“Pilate asked Jesus.
‘What is truth?’”
λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Πειλᾶτος Τί ἐστιν ἀλήθεια;
John uniquely indicated that Pilate (ὁ Πειλᾶτος) asked Jesus (λέγει αὐτῷ), “What is truth (Τί ἐστιν ἀλήθεια)?” This was a cynical response by Pilate, only found in John, but not in the other synoptic gospel stories. Pilate seemed to indicate the relativity of truth with this ironic statement. Pilate could not see the truth of Jesus standing right in front of him. The search for truth had philosophical implications, since many Greek philosophers were seeking the meaning of truth. This later study came to known as epistemology, with the basic question of how do we know that we know? How do you decide what is true and false?
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.