Bible: How can one gain the truth?
John 7:17 is the first passage of the Bible that came to my mind when thinking of this question.
17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. [Emphasis added.]
Following God’s teaching begins with a person’s will. All too often people do not wish to submit to God’s authority, namely, that of their Creator. But that is the key to a wonderful life. Throughout your life you will be making decisions to either do things your way or God’s way. It has always been the case that by adopting His wisdom, a wonderful life of blessing will result. We are warned about the consequences of choosing to do otherwise.
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. [Emphasis added.]
It is God who is the source of all true wisdom for life, as well as the happiness that flows from its application.
13 Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. [Emphasis added.]
The wisdom one can gain from the knowledge of God’s Word is therefore the most important thing in life.
7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
8 Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. [Emphasis added.]
When there is a desire for God’s Word and God’s will, God is aware of it. He will, therefore, honor that desire, providing an understanding of the truth He wants us to know. Step by step He will enable that. No one ever comes into a full knowledge of His word overnight. It takes time. Furthermore, in no way does God ever hide truth from us. But we must express our desire for understanding of His Word. Always be assured that God wants you to have a clear understanding of His Word more than you want it.
16 By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.
17 I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. [Emphasis added.]
Hopefully there will be others who will pray for you in this matter, as the Apostle Paul did for those he was working with.
9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; [Emphasis added.]
In the process of gaining a true understanding of God’s Word, we must guard against false traditions. It is objective analysis of God’s Word, comparing Scripture with Scripture, that must be our guide. Furthermore, it is imperative to understand the principle of right-division.
II Timothy 2:15
15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. [Emphasis added.]
This involves the realization that while all the whole Bible is FOR us, it is not all TO us. The portion of the Bible that is specifically addressed to us is found in the writings of the Apostle Paul. That consists of thirteen epistles. It will be primarily through your study of those letters that you will find the understanding you need to live a life that is consistent with God’s will for you.
25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets [literally, the prophetic scriptures], according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: [Emphasis added.]
If one understands these principles, much confusion and misunderstanding of Scripture can be avoided. It is because of all this misunderstanding that does exist that we have so many church denominations. It has been estimated by one organization that there are over 34,000 Christian denominations in the world. All this confusion could be easily avoided. The key to it all is maintaining a genuine desire to know the truths of Scripture God would have you to live by.
Truth: What are some basic truths I can always rely on?