SERIOUS QUESTIONS ABOUT TRUTH AND KNOWLEDGE

In both secular and religious settings, it is not uncommon for the truth to be ridiculed or discarded completely. Be that as it may, the Bible says a lot of positive things about truth. Those who accept and apply what God’s Book says about truth are blessed.

In the spiritual realm, is there anything that can be identified as “truth?” Jesus prayed to His Father, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17; in this article, all underlining is mine, rdc). Jesus said to some who refused to submit to Him, “But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me” (John 8:45).

Is it possible to know the truth? Jesus said, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). God created food “to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth” (1 Timothy 4:3).

Once we know the truth, does the Lord expect anything else out of us? “And though I have . . . all knowledge . . . but have not love, I am nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2). “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22).

Is it possible that knowing the truth causes some to be lifted up with pride? The Bible says, “We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies” (1 Corinthians 8:1). Paul made those statements in a context in which he was discussing whether or not Christians may eat food that has been offered to idols. Paul’s appeal was for the saints to act based on knowledge of the truth, but do not leave love for others out of the equation. Much depends on how one handles his knowledge. The apostle Paul knew the truth, but He remained humble in spirit. Therefore, knowledge, in and of itself, does not puff up a person.

Is it possible for humans to know everything about all aspects of the truth? While God’s message about how to become and remain a saved person is expressed in clear language, there are some portions of the Scriptures which are “hard to understand” (2 Peter 3:16). In addition, in Deuteronomy 29:29 we read about “the secret things” being contrasted with “those things which are revealed.” “Secret” matters are those which the Lord has kept to Himself. When it comes to revealed truth, is there anyone who has absolute perfect knowledge of it? “And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know” (1 Corinthians 8:2). We are exhorted to continue to grow in knowledge (2 Peter 3:18), but no human ever attains perfect knowledge.

Is it possible for a person to be deceived into thinking that what he believes is the truth when, in reality, what he believes is false? After Jesus healed a blind man, some of His opposers said this about the Master: “We know that this Man is a sinner” (John 9:24). No, sirs, you do not know that. He was not a sinner. You think you know, but you are deceived.

Is it possible to know that Jesus is Lord and the Christ? By God’s Spirit, the apostle Peter preached, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36).

Is it possible to know God? John’s message to first-century Christians was, “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments” (1 John 2:3).

Does knowledge of the truth eliminate faith and vice versa? That is, are faith and knowledge of truth mutually exclusive? Jesus prayed for those who would believe in Him to be one, praying, “. . . that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me . . . that they may be perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me . . .” (John 17:21,23). Those who would believe the Father sent Jesus are the same ones who would know that truth: knowing does not eliminate faith. In fact, faith is based on knowing the evidence (Hebrews 11:1).

Is it possible for a person to depart from the truth? “The faith” is the truth, and the Bible says, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith . . .” (1 Timothy 4:1). Again, it is written, “Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth . . .” (James 5:19).

How important is one’s attitude toward the truth? It can be the difference between being saved and being lost: “. . . among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:10).

— Roger D. Campbell

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