John 18:38a says, “Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?” When Jesus was on trial before Pilate, Pilate asked this profound question regarding what truth is. Many throughout history have asked this question. Some believe that there is no such thing as absolute truth. They believe post-modernism, which says that truth is relative; what’s true for me is my truth, and what’s true for you is your truth. Postmodernism believes that the only absolute truth is that there is no absolute truth. But logically and practically, the idea of postmodernism fails. There is absolute truth, and we should desire to find that truth.
John 17:17 says, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” Jesus is speaking in this verse, and He says that God’s Word is truth. God’s Word, the Bible, is truth. It’s not just true, measuring up to an external standard of truth. It is truth; it is the standard of truth by which we measure all other things. People change. Cultures change. Opinions change. But God’s Word is unchanging, and it is truth. Malachi 3:6 says, “For I am the LORD, I change not; Therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” God is unchanging, and God is a God of truth. Since God does not change, His truth does not change. Our job is not to create truth or develop truth. Our job is to find the truth that God has given, strive to understand it, and then live it out. God has revealed the truth to us. John 18:37 says, “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.” Jesus came to earth to teach truth (as well as to provide salvation for us), and we have God’s truth in His Word. God has given us the truth; now He expects us to believe the truth and live by the truth.
God expects us to believe and live by his truth. People’s ideas of truth, morality, spiritual things, and culture are constantly changing. Instead of getting caught in the ebb and flow of people’s changing ideas, God expects us to hold to His truth and understand the world around us in light of that truth. At times this is difficult, and at times this is unpopular, but it is what God wants us to do. Sadly, many Christians have sacrificed the truth that God has given in favor of the popular ideas of the day, striving to gain acceptance and approval from a world that is separated from God and does not know the truth in the first place. Many Christians are more concerned to gain the approval of fellow man who lives by fallible ideas than to gain the approval of a God of truth who has revealed His truth to us through His Word.
God’s truth is also sufficient for our spiritual lives. God may not tell us everything that we want to know, but He does tell us everything that we need to know. 2 Peter 1:3 says, “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” God has given us all things that we need for life and godliness. God has revealed and given us the truth that we need through His Word. We have the truth that reveals the Gospel to us, teaching us how to have a relationship with God. Once we have a relationship with God through faith in Christ, we also have the truth about how God wants us to live. Now God may not specifically tell us everything that we want to know. For instance, we are not told every single event from the life of Christ. The Bible gives us a view of Christ’s birth and very early life, a few events at the age of twelve, and then the last few years before His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension back to heaven. Even in the timeframe that it does record for us, it does not tell us every single thing that happened. But it does teach us all that we need to know. John 20:30-31 says, “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” Although we may not know every detail of the time that Jesus was on earth, God determined what we need to know, and He revealed that truth to us in His Word, the Bible. God’s Word is truth, and He has given us the truth that we need in order to know Him and follow Him.
But what is our relationship with truth that is outside of the Bible? Can we learn what is true in history, science, mathematics, and other things that are not directly revealed in Scripture? Yes, we can. However, we should acknowledge two things. For one, nothing that we find or don’t find will actually contradict the Bible. For years, sceptics of the Bible claimed that the Bible must be wrong when it spoke of a great civilization called the Hittites, but no such civilization had been found by archeology and science. However, after more study and research, the Hittite civilization was found, and what has been found matches the description from the Bible. So although the Bible does not reveal every possible detail of things such as history, science, and mathematics, when we do study those things, we will not find something that is absolutely true and contradicts the Bible. Second, we should acknowledge that our understanding of subjects such as history, science, and mathematics can be flawed at the outset. God’s Word reveals absolute truth; we can (and should) be confident that what it says is truth. But our understanding of science, for example, can be flawed even at the beginning. This is part of the purpose of the scientific method: to test and prove theories and discard ones that cannot stand the test of experimentation. So when we strive to study and learn apart from the Bible, we must acknowledge that whatever truth we find will not genuinely contradict the Bible, and we must acknowledge that our theories and ideas can be flawed. Ultimately, the one source we have for ultimate and unchanging truth is the Word of God, the Bible. What is truth? God’s Word is truth.