From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

In the apostolic documents the simplest meaning given to ‘truth’ is that of sincerity. St. Paul, writing of the different motives that had impelled people to make known the gospel of Christ, declared that he rejoiced that Christ was proclaimed ‘whether in pretence or in truth’ ( Philippians 1:16). The same Apostle called upon the Corinthian Christians to banish all insincerity from their holiest religious ceremonies. ‘Let us keep the feast not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth’ ( 1 Corinthians 5:8). Even in passages like these it is evident that ‘truth’ tended to acquire a deeper and wider meaning, passing from mere sincerity to conformity with the highest ethical claims. The standard of ethical truth was embodied in Jesus, who was set forth as the example to which Christians should conform. Thus St. Paul warned his readers against a life of lasciviousness by recalling the way in which they had learned Christ, ‘if so be that ye heard him, and were taught in him, even as truth is in Jesus’ ( Ephesians 4:21). (This passage is sometimes taken as asserting the identity of Jesus and the Christ, but the old reading and interpretation seem preferable.) For the most part, however, the apostles speak of truth as equivalent to truth κατʼ ἐξοχήν, the revelation of God that reaches its fullness in the gospel of Christ. St. Paul made it synonymous with ‘the gospel of your salvation’ ( Ephesians 1:13), and, writing to the Thessalonians, he described the Divine and human sides of conversion as ‘sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth’ ( 2 Thessalonians 2:13). The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews declared that for those who sinned wilfully after they had gained a full knowledge of the truth there could be no further sacrifice for sin ( Hebrews 10:26). In the Pastoral Epistles this use is specially prevalent- e.g.  1 Timothy 2:4, ‘God willeth that all men should be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth’;  1 Timothy 3:15, where the Church of the living God is described as ‘the pillar and ground of the truth’;  2 Timothy 2:15, ‘a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth.’ While these various aspects of truth are suggested in the apostolic writings, it would be a mistake to suppose that the apostles regarded truth as consisting of separate entities; rather they regarded it as a unity embodied in Jesus Christ, so that intellectual sincerity, ethical purity, doctrinal enlightenment, and spiritual experience were all manifestations of the one living and true God. This unity of truth seems to be the thought underlying the general principle set forth by St. Paul that ‘we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth’ ( 2 Corinthians 13:8). No one has power against truth, for all truth and all kinds of truth are one in God: the only power is given to those who seek to act in the service of truth. Wherefore it is the denial of God to endeavour to advance truth by any means that fails to yield to truth in every department of human thought and life.

Truth was fully embodied and expressed in Jesus Christ, but before His coming there had been partial revelations of truth ‘by divers portions and in divers manners’ ( Hebrews 1:1), and St. Paul felt free to acknowledge that the Jew might claim that he had in the law ‘the form (μόρφωσιν) of knowledge and of the truth’ ( Romans 2:20). This outward form was determined by the inner truth of which it was the outline or expression, but it was at the best only partial and imperfect. The apostles further taught that the truth of God outlined in the Law and embodied in Christ was brought home to the heart and mind of men by many various methods, but that all these methods received their virtue through the vitalizing influence of the Holy Spirit. The Day of Pentecost left its mark not only on the life but also on the teaching of the Apostolic Church, and St. Paul in his special experience learned on the way to Damascus and in the solitude of the desert that the gospel came to him through no human means but through revelation of Jesus Christ ( Galatians 1:12). Hence there was constant insistence on the agency of the Holy Spirit as the real source of enlightenment in the truth of God. At the same time it was recognized that there was great diversity in the Spirit’s working, for there was no dead uniformity in His operations. St. John offers the chief example of the revelation of truth being given by direct vision, and in his Apocalypse he shows how he received in this way the knowledge of things present and future when he was in the spirit on the Lord’s Day. St. Paul claimed that he also was indebted to visions for knowledge that he had received, and for the hearing of ‘unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter’ ( 2 Corinthians 12:4). But such experiences were acknowledged by him to be unusual, so that he indulged in some modest boasting on account of the exceptional privilege granted to him. The more usual method of illumination was by the Spirit’s interpreting the life of Jesus Christ to the needs of human experience, and making the Scriptures of the OT radiate a new meaning in the light of the sacrifice and work of the Saviour. Thus the Suffering Servant of Jahweh of Deutero-Isaiah led to a better understanding of the Crucified Lord ( Acts 8:35), and prophets as well as private Christians learned the truth better through examination of the Scriptures ( Acts 17:11).

One source of progressive knowledge was found by the apostles in the facts of their experience, an experience that covered not only their fellowship with Christ in the days of His flesh, but also the mighty working that followed His ascension to the right hand of God. This may be illustrated by the advance in truth that followed the outpouring of the Spirit of God upon Gentiles who believed in Jesus as the Redeemer. To St. Paul especially this fact of experience brought the assurance of God’s readiness to save and bless all men through faith in Jesus Christ without the necessity of their submitting to any rite of Jewish origin. Thus there was heralded forth by him the free grace of God in Christ to all sinners. But in order that the truth of God might be received it was necessary, according to the apostles, that it should be not only understood but also obeyed ( Galatians 5:7). The heart and will were as powerful as the mind in influencing the attitude to the truth in Christ. This not only was asserted positively, but may be inferred also from the reasons assigned by the apostles for some people not receiving the truth. Stephen in his defence charged those who denied Jesus Christ and His gospel with the crime of resisting the Holy Ghost as their fathers had been guilty likewise in persecuting the prophets ( Acts 7:51-52), while St. Paul impressed upon his unbelieving hearers the fact that they might see and hear the truth, and yet be so hardened in their hearts that they would not believe ( Acts 28:26). Indeed in his contrast of ψυχικός and πνευματικός St. Paul asserted that the spiritual truths could not be discerned by the natural man even with his highest intellectual capacity but only by the spiritual man in whom the Divine Spirit is living and working ( 1 Corinthians 2:14; cf.  Romans 8:5,  1 John 4:5). But the apostles never exalted mere ‘spirituality’ at the expense of the moral side of life, for they insisted that nothing hindered the reception of truth more than a low ethical life. St. Paul foretold a time when men would be guilty of all excesses, loving pleasure more than God, and, led away by divers lusts, would be ‘ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth’ ( 2 Timothy 3:1-7), and the same Apostle ascribed the lack of the free expansion of truth in some people to the fact that they kept it down by their unrighteous lives ( Romans 1:18). St. James, as might be expected, associated knowledge of truth with moral qualities such as the grace of meekness, and the absence of bitter envy and rivalry ( James 3:13-14). St. Peter was marked with the same spirit, for he traced the golden cycle of Christian experience as leading from purity of soul by obedience to the truth onwards inevitably to the love of the brethren ( 1 Peter 1:22). Thus the beginning and the ending of the Christian reception of truth were indissolubly linked to purity and love.

