Did Jesus Lie in John 18:19-20?
(I have moved on for now from the topic of Noah's Ark since no one has responded to any of my questions on this topic; although I'd welcome any future responses to them.)
This post is a continuation of a prior debate I had with a local Christadelphian.
God does not and cannot lie or prove false:
19 God is not a human being, that he should lie, or a mortal, that he should change his mind. Has he promised, and will he not do it? Has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?
2 Samuel 7:28
28 And now, O Lord God, you are God, and your words are true, and you have promised this good thing to your servant;
18 so that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible that God would prove false, we who have taken refuge might be strongly encouraged to seize the hope set before us.
Here are my previous questions to a local Christadelphian on this topic.
Q. If God defines morality then wouldn't this mean that it would be morally acceptable for God to break his word or lie after telling us that he never would?
I don't think that follows. If He says that He can't or won't lie, then that's the definition of morality regarding lying. There are also statements that He does not change, such as "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." (James 1:17)
Q. If God lied, even if he wasn't protecting someone, would this necessarily be morally wrong?
Titus 1:2 reads, "...in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began." The lie wouldn't happen.
So, just to beat a dead horse, we know categorically and absolutely that God can't & won't ever lie, end of story, you can take that to the bank, period!
(1) Q. Right?
In some places where someone saw a vision of "God" you argued this was actually a "God manifestation"
...These are all examples of what is commonly called "God manifestation". That is, God is manifest (revealed, made evident) in His angels.
This raises the obvious related question of, could an angel could/would ever lie?
(2) Q. Could an angel ever possibly lie?
A. No. They act as God's obedient servants. Which is why if an angel is the agent used by God, it is still accurate to say God is doing whatever it is. (Ps 103:20-21, Heb 1:13-14)
Next, to cover all the bases:
Very obviously, Jesus absolutely never could/would lie.
Finally, since the Bible is the revealed word of God it is
(1) absolutely inerrant, can contain no real contradictions, no factual and/or historical mistakes, and,
(3) although the Bible does contain poetic language (allegories, symbolism, etc) it is to be taken literally. "Literally" means that, unless there is good reason to do otherwise, the text's meaning is to be taken as corresponding to the normal, simplest, and most obvious definitions of the words. e.g. "Ark" means a physical boat, "serpent" means a real animal that slithers on the ground that has no legs, etc.
(4) Q. Are these last three points all absolutely correct?
A. Pretty much. The "absolutely inerrant" claim would apply to what God originally revealed. People can, have, and continue to handle it badly, including altering things they don't like. The transmission has been in imperfect human hands. That said, there is good evidence to support very high confidence in the text, with only a tiny percentage of it in any doubt, and the places where there are questions typically don't affect the meaning in any serious way. Far more variation is introduced by translators, which in another place inerrancy cannot be claimed. All that having been said, the book as a whole is very dependable. A good practice is to not take a single passage as THE authority. A reasonable claim is that there are not glaring, big-time historical inaccuracies. Transmission of name spellings and some numbers are the most problematic, which is the case with other ancient texts as well. Finally, on the literal vs. figurative, what you state is a good rule of thumb. But as I'm sure you realize, we get into subjectivity here and there is significant disagreement among students. I do subscribe to the "let's consider this literal as our starting point" school of thought. Note that a literal event may also have an allegorical meaning; this is the mechanism behind the concept of a "type".
OK, so the problem is that according to the Bible Jesus lied during his trial, committed perjury and violated the 9th commandment, before the high priest, in a religious court.
5. John 18:19-20
19 Then the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. 20 Jesus answered, "I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret.
To being with, Jesus stated he always taught in the synagogues or at the temple.
1 When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying: 3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. 2 Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: "Listen! A sower went out to sow.
