He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but he that perverteth his ways shall be known. Proverbs 10:9
In the Old Testament, the term in the Hebrew language that is translated into English for integrity is תָם (tam), תָמִים (tamim, plural), which literally means, be complete, be finished, be finalized.
But its significance goes beyond an etymological meaning; the word in Hebrew presents the idea that the person who is classified as integrous is the person who has exhausted all his strength, at the level of exhaustiveness, to reach the highest level of Excellence in his effort to show his true intentions.
The concept of integrity in the Bible has been formed from the contributions of men and women who have interacted directly with God.
Thus, for example, integrity in Abraham’s time is defined as the disposition of the heart associated with an honest attitude. The person tries not to act moved by a hidden reason. His action is sincere, it does not hide any trap, nor does it seek to obtain a result that it has not manifested in advance. Integrity is defined as a mindset, equivalent to being genuine.
And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her. Genesis 20:6
In the time of Moses, Joshua and the judges, integrity is associated with the effort to remain faithful to the truth. Being integrous means being truthful, it is the person who acts according to the truth. The person classified as integrous does not deceive, does not commit fraud, and does not disappoint the trust of those who trust in him.
Being integrous before God means to appear before Him believing that He is the only God, that apart from Him there is nothing, no one. Idolatry is considered as a symptom that the person suffers from an absence of integrity,
Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. Joshua 24:14
At the time of the kings, integrity is associated with acts of righteousness. Integrity is the effort of the person to maintain a constant attitude according to the righteousness of God.
I was also upright before him, and have kept myself from mine iniquity. … 26With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful, and with the upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright. 2 Samuel 22:24-26
The LORD shall judge the people: judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness, and according to mine integrity that is in me. Psalm 7:8
This concept is also present in the time of the patriarchs,
Let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know mine integrity. Job 31:6
Thus, integrity, although presented as a condition of life, integrity is built through the effort of the person to show that his intentions are in accordance with an honest disposition of the heart, according to the truth, according to righteousness. The degree of effort determines the quality of the integrity.
When we come to Jesus’ time, the concept has completely lost its validity, and the people lack integrity.
Hence, in his doctrine, He adds other definitions. Thus, in his teaching in the Sermon on the Mount, the integrous is the person who does not refuse to do tasks even if they do not correspond to him, even though they are not his responsibility.
And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. 41And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Matthew 5:40, 41
Integrous is who gives, who does not retain, who does not take for himself, who develops the quality of not clinging to material things, because doing so accumulates treasures in the heavens.
Integrous is one who spares no effort to show others that his intentions are not based on petty, selfish interests. His effort is aimed at showing others that his feelings are true, not just appearance.
In another section of his teachings we find Jesus presenting the parable of talents, and the parable of the minas.
In both parables, the wicked and slothful servant, from the parable of the talents, and the wicked servant from the parable of the mines, both are judged by their lack of integrity. There was no effort in them to achieve what was entrusted to them. The harshness of the punishment is in accordance with the degree of integrity expected of them.
Integrous is one who cannot be reproached for not striving to be faithful towards something, or towards someone, or for not achieving the operation entrusted to him.
When we come to the New Testament’s time, the word integrity appears only once translated as such (Titus 2: 7), and it is the apostle Paul who adds an additional conception to the concept that comes from the Old Testament.
The term in the Greek language translated into English as integrity is αφθοριαν (afthorian), and literally means, incorruptible, immortality.
- Romans 2: 7 ( ἀ φθαρσίαν: immortality);
- 1st. Corinthians 15:42 ( ἀ φθαρσίᾳ : incorruption);
- 1st. Corinthians 15:50 ( ἀ φθαρσίαν: incorruption);
- 1st. Corinthians 15:53 ( ἀ φθαρσίαν: incorruption / immortality);
- 1st. Corinthians 15:54 ( ἀ φθαρσίαν: incorruption / immortality);
- Ephesians 6:24 ( ἀ φθαρσίᾳ : sincerity);
- 2nd. Timothy 1:10 ( ἀ φθαρσίαν: immortality);
- Titus 2: 7 (αφθοριαν: uncorruptness)
Integrous is someone, or something, that cannot or is not subject to corruption. Integrity is a feeling, a conviction or an action that remains unchanged. It is also associated with actions, actions endorsed by words. Integrous is the person who does according to what he says. Integrity is demonstrated, not only at the level of theory.
Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, 2Saying, the scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: 3All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. Matthew 23: 1-3
In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Titus 2: 7
Although secularly associated with a moral quality, integrity has nothing to do with morality. Integrity is the decision of the people to act according to the divine disposition. Integrity is the action that involves effort and boldness.
God forbid that I should justify you: till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me. Job 27: 5
Whoso walketh uprightly shall be saved: but he that is perverse in his ways shall fall at once. Proverbs 28:18
Integrity is a virtue equivalent to wisdom. Who achieves it gets the reputation of being a person of dignity and honor,
For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11
Integrity develops the capacity to establish the Will of God on earth. The integrous person is backed by God himself.
And said, Remember now, O LORD, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore. Isaiah 38: 3
Integrity is the daily effort to achieve that for which we were reached by the Lord.
Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, Philippians 3:12, 13
We cannot end this teaching without neglecting to mention the level of excellence in the integrity process: recognizing our failures, and amending them.
And David spake unto the LORD when he saw the angel that smote the people, and said, Lo, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly: but these sheep, what have they done? Let thine hand, I pray thee, be against me, and against my father’s house. 2 Samuel 24:17
The integrous is one who recognizes his/her mistakes, his/her faults, his/her sins, confronts those who offended, and knows how to ask for forgiveness … and corrects the damage …
 Matthew 25:14-30
 Luke 19:12-26