JOHN 18:38: “What Is Truth?”

REASONABLE FAITH FEARLESS-1

Please Help Us Keep These Thousands of Blog Posts Growing and Free for All

$5.00

Edward D. Andrews
EDWARD D. ANDREWS (AS in Criminal Justice, BS in Religion, MA in Biblical Studies, and MDiv in Theology) is CEO and President of Christian Publishing House. He has authored over 100 books. Andrews is the Chief Translator of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV).

John 18:38 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

In the United States, there are 350,000 churches, making up hundreds of denominations. Eighty percent of these are stagnant, with nineteen percent growing only through childbirth, and less than one percent being by conversion. Moreover, there is a great divide among those Christians, who make up these churches. How can we as Christians turn this around, and find unity amongst ourselves? Each Christian, regardless of background, needs to come to a full and complete knowledge of the only true God; moving to bring their lives in harmony with his Word, the Bible.

Pontius Pilate (d. 36 C.E.)[1] was the Roman governor of Judea who would order that Jesus was crucified. This was the man that asked the famous question above, “What is truth?” The two men facing each other could hardly have been more different. Pilate was a politician who was skeptical sarcastic, distrustful, ambitious, wealthy, seeking to do anything to advance his own career. Jesus was a humble teacher who rejected wealth and status and was ready to sacrifice his life so that he might save the lives of others. Clearly, then, these two men would not be in agreement, especially as to the matter of truth.

The statement that prompted Pilate to ask the question is worth considering. “Pilate said to him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this purpose, I was born, and for this purpose I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.’” (John 8:37) Truth to Jesus was not relative, elusive, incomprehensible notion. Just a year earlier, teaching after the Festival of Booths, “Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you remain in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” (John 8:31-23) Where can such truth be found? On Thursday afternoon, Nisan 14th, just after the Passover feast, Jesus said in prayer to the Father, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” The Bible of sixty-six books is the inspired, fully inerrant Word of God, which reveals the truth, and is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be fully competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17) Pilate uninterestedly rejected the opportunity to learn such truth.

Mosaic Authorship HOW RELIABLE ARE THE GOSPELS

Here Jesus stood before the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, as a condemned criminal. Yes, Jesus was born, came into this world, for the purpose of testifying to the truth, “to give his soul as a ransom for many.” (Matt. 20:28) Pilate’s reply was a memorable question: “What is truth?” (John 18:38) “With this flippant remark, Pilate dismisses Jesus’ claim that he came to testify to the truth and that everyone on the side of truth listens to him.”[2] Witherington (1995: 292) writes, “Apparently Pilate concludes that Jesus is a deluded quack whom he can banter with but not take seriously.” Carson (1991: 595) describes Pilate’s response as “curt and cynical” and thinks that his reply is terse “either because he is convinced there is no answer, or, more likely because he does not want to hear it.” Ridderbos (1997: 596) sees Pilate “shrugging his shoulders, in effect.”[3] Hendriksen and Kistemaker observe, “When Pilate hears this remark about the truth, he shrugs his shoulders. Skeptic that he is, this subject no longer holds any interest for him.[4] R. C. H. Lenski writes Pilate’s “tone is that of an indifferent worldling who by his question intends to say that anything in the nature of religious truth is a useless speculation.” (Lenski 1942, 2008, 1236)

Thus, the Roman governor likely asked the question with cynical disbelief, saying, in essence, “Truth? What is that? There is no such thing.” Many share this disdainful attitude toward truth today, including many Christian leaders sad to say, as well as secular educators, and politicians. Many today, view truth, especially moral and spiritual truth, as not absolute, but rather relative and constantly changing or developing. Of course, this takes us back to the prophetic words of Isaiah, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!” (Isa. 5:20-21) In other words, people today believe that each individual is capable of determining what is right and what is wrong for themselves. In conjunction with this, they absolutely reject the Word of God, viewing its values and moral standard as out-of-date.

Anyone who is in college today, or who follows politic and current affairs, will recognize that Pilate’s skeptical view of truth is quite common today. Many today believe that truth is relative. What does that mean? Matthew J. Slick writes, “Relativism is the philosophical position that all points of view are equally valid and that all truth is relative to the individual. This means that all moral positions, all religious systems, all art forms, all political movements, etc., are “truths” that are relative to the individual. Under the umbrella of relativism, whole groups of perspectives are categorized:

  • Cognitive Relativism: Cognitive relativism affirms that all truth is relative. This would mean that no system of truth is more valid than another one and that there is no objective standard of truth.
  • Moral/ethical relativism: All morals are relative to the social group within which they are constructed.
  • Situational relativism: Ethics (right and wrong) are dependent upon the situation.”[5]
is-the-quran-the-word-of-god UNDERSTANDING ISLAM AND TERRORISM THE GUIDE TO ANSWERING ISLAM.png