Literature.-F. J. A. Hort, The Way, the Truth, the Life , Cambridge, 1893, p. 41 ff.; W. P. DuBose, Soteriology of the NT , London, 1892, p. 299; H. J. Holtzmann, Lehrbuch der NT Theologie , Freiburg i. B., 1896-97, ii. 375 f.; R. H. Hutton, Theological Essays 4, London, 1895, p. 19 ff.

D. Macrae Tod.

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology [2]

In Scripture, truth is characterized by both qualitative and quantitative aspects. In the historical narratives of the Old Testament, truth is identified with personal veracity and historical factuality. Before identifying himself to his brothers, Joseph desires to test them by commanding them to send one of their brothers as a prisoner, to see if there is truth in them ( Genesis 42:16 ). Both Joseph's brothers and Achan claim to be speaking the truth when they confess their respective sins ( Genesis 42:21;  Joshua 7:20 ).

Truth is also a quality used to describe utterances that are from the Lord. When Elijah intervenes for the son of the widow of Zarephath, bringing the boy back to life, the boy's mother remarks that now she knows that Elijah is a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in his mouth is truth. Ahab becomes angry with Micaiah, his personal incarcerated prophet, because the latter has given a sarcastic favorable forecast for battle. Ahab responds by saying, "How many times must I make you swear to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?" ( 1 Kings 22:16;  2 Chronicles 18:15 ).

The Psalter describes truth as a fundamental characteristic of God, a characteristic that the psalmist desires to share. The wicked do not speak truth (5:9), whereas the blameless one speaks truth from the heart (15:2). The psalmists often depict truth as a quality separate from God, and which God serves by virtue of his nature. In many instances, truth appears to be personified. The psalmist tells God to "guide me in your truth" (25:5); the psalmist asks God to "send forth your light and your truth" to lead him (43:3); the psalmist asks the Lord to "ride forth victoriously in behalf of truth" (45:4). The psalmist desires to walk in God's truth (86:11). Indeed, the sum of God's word is truth.

Proverbs seldom speaks of truth, but when it does it defines it as a virtue that the person of God should practice. Truth is to proceed from one's mouth, and wickedness is an abomination to the lips (8:7); the one who speaks the truth gives honest evidence (12:17); truth is described as a commodity that one should purchase, along with wisdom, instruction, and understanding (23:23).

Jeremiah bemoans the fact that in Judah truth is absent. He tells the people that if they can find a man in Jerusalem who does justice and speaks truth, God will pardon the entire city (5:1). The Lord looks for truth (5:3), but it is notoriously absent from Judah (7:28; 9:3,5). In Daniel, truth is an eschatological virtue related to the interpretations of the visions that God shows to Daniel. Daniel inquires of the truth of the vision of the four beasts (7:16,19). The casting down of truth allows the little horn to act and prosper (8:12); the future dealings of the kings of Persia are referred to as the truth (10:21; 11:2). Zechariah commands his readers to speak the truth (8:16), and to love truth and peace (8:19).

The Synoptic Gospels scarcely use the word truth at all, while in John it is an extremely significant term referring to Jesus and his ministry. Jesus, as the Word become flesh, is full of grace and truth (1:14), and is the source of grace and truth (1:17). In contrast to the woman at the well, who felt geographic location of worship was important, Jesus states that the issue is not whether one should worship God in Moriah or Gerizim, but rather one should worship in spirit and in truth. For John, truth is ultimately identified with, and is personified in the person of, Jesus Christ. The ministry of John the Baptist is to bear witness to the truth (5:33). Jesus speaks the truth, and for this the Jews seek to kill him (8:40). This is because the Jews who contended with Jesus were ultimately of their father the devil, who has no truth in him whatsoever (8:44-46).

Jesus describes himself as the way, the truth, and the life, and as such he is the only means to the Father (14:6). Even when Jesus departs, the ministry of truth will continue because the Comforter, who is the Spirit of truth (14:17), will be active both in the church as well as in the world.

For Paul, truth is the message of God that all of humanity has repressed ( Romans 1:18 ) and exchanged (1:25) for lie, in that they have directed their worship not to the Creator, but to the creation. All unbelievers ultimately do not obey the truth, which is embodied in the law (2:8,20). In Galatians, truth is synonymous with the gospel, which the Judaizers have perverted by requiring converts to practice law observance (2:5,14; 4:16; 5:7; cf.  Ephesians 1:13;  Colossians 1:5-6 ).

In addition, Paul also uses truth to speak practically of the believer's deportment in following the Lord. Believers are to speak the truth to one another in a loving manner, as we grow up into submission to our head, namely Christ ( Ephesians 4:15 ). The importance of speaking the truth to one another is underscored by the fact that we are members of one another ( Ephesians 4:25 ).

In 2Thessalonians Paul equates the truth with the believers' salvation. Those who perish do so because they are under a wicked deception, and so refuse to love the truth and be saved (2:10). Such people are condemned because they did not believe the truth, but instead had pleasure in unrighteousness (2:12). God's choosing of the Thessalonian believers for salvation came about by means of sanctification by the Spirit as well as belief in the truth. Interestingly, the term "truth" does not appear in 1Thessalonians.

In the Pastoral Epistles, truth takes on the characteristics of a repository, or official body of beliefs, of which the church is the faithful steward and guardian. Salvation includes, and is likely synonymous with, knowledge of the truth ( 1 Timothy 2:4 ). The church of the living God is both the pillar and ground of the truth. Knowledge of and belief in the truth prevents one from becoming entangled in erroneous doctrines, such as the belief that marriage is to be avoided, abstinence from certain foods is to be enjoined, and that godliness is a means of gain ( 1 Timothy 4:3;  6:5 ), as well as the belief that the resurrection is past ( 2 Timothy 2:18 ). Paul further encourages Timothy to guard the truth, which the Holy Spirit has entrusted to him ( 2 Timothy 1:14 ). The Scriptures are themselves the word of truth ( 2 Timothy 2:15 ). Individuals who oppose God and naively listen to others (i.e., Jannes and Jambres, Pharaoh's two magicians) never arrive at the truth, and, in fact, actually oppose it ( 2 Timothy 3:7-8 ). Paul informs Titus that the knowledge of the truth goes along with the furtherance of faith and with godliness ( Titus 1:1 ). Paul informs both Timothy and Titus that the only alternative to the truth is to believe in myths ( 2 Timothy 4:4;  Titus 1:14 ).

