and eventually his life. Nevertheless, the Lord got a victory from seeming defeat when the Philistines made a spectacle of a now-repentant Samson in their pagan temple, and he literally brought down the house, earning him a place in God’s hall of fame. See Judges 6:28-31 and Hebrews 11:32.]

* 1 Samuel 19:2 But Jonathan Saul’s son delighted much in David: and Jonathan told David, saying, Saul my father seeketh to kill thee: now therefore, I pray thee, take heed to thyself until the morning, and abide in a secret place, and hide thyself. [See also 1 Samuel 20:19.]

* Proverbs 13:3 He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.

* Jeremiah 36:19 [After Baruch the scribe read Jeremiah’s prophecy against Jerusalem to the princes, they needed to make a report of this to the king. Since they assumed that he would not receive the message very well, the princes thoughtfully advised Baruch:] Go, hide thee, thou and Jeremiah; and let no man know where ye be.

* Daniel 12:4a [After giving Daniel a very specific Endtime prophecy from the Lord, the angel told him:] But thou, O Daniel, shut up the Words, and seal the book, even to the time of the End. [See also Revelation 10:4 and 5:1-5.]

* Matthew 12:14-16 Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against Him, how they might destroy Him. 15 But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew Himself from thence: and great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all; 16 And charged them that they should not make Him known.

* Luke 20:2-8,20 [Jesus wisely answered a question with a question:] And spake unto Him, saying, Tell us [the chief priest, scribes and elders], by what authority doest Thou these things? Or who is he that gave Thee this authority? 3 And He answered and said unto them, I will also ask you one thing; and answer Me: 4 The baptism of John, was it from Heaven, or of men? 5 And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From Heaven; He will say, Why then believed ye Him not? 6 But and if we say, Of men; all the people will stone us: for they be persuaded that John was a prophet. 7 And they answered, that they could not tell whence it was. 8 And Jesus said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things. … 20 And they watched Him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of His Words, that so they might deliver Him unto the power and authority of the governor. [See also Mark 12:13.]

* John 2:24,25 But Jesus did not commit [entrust] Himself unto them [the masses who followed Him after seeing the miracles He did], because He knew all men, 25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for He knew what was in man.

* John 7:1-11 After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for He would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill Him. 2 Now the Jews’ feast of tabernacles was at hand. 3 His brethren therefore said unto Him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that Thy disciples also may see the works that Thou doest. 4 For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world. … 6 Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready. 7 The world cannot hate you; but Me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. 8 Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for My time is not yet full come. 9 When He had said these words unto them, He abode still in Galilee. 10 But when His brethren were gone up, then went He also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. 11 Then the Jews sought Him at the feast, and said, Where is He? 12 And there was much murmuring among the people concerning Him: for some said, He is a good Man: others said, Nay; but He deceiveth the people. 13 Howbeit no man spake openly of Him for fear of the Jews.

* Acts 23:21b,22 [When a plot to assassinate Paul arose, Paul’s nephew heard about it and told the chief captain of the governing Romans:] There lie in wait for him of them more than forty men, which have bound themselves with an oath, that they will neither eat nor drink till they have killed him: and now are they ready, looking for a promise from thee. 22 So the chief captain then let the young man depart, and charged him, See thou tell no man that thou hast shewed these things to me.

* Acts 26:26 [Paul acknowledges that King Agrippa was aware of his activities:] For the king knoweth of these things [Paul had been preaching about Jesus], before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner.

3. Jesus at times revealed certain matters only to His disciples, and asked them to keep it a secret.

* Matthew 9:30 [Upon healing the two blind men:] And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it.

* Matthew 13:10-17 And the disciples came, and said unto Him, Why speakest Thou unto them in parables? 11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but to them it is not given. … 13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. 17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. [See also Mark 4:10-12.]

* Matthew 13:34,35; 4:34 All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake He not unto them: 35 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world. Mark 4:34 But without a parable spake He not unto them: and when they were alone, He expounded all things to His disciples.

* Mark 1:43-45 [Jesus healed a leper:] And He straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away; 44 And saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. 45 But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to Him from every quarter.

* Mark 9:9 [After the transfiguration, when Moses and Elijah appeared to Jesus to speak about His death:] And as they came down from the mountain, He charged them [Peter, James and John] that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead.

* Luke 8:56 [Jesus raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead:] And her parents were astonished: but He charged them that they should tell no man what was done.

* Luke 9:20,21 He said unto them [His disciples], But Whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God. 21 And He straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing.

4. Keeping secrets should not be to coverup sin or wrongdoing.

* Deuteronomy 13:6,8 [God commanded His people not to cover up the sins of their own families or friends:] If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; 8 Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him.

* Joshua 7:1,11,19,20 [Achan hid a forbidden treasure under his tent, and caused Israel to lose the blessing of God:] But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan … took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against the children of Israel. … [And the Lord said:] 11 Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled [deceived] also, and they have put it even among their own stuff. … 19 And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession unto Him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me. 20 And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done. [For the whole story, see all of chapter 7.]