Slick goes on to write, “Unfortunately, the philosophy of relativism is pervasive in our culture today. With the rejection of God, and of Christianity in particular, absolute truth is being abandoned. Our pluralistic society wants to avoid the idea that there really is a right and wrong. This is evidenced in our deteriorating judicial system which has more and more trouble punishing criminals, in our entertainment media which continues to push the envelope of morality and decency, in our schools which teach evolution and ‘social tolerance,’ etc. In addition, the plague of moral relativism is encouraging everyone to accept homosexuality, pornography on TV, fornication, and a host of other ‘sins’ that were once considered wrong but are now being accepted and even promoted in society. It is becoming so pervasive that if you speak out against moral relativism, and its ‘anything goes’ philosophy, you’re labeled as an intolerant bigot. Of course, this is incredibly hypocritical of those who profess that all points of view are true yet reject those who hold the view that there are absolutes in morality. It seems that what is really meant by the moral relativists is that all points of view are true except for the views that teach moral absolutes, or an absolute God, or absolute right and wrong. Some typical expressions that reveal an underlying presupposition of relativism are comments such as ‘That is your truth, not mine,’ ‘It is true for you, but not for me,’ and ‘There are no absolute truths.’ Of course, these statements are illogical. Relativism is invading our society, our economy, our schools, and our homes. Society cannot flourish nor survive in an environment where everyone does what is right in his own eyes, where the situation determines actions and if the situation changes, lying or cheating is acceptable—as long as you’re not caught. Without a common foundation of truth and absolutes, our culture will become weak and fragmented.”[6]

IF this has been how you have viewed truth, it might very well be that you have unknowingly adopted it from school, college, social circles, movies, television, music, and the like. It is inundated the United States, the last bastion of absolute truth. Many are not aware of how much this philosophical mindset affects their life.

THE CREATION DAYS OF GENESIS gift of prophecy

Where can the truth that Jesus spoke of be found? On one occasion, Jesus said in prayer to the Father: “Your word is truth.” (John 17:17) The Bible, authoritative,, written under divine inspiration, authors moved along by Holy Spirit, reveals the truth that provides both reliable guidance and sure hope for our life now and eternal life to come.—2 Timothy 3:15-17.

Pilate nonchalantly rejected the opportunity to learn the truth from the Son of God himself. What about us? Why not visit the Christian Publishing House Blog where you will find thousands of articles on dozens of Bible subjects and learn what “the truth” that Jesus taught and all of the 40+ Bible authors taught is all about? We teach freely and we are happy to share the truth with you. In fact, it gives us much joy.

Please Help Us Keep These Thousands of Blog Posts Growing and Free for All

$5.00

SCROLL THROUGH DIFFERENT CATEGORIES BELOW

BIBLE TRANSLATION AND TEXTUAL CRITICISM

4th ed. MISREPRESENTING JESUS The Complete Guide to Bible Translation-2
The Reading Culture of Early Christianity From Spoken Words to Sacred Texts 400,000 Textual Variants 02
The P52 PROJECT THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS 4th ed. MISREPRESENTING JESUS
APOSTOLIC FATHERS Lightfoot APOSTOLIC FATHERS
English Bible Versions King James Bible KING JAMES BIBLE II
9781949586121 BIBLE DIFFICULTIES THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS

BIBLICAL STUDIES / INTERPRETATION

CALVINISM VS. ARMINIANISM
How to Interpret the Bible-1 INTERPRETING THE BIBLE how-to-study-your-bible1
israel against all odds ISRAEL AGAINST ALL ODDS - Vol. II

EARLY CHRISTIANITY

THE LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST by Stalker-1 The TRIAL and Death of Jesus_02 THE LIFE OF Paul by Stalker-1
BIBLE DIFFICULTIES
THE LIFE OF Paul by Stalker-1 Paul PAUL AND LUKE ON TRIAL
APOSTOLIC FATHERS Lightfoot APOSTOLIC FATHERS I AM John 8.58

