By Ralph V. Reynolds
“…Because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (II Thessalonians 2:10).
Pontius Pilate, as he judged our Saviour, asked one of the most important questions of all times: “… What is truth?” (John 18:38). Unknown to Pilate, Jesus Himself had given the correct answer to this question as He prayed in Gethsemane. “… Thy word is truth” (John 17:17).
Jesus was the greatest authority regarding the identity and correct definition of truth. For He Himself was the personification of truth. “Jesus said unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life …” (John 14:6).
Not only is Jesus truth, but He brought truth to the world. “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).
The Word of God does not just contain truth. God’s Word is truth. We do not dig into the Scriptures to find some detail of truth, hidden in some little known verse. We take the Bible, just as it is, accept every statement, every verse, and by so doing, we see pure, unadulterated truth.
A proper approach to the study of God’s Word is to have a healthy hunger to know truth for the sake of knowing truth itself. Never do we read the Word of God in order to win an argument. Our goal is to win souls, not arguments. Never do we read the Word of God to prove that I am right and you are wrong. Who cares? What we desire is to know truth for the sake of truth itself. You ought to know the truth whether it shows us right or wrong. We must have the truth!
The love of the truth is essential to one’s spiritual walk and living for the Lord. The Bible becomes the final authority upon all matters of conduct and doctrine. We read in Paul’s second epistle to the Thessalonian church that God sends judgment upon those who do not have a love for the truth. If we do not keep a love of the truth in our hearts, then the alternative is deception and delusion.
Truth is pure and absolute. If a proposition contains even the smallest amount of error, it is no longer truth. If the compass and controls of an airplane are out only a degree or two, the pilot will soon find himself hundreds of miles off course. A small mistake in laying the foundation of a building will show up as a big mistake in the roof of that construction. Truth is pure and absolute.
If it contains the slightest error, it is no longer truth. Actually, there is no such thing as partial truth. Partial obedience is disobedience. Partial truth is a lie. Two wrongs never make a right. Two lies never make a truth.
Truth is truth whether or not it is believed. No matter how sincerely one believes an error, it does not make it a truth. Sincere people have been known to die for an error which they thought was truth. However, their suffering and death did not change anything relating to truth.
We are familiar with the story of the six blind men of Industan. These men went to see an elephant. The first man touched the side of the elephant and thought it was nothing but a wall. The second grabbed the tail of the elephant and thought it was more like a rope. The third took hold of the tusk and thought the elephant was a spear. The fourth felt the elephant’s ear and thought it was a fan. The fifth seized the trunk of the elephant and thought it was a snake. The sixth felt the leg of the elephant and decided the analogy of the rest of the men was incorrect. He was sure it was a tree trunk! They began to argue and debate. Everyone was absolutely certain that he was right and the others were wrong. No matter how sincere they were, they were all wrong because they were blind. Likewise, we may be sincere in our explanation of the Word of God, but sincerity does not make wrong right, or error truth.
I remember reading the story of a man who was lost in the woods. Realizing his dilemma, he began to look for some direction. Finally, he came upon the tracks of a man and was greatly relieved. He thought by following these tracks, it would lead him out of the woods. He followed them for awhile until there was another set that joined the first. Later on, a third set had also joined the first ones. The man had great hope that these were leading him out of the forest. After walking for some time, the tracks became a well beaten path. Suddenly, he noted an Indian standing by the path. “White man lost,” said the Indian.
“No, I am not lost. I am following these footsteps which are going to lead me out of the woods.”
“White man, you go around in circles,” replied the Indian. Unknown to him, the man was traveling around and around in circles, following his own footsteps.
It would seem that this is a fitting illustration of thousands of people who go to the Bible only to go around in circles, following their own thoughts and ideas but getting nowhere.
As we search the Scriptures, we must have a determination to know truth for the sake of truth itself. We must dismiss from our minds all of our traditions and preconceived notions of what truth is and search until we find what the Bible actually teaches.
Truth needs neither props nor supports. Truth stands firm upon its own foundation and will endure when the world is on fire. Truth will stand the searchlight of careful scrutiny. Truth will never box a person into a corner nor allow a situation to develop where truth does not have the answer. Truth will never allow a person to be ashamed or embarrassed. Truth does not need radical, extreme statements which cannot be backed by Scriptures. Truth simply needs to be proclaimed, simply but clearly.
The preacher who has the truth of God’s Word will feel at ease and comfortable with all kinds of people. He will be able to talk to ungodly sinners, to unbelievers who attack the Bible, to the drunkard on skid row, to the prisoner in confinement, and at the same time, with a learned theologian who can quote Hebrew and Greek. Such a preacher will never be afraid of the arguments which the cults may bring forth. He will not hesitate to talk to the members and ministers of the historical churches. The knowledge of truth will give him confidence and faith in approaching all people everywhere. He will be able to bring forth the truth and teach God’s Word just as it is to all men just as they are.
It might be fitting to repeat a lesson taken from the Bible course notes I wrote twenty years, and they are still the same today.
“Principles to be remembered in understanding truth:
a. Truth cometh by divine revelation. There is no better teacher of divine truth than the Holy Spirit, the author of the Bible. Many truths are mysteries which are hidden from the unregenerate mind and can only be understood as the Spirit makes them clear. “…when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth…” (John 16:13). “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).
b. Next to the Holy Spirit, Scripture is the best interpreter of the Bible.
c. Truth is in agreement with the whole tenor of Scripture. Doctrine should never be established on one isolated passage of Scripture unless that doctrine is at the same time in harmony with the entire Bible.
d. Truth is always well balanced and solid. Extreme viewpoints are more likely to be in error than the middle of the road belief.
e. Truth always exalts Christ. Any teaching that degrades Jesus is erroneous.
f. Truth always has a sanctifying effect on the life of a believer. A man’s daily walk will tell whether or not he is a believer of true doctrine.” (Dividing the Word of Truth, Unit 1, Lesson 1, Section 3).
Over forty five years ago, I searched the Scriptures and dug into the Word, agonizing before God, to have the Word of God give the answers for the questions which disturbed me. I had to have the answers, and they had to be true. I realized that I was not the judge of God’s Word, but rather, God’s Word was my judge. I clearly understood that I did not interpret Scriptures by the experience which God had given to me, but rather, the truth of Scriptures would interpret the experience that I had with God. I realized that I could not interpret the experience of an old time Methodist by anything else than by the Word of God itself. Truth alone would give peace of mind and heart as well as the answers which I sought.
These answers did not come easily or quickly. It took several years for God to unfold in my mind and heart a beautiful picture of His plan in saving mankind. The answers that I received came to me by revelation. I did not receive them out of a textbook or by attending a seminary. The Holy Spirit Himself revealed to me the beautiful plan of God’s salvation. I praise Him from the depths of my heart because that which He revealed to me some forty five years ago has never had to be questioned or changed in all of my ministry whether it was preaching, teaching or writing. Because I sought God earnestly back there for truth, God planted a deep love for it down in my heart which has remained with me throughout all of these years.
This article “Revelation of the Truth” is excerpted from “Cry of the Unborn” by Ralph V. Reynolds and may be used for study and research purposes only.