True - Trench's New Testament Synonyms


alethes (G227) True
alethinos (G228)
The Latin verax (speaking truly, veracious) and verus (true, real, genuine) respectively represent the Greek alethes and alethinos and reproduce the distinction between them. The Vulgate uses the two Latin words to indicate which of the two Greek terms stands in the original. However, because very is no longer used in English as an adjective but only as an adverb, we use trueto translate both Greek terms, thereby obliterating the difference between them. One exception to this is the Nicene Creed's "very God of very God," which preserves the distinction. Although the distinction has faded in common English usage, it would have been worth making an attempt to preserve it because the differences that truecovers up are quite real.
God is both alethes and alethinos, and each word represents very different attributes. Because he cannot lie, God is alethes; he is apseudes, the truth-speaking and the truth-loving God. But God also is alethinos, very God as distinguished from idols and from all other false gods. Idols are the dreams of people's diseased fancy; they have no substantial existence in the real world.
The adjectives in =i-nos express the material out of which anything is made, or rather they imply a mixed relation, of quality and origin, to the object denoted by the substantive from which they are derived. Thus xul-i-nos means "of wood," "wooden"; [ostrak-i-nos,"of earth," "earthen"; hual-i-nos,"of glass," "glassen";] and aleth-i-nos signifies "genuine," made up of that which is true [that which, in chemical language, has truth for its stuff and base]. This last adjective is particularly applied to express that which is all that it pretends to be; for instance, pure gold as opposed to adulterated metal.
It does not necessarily follow from the preceding remarks that whatever is contrasted with the alethinos has no substantial existence or is completely fraudulent. Subordinate realizations or partial and imperfect anticipations of the truth may be set over against the truth in its highest and most complete form, to which alone alethinos applies. As Kahnis noted:
Alethes lays bare what is not true and not real; alethinos lays bare what is incongruous with the concept in question. The standard applied by alethes is reality; by alethinos it is the concept. In alethes the concept is congruous with the matter at hand; in alethinos the matter at hand is congruous with the concept.
Thus Xenophon affirmed that Cyrus commanded alethinon strateuma (G4753), an army that deserved the name, though Xenophon also used armyto refer to inferior hosts. Plato referred to the sea beyond the Straits of Hercules as "virtually high sea, genuine [alethinos] open sea," implying that it alone realized to the full extentthe idea of the great ocean deep.
If we consistently interpret alethinos to mean the trueas opposed to the false, we shall miss the exact force of the word and find ourselves entangled in serious embarrassments. Frequently, in fact, alethinos refers to the substantial as opposed to the indistinct or, as Origen put it, to the "genuine [alethinos] as distinguished from shadow and copy and image." Thus in Hebrews 8:2 we read of the "real [alethine] tabernacle" into which our great High Priest entered. This does not imply that the tabernacle in the wilderness was not also pitched at God's bidding and according to the pattern that he gave (Exod. 25). Rather the tabernacle and its contents were weak earthly copies of heavenly realities"types of the genuine [alethinon]. "The entry of the Jewish high priest into the Holy of Holies, along with everything pertaining to the worldly sanctuary, was but the "shadow of the good things to come." The "substance"the filling of these outlines so that they were no longer shadowswas of Christ (Col. 2:17).
In John the Baptist's statement "the law was given by Moses, but grace and truthby Jesus Christ" (John 1:17), the antithesis is not between the false and the true but between the imperfect and the perfect, between the shadowy and the substantial. The Eternal Word also is declared to be "the genuine [alethinon] Light" (John 1:9), but that does not preclude John from being called "a burning and a shining lamp" (John 5:35) or the faithful from being called "lights in the world" (Matt. 5:14; Phil. 2:15). Rather it means that Jesus is greater than all; he is "the Light which gives light to every man who comes into the world" (John 1:9). Christ's proclamation that he is "the genuine [alethinos) Bread" (John 6:32) does not imply that the bread Moses gave was not the "bread of heaven" (Ps. 105:40). It was bread but in a secondary sense. It was not food in the highest sense because it did not grant eternal life to those who ate it (John 6:49). To call Jesus "the genuine [alethine] Vine" (John 15:1) does not preclude Israel's being God's vine (Ps. 80:8; Jer.2:21); it affirms that Christ alone is the full embodiment of this name (Deut. 32:32; Hos. 10:1). Other illustrations could be given, but these examples (drawn chiefly from John) should suffice.
Thus to refer to Jesus Christ as alethes affirms that he fulfills his promises. To refer to him as alethinos affirms that he fulfills the wider promise of his nameall that his name implies when taken in its highest, deepest, and widest sense. Because that is true of things, as well as of persons, pistoi (G4103, trustworthy) and alethinoi (G228, genuine) are both properly used together in Revelation 21:5.

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