New International Version
"What is truth?" retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, "I find no basis for a charge against him.
New Living Translation
"What is truth?" Pilate asked. Then he went out again to the people and told them, "He is not guilty of any crime.
English Standard Version
Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him.
Berean Study Bible
"What is truth?" Pilate asked. And having said this, he went out again to the Jews and told them, "I find no basis for a charge against Him.
Berean Literal Bible
Pilate says to Him, "What is truth?" And having said this, he went out again to the Jews and says to them, "I find no guilt in Him.
New American Standard Bible
Pilate said to Him, "What is truth?" And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and said to them, "I find no guilt in Him.
King James Bible
Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.
Holman Christian Standard Bible
What is truth?" said Pilate. After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, "I find no grounds for charging Him.
International Standard Version
Pilate asked him, "What is 'truth'?" and then he went out to the Jewish leaders again and told them, "I find no basis for a charge against him.
Pilate asked, "What is truth?" When he had said this he went back outside to the Jewish leaders and announced, "I find no basis for an accusation against him.
Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Pilate said to him, “What is the truth?” And when he had said this he went out again to the Judeans and he said to them, “I find not even one fault in him.”
GOD'S WORD® Translation
Pilate said to him, "What is truth?" After Pilate said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, "I don't find this man guilty of anything.
New American Standard 1977
Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?”
And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, “I find no guilt in Him.
Parallel CommentariesMatthew Henry's Concise Commentary
18:33-40 Art thou the King of the Jews? that King of the Jews who has been so long expected? Messiah the Prince; art thou he? Dost thou call thyself so, and wouldest thou be thought so? Christ answered this question with another; not for evasion, but that Pilate might consider what he did. He never took upon him any earthly power, never were any traitorous principles or practices laid to him. Christ gave an account of the nature of his kingdom. Its nature is not worldly; it is a kingdom within men, set up in their hearts and consciences; its riches spiritual, its power spiritual, and it glory within. Its supports are not worldly; its weapons are spiritual; it needed not, nor used, force to maintain and advance it, nor opposed any kingdom but that of sin and Satan. Its object and design are not worldly. When Christ said, I am the Truth, he said, in effect, I am a King. He conquers by the convincing evidence of truth; he rules by the commanding power of truth. The subjects of this kingdom are those that are of the truth. Pilate put a good question, he said, What is truth? When we search the Scriptures, and attend the ministry of the word, it must be with this inquiry, What is truth? and with this prayer, Lead me in thy truth; into all truth. But many put this question, who have not patience to preserve in their search after truth; or not humility enough to receive it. By this solemn declaration of Christ's innocence, it appears, that though the Lord Jesus was treated as the worst of evil-doers, he never deserved such treatment. But it unfolds the design of his death; that he died as a Sacrifice for our sins. Pilate was willing to please all sides; and was governed more by worldly wisdom than by the rules of justice. Sin is a robber, yet is foolishly chosen by many rather than Christ, who would truly enrich us. Let us endeavour to make our accusers ashamed as Christ did; and let us beware of crucifying Christ afresh.
Verse 38. - Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? The aphorism of Lord Bacon, "'What is truth?' said jesting Pilate, and did not wait for an answer," scarcely represents the reality oft-he case. Pilate was not scornfully jesting with a metaphysical problem, nor professing himself hopelessly baffled in search for it. The language was not the utterance of irrepressible homage to his mysterious Prisoner, or heartfelt sympathy with him. For on this supposition why did he not wait for some more words of strange unearthly wisdom? Nor does he go so far in his skepticism as Pliny the Eider did when he said, "that there is only one thing certain, viz. that there is nothing certain;" but as a man of the world having to do with Roman authority or intrigue and Jewish fanaticism, Pilate despised earnestness and zeal, and was utterly unable to believe in the existence of a world or region where any higher reality than force prevailed. But the governor was now, with his narrow range of thought, strongly convinced that Jesus was utterly innocent of the charge brought against him. The unanswered question is equivalent to this - What has truth to do with kingship? What has the vague shadowy region over which this poor king reigns to do with plots against Caesar? He saw enough to induce him to break off the interview within the Praetorium, and he proceeded, though vainly, to deliver a verdict on the case. When he had said this, he went out to the Jews, and said, I find no crime in him. Here, however, must be introduced the scenes described by Matthew, Mark, and especially by Luke - scenes of loud and angry dispute and renewed and fierce accusation (Matthew 27:12-14; Mark 15:3-5; Luke 23:4-12). In all three accounts, after the admission that he was King of the Jews, the loud, fierce accusations followed in which our Lord, notwithstanding the repeated summons of Pilate, "answered nothing." At this the governor marveled greatly (Matthew and Mark). It is not impossible that the first question which Pilate put to him within the Praetorium was renewed and laconically answered with the Σὺ λέγεις, as before I but all the wild roar of the chief priests and people could extract nothing more. This silence in face of the accusation of the mob astonished Pilate, and made him more than ever convinced of the innocence of his Prisoner. B. Weiss shows conclusively how much light this interview with Pilate throws on the synoptic narrative; that, in fact, Pilate's whole conduct is only explicable on the supposition that he had received cogent reasons to disarm all political mistrust (see 'Life of Jesus,' vol. 3. pp. 348, 349). Westcott says, "It is of great interest to compare this confession before Pilate with the corresponding confession before the high priest (Matthew 26:64). The one addressed to the Jews is in the language of prophecy, the other addressed to a Roman appeals to the verdict of universal conscience. The one speaks of a future manifestation of glory, the other of a present manifestation of truth."