Introduction to ‘Truth’
What Is Truth?
Almost 2,000 years ago Pontius Pilate asked the question of The Messiah, “What is Truth?” (John 18:37-38). Truth stood before him and he could not identify with Him!
Winston Churchill once stated, “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.”
Can anyone really know “the truth”? Or is truth subject to human interpretation?
Modern society defines truth as “facts free from any form of religious interpretation and is based on man’s personal perception of what is right and relevant ‘to the moment/circumstance’” —that what is true for one situation is not necessarily true for others. This means that truth for one person is not necessarily the same for everyone! If this is correct, how can we know with certainty what to believe and how we should live?
Below are definitions of three key philosophies (manipulated truths) used in modern society in its attempt to mould / conform our world views / mind-sets:
- Liberalism, in education; concerned with broadening a person’s general knowledge and experience, rather than with technical or professional training.
- Humanism: Webster’s: a doctrine, attitude, or way of life centered on human interests or values; especially: a philosophy that usually rejects supernaturalism and stresses an individual’s dignity and worth and capacity for self-realization through reason.
- Secularism: (Education): the belief that religion should not play a role in government, education, or other public parts of society.
Science is not the source of truth
Many people believe that science can reveal truth. But Kathy Sykes, a British physicist and professor at the University of Bristol, explains, “Science is not about truth, but is about trying to get closer to the truth. This is important, because, too often, people look to scientists as having the ‘truth.’ What we have is wrapped in uncertainties, caveats, and simplifications.”
Winston Churchill once said, “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”
Does absolute truth exist or has society contrived an alternative?
There are those who do not believe in absolute truth. Dictionary.com defines the word absolute as “free from imperfection; complete; perfect.” The word truth is defined as “the true or actual state of a matter …; conformity with fact or reality …; a verified or indisputable fact.”
“Absolute truth” can therefore loosely be defined as: “A verified and undisputable fact that conforms to a moral reality and is actual, perfect and complete.” Does this not ring true of The Word?
However, philosophers and scientists have long debated the issue of “absolute truth” and many others have chosen to accept another philosophy, called “situation ethics”. Situation ethics is defined as “a theory of ethics according to which moral rules are not absolutely binding but may be modified in the light of specific situations” (Webster’s New World College Dictionary). Liberalism?
Said another way, situation ethics is “a system of ethics that evaluates acts in light of their situational context rather than by the application of moral absolutes” (American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language).
Ironically, if one were to say, “There is no such thing as absolute truth,” he or she might be asked, “Are you absolutely sure that no absolute truth exists?” To make such a statement is itself the claim of an absolute truth and, therefore, self-contradictory!
For example, just because one may choose not to believe in the law of gravity does not mean that gravity does not exist. The same can be said of God’s existence. What one person believes about God’s existence has nothing to do with the fact that He indeed exists!
To be honest, people would have to admit that they don’t know whether there is absolute truth about a specific subject. Yet God, through the pages of the Bible, states that absolute truth truly does exist.
“Yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge [truth] of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth comes knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:3-6). This is the absolute truth!
Did you know: The word “truth” can be found more than 200 times in The Bible.
The Word is Truth (Jesus is truth.)
Truth is revealed in the Bible as the character of Christ, His teachings and His promises. Anything that does not agree with the Bible is false, error, deception or heresy.
Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32).
“I am the way the truth and the Life, no one comes to The Father except through Me.” John 14:6
- Christ said that Satan, who as Lucifer had known the truth, did not abide in the truth. (So does liberalism fit in here? AAHH! Liberalism! Based on the adaptation/manipulation of the truth.)
- Rebuking the Pharisees who did not believe in Him, Jesus told them they were of their father the devil.
- He went on to say, “He [the devil] was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him.
- When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44).
Otto von Bismarck once stated, “When you want to fool the world, tell the truth.”
Jesus prayed before his crucifixion, “Sanctify [set apart] them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17). Sanctify who? All Jesus’ disciples, present, and future.
Here, Christ is saying one should be able to examine the pages of God’s Word—the Holy Bible—to learn the truth on any subject of major importance or significance.
David wrote in Psalm 119:160 “The entirety of Your word is truth”.
Former President Ronald Reagan stated, “Within the covers of that single book [the Bible] are all the answers to all the problems that face us today if we would only read and believe.” (Can you see how society has moved away from The Truth / The Word as advocated by Ronald Reagan to the Liberalistic and Secular Humanistic mindsets of today?) Dumbing down!!??
Worship must be in Spirit and Truth
Knowledge of “the truth” is essential for worship. Notice what Jesus said to a Samaritan woman He met at Jacob’s well. “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24).
A brief summary of biblical answers to the question: What is truth?
- Jesus said God’s Word, the Bible, is truth (John 17:17).
- Christ, as God, is the personification of truth (John 14:6; Ephesians 4:21).
- God cannot lie (Titus 1:1-2).
- Satan does lie unabashedly! And we have to be on guard against his attacks on the truth (Revelation 12:9).
- Jesus promised His disciples that they would know the truth (John 8:31-32).
- Truth is revealed in God’s Word—not through science.
- God will only accept worship of Him “in spirit and truth” (John 4:24).
- The wicked do not speak truth ( Psalm 5:9 )
- 1 ….. who shall dwell in the holy hill? 2He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart (Psalm 15:2)
- “Guide me in your truth” (Psalm 25:5 );
- the psalmist asks God to “send forth your light and your truth” to lead him (Psalm 43:3);
- the psalmist asks the Lord to “ride forth victoriously in behalf of truth” (Psalm 45:4).
- The psalmist desires to walk in God’s truth (Psalm 86:11).
Indeed, the sum of God’s word is truth.
Knowing the truth is wonderful, but it is not enough! God expects us to act on the truth as He helps us learn it. More important than knowing the truth is living the truth—walking in truth. Wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and truth are all attributes of God. You can know the truth if you diligently and prayerfully seek it.