That You May Believe
Dr. F. J. May and Dr. H. Lynn Stone
Section III – The Lord Reigns Through His Passion (John 18-21)
Lecture 13, THE LORD AND THE TRUTH WHICH IS SPOKEN BY HIM
This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we
know that his testimony is true. And there are also many other things which Jesus
did, the which if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world
itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.
A. Etymology of Alethes, "True" (#227)
In order to understand the importance of the concept of truth in the writings of
John we will look at the etymology of the Greek word ALETHES and how it is used in
the New Testament, especially in the Gospel of John.
1. Definition from Strong's Concordance
Strong defines ALETHES (#227) by noting that it is derived from the negative
particle "A" and the Greek word LANTHANO (#2990). This word LANTHANO he says
is "a prolific form of a primitive verb" which means "to lie hid." It is often used as an
adverb meaning "unwittingly." It is translated by the KJV as: – "be hid, be ignorant of,
unawares" (Strongs, p. 44). Therefore, the word ALETHES, which is the opposite of
"hidden" because of the particle "A", means TRUE in the sense of NOT CONCEALING.
It is translated as: – "true, truly, truth" (Strongs, pp. 9, 10).
2. Derivative Words from ALETHES (Strongs, pp. 9, 10)
a. ALETHEIA (225) – TRUTH: – true, truly, truth, verity.
b. ALETHEUO (226) – TO BE TRUE: – speak or tell the truth.
c. ALETHINOS (228) – TRUTHFUL: – true.
d. ALETHOS (230) – TRULY: – indeed, surely, truly, verily, very.
B. Thayer’s Definition of Alehtes
Henry Thayer points out that ALETHES is used both objectively and subjectively
in the New Testament and defines and illustrates the word under those two headings.
Then, objectively ALETHES is used in a universal sense and also in a more particular
sense as it relates to religion (Thayer, p. 26).
1. Universally – What Is True in Any Matter Under Consideration (as opposed to
what is feigned, fictitious, false)
It is in this universal sense that John uses the prepositional phrase "in truth" (John
4:23ff), meaning, "in truth, truly, as the case is, according to fact." John the Baptist "bare
witness unto the truth," or, that is he testified "according to the true state of the case"
It is also in this universal objective sense that Jesus uses the concept of truth in
condemning those who do not accept Him (John 8:42-47).
Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded
forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not
understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your
father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from
the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When
he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And
because I tell (you) the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of
sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth
God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.
2. In Reference to Religion – What Is True In Things Pertaining to God and the
Duties of Man
In this more narrow objective sense John uses ALETHES in the sense of "the
truth, as taught in the Christian religion, respecting God and the execution of his purposes
through Christ, and respecting the duties of man, opposed alike to the superstitions of the
Gentiles and the inventions of Jews, and to the corrupt opinions and precepts of false
a. ALETHES and the Living LOGOS
Very early in his gospel John clearly established that his primary use of "truth"
was in this more particular and narrow meaning, especially as it related to Jesus Christ
and the work He did as the LOGOS of eternity coming to the earth (John 1:14-18).
And the Word (LOGOS) was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his
glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and TRUTH.
John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that
cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fullness
have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but
grace and TRUTH came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the
only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared (him).
b. ALETHES and the Spoken and Written LOGOS Word
Jesus also testified to the Jews that it is in His own spoken and written LOGOS
Word that they would be able to find the truth which sets men free (John 8:31-40).
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word
(LOGOS), then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the TRUTH, and
the TRUTH shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and
were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be make free? Jesus
answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the
servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son
abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. I
know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word
(LOGOS) hath no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with my Father:
and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto
him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children,
ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath
told you the TRUTH, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.
c. ALETHES and the Spoken and Written REMA Word
Not only does John use the Greek word LOGOS to describe the spoken and
written words of Christ, but he also uses the word REMA to describe those truths spoken
by the Lord (John 8:14-20).
Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my
record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell
whence I come, and whither I go. Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. And yet
if I judge, my judgment is true (ALETHES) for I am not alone, but I and the
Father that sent me. It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is
true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth
witness of me. Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye
neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my
Father also. These words (REMA) spake Jesus again unto them, as he taught in
the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come.
d. The Holy Spirit and Truth
Just before His betrayal, Jesus told the disciples there were some truths that they
were not able to bear at that time. However, He then assured His disciples that the
Comforter whom He would send to them, the Holy Spirit who is the "Spirit of truth,"
would lead them into the truth.