While the term "truth" appears only sporadically in most of the General Epistles, it appears repeatedly throughout the Johannine epistles. To claim to have fellowship with God, and to walk in darkness, is not to live according to the truth ( 1 John 1:6 ). To claim sinlessness for the believer is to practice self-deceit and thus be void of truth ( 1 John 1:8 ). The basic message of Christianity is termed "the truth, " and believers know the truth, and can discern that no lie is of the truth ( 1 John 2:4,21 ). Believers are to love in both deed and in truth (i.e., "truly"  1 John 3:18 ). Believers are of the truth, which no doubt means that they belong to Jesus, who is the truth ( 1 John 3:19 ). Likewise, the fact that we are of God allows us to know the spirit (Holy Spirit?) of truth, and to discern it from the spirit of error ( 1 John 4:6 ). The truth abides with us forever ( 2 John 2 ), and the Elder rejoices because the elect lady's children follow the truth ( 2 John 4; cf. also  3 John 4 ). Further references in 3John indicate that the Elder refers to Jesus Christ as "the truth" ( 3 John 3,4 ,  8,12 ). Interestingly, the term "truth" does not occur in Revelation.

Andrew L. Smith

Bibliography. S. Aalen, Studia Evangelica2 (1964): 3-24; J. Barr, The Semantics of Biblical Language; R. E. Brown, The Gospel According to St. John; I. Jepsen, TDOT, 1:292-323; L. J. Kuyper, Interp18 (1964): 3-19; E. T. Ramsdell, JPOS31 (1951): 264-73; V. H. Stanton, Hastings Dictionary of the Bible, 4:816-20; D. J. Theron, Ev Q26 (1954): 3-18.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [3]


1. In OT ( ’Ä•meth, ’Ä•mûnâh ). Firmness or stability is the fundamental idea of the root, and to this radical thought most of the uses of the Heb. nouns may be traced. Often they signify truth in the common meaning of the word, the correspondence, viz., between speech and fact (  Deuteronomy 13:14 ,   Proverbs 12:17 ). At first the standards of veracity were low (  Genesis 12:11 ff;   Genesis 20:2 ff;   Genesis 26:7 ff;   Genesis 27:18 ff. etc.); but truthfulness in witness-bearing is a commandment of the Decalogue (  Exodus 20:18 ), and from the prophetic age onwards falsehood of every kind is recognized as a grave sin (  Hosea 4:2 ,   Psalms 59:12 ,   Proverbs 12:22 ). See, further, Lie. Sometimes ‘truth’ denotes justice as administered by a ruler or a judge (  Exodus 18:21 ,   Proverbs 20:28 ), and, in particular, by the Messianic King (  Psalms 45:4 ,   Isaiah 42:3 ). Frequently it denotes faithfulness, especially the faithfulness of a man to God (  2 Kings 20:3 ) and of God to men (  Genesis 32:10 ). When God is described as a ‘God of truth,’ His faithfulness to His promises may be especially in view (  Psalms 31:5 ). But not far away is the sense of ‘living reality’ in distinction from the ‘lying vanities’ in which those trust to whom Jahweh is unknown (  Psalms 31:6; cf.   Deuteronomy 32:4 ). In some later canonical writings there appears a use of ‘truth’ or ‘the truth’ as equivalent to Divine revelation (  Daniel 8:12;   Daniel 9:13 ), or as a synonym for the ‘wisdom’ in which the true philosophy of life consists (  Proverbs 23:23 ). In the Apocr. [Note: Apocrypha, Apocryphal.] books this use becomes frequent ( 1Es 4:33 ff., Wis 3:9 , Sir 4:28 etc.).

2. In NT ( alçtheia ). The Gr. word (which is employed in LXX [Note: Septuagint.] to render both ’Ä•meth and ’Ä•mûnâh ) has the fundamental meaning of reality , as opposed to mere appearance or false pretence. From this the sense of veracity comes quite naturally; and veracity finds a high place among the NT virtues. The OT law forbade the bearing of false witness against one’s neighbour; the law of Christ enjoins truth-speaking in all social intercourse (  Ephesians 4:25 ), and further demands that this truth-speaking shall be animated by love (  Ephesians 4:15; cf.   Ephesians 4:25 ‘for we are members one of another’).

Special attention must be paid to some distinctive employments of the word. ( a ) In the Pauline writings there is a constant use of ‘the truth’ to describe God’s will as revealed primarily to the reason and conscience of the natural man (  Romans 1:18;   Romans 1:25 ), but especially in the gospel of Jesus Christ (  2 Corinthians 4:2 ,   Galatians 3:1 etc.). ‘The truth’ thus becomes synonymous with ‘the gospel’ (  Ephesians 1:13; cf.   Galatians 2:5;   Galatians 2:14 etc., where ‘the truth of the gospel’ evidently means the truth declared in the gospel). In the Pastoral Epistles the gospel as ‘the truth’ or ‘the word of truth’ appears to be passing into the sense of a settled body of Christian doctrine (  1 Timothy 3:15 ,   2 Timothy 2:16 etc.). It is to be noted that, though the above usages are most characteristic of the Pauline cycle of writings, they are occasionally to be found elsewhere, e.g .   Hebrews 10:26 ,   James 1:18 , 1Pe 1:22 ,   2 Peter 1:12 .

( b ) In the Johannine books (with the exception of Rev.) alçtheia is a leading and significant term in a sense that is quite distinctive (cf. ‘light’ and ‘life’). To Pilate’s question, ‘What is truth?’ (  John 18:38 ), Jesus gave no answer. But He had just declared that He came into the world to bear witness unto the truth (  John 18:37 ), and the Fourth Gospel might be described as an elaborate exposition of the nature of the truth as revealed by Jesus, and of the way in which He revealed it. In John ‘the truth’ stands for the absolute Divine reality as distinguished from all existence that is false or merely seeming (cf.   John 8:40 ff., where Jesus contrasts His Father, from whom He had heard the truth, with ‘your father the devil,’ who ‘stood not in the truth, because there is no truth in him’). Jesus came from the bosom of the Father (  John 1:18 ), and truth came by Him (  John 1:17 ) because as the Word of God He was full of it (  John 1:14 ). The truth is incarnated and personalized in Jesus, and so He is Himself the Truth (  John 14:6 ). The truth which resides in His own Person He imparts to His disciples (  John 8:31 f.); and on His departure He bestows the Spirit of truth to abide with them and be in them for ever (  John 14:17 ). Hence the truth is in the Christian as the very groundwork and essence of his spiritual being (  1 John 1:8;   1 John 2:4 ,   2 John 1:2 ). It is there both as a moral and as an intellectual quality standing midway, as it were, between ‘life’ and ‘light,’ two other ruling Johannine ideas with which it is closely associated. Primarily it is a moral power. It makes Christ’s disciples free (  John 8:32 ) free i.e. , as the context shows, from the bondage of sin (  John 8:33 ff.). It has a sanctifying force (  John 17:17-19 ); it ensures the keeping of the commandments (  1 John 2:4 ) and the life of Christian love (  1 John 3:18 f.). And, while subjectively it is a moral influence, objectively it is a moral vocation something not only to be known (  John 8:32 ) and believed (  John 8:45 f.), but requiring to be done (  John 3:21 ,   1 John 1:6 ). From this moral quality of the truth, however, there springs a power of spiritual Illumination. The truth that is life passes into the truth that is light (  John 3:21 ). Every one that is of the truth heareth Christ’s voice (  John 18:37 ); if any man willeth to do His will, he shall know of the doctrine (  John 7:17 ); the Spirit of truth, when He is come, shall guide the disciples into all the truth (  John 16:13 ).

