Speaking the truth at all times – about ourselves and the Word. This is what Paul did. By his own account, he told the truth and he did not twist the Word of God. Since Paul was so famous, I think if this were not true, we would have had historical accounts correcting the record. Also, because few books have endured more scrutiny than the Bible, someone would have pointed this out!
Speaking the Truth at All Times
“We reject every shameful cover-up and refuse to resort to cunning trickery or distorting the Word of God. Instead, we open up our souls to you by presenting the truth to everyone’s conscience in the sight and presence of God.” 2 Corinthians 4:2 TPT
But, what is the truth? In a day when “Fake News” is everywhere, we might feel we don’t know what is true.
However, there is one truth that has not changed and has endured centuries of criticism – Jesus.
Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. He is the Word. His words are truth.
Can the truth be twisted?
It certainly can. Verses from the Bible have been used to condone every kind of sin. Anything we say can be twisted by someone else and there is little we can do about it. The era of fake news has shown us that we need to verify what we are told. Yet, that can be difficult when it comes to politics and statements about people we will never even meet. Still, we must try to distinguish truth from lies to the best of our ability and trust God to guide us and protect us from deception.
The Truth Wins
Knowledge about a subject or person helps us to distinguish truth from partial truth. I recently had an experience where a friend shut off our communication because of the words of a mutual acquaintance. My friend was questioning what she was told about me but didn’t know what to do or believe. Finally, she talked with her husband and he said some things which made her realize that what the acquaintance had told her might not be accurate.
I knew what had happened, but had not spoken to her about all of this until I ran into her a few months later. I went over, sat down, and just opened the subject. She realized that the person who had said negative things about me was not being honest. I did not speak badly of that person, just pointed out that this was life-habit and related to a mental illness. My friend recognized the pattern because of her own Mother’s behavior later in life.
If I had gone to my friend any sooner, anything I said would have just convinced her that the other person was correct. Sometimes, when you try to defend yourself against false statements, others perceive you as just being defensive! It can be a no-win situation and the best thing you can do is wait. I waited and knew that the time was right. My friend knew what kind of person I was and finally realized the truth. It’s hard to wait for that to happen but her knowledge of who I really am (the truth) won out.
The truth of who and what you are will overcome lies told about you with those who are your true friends.
The Word is Unchanged by Opinions or Trends
The Bible has withstood all of the twistings, lying, berating, and attacks thrown at it. It has endured and has not been changed to accommodate trends or opinions. But, how do you protect yourself from people who twist the Word? There is only one way. Your own knowledge of the Word. Some of the lies are so obvious that you don’t need to be a Bible scholar to see through to the truth. The Bible never defends child abuse, yet there are those who say that it does.
Your own knowledge of the Bible will protect you from those who twist the Word for their own personal gain.
Much of the twisting of the Word happens by taking one verse and turning it into a doctrine or precept for life. Whenever that happens, your best defense is to go directly to the Bible and read the verse in context. Read it in context of the chapters before and after it. Also, in the context of the time it was written in. If someone says that you cannot eat pork and cites an Old Testament law, you need to view this in context of the time. As Christians, we no longer live under the Old Testament law. If you read the New Testament at all, you will see clearly that we are not to go back under the Law and that we can eat anything unless we have a personal reason not to.
Here is a New Testament example – you can buy the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
“When Simon saw how the Holy Spirit was released through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he approached them and offered them money, saying, “I want this power too. I’m willing to pay you for the anointing that you have, so that I also can lay my hands on everyone to receive the Holy Spirit.” Acts 8:18-19 TPT
We Must Always Be Students of the Bible
If someone taught a new believer using this Scripture, they might be tempted to believe. This could be embellished and connected to verses where Paul asked the believers to give money. However, all you have to do is read the very next verse to see the truth. But, many believers don’t read the Bible for themselves. They rely on their Pastor or a podcast to give them the truth. This is exactly why they can be deceived!
We are to be students of the Word. I have studied the Bible for many, many years and spent days with 3 bibles, a Strong’s Concordance (which was huge), a typewriter, and multiple commentaries surrounding me as I searched out the context, the meaning of words in the Hebrew and Greek, and the thoughts of other esteemed Commentators. Today, all you have to do is open your phone, install an app and you have access to all of that and more without the typewriter (Hallelujah!). There is no excuse for not having at least a basic knowledge of the Word. There are Bible Studies by the thousands.
The Word Purifies
However, nothing is a substitute for your own, personal knowledge of the word. This will shape your life, conform your mind to Christ, purify your conscience and be the light to your path. I can’t quote all the Scriptures about what the Word will do for you. But, I can say that The Word is powerful.
Paul admonished Timothy to make sure he handled the Word correctly.
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 NASB
In the book of Acts, the Bereans were noted for their diligence in studying to verify whether or not the Apostles were telling them the truth.
“They found that the Jews of Berea were of more noble character and much more open minded than those of Thessalonica. They were hungry to learn and eagerly received the word. Every day they opened the scrolls of Scripture to search and examine them, to verify that what Paul taught them was true.” Acts 17:11 TPT
Verify Without a Critical Spirit
The Bereans were not examining the Word in order to criticize and argue, they were doing it to verify. That is an important distinction. Sometimes, people only open their Bible long enough to find something that proves you are wrong. They don’t care about context – just being right (even though they are probably wrong).