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Pilate saith unto him, what is truth?.... That is, in general, or that which Christ then particularly spoke of: many things might be observed in answer to this question, as that there is the truth and faithfulness of God in his word and promises; the truth of grace in the hearts of his people; Jesus Christ himself is truth, he is true God, and true man; the truth of all covenant transactions, of all types, promises, and prophecies; whatever he said and taught was truth, and the truth of all doctrine comes from him. The Gospel is truth in general; it comes from the God of truth; lies in the Scriptures of truth; Christ, who is truth itself, is the substance of it; the Spirit of truth has an hand in it, leads into it, and makes it effectual; the whole of it is true, and every particular doctrine of it; as the manifestation of the Son of God in human nature, his coming into the world to save the chief of sinners, justification by his righteousness, pardon by his blood, atonement by his sacrifice, the resurrection of the dead, &c. The same question is put in the Talmud (p), , "what is truth?" and it is answered, that he is the living God, and the King of the World: we do not find that our Lord gave any answer to this question, which might be put in a scornful, jeering way; nor did Pilate wait for one; for
when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews: as soon as he had put the question about truth, having no great inclination to hear what Christ would say to it; nor did he put it for information sake, or as having any opinion of Christ, and that he was able to answer it; he directly goes out of the judgment hall, taking Jesus along with him, and addresses the Jews after this manner:
and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all; and indeed how should he? there was no sin in his nature, nor guile in his lips, nor any iniquity in his life; the devil himself could find none in him. This confession is both to the shame of Pilate and the Jews; to the reproach of Pilate, that after this he should condemn him; and of the Jews, that after such a fair and full declaration from the judge, they should insist upon his crucifixion; it shows, however, that he died not for any sin of his own, but for the sins of others.
(p) T. Hieros. Sanhedrin, fol. 18. 1.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
38. Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?—that is, "Thou stirrest the question of questions, which the thoughtful of every age have asked, but never man yet answered."
And when he had said this—as if, by putting such a question, he was getting into interminable and unseasonable inquiries, when this business demanded rather prompt action.
he went out again unto the Jews—thus missing a noble opportunity for himself, and giving utterance to that consciousness of the want of all intellectual and moral certainty, which was the feeling of every thoughtful mind at that time. "The only certainty," says the elder Pliny, "is that nothing is certain, nor more miserable than man, nor more proud. The fearful laxity of morals at that time must doubtless be traced in a great degree to this skepticism. The revelation of the eternal truth alone was able to breathe new life into ruined human nature, and that in the apprehension of complete redemption" [Olshausen].
and saith unto them—in the hearing of our Lord, who had been brought forth.
I find in him no fault—no crime. This so exasperated "the chief priests and elders" that, afraid of losing their prey, they poured forth a volley of charges against Him, as appears from Lu 23:4, 5: on Pilate's affirming His innocence, "they were the more fierce, saying, He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place." They see no hope of getting Pilate's sanction to His death unless they can fasten upon Him a charge of conspiracy against the government; and as Galilee was noted for its turbulence (Lu 13:1; Ac 5:37), and our Lord's ministry lay chiefly there, they artfully introduce it to give color to their charge. "And the chief priests accused Him of many things, but He answered nothing (Mr 15:3). Then said Pilate unto Him, Hearest Thou not how many things they witness against Thee? And He answered him to never a word, insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly" (Mt 27:13, 14). See on Mr 15:3-5. In his perplexity, Pilate, hearing of Galilee, bethinks himself of the expedient of sending Him to Herod, in the hope of thereby further shaking off responsibility in the case. See Mr 15:6, and see on Lu 23:6-12. The return of the prisoner only deepened the perplexity of Pilate, who, "calling together the chief priests, rulers, and people," tells them plainly that not one of their charges against "this man" had been made good, while even Herod, to whose jurisdiction he more naturally belonged, had done nothing to Him: He "will therefore chastise and release him" (Lu 23:13-16).
John 18:38 Additional Commentaries
Jesus Before Pilate
…37Therefore Pilate said to Him, "So You are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice." 38Pilate said to Him, "What is truth?" And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and said to them, "I find no guilt in Him. 39"But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover; do you wish then that I release for you the King of the Jews?"…
Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, "I find no basis for a charge against this man."
Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?"
Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, "Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him."
As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, "Crucify! Crucify!" But Pilate answered, "You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him."
Treasury of Scripture
Pilate said to him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, I find in him no fault at all.
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