Truth: The Greek word for ‘truth’, aletheia, is the negative form of a word meaning ‘be hidden, concealed.’ So what is ‘true’ is what is open, clear, revealed. Lying is the most obvious sin against truth – Satan is ‘the father of lies’, Beelzebub. In the Greek Old Testament (LXX) the ‘true’ is that which is consistent, solid, faithful. Yahweh is the God of truth because of his unchangeableness, his stability and the certainty that his promises will be fulfilled. Truth is an attribute of God and therefore characterises all his words and actions. In the New Testament, ‘true’ can have its OT meaning of what is reliable, dependable, real, but theologically it refers to the truth of the Christian revelation. This revelation was, of course, expressed in Jesus, who described himself as “the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6). In John’s Gospel aletheia occurs 25 times, the first occurring when John describes Jesus as “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). As “the way, the truth and the life”, Jesus reveals God and expresses God and comes from God, and it is through Him that salvation lies. To accept Jesus, to follow his example and teachings is to enter the truth. In v 17 of today’s Gospel reading the Holy Spirit is described as ‘the Spirit of truth’ because He proceeds from the Father and continues the work of revelation, imparting only what He has received from the Father. He is a reliable teacher and guide. The ‘truth’ that is carried into the human heart is not just a credal statement: it is God’s living word, to deny which is to sin against the light. Aletheia is sometimes found as a girl’s name.
A Word in Season