Parts 4A through 4D show that Bible study teaches a person how to discern between spiritual truth and spiritual error. The ability to possess spiritual discernment is especially critical in the 21st Century because of the proliferation of theological error whether intentional or not.
Part 4C explains how the Bible is the only source of truth.
Secular America is postmodern. In his article “Representing Christ in a Postmodern World,” Michael Patton advances the following definition:
Most briefly, “postmodern” describes a current trend within our culture that began in the late 20th century that is relativistic in its thinking concerning truth and knowledge.
Introduction to Theology, The Theology Program, Biblical Studies Press, Dallas, Texas (2004), p. 128, footnote 4.
Living life without absolute right and wrong leads to a life of chaos. It is foolish to say that a society can function based on what is good for me is okay and what is good for you is okay. What if someone wants to steal your car? While that may be good for them, it is not good for you. What if your neighbor doesn’t like your dog barking at night and shoots it. While that may be good for your neighbor, it is not good for you. When faced with the practicalities of postmodernism taken to its logical extreme, even intellectually honest postmodernists must admit that there has to be absolute right and wrong or society would break down.
Truth is what defines absolute right and absolute wrong. It is vital to realize that truth holds a society together and keeps it from falling into chaos. Truth is found only in the Bible. Two passages taken from Ephesians help us better understand that only in the Bible does truth, i.e., correspondence with what is real, reside.
The first passage is Ephesians 1:13–14 (ESV), and it reads:
13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth [logon alētheias], the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
When Paul used the expression logon tēs alētheias, i.e., the “word of truth”, he was saying that the message or the content of the gospel is true or in conformance to spiritual reality to be saving. The “word of truth” refers to “the gospel of your salvation.” See Colossians 1:5. Bratcher, R. G., & Nida, E. A. (1993). A handbook on Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (p. 24). New York: United Bible Societies. Paul also used the expression “word of the truth” [logō tēs alētheias] in Colossians 1:5 (ESV):
5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel,
The usage in Colossians 1:5 contrasts the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ with false heretical teachings. See O’Brien, P. T. (1999). The letter to the Ephesians (pp. 118–119). Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
These usages of “truth” show the immense, eternal importance of truth. The truth as it relates to God’s plan of salvation impacts eternities. To study the Bible to know the truth of God’s plan of salvation is of upmost eternal importance.
The second text is Ephesians 6:14 (ESV), and it reads:
14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
One commentator characterizes putting on the “belt of truth” as to accept the truth of the Bible. It makes sense for the “belt of truth” to be the Bible, i.e., God’s Word, because it is the first piece of equipment, a soldier puts on. It comprises a large leather belt that holds all of the weapons in place and keeps the soldier’s outer garnets in place. See
Anders, M. (1999). Galatians-Colossians (Vol. 8, pp. 190–191). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers. Without this girdle, his equipment would not be secure, and he would not have the necessary freedom of movement. See Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Vol. 4, p. 143). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
It is very apparent that one must know how to study the Bible to wear the “belt of truth securely”. Only through studying the Bible one can understand what is necessary for salvation and what is real to live a victorious Christian life. The Bible is the only source of truth so that one cannot downplay the importance of Bible study in the life of a 21st Century Christian.
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