CHRISTIAN APOLOGETIC EVANGELISM

PAUL AND LUKE ON TRIAL THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS BIBLE DIFFICULTIES
The Epistle to the Hebrews Paul PAUL AND LUKE ON TRIAL
REASONING FROM THE SCRIPTURES APOLOGETICS CONVERSATION EVANGELISM
AN ENCOURAGING THOUGHT_01
Young Christians
INVESTIGATING JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES REVIEWING 2013 New World Translation INVESTIGATING JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES
Jesus Paul THE EVANGELISM HANDBOOK
REASONING FROM THE SCRIPTURES REASONING WITH OTHER RELIGIONS APOLOGETICS
REASONABLE FAITH Why Me_ FEARLESS-1
REASONABLE FAITH FEARLESS-1
Satan BLESSED IN SATAN'S WORLD_02 HEROES OF FAITH - ABEL
is-the-quran-the-word-of-god UNDERSTANDING ISLAM AND TERRORISM THE GUIDE TO ANSWERING ISLAM.png
DEFENDING OLD TESTAMENT AUTHORSHIP Agabus Cover BIBLICAL CRITICISM
Mosaic Authorship HOW RELIABLE ARE THE GOSPELS
THE CREATION DAYS OF GENESIS gift of prophecy

TECHNOLOGY

9798623463753 Machinehead KILLER COMPUTERS
INTO THE VOID

CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY

Explaining the Doctrine of the Last Things Understaning Creation Account
Homosexuality and the Christian second coming Cover Where Are the Dead
CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY Vol. CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY Vol. II CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY Vol. III
CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY Vol. IV CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY Vol. V MIRACLES
Human Imperfection HUMILITY

CHILDREN’S BOOKS

READ ALONG WITH ME READ ALONG WITH ME READ ALONG WITH ME

PRAYER

Powerful Weapon of Prayer Power Through Prayer How to Pray_Torrey_Half Cover-1

TEENS-YOUTH-ADOLESCENCE-JUVENILE

THERE IS A REBEL IN THE HOUSE thirteen-reasons-to-keep-living_021 Waging War - Heather Freeman
Young Christians DEVOTIONAL FOR YOUTHS 40 day devotional (1)
Homosexuality and the Christian THE OUTSIDER RENEW YOUR MIND

CHRISTIAN LIVING

GODLY WISDOM SPEAKS Wives_02 HUSBANDS - Love Your Wives
ADULTERY 9781949586053
WALK HUMBLY WITH YOUR GOD THE BATTLE FOR THE CHRISTIAN MIND (1)-1 WAITING ON GOD
ADULTERY 9781949586053 PROMISES OF GODS GUIDANCE
APPLYING GODS WORD-1 For As I Think In My Heart_2nd Edition Put Off the Old Person
Abortion Booklet Dying to Kill The Pilgrim’s Progress
WHY DON'T YOU BELIEVE WAITING ON GOD WORKING FOR GOD
YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE Let God Use You to Solve Your PROBLEMS THE POWER OF GOD
HOW TO OVERCOME YOUR BAD HABITS-1 GOD WILL GET YOU THROUGH THIS A Dangerous Journey
ARTS, MEDIA, AND CULTURE Christians and Government Christians and Economics

CHRISTIAN COMMENTARIES

Book of Philippians Book of James Book of Proverbs Book of Esther
CHRISTIAN DEVOTIONALS
40 day devotional (1) Daily Devotional_NT_TM Daily_OT
DEVOTIONAL FOR CAREGIVERS DEVOTIONAL FOR YOUTHS DEVOTIONAL FOR TRAGEDY
DEVOTIONAL FOR YOUTHS 40 day devotional (1)

CHURCH ISSUES, GROWTH, AND HISTORY

LEARN TO DISCERN Deception In the Church FLEECING THE FLOCK_03
The Church Community_02 THE CHURCH CURE Developing Healthy Churches
FIRST TIMOTHY 2.12 EARLY CHRISTIANITY-1

Apocalyptic-Eschatology [End Times]

Explaining the Doctrine of the Last Things Identifying the AntiChrist second coming Cover
ANGELS AMERICA IN BIBLE PROPHECY_ ezekiel, daniel, & revelation

CHRISTIAN FICTION

Oren Natas_JPEG Sentient-Front Seekers and Deceivers
Judas Diary 02 Journey PNG The Rapture

[1] B.C.E. means “before the Common Era,” which is more accurate than B.C. (“before Christ”). C.E. denotes “Common Era,” often called A.D., for anno Domini, meaning “in the year of our Lord.”

[2] Andreas J. Köstenberger, John, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004), 529.

[3] Andreas J. Köstenberger, John, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004).

[4] William Hendriksen and Simon J. Kistemaker, Exposition of the Gospel According to John, vol. 2, New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953–2001), 410.

[5] Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort, The School of Biblical Evangelism: 101 Lessons: How to Share Your Faith Simply, Effectively, Biblically—the Way Jesus Did (Gainesville, FL: Bridge-Logos Publishers, 2004), 492.

[6] Ibid., 492–493.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: