This section has expanded with quotations from a wide number of unexpected sources. To be fair to the authors, I have included the context of several quotes in which these important ideas were presented. I do not necessarily endorse every opinion, because it becomes clear that when one studies the rest of the writings of these authors, their notion of Truth is usually far off the mark from what I believe is the correct definition of Truth.
Truth is the first principle of Thy words.
The truth is to be prized and reverenced above all things else. Dionysius; (c165-175 AD); ANF 6; p81.
There is no more pleasant food for the soul than the knowledge of truth. Lactantius; (c240-320); ANF 7; p10.
Nothing is greater than truth. Clement of Alexandria; (c150-216); ANF2; Stromata; Bk vii, Ch xviii; p554.
Nothing can be clearer or mightier than truth. Chrysostom; (349-407); NPNF I-14; p99.
…while both are dear,
piety requires us to honor truth above our friends. Aristotle; (384-322 BC); Nicomachean Ethics; 1096a.
Truth is that than which nothing is more powerful. Justin; (c150-160); ANF1; Fragments; p301.
The gospel of truth is a joy for those who have received from the Father of truth the gift of knowing him… Gospel of Truth; 2nd c. AD.; The Nag Hammadi Library; J. M. Robinson; p37.
Do not prize concord above truth, but make a noble stand, even to death. Chrysostom; (349-407); NPNF I-11; p508.
Truth is not merely one good among others, it is the highest good. St. Augustine; (354-430); De Libero Arbitrio; Williams; p59.
Truth is accountable to no mortal thing, but stands above them all. Chrysostom; (349-407); NPNF I -14; p99.
... we must acknowledge that there is one kind of being which is always the same, uncreated and indestructible, never receiving anything into itself from without, nor itself going out to any other, but invisible and imperceptible by any sense, and of which contemplation is granted to intelligence only.
Plato; Timaeus; ; 375 B.C.
O son, Truth is the most perfect virtue, and the highest good itself, not troubled by matter, not encompassed by a body, naked, clear, unchangeable, venerable, unalterable good.
What therefore doth thou affirm to be the first Truth, O father?
The One and Only, that is not of matter, that is not in a body, that is without color, without figure or shape, Immutable, Unalterable, which always is.
Hermes Trismegistus; Bk XV; 2nd c. AD.
without the truth
there is no knowing.
Thomas A Kempis; (1380-1471); Imitation of Christ; Bk 3; ch 56.
The Truth is one thing for which there are no known substitutes. Unknown.
Men seek the Truth not because it is lost, but because they are. Unknown.
Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me Truth. Henry Thoreau; (1817-1862); Walden; Ch 18.
Would that I could discover truth as easily as I can discover falsehood. Cicero; 44 BC.
… if truth had a beginning or will have an end, then before truth began it was true that there was no truth, and after it will have ended, it will then be true that there will be no truth. … Therefore truth existed before there was truth, and truth will exist after truth will have ended. This is utterly absurd. Therefore whether truth be said to have a beginning or an end, or be understood not to have a beginning or an end, truth cannot be limited by a beginning and an end.
St. Anselm of Canterbury; (1033-1109); Monologion, Opera Omnia; I; p33.
The truth is the truth whether it is believed or not. It doesn’t hurt the truth not to be believed, but it hurts you and me if we don’t believe it. G. H. Hapworth
… be disposed to addict your mind to the investigation of truth. John Calvin; (1509-1564); Commentary on Genesis; Vol. 1; Part 2.
We cannot find contentment in anything but truth. B. Spinoza; (1632-1677); Ethics.
There is no virtue equal to Truth; there is nothing superior to Truth; Truth is God himself. Mahabharata; Bk 1; Sec. LXXIV; 5th c. BC Hindu epic.
Great is the truth, and mighty above all things. 1 Esdras 4:41.
…where I found truth, there I found my God, who is the Truth itself. St. Augustine; (354-430); Confessions; X; 24.
