In the Gospel of John it is recorded that Yeshua said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (i.e., ᾽Εγώ εἰμι ἡ ὁδὸς καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια καὶ ἡ ζωή). The Greek word translated "truth" in this verse is aletheia (ἀλήθεια), a compound word formed from an alpha prefix (α-) meaning "not," and lethei (λήθη), meaning "forgetfulness." (In Greek mythology, the "waters of Lethe" induced a state of oblivion or forgetfulness.) Truth is therefore a kind of "remembering" something forgotten, or a recollecting of what is essentially real. Etymologically, the word aletheia suggests that truth is also "unforgettable" (i.e., not lethei), that is, it has its own inherent and irresistible "witness" to reality. People may lie to themselves, but ultimately the truth has the final word... "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it" (John 1:5).
Greek scholars note that the word lethei itself is derived from the verb lanthano (λανθάνω), which means "to be hidden," so the general idea is that a-letheia (i.e., truth) is non-concealment, non-hiddenness, or (put positively) revelation or disclosure. Thus the word of Yeshua - His message, logos (λόγος), revelation, and presence - is both "unforgettable" and irrepressible. Yeshua is the Unforgettable One that has been manifest as the express Word of God (דְּבַר הָאֱלהִים). Yeshua is the Light of the world (אוֹר הָעוֹלָם) and the one who gives us the "light of life" (John 8:12). Though God's message can be supressed by evil and darkened thinking, the truth is regarded as self-evident and full of intuitive validation (see Rom. 1:18-21).
The Hebrew word for truth (i.e., emet: אֱמֶת) comes from a verb (aman) that means to "support" or "make firm." There are a number of derived nouns that connote the sense of reliability or assurance (e.g., pillars of support). The noun emunah (i.e, אֱמוּנָה, "faithfulness" or "trustworthiness") comes from this root, as does the word for the "faithful ones" (אֱמוּנִים) who are "established" in God's way (Psalm 12:1). A play on words regarding truth occurs in the prophet Isaiah: אִם לא תַאֲמִינוּ כִּי לא תֵאָמֵנוּ / im lo ta'aminu, ki lo tei'amenu: "If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all" (Isa. 7:9; see Faith Establishes the Sign). Without trust in the LORD, there is no stability... Truth is something trustworthy, reliable, firm, or sure. In colloquial English, for example, this idea is conveyed when we say, "He's a true friend...", indicating that the loyalty and love of the person is certain. The familiar word "amen" likewise comes from this root. Speaking the truth (dibbur emet) is considered foundational to moral life: "Speak the truth (דַּבְּרוּ אֱמֶת) to one another; render true and perfect justice in your gates" (Zech. 8:16). Yeshua repeatedly said, "Amen, Amen I say to you...." throughout his teaching ministry to stress the reliability and certainty of God's truth (Matt. 5:18, 26, etc.). Indeed, Yeshua is called "the Amen, the faithful and true witness" (Rev. 3:14).
The relationship between the Hebrew and the Greek ideas seems to be that the revelation of God - the aletheia - is reliable and strong. The source for all truth in the universe is found in the Person and character of the God of Israel, blessed be He... The self-disclosure of the LORD is both unforgettable - both in the factual and moral sense - as well as entirely trustworthy. Aletheia implies that truth is something that should never be forgotten, and therefore we are regularly admonished not to "forget" the LORD (Deut. 8:11, Psalm 103:2), to "remember" his covenants, to "keep" his ways, to "guard" His precepts, and so on.
The Scriptures attest that Yeshua is the true Light (אוֹר אֱמֶת) that comes from eternity to give light and revelation for all mankind:
הָאוֹר הָאֲמִתִּי הַמֵּאִיר לְכָל־אָדָם
ha'ohr · ha'amiti · ha'me'ir · lekhol · adam
ba · el · ha'olam
"[This is] the true light that shines to all men
who come into the world"
῏Ην τὸ φῶς τὸ ἀληθινόν, ὃ φωτίζει πάντα ἄνθρωπον
ἐρχόμενον εἰς τὸν κόσμον
During this Chanukah Season -- and always -- may the LORD God of Israel help us walk in the unforgettable and irrepressible radiance of His glory. May God help us shine with good works that glorify God's Name (Matt. 5:16). "For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness' (יְהִי אוֹר וַיְהִי־אוֹר), has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the Glory of God in the face of Yeshua the Messiah" (2 Cor. 4:6).
כִּי־עִמְּךָ מְקוֹר חַיִּים
ki · im·me·kha · me·kor · cha·yim
be·or·kha · nir·eh · ohr
"For with You is the fountain of life;
in Your light do we see Light"