I’ve always loved learning, always been curious. However, the dictionary and I did not used to get along. I’d want to know what a word meant. My mom would remind me that there was a book just a few steps away that conveniently contained definitions for every word in the English language. I was not amused.
Years later, I’ve started a project that requires me to immerse myself in the definitions of words… for fun. Good looking out, Mom.
Here we are, at the beginning of the #inawordproject on the word truth. And here I am, with seventeen browser tabs open–each with a different definition of truth. I started with Blue Letter Bible instead of a traditional dictionary because I know that, for me, the idea of truth will stem from my faith.
I went into my research expecting to find “us versus them” definitions. Truth is right. Falsehood is wrong. This belief is true. That belief is not. That’s the rhetoric that I hear most often when society talks about Christians.
I was surprised by this wonderful interplay between being true and being faithful, steadfast, and secure. I loved the use of truly and verily to say, “You can be sure of this.”
I could have gotten blissfully lost in all of the words and their definitions, but the word alētheia stopped me in my tracks. It is all over the New Testament, including in John 8:32, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Larry Pierce, the author of the commentary, defines the word in a way that encompasses objective truth of right and wrong, but he doesn’t stop there. He includes a secondary definition that will be the foundation of this project.
“Truth as a personal excellence, that candor of mind that is free from affection, pretense, simulation, falsehood, or deceit.”
Whoa. This project was never meant to explore the philosophical concept of truth. I wanted to understand what it meant to see truth lived out. And now I have this to ponder on: What would it look like to be free from affection, from pretense, from simulation and falsehood, and deceit?
I’m not sure that I know yet. So the #inawordproject continues.