J. C. Lambert.

Holman Bible Dictionary [4]

truth   Zechariah 8:16  Mark 5:32-33 1 Timothy 4:3  2 Timothy 2:18

God and the Biblical Use of Truth The essential idea of truth in the Bible is not conformity to some external standard but faithfulness or reliability. In the case of God, of course, faithfulness or reliability is not measured by any external standard. God is the standard. God's truth (faithfulness or reliability) is the truth that is basic for all other truth, ( Deuteronomy 7:9-10 ). He maintains covenant and steadfast love. When God is spoken of as the true God or the God of truth ( Deuteronomy 32:4;  2 Chronicles 15:3;  Isaiah 65:16;  Jeremiah 10:10 ) the idea is that God is reliable. God “keepth truth for ever” ( Psalm 146:6 ).

The “truth” of God's commandments grows out of the fact of God and His truth (faithfulness or reliability). The Word of God and His law are not true simply in the sense that they are in accord with science, human nature, or some abstract ethical principle. The great confession given by Ezra after the Jews returned from bondage in Babylon emphasized God's nature as truth (faithfulness) in what He did in creation, election, redemption, and the giving of the law: “You came down also upon Mount Sinai, and spoke with them from heaven and gave them right ordinances and true laws, good statutes and commandments, and you made known your holy sabbath to them and gave them commandments and statutes and a law through your servant Moses” ( Nehemiah 9:13-14 NRSV).

The truth of God is reflected not only in His commandments; it is to be reflected in human life generally. “Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you” ( 1 Samuel 12:24 ).

Important New Testament Concepts of Truth The most important uses of the word truth are to be found in Paul and writings of John. Paul's acceptance of the Old Testament concept of truth is seen in  Romans 3:1-7 . The truth of God is described in the words “faithfulness” ( Romans 3:3 ) and “justice” ( Romans 3:5 ). In  Romans 3:4 , Paul declared, “Although everyone is a liar, let God be proved true” (NRSV).

In Paul's discussion of the relationship of Christians to truth, we find the same Old Testament emphasis: “Therefore, let us celebrate the festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” ( 1 Corinthians 5:8 NRSV). Truth and sincerity are associated, and both are opposed to malice and evil. Truth is not simply a matter of propositional accuracy. Paul spoke of truth as something that is to be obeyed (  Romans 2:8;  Galatians 5:7 ). Paul spoke of the truth of God as being revealed not so much in the law as in Christ ( Romans 15:8-9 ). In Christ, God's kingdom has become manifested ( Romans 1:1-6;  Romans 16:25-26;  2 Corinthians 4:6 ). The truth and the gospel are related in the phrase “the truth of the gospel” ( Galatians 2:5 ,Galatians 2:5, 2:14 ). One hears and believes the truth and is in Christ ( Ephesians 1:13 ).

The Johannine writings identify Christ with the truth: “The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father's heart, who has made him known” ( John 1:17-18 NRSV). In testimony before Pilate, Jesus declared: “For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice” (  John 18:37 NRSV). God is the truth; and since Christ shares in the truth of God, He is full of grace and truth. He is “the way, the truth, and the life” (  John 14:6 ); He is the true Light and the true Vine ( John 1:9;  John 15:1 ). In the Gospel of John, the activity of the Holy Spirit is associated with the activity of Jesus in so far as truth is concerned. When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning” ( John 15:26-27 NRSV).

John emphasized the appropriation of the truth by disciples. In Jesus' high priestly prayer, He prayed: “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth” ( John 17:17-19 NRSV). Followers of Christ are of “the truth” (  John 18:37 NRSV). This knowledge of truth is not simply “head knowledge.” It is a matter of receiving Christ (  John 1:11-13 ). This acceptance of Jesus and receiving of the truth is accompanied by walking in the truth or in the light ( 2 John 1:4;  3 John 1:3-4;  1 John 1:7 ). It is in light of this understanding of truth that John can speak of doing the truth ( John 3:21;  1 John 1:6 ).

Edgar V. McKnight

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [5]

There are various meanings of the word ‘truth’ in the Bible, some of which are similar to those we use today. A person or thing may be true, meaning the opposite of false ( Deuteronomy 13:14;  Proverbs 12:19;  Romans 9:1; see Lie ) or the opposite of insincere ( Genesis 42:16;  Philippians 1:18;  1 John 3:18; see Hypocrisy ). A thing may be called true in contrast to that which is only a shadow or picture ( John 1:9;  John 15:1;  Hebrews 9:24; see Type ). The Bible often uses ‘true’ with the meaning of reliable, faithful or trustworthy ( Genesis 24:49;  Genesis 47:29;  Psalms 57:10;  Revelation 22:6).

God is truth

All these meanings are in some way applied to God ( Psalms 19:9;  Jeremiah 10:9-10;  Jeremiah 42:5 Micah 6:20 Romans 3:4;  1 Thessalonians 1:9;  Revelation 16:7). Truth is God’s very nature. He is the basic reality from which everything else springs ( John 1:3-4;  John 1:14;  John 8:26;  Romans 1:25). God became human in Jesus, and therefore Jesus is truth in human form ( John 14:6;  Ephesians 4:21;  Revelation 3:7). As the Old Testament spoke of the God of truth or, to use the related word, the God of the Amen ( Isaiah 65:16), so the New Testament speaks of Jesus as the Amen. He is the one in whom God’s truth is perfectly expressed, and through whom God’s promises are perfectly fulfilled ( John 1:17;  2 Corinthians 1:20;  Revelation 3:14; see Amen ).

