What is Truth?, Pt. 5

Scripture: 2 Timothy 2:15, Proverbs 4:2, Hebrews 6:1
How can we find truth? How can we know God's will in our life? The Bible is a map to give us direction. This broadcast gives practical tips on how to study the Bible and where to begin.
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Announcer: It's time now for "Bible Talk." Join Gary Gibbs and John Bradshaw as they open the Bible to deepen our understanding of God's word.

John Bradshaw: Hi there, friend, and welcome to "Bible Talk" where we talk about the Bible and how the Bible affects us today. I'm John Bradshaw.

Gary Gibbs: I'm Gary Gibbs and, John, today we're gong to be talking about how do we arrive at truth, how can we find truth?

John: That's a good question, how to find God's expressly revealed will on a certain subject and just think how important it is. I don't know if you've ever had this experience and I'm sure I've never had this experience, what about the guy that's trying to get from A to B, doesn't consult the map, and ends up in X, Y, or Zed or even Z, in another place altogether, because he didn't look at the map. Following the map will help you to get from wherever you are to wherever you're going. The Bible is the map. It's going to help us get out of this world and into the world to come in one piece, safe in then arms of Jesus.

Gary: The Bible tells us how to do that. 2 Timothy 2:15 Paul wrote to a young man who was looking for direction in life and he said, "Study to show yourself approved to God a workman that needs not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." He said, "I want you to do study. I want you to study the word of God so that you know what truth is, rightly dividing it so you know how to live for God."

John: Let me ask you a question, Gary. You're an experienced minister of the Gospel. As a percentage, and I'm only asking you to hazard a guess here, what percentage of Christians, in your experience, do you think actually take time to study their Bibles?

Gary: John, that would be a hazard, in fact. It would be a hazardous guess. I think it really varies according to your faith percentage.

John: It's pretty small isn't it?

Gary: It's small. If you took everyone that claims to be a Christian, Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, all together it would be a small percentage. I think there are some churches the members do study more than others.

John: Yeah, no question. By and large, even Christians in churches that make a lot of noise about the Bible and about how important it is, a lot, a lot, a lot of people are just not studying the Bible. They may casually peruse parts of it from time to time but most people aren't getting their Bible out and digging into it like a gold miner's going to look for gold.

Gary: They don't. I even look at my own church. I joined this church because I believe it really teaches the Bible and it does a lot of Bible study. If you were to compare this church to many others I would say, hands down, they probably study the Bible more than others. Even in my church a small percentage really study things out. I think we're used to just sitting back and being lazy Christians. We're happy to listen to somebody else explain the word of God. By the way, John, there are two ways to study the Bible. You can read the Bible devotionally and I do a lot of that. I read the Bible, I'm reading right now through the book of John and I'm just reading it to see what God says to me.

That's really different, though, than studying the Bible to find what God has to say on a particular topic. For instance, if I lose a loved one to death and I want to go to the Bible and say where are they and I'm going to look up what happens when you die. That's Bible study for doctrine.

John: That's correct. The Bible, even in the book of Isaiah, gives us a principle how to study. Line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little. Go scouring the Bible and searching through the Bible to find what it says on a subject and bring all the evidence together. That's what you do in a court case. You get all the evidence and then arrive at a verdict. That's how we would study the Bible. Paul wrote to Timothy and said, "If you don't study then you're not going to be able to rightly divide the word of truth." Clearly there's a way to wrongly divide the word of truth. He said, "You need not be ashamed." Ultimately, people who don't rightly divide the word of truth will be what? Ashamed. Lost, not saved, not safe in Jesus.

I don't anyone to feel intimidated and say to themselves I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer or I don't have enough time or maybe my understanding is deficient or something like that. You don't have to be a scholar to understand what God is saying. You just take the Bible and examine it carefully to hear the voice of God speaking to your heart.

