“For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth” (2 Corinthians 13:8).
The New Testament gospel of John records a question that Pontius Pilate presented to Jesus just prior to His crucifixion. That question consisted of three words that comprised eleven letters in their entirety. Yet despite it’s brevity, Pilate’s inquiry represents one of the most important questions anyone can ever ask: “What is truth?” (John 18:38).
This question is far more critical than it may seem. You see, if we do not seek to obtain a genuine definition of truth now, someone else will surely try to introduce us to an alternate definition later. In light of this, scholar and apologist Dr. Norman Geisler provides us with an accurate and beneficial definition of truth that warrants a lengthy excerpt…
“…it is helpful to specify more clearly what is meant by ‘truth’ and what would constitute an ‘error.’ By truth we signify that which corresponds to reality. An error, then, is what does not correspond to reality. Truth is telling it like it is. Error is not telling it like it is. Hence, nothing mistaken can be true, even if the author intended his mistake to be true. An error is a mistake, not simply something that is misleading. Otherwise, every sincere utterance ever made is true, even those that were grossly mistaken. Likewise, something is not true simply because it accomplishes its intended purpose, since many lies succeed.
The Bible clearly views truth as that which corresponds to reality. Error is understood as a lack of correspondence to reality, not as intentionally misleading. This is evident from the fact that the word ‘error’ is used of unintentional mistakes (Lev. 4:2). The Bible everywhere implies a correspondence view of truth. For example, when the Ten Commandments declare ‘You shall not bear false testimony’ (Ex. 20:16), it implies that misrepresenting the facts is wrong. Likewise, a correspondence view of truth is used when the Jews said to the governor about Paul, ‘By examining him yourself you will be able to learn the truth about all these charges we are bringing against him.’ In so doing, he adds, ‘You can easily verify the facts’ (cf. Acts 24:8)”. (1)
Finally, one source expands on this statement in 2 Corinthians 13:8 with the following observation: “…to fight against truth, whether ethical or historical or scientific, is to fight against Him who is the Truth, and so is to court defeat. We can do nothing, even if we would, against the truth.'” (2)
(1) Geisler, N. L., & Howe, T. A. (1992). When critics ask : a popular handbook on Bible difficulties (p. 13). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.
(2) Ice, Rhoderick D. “Commentary on 2 Corinthians 13:8”. “The Bible Study New Testament”. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/2-corinthians-13.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.