What Is A Fact?
“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”
This last week, there was an interesting exchange that took place in the press and on social media. It was over the definition of a “fact”. “Fact checking” was one of the newest innovations in the previous election cycle. “Fact checkers” researched many things that politicians said, and then graded them. The politicians began to question who was checking the “fact checkers”, and a media circus ensued. Last week, a new term emerged: “alternative fact”. I suppose, it suggests that there can be more than one way to interpret a fact. I’m not sure. Predictably, web searches for a definition of the word “fact” sky-rocketed, and it encouraged the publishers of the Meriam-Webster dictionary to post their definition of a fact. Here it is:
“A fact is a piece of information presented as having objective reality.”
I must admit, I was taken aback by this definition. The most popular dictionary in our country is saying that a fact is simply information that is “presented” as having objective reality. If that is indeed the definition, any scoundrel or imbecile cant present foolishness as truth and it is considered a “fact”! In this instance, I think I will defer to the definition that was printed in Noah Webster’s first dictionary: The 1828, American Dictionary of the English Language…and it’s quite simple:
Fact: “Reality; Truth; as, in fact.”
Much better! As believers in Christ, we have the ability to know and present truth that is not altered by either perception or presentation. When you hold the Bible, you are holding unchanging truth. The Spirit of God grants to believers the revelation that allows us to understand and communicate the most significant information that has ever been given to man. We may have to pick apart the newspaper to discover what are facts, alternative facts, or mere opinions. But when we hold the Bible, we are holding pure, unadulterated truth. It is truth that may be misunderstood if mishandled, but the error is with the interpreter and not the scripture.
So in a world where information and perceived reality are always changing, why not invest the time in something that is not. I encourage you to daily pick up the Word of God and consume it. Read it. Study it. Memorize it. Meditate on it. Live your life based on its revelation. Share its Good News with a world that desperately needs to hear it. It is sharper than a sword, yet it is a great comfort to those who seek wisdom. David said it well in Psalm 1:1-2:
Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
I pray it wil be your delight!