John 18:38
Verse (Click for Chapter)
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.

NET Bible
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.

New Heart English Bible
Pilate said to him, "What is truth?" When he had said this, he went out again to the Jewish leaders, and said to them, "I find no basis for a charge 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.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Pilate said unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and said unto them, I find no fault at all in him.

King James 2000 Bible
Pilate said unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and said unto them, I find in him no fault at all.

American King James Version
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.

American Standard Version
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 no crime in him.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Pilate saith to him: What is truth? And when he said this, he went out again to the Jews, and saith to them: I find no cause in him.

Darby Bible Translation
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 fault whatever in him.

English Revised Version
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 no crime in him.

Webster's Bible Translation
Pilate saith to him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and saith to them, I find in him no fault.

Weymouth New Testament
"What is truth?" said Pilate. But no sooner had he spoken the words than he went out again to the Jews and told them, "I find no crime in him.

World English Bible
Pilate said to him, "What is truth?" When he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, "I find no basis for a charge against him.

Young's Literal Translation
Pilate saith to him, 'What is truth?' and this having said, again he went forth unto the Jews, and saith to them, 'I do find no fault in him;

Study Bible
Jesus Before Pilate
37“Then You are a king?” Pilate said. “You say that I am a king,” Jesus answered. “For this reason I was born and have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to My voice.” 38“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. 39But it is your custom that I release to you one prisoner at the Passover. So then, do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”…
Cross References
Luke 23:4
Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, "I find no basis for a charge against this man."

John 18:33
Pilate went back into the Praetorium, summoned Jesus, and asked Him, "Are You the King of the Jews?"

John 19:4
Once again Pilate came out and said to the Jews, "Look, I am bringing Him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against Him."

John 19:6
As soon as the chief priests and officers saw Him, they shouted, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" "Take Him and crucify Him yourselves," Pilate replied, "for 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.

What.

Acts 17:19,20,32 And they took him, and brought him to Areopagus, saying, May we know …

Acts 24:25,26 And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to …

I find.

John 19:4,6,21,22 Pilate therefore went forth again, and said to them, Behold, I bring …

Matthew 27:18,19,24 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him…

Mark 15:14 Then Pilate said to them, Why, what evil has he done? And they cried …

Luke 23:4,14-16 Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no …

1 Peter 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish …

1 Peter 2:22,23 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth…

(38) Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?--"'What is truth?' said jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an answer." Such is Lord Bacon's well-known interpretation of Pilate's well-known question. Others have seen in it the bitterness of a mind that had been tossed to and fro in the troubled sea of contemporaneous thought, and despaired of an anchorage. Others, again; have traced the tone of sarcasm in the governor's words--"Is the son of Roman freedom and Greek thought, which had at this time been welded into one power, to learn truth of a Jewish enthusiast?" while the older interpreters, for the most part, regarded the question as that of an earnest inquirer desiring to be satisfied. These are a few among the many thoughts the passage has suggested; and yet none of them seem to give the natural impression which follows from the words. Bacon's is nearest to it, but Pilate was far from jesting. He seems rather to have been irritated by the refusal of the Jews to furnish a formal accusation (John 18:31), and more so at the question of Jesus in John 18:34, and the subtleties, as he thinks them, of John 18:36. This seems to him to be another, and at all events it is wholly irrelevant to the question at issue. He has neither time nor will to deal with it, and at once goes from the palace again to the Jews.

I find in him no fault at all.--Better, I find no crime in Him. St. John uses the word rendered "fault" only in this phrase. (Comp. John 19:4; John 19:6.) It is used by St. Matthew (Matthew 27:37) for the technical "accusation written, This is Jesus, the King of the Jews," and this seems to be the sense here. "I find no ground for the legal charge (John 18:33). Whatever He may be, there is no proof of treason against the majesty of Csar."

On the attempt of Pilate to release Jesus (John 18:39-40), comp. Matthew 27:15-23; Mark 15:6-14; Luke 23:13-23. It is preceded in St. Luke by the trial before Herod (John 18:6-12).

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." 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. 1.38. 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 [1905]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 [1906]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).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.
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