In the beginning was the TRUTH, and the TRUTH was with God, and God was the TRUTH. John 1:1; George Swann; New Testament; 1947 [11/8/10]
We must not think the Truth is from God, or about God, or of God, [but] we must positively know that the Truth is God! It might give a more simple and correct concept of God to quote John 1:1 thus: “… In the beginning was the Truth, and the Truth was with God, and the Truth was God.” Dr. Charles W. Noble Sr., Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, Newark, OH.
The Greeks were right when they called the logos the principle of truth. Emil Brunner; (1889-1966); Truth as Encounter; 1938/1963; p23
Truth comes only from Him who is the truth, and neither Jewish prophet nor heathen philosopher can attain to it, save by His aid. Frederic W. Farrar; (1831-1903); Seekers after God; 1890; pix.
Truth is a perpetual possibility of being wrong.
J. R. Lucas; True; 1969.
He who wages war against the truth has no power, but rather wounds himself, as one who kicks against the spike. Chrysostom; (349-407); NPNF I-13; p191.
Since the Truth is come, the Types have no longer any place. Chrysostom; (349-407); NPNF I-12; p86.
The soul is not in itself immortal, O Greeks, but mortal. Yet it is possible for it not to die. If, indeed, it knows not the truth, it dies … But if it acquires the knowledge of God, it does not die. Tatian; (c110-172); ANF 2; p70.
Men of great talent … applied to the pursuit of investigating the truth which they so greatly desired to know that they even preferred it to all things. But they did not obtain the object of their wish, because the truth, that is the secret of the Most High God, who created all things, cannot be attained by our own ability and perceptions. Otherwise there would be no difference between God and man. Lactantius; (c240-320); The Divine Institutes; ANF7; p9.
I am not unjust as to imagine that they could divine, so that they might find out the truth themselves, for I acknowledge that this is impossible. To understand that which is false is truly the part of wisdom, but of human wisdom. Beyond this step man cannot proceed, but to know the truth is the part of divine wisdom. But man by himself cannot attain to this knowledge unless he is taught by God. Lactantius; (c240-320); The Divine Institutes; ANF7; p44.
Philosophers have reached the height of human wisdom, so as to understand that which is not; but they have failed in attaining the power of saying that which really is. It is a well-known saying of Cicero: “I wish that I could as easily find out the truth as I can refute false things.” And because this is beyond the power of man’s condition, the capability of this office is assigned to us, to whom God has delivered the knowledge of the truth. Lactantius; (c240-320); The Divine Institutes; ANF7; p44.
Since the truth is not of this world … and since the truth is of an entirely spiritual nature, the various arrangements of matter can contribute nothing to its success or ruin. Nicolas Malebranche; (1638-1715); The Search after Truth; p539.
God has made the nature of man most desirous of arriving at the truth, but they neither know what was true in itself, nor how, nor where, nor with what mind it is to be sought. Lactantius; (c240-320); The Divine Institutes; ANF7; p69.
It follows that no other hope is proposed to man, unless he shall follow the true religion and true wisdom, which is in Christ, and he who is ignorant of Him is always estranged from the truth and from God. Lactantius; (c240-320); The Divine Institutes; ANF7; p44.
Now the Prophet of the Truth is He who always knows all things, alone entrusted with the declaration of the truth. Read and you shall find that those were deceived who thought that they had found the truth of themselves. For this is peculiar to the Prophet, to declare the truth. As many as have desired to know the truth, but have not had the good fortune to learn from Him, have not found it, but have died seeking it. For how can he find the truth who seeks it from his own ignorance? And even if he find it, he does not know it, and passes it by as if it were not. Clementine Homilies; 4th. c. AD; ANF8; p229.
Now it is evident that he who knows not the truth, does not have a true knowledge of God also. Socrates Scholasticus; (c390-450); NPNF II; p33.
Pilate says to him: What is truth? Jesus says to him: Truth is from heaven. Pilate says: Is truth not upon earth? Jesus says to Pilate: Thou seest how those who speak the truth are judged by those that have the power upon the earth.
