Presenting the Changeless Truth in a Changing World

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If you take your mental flight by the Garden of Eden, down through Noah’s deluge and the separation of Abraham from his paternal home, in the pursuit of an Israeli race, and behold their wearisome trek together with their magnificent conquests and defeats...

Submitted: March 03, 2015

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Submitted: March 03, 2015

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Sunday School Workers’ Conference

3 October 2014,

Assemblies of God Church, Phase II Site I, Kubwa, Abuja

Paper by

Nwachukwu Lawson Luke

Lawsonluke11@yahoo.com

 

Presenting the Changeless Truth in a Changing World

 

 

 

 

Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t - Mark Twain

 

Introduction

If you take your mental flight by the Garden of Eden, down through Noah’s deluge and the separation of Abraham from his paternal home, in the pursuit of an Israeli race, and behold their wearisome trek together with their magnificent conquests and defeats; if you move on through the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, Persia, Greek and Rome, casting your mind on the first advent of Jesus into humanity in Bethlehem, and then on His glorious exit on Mount Olives in East Jerusalem; if you come up right to the Church age, as well as the 1400s, against the strong forces of Jihads and Crusades and the Inquisition, and then through the Renaissance, peering even into the era of slavery and segregation and civilization and industrialization, and make a honest assessment of times and events, you will discover that what was true in 1614 in Egypt isn’t true in 2014 in Egypt, and what is true in 2014 in Egypt isn’t true in 2014 in Europe. Indeed, times have changed and, unfortunately, so have truth. Undeniably, location varies, and, sadly, so does truth. Or so it appears.

Conceptualizing truth

The Greek/Western concept

In the world today, truth is a many-sided parameter. It is many-sided because of its differing points of view as well as references, and a parameter because it is used to measure the degree of genuineness of a spoken or written word. It is also seen as a perception of reality, and such perception is largely dependent upon the point of perspective. For instance, on earth the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. But when viewed from space, it neither rises nor sets. It is static. In fact, all other planets rotate about it. So then does the earth make any motion at all? Well, that depends on your location: on earth, yes, and in space, No.

In the Greek/Western concept, truth, aletheia, is a property generally ascribed to Linguistic states. For instance, a proposition Q is true if and only if it obtains in the (empirical/observable) world. Thus, when we state that something is true, we mean that the description we are trying to convey through our language is obtainable not just for ourselves alone, but for others who also use the language in a general way.

The Hebrew concept

Unlike the Greek concept of truth that has to do with the rationalization of one’s interest, the Hebrew mind dwells more on the dynamic, the evolving, and the idea that truth involves the building of the character of the person, as well as the restoration of the world. God is referred to in the scripture as the ‘Spirit of truth’ (John 15:26) because He is independent, autonomous and self-generative.

There is no one outside of God who in any way influences His being or His action. God is never dependent or contingent on anything or anyone else, nor does He derive what He is or does from anything or anyone outside of Himself. He is His own center of reference. What God is, only God is. His attributes are exclusive to Himself and non-transferable. God’s primary function is to act as the God that He is. He never acts “out of character,” for His activity is always in accord with His character.

The Hebrew word for truth is emet, and contains the first, middle, and last letter (Aleph-Mem-Tav) of the Hebrew Aleph-beth, indicating that truth encompasses all things and endures from beginning to end. But notice that if we remove the letter Aleph from the word, we are left with met, which is the word, “dead,” the opposite of life, chayim. The letter Aleph is the ineffable letter that represents oneness and preeminent glory of God. Therefore, if we attempt to ignore or suppress God in our understanding of the truth, we end up dead. That is why Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh to the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). Jesus is the truth because He quickens the dead, those who have suppressed the truth in their knowledge, with the word of His power. And because there is no mismatch between whom He was and what He said, He is utterly trustworthy. His actions and speech are utterly the same.

The Truth you know makes you free

In John 8:32, Jesus says, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Now notice, He didn’t say that just any truth will make you free, but the truth that you know. Now there are several kinds of knowledge as used in the scripture:

 

Three Kinds of Knowledge

1. Eido ?????? (Strong’s #1492; pronounced i?-do): It means to be aware, behold, consider, have knowledge (of), look on, perceive, see, be sure, tell, and wish.

“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know (eido) the things that are freely given to us of God.” I Cor. 1:12

“The people which sat in darkness saw (eido) great light….” Matt. 4:16

 2. Ginosko ??????? (Strong’s # 1097; pronounced ghin-oce?-ko): It means to allow, feel, resolve, can speak (of), be sure (of), and understand. It also means to know something to the degree that it will reproduce itself in the same likeness and image of that which is known.

