Myles Cheadle is a leader in C&YA, overseeing the A/V Team. He and his wife Lisa are active disciplers as well as teachers in the children's ministry. In this post Myles asks perhaps the most important question anyone could ask, "what is truth?" In a post-modern world, can we lay hold of absolutes? Does the Bible have authority over our lives?
The Bible makes very emphatic statements regarding life’s greatest philosophical questions. What are our origins? What is our purpose? But perhaps the biggest claim it makes is that absolute truth exists, and that it can be known. This post explores truth in the Bible and serves three purposes:
This post is intended to be an example of a word study. As we highlight the significance of the individual words in the Bible, we discover that each word is significant and purposeful. Individual words in scripture, when connected to their contexts, form patterns that define deep truths and the doctrines for which we adhere to. Having a fuller understanding of individual words impacts the depth in which you can study scripture
This post is intended to share that truth is real and accessible. We live in an age where truth is dead and relativity is king.
This post is intended to inspire you to follow truth. In truth we find life, purpose, and joy. My hope is that we wouldn’t simply acknowledge that truth exists, but that we would follow hard after it. That we would put off lies, and speak truth. Proverbs 14:25 says that, “a true witness delivereth souls” and I desire that for all of us!
In studying out truth, I was brought almost immediately to the book of John. In chapter eighteen Jesus stands on trial before Pontius Pilate, and faces a question that cuts straight to the heart of the matter. Pilate asks Jesus “What is truth?”, this is one of the most profound questions ever asked in Jesus’ ministry (John 18:38). But Pilate like most didn’t expect an answer. Without giving Jesus an opportunity to respond he immediately left the room. Although our generation shares a lot in common with Pilate, we have recessed to a point where we are not even willing to ask about truth, none the less stick around for an answer. In our eyes we have already decided that truth is offensive because of its absolute nature.
Absolute means fixed/unchanging, it is dependent on nothing and gives way to right and wrong dichotomies. It is much easier to say that truth is relative, than to reject someone else’s presuppositions. For instance saying that Jesus and Muhammad both lead humanity to heaven feels less offensive because it validates both parties. Jesus being the only way (John 14:6), however, immediately rejects the one and validates the other; the reality of truth exposes the reality of lies. When we abandon truth for delusion we find that we become our own gods, and surrender control of our lives to our own fleeting feelings and ideas. It is healthy for humanity to expose lies for what they are, otherwise the assertions and implications of truth hold no bearing and we will be deceived by our own fantasy's.
When we abandon truth for delusion we find that we become our own gods, and surrender control of our lives to our own fleeting feelings and ideas.
Truth Can Be Known
God is in the business of proving himself that we might have surety in the truth of his word. He reminds us over and over again in the Bible through prophecy and miracles that we can know. The passage below is an excellent example of God proving himself that we might know his Word is truth.
1 Kings 17:24 And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in thy mouth is truth.
This excerpt is from an incredible passage in 1 Kings where Elijah begs God on a Widow’s behalf to bring her son back to life from the dead. The passage proclaims, “the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.” It is when Elijah brings the child to the Widow that she can, with surety, profess and know that the word of the Lord is truth. The word “know” used in this passage is not just an intellectual knowledge; it means to know by seeing. This isn’t knowledge that she merely accepts; it is a knowledge that has been proven to her, that she knows through experience.
We Have An Absolute Authority
The Bible is the dispenser of truth; as a believer it serves as the absolute authority in our life. As we stated before, the Bible has proven itself historically, prophetically, and through the miracles it records. But even more importantly the Bible is the word of God. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “all scripture is given by inspiration of God,” the word inspiration means “God breathed”. The passage goes on to say that it (scripture); “is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” The Bible has the power to perfect us; it is authoritative and dictates the conforming that needs to take place in our lives.
1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
In this passage Paul praises God because the Thessalonians received the word of God not as the word of men. It states that, instead, they received it as truth. Men are liars, they are finite, and have limited knowledge. But God is truth. The Bible is spectacular not because of Paul, Solomon, Abraham, or the other incredible men that penned it. The Bible is spectacular because of the One God that breathed it. It’s absolute and authoritative because it is of God and not of Man!
The Bible has proven itself historically, prophetically, and through the miracles it records.
Truth Doesn’t Change
This may sound redundant, but truth doesn’t change; it is by nature absolute. No matter the time, place, or circumstance truth is a constant; otherwise it wouldn’t be very true. This is exciting because unlike anything else we engage with, truth is transcendent of culture, age, lifestyle, geography, and strikes a cord with every person you come into contact with.
Psalm 100:5 For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
The Psalmist makes it very clear in the above passage that truth “endureth” to all generations. Truth changes for no man, not even for time itself. What the Bible said in the first century remains true to this day, regardless of changes in philosophy or popular opinion within society. The Bible says what it means and means what it says, and because its truth is steadfast, we cling to God’s unchanging word over the words of man. There are no new or evolving doctrines. From beliefs regarding evolution to homosexuality, there are many contemporary stances that clearly contradict the Bible. But we can have hope and know God’s word is truth and does not change despite popular opinion!
Truth changes for no man, not even for time itself. What the Bible said in the first century remains true to this day, regardless of changes in philosophy or popular opinion
Truth is Always Under Attack
From Genesis to this very moment, truth is constantly under attack. We have very real enemies in the flesh, the world system, and the Devil that are dead set on destroying truth. The flesh is more concerned about its own satisfaction than Truth. And the world system is corrupt; it promotes relativism, self-satisfaction, and sexual promiscuity that clearly counter the teaching of God’s word. In Genesis chapter three the serpent questions truth while planting seeds of doubt in the mind of Eve (Genesis 3:1-6). We see that this subtle questioning of the Word of God has had a ripple affect that prevails to this day. An overwhelming amount of professing Christians are not confident that they have truth in the Bible.
2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lust shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
Paul warns us in 2 Timothy that a time is coming when sound doctrine will not endure, when people will follow their own lust, and will turn their ears from truth. If we are not hearing truth than there is no way we can walk in it. We must be cognizant of the age we live in. We must be ready not only to defend truth, but to launch counter attacks through the preaching of the gospel.
We must be ready not only to defend truth, but to launch counter attacks through the preaching of the gospel.
God’s heart is that everyone would know truth and walk in it. The Bible is the only perfect word. It is authoritative, never changes, and promotes surety within itself. The Bible declares that “there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all,” because his love is to all (1 Timothy 2:5-6). God’s desire is that all would know truth and that begins with knowing his Son.
1 Timothy 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
*photos by Julie Iseman & Rian Stallbaumer