As I try to recall some of the discoveries that I think have changed my perspective on the Bible, each seems, for the moment, to be the most important. That’s the way I feel when I remember learning that, to be genuine and real in our relationship to Christ, we need to be aware that the Bible often both a “hard” and “soft side” to truth.
Two Kinds of God-given truth– God-breathed facts and Spirit enabled integrity
To be authentic as followers of Christ, we need attitudes that are in line with the facts we confess.
I make the point because the Hebrew idea of truth, while involving accuracy of information and knowledge, puts more emphasis on integrity of character. The Greek perspective tends to emphasize more of the objective. Yet a careful reading of both Testaments show that the “truth of our faith” includes both inspired facts, and spirit- enabled attitudes and actions that resonate with the truth. That discovery has reminded me that I can memorize the Bible, say I believe it and still have the effect of a devil on others.
If you have time, here are some excerpts from reference works which– helped me confirm this insight.
Vine’s Expository Dictionary-
“Noun. ALĒTHEIA Truth, is used (a) objectively, signifying “the reality lying at the basis of an appearance; the manifested, veritable essence of a matter” and (b) subjectively… not merely verbal, but sincerity and integrity of character”
Kittle’s Theological Dictionary–
“The OT term for truth. The common OT word for truth appears some 126 times. It denotes a reality that is firm, solid, binding, and hence true. With reference to persons… it is an attitude… tied to instruction in the law, i.e., Scripture (Ps. 119:160). Therefore walking in the truth can be taught (Ps. 86:11).”
New Bible Dictionary–
“TRUTH. Truth, like its relation “knowledge”, is used in the OT in two senses: (1) the intellectual, of facts which may be ascertained to be true or false (Dt. 17:4; 1 Ki. 10:6); (2) far more commonly, the existential and moral, of truth as the attribute of a person.
The OT thinks much more of the basis of truth in a reliable person than of the mere facts of the case. This reliability is basically an attribute of God (Ps. 31:5; Je. 10:10)”
What these reference books confirm, I find expressed in the words of the Apostle Paul. When he writes about the truth that has been entrusted to the people of Christ, he is talking not only about the importance of God revealed ideas and words (2Tim 1:13; 2:2; 2;7; 2:15; 3:15-16; 4:2). He is also emphasizing the integrity and consistency of truth that brings what has been revealed– into our attitudes and actions (2Tim 1:7; 2:24; 3:10; 4:22).
Can you see why, as we emphasize the truth of the Word of God, we need to continually remind ourselves not only of what we believe, but what kind of integrity of heart we can show that can help us to be seen as real and authentic in those who have come to expect us as shallow and hypocritical?