What is Truth?

What is Truth?

John 18:37-38 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

It is popular now days to declare something as an “inconvenient truth”. Do you view Jesus and His Truth as inconvenient? Pilate and the Sanhedrin did. Therefore, they crucified Him. What will you do with Jesus?

The issue is whether we are willing to take Jesus as He is, or whether we will repackage Him to suit our own preferences. Some people want a Jesus who is a patsy, not too tough, not too clear, not too demanding, not too anything. We want a Jesus who is easy, who makes no demands, who doesn’t strain the brain, but still saves us from Hell.

You see, we have a tendency to desire a “god” in our image rather than submit to God who conforms us to His image. We are more interested in the blessings that are promised than the pathway necessary to receive them. We don’t want to be bothered with studying the Words of Jesus and understanding the Truth. That is why we easily fall for the deception of the world and the lies of the devil. Because our approach to the Truth is lazy, we compromise and rationalize our behavior that is contrary to God’s Word.

The pathway of blessing is to follow Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. To do that we must listen to Him. To hear Him, we must read His Word and obey it. To obey Him, we must die to ourselves, pick up a cross, and live for Him.

It is imperative that we encourage one another to do this because we will not get any encouragement elsewhere. The world denies the existence of God and the Truth of God’s Word. They disregard the necessity of having an intimate relationship with God and faith in Jesus Christ.

Romans 1:24-25, 32 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen... Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

As a result, society has foolishly established ways to pursue happiness: Secular Education - Shallow Relationships - Sexual promiscuity - Drugs and Alcohol - Money and Possessions – Power and Popularity.

None of these can give lasting joy, peace, and happiness! They only leave a God-shaped void in people’s lives, causing them to wonder, “There has to be more to life than this!”

The last place they think of finding truthful answers for life is the Bible. Every generation thinks of it as an old book, not relevant for today. It is easy to understand why unbelievers think this way, but some of the Bible’s most damaging critics are those in seminaries and churches, who preach that the Bible or parts of it are no longer useful or are in error because it conflicts with the “superior wisdom” of man today.

Is the Bible fact or fiction? Is it still relevant? To know the answer, one must believe that the author of the Bible, Jesus Christ, is Lord, and therefore, He overrules man’s opinions.

1 Peter 3:15-16 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

The key is to first settle in our heart that Jesus Christ is Lord, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no matter what man’s wisdom says. Then live according to His Word and we will discover it is true. Expect to defend your faith and way of life, but to do it in a Christ-like manner.

People will accuse us of being foolish for believing God’s Word. They will claim, “The Bible full of errors?” When that happens, respond by asking, “Which error bothers you the most?” Most likely they won’t have an answer, or the “error” will be about something taken out of context. Most likely, they have not studied the Bible. The “error” is just something they have been told or a deception they have chosen to believe.

Mark Twain said, “Most people are bothered by those passages of the Bible they don’t understand, but the passages that bother me most are those I do understand.”

Perhaps that is why people say the Bible contains errors. They are bothered by what it is says and they don’t want to believe it is true. In fact, some people have made it their life’s ambition to destroy and discredit the validity of the Bible. Yet all have failed. Their lives have come and gone; nevertheless, the Bible remains as influential and true as ever.

The concept of Biblical inerrancy is extremely important because it is foundational to what the Bible teaches. If the Bible is wrong about Hell, then who’s to say it’s right about Heaven—or about anything else? If the Bible can’t get the details right about creation, then maybe the details about salvation can’t be trusted, either. If the story of Jonah is a myth, then perhaps so is the story of Jesus’ birth and resurrection. If part of it was for back then, then what part is for today? It’s either a trustworthy book, or it’s not.

Biblical inerrancy is also important because it is a reflection about its Author. The Bible was written by God Himself as He worked through human writers in a process called “inspiration”. The writers used their own style, but God guided them into all truth.

2 Peter 1:20-21 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

God, Who is perfect and created the universe, is also capable of writing a perfect book. The issue is not “Does the Bible have a mistake?” but “Can God make a mistake?”

If the Bible contains factual errors, then God is not all-knowing and is capable of making errors Himself. If the Bible contains misinformation, then God is not truthful but is a liar. If the Bible contains contradictions, then God is the author of confusion. If parts of the Bible are not for today, then the Bible lies when it declares God does not change, and Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever,” is false.

In other words, if Biblical inerrancy is not true, then God is not God, and the Bible becomes a fabrication of man. It cannot be trusted and we are wasting our lives by believing any of it.

Sadly, many people have come to this conclusion about the Bible! They spend a great deal of effort trying to prove the Bible contains errors by taking things out of context and twisting them. They do the same as Satan did in the Garden of Eden by taking what God says and twisting it to create doubt.