Gary: Friend, we're going to give you an offer today, a free offer for a Bible study course that will help you do that very thing. At the end of the program today we'll give you a telephone number and an email address that you can write or call to get this Bible studying course that's going to take you into the Bible studying all the major, important doctrines of scripture. John, how do we come up with an understanding of doctrine? If we're taking the Bible here and say I'm a novice, I'm just coming to the Bible, where would I start to find out what does the Bible have to say to me about how I live my life?

John: I don't want to be trite, but the first place you start is on your knees. Jesus spoke one day and he said, "Accept you be as a little child." My children are still little and even though I'm finding it less easy to pull the wool over my son's eyes anymore.

Gary: He's pretty smart. He's hard to pull wool over.

John: I'm just talking about when we play around. A little child, you can tell that little child almost anything if you have a straight face they're going to believe you because Daddy said or some authority figure said. Jesus said, "Be as little children," and I think that's part of it. "My sheep, hear my voice and follow me." There's got to be humility and an openness. An openness to say I want to hear what God has to say, I want to know his truth, and a humility that says I'm willing to accept that God knows more about this than me, you see. That's where you'd start, but you come as a novice to the Bible.

I'll tell you what, I've met a lot of people who've made the mistake. They said, "Well, I wanted to read the Bible so I opened up to the Book of Revelation." Man couldn't understand it, put it down and never bothered going back.

Revelation is a great book and a tremendously important book but you don't go starting in the Book of Revelation.

Gary: I started in the Book of Revelation.

John: How did it go?

Gary: I did exactly what you said. I started reading it and I thought, well it's symbolic and I started making up meaning as I went. Then I started seeing that the symbols that I was ascribing meaning to became inconsistent as I read along, didn't make sense. What I did was I put the Bible aside and I said, "God, if you want me to know this you're going to have to send someone to teach me," and I put it aside. Shortly after that God did send someone to teach me and I began learning.

Kind of like Philip. Philip met the Ethiopian eunuch in the Book of Acts. The Ethiopian eunuch was reading there in Isaiah, the didn't understand what it meant. God sent him a teacher and that helped him. Sometimes that's a place to start, like the Bible study course we're offering today or a seminar.

You go around the country holding seminars.

John: That's interesting. That's kind of what I did. I read the Book of Revelation, tried to figure it out, couldn't. I just put it down and said, "One day maybe." Thank the Lord, God brought me back around. I tried Bible studies, seminars. As you study a course and go to seminars, as important as they are, the Bible itself has got to be your final authority. You would come to my seminars and you would hear me saying some things and I would hope you would go away saying, "That's got the ring of truth to it," but your final authority is going to be here's what the Holy Bible says.

Gary: That's what we do in our seminars, that's what we do in our Bible studies. We always point people back to the Bible because that's where they have to get it. We don't start in Revelation. What's a good book to start in?

John: Well, you might say one book is as good as another but if it was me I would be starting in Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. I'd go to the Gospels. In fact, what I probably would do if I was a brand new novice I'd read through all of those probably multiple times so I scoped out the lay of the land. At the same time, it's worth while going back to Genesis and reading and figuring out how this whole thing began. You start to form a big picture in your mind. You read not merely to gather information. We've been talking a lot lately about the importance of truth, but let's underscore something and say that the most important thing is coming to know Christ because Jesus is the truth.

Outside of an intimate relationship with Jesus, doctrine's not going to help you at all. There'd be a lot of very educated people lost finally. You're studying really to connect with the heart of God, to be one with Jesus Christ. Then your heart is open to Christ and he'll start impressing upon you the truths of his word about salvation, how you have a successful walk with Christ and a saving relationship with him, about how you ought to live.

You'll read that the 10 Commandments are valid and that people ought to follow those things. It's not very hard to figure out what the 10 Commandments are. They just read. I want to say this, for the people who are considering digging deeper don't be intimidated by the Bible and don't be put off by what you don't know.

I can't think of one of us who get to the end of their lives and say I think I've aced it and I know it all. If you just follow what you do know, love your neighbor as yourself, love God with your whole heart, soul, mind, and strength, keep my commandments, love others. If you just start following those things that's plenty to go on for now.

