When Jesus was being judged by Pilate, the question of truth was raised. Wikipedia has this definition: “Truth is most often used to mean being in accord with fact or reality, or fidelity to an original or to a standard or ideal.”
In our booklet “The Authority of the Bible,” on pages 4 and 5, we read the following:
“THE BIBLE PROVES ITSELF! Human interpretation is not the final authority when it comes to the Word of God! But that is exactly how those who selectively pick and choose what they want to believe, view the Bible. It is also the position taken by so many who simply reject the Bible.
“… how can we know what is true and what is false?
“Jesus Christ made an utterly profound statement in answer to Pilate’s questioning: ‘Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice”’ (John 18:37). Jesus Christ Himself bore witness of the Word of God, and that included the Holy Scriptures—the Old Testament at that time. The prophecies of His birth, death and resurrection proved to be true!…
“Truth—as opposed to falsehood and deception—was the focus of what Jesus taught. He made this statement to the Jews of His day, many of whom were the religious leaders of the nation: ‘And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free’ (John 8:32).”
In John 17:17 we read that Jesus prayed and asked the Father, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” And so, we know that the Word of God, the Bible which is the Christian’s manual for life, contains all the truth that we need to know at this time.
Jesus also said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). The Expositor’s Greek Testament observes that Christ was conveying the following thoughts:
“I do not merely point out the way and teach the truth and bestow life, but I am the way and the truth and the life, so that by attachment to me one necessarily is in the way and possesses the truth and the life.”
The commentary continues:
“‘The way’ here referred to is the way to the Father. He is the goal of all human aspiration: and there is but one way to the Father… [the ‘truth’ is] primarily about God and the way to Him, but also as furnishing us with all knowledge which we now require for life.”
And so, having very briefly established that everyone who is of the truth hears Jesus’ voice; that Jesus is “the way and the truth and the life”; and that God’s Word (the Bible) is truth, let me ask the question: “Are we acquiring new truth or new understanding?”
We can read through Church history that the true Church of God survived through each century, but it had sometimes lost a lot of knowledge and understanding. When Mr Herbert W Armstrong was called in the late 1920’s, the fruits showed that God used him to restore many doctrines that the early New Testament Church had kept, but which the Church of God down through the centuries had lost. But it is clear to see that this was not new truth, but new or better understanding.
Winston Churchill once said: “TRUTH is incontrovertible. Panic may resent it; ignorance may deride it; malice may distort it; but THERE IT IS!” Over the years many have mentioned “new truth,” but the truth has always been there. It was the understanding of the truth—and the love for the truth–that was lost. In 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 we read a warning: “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”
We not only have to have the truth in the first place, but we also have to have – and retain – the love of that truth.
Let us return to the original question, “New Truth or New Understanding?” The answer should be clear by now; the truth has been there all the time, but it is new or better understanding that all need to embrace who accept their calling from God.