The Real Meaing Of Truth
by Josh and Sean McDowell
Nearly 20 centuries ago, a high government official, trained in politics and the law, asked a question that has echoed all the way into the twenty-first century.
Imagine Pontius Pilate, then the Roman governor of Judea, standing in his elaborate palace, magisterially bedecked. He posed a set of serious questions to the man who stood shackled between two soldiers.
“Are you the King of the Jews?” Pilate asked. The prisoner was accused of sedition.
This prisoner, unlike most, stood straight in the presence of the governor and looked him in the eyes as he spoke. “I am not an earthly king… My kingdom is not of this world.”
“You are a king then?” the governor said.
“You say that I am a king,” the prisoner answered, aware that his interrogator was in a prickly political position, “and you are right.” He looked at the politician with eyes that seemed to read not only his face but his soul as well. “I was born for that purpose,” he continued, “and I came to bring truth to the world. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.”
Pilate responded, “What is truth?”
Imagine for a moment that you are in that hall with Pilate and his prisoner. Imagine the words of the governor’s question echoing off the marbled walls. Imagine the expression on Pilate’s face as he posed the question, scornful at first, then turning serious when the answer did not come quickly.
Seconds ticked by. Still the prisoner and the governor studied each other.
Imagine the governor’s thoughts: Who is this man? Why does he gaze at me so?
And the prisoner’s thoughts: Have I not just told you? I came to bring truth to the world. Pilate, you are looking at the answer to your own question: I am the truth.
Know the Truth
Knowing the truth calls for a balanced mind and heart approach. Jesus wanted his followers to believe in him for who he claimed to be, but he didn’t want them to believe in him blindly. He wanted them to be confident that what he was asking them to believe was true. So he appealed to the evidence that established that he was, in fact, the Son of God. “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?” he asked. Then he urged them to “at least believe because of what you have seen me do” (John 14:10-11). The evidences for believing what God says is true are there to convince our minds that what he says is real and true. Yes, as we said above, truth is more than just a set of facts; it is relational and emotional. It brings joy. But it is impossible for our hearts to rejoice in what our minds reject. That is why we need to know not only what we believe but also why we believe it. Knowing what we believe forms our belief system. When we know why we believe it we develop deepened convictions.
The Bible itself repeatedly invites us to examine why a truth is true so we can form our convictions. The apostle John, who had firsthand knowledge of the truth, wrote, “Jesus’ disciples saw him do many other miraculous signs besides the ones recorded in this book. But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life” (John 20:30-31). In other words, John recorded evidences that confirmed Jesus to be the one true God so we could know the truth with confidence and deep conviction.
So as you explore each truth of the faith in this handbook, you will equally examine both the truth you are to believe as well as the evidence for why you can believe it with confidence. Of course, no matter how convincing the evidence is, you still must exercise faith. For example, I (Sean) didn’t have exhaustive knowledge about Stephanie before I married her. I couldn’t know 100 percent that she was the person of integrity I firmly believed her to be. But I did have sufficient evidence to make a wise, informed decision on the moral character of the person I was dating. And now that we have been happily married for over a decade, I thank God that we each took that step of faith.
You will seldom, if ever, have exhaustive evidence, but you can find sufficient evidence to establish that what you believe is credible and objectively true. That is what knowledgeable faith does—it rests its case on sufficient evidence. Noted author and apologist J.P. Moreland aptly defines faith as “a trust in what we have reason to believe is true.” A faith rooted in the truth that we have reason to believe is objectively true will ground us in the knowledge of the truth both intellectually and experientially.
When we know the truth and why we believe it ourselves, we can then offer to others a faith that appeals both to the heart and the mind.
Taken from: The Unshakable Truthª Copyright © 2010 by Josh McDowell and Sean McDowell. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR. Used by permission.