ďFor I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them.They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. John 17:8
I am sure that every Christian by now has heard someone say that truth can be said once and still be true. Due to its nature, truth can be verified in one way or another since truth is crucial for a prudent way of life. Truth may not always be what you want hear, but truth is consistent with the reality of both this realm and spiritual realms.
Invariably, truth is embedded within facts that agree, but truth is also a statement that has been accepted and proven to be true. When things agree it imparts the assurance of actuality in contrast to something unrealistic, having the potential to be true or might be possible. On the other hand, when the facts disagree there is room for doubt and a question of what is wrong? While the theory that truth can be said once to be true has the potential to be true, there is no certainty or assurance that the statement is consistent with reality. The truth needs to be factual before it has credibility and consequently truth needs to be verified.
Ultimately, taking the time to discover the truth becomes a moral issue for every Christian. God teaches his child to be concerned over how his or her deeds affect other people and to behave in a right, fair and just manner. In the same way, you must hear and consider both sides of the story in a courtroom before rendering a verdict that will affect the life of the accused. Therefore, being certain of the truth also affects your ability to give accurate information that everyone relies on. Men and women always do what is right in their eyes, but inaccurate information is deceiving. Wrong information will affect personal behavior and modifies the difference between right and wrong. No one likes to be found in the wrong, so in the long run, being certain of the truth will change your life and the lives of the people your life impacts.
The consistency and character of truth give stability to oneís life and the capability of being able to prosper and be successful. Knowing the truth gives the assurance that whatever you do will be done right the first time and will not effect others adversely. Still it's fair to say that truth is like a double-edged sword, which can be used to defend your life when you are right, but ruin your life when your actions donít agree with the truth.
The key to knowing how to discern the truth is in how to handle the word of truth.
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
Learning how to handle the word of truth comes through the experience of our faith. Faith and your experience work hand in hand the same way faith without works is dead. David said this, taste and see that God is good. Palms 34:8. Tasting requires you to sample a small portion to see if you want more of Godís good and precious promises. To savor the truth of Godís word you have to apply the principal God wants you to use in everyday life. With patience you will see a favorable response from your application of Godís word. The outcome gives you an assurance that you can take Godís word to the bank.
You would think that since Godís word is the truth that all one would have to do is to study Godís word to learn the truth. However there are some contradictions, Steven for example tells us that 75 of Jacobís family went to Egypt during the famine where Moses only recorded the names of 70 family members that immigrated to Egypt. Knowing the truth is not as easy as you would think especially when the prophets of the bible conveyed the same ideas, but expressed the truth using different words, and phrases. Therefore, you need a personal involvement with God during your study time as God sheds light on his word. God reveals the truth in bits and pieces throughout the bible in a straightforward manner, but it is up to you to pay attention and with Godís help to arrange the information in a manner that you can understand.
If there were rules to learning the truth the first rule would be to speak to the author of truth before and during your study session. Ask God to teach during your study time and keep the prayer lines open while you study. Believe it or not your beliefs hinder you from hearing what God has to say especially when it is hard to admit you were wrong. Spending time in Godís word is not the time to defend your beliefs, but a time to learn. Listening to God demands that you keep an open mind and ask questions pertaining to what he is saying rather than asking God to prove what you already know. Still, the most important reason to study the bible is to hear and understand Godís side of the truth from his perspective.
If any of you lacks wisdom he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault and it will be given to him. James 1:5
However be warned ahead of time.
"Do not go beyond what is written." 1 Corinthians 4:6
In other words, keep things in context - do not add to the content or attempt to explain the content of Godís word in another way. The Bible was written for a specific purpose in straightforward language. Prudent beings such as God made every effort to make the purpose of their letters clear by saying what they want you to do in plain language. At the same time being prudent on your part requires you to listen to everything God has to say. Donít be satisfied with - I think this is what God is saying - ask God for the details.
Itís also fair to say that Godís word doesnít have fine print unless you go beyond what is written. Reading between the lines is the worldís way to discover the real intent of people they donít trust. By being straightforward and searching deeper God gives you all the details you need to know so there is no need to fill in the blanks. The things that are important are said many times and in different ways so the truth can be gleaned from the pages of the bible. God will make missing information known to you when you ask and expecting an answer.
Letís explain what adding and taking from Godís word does in its simplest form. What happens when one letter of a word is changed. For example adding one letter to how changes the word how into show, one becomes bone and can changes to canít. Notice how the word by adding a single letter can change the entire meaning of a word and affects the idea the sentence conveys.
Taking a letter away from our original word also changes the meaning of the original word. Replacing the word good with god would change the meaning of the entire paragraph dramatically and that would be going beyond what is written. Like a time bomb, adding to what is written or taking from what is written and alters what is written. The problem with adding to or taking from Godís word is when the bomb goes off, you may be caught in the blast.
Christians must be open-minded to hear from God, as spiritual principles are often hard to comprehend. Most spiritual principles are completely opposite of the physical realm, because God does not think like men. When you have previously studied the passage you will have fixed thoughts on what has been previously understood. Those ideas will close your mind to what God maybe wanting you to know.
For some people, thinking is not an easy exercise, especially when it involves changes that affect the way you live right now. We live in a world where the race goes to the fastest, the battle is won by strength and the go-getters take the prizes of life. God tells us that patience wins the race, God wins the battle and the heaven is a reward for those who live by the truth.
A part of the greatest commandment is to love God with your entire mind. Your mind is where your thoughts are conceived, reflects how you feel and determine what you are willing to do. It retains what you think is trustworthy and enables your ability to conceive something new or change the way you think. Overall, your mind gives you a reasoning capability and the ability to apply the knowledge that you accept as being true.
