Sep 26

Print this Post


Jesus said: “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Then, he prayed: “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17). And Peter wrote: “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth …” (1 Pet. 1:22). It does not take a “rocket scientist” to determine that “truth” is a most important subject in the New Testament.
The Greek word translated “truth” is “Aletheia” and is found at least ninety-nine times in the New Testament. It is understood that the New Testament does not reveal all of a subject in one place; therefore, the student must get a little of the subject here, there, and elsewhere, as he studies the inspired writings. This requires a little understanding in itself! Paul wrote: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). Just what do the words “rightly dividing” mean? These two English words come from one Greek word, which is “orthotomeo.” This word means: “to cut straight;” but it also means: “to make straight and smooth, to handle aright, to teach the truth directly and correctly.” Here is a good place to give the meaning of the word, “ascertain;” it means: “to find out or learn with certainty.” There is one other word that needs attention just here; the word “interpret”, which means: “to bring out the meaning.” All three of these words are very closely related and mean that it is the reader’s obligation to learn with certainty, to bring out the meaning, by handling aright the word of truth!
There are some who believe that the way people read the Bible in 1st century Judea, 5th century Rome, 10th century France, or 18th century China, would not speak to contemporary Americans as to our interpretation of the word of truth. On the other hand, if our souls are “purified” by “obeying the truth,” and they are, then ascertaining truth as it is revealed in the New Testament is vital to our eternal salvation! Culture and time do not change God’s truth! Jesus promised the apostles, the Holy Spirit would guide them into all truth (John 16:13). Truth by its nature is unchangeable! There is a major difference between the works of men and God; what men have regarded as truth at one time, has been learned years later not to be true; however, God’s revealed truth has never been proven to be untrue. Yes, it is true, some men have taught certain things about some subjects in the Bible, which have been proven at a later date to be untrue. But it was man who was in error as to what he thought the Bible taught and not what the inspired word when correctly interpreted taught! This just points out how important it is to ascertain the truth!
In order to ascertain the truth on any Bible subject, we must gather up all it says on the subject. Sometimes when this is done, we are forced to change our minds about what we believe; therefore, ascertaining truth becomes a real challenge to our personal integrity! Many people, who would not cheat you out of a penny in a business deal, will read one verse and put their eternal salvation on it. For instance, some read: “And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women” (Acts 5:14), and conclude that all a person has to do in order to be saved is believe. However, one verse does not negate another verse which addresses the same subject. When those on Pentecost asked the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:27); Peter answered: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (verse 38). Was Peter wrong in his answer? Should he have said to these already believing Jews, there is nothing you have to do, as you are already saved? What about Philip as he and the eunuch were traveling along in the chariot and the eunuch ask, “See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?” (Acts 8:36). Why didn’t Philip just say to him, you are already saved and there is no need for you to be baptized? Or was Philip wrong when he said: “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest” (verse 37). Doesn’t this sound just like the words of Jesus, when he said: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16)?
Here is the way we ascertain truth! We must get the whole of what the inspired writers said on the subject! Yes, it may challenge our honesty, our integrity, but isn’t the salvation of soul worth such the challenge? Then, obeying the truth we have learned?

— Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/how-do-you-ascertain-truth-1/