What is truth?

John 18:38 – “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.”


This statement is made by Christ as he is examined by Pilate in the judgment hall shortly before his crucifixion.  “Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews? 34 Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me? 35 Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? 36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. 37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. 38 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.” 


Some observations about truth:

  1. Many people will say, “Truth is in the eye of the beholder.”  This is deliberately false.  Truth is truth, regardless of whether or not any individual recognized it as truth or not. We are living in a day when the new theology of political correctness and the new tolerance, teaches that everybody has the truth, is the truth, and stands for the truth even when they are directly opposed to each other.  The fact is, some people do not have the truth, while others do have the truth.
  2. Truth will stand for all eternity, while everything else will pass away.  Regardless of what people say truth is, only the truth will survive.  Jesus makes a very interesting statement in verse 37 when he tells Pilate, “…Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.”  People who want to believe a lie, will believe a lie.  They can be told the truth, but they will not believe it, because their minds are already set on what they want to believe.
  3. For example: think of these earthly examples.

a.       The Iraqi’s will say “the truth is: “The United States is a terrible aggressor, and should be bombed out of existence or terrorized into submission.”  While the United States will say, “Iraq has a terrible dedicator government, they are a terrorists nation, and should be bombed out of existence.”  Which is right?  It is according to your point of view.  There is a difference between what is truth and what one says is truth.

b.       Eye witness accounts of an accident or other event are often not good witness of truth.  Witnesses see things from their own perspective.  That’s why the Bible requires two or three witness in a capital punishment case.

c.       Memory is also not a good witness of truth.  Our memory often reflects what we want to remember, not what actually happened.  Our memory will often change events of the past to make them much worse than what they originally were, or will make them much better than they originally were.

d.       Personal experience is also not a good witness to the truth.  Every personal experience is different, and we remember them all differently.  Remember that our memory often plays tricks on us, causing us to think we remember correctly when we do not.  Each circumstance of the past is distorted by many other memories that flood our minds, clouding the exact personal experience.

  1. Here is the religious example of truth.

a.       Some religions teach salvation by works – or doing the very best you know how to do.

b.       Some religions teach salvation by grace – or accepting and receiving the very best Christ has done in our place.

c.   What is the truth about salvation?  It is according to which Bible you believe.  If you believe the Bible, you will believe John 14:6“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”  If you want to know truth, you will realize that Jesus Christ is what he said.  He is the way, the truth, and the life.  Jesus Christ is the only begotten son of God, full of grace and truth, John 1:14 – “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”  What is truth?  Jesus Christ. 


If all these things are so, and they are, how can I really know what real truth is?


John 16:13“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.”  Jesus Christ said he would send the comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, to his church when he ascended back into heaven.  This happened in public form on the day of Pentecost.  This sprit of truth is in the world today, along with the devil and his evil spirits.  Who are you following?  Jesus Christ or something, or somebody else? 


It is apparent that some folks follow the devil in their religious exercises, as recorded in John 8:44.  Jesus said, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”


It is pretty black and white, isn’t it?  There is either truth or untruth.  Period. 


John 8:31-32“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  Everybody wants to be free.  Many want to be free to do their own will.  But if you really want to be free, you will turn completely away from self, and completely toward Jesus Christ.  He is the one that has all truth, and he is the one that will grant salvation and forgiveness of sins.