Right now, in the heat of the 2020 Presidential race, one has to pose the same question as did Pilate as recorded in John 18:38a (ESV):
38a Pilate said to him, “What is truth [alētheia]?”
For Day 172, the passage that stands out comprises of 3 John 3-4 (ESV), which reads:
3 For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
Before I look at the passage, there are two facts that I want to present.
First, the Bible teaches that life in the womb is from God. A primary supporting Scripture is Psalm 139:13–16 (ESV):
13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
It is clear that God considers a tiny embryo in the womb to be a person. No matter what the stage of development in God’s eyes, and God’s eyes are the only eyes that matter, from conception onward that baby possesses personhood. Consistent with personhood, Psalm 51:5 (ESV) reads:
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
In an article (June 6, 2014) entitled “Is the Bible clear about abortion?” at the Grace to You website (link: https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B140606/is-scripture-clear-about-abortion ) John MacArthur says:
The point is that after God initiates conception, we’re not just the product of a biological sequence or a collection of cells. We’re not simply a lump of expanding human tissue. Our skin, bones, and muscles do not make up the sum of our existence—they are merely a vessel that contains the image of God. Everything we need for thinking, acting, feeling, knowing, trusting and hoping—everything fundamental to being a person—is there, present in the womb.
And the end result of being image-bearers is that each person has an innate value in creation. That’s why God’s Word condemns murderers and advocates the strictest possible punishment for their crime. Capital punishment is a key facet of God’s law, going all the way back to His covenant with Noah. “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man” (Genesis 9:6). Human life is sacred because it was created by God in His own image.
Second, there is a 180º difference in the policy towards abortion between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. The Republican Party is pro-life and the Democratic Party is pro-choice (i.e., pro-abortion). A couple of articles from Decision Magazine make that clear. A January 24, 2020 article from Decision Magazine entitled “Trump: Each Life Made in the Holy Image of God” (link: https://decisionmagazine.com/trump-each-life-made-in-the-holy-image-of-god/ ) reads [in part].
During a roughly 13-minute speech, Trump praised the many thousands of young adults and teenagers at the march, telling them, “It’s your generation that is making America the pro-family, pro-life nation.” He also referenced the Bible’s teaching that each person is “wonderfully made” and that in seeing a baby in the womb “we glimpse the majesty of God’s creation.”
“Unborn children have never had a stronger defender in the White House,” Trump said to loud applause.
Trump touted the administration’s accomplishments in defending life, noting the reimplementation of the Mexico City Policy blocking federal funding of international abortions, new life-affirming Title X family planning regulations, and the appointment of 187 constitutionally minded judges, including two Supreme Court appointments. He also cited the administration’s aim to continue protecting the conscience rights of medical workers and an ongoing effort to pass a pain-capable law to protect later-term babies in the womb.
An article (August 12, 2020) entitled “Biden Chooses Kamala Harris a Pro-Choice, LGBTQ Champion, as VP Running mate” by Becca Koon in Decision Magazine (Link https://decisionmagazine.com/biden-chooses-kamala-harris-a-pro-choice-lgbtq-champion-as-vp-running-mate/ ) reads [in part}:
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List, warned: “If elected, [Biden and Harris] will immediately begin rolling back President Trump’s pro-life gains, as well as longstanding policies like the Hyde Amendment. They will stack the Supreme Court with pro-abortion ideologues, setting the pro-life cause back for generations. Together, Biden and Harris constitute the most pro-abortion presidential ticket in American history.”
In reference to 3 John 3-4, the phrase that stands out is “are walking in the truth.” In both verses, the ESV translates the Greek verb peripateō as “are walking.” It means to live or behave in a customary manner, with possible focus upon continuity of action—‘to live, to behave, to go about doing.’ See Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 504). New York: United Bible Societies. In verse 3 and 4, the Apostle John uses the Greek noun alētheia, which the ESV translates as “the truth” in verse 3 and “truth” in verse 4. According to Louw et al. (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 672), the basic meaning of alētheia is:
72.2 ἀλήθεια, ας f: the content of that which is true and thus in accordance with what actually happened—‘truth.’ εἶπεν αὐτῷ πᾶσαν τὴν ἀλήθειαν ‘she told him the whole truth’ Mk 5:33. In Jn 8:32 ἀλήθεια is used to refer to the revelation of God that Jesus brings or, perhaps, to Jesus himself for what he actually is as the revelation of God.
