Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Questions of Faith – How can anyone say they know the truth?

Below are the notes from the fourth session of a study entitled “The Questions of Faith.” This 15-session series attempts to answer some of the questions raised by participants from our last study. This week we worked of the question, How can anyone say they know the truth?  You may listen to a podcast of this session on the Cove Presbyterian PodBean page.

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During this session, we focused on the nature of truth as defined in the Bible. Below are some of the note I put into a Powerpoint presentation.

אמת is the Hebrew word translated “true” or “truth” in the Old Testament. It’s used in two ways: as a legal term and as a religious term.

§ἀλήθεια is the Greek word generally translated true or truth.

The Greeks used ἀλήθεια in two ways. First, it meant “non-concealment.” Second, it referred to dualism.

§In the New Testament, ἀλήθεια can refer to certainty.
  • Ephesians 4:21 -  For surely you have heard about him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus.
  • Romans 2:2 - You say, “We know that God’s judgment on those who do such things is in accordance with truth.” 

ἀλήθεια can refer to something on which you can rely.
  • Romans 3:3-7 - What if some were unfaithful? Will their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Although everyone is a liar, let God be proved true, as it is written, “So that you may be justified in your words, and prevail in your judging.” But if our injustice serves to confirm the justice of God, what should we say? That God is unjust to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) By no means! For then how could God judge the world? But if through my falsehood God’s truthfulness abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? 
  • 2 Corinthians 7:14 - For if I have been somewhat boastful about you to him, I was not disgraced; but just as everything we said to you was true, so our boasting to Titus has proved true as well. 
ἀλήθεια may imply the real state of affairs.

  • Romans 1:18 - For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth. 
  • Romans 9:1 - I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience confirms it by the Holy Spirit— 
§ἀλήθεια may refer to the truth of a statement.
  • Luke 4:25 - But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; 
  • Mark 12:32 - Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that ‘he is one, and besides him there is no other’; 
ἀλήθεια can also mean divine reality and revelation. This develops from Hellenistic dualism and is important in John.

  • John 8:44 - You are from your father the devil, and you choose to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 
  • 2 John 1-2 - The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth, and not only I but also all who know the truth, because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever:  
  • John 14:15-17 - “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you. 

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