Pastoral Commentary: What is truth?
The question that serves as the title of this article was asked of Jesus as He stood trial before Pilate (John 18:38). It came in response to Jesus affirming that He had come into the world to “testify to the truth” and that “everyone on the side of truth” listens to Him (John 18:37).
Several answers are given to that question in our world today. Some say truth doesn’t exist. Others say truth is what you make it, that it varies from person to person. Others say it doesn’t even matter. Does it matter? Is truth important? Yes, truth does matter. Yes, truth is important. Truth matters and is important because truth describes reality. In fact, one definition of truth is: “Statements that accurately correspond to reality.” Truth is absolute.
God is the ultimate source of truth. It originates with Him. He is described as “the God of truth” (Psalm 31:5; Isaiah 65:16). Jesus is described as coming from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14, 17). He is the embodiment of truth (John 1:14; 14:6). The Holy Spirit, the third member of the Godhead, is called the “Spirit of truth” (John 14:17; 16:13). It has been said that “if something is true, it is true because God makes it true.”
The Bible is truth. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). God does not lie (Titus 1:2). In fact, since He is “the God of truth” He cannot lie, His nature doesn’t allow it. Since all Scripture is God-breathed (comes from God) and God is the God of truth (and cannot lie), Scripture (the Bible) is truth. Jesus declared, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32). Later He proclaimed in prayer to His Father, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17). Jesus promises His disciples to send them the “Spirit of truth” (John 15:26) to guide them into all truth (John 16:13). The inspired apostle Paul emphasized the truthfulness of what he was speaking (Acts 26:25). Peter refers to Paul’s letters as Scripture (2 Peter 3:15-16). The Bible, the word of truth, doesn’t contain the Word of God; it is the Word of God.
What must we do with the word of truth, the Bible? We must come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3). We must do our best to correctly handle the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). We must know it, obey it (1 Peter 1:22) and live by it (John 3:21). We must be very careful not to wander from it (James 5:19-20).
Each of us needs to be aware of the seriousness of knowing and obeying the truth, God’s word. It is by God’s word we will one day be judged (John 12:48). Those who hear and believe the word of truth will have eternal life while those who don’t are condemned (John 5:24-29).
May we all be diligent students of God’s Word, the Bible! And may we live our lives according to God’s truth!