What is Truth?

Jesus has been betrayed, and forsaken by all but two of His disciples.  The Jews bring Him to Pilate seeking His death.

In response to Pilate’s questioning, Jesus references truth.  Then…

Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.  John 18:38

What is truth?  A question we all are faced with and must answer at some time in our lives.

tulips lying on top open Bible

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Some might ask, “Is there truth?”  While others say with all confidence, “There is no truth.”  Which begs the question—“Is that true?”

“There is no truth” is a self-destructive statement.  For even if only that statement…”There is no truth.”…is true, then there is at least that one statement of truth.  And so truth does, in fact, exist.

Then there are those like the young woman I met while flying home from California last year—we will call her Janet—who believe that there is truth, but that it is relative.  In other words, truth is whatever truth is to you.

During our four and a half hour conversation about the Lord and marriage and salvation and life, she told me that she enjoyed hearing about people’s different beliefs.  She felt that it is important that a person have a value system.  That having a value system made each of us a better person.

I wish even that were so.  But not every value system is concerned with treating others as you would want to be treated.  Not every value system values life, justice, righteousness, or truth.  A murderer or thief also has a value system.

I really liked this young woman.  And I earnestly pray for her soul’s salvation.  But she made me think of this verse—

Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.  2 Timothy 3:7

The Greeks searched for truth in their philosophies.  Solomon searched for truth in the vanities of self-gratification.

But the Bereans got it right.  They searched for truth in the scriptures. (Acts 17:11)  They knew where to look!  The Word of God.

Sanctify them through thy truth:  thy word is truth.  John 17:17

Nicodemus also got it right.  (John 3:1-21)  For he sought for truth from the God of truth Himself…Jesus.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  John 14:6

Nicodemus had a need to know.  He sought Jesus out.  Asked the hard questions.  And stayed until he got his answers.

Unlike Pilate, who scornfully asks and then indifferently leaves before getting any answers.

In my conversation with Janet she revealed that she is Catholic and believes in God.  That is, she believes in God, but not so much in His right as her Creator to govern every aspect of her life.  As evidenced by the fact that she was living in a way that she knew her Catholic mother would disapprove.

We talked about our culture’s trend away from belief in absolute truth.  Truth that governs our lives.  And determines what is right and wrong behavior.

I told her the verse that says,

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.  Matthew 4:4

I don’t believe the problem for many people today is belief that there is no truth.  But rather belief that there is no absolute truth.  Truth that never changes.  That is not based on circumstances or opinion.  And that we must answer to.

Our human nature wants what it wants, and wants to live the way it wants, without having to answer to God.  We are self-focused and want our “truth” to accommodate our own agenda.

We, in our flesh, see God’s truth as confining and restrictive and harsh and condemning.

But that is Satan’s lie.  He takes the Word of God, the word of truth, and twists it to make it seem that God is holding out on us by giving the commands, the truths, that He gives in His Word for us to live by.  That has been his mode of operation since the Garden of Eden.

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?  Genesis 3:1

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God had generously given Adam and Eve every tree to eat from…except ONE.  Only one.  But Satan appealed to Adam and Eve’s fleshly desire to obtain what was forbidden.  And Adam and Eve fell when they believed Satan’s deceptive insinuation that God was holding out on them with His command.

But God’s commands are for our good always.

And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day.  Deuteronomy 6:24

God was protecting Adam and Eve by seeking to keep them away from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  Only God knew the heartache and turmoil…the death…that would result if they had access to that tree.

Far from binding and restricting, God’s Word, His truth, THE truth, is liberating…freeing!

Allowing the absolute truth of God’s Word to govern our lives actually frees us from the hurtful consequences that result from listening to the lies of Satan and going our own way in life.

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.  John 8:32

How can any of us obtain that freedom?

By knowing the truth.

Jesus promises that “ye shall know the truth.”  It is possible to know it.

How?  Search for it.

Pilate asks the right question—What is truth?  He even asks the right Person—Jesus.  Yet he doesn’t get an answer.  Why?  Because he didn’t really want an answer.  Or he wouldn’t have immediately left the room.

Pilate wasn’t a sincere seeker of truth.  Are you?

If so, Jesus gives you the way to find truth—be willing to act on it when it is revealed to you.

If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.  John 7:17

If you are willing to submit to the truth, then Jesus will show you whether the Bible is the truth of the Almighty Creator God by which we are to live…or just the words of men.

If you are sincere, Jesus will answer when you ask, “What is truth?” 

Drawing nigh to Him,


This post is part of our John Bible Study.


Do you seek God’s truth to guide your behavior?  What has God shown you lately from His truth?

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