3. Epiginosko ????????? (Strong’s #1921; pronounced ep-ig-in-oce?-ko): It means to become fully acquainted with, recognition, full discernment, and mature knowledge. Christians cannot have a clear, exact understanding of God unless Jesus reveals it to them. To reveal (Gr. apokalupto) means ‘to remove a veil or take off the cover. The noun form, apokalupsis, means a disclosure or revelation.

“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation (apokalupsis, disclosure) in the knowledge (epiginosko) of him.” Eph. 1:17

The Greek word translated as ‘Know’ in John 8:32 is Ginosko, which means experiential knowledge, or knowledge grounded in personal experience through participation, and that comes by abiding in the Word (John 8:31). When Jesus said those words in verse 32, the Jewish folks retorted, “We…were never in bondage to any man, how sayest that we shall be made free?’’ (John 8:33). To which Jesus replied, “If the Son of Man shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36). The son now becomes the truth (John 14:6) who makes everyone that turns to Him free.

So how much revelation of Jesus do you know (Ginosko)? In other words, how much disclosure of the truth is in you? Do you see Him only as a Savior? Well that’s the truth you know, and that has set you free from sin and reproach. Perhaps you also need to be set free from sickness and other spiritual ills; then you’ll need to know Him as a healer. When you do, that truth you now know about your health will inevitably set you free from sickness.

 

Rightly dividing the Word of Truth

Of His own will begat He us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” James 1:18

Scripture is sometimes referred to as the word of truth. Since Jesus is truth personified, it can also be referred to as the Words of Jesus (John 8:31, 15:3; Rev. 1:1). In Revelation 1:1, for instance, we read: “The revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave unto Him….” Indeed, the revelation belonged to God, so did the word (John 1:1), but God gave it to him and it became his own. It is in the same sense that as the Father had life in Himself, so He also gave the son to have life (John 5:26). This life, Zoe, is now in the son and is the son (John 14:6) the same way the word was with God and was God (John 1:1). Jesus now not only is the truth, but also has the word of truth.

In II Timothy 2:15, we are told to study to show ourselves approved before God, as unashamed work men, rightly dividing the word of truth. To rightly divide the word of truth does not mean to segregate scripture into sections and dispensations as some dispensationalists have alleged.[1] Rather, it deals with the accurate teaching of the Word.

The word translated as ‘rightly dividing’ in the Old and New King James version is, in Greek, orthotomeo. It is a civil engineering term used in road construction. The idea is to cut a roadway in a straight manner, so that people who will travel over that road can arrive at their destination directly, without deviation. Orthotomeo was also used as a mining term. It meant to drill a straight mine shaft so that the miners can get quickly and safely to the Mother lode—the principal zone of the gold or silver ore.

So when Paul used the word “workmen,” he knew what he was talking about. He was referring to a diligent student of the word who dispenses accurate teachings. We are admonished to grow in grace and in knowledge (Epignosis; II Peter 3:18), and that comes through study.

 

 Conclusion

Truth is not what we rationalize it to be, but what God says and is. It is always in line with the character of God. To get a hold of this truth, we must not only be aware of it, but we must partake of it. We must go from Eido to Ginosko, and then Epiginosko. Scripture says that we are partakers of the heavenly calling (Heb. 3:1). Every born again child of God can partake of this calling and be filled with the fullness of God.

 

Endnote

[1] Dispensationalists are those who believe that each of the 7 dispensations represents a different way in which God deals with man. These periods are marked off in scripture by some change in God’s method of relating with mankind, in respect to sin and man’s responsibility. Dispensationalists also disagree among themselves—some believe in 7dispensations, and others 6, 3 and 4, as the case may be.

 

Bibliography

Axelrod, A., 2007. Getting Your Way Everyday. Benin: Gospel Press and Litreature Int..

Biblesoft, 2006. New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary, s.l.: Biblesoft Inc. and International Bible Traslators, Inc..

Elliot, P., 2014. What does Paul mean by 'rightly dividing the Word of truth?'. [Online]
Available at: http://www.teachingtheword.org/apps/articles/?articleid=61936&columnid=5772
[Accessed 2 October 2014].

Giardina, P., 2011. Experiencing Truth. [Online]
Available at: http://relevantmagazine.com/life/what-bleep-does-bible-say-about-profanity
[Accessed 1 October 2014].

Redding, A., n.d. Bible Knowledge. [Online]
Available at: http://bibleone.net/BibleKnowledge.htm
[Accessed 2 October 2014].

Wikipedia, 2014. Dispensationalist theology. [Online]
Available at: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dispensationalist_theology
[Accessed 2 October 2014].

 

 

 


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