This resource I’m describing is called a Concordance. Mine is published by Nelsons and is “complete.” In other words, if you turn alphabetically to the word “truth,” you will find a list of all the places the word truth is found in the Revised Standard Version of the English speaking Bible. The total listings in my Concordance comes to 146, beginning with Genesis 42:16 and concluding with 3 John 1:12. Of course there are also listings for Truthful, Truthfully, Truthfulness, and Truths. (Google says there are 167 passages where the word truth is found.)
If “the truth will set you free,” as is often quoted, a good place to begin understanding what the truth really is, might be those 146 (or 167) passages in Scripture. And if you really want to understand Truth with a capitol T, it might be well to check out its opposite. There are even more references to “lie” and “lies” in the Scriptures. Reading them will make the distinction between truth and lies even clearer, as we humans seem to have a tendency to minimize the difference.
Unfortunately, Scripture has been used and abused by charlatans, who interpret it to justify their own purposes, have sullied its inherent wisdom, and turned off potential seekers. But just as the internet has replaced books for many, people may look elsewhere for their understanding of truth and lies, if not to Scripture.
Revealed in Scriptures, understood in different cultures as something to aspire to, complete Truth may be humanly impossible to realize; my truth or your truth will never be God’s Truth; but we’re meant to strive for it, rather than succumb to lies.
But we can be more subtle about truth and lies as well. There is such a thing as a half truth. The one that comes to mind from my childhood is offered by my sister. My parents were away, leaving childcare in the hands of my grandmother. My sister was older, more daring and stronger than I. She got upset with me, knocked me onto the coffee table and broke the glass top. When my parents came home and wanted to know what happened, she told them I did it. Well, yes! It was my body that broke the glass, but how did I get there?
Leviticus 19:11 reads “You shall not lie to one another.” John 8:32 reads, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” And from Gandhi, “Only Truth quenches untruth, Love quenches anger, self-suffering quenches violence. This eternal rule is a rule not for saints only, but for all.”
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