Jesus, confronted by an unbelieving prefect who sought to justify himself, was famously asked, “What is truth.” (John 18:38)
Pilate meant it as a rhetorical question and did not allow Jesus an opportunity to answer it, but instead proceeded to have Jesus crucified despite finding no fault in him.
Despite Pilate’s nonchalant attitude towards his own question, an attitude shared by millions of people who want to strive to believe there is no truth to be found in the world, the question is a necessary one for men to seek an answer to, and it is a question to which there is a satisfactory answer.
Philosophically and logically, truth is defined as a statement or idea that accurately reflects reality. That is, there are some things that simply are real, and to describe them accurately is to state truth. Truth can be applied to the description of actions, the description of matter, or even to the description of consequences of actions.
If a person were to go to the store and buy a loaf of bread, it would be truth when that same person said they went to the store and bought a loaf of bread. That would be an accurate statement reflecting the reality of the action and describing the matter bought. Likewise, a statement that we are going to eat the bread, if followed by actions suited to the words, would be truth.
We all understand this.
Jesus, hours before he was arrested, was in prayer with His apostles. As he prayed to God, Jesus said the following: “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.” (John 17:15-19)
It is obvious that Jesus thought there was such a thing as truth, that God’s word was truth, and that in the truth of God’s word there was a great deal of power, especially in regards to its sanctifying power.
If Jesus is correct that the Bible is truth, and that it is indeed the instrument by which God’s power of salvation is made manifest to us (cf. Romans 1:16), then knowing the Bible is indeed a matter of some importance.
There are, of course, people who think that Jesus was grossly mistaken. They reject the idea of truth and they most certainly reject the idea that God has spoken truth to men. Many reject this idea, not because they have studied the matter, but because they are reluctant to make the life changes the Bible demands of them.
But perhaps they should be a little slower to simply cast away a book which makes the claim of being able to save those who follow it. There are many good reasons to think that Jesus is right when He declares the Scriptures to be the truth.
The Bible is the most examined book in all of history and its authenticity and accuracy, when put to the test, have never been repudiated. The Bible is shown to be true by its constant accuracy, by its cohesion, by the multitude of specific prophecies (often made hundreds of years in advance of events) which were fulfilled, and by the sublime way it has, when used comprehensively as intended, improved the lives of its adherents.
When much of the world was — and is — living in unsanitary conditions, the Bible was teaching men how to prevent diseases from running rampant through the culture (cf. Deuteronomy 23:9-14). While men were wallowing in scientific ignorance, the word of God was declaring the number of stars to be innumerable and the world to be floating on nothing (Genesis 22:17; Job 26:7) A thousand years before Christ was born, God was predicting that His son would be crucified, his hands and feet pierced, and that those standing at the foot of the cross would mock Him (cf. Psalms 22). The many proofs of the truthfulness of the Bible in such things could, and does, fill many books. It is indeed a book like no other.
But if the Bible is true, then that means it is a book that accurately describes reality. There are many things the Bible teaches us that we cannot verify through the senses, but we can accept because of our faith in the Bible’s truthfulness, as evidenced by its proofs. God tells us about how He made the world. He describes to us His very nature. He gives us an account of the life and nature of His Son. And He tells us how we can be saved and inherit eternal life (cf. Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Romans 6:1-4). We are foolish if we discount these things.
Reality is never subjective and God’s word, being truth, cannot logically be subjective. It is not a book subject to private interpretation, but instead it means what it says, and what it says is binding. Let us each strive to learn it aright.
At the church of Christ, we make it our goal to know and obey the word of God.
If you are interested in learning more of this subject, we invite you to come study and worship with us at the Church of Christ, 197 Chapel Drive, Gallipolis. At the Church of Christ, we seek to serve God now that we might be with Him then, and to so serve, all of our lives.