John 18:19-20. It's theoretically possible that when Jesus said he always taught in the synagogues, that he could mean he exclusively taught there. However that's not necessarily what he meant, nor even the most likely meaning. Is it not far more reasonable to take the cue from Jesus's first sentence: "I have spoken openly to the world"? In the sentences following, in verse 21, Jesus challenges the high priest to call as witnesses those who heard him teach. He's saying he has nothing to hide, and nothing he has hidden. The testimony of the people who heard him, many of whom were not supporters, would carry far more weight than what Jesus would say about himself when on trial. Reading the full exchange, verses 19-23, the clear meaning is that Jesus had nothing to hide, and (key to the issue for which he was on trial) he hadn't engaged in a conspiracy. What he had to say, he said openly and in public, no sedition, no conspiracy. It would be ridiculous for him to claim he never had a word to say to his followers in any place outside a synagogue, and in fact they were eyewitnesses of him doing so -- they sent out to the countryside to observe him, and they'd seen him teaching in the temple many times, including every day of the the prior week. (Emphasis added)
It's not only "theoretically possible" that Jesus meant that he exclusively taught there. Given his words right here in black and white, if language has meaning, I don't see how anything other than that interpretation makes any sense. Yet I'm being told that what 18:20 really means is not where and how often Jesus taught, but instead discusses the, admittedly related but nevertheless distinct, concepts of not being a conspirator, and engaging in open and honest communication. If words as clear as those in John 18:20 can mean what you say they mean, then the meaning of the whole Bible can be transformed into whatever anyone wants it to mean. In this passage "temples" and "synagogues" apparently don't mean buildings designated for worship. And "always" apparently doesn't mean exclusively. No. Instead what these words really mean is Jesus didn't conspire, spoke openly, and had nothing to hide. This raises the question if what Jesus really meant was that he hadn't conspired, spoken openly, and had nothing to hide then why didn't he simply use those words that would have clearly conveyed this very meaning? "I haven't conspired, have spoken openly, and have nothing to hide." instead of the words he did use, "I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together." Also, by your interpretation 18:20 becomes almost completely redundant, since it largely repeats the statements right before it, "I have spoken openly to the world" and right after it, "I have said nothing in secret." So "I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together." would contribute very little to the meaning of the text.
When the Bible says that there was a talking serpent in the Garden of Eden I think you would say that if someone had been there with a video camera, and that tape was later shown to someone who was completely unfamiliar with Christianity, they would be astonished to see a snake speaking in intelligible language, and they would also describe it that way. If there had been a video camera present when Noah built his ark, and a later viewer described the sequence of events, they would describe them as a man building a boat, and then all these animals got on board, etc. In the relevant Biblical passages "ark" means a large ship made mostly of wood, "animals" mean living, breathing creatures that have DNA, feet, eyes, hair, hoves, organs (livers, hearts, etc), reproduce, eat, breathe, and defecate all in typical fashion. To get on board the ark meant just what anyone would normally mean when boarding a ship. Yet in 18:20 the meaning of the words suddenly transform into something completely different from what a plain reading gives.
Another problem with your reply (assuming we are going to deal with the words on the page of 18:20 at all) is that when Jesus used the word "always", "I have always taught" if he didn't mean "exclusively" then what he actually must have meant instead was "sometimes." That is, sometimes Jesus taught in the synagogues or temple, and sometimes he taught elsewhere. This raises the question that if Jesus didn't mean he exclusively taught in the synagogues or at the temple then why didn't he use the word "sometimes?" Jesus was on trial. In a trial distinctions such as this one matter, and he obviously would have be aware of this. So this couldn't have been an occasion where he was speaking loosely or casually. This also raises the question that if Jesus did ever want on some occasion to say "exclusively" what other word than "always" would have been a better one to have used? The original language of Jesus must have had terms capturing the distinction between always (exclusively) and sometimes. Yet the upshot of your interpretation is that it effectively wipes out the distinction between the concepts "exclusively" versus "sometimes," which is ridiculous.
Given that his supporters are the ones who wrote the accounts of his work, and that no one really suggests they were mentally handicapped, if they were perpetuating a fraud they would not include a glaring contradiction--so the meaning you appear to consider the only possible meaning is even less likely.
Though not necessarily stupid, Jesus' followers were his uneducated disciples, so they might be expected to overlook or rationalize such inconsistencies that could have occurred, separated from each other over a period of months. Outsiders, such as the high priest, wouldn't necessarily have been aware of the inconsistency because they weren't closely monitoring Jesus' every word and action. When later writers wrote down their account of the trial possibly they simply didn't notice the problem. If you find these speculations strained at least they don't require rewriting the meaning of the Biblical text as your interpretation seems to, apparently jettisoning the authority of the text to preserve its purported inerrancy.
