ESTABLISHING BIBLICAL TRUTH
As we study the Bible we have been taught how to establish truth by some simple biblical principles that must be used. First of all, for something to be true it must first be in the Scriptures . Our only window to truth and the only surety we truly have is God's word. Romans 3:4" God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged." Numbers 23:19 "God [is] not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do [it]? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?" Now we know that there are a lot of examples in the Bible of lies. Just because it is in the Bible doesn't make it true. On the other hand, if it is not in the scriptures we have even a bigger problem. So, rule number one is: For something to be God's truth it has to be in the Bible, and the source has to be reliable. (Remember, most false teachings are simply not in the Bible) If we intend to lay a good foundation of truth where should we start? 1 Corinthians 3:11" For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." Ephesians 2:20 "And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone];" Matthew 17:5 " While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him." According to these scriptures, if we are to establish a solid foundation in truth Christ's words are the most important, then those of the Apostiles and lastly the words of the prophets. (A lot of t eachings go astray when the foundation is laid first in prophets)
The second one of these principles is that of a multiple witness. Matthew 18:16.." that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established" ; John 8:17 (Jesus says) "It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true"; 2 Corinthians 13:1 "In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established" 2 Peter 1:20 " Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation ." It is important to understand that one scripture that stands alone, according to this "proof" of truth, cannot be considered as an absolute truth. Therefore, we shall seek a second and third witness on all points of scripture, in scripture.
The third rule is that the "Word of God" is not in conflict with itself. Jesus Christ is the Word of God and is consistent. He does not change. Heb. 13:8 "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever." Matthew 12:25 " Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand." Mark 3:24-25 "And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand." Luke 11:17 "Every kingdom be divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth".
The last three scriptures are perfect examples of the last two rules of proof. First, they are the examples of the rule that the Word of God does not conflict with itself thus to cause "a kingdom divided" , and they are examples that the second and third witness establishes the truth. Scripture does prove itself and the truth is always in harmony. When in our studies we come across a verse of scripture that appears to be in contradiction with other scriptures, we must acknowledge that the one unsupported must fall under the weight of the others which are in agreement. It should also hint to us that there may be a translational error in that verse.
This brings me to the last rule of establishing truth we will cover. This is that we must "study" the Word of God, not just read it. II Timothy 2:15 "Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth". Only through in-depth study of the word of truth can we rightly divide (hold a straight course and teach the truth about) God's word. It is not sufficient to just listen to someone else teach. Acts 17:11-12 "..they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed;.." Reading the Bible alone doesn't do what is necessary to bring us sufficient understanding. It is absolutely imperative that we pierce the veil of modern English translations and go directly to the original languages, just as they did in biblical times. In Acts 17:12 it says that even wealthy and influential Greek women studied the Hebrew scriptures to test what they had heard preached. We surely should do the same.