I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit
when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall
not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he
will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine,
and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore
said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
C. John’s Use of Truth in the Fourth Gospel
1. ALETHES in the Gospel of John (Word Study Concordance, p. 28)
"set to his seal that God is TRUE" (3:33)
"hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou TRULY" (4:18)
"of myself, my witness is not TRUE" (5:31)
"which he witnesseth of me is TRUE" (5:32)
"glory that sent him, the same is TRUE" (7:18)
"of thyself; thy record is not TRUE" (8:13)
"of myself, (yet) my record is TRUE" (8:14)
"if I judge, my judgment is TRUE" (8:16)
"the testimony of two men is TRUE" (8:17)
"he that sent me is TRUE' and I speak" (8:26)
"that John spake of this man were TRUE (10:41)
"he knoweth that he saith TRUE" (19:35)
"we know that his testimony is TRUE" (21:24)
2. ALETHEIA in the Gospel of John (Word Study Concordance, p. 27)
"of the Father, full of grace and TRUTH" (1:14)
"grace and TRUTH came by Jesus Christ" (1:17)
"he that doeth TRUTH cometh to the" (3:21)
"worship the Father in spirit and in TRUTH" (4:23)
"worship (him) in spirit and in TRUTH" (4:24)
"he bare witness unto the TRUTH" (5:33)
"shall know that TRUTH, and the TRUTH shall make you free" (8:32)
"a man that hath told you the TRUTH" (8:40)
"abode not in the TRUTH, because there is no TRUTH in him" (8:44)
"because I tell (you) the TRUTH" (8:45)
"If I say the TRUTH, who do ye not" (8:46)
"I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life" (14:6)
"(Even) the Spirit of TRUTH, whom the" (14:17)
"(even) the Spirit of TRUTH, which" (15:26)
"Nevertheless I tell you the TRUTH" (16:7)
"when, the Spirit of TRUTH is come" (16:13)
"he will guide you into all TRUTH" (16:13)
"Sanctify them through thy TRUTH; thy word is TRUTH (17:17)
"be sanctified through the TRUTH" (17:19)
"I should bear witness unto the TRUTH" (18:37)
"Everyone that is of the TRUTH heareth" (18:37)
"Pilate saith unto him, What is TRUTH" (18:38)
3. ALETHINOS in the Gospel of John (Word Study Concordance, p. 28)
"That was the TRUE light which lighteth" (1:9)
"when the TRUE worshipers shall" (4:23)
"herein is that saying TRUE" (4:37)
"my Father giveth you the TRUE bread" (6:32)
"he that sent me is TRUE" (7:28)
"I am the TRUE vine, and my Father" (15:1)
"might know thee the only TRUE God" (17:3)
"bare record and his record is TRUE" (19:35)
4. ALETHOS in the Gospel of John (Word Study Concordance, p. 28)
"Behold an Israelite INDEED" (1:47)
"This is INDEED the Christ, the Saviour" (4:42)
"This is OF A TRUTH that prophet" (6:14)
"For my flesh is meat INDEED, and my blood is drink INDEED" (6:55)
"Do the rulers know INDEED that this is the VERY Christ" (7:26)
"OF A TRUTH this is the prophet" (7:40)
"(then) are ye my disciples INDEED" (8:31)
"have known SURELY that I came" (17:8)
5. ALETHEUO is Not Used in the Gospel of John
D. The Relationship Between the Truth and Love
1. The Goal of the Word of Truth is Love
After Jesus had eaten the Passover meal with the disciples and washed their feet
He said, "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have
loved you, that ye also love one another. Bythis shall all men know that ye are my
disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:34, 35).
2. Love Cannot Be Separated from the Spirit of Truth
Jesus explained to the disciples that the Spirit of Truth would be sent to those who
loved Him and kept His commandments. "If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I
will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you
for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive because it seeth him not,
neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you"
3. Love Cannot Be Separated from Keeping the Word (John 14:21-24)
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he
that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest
myself to him. Judas said unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt
manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto
him, If a man love me, he will keep my words (LOGOS): and my Father will love
him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me
not keepeth not my sayings (LOGOS): and the word (LOGOS) which ye hear is
not mine, but the Father's which sent me.
4. To Keep the Word Is to Spend One's Life For Others (in. 15:9-17)
a. The Example of Love (John 15:9, 10)
"As the Father hath love me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye
keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my father's
commandments, and abide in his love."
b. The Joy of Love (John 15:11)
"These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that
your joy might be full."
c. The Commandment of Love (John 15:12)
"This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you."
d. The Essence of Love (John 15:13)
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
e. The Friend of Love (John 15:14 and 17)
"Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you ...These things I
command you, that ye love one another."
f. The Work of Love (John 15:15, 16)
"Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord
doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have
made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you,
that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever
ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."
Section 3, The Lord Reigns Through His Passion, Lecture 13
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