Merriam-Webster.com defines truth as, “the real facts about something: the things that are true.” For many, when it comes to understanding the Bible, truth is subjective. In other words, the “truth” one holds is based on personal experience, feelings, or opinions. Because of this approach to Scripture there are many who are frustrated in the search for truth to the point of giving up. Is there such a thing as absolute truth? Is there a way that is right and cannot be wrong? Can we know for sure what God expects His people to do and believe? When addressing these questions it is important to understand the following about truth:
According to God’s word, truth is not found in one’s personal feelings about a matter. Just because something is believed to be true does not make it true. When Joseph’s brethren dipped his coat in the blood of a kid of the goats, they were able to convince Jacob that his son was dead (Gen. 37:29-34). He was convinced that his son was dead based on the evidence presented! In fact, when all of his sons and daughters attempted to comfort him, he refused to be comforted (Gen. 37:35). In Jeremiah’s day, a false prophet by the name of Hananiah caused Israel to “trust in a lie” (Jer. 28:15). Absolute, objective truth is not determined by what one believes to be true.
According to God’s word, truth is not determined by what the majority believes to be true. Jesus teaches that a majority of people choose to enter to wide and broad way that leads to destruction (Matt. 7:13-14). God instructed Israel, “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment” (Exo. 23:2).
According to the teaching of Christ, truth is not found in tradition. Practicing or teaching something for a long period of time does not mean that God approves of what is practiced or taught. When confronted about the tradition of hand washing Jesus told the Pharisees, “Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition” (Matt. 15:3)? Of those traditions Jesus said, “Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up” (Matt. 15:13).
In the search for truth one cannot depend on personal feelings, prevailing thought, or human tradition. God’s inspired word is the only source for absolute, objective truth. Jesus told the Jews who believed on Him, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8:31-32). John 17:17 informs us that God’s word is truth. Our loving God has provided us with a Book that is without error, without contradiction, and that gives us “all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2 Pet. 1:3). Truth does not change with time. 2 + 2 will always equal 4! Likewise, the truths revealed in God’s word will never change or become antiquated.
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