As I was conversing with an elderly Selma FCEOC Transit bus passenger, the subject of truth arose. Needless to say, this person seemed confused about what truth really is.
I once read where 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?
Many today think truth is relative to the circumstances that one find themselves in. 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?
Almost 2,000 years ago, a Roman governor asked a wrongly accused prisoner who stood before him, “What is truth?” The Roman’s name was Pontius Pilate. The prisoner was Jesus of Nazareth (John 18:37-38).
Jesus did not respond to Pilate’s question during this encounter. At least we do not have a record of it if He did. Apparently, Pilate walked away from the question that day and simply washed his hands of the ordeal. At least he thought he did. Christ did answer the question elsewhere, however. The same writer, John, records it in a prayer of Jesus to His Father, in John 17.
The night before His crucifixion, Jesus offered a heartfelt prayer to His Father on behalf of His disciples — not only those of that day, but also those who would follow Him in the future. Within the context of that prayer, He said, “Sanctify [set them apart] by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17).
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. The Bible contains the answers to questions about why we were born, our purpose in life, whether God exists and the potential of mankind —to name only a few of the subjects covered within this Book. The Psalmist wrote similarly: “The entirety of Your word is truth” (Psalm 119:160). Interestingly, the word “truth” can be found more than 200 times in Scripture.
Former President Ronald Reagan stated, “Americans yearn to explore life’s deepest truths.” He went on to say, “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.” Reagan is heralded as one of America’s greatest leaders. He also believed that there is a divine plan for all of us. Other world leaders have said that they held the same belief.
Jesus himself, stated that he was truth. Jesus said to Thomas, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
Paul said to the Ephesians, “If indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus” (Ephesians 4:21). Christ, as God, is the personification of truth. He embodies truth.
Paul, in the introductory comments in his epistle to Titus, said, “Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgement of the truth which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began” (Titus 1:1-2).
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). Knowing the truth freed the disciples from deceptions, errors and heresies.
Moreover, Christ said that Satan, who as Lucifer, had known the truth, but did not abide in 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).
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.
What is truth? Jesus is truth (John 14:6). The word of God (the Bible) is truth (John 17:17). This is the absolute truth!