Jesus spoke repeatedly about the truth, and those who come to know him come to know the truth. Thereby they are freed from the bondage of sin, brought into a living relationship with the true God, and indwelt by him who is the Spirit of truth ( John 8:32;  John 14:17;  John 16:13;  John 17:3;  2 John 1:1-2).

Truth, in the sense spoken of by Jesus, saves people, for it represents the full saving activity of God through Jesus Christ. Jesus’ life and teaching were directed towards revealing and fulfilling God’s truth ( John 1:17;  John 8:32;  John 8:45-46;  John 17:17;  John 17:19;  John 18:37). A natural development from this was to speak of ‘truth’ as referring to the whole body of Christian teaching ( 2 Corinthians 4:2;  Galatians 2:5;  Galatians 5:7;  Ephesians 1:13;  1 Timothy 2:4;  2 Timothy 2:15). This is in keeping with the Old Testament usage of ‘truth’ as applying to the revealed Word of God ( Psalms 25:5;  Psalms 86:11;  Psalms 119:142; see Revelation ).

Christian character

Truth in all its aspects should characterize the lives of those who have come under the rule of him who is the truth ( Exodus 18:21;  Psalms 26:3;  John 3:21;  2 Corinthians 13:8;  Ephesians 4:15;  Ephesians 4:25;  Ephesians 6:14;  Titus 1:2;  Hebrews 6:18;  3 John 1:4). Having become obedient to the truth, they must be loyal to the truth, without any trace of falsehood, insincerity or unfaithfulness ( 1 Corinthians 5:8;  2 Corinthians 4:2;  Galatians 4:16;  1 Peter 1:22).

Their possession of God’s truth, however, is no reason for Christians to claim absolute authority for their own theories or opinions. The human mind is limited and, like all human capacities and abilities, is affected by sin ( 1 Corinthians 8:2). God alone is the possessor of absolute truth ( Isaiah 55:8-9;  Romans 11:33-34; see Knowledge ).

King James Dictionary [6]


1. Conformity to fact or reality exact accordance with that which is, or has been, or shall be. The truth of history constitutes its whole value. We rely on the truth of the scriptural prophecies.

My mouth shall speak truth.  Proverbs 8

Sanctify them through thy truth thy word is truth.  John 17 .

2. True state of facts or things. The duty of a court of justice is to discover the truth. Witnesses are sworn to declare the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. 3. Conformity of words to thoughts, which is called moral truth.

Shall truth fail to keep her word?

4. Veracity purity from falsehood practice of speaking truth habitual disposition to speak truth as when we say, a man is a man of truth. 5. Correct opinion. 6. Fidelity constancy.

The thoughts of past pleasure and truth.

7. Honesty virtue.

It must appear

That malice bears down truth.

8. Exactness conformity to rule.

Plows, to go true, depend much on the truth of the iron work. Not in use.

9. Real fact of just principle real state of things. There are innumerable truths with which we are not acquainted. 10. Sincerity.

God is a spirit, and they that worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.  John 4 .

11. The truth of God, is his veracity and faithfulness.  Psalms 71

Or his revealed will.

I have walked in thy truth.  Psalms 26

12. Jesus Christ is called the truth.  John 14 . 13. It is sometimes used by way of concession.

She said, truth, Lord yet the dogs eat of the crums--  Matthew 15 .

That is, it is a truth what you have said, I admit to be true.

In truth, in reality in fact.

Of a truth, in reality certainly.

To do truth, is to practice what God commands.  John 3 .

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [7]

If I detain the reader at this word, it is not simply to explain what is not plain as to require no comment, as the word is in itself, but it is to remind the reader how sweetly and graciously the Lord Jesus hath applied it to himself, and determined that this is one of his precious names, which, for fragrancy, is as ointment poured forth, (See  John 14:6) And this is what the Holy Ghost by the wise man meant, when he recommended the church "to buy the truth, and sell it not." ( Proverbs 23:23)

Who can contemplate the Lord Jesus Christ under this most blessed character, without joining the apostle in his expressive account of Jesus—"This is the true God and eternal life." ( 1 John 5:20) For surely Jesus is the whole sum and substance of all the truths of God; in his divine nature the true God, and eternal life; in his human nature the true man, whom it behoved to be made like unto his brethren in all things; and in the union of both, the true glory-man, and only Mediator between God and man, the man, Christ Jesus, Hail, blessed Lord! I would say, thou art indeed "the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father but by thee: all that the Father giveth thee shall come to thee: and none that cometh unto thee, wilt thou in any wise cast out." ( John 6:37) See Testimony.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [8]

Throughout the scriptures there is that which God designates as 'the truth.' It is divine, and above the opinions of men, however wise and pious they may be. In the O.T. the admonition is given, "Buy the truth and sell it not."  Proverbs 23:23 . 'The truth' must refer to God, who is true, but is not called 'the truth:' hence it comprises all that may be known of God, whether declared by creation or made known by revelation. Truth is not simply that which is held as dogma, but must be received in the soul. Paul asked the Galatians who had hindered them that they should not obey 'the truth?'  Galatians 5:7 . Judgement is coming upon Christendom "because they received not the love of 'the truth' that they might be saved."  2 Thessalonians 2:10 . Truth is the real way of liberty: "the truth shall make you free."  John 8:32,36 . Truth cannot be separated from the Lord Jesus, who is "the way, the truth, and the life." This is objectively; subjectively the Spirit is the truth as having come from the glorified Christ. In the three Epistles of John 'the truth' is constantly referred to, and a Christian woman is warned not to receive any one into her house, nor wish him God-speed unless he holds the doctrines taught by the apostles — in other words, 'the truth.'

Webster's Dictionary [9]

(1): ( n.) Conformity to rule; exactness; close correspondence with an example, mood, object of imitation, or the like.

(2): ( n.) The quality or being true; as: - (a) Conformity to fact or reality; exact accordance with that which is, or has been; or shall be.

(3): ( n.) Righteousness; true religion.

(4): ( n.) Fidelity; constancy; steadfastness; faithfulness.

(5): ( n.) The practice of speaking what is true; freedom from falsehood; veracity.

(6): ( n.) That which is true or certain concerning any matter or subject, or generally on all subjects; real state of things; fact; verity; reality.

(7): ( n.) A true thing; a verified fact; a true statement or proposition; an established principle, fixed law, or the like; as, the great truths of morals.

(8): ( v. t.) To assert as true; to declare.

Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection [10]

'He will guide you into all truth.' John 16:13. Truth may be compared to some cave or grotto, with wondrous stalactites hanging from the roof; and others starting from the floor; a cavern glittering with spar and abounding in marvels. Before entering the cavern you enquire for a guide, who comes with his lighted flambeau. He conducts you down to a considerable depth, and you find yourself in the midst of the cave. He leads you through different chambers. Here he points you to a little stream rushing from amid the rocks, and indicates its rise and progress; there he points to some peculiar rock and tells you its name, then takes you into a large natural hail, tells you how many persons once feasted in it, and so on. Truth is a grand series of caverns, it is our glory to have so great and wise a conductor as the Holy Spirit. Imagine that we are coming to the darkness of it. He is a light shining in the midst of us to guide us. And by the light he shows us wondrous things. He teaches us by suggestion, direction, and illumination.

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [11]

A term used in opposition to falsehood, and applied to propositions which answer or accord to the nature and reality of the thing whereof something is affirmed or denied. Natural or physical truth is said to be the agreement of our sentiments with the nature of things. Moral truth is the conformity of our words and actions to our sentiments. Evangelical or Gospel truth is taken for Christ; the doctrines of the Gospel; substance or reality, in opposition to the shadows and ceremonies of the law,  John 1:17 . For this truth we ought to be sincere in seeking, zealous in defending, and active in propagating; highly to prize it, constantly to rejoice in it, and uniformly to be obedient to it.

See Lying, Sincerity; Tatham's Scale of Truth; Locke on the Understanding; Beattie on Truth; Dr. Stennet's Sermon on propagating the Truth; Saurin's Sermons, Eng. trans. vol. 2: ser. 1. and 14.

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [12]

is used,

1. In opposition to falsehood, lies, or deceit,   Proverbs 12:17 , &c.

2. It signifies fidelity, sincerity, and punctuality in keeping promises; and to truth taken in this sense is generally joined mercy or kindness, as in   Genesis 24:27 , and other places of Scripture.

3. Truth is put for the true doctrine of the Gospel,   Galatians 3:1-4 . Truth is put for the substance of the types and ceremonies of the law,  John 1:17 .

Easton's Bible Dictionary [13]

 Proverbs 12:17,19 Isaiah 59:14,15 Jeremiah 7:28 Galatians 2:5 2 Timothy 3:7 4:4 John 14:6

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [14]

trōōth ( אמת , 'ĕmeth , אמוּנה , 'ĕmūnāh , primary idea of "firmness," "stability" (compare   Exodus 17:12 ), hence "constancy," "faithfulness," etc.; the Septuagint's Apocrypha and the New Testament, ἀλήθεια , alḗtheia ( Romans 3:7 ), πίστις , pı́stis ( Romans 3:3 ); in adjectival and adverbial sense, "in truth," "of a truth," "faithful," etc.; ἀληθῶς , alēthṓs ( Luke 21:3;  John 6:14;  John 7:40;  1 Thessalonians 2:13 ); ἀληθινός , alēthinós ( John 17:3 ); ὄντως , óntōs ( 1 Corinthians 14:25 ); πιστός , pistós ( 1 Timothy 3:1 ); in the King James Version; the Revised Version (British and American), the American Standard Revised Version, as generally, "faithful"; Anglo-Saxon: treow , tryw with Teutonic stem, trau , "to believe," "to keep faith"):

I. Terms

II. General View

1. Aspects of Truth

(1) Ontological

(2) Logical

(3) Moral

(4) Religious

2. Standards of Truth

3. Special Features in Biblical Writings

III. Analytical Summary

1. Truth in God

2. Truth in Man

3. Truth in Religion

I. Terms.

The English word has developed and maintained the broadest, most general and varied usage, going beyond both Hebrew and Greek, which were already extended in connotation. It is possible to analyze and classify the special applications of the term almost indefinitely, using other terms to indicate specific meanings in special connections, e.g. loyalty ( Judges 9:15 ); honesty ( Exodus 18:21 ); fidelity ( Deuteronomy 32:4 ); justice ( Romans 2:2 ); uprightness ( Isaiah 38:3 ); faith ( Isaiah 26:2 ); righteousness ( Psalm 85:10 ); reality ( John 17:19 ); veracity ( Genesis 42:16 ). It is unfortunate that translators have generally adhered to single terms to represent the original words. On the other hand, they have sometimes introduced words not represented in the original, and thus unduly limited the meaning. An example is  Ephesians 4:15 , where the original meaning "being true," i.e. in all respects, is narrowed to "speaking the truth."

II. General View.

No term is more familiar and none more difficult of definition.

With applications in every phase of life and thought the word has varying general senses which may be classified as:

1. Aspects of Truth:

(1) Ontological

Ontological truth, i.e. accurate and adequate idea of existence as ultimate reality. In this sense it is a term of metaphysics, and will be differently defined according to the type of philosophical theory accepted. This aspect of truth is never primary in Scripture unless in the question of Pilate ( John 18:38 ). He had so far missed the profound ethical sense in which Jesus used the word that Jesus did not at all answer him, nor, indeed, does Pilate seem to have expected any reply to what was probably only the contemptuous thrust of a skeptical attitude. In Proverbs where, if at all, we might look for the abstract idea, we find rather the practical apprehension of the true meaning and method of life ( Proverbs 23:23 ). Ontological reality and possible ideas of reality apprehending it are obviously presupposed in all Scripture. There is objective reality on which subjective ideas depend for their validity; and all knowing is knowledge of reality. There is also in the whole of Scripture a subjective idea, the product of revelation or inspiration in some form of working, that constitutes an ideal to be realized objectively. The Kingdom of God, for example, is the formative idea of Scripture teaching. In a definite sense the kingdom exists and still it is to be created. It must be kept in mind, however, that only vaguely and indirectly does truth have abstract, meta-physical meaning to the Biblical writers. For John it approaches this, but the primary interest is always concrete.

(2) Logical

Logical truth is expressive of the relation between the knower and that which is known, and depends upon the arrangement of ideas with reference to a central or composite idea. Truth in this sense involves the correspondence of concepts with facts. While this meaning of truth is involved in Scripture, it is not the primary meaning anywhere, save in a practical religious application, as in  Ephesians 4:21;  1 John 2:4 ,  1 John 2:21 .

(3) Moral

Moral truth is correspondence of expression with inner conception. Taken in its full meaning of correspondence of idea with fact, of expression with thought and with intention, of concrete reality with ideal type, this is the characteristic sense of the word in the Scriptures. Here the aim of religion is to relate man to God in accordance with truth. In apprehension man is to know God and His order as they are in fact and in idea. In achievement, man is to make true in his own experience the idea of God that is given to him. Truth is thus partly to be apprehended and partly to be produced. The emphatically characteristic teaching of Christianity is that the will to produce truth, to do the will of God, is the requisite attitude for apprehending the truth. This teaching of Jesus in  John 7:17 is in accord with the entire teaching of the Bible.   Ephesians 1:18 suggests the importance of right attitude for learning, while   Ephesians 4:18 shows the effect of a wrong attitude in ignorance of vital truth.