If someone can argue that such plain statements as these mean something different than what their words clearly say on the basis that "they couldn't have been that stupid" then any possible contradiction found in the Bible can be handled in a similar fashion. This is circular reasoning. Here is an extreme analogy to drive the point home: John gets a 50% on a math test. But John's teacher "knows" John is brilliant, and so couldn't have made these mistakes. So the teacher examines each problem and finds some way of interpreting each and every one of John's answers non-literally, such that all of them come out as correct. Of course, since John now got a 100% on the test he is brilliant! The problem with this sort of circular reasoning is that any student by this method can be proven to be brilliant, just as any religion can be proven to be inerrant. Your interpretation renders trivial claims of inerrancy by Biblical defenders, and so guts this argument of probative value for any divine mandate. Of course there are no contradictions in the Bible as far as you’re concerned. The way you interpret it, there couldn't be. Given the number of apparent mistakes I've presented to you over these emails, I'm not willing at this point to put much trust in the credibility of an argument that depends on the premise that Jesus and his disciples had such a profound knowledge of the Bible that they couldn't have made such mistakes.
Is it not far more reasonable to take the cue from Jesus's first sentence: "I have spoken openly to the world"? In the sentences following, in verse 21, Jesus challenges the high priest to call as witnesses those who heard him teach. He's saying he has nothing to hide, and nothing he has hidden. (Emphasis added)
If I understand you here, you seem to think that somehow if Jesus was innocent of fomenting conspiracies and inappropriately keeping secrets this solves the problem here. But, I'm sorry to say, that as far as I can see this isn't correct, which unfortunately makes your comments here a red herring. There is a big difference between "take the cue" versus rewrite the text. Imagine any other group of speakers faced with words and facts analogous to those presented to us here. Suppose I was asked in court, "Did you take that gun from that drawer." and I said, "No, I did not." Later on evidence well beyond a reasonable doubt shows I did take that gun from that drawer. I then argue that I did nothing wrong, and in fact, given the context, had an excellent justification for taking it. Let's assume that's true. But the fact still remains that I lied in court because the meaning of the words in my answer don't change because I was justified. While for a normal person the justifications for my actions might be greatly mitigating, if not exculpatory, for any judgment the court might make regarding my lie; this doesn't solve the problem in the case of Jesus possibly lying here, because the authority of the New Testament is at stake.
Reading the full exchange, verses 19-23, the clear meaning is that Jesus had nothing to hide, and (key to the issue for which he was on trial) he hadn't engaged in a conspiracy. What he had to say, he said openly and in public, no sedition, no conspiracy. (Emphasis added)
Certainly this was part of his message. But just because this was the overarching message it doesn't dissolve the language found in 18:20. If I understand you, you seem to be arguing that the context of 18:20 changes its meaning. If this is what you're arguing, I agree that context obviously can definitely and dramatically change the meaning of an isolated statement. And this is why context must always be considered. For example, if I'm quoting Bill and I say "Bill said, "I am a communist." Taking those words out of context would imply that I stated that I personally was a communist. This would be completely misleading and unfair because I was quoting someone else and not asserting my own opinion. Of course, whether or not context changes the meaning of part of a text, and how it changes it, must be judged on a case by case basis. So let's take a look at John 18:19-23
John 18:19-23 (New Revised Standard w/ Apocrypha)
19 Then the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. 20 Jesus answered, "I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. 21 Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said." 22 When he had said this, one of the police standing nearby struck Jesus on the face, saying, "Is that how you answer the high priest?" 23 Jesus answered, "If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong. But if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?"
In my prior example of my taking that gun from that drawer if I had argued that the context of my answer somehow changed my "No, I did not." into a "Yes, I did." I'd expect that the court would at the very least want me to explain how it did this. So exactly how does the context of 18:19-23 change "I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple." (claims about a person, an activity, a frequency, and places) into something like, "I have nothing to hide, have spoken openly, and haven't engaged in a conspiracy." (claims about a person in a state of innocence, a mode of communication, and a lack of a secret organized cabal)? Without an explanation it appears that your interpretation seems to treat the "context" as some kind of vague principle that somehow transforms the meanings of statements - one to another - as you think necessary. In short, this transformation makes no sense to me. Since I simply don't see how the surrounding text changes the meaning of the claims found in John 18:20 I don't see how the context helps your case. If your interpretation was legitimate then the very concept of a lie contained in the 9th commandment against bearing false witness would be largely, if not entirely, gutted, since this would make possible linguistic gamesmanship such that virtually any claim of fact could be transformed by some sort of appeal to context. "Well, my "no" meant "yes" because I was justified in doing whatever it was I did, and I talked about other topics before and after I said this, which further fleshed out my meaning in some ill-defined way." This would be preposterous.
Coming back to a point I touched on earlier, let's assume for the moment that it's all true that Jesus had nothing to hide; he had spoken openly, and hadn't engaged in a conspiracy. (Later on I will argue that this actually isn't true.) Furthermore, let's assume that anything and everything Jesus taught, whenever and wherever he taught it, had also been repeated in the synagogues and in the temple. As I said the issue is that these assumptions don't get us out of the problem. You are arguing that what Jesus really meant was something different from what his words in 18:20 meant. That is, what he really meant in 18:20 was what his words implied about his speaking openly, etc. But simply because a statement might possibly imply another statement this doesn't allow us to conclude that the two statements have the same meaning, or express the same factual claim. These words cannot mean what you say they mean because for that to be the case the following two statements would have to be synonymous:
"I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple"
means (and so could be fairly translated as)
"I haven't conspired, have spoken openly, and have nothing to hide."
It's fairly obvious to me that these two statements mean very different things (express different propositions) because the facts that might make each of them true or false are different. Someone might have never taught in synagogues or in the temple, but still have spoken openly and have nothing to hide. Or they indeed might have something to hide, yet have always and only taught in the synagogues or temple. They just never talked about their secret(s). Two statements can't mean the same thing if it's possible that simultaneously one can be true and the other can be false. So they can't be substituted one for another even if in a given particular case they might happen to both be true.
The following summary is drawn from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, and it is my construction of a "safe harbor" for a statement being a lie. Philosophers have debated a number of reasons why we might not want to consider that something really is a lie. For example, "If an insect uses camouflage to escape detection does that count as a lie?" The following construction consists of taking all of the possible objections they list and obviating them. So if none of those objections apply for a given statement then, unless there are objections these people haven't thought of, this would be a lie if ever there was one. Of course, I also apply this to 18:19-20.
(1) A mentally competent and sane person* must willfully and deliberately make a non-ambiguous and clear statement, which at that very moment they themselves clearly understand the meaning of, and which they advance as true (they assert a proposition, i.e. a statement which can be judged true or false, as true.) - Jesus said he always taught in synagogues and in the temple.
(2) The person believes the statement to be false (and it is in fact false) - From the Bible, we know that Jesus would have to have known it was false.
(3) There is no failure of their memory or reasoning regarding any relevant facts or considerations that might have - counter-factually - made the statement true.
(4) The statement is successfully communicated to another person, who is also mentally competent, sane, has no memory or reasoning failures in understanding at that moment both the import of the statement and its meaning. - The high priest was the person Jesus was talking to.
(5) The first person intends that the second person believe the untruthful statement to be true. - What else could Jesus have intended? Did he expect that the high priest would know that his statement wasn't true?
(6) The first person (A) intends the second person (B) to believe that the first person speaker (A) also believes the statement to be true. - Again, what else could Jesus have intended?
(7) Also, for (1) to be true, (A) must believe that there is some expression in a mutually understood language, using the conventional signs of that language, such that one of the standard uses of an expression in that language is that of expressing the relevant proposition made.
(8) Finally, that (A) believes that the specific expression that (A) uses express a proposition that meets the first seven conditions above, and in fact it does do so.
*Angels, God, Jesus, and other similar beings are also included in the class of "persons."
(1) Jesus can't/won't lie.
(2) But the Bible shows Jesus clearly lying in John 18:19-20 by a plain reading of the text.
Your interpretation, which holds that Jesus didn't lie at 18:20, creates the following problems.
