This is an interesting question that has been answered in Isaiah 59:14-15. “…For truth is fallen in the streets, and equity cannot enter. So truth fails, And he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.” From this it seems that truth can be difficult to find.
We note that at this current time, three words that were used very rarely or even unknown previously have come into prominence. They are all concerned in some way with truth or lies, more often with lies and deception.
These words are “misinformation, disinformation and malinformation.” Misinformation has the meaning of false information, but the person using it believes it is true. In this case there is not necessarily any malice. Disinformation has the meaning of false information that the person using it knows it to be false. It is a deliberate lie, usually with malice. The third word, malinformation, is based on truth but can be used to inflict harm on a person, organisation or country. Malinformation can also apply to a truth that an organization or government does not want revealed.
Of these three words, the one that was used in the past was disinformation, especially in the Soviet Union, in order to discredit political opponents with the intended result of their ineffectiveness or destruction.
Of these three words, none are directly used in the Bible, but the actions they engender are used. The most prominent one being disinformation. We first encounter this when Satan deceived Eve by telling her that if she ate the forbidden fruit, she would not surely die (Refer to Genesis 3:4). As we read about Satan in John 8:44, last part, “When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar, and the father of it.”
Both in the Old Testament and the New Testament, God gives us warnings of false prophets. In the Old Testament, God’s warnings were so strong that a false prophet who turns people away from God was to be put to death. (Refer Deuteronomy to 13:5). In the New Testament, Christ warns us against false prophets in Matthew 7:15. These false prophets were and are using disinformation as an attempt to deceive God’s people. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 informs us that Satan’s ministers were and are transforming themselves into ministers of righteousness, and that they would receive the appropriate outcome. Their intention again was and is to deceive.
A very pertinent example of disinformation was when a lying spirit was put in the mouths of all of Ahab’s prophets, who encouraged him to go to battle so as to obtain victory. This lie resulted in the death of Ahab, the king of Israel. Refer to 2 Chronicles 18:19-34.
An example of malinformation happened when Satan tempted Christ. In Luke 4:9-11 we read, “Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. For it is written: “He shall give His angels charge over You, to keep You,” and, ‘In their hands they shall bear You up, lest You dash your foot against a stone.”’” While the quote was accurate, its purpose was to cause Christ to sin. Hence it was malinformation.
As for misinformation, there are examples of probable misinformation in the epistles. In 1 Corinthians 15:12 we read, “Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection from the dead?” This example shows that some members in the Church at Corinth were teaching that there was no resurrection. If they believed that then they were teaching misinformation.
In 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2, we are warned, “Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.” This would appear to be misinformation. However, if members were claiming that this information was from the true ministers of God, then this would be deliberate disinformation.
So, we have many warnings in the Bible about being deceived, either mistakenly or deliberately. We are also aware that Satan deceives the whole world (Refer to Revelation 12:9). So, we must be well aware of the contents, examples and warnings in the Bible and trust those who have proven to have been faithful in transmitting God’s truth to us over the years. In this way, we will not be deceived by misinformation, disinformation or malinformation. We will understand what truth is, and for us, it will be a part of our lives, remembering that Christ said, “I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6).
So, while truth has fallen in the street for the vast majority of people, it will not be so for us. We will know the truth and the truth shall make us free (John 8:32).