Then you read some more doctrinal things. What happens when a person dies? What's the truth about Hell? What's the business about the judgment? You start to add to what you're reading and gather the information and pull it together just like you're studying anything else, science or algebra or whatever. It's just that this is a whole lot more fun and ultimately more beneficial.

Gary: You mentioned a moment ago, John, the word doctrine. Doctrine often is used as if it's a four letter word, it's a bad word that we have these doctrines. The word doctrines simply means teaching. Everything you read in the Bible is a teaching. It's a doctrine.

John: Someone came to one of my seminars just recently, came to me and said, "I was really enjoying this until you started getting into teaching doctrine."

Gary: You were doing doctrine from day one because you were teaching what the Bible teaches.

John: It's all doctrine. That here is God is doctrine. That God is love, it's doctrine. You know what he meant? That was code for where you disagree with me that's your doctrine. Doctrine is just the teaching of the Bible, isn't that right?

Gary: It is. The Bible says in Proverbs 4:2, "I give you good doctrine." Good doctrine. Good doctrine is based on the word of God. We have to recognize what you were saying a moment ago that there are different levels of teaching. There are the foundational teachings of the Bible. Paul mentions these in Hebrew 6. He says in verse 1, "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ." "Let us go unto perfection not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of the laying on of hands, of the resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment." He says these are the foundational doctrines of Christianity so that would be a good place to someone to start. Take Hebrew 6, verses one and two, and study these out.

For instance, the doctrine of baptisms. That would be a good doctrine to study out because churches have different views on baptism. Some teach you're baptized when you're born again, when you give your heart to Christ. Some teach water baptism. Some teach tribune, being baptized under the water three times. What does the Bible really say?

I studied it once with a guy. He asked me this question, "What is Biblical baptism?" I said take concordance. Look up every word in the Bible. Concordance has every word in the Bible. Look up every word in the Bible that says baptized, baptism, or a derivative of that word. Write that verse out, write down beside it what that verse is saying, the key point.

He did that. When he was done he understood what the Bible was saying.

John: Sure. That's right. I have people that talk to me and they say, "I'm not sure about the Sabbath and what day the Sabbath is." Give an eight-year-old who can read well a Bible, have him sit down, and say, "Start at the beginning and come to me and tell me when you've found out what day the Sabbath day is." You get two chapters in and he's found it. Keep reading, we'll get to Exodus 20, found it again. All through there the Bible is clear. Baptism, clear. Salvation, clear. If you will just take the time to read with an open heart and gather information together and purpose in your heart to follow the word of God what does the Bible say?

"If any man will do his will he will know the doctrine." If you come to God with a stubborn heart of stone then it's all going to be Greek to you forever. If you come with an open heart, Lord please touch my life, I want to know you more, I want to follow you, then things are going to just open up to you and you're going to be praising the Lord forever.

Gary: If you have a system. I like to have a notebook. If you're doing this on the computer you open up a document. I like to have a system where I'm writing down what I'm learning, comparing text with text. That's what our Bible study that we're offering you today will do for you. It'll take you through the major teachings of the Bible in a systematic way.

John: It's important to understand that it's important to understand what the Bible says and you can do that with this Bible study course and by coming back and joining us here for more when we study next time. Thanks for being with us this time. See you more next time for more of "Bible Talk". [music]

John: If you'd like more information on what we've been studying today we have a comprehensive Bible study guide we'd love to share with you that's absolutely free. This study includes many of the texts we've just discussed and expands on the subject, including information you'll want to know. To receive this free, informative Bible study guide simply call, write, or email and ask for "Amazing Facts Bible Study Course." The toll free number is 866-BIBLE-SAYS. That's 866 242-5372. You can write to us at Bible Talk PO Box 1058 Roseville, California 95678. That's PO Box 1058 Roseville, California 95678 or email us at bibletalk@amazingfacts.org. bibletalk@amazingfacts.org.

"Bible Talk" has been produced in association with Amazing Facts in the studios of Life Talk Radio.

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