A concept understood differently by Hebrews and Greeks. For the Hebrews, truth was moral and relational, not intellectual (as it was for the Greeks). Thus, the word generally translated “true” in the OT carries the sense of what is “constant, permanent, faithful, reliable.” God above all is true, that is, real and reliable (Isa 65:16; Jer 10:10); people are to seek God’s truth (Ps 25:5; Ps 51:6; Ps 86:11). People are admonished to judge truly, and the lack of truth is lamented (Zech 8:16; Isa 59:14-15). Reports and prophecies may be true or false (1Kgs 10:6-7). In all these instances, the emphasis is upon reliability; something or someone that will stand up under testing. NT usage draws on both Greek and OT understandings. Paul usually uses the word in the OT sense: truth is to be obeyed (Rom 2:8; Gal 5:7); truth proves reliable (2Cor 7:14; 2Cor 11:10); its opposite is malice and evil (1Cor 5:8). The Greek idea of truth as correct knowledge appears most often in the Pastoral Letters (1Tim 4:3; 2Tim 2:25; 2Tim 2:18; 2Tim 4:4). In the Gospel of John, the OT understanding of God as truth extends to Christ (John 14:6) and the Holy Spirit (John 15:26). Believers are guided into truth (John 16:13), to worship God in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24). Those who continue in Christ’s word know the truth and are set free (John 8:31-32). Such freedom is not due to possession of correct knowledge, but rather comes from relationship to that which is truly real, namely, God.

Isa 65:16

16Then whoever invokes a blessing in the land
shall bless by the God of faithfulness,
and whoever takes an oath in the land
shall swear by the God of faithfulne ... View more

Jer 10:10

10But the Lord is the true God;
he is the living God and the everlasting King.
At his wrath the earth quakes,
and the nations cannot endure his indignation.

Ps 25:5

5Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all day long.

Ps 51:6

6You desire truth in the inward being;
therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.

Ps 86:11

11Teach me your way, O Lord,
that I may walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart to revere your name.

Zech 8:16

16These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another, render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace,

Isa 59:14-15

14Justice is turned back,
and righteousness stands at a distance;
for truth stumbles in the public square,
and uprightness cannot enter.15Truth is lacking,
and ... View more

1Kgs 10:6-7

6So she said to the king, “The report was true that I heard in my own land of your accomplishments and of your wisdom,7but I did not believe the reports until I ... View more

Rom 2:8

8while for those who are self-seeking and who obey not the truth but wickedness, there will be wrath and fury.

Gal 5:7

7You were running well; who prevented you from obeying the truth?

2Cor 7:14

14For if I have been somewhat boastful about you to him, I was not disgraced; but just as everything we said to you was true, so our boasting to Titus has prove ... View more

2Cor 11:10

10As the truth of Christ is in me, this boast of mine will not be silenced in the regions of Achaia.

1Cor 5:8

8Therefore, 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.

1Tim 4:3

3They forbid marriage and demand abstinence from foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.

2Tim 2:25

25correcting opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth,

2Tim 2:18

18who have swerved from the truth by claiming that the resurrection has already taken place. They are upsetting the faith of some.

2Tim 4:4

4and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths.

John 14:6

6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 15:26

26“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.

John 16:13

13When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare ... View more

John 4:23-24

23But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship h ... View more

John 8:31-32

True Disciples
31Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples;32and you will know the truth, and ... View more

 NEH Logo
Bible Odyssey has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.