What is Truth?
What is truth? Is truth subjective? Can we know the truth? What does the Bible teach about truth?
Life is full of questions and often the answers are difficult. Stephen Baker seeks to answer various questions about life and faith using the Bible as his only source. Listen to Stephen’s show, “Life Questions,” on HopeStreamRadio as he tackles the challenge of life’s questions.
The concept of truth has clearly fallen on hard times.
Pilate posed one of the most profound and eternally significant questions in the Bible. He asked Jesus in His final hour, “What is truth?” It was a cynical response to what Jesus had just revealed: “I have come into the world, to testify to the truth.” Two thousand years later, the whole world breathes Pilate’s cynicism, with good cause.
So, what is truth?
Here’s a simple definition drawn from what the Bible teaches: Truth is that which is consistent with the mind, will, character, glory, and being of God. Even more to the point: Truth is the self-expression of God. That is the biblical meaning of truth.
Old Testament God of Truth
The Old Testament refers to the Almighty as the “God of truth” (Deut. 32:4; Ps. 31:5; Is. 65:16). When Jesus said of Himself, “I am…the truth” (John 14:6), He was making a profound claim about His own deity. He was also making it clear that all truth must ultimately be defined in terms of God and His eternal glory. After all, Jesus is “the brightness of [God’s] glory and the express image of His person” (Heb. 1:3). He is truth incarnate—the perfect expression of God and therefore the absolute embodiment of all that is true.
Jesus also said that the written Word of God is truth. It does not merely contain nuggets of truth; it is pure and unchangeable truth that (according to Jesus) “cannot be broken” (John 10:35).
Of course, there cannot be any difference between the written Word of God (the Bible) and the incarnate Word of God (Jesus). In the first place, truth by definition cannot contradict itself. Second, the Bible is called “the word of Christ” (Col. 3:16). It is His message, His self-expression. In other words, the truth of Christ and the truth of the Bible are of the very same character. They are in perfect agreement in every respect. Both are equally true. God has revealed Himself to humanity through The Bible and through His Son. Both perfectly embody the essence of what truth is.
The Bible also says God reveals basic truth about Himself in nature. The heavens declare His glory (Ps. 19:1). His other invisible attributes (such as His wisdom, power, and beauty) are on constant display in what He has created (Rom. 1:20). Knowledge of Him is inborn in the human heart (Rom. 1:19), and a sense of the moral character and loftiness of His law is implicit in every human conscience (Rom. 2:15).
Those things are universally self-evident truths. According to Romans 1:20, denial of the spiritual truths we know innately always involves a deliberate and culpable unbelief. And for those who wonder whether basic truths about God and His moral standards really are stamped on the human heart, ample proof can be found in the long history of human law and religion. To suppress this truth is to dishonour God, displace His glory, and incur His wrath (vv. 19-20).
The Revelation of the Bible
Still, the only infallible interpreter of what we see in nature or know innately in our own consciences is the explicit revelation of The Bible. Since the Bible is also the one place where we are given the way of salvation, entrance into the kingdom of God, and an infallible account of Christ, the Bible is the touchstone to which all truth claims should be brought and by which all other truth must finally be measured.
Truth also means nothing apart from God. Truth cannot be adequately explained, recognized, understood, or defined without God as the source. Since He alone is eternal and self-existent and He alone is the Creator of all else, He is the fountain of all truth.
Truth is Not Subjective
There are serious moral implications whenever someone tries to dissociate truth from the knowledge of God. Abandon a biblical definition of truth, and unrighteousness is the inescapable result. We see it happening before our eyes in every corner of contemporary society. What we see today is a fulfillment of what Romans chapter 1 says always happens when a society denies and suppresses the essential connection between God and truth.
Truth is not subjective, it is not a consensual cultural construct, and it is not an invalid, outdated, irrelevant concept. Truth is the self-expression of God. Truth is thus theological; it is the reality God has created and defined, and over which He rules. Truth is therefore a moral issue for every human being.
How each person responds to the truth God has revealed is an issue of eternal significance. To reject and rebel against Jesus Christ, who is the Word of God, results in darkness, folly, sin, judgment, and the never-ending wrath of God. To accept and submit to Jesus Christ is experience the forgiveness and blessing of God, to know with certainty, and to find life everlasting.
You can listen to podcasts from Stephen’s program, “Life Questions,” by clicking here. We encourage you to visit Stephen’s website at: www.seekthetruth.org.uk, where you can access podcasts and videos explaining the good news of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
Life is full of questions and often the answers are difficult. Stephen Baker seeks to answer various questions about life and faith using the Bible as his only source. Listen to Stephen’s show, “Life Questions,” on HopeStreamRadio as he tackles the challenge of life questions.
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Man with binoculars – Public Domain
Bookshelf – Public Domain
Man in Dark – Skitterphoto
Spider Web – Public Domain
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