Is truth something we can put into a box and say that we know it? Putting truth into a box has no value and saying that you know the truth has no value unless you apply the known truth to your life. Godís word is a living source of truth and a powerful resource when placed in your heart. Your heart and life are the soil that the word of God in planted within. When you keep going back to learn more, God sprinkles additional wisdom like watering the soil of his garden that aids in your spiritual growth. God is generous by nature, he invites you to ask for wisdom. In return, you should take time to consider the truth he gives.
Christ for example took his fatherís word to heart, but he upset the notions of strict religious leaders. He spoke of his relation to God with intimacy, which the Pharisee's considered to be blasphemy. He enjoyed being with men and women with an unsavory and questionable character. Jesus Christís behavior demonstrated his love for the unsaved, which enable those who heard him think about what they were doing. What God expects of you will challenge your opinions of what is right or wrong. For some people, as it was for the Pharisees, becoming a Christian is an uncomfortable exercise involving a reappraisal of unyielding convictions.
Meditating on Godís word will eventually change your attitude about how truth affects your life. Thinking about what is written and the events that took place in helps you to personally place the truth of the matter into a picture that you can understand. When you take time to think about what people say it gives you the opportunity to put your feet into the shoes of biblical characters. Hearing and seeing what took place in your mind allow you to see their side of the story and what you can do in the same situation.
Meditating helps you to size up the good and evil pertaining to a specific matter. Overtime it helps you to plan a way to handle the same sin when it knocks at your door. Immersing yourself into the word of God also helps you to consider the matter from several points and allows you to hear from both sides of the issue. The outcome of meditating will help you to consider what you have planned and how your plans will affect other people.
Thinking is an exercise that does the heart good and concentrating your thoughts on a specific matter develops your reasoning capability for other matters. By developing your reasoning you form better conclusions, make sound judgments, acquire logic, and become knowledgeable. Meditating helps you to form an overall picture on the matter where you can see how everything fits together. When you can see how everything fits in the big picture the truth of the matter becomes easier to do what is right.
Look at Jesus when he was tempted in the desert. When the devil tempted Jesus he responded in truth, the way God would have. Meditating in Godís word forms and solidifies a foundation of truth in your heart that will direct your path throughout your life. When tempted you will know the truth, and be prepared to avoid the deeds of sin.
Having a realistic picture of what took place in the written word of God places the truth within your grasp. Investing your time to know the word of God allows you to become certain of things God has planned for our future. Being certain builds our confidence in God and the things that he has planned for eternity. However having a realistic picture of what God has planned includes the alternate destination for men God finds unworthy.
A realistic picture of Godís word must be credible enough to carry the weight of Godís wrath. On the other hand the gospel has to be credible for sinners to gain the hope that God does not want anyone to perish. Our confidence in God is built through faith, but the good news will not be found reliable until it has been tested through faith.
Verifying Godís word is a process of a prudent man to be certain that the facts agree when facts in the bible appear to disagree. Being a moral person requires that you take the time to discover the truth and be certain of its validity especially when what you teach affects the lives of those who learn from you.
Consider this statement. I would rather live as if God was alive then to die and find he didnít, than live as if God didnít exist and die to find out I was wrong. The statement presents the possibilities that God may not exist but why take the chance in case he does. While there is truth to this statement the person who made this statement wasnít sure.
By Godís law those who committed sin in the days of Moses were to be purged from the camp and the penalty for sin was stoning. According to the law the accused would be brought before the elders of the camp and placed on trial. Everyone who saw the sin committed was compelled by law to testify to the matter to determine if the accused was guilty and worthy of death. Those who bore false testimony were considered to be blasphemers and would receive the same sentence as the guilty. Godís law states,
One witness is not enough to convict a man accused of any crime or offense he may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. See; Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15, Matthew 18:16, 2 Corinthians 13:11, Timothy 5:19, Hebrews 10:28
In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two men is valid. John 8:17
The truth of the matter had to be established in Godís eye with corroboration from other sources. For this reason God provided a rule of thumb for man to establish the truth so the guilt or innocence of a man accused of a crime could be determined justly and in righteous manner. The purpose of two or more witnesses was to hear related statements and establish an agreement within the facts.
Mark tells us that when Christ was on trial for blasphemy Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree. Mark 14:56 and again Yet even then their testimony did not agree. Mark 14:59. When Jesus answered the question, are you the Christ? The high priest tore his clothes. "Why do we need any more witnesses?" he asked. "You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think? "They all condemned him as worthy of death." Mark 14:63-64. In this case several priests heard what they considered to be blasphemy.
The testimony of two or more witnesses is a biblical principle used to establish the truth for multiple reasons. The testimony of two or more witnesses was needed to establish the reality with facts that agreed and determine if the facts agreed with the law. The goal of any trial is to reach a fair and just decision with integrity. Verifying the facts is a method of finding assurance that you are certain of what is true. However, when the witnesses do not agree on what was done, their testimony presents a reason for doubt. This leaves room for acquittal and a decision from human reasoning based on fact. If justice is to prevail the judges at the time had to consider the facts to see if they were real and agreed before passing sentence.
How do you know that you have the actual truth? The testimony of two or three brought in the court information pertaining to what really happened to establish fact. Witnesses when asked specific questions present a sworn statement of what they saw and heard. As a member of the jury you have to focus on the facts presented in the court to know what actually happen. The verdict becomes a moral decision that will affect the life of the accused. God has placed the truth into your hands and it is up to you to judge the truth he has presented to you. Within the Bible there are some forty prophets God used to present his plan in written form to every person regardless of language and culture. His word provides a testimony about Jesus Christ for you to consider and by placing his word in you hands he has given you the ability to determine what is true and what you do about it.