Genesis 3:4-5 "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

If the Bible is not reliable, then on what do we base our beliefs—our own opinions? If so, then we become our own god. Being our own god and setting our own rules has always appealed to man. That is why we are in the mess we are in.

The Bible’s message must be taken as a whole. Many people like the verses that say God loves them, but they dislike the verses that say God will judge sinners. We simply can’t “pick and choose” what we like about the Bible and ignore the rest. God has said what He’s said, and the whole Bible presents us a full picture of Who God is.

John 1:1-3, 14 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made…And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Jesus, who is the Word, demands our trust, and that includes trust in what He says in His Word. Either Jesus is the Truth or He is a liar. Which one is He? Pilot had to decide and everyone alive has to make their own decision about this Inconvenient Son of God.

We recognize, as some are quick to point out, that there are difficult passages in the Bible, as well as sincere disagreements among men over interpretation, but those are the faults of man, not God. Our purpose is to approach Scripture reverently and prayerfully, asking the Holy Spirit to reveal the Truth to us. When we find something we don’t understand, we don’t reject it, we pray longer, and study more. Then—if the answer still eludes us—we humbly acknowledge our own limitations in the face of the perfect Word of God and wait patiently for His revelation.

The entire Bible is our source of authority. However, the New Testament, referring to the new covenant that Jesus established with His own Blood, takes precedent over the Old Testament or Old Covenant. For example, we trust in Jesus’ atonement—His blood instead of the blood of animals—to save us. The Old Covenant is not binding on us, but it is useful for correction, training, and revealing to us the nature and character of God.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Jesus established the New Covenant (testament) when He took the cup, as recorded in Luke 22:20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

Jesus fulfilled man’s obligations under the Old Covenant with His life and His sacrificial death. He ratified the New Covenant with His own blood.

Colossians 2:13-14 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.

So, after thousands of years, how do we know the Bible we have today is still accurate? What evidence do we have?

Manuscript evidence—there are many copies in the original language. The Dead Sea Scrolls, written 200 BC, show no inconsistency with later copies.

Its prophesies are fulfilled. There are more than 3,200 verses of fulfilled prophecy either within the Bible itself or since the Bible was written. And there are still more prophecies to be fulfilled.

Isaiah 46:9-11 Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do.

Its purpose is accomplished. Isaiah 55:10-11 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there but water the earth and making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

One purpose for God’s Word is to create faith. No man can convince another that the Bible is true. However, The Word has power to change minds, personalities, and lives by the work of the Holy Spirit.

Historical verification—there were several secular historians who wrote about the events of the New Testament at the same time the Bible was being written. Josephus, a Jewish historian, is the most well known of them. Tacitus was a Roman historian, who mentioned the same events. Both these men, as well as others, can be used to back up the historical accuracy of the Bible. There are historical discoveries regularly coming to light that continue to support the accuracy of the Bible.

Archeological verification—it is interesting that before the 20th century, many critics of the Bible discredited it, due to lack of evidence for certain biblical claims. Yet, in the 20th century, archaeology exploded, and all such claims have been reversed. Archaeology cannot prove the Bible, but every new discovery gives more weight to the historical accuracy of the Bible.

The most important evidence that the Bible is true is our own lives. The Bible has something to say about everything pertaining to life. We will not know if it is really factual until we do what it says and persist in doing it. That is called following Jesus. Then we will discover the Bible is indeed true.

Proverbs 3:5-8 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.

In summary, here is what people do with the inconvenient Truth. Either they live according to the Bible, or they try to ignore it—or parts of it, or they attempt to discredit it. Most people will not even read it to find out what it says. Some try reading it but do not understand it because they lack discernment from the Holy Spirit.

Therefore, it is our responsibility, as Christians, to grow into living testaments of what the Bible says. Not only should we be able to answer people’s questions about the Bible, our lives should be a demonstration that the Bible is true and does work for those who live according to it. After all, our actions speak louder than our words and carry more validity.

So, how does one live by a Book that is over a thousand pages long? It is easy if we are following the Author of the Book, Jesus Christ, and are filled with His Spirit.

Jesus summed the Bible up in Matthew 22:37-40 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

If we will just obey these two commandments by deeply and sincerely loving God and others, we will accomplish what God requires in His Word. Whatever verses of the Bible we don’t understand today, the Holy Spirit will reveal to us in the future, providing we walk in the understanding we have now, daily pick up our cross by dying to self, and follow Jesus, Who is the Truth and the Word.

To follow Jesus, you must first believe and confess Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Savior of your sinful soul. Believe in His redemptive work on the Cross and die to yourself in baptism, which will allow Christ to raise you up unto a new life and fill you with the Holy Spirit, who will lead you into all the truth of the Bible.