As a brief aside, one source (Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. (1985). Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (p. 38). Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans), describes the etymology of the word alētheia:
1. The Original Greek Usage and Its Differentiations. Etymologically alḗtheia means “nonconcealment.” It thus denotes what is seen, indicated, expressed, or disclosed, i.e., a thing as it really is, not as it is concealed or falsified. alḗtheia is “the real state of affairs,” e.g., the truth in law, or real events in history, or true being in philosophy. Links develop with lógos, whose function it is to reveal, and pístis, since one may rely on truth and is also trustworthy when speaking it. alḗtheia can thus denote “truthfulness” as a personal quality.
In verses 3-4, John uses the phrase “you are walking in the truth [alētheia]” to describe Gaius’ lifestyle or the lifestyle of other believers including Gaius. This phrase refers to living a lifestyle that is consistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ. One commentator (Womack, M. M. (1998). 1, 2 & 3 John (3 Jn 2–8). Joplin, MO: College Press) writes:
They were putting John’s teaching into practice despite any of Satan’s attacks. They had gone beyond hearing the truth to actually living it. “It was from truth, believed and obeyed by his children, that he derived his greatest joy.” As James 1:24 teaches, “You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.” We would do well to learn the lesson that the need to nurture new Christians on to maturity is as important as bringing them to spiritual birth.
One Greek resource (Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Vol. 15, p. 219). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans) translates verse 3 and 4 to read:
(3) For I rejoiced greatly when brethren were constantly coming and constantly bearing witness of your truth, just as, as for you, in the sphere of the truth you are conducting yourself. (4) Greater joy than this I do not have, namely, that I am hearing that my own children are habitually ordering their behavior in the sphere of the truth.
In Wuest’s translation, note the phrases “in the sphere of the truth you are conducting yourself” and “behavior in the sphere of the truth.” Overall, John’s intent in using the phrase (ESV) “are walking in the truth” was to reference living a lifestyle consistent with the teachings of God’s Word so as to be within the sphere of the truth of God’s Word.
Some other resources describe the phrase “are waking in the truth” as follows. Utley (Utley, R. J. (1999). The Beloved Disciple’s Memoirs and Letters: The Gospel of John, I, II, and III John (Vol. Volume 4, p. 254). Marshall, Texas: Bible Lessons International) reads:
“walking in the truth” Christianity is not primarily a creed, a ritual, or an institution to be joined but a life to be lived in relationship with Jesus Christ.
Still another commentator (McDermond, J. E. (2011). 1, 2, 3 John (p. 288). Harrisonburg, VA; Waterloo, ON: Herald Press) writes:
The expression is probably shorthand for the Johannine community’s understanding of the gospel. Gaius, according to verses 3–4 and the reports referred to there, is a model of the Johannine tradition’s stressing both correct doctrine and correct behavior. The greatest joy that the elder knows is that church members, even those at a distance, are faithful.
The application for the 21st Century believer is the same, i.e., to live a lifestyle consistent with the teachings of God’s Word so as to be within the sphere of truth as taught by God’s Word. .
How should the phrase “are walking in the truth” impact a Christian who votes for in the 2020 President election? In my opinion, a believer who is “walking in the truth” is going to vote for the candidate whose most biblically critical policy is the closest to biblical truth. The difference between President Trump and former Vice-President Biden on the biblically critical policy pertaining to abortion is clear. This difference is all that any Christ-follower who is “walking in the truth” ought to need to compel him or her to cast their vote for the Trump-Pence ticket.
If you are reading this post and are not a Christian, unless God intervenes, your eternal destination is hell. But, your destiny can change. Today can be the day of your salvation. Please see my blog (https://stevebelsheim.com/2020/04/20/for-god-so-loves-you-2/) for a description of how you can be saved.
The Professor Grant Horner Bible Reading System is a great 500 day Bible reading plan. The following link presents a description of the plan ( https://sohmer.net/media/professor_grant_horners_bible_reading_system.pdf).
NOTICE OF PERMISSIONS
I am mindful of and respect the rights other authors and/or publishers possess in their works. I thus try my best to not violate any copyright rights other authors and/or publishers possess in their works. The below copyright permission statement is the result of my best efforts to understand that limited usage or “fair use” is available and/or to secure direct permission for specific works. The quotations from commentaries are considered to be “fair use.”
Scripture quotations marked “ESV” are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version) copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture marked “NASB95” are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.”
Scripture marked “NCV” is taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”
The Scriptures marked “NET” are quoted are from the NET Bible® http://netbible.com copyright ©1996, 2019 used with permission from Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. All rights reserved”.
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Scripture marked “GW” is taken from the God’s Word Bible that is a copyrighted work of God’s Word to the Nations. Quotations are used by permission.