What is Truth? | Romans 2:2

Romans 2:2 But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth, against those who practice such things. (NKJV)

What is “the truth“?

It is critical to understand the English word truth as it pertains to the Scriptures, especially when it comes to reading Paul’s letters. It’s just as imperative for us to know what Paul thought this word meant, especially in the context of this verse.

According to what ‘truth’ is God going to make His judgments? Paul actually tells us in a few verses, but let’s work this out ourselves.

In this verse the Greek word for ‘judgment’ is Strong’s G2917 κρίμα/krima, and with the word ‘God’ in the genitive case Thayer’s Greek Lexicon states this to mean: denotes condemnatory sentence, penal judgment, sentence.

The Greek word for truth in this verse is Strong’s G225 ἀλήθειαν/alētheian, a noun which Thayer’s Greek Lexicon states as: what is true in things pertaining to God and the duties of man.

In other words, Paul is saying that God will make judgments that condemn and sentence “those who practice such things” (listed in the prior six verses) based on the standard which is true to God.

So, how would Paul “know” about this standard that is ‘true to God’? In Romans 2:2 above, Paul says to the believers in Rome that “we know” that God judges according to truth“. Paul seems to know, but how would they alsoknow”?

They also ‘knew’ because they had a written copy, and so do we, because it’s on all of our book shelves. It’s the Scriptures, the Word of God; please click this link and read ‘Examining the Scriptures‘.

In the Septuagint (the Hebrew Scriptures translated into Greek), the word alētheia/truth, is always translated from the noun אֱמֶת/emeth, Strong’s H571 or the noun אֱמוּנָה/emunah, Strong’s H530, both of which come from the root verb אָמַן/aman, Strong’s H539, which means: to confirm, to make firm, to establish, trustworthy (BDB).

Brown-Driver-Briggs states “emunah” to mean: firmness, steadfastness, fidelity;

  1. “faithfulness and trust” when used of human conduct.
  2. an attribute of God.

Brown-Driver-Briggs states “emeth” to mean: firmness, faithful, truth: a.) as spoken, to speak truth, the thing is certainly true; b.) of testimony and judgement; c.) of divine instruction; d.) truth as a body of knowledge

A man can choose to conduct himself in a manner that shows he is faithful and/or trustworthy. Man can also choose not to. However, with God, it is part of His divine nature. He is אֱמוּנָה/emunah/faithful and true, always.

Everything that God has spoken is אֱמֶת/emeth/truth, always. It is not possible for anything that He has ever said to become ‘not-truth’.

If we let Scripture interpret Scripture with that understanding of God, what do we find “truth/emeth” to mean?

What does the text say? ~

Deuteronomy 32:4 “The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness (emunah) and without iniquity, just and upright is he.

Those are the LORD’s attributes.

Everything the LORD speaks is truth (emeth)~

Nehemiah 9:13 You came down on Mount Sinai and spoke with them from heaven and gave them right rules and true (emeth) laws, good statutes and commandments,

Psalm 19:9 the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true (emeth), and righteous altogether.

Psalm 25:4-5 4Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. 5Lead me in your truth (emeth) and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.

Psalm 86:11 Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth (emeth); unite my heart to fear your name.

Psalm 119:142 Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, And Your law is truth (emeth).

Psalm 119:43-44 43And take not the word of truth (emeth) utterly out of my mouth, for my hope is in your rules. 44I will keep your law continually, forever and ever,

Psalm 119:151-152 151You are near, O LORD, and all Your commandments are truth (emeth). 152Concerning Your testimonies, I have known of old that You have founded them forever.

Psalm 119:160 The sum of Your word is truth (emeth), And every one of Your righteous rules endures forever.

{Take notice that the last three verses state the LORD’s law, commandments and righteous rules are forever; please click this link and read ‘The Sabbath: Forever means Forever’}

What else does Paul have to say regarding this word ‘truth’/alētheian that God will make His Judgments by?

What does the text say?

