Faithful & True

by Donald T. Williams

In a post-truth, false-facts world, this is still true:

The biblical words for truth (Hebrew emeth, Greek aletheia) have "faithfulness" as their root meaning. The secular mindset thinks of truth simply as faithfulness to the facts, but the biblical view of truth is much richer and deeper. It starts with faithfulness to God. This includes faithfulness to the facts because they are his facts, part of his creation. But it also entails faithfulness to the Covenant, faithfulness to your word, and faithfulness to your neighbor. Ultimately, biblical truth is not an abstraction but a Person—Jesus, who was faithful to the Father and to us, even unto death. Our faithfulness must be rooted in and flow from his.

This means that we must not just be faithful to the facts; we must be faithful with the facts. We must use them in faithful ways if we are to be true people and thus speak the truth in love. Gossip is false speech, even if it is factually correct, because it is not faithful to my neighbor. The biblical concept of truth, then, is more than factual correctness, but not less. Faithfulness to the facts is a necessary but not a sufficient condition of biblical truthfulness.

Donald T. Williams Ph.D., is R. A. Forrest Scholar at Toccoa Falls College. He is the author of eleven books, most recently Deeper Magic: The Theology Behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis (Square Halo Books, 2016) and An Encouraging Thought: The Christian Worldview in the Writings of J. R. R. Tolkien (Christian Publishing House, 2018). He is a member of University Church, an interdenominational house church in Athens, Georgia.

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