What Is Truth?


Pontius Pilate once asked Jesus, “What is truth?” (Jn. 18:38). It was an absurd question and Jesus refused to give an answer.  Truth was at that moment standing right in front of this ruler and he was unable to understand.  So in essence, truth is a person.  We read in the scripture that God is a God of truth (Psa. 31:5).  Jesus is not only the Way and the Life, but we read in John 14:6, that he is also the Truth.


We know from the Bible that the devil is the father of lies (Jn. 8:44).  Ever since there has been a devil, there has been an assault upon truth.  With all the lies that have been spun in the earth, it is amazing that there is any truth left. The world is surrounded by lies like a helpless insect rolled up in a spider’s web.

It is likely that the onslaught against truth is greater today than at any time since Pilate’s day.  One of the maxims of our new Postmodern Era is that there is no such thing as truth, at least in the ultimate sense.  According to the Postmodernists, truth is relative, and one person’s “truth” is just as true as another person’s.

Not only do the people of this era have a poor concept of truth, but they have virtually given up on it altogether. Winston Churchill once remarked: “Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened.” In Romans 1:25, Paul speaks of this saying: “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.”  Has there ever been a day when people were more intent upon acquiring and serving created things?  Also today, millions of people have sold their truth for false humanistic philosophies that aid them in fulfilling their lusts and passions.

Although many have known about God’s truth they have sold out cheaply.  By their lives and their wickedness, they have suppressed and smothered whatever truth they had.  Paul describes this in Romans 1:18-19 saying: “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.” 

Are we willing to face the truth today?  The Bible says that we must love the truth if we are going to survive.  Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 2:10 that people perish “…because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.”


Truth must be one of the most precious commodities on earth.  One reason it is so precious is that there is so little of it in the world.  Thus, the scripture instructs us in Proverbs 23:23: “Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding.”  Truth is already a collector’s item that will increase in value as time goes on. Truth is like an extremely precious treasure.  It will cost us all we have to acquire it.  In Matthew 13:45-46 Jesus says: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”

When we find the real truth, it will cost us plenty.  If we take a stand for the truth in this world it will probably cost us some friends; it might cost us our business; it might even cost us our lives. Yes, truth is such a rare commodity that, in its refined form, it is powerful enough to kill us.  Marie Curie helped discover the secrets of radium, but that discovery cost her life.  She died from her long exposure to the mysterious substance.

Obviously, there are varying degrees of truth.  No Christian is without truth in some measure.  There were many in the early church that had truth, but Peter, Paul and Stephen had the rarified form of truth that cost their lives.  The world system could not tolerate their kind of truth.


In John 8:31-32, Jesus said to the Jews who had accepted him: “…If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”   It is like a man drowning in a lake that he assumed to be very deep.  Suppose someone shouts to the drowning man the life-saving truth, that the lake is only four feet deep.  The drowning man then suddenly ceases his foolish struggle, puts his feet on the bottom, stands up and begins to breathe freely.  The truth has set him free from the clutches of fear, falsehood and death.

How this is illustrated in the Gospel of Jesus.  The Gospel declares that all humanity has sinned and as a result of that sin and rebellion people are dying eternally.  The good news of the Gospel, however, states in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  This is one of the most simple and yet profound truths in the world.  It says that in spite of our sin, God sent his Son to save and rescue us. It means that no person on earth ever needs to die eternally.  It says that if we will simply believe in him we will be saved.  After all, he is not only truth personified but he is also salvation personified.

The truth is a liberating thing.  The more we know the truth the freer we will become. We will, however, never be free to serve only ourselves, but to serve the Lord and others.  We must never use this truth as a cover up for our evil (1 Pet. 2:16).


We are instructed in many places to walk in the truth.  The aged and beloved John said in 3 John 1:4: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”  God desires that we live out the truth we possess in our everyday lives. When we walk in the truth we must avoid all falsehood.  That includes not only outright lies but things much more sophisticated such as hypocrisy and deceit. The scripture has much to say about both of these subtle forms of lying.

The walk in truth may touch us at some very deep and embarrassing levels.  It was that way with King David of old.  He secretly committed adultery and murder.  As a result of his acts he began to walk in the lie of hypocrisy.  Finally, the prophet of God revealed this deception to him.  After his repentance, David sighed in Psalm 51:6: “Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.”

Today God is seeking men, women and young people who will dare walk in the truth regardless of the cost.  He wants us to put on the “belt of truth,” which must be the first piece of biblical armor to go in place (Eph. 6:14). He wants his people to declare boldly like the Psalmist: “I have chosen the way of truth…(Psa. 119:30).


We can thank Jesus, who is himself the Truth, that truth has survived until now.  Because the Messiah is eternal, truth will also be eternal.  In the end it will triumph and cover the earth as waters cover the sea.

What a day it will be when every soul on earth will know the truth! We will no longer be subjected to what the “spin-doctors” have to say.  No longer will people serve false gods and false ideologies.  It will then no longer be possible for a person to live as a hypocrite in the church.  The Christian church will at last understand the truth about Israel.  They will be able to see through all the lies Satan has spun about this people.

The City of Jerusalem, that has surely been lied about more than any other city on earth, will get a new name.  In Zechariah 8:3 we read: “This is what the LORD says: ‘I will return to Zion and dwell in Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth, and the mountain of the LORD Almighty will be called the Holy Mountain.’”  Those who love and practice falsehood will find themselves eternally locked out of this glorious city (Rev. 21:15).

Jerusalem’s gates will swing open for the children of truth.  John, in Revelation 21:21, says of her gates: “The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl…” How interesting it is that Jerusalem has pearls for gates.  In the scripture, pearls can represent wisdom, but they can most certainly represent truth.  After all, Jesus is the door (Jn. 10:7) and he is the Truth.  By implication, he is also the Pearl of Great Price.

May we become children of truth.  May the truth liberate and lead us.  As is said in Psalm 43:3: “Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.”

                                                                                             – Jim Gerrish


October, 2002