(1) It raises the question of why didn't Jesus use the words of your interpretation at 18:20 instead of the ones he did use?
(2) Your interpretation makes the words in 18:20 largely redundant.
(3) Your interpretation denies the plain reading of the text.
(4) If we deal with the words at all, your interpretation requires that "always" means "sometimes."
(5) It's circular to argue that since Jesus and his disciples had such a profound knowledge of the Bible that they couldn't have made obvious mistakes, and then argue we know they had a profound knowledge of the Bible because we can deal with all their apparent mistakes by interpreting their language in non-literal fashion.
(6) Discussing the locations and frequency of an activity does not equate in meaning to Jesus' non-conspiracy, openness, and transparency. (although they are related in this text, and, depending on other facts, the one set of facts might indeed possibly imply the other)
(7) Even assuming Jesus had a perfect justification for saying what he did this doesn't help his case because this doesn't change the meaning of the words he used. It's his truthfulness and sinlessness that's at stake here.
(8) If I understand you, saying that somehow context changes the meaning of the words in 18:20 is merely an assertion, and raises the obvious question of, Q. How does it do this?
(9) 18:20 can't be reasonably translated to mean, "I have spoken openly, have nothing to hide, and haven't conspired." because the two readings, the literal reading versus yours, have different facts that determine whether or not they are true. Just because a statement might imply another statement in a give situation this does not allow us to conclude that they have the same linguistic meaning.
(10) Jesus' statement in 18:20 fits the safe harbor definition of a lie.
As if the above wasn't enough, the following is, if anything, even more clearly a lie. In 18:20 Jesus also said "I have said nothing in secret."
19 Then the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. 20 Jesus answered, "I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret."
(2) Mark 4:10-12
10 When he was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11 And he said to them, "To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; 12 in order that "they may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand; so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.' "
36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, "Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field." 37 He answered, "The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; 38 the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, 42 and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The second point you make is about speaking secretly. This isn't the same as speaking privately. The word translated "secretly" is kruptos, meaning concealed, from a root meaning to cover or hide. The word translated "privately" is idios, meaning self or one's own, and by implication private or separate. Jesus certainly did instruct his disciples privately, which would be true of any teacher, and his accusers (who knew his students called him rabbi or teacher) wouldn't have any expectation that there was zero private conversation. A student comes after class to ask for explanation, and the teacher gives it. But far from being the seditious conspirator the authorities tried to make him, he had nothing to hide, and didn't teach secretly, concealing his teaching.
The distinction between privately and secretly you are arguing for is not supported by the text of Mark 4:10-12. Religious teaching by a prophet critical to salvation simply isn't a private matter. The question the high priest asked was about Jesus' teaching, and so his answer would have been also. In Mark 4:10-12 Jesus clearly says that he is deliberately keeping secrets from those outside, that is, he is concealing some of the message of his teaching so that outsiders will "not understand." And this particular teaching he is talking about must be related to their religious beliefs since he says, "so that they may not turn again and be forgiven." The deliberate act of hiding some of the truth of his religious teaching, confusing people so they will listen but not understand, while yet telling his disciples the plain truth is a completely clear case of his concealing his religious teaching. Since he said, "I have said nothing in secret." this means that if he used parables to confuse people so they would not understand about any parts at any time of his clear and straightforward religious teaching to his disciples he was lying. Only certain people were given the secret of the kingdom of God, others were deliberately confused. This means he was teaching in secret and hiding things from others.
Mark 4:10-12 shows that Jesus was discussing information related to salvation. If Jesus had been teaching information to his disciples that he wasn't sharing with outsiders regarding a plan to overthrow the government that certainly would have been teaching in secret. So if people understand that a plan to overthrow the government taught in private between people would have been "teaching in secret" then it's absurd to say that it wasn't "teaching in secret" when the infinitely greater issue of salvation was at stake, and this would be especially true in a religious court before the high priest. Why would the concept of secret teaching in a religious court be legitimate to apply to a secret plan to overthrow the government, but not be legitimate to apply to a situation where salvation was at stake? As I said above, religious teaching by a prophet critical to salvation simply isn't a private matter. If something like this could be regarded as "private" vs. "secret" then the concept of secret teaching would be dissolved into nothingness.
