There are many things that are true, but not everything that is true is equally true. 2 + 2 = 4 is a much more important truth than the truth that I ate oatmeal for breakfast this morning. Math applies to everyone, and my eating habits are only an interest to me.
When we talk about truth we are not merely refering to things that are true or factual, rather are are talking about things that are eternal. In other words the things that put the rest of life into perspective.
C. S. Lewis wrote; “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” I think this is a good description of what truth is. Truth brings clarity to life.
The trouble is that when we use the word truth in this manner, it doesn’t mean that it is necessarily true. All the different religions prove this reality. Each one claims to have truth and to make sense of life, but the different religions makes contradictory truth claims. Every religion could be false, but they cannot all be true. This means even though a truth brings clarity to our life, that doesn’t make that claim a fact.
This is why it is important to know the source of the truth of our lives. We need to be able to evaluate these truth claims.
For Christians our source of truth comes from the Bible. We believe that the Bible is God’s written word to His people. To faithfully follow Jesus requires us to be students of the Bible.
The apostle Paul wrote this to his disciple Timothy:
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17, NLT)
In this passage Paul highlights three reasons why Christians should be people of the Book:
- The Bible teaches truth. If we want to know what truth is, then we need to be grounded in the Scriptures. The truth that we discover on the pages of Scripture reveals God to us. As we study Scripture our eyes are open to the character and purposes of God. It is through the Scriptures that we learn what is good, pure, noble, and right, and how these things apply to our lives. As we learn what is true we also discover the reality that we fall short of God’s purpose for our lives. God gave us the Bible to teach us the true way that He wants us to live.
- The Bible convicts us. The Bible not only holds up the truth, but it also convicts our hearts with the reality that we fail to live out that truth. I think this is one of the reasons that we avoid reading the Bible. We do not like to feel convicted and to have the sin in our lives pointed out to us. It is the same reason why I don’t like going to the doctor, I don’t want him to tell me that I need to loose weight. Yet, this is a foolish reason to avoid the Bible. Paul also reminds us that the Bible teaches us to do what is right. It points out the things that we should be doing. For life change to occur we need to know what we need to stop doing, as well as, those things that we need to start doing. I believe lasting change actually happens when we focus on what we need to do, and as we implement those things to our lives, we slowly push the sin out of our lives.
- The Bible prepares us. The purpose of our lives is not just to live a moral life. Yes, morality that flows out our love for God and love for people, is essential for our lives. God expects us to be people of love. Our purpose grows out of our love for God and people as we join God in bringing His Kingdom into this world. This includes making disciples of all nations, working for justice, and being good stewards of creation. The Bible equips us to do this. It shows us the way Jesus lived his life and it reveals what it means to be guided by the Spirit. These two lessons are essential in doing the ministry we have been called to do in a loving and authentic manner.
There are many books and religions out there that claim to have truth. For the Christian our source of truth is the Bible. We believe that the Bible is God’s written word to us, revealing what we need to know to live lives of faith. This is why we need to be people of the Book: people who take the Bible seriously in their everyday lives.