The Gospel of Nicodemus; 4th c. AD; ANF8; p418.
If Jesus says, “I am the truth,” he indicates that in Him the true, the genuine, the ultimate reality is present; or, in other words, that God is present, unveiled, undistorted, in His infinite depth, in His unapproachable mystery. Jesus is not the truth because His teachings are true. But His teachings are true because they express the truth which He Himself is. He is more than His words. And He is more than any word said about Him.
Paul Tillich; (1886-1965); The New Being; 1955; Ch. 8.
All therefore who ever sought the truth, trusting to themselves to be able to find it, fell into a snare. This is what the philosophers of the Greeks have suffered, not knowing that he who seeks the truth cannot learn it from his own understanding. For not even, as I said, can he recognize her when she stands by him, since he is unacquainted with her. Hence beloved Clement, if you would know the things pertaining to God, you have to learn them from Him alone, because He alone knows the truth. Clementine Homilies; 4th. c. AD; p230.
And what is Truth? That which is not fashioned, nor made, nor represented by art; that is, which has never been brought into existence, and is on that account called truth. Melito the Philosopher; (c160-177); ANF8; p753.
Truth, the one integral truth, is God,
and to perceive Truth, is to enter divine life.
Nikolas Berdyaev (1874-1948)
The Realm of Spirit and the Realm of Caesar; 1952; p29
Truth– is as old as God–
His Twin identity
And will endure as long as He
And perish on the Day
Himself is borne away
From Mansion of the Universe
A lifeless Deity.
Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
Truth is the holy and good thought of God completely unveiled; it is God revealed.
Frederic Godet; (1812-1900); Gospel of John Commentary; 1886; p274.
Truth is God’s very reality revealing itself … in Jesus.
Rudolf Bultmann; (1884-1976); Theology of the NT.
The evangelist affirms that the Torah did not, in the full sense, bring grace and truth, but Christ does. The Torah therefore is but a shadow of the true Word of God, which came in its full reality, in Jesus Christ. C. H. Dodd; (1884-1973); The Fourth Gospel; 1953/1958; p295.
The true knowledge of God is not the result of philosophical investigation. This central and living knowledge of God, which is the only true knowledge, was not possessed by any man, either within or outside of the theocracy, not even by Moses. One can know everything else, not God! The full truth does not exist on earth before or outside of Jesus Christ, and it truly came through him. Frederic Godet; (1812-1900); Gospel of John Commentary; 1886; p280.
It is tacitly assumed throughout, that “the Truth” and “the knowledge of God” are identical terms. Brooke F. Westcott; (1825-1901); Gospel of John Commentary; 1908; p27.
It is by Christ alone that God makes himself known to us. As God dwells in inaccessible light (Tim 6:16), he cannot be known but in Christ, who is his lively image. John Calvin; (1509-1564)
… Jesus is the truth; He does not simply state it. One does not come to Him to ask about truth; one comes to Him as the truth.
Rudolf Bultmann; (1884-1976); The Gospel of John; 1964/1975; p606.
For by whom has truth ever been discovered without God? By whom has God ever been found without Christ? By whom has Christ ever been explored without the Holy Spirit? By whom has the Holy Spirit ever been attained without the mysterious gift of faith? Tertullian; (c155-230); ANF3; A Treatise on the Soul; p181.
Can that be wisdom which is changeable? For what alters and changes and has no stay in one and the same condition, how can that be true? Hence it is that Christ is not only God, but very God indeed- very God of very God, insomuch that He Himself is the Truth. If, then, we enquire His name, it is “The Truth.” St. Ambrose; (c340-397); NPNF II-10; p219.
Sin had spread its wings, and covered all things,
that none could discern, of himself, the truth–
Truth came down into the womb,
came forth and rolled away error.
Blessed is He who dispelled sin by His birth!
The type has passed and the truth is come.
Come, ye lambs, receive your seal,
for it is Truth that is your seal!
Ephraim the Syrian; 4th c.; NPNF II-13; pp253-271.
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