What is Truth?


We see the word "liar" and "lie" bantered about by many from all sides. When opinion is shared, or a story from current events is published, "fact-checkers" come out with the context, or sometimes just opposing opinions to counter the story. So, can we know the truth?

When Jesus was on trial for blasphemy, disguised as "treason", Pilate asked "Are you a king?". Jesus answered that he was, and that his purpose was to "bear witness to the truth". Pilate reacted, saying, "What is truth?" (John 18:37-38). Jesus remained quiet, but earlier he had told his disciple Thomas, when he had asked, "How can we know the way?", that "I (Jesus) am the way, the truth, and the life"(John 14:5-6). Later, in praying for his disciples shortly before his betrayal and trial, Jesus prayed to the Father: "Sanctify [my disciples] through the truth: Your word is truth." (John 17:17)

But, what does the Bible say about "truth"? In the coming weeks, I will be going through the Bible, starting with Genesis, and explore the words associated with "truth". In this way we can know the nature of truth; and thereby be able to better combat the lies and the liars which we encounter.

The Study

First, the Hebrew words for "truth" and "true": אֱמֶת (emeth) and אָמַן (aman). We know the last as our word "Amen", a transliteration of the Greek word borrowed from the Hebrew. The first of these words, אֱמֶת, is used  127 times in the Old Testament. The KJV translates it 92 times as "truth", 18 as "true", 7 as "truly" and 11 times as other related words. The Biblical usage is as follows:

  1. firmness, faithfulness, truth (noun)
    1. sureness, reliability
    2. stability, continuance
    3. faithfulness, reliableness
    4. truth

  2. in truth, truly (adverb)

The root word from which "truth" comes is אָמַן, "aman" ("Amen"), a verb. It is used 44 times as "believe" and 20 times to indicate being "faithful". In all, it is used 108 times. This is how the KJV uses the word:

I. to support, confirm, be faithful

A. (Qal)

i. to support, confirm, be faithful, uphold, nourish

a. foster-father (subst.)

b. foster-mother, nurse

c. pillars, supporters of the door

B. (Niphal)

i. to be established, be faithful, be carried, make firm

a. to be carried by a nurse

b. made firm, sure, lasting

c. confirmed, established, sure

d. verified, confirmed

e. reliable, faithful, trusty

C. (Hiphil)

i. to stand firm, to trust, to be certain, to believe in

a. stand firm

b. trust, believe

I look forward to this journey toward the truth about Truth! And please, leave a comment.  


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