(4) Religious

Religious truth is a term frequently met in modern literature, but it has no sound basis in reason and it has none at all in the Bible. All truth is ultimately religious and only in a superficial way can religious truth be spoken of as an independent conception. Least of all can religious truth and scientific truth be at variance.

2. Standards of Truth:

Philosophy has continuously tried to find tests for truth, and so has wrought out theories of knowledge - epistemologies, Not to go back into the Greek philosophy, we have in modern times such theories as (1) the Kantian, (2) the scholastic, (3) the Hegelian, (4) the pragmatic, (5) that of the "new realism"; and these include only such as may be defined with some clearness, for the tendencies of current thought have been toward confusion concerning all standards of truth and reality, and so toward widespread agnosticism and skepticism. This temper has, naturally, reacted on thinking in practical ethics and upon the sanctions of religion. There is thus in religion and morals a tendency to obscure the distinction between what is and what ought to be. See Authority; Ethics; Philosophy; Right; Sin .

In the Bible, the known will of God is final for man as a standard of truth, not as arbitrary, but as expressive of God's nature. God's nature is all-comprehensive of fact and goodness, and so is, all and in all, the source, support and objective of all concrete being. The will of God thus reveals, persuades to and achieves the ideals and ends of complete existence. The term "truth" is sometimes, therefore, nearly equivalent to the revealed will of God.

3. Special Features in Biblical Writings:

(1) The Old Testament uses the term "truth" primarily of God and applies the principle to man. The practical objective is ever prominent.

(2) The Synoptic Gospels and Acts use the term chiefly in popular idiomatic phrases "of a truth," "in truth," "surely" (compare  Luke 22:59;  Acts 4:27 ). In  Matthew 22:16 there is a more serious and comprehensive application, but it is in the flattering words of Pharisaic hypocrisy (compare   Mark 12:14;  Luke 20:21 ). To be sure, we are to understand that even in the phrases of common speech Jesus employed the term in all seriousness ( Luke 4:25;  Luke 9:27 ).

(3) In Paul the sense of divine faithfulness, as in the Old Testament, is occasionally met ( Romans 3:3 ,  Romans 3:7;  Romans 15:8 ). Again the term emphasizes sincerity ( 1 Corinthians 5:8;  2 Corinthians 7:14 ). Generally it has direct or clearly implied reference to God's revelation in Jesus Christ with a view to redeeming men. In a general way the term is thus equivalent to the gospel, but there is never identification of the two terms (see  Romans 2:8;  Ephesians 1:13;  1 Timothy 3:15 ). In  Galatians 2:5;  Galatians 5:7 , "the truth of the gospel" is its content in the purpose of God, in contrast with misconceptions of it: the true gospel as against false representations of the gospel.

(4) In the Johannine writings we find occasionally the emphatic phrase of genuineness ( 1 John 3:18;  2 John 1:1;  3 John 1:1 ) and emphatic reality ( John 8:46;  John 16:7 ). In Revelation we have "true" in the sense of trustworthy, because ultimately real or in accord with ultimate reality ( Revelation 3:7 ,  Revelation 3:14;  Revelation 6:10;  Revelation 15:3;  Revelation 19:9 ,  Revelation 19:11 , etc.). Generally, as in the Gospel, we approach more nearly than elsewhere in Scripture a metaphysical use, yet always with the practical religious end dominant. Truth is reality in relation to the vital interests of the soul. It is primarily something to be realized and done, rather than something to be learned or known. In the largest aspect it is God's nature finding expression in His creation, in revelation, in Jesus Christ in whom "grace and truth came" ( John 1:17 ), and finally in man apprehending, accepting and practically realizing the essential values of life, which are the will of God ( John 1:14;  John 8:32;  John 17:19;  John 18:37 f;   1 John 2:21;  1 John 3:19 ). Truth is personalized in Jesus Christ. He truly expresses God, presents the true ideal of man, in Himself summarizes the harmony of existence and becomes the agent for unifying the disordered world. Hence, He is the Truth ( John 14:6 ), the true expression ( Logos ,  John 1:1 ) of God. See the same idea without the terminology in Paul ( Colossians 1:14 ff;   Colossians 2:9 ). Similarly, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth because His function is to guide into all truth ( John 16:13;  1 John 2:27;  1 John 5:7 ).

(5) It is understood by many that in James, Peter, Hebrews, and possibly the Pastoral Epistles, the term connotes "the body of Christian teaching" (compare  James 1:18;  James 3:14;  1 Peter 1:22;  2 Peter 2:2;  Hebrews 10:26;  1 Timothy 3:15 ). The use of the article here cannot be conclusive, and instead of "the body of Christian teaching," it seems more correct to understand the reality of life values as represented in the gospel plan of salvation and of living. In a general way this would include "the body of Christian teaching," but the reference would be less concrete. James is too early a writing to employ the term in this so specific a sense.

III. Analytical Summary.

1. Truth in God:

(1) Truth is presented in Scripture as a chief element in the nature of God ( Psalm 31:5;  Isaiah 65:16 ). (2) But this quality is never given as an abstract teaching, but only as qualifying God in His relations and activities. So it is a guaranty of constancy ( Deuteronomy 32:4;  Psalm 100:5;  Psalm 146:6;  James 1:17 ); especially a ground of confidence in His promises ( Exodus 34:6;  Psalm 91:4;  Psalm 146:6 ); of right dealing with men without reference to any explicit pledges ( Psalm 85:11;  Psalm 89:14 ); a basis of security in the correctness of His teachings ( Nehemiah 9:13;  Psalm 119:142;  Isaiah 25:1 ); of assurance within His covenant relations ( Psalm 89:5;  Isaiah 55:3 ). (3) God's truth is especially noteworthy as a guaranty of merciful consideration of men. This is an important element in theology of the Old Testament, as it is a point guarded also in the New Testament ( Psalm 25:10;  Psalm 31:5;  Psalm 61:7;  Psalm 85:10;  Psalm 98:3;  John 3:16;  Romans 3:23-26 ). (4) Equally is the truth of God an assurance to men of righteous judgment in condemnation of sin and sinners ( 1 Samuel 15:29;  Psalm 96:13;  Romans 2:2 ,  Romans 2:8 ). In general the truth of God stands for the consistency of His nature and guarantees His full response in all the relations of a universe of which He is the Maker, Preserver, and End.