Context matters. I once had a Pastor who drove home this point – a text without context is a pretext. What is a pretext? Webster’s Dictionary defines it this way: “a purpose or motive alleged or an appearance assumed in order to cloak the real intention or state of affairs.” It is always identified as something false placed in front of the real thing. Cambridge Dictionary says it is “a pretended reason for doing something that is used to hide the real reason:”
A text without a context is a pretext.
So, when you listen or read, keep an open mind, like the Bereans, but then open the scrolls to search and examine to verify what you are being taught. I.ve had many experiences where, through study, I found that a teaching was twisting the Word. I’ve had friends fall into deception because they did not study and verify. Instead, a charismatic individual came through town, said some things that sounded too good to be true, and backed them up with some Bible verses. It took most of these people years to realize they had been deceived. Some never have.
“Another reason we regularly thank God is that when you heard the Word of God from us, you received it not merely as a human word, but as it truly is, God’s Word, which is at work in you believers.” 1 Thessalonians 2:13 CJB
What caused me to question? My conscience based on my own study of the Word. My conscience spoke up and I listened to it. I searched to find information about the teacher and the words he was speaking. I also searched the word to compare his word to The Word. True teaching will always be verified by your study of the Word.
Study to find or verify the truth
One caution – DO NOT study to simply show that you are correct and someone else is wrong. Study to find or verify the truth. This way your heart and mind will stay pure as you study to find God’s truth – not your own. I have also had times when I thought someone else was twisting Scripture and I set out to find the truth. It turned out I was wrong and they were right! I had a partial knowledge upon which I had formed convictions. Then I found out I was standing on a two-legged stool! It fell over and I had to add the third leg to my knowledge of the subject.
By myself, I can never have a full picture of the Word or contain all of the truth. We need each other because, together, we are the body of Christ. However, I must to be careful to make sure that the stool has at least 3 legs and that all of them are firmly set on the Word and not just my opinion!
Convictions – firmly held beliefs or opinions – are important. They are our conscience. However, I can have a firmly held opinion and find out I am firmly wrong. I may have convictions that are different than yours and that is fine as long as they conform to the Word. We must each live according to the direction of the Holy Spirit in our individual lives and not be judgmental of others.
So, how do we speak and live in the truth at all times? Through:
- Knowing the Word
- Staying in felllowship with others who do the same
- Rejecting a critical spirit
- Being open-minded yet cautious
- Know it in context and develop a love for it.
- If your conscience speaks up, search out the Word. Maybe there is something more you need to learn.
Paul’s Three Steps
In 2 Corinthians 4:2, Paul cited three things he was doing:
- Rejecting every shameful cover-up
- Refusing to resort to trickery
- Refusing to distort the Word of God
When our words, actions, intentions, heart, soul, and mind are infused with the Word, there is no need any of those three things. We can be honest and open. Paul says, “Instead, we open up our souls to you by presenting the truth to everyone’s conscience in the sight and presence of God.”
Whether we think so or not, our souls are open for God to see. If we are being honest in front of God, then we can open up our souls to others as well. God hears the words we speak and the ones we don’t! The Word has similar power.
We have God’s Power – the Word’s Power – and our own power (Christ in us) – giving us strength to walk in truth.
“Lord, you know everything there is to know about me. You perceive every movement of my heart and soul,
and you understand my every thought before it even enters my mind. You are so intimately aware of me, Lord. You read my heart like an open book and you know all the words I’m about to speak before I even start a sentence! You know every step I will take before my journey even begins.” Psalm 139:1-4 TPT Entire Psalm
The Word’s Power
“For we have the living Word of God, which is full of energy, and it pierces more sharply than a two-edged sword. It will even penetrate to the very core of our being where soul and spirit, bone and marrow meet! It interprets and reveals the true thoughts and secret motives of our hearts.” Hebrews 4:12 TPT
“But the evil men and sorcerers will progress from bad to worse, deceived and deceiving, as they lead people further from the truth. Yet you must continue to advance in strength with the truth wrapped around your heart, being assured by God that he’s the One who has truly taught you all these things.
Remember what you were taught from your childhood from the Holy Scrolls which can impart to you wisdom to experience everlasting life through the faith of Jesus, the Anointed One! Every Scripture has been written by the Holy Spirit, the breath of God. It will empower you by its instruction and correction, giving you the strength to take the right direction and lead you deeper into the path of godliness. Then you will be God’s servant, fully mature and perfectly prepared to fulfill any assignment God gives you.” 2 Timothy 3:13-17 TPT Emphasis is mine.
We can be as self-assured as Paul regarding our words and teaching to others. We teach by example and speech, and, as long as both are based on the Word, we can be sure that we are living and giving the truth.
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**We use verses from different Bible translations.
To see more information about the copyright for each one, please visit our Scripture Citations.
Day 1 – 24 Day Challenge – Renewing Your Mind and Conscience
Day 2 – Living By the Golden Rule
Day 3 – Being Falsely Accused
Day 4 – A Personal Testimony of Salvation
Day 5 – Knowing Right From Wrong
Day 6 – What is the Power of the Holy Spirit?
Day 7 – Submitting to Authority
Day 8 – What is a Weak Conscience?
Day 9 – Living a Life Worthy of the Gospel