* Proverbs 1:10 My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.

* Proverbs 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

* Isaiah 29:15 Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? And who knoweth us?

* Jeremiah 23:24 Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? Saith the Lord. Do not I fill Heaven and earth? Saith the Lord.

* 1 Timothy 5:22b Neither be partaker of other men’s sins.

* James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

* 2 Peter 3:17b Beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

5. Keeping secrets should not mean being dishonest.

* 2 Corinthians 4:2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the Word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

* 2 Corinthians 8:21 Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. [See also Romans 12:17b.]

* Hebrews 13:18 Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.

* 1 Peter 2:12-15 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. 13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; 14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. 15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.

6. One of the best ways to avoid revealing secrets is to avoid idle talk.

* Psalm 39:1a I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle.

* Psalm 141:3 Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.

* Proverbs 10:19 In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.

* Proverbs 17:27 He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.

* Proverbs 21:23 Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.

* Proverbs 29:11 A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.

* Ecclesiastes 10:20 Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.

* 1 Thessalonians 4:11a Study to be quiet, and to do [mind] your own business.

7. Disclosing secrets causes loss of confidence and friendship.

* Proverbs 16:28b A whisperer separateth chief friends.

* Proverbs 18:8 [Betraying the confidence of others can cause deep wounds.] The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.

* Proverbs 25:9b,10a Discover [reveal] not a secret to another: 10a Lest he that heareth it put thee to shame.

8. Disclosing secrets is often a matter of gossiping.

* Leviticus 19:16a Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people.

* Proverbs 20:3 It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling.

* Proverbs 20:19 He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.

* 1 Thessalonians 4:11a Study to be quiet, and to do [mind] your own business.

* 1 Timothy 5:13 And withal they [the younger widows] learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.

9. There are no secrets kept from an all-seeing God or those to whom He reveals them.

* 1 Chronicles 28:9 And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve Him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if Thou seek Him, He will be found of thee; but if thou forsake Him, He will cast thee off for ever.

* 2 Kings 6:8-12 [The king of Syria was frustrated by God’s intelligence service. — Elisha the prophet knew his every top secret strategic move, and notified the king of Israel.] Then the king of Syria warred against Israel, and took counsel with his servants, saying, In such and such a place shall be my camp. 9 And the man of God sent unto the king of Israel, saying, Beware that thou pass not such a place; for thither the Syrians are come down. 10 And the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of, and saved himself there, not once nor twice. 11 Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled for this thing; and he called his servants, and said unto them, Will ye not shew me which of us is for the king of Israel? 12 And one of his servants said, None, my lord, O king: but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber.

* Psalm 44:21 Shall not God search this out? For He knoweth the secrets of the heart.

* Psalm 139:1-24 [David knew the Lord knew everything about him, inside and out.] O Lord, Thou hast searched me, and known me. 2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. 3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. 4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, Thou knowest it altogether. … 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

* Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.

* Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

* Jeremiah 17:9-10 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? 10 I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

* Daniel 2:20-23,27-30,47 [King Nebuchadnezzar wanted the wise men of his kingdom to tell him what dream he dreamt, as well as what it meant — otherwise they would be put to death. The Lord revealed both the dream and the interpretation to Daniel:] Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the Name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are His: 21 And He changeth the times and the seasons: He removeth kings, and setteth up kings: He giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: 22 He revealeth the deep and secret things: He knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with Him. 23 I thank Thee, and praise Thee, O Thou God of my fathers, Who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of Thee: for Thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter. … 27 Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king; 28 But there is a God in Heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the Latter Days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these; 29 As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and He that revealeth secrets maketh known to thee what shall come to pass. 30 But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart. … [After Daniel describes the king’s dream and the interpretation:] 47 The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret.

* Daniel 8:23-25 [The Lord will defeat the Antichrist’s secret strategies.] And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences [secret strategies], shall stand up [the Antichrist]. 24 And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power [but by the Devil’s]: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. 25 And through his policy also he shall cause craft [deceit and deception] to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes [Jesus]; but he shall be broken without hand.

* Amos 3:7 Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets.

* Matthew 10:26b There is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.

* Mark 4:21,22 And He [Jesus] said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? And not to be set on a candlestick? 22 For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad.

* Mark 13:23 But take ye heed: behold, I [Jesus] have foretold you all things [about the Endtime]. [See also Isaiah 44:7.]

* Luke 12:2,3 For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. 3 Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.

* John 15:15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you.

* John 16:12 [However, Jesus also said:] I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. [See also Ecclesiastes 8:5b and 1 Corinthians 3:1-2.]

* John 16:25,29 [Jesus said:] These things have I spoken unto you [His disciples] in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father. … 29 His disciples said unto Him, Lo, now speakest Thou plainly, and speakest no proverb.

* Romans 2:16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

* Romans 8:26,27 [The Spirit knows secret things we don’t even know we need to pray for, and makes intercession for us.] Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit Itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

* 1 Corinthians 3:13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

* 1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, Who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

* Hebrews 4:12,13 For the Word of God … is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do.

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