2. Truth in Man:

As related to God in origin and obligation, man is bound morally to see and respond to all the demands of his relations to God and to the order in which he lives under God. (1) Truthfulness in speech, and also in the complete response of his nature to the demand upon it, is urged as a quality to be found in man and is commended where found, as its lack is condemned. It is essential to true manhood. Here, as in the case of truth in God, truth is regarded as revealed in social relations and responsibilities. Truth is not merely in utterance, nor is it only response to a specific command or word, but lies in the response of the will and life to the essential obligations of one's being ( Psalm 15:2;  Psalm 119:30;  Proverbs 12:19;  Proverbs 23:23;  Isaiah 59:4 ,  Isaiah 59:14 ,  Isaiah 59:15;  Jeremiah 7:28;  Jeremiah 9:3;  Hosea 4:1;  Romans 1:18 ,  Romans 1:25;  Ephesians 4:15;  2 Thessalonians 2:10 ,  2 Thessalonians 2:12 ).

(2) Truth in man is in response to truth in God, and is to be acquired on the basis of a gift from God. This gift comes by way of teaching and also by way of the working of the Divine Spirit in the life of man. Highest truth in correspondence to ideal is possible only by the working of "the God of truth" in the spirit of the man. Man's freedom to realize his being is dependent upon his receptive attitude toward the Son of God. Hence salvation in its fullest idea is stated in terms of truth ( John 11:3 ff;   Philippians 3:10 ff). See in general,   Psalm 51:6;  Isaiah 25:1;  John 3:21;  John 8:32;  John 16:13;  John 17:19;  John 18:37;  Ephesians 4:21 ,  Ephesians 4:24;  Ephesians 5:9;  Hebrews 10:26;  1 John 2:27 .

3. Truth in Religion:

The modern study of religion on an evolutionary hypothesis and the comparative study of religions have contributed to an extensive questioning whether there is any absolute truth in religion, or at least any standards by which truth in religion may be known.  Isaiah 43,44 and Paul in   Acts 17 and   Galatians 3 accord with modern findings that there is an element of truth in religions generally, and that God's faithfulness pledges Him to bring the light of fuller truth to all men. This He does through the religion and the testimony of them to whom He has already come with this fuller light. This light is contained in the revealed word of the Old Testament prophets and of the New Testament witnesses to Jesus. In a definite way the Scriptures preserve these standards of religious truth. But always the attitude of the individual, as also of the group, determines the measure of apprehension of the truth and the certainty with which it is held. It is always important to keep in mind that truth in religion is not primarily an intellectualistic affair, to be cognized, but is essentially a voluntaristic experience and a duty to be done for the glory of God in the realization of the complete truth of God. Jesus Christ as the truth of God becomes the standard and test for truth in the religion of men. And this not in any objective and formal way of a series of propositions, to be accepted and contended for, but in the subjective way of experience, in a series of ideals to be realized and propagated. If anyone wishes to do God's will, he shall be able to decide the truth of religious teaching, and the Son who is true will give the freedom of truth (  John 7:17;  John 8:32 ).

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [15]

conformity to fact.

1. It has been distinguished by most Philosophical writers, according as it respects being, knowledge, and speech, into

(1.) Veritas Entis, or truth of the thing. The foundation of all truth is in truth of being - that truth by which a thing is what it is, by which it has its own nature and properties; and has not merely the appearance, but reality, of being. Philosophy is the knowledge of being; and if there were no real being that is, if truth could not be predicated of things there could be no knowledge.

(2.) Veritas Cognitionis, or truth of knowledge. Truth, as predicated of knowledge, is the conformity of our knowledge with the reality of the object known; for, as knowledge is the knowledge of something, when a thing is known as it is that knowledge is formally true. To know that fire is hot is true knowledge. Objective truth is the conformity of the thing or object known with true knowledge.

(3.) Veritas Signi, or truth of the sign. This consists in its adequateness or conformity to the thing signified. The truth and adequacy of signs belong to enunciation in logic.

2. Scientific truth consists in the conformity of thoughts to things; and Moral truth lies in the correspondence of words with thoughts; while Logical truth depends on the self-consistency of thoughts themselves.

3. Truth, in the strict Logical Sense, applies to propositions, and nothing else; and consists in the conformity of the declaration made to the actual state of the case. In its Etymological sense, truth signifies that which the speaker Believes to be the fact. In this sense it is opposed to a Lie, and may be called Moral. Truth is not infrequently applied to arguments, when the proper expressions would be "correct," "conclusive," "valid." The use of truth in the sense of Reality should be avoided. People speak of the Truth Or Falsity of facts; whereas, properly speaking, they are either Real Or Fictitious. It is the Statement that is true or false.

4. Necessary truths are such as are known independently of inductive proof; are those in which we not only learn that the proposition is true, but that it Must be true; are those the opposite of which is inconceivable, contradictory, impossible. Contingent truths are those which, without doing violence to reason, we may conceive to be otherwise.

5 . Absolute truth is the knowledge of God, the ground of all relative truth and being. All relative truth is partial because each relation presupposes something which is not relative. As to us relative truth is partial in another sense, because the relations known to us are affected by relations which we do not know, and therefore our knowledge even as relative knowledge is incomplete as a whole and in each of its parts. At the same time, relative knowledge is real knowledge; and if it were possible habitually to realize in consciousness that it is partial, it would be strictly true so far as it goes. See Blunt, Dict. of Hist. Theol. s.v.; Fleming, Vocab. of Philos. Sciences, s.v.

6. In Scripture language, eminently, God is truth; that is, in him is no fallacy, deception, perverseness, etc. Jesus Christ, being God, is also the truth, and is the true way to God, the true representative, image, character, of the Father. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth, who communicates truth, who maintains the truth in believers, guides them in the truth, and who hates and punishes falsehood or lies, even to the death of the transgressor ( Psalms 31:5;  John 14:6;  John 14:17;  Acts 5:3, etc.).

Especially is truth a name given to the religion of Jesus, in opposition to that of the Jew and that of the heathen. As contrasted with the Jewish system, it was the "truth" in the sense of "reality," as distinguished from the "emblems," symbols, representations, of that reality; from the "shadow of good things to come," contained in the Levitical law in this sense it is that the apostle tells us "the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." As contrasted with paganism, Christianity was truth opposed to falsehood. The heathen mythology not only was not true, but was not even supposed as true: it not only deserved no faith, but it demanded none. Jesus inaugurated a new way of propagating a religion, by inviting converts not to conform to its institutions, but to "believe" and to to let their actions be agreeable to truth: nothing, then, was more natural than that Christianity should receive names expressive of this grand peculiarity, the truth and the faith. See Whately, Essays on Difficulties of St. Paul, essay 1.