Romans 2:8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth (alētheian) but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,

Here we have Paul stating that truth is something to be obeyed and those who don’t obey the truth are then obeying unrighteousness. Logically then, obeying the ‘truth is obeying ‘righteousness. This is not a new doctrine being introduced by Paul. Read the verses above from the Psalms again, then read this next quote from Paul ~

Romans 2:20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth (alētheian)

The Greek word for ‘embodiment’ is Strong’s G3446 μόρφωσιν/morphōsin, which Thayer’s Greek Lexicon states as: the form befitting the thing or truly expressing the fact, the very form.

Paul is actually telling us that the Law of God given through Moses is the very form oftruth. Again, read the verses above from the Psalms.

2 Thessalonians 2:12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth (alētheian) but take pleasure in unrighteousness.

Again, we have Paul contrasting truth and unrighteousness; not believing the truth is taking pleasure in unrighteousness. Therefore, believing the ‘truth is taking pleasure in righteousness.

So, we have Scriptures from Nehemiah, David and Paul listed above all stating that the Word of God, the Law of God, the Rules and Commands of God given through Moses are both truth and righteousness.

Now, from God the Son himself we have the exact same thing ~

John 17:17Sanctify them by the truth, ‘Your word is truth’.”

The Word of God is truth. Jesus is quoting Psalm 119:160 listed above!

When Jesus said this in John 17 what was the “Word of God”? Answer: when Jesus said this the “Word of God” was the “Law, the Prophets and the Writings”. Jesus also stated in this verse that the “truth” sets us apart or sanctifies us.

What else does Jesus have to say about the “Word of God”? ~

Matthew 4:4 But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

And what Word is Jesus quoting and referring to? ~

Deuteronomy 8:2-6 2And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. 3And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. 4Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years. 5Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the LORD your God disciplines you. 6So you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him.

Jesus is saying that every Word that comes from the mouth of the LORD that we are to live by’ are His commands, right rulings, and judgments; His Law/Instructions in Righteousness. That’s why he quoted Moses!

Deuteronomy 6:25 And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us.

What Truth “comes from the mouth of the LORD” that we are to live by? ~

Deuteronomy 4:2,6,8 2You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you6Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’… 8And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today?”

Psalm 119:66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments.

Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.

This is where Paul got, “the Law is the embodiment of knowledge”, listed above Romans 2:20.

Every one of these “Words” from the mouth of the LORD is “Truth” and it can never be untrue. What the LORD has declared as ‘Truth’ will always be ‘Truth’, forever. God cannot lie.

Paul’s definition of “truth” from Romans 2:2 at the beginning of this study, is the same definition of “truth” that all of these Scriptures have been saying; the Law of God is “Truth”, and God will Judge according to the “Truth/Law”.

As I mentioned earlier, Paul does tell us point-blank that God will (Future Tense in the Greek) judge by the Law at the end of days ~

Romans 2:12 For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law.

If you read Romans 1:18 through 2:12 in context, Paul tells us about the righteous judgment of God that will come upon the unrighteous who suppress the truth. He said, that since creation man has clearly seen and known of God, but mankind chose to pursue vile passions, to follow after the lusts of their own hearts. Paul then stated that even though they knew God’s righteous judgments they still chose to exchange the truth of God for a lie and practiced unrighteous deeds. He then warns the believers in Rome that they should be mindful of their own deeds because they also know “that the judgment of God is ‘according to truth‘, against those who practice such things”. Paul then said that if they (we) also practice such things and don’t repent, the wrath of God on the day of judgment will render each according to his deeds. Those who do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, these will reap wrath and anguish. There is no partiality with God. For those that have sinned without law will be destroyed, and those that have sinned in the law will “be judged by the law”.

What is the Truth? On Judgment Day, “The Truth” that God will judge by is the Law of God, at least according to the apostle Paul…

Final Thought:  Paul claims, that on Judgment Day, God will judge according to the Law. How can He judge according to the Law if, as today’s mainstream theology teaches, it’s been abolished? Was it valid for 1,500 years, then abolished for 2,000 years, and will then be re-instated as valid just for Judgement Day? That’s completely illogical. What kind of justice is that?

  • For further study of Paul’s teachings, as well as the original Greek, see the ‘Links’ at the top of this page or blog posts at the bottom. Be like the Bereans, and test Paul’s doctrines to the “Scriptures”; look up for yourself more than 60 of the “forever verses” listed directly below. Please ‘share’ this study. Thank you for your time!



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