The Christ story is true because the Bible tells me so. Like Pontius Pilate, the Roman procurator, we ask “what is truth?” Is this scientific truth? No. A peak experience in our life, like falling in love is true, but not scientifically verifiable. There are different contexts for truth. There is a difference between truth in court and truth in a laboratory. There are different kinds of truth. We say, “So help me, God.” Stories, like the parable of the Good Samaritan, are true stories, but do we have to say every part happened exactly the way that the gospel story says that it did. We are influenced by our culture and education. Thus, we share our culture. Otherwise there is no trust, only disbelief. Is truth always black and white? There are degrees, levels, and kinds of truth.
The common language at the time of Jesus
After the Babylonian captivity, Aramaic replaced Biblical Hebrew as the everyday language in Israel. However, Biblical Hebrew was still used for religious purposes. After Alexander the Great, the Ptolemies and the Seleucids ruled Israel for almost two hundred years. Thus, the Jewish culture was heavily influenced by this Hellenistic culture. Koine Greek was used not only for international communication, but also as the first language of some Jews. This development was furthered complicated by the fact that the largest Jewish community in the world lived in Ptolemaic Alexandria, Egypt. Many of these diaspora Jews would have Greek as their first language. Thus, first the Torah, and then other Hebrew scriptures, were translated into standard Koine Greek, the Septuagint.