Thursday, August 20, 2015

"Truth"

Psalm 119.160 The Amplified Bible

The sum of Your word is truth [the total of the full meaning of all Your individual precepts]; and every one of Your righteous decrees endures forever.”

“The sum of Your word is truth”. What does that mean? Truth, as a philosophical concept, will always be the subject of debate and study. Pontius Pilate inquired of Jesus, “What is truth?” (John 18.38). Jesus answered, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14.6).

Humankind has been preoccupied with the pursuit of truth for millenniums, long before early Greek philosophers sat in city courts pondering the questions of the ages. Is truth and that which is true always the same? If I tell my friend he has a big nose, while that may be true, has truth prevailed? If I hurt my friend unnecessarily for the sake of what is true, what good is that truth? An isolated true observation does not constitute the whole of truth. I cannot hide behind my major indiscretion with the words like, “But it’s the truth!” If I ask my boy, “Did you eat all the cookies?”, can he truthfully say “no” just because he only ate one and gave the rest to his friends? Has truth been served? Of course not!

No credible student of the Bible develops a theological system out of an isolated true statement in scripture. Most agree you can prove whatever you want with statistics... or individual Bible verses. Biblical ‘proof texts’ do not necessarily prove the truth. Context is a critical factor in the search for what is true. It is said, “A text out of context is pretext.” To avoid the premature claims of pet doctrines, we must allow Scripture to interpret Scripture and endeavor to bring the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20.27) to bear on individual doctrinal issues. Truth, according to the Bible, is more than just one truism or a singular factual statement. Truth is the sum of all things true as the psalmist said, “The sum of Your word is truth.”

If truth is the sum of God’s word, then I cannot possibly know the truth. Truth is far too vast and I am far too limited to grasp the more than few of truth’s articles. Only an arrogant fool would claim to know all things true. Yet, Jesus said claimed the truth was within our grasp. Truth is touchable, deeply personal, and knowable through Him: 

“I am the way, the truth, and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
John 14.6 NKJV

“And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.”
John 8.32 Amplified Bible

If Jesus is the truth and I know Him, then it follows I may know the truth. My grasp on truth is impossible apart from an active relationship with the One who is Himself the “sum” of all things true. 
____________________

The painting at the upper left is by Russian realist painter Nikolai Ge in 1890 portraying Pilate’s question to Christ in John 18.32. It is entitled “Quod Est Veritas?” (Latin for "What is Truth?").

2 comments:

Nitewrit said...

Dave,

If we do not look to God, we have no other standard of truth. If i say my friend has a big nose this may not be true at all, for instance. he may have an average nose and I may have a small nose. I saw an article yesterday where the columnist said we couldn't condemn cruelty to dogs (he was defending Michael Vick) because it was accepted in the culture where Vick grew up and those were different values than the culture the writer grew up in. In other words, there is no truth and no values because we each make our own. Except we don't have that right. God set the values and God is the truth.

Larry E.

Dave Scriven said...

You are right. God sets the values standard, not us. While the world is tossed here and there in a sea of moral relativism, believers must acknowledge the fact of moral absolutes established by God. We certainly do not always live up to them due to our sinful natures, neverthless, these standards exist and were established by God Himself.