Also, the very statement itself Jesus made in Mark 4:10-12 raises the same problem. In this statement Jesus told his disciples that he was deliberately speaking in confusing parables so that outsiders would not turn and be forgiven. Here Jesus was explaining his use of religious parables versus his use of clear straightforward language. This was meta-commentary on his religious teaching, telling his disciples how to make sense of his changing use of language with different audiences. If today a teacher came into a classroom and informed the class about how he would be presenting the material over the semester, he would be telling his students something that was important for their understanding the nature and context of his presentation, and so their success in the class. This would be teaching. Likewise, that very message in Mark 4:10-12 was teaching. The problem this presents is that it would be ridiculous to suggest outsiders would have been told about how they had been left out of this conversation. Since this statement was teaching and outsiders wouldn't have been told of it, this message shows that Jesus lied in two ways. First, Mark 4:10-12 is a statement about other teaching by Jesus that had been, at least at some point, kept secret. Second, this statement itself is an example of something he taught and then kept secret.
I think it's very important to note here that this also means that even if I accepted your interpretation of 18:20 in part one, approximately translated as "I have spoken openly, haven't conspired, and have nothing to hide." at least some of these claims were false. They were false because Jesus did have things to hide, and did not always speak openly about very important information related to salvation. So even if I accepted your interpretation, since some of these claims were false, Jesus still would have lied in 18:20.
(1) According to Mark 4:10-12 only certain people were given the secret of the kingdom of God, others were deliberately confused. Religious teaching by a prophet critical to salvation simply isn't a private matter. This means Jesus was teaching in secret and hiding things from others. Saying otherwise raises the question of why would the concept of secret teaching be legitimate regarding government overthrow, but not regarding salvation, when Jesus was being tried in a religious court?
(2) It would be ridiculous to believe that outsiders would have been told about how they had been left out of the loop, so this is also an example of something Jesus taught and then kept secret.
(3) Even if I accepted your interpretation of 18:20 in part I, since (given part II: 1 & 2) some of the claims 18:20 makes, under your interpretation, are actually false, Jesus still would have lied in 18:20.
(1) Q. How can you justify your interpretation as a plain text reading of these passages?
(2) Q. If we deal with the language of the text at all, your interpretation requires that "always" means "sometimes." How can you justify this?
(3) Q. If what Jesus really meant was that he had spoken openly, hadn't conspired, and had nothing to hide then why didn't he simply use those words that would have clearly conveyed this very meaning? "I have spoken openly, haven't conspired, and have nothing to hide." instead of the words he did use, "I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together."
(4) Q. If I'm understanding you, saying that somehow context changes the meaning of the words in 18:20 is a mere assertion, and raises the obvious question, exactly how does the context of 18:19-23 change "I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple" (a claim about a person, an activity, a frequency, and places) into something like, "I have nothing to hide, have spoken openly, and haven't engaged in a conspiracy (a claim about a person, a manner of speaking, a state of innocence, and a lack of a secret organized cabal)?"
(5) Q. Why would the concept of secret teaching be legitimate regarding government overthrow, but not, in a religious court, regarding information critical to salvation?
(6) Q. Do you believe outsiders were told they were kept out of the loop, and, if so, why do you believe this? If not, why isn't Jesus' statement in Mark 4:10-12 secret teaching?
(7) Q. Even if I accepted your interpretation of 18:20 - no conspiracy, spoke openly and had nothing to hide - given that Jesus taught in Mark 4:10-12 "they may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand; so that they may not turn again and be forgiven." why wouldn't his statement in 18:20 still be a lie?
(8) Q. If Biblical language is this tractable in meaning, this would mean that any other religion's text could be similarly "proven" to be inerrant. How then can the textual inerrancy argument provide credible evidence for the Bible's divine inspiration?
(9) Q. If Jesus lied here how can we be certain he didn't lie in other places? So how can we trust whatever else he said?
(10) Q. To tell a lie, especially when testifying during a trial, is a sin, and violates the 9th commandment. Therefore Jesus sinned. This means Jesus isn't perfect; so how could he have been the son of God?