How Do We Know What Is True?

“You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you.” (2 Timothy 3:14b NLT)

What do you believe about truth? What do you believe is true?

When I was in college I made several trips from Indiana, where I went to school, to West Virginia, where my parents lived. I always followed the same route. Why? Because I believed it was the fastest way. On one occasion, I saw a very large sign telling me to STOP! Why? Because there was water covering the road ahead.

I didn’t want to stop! I didn’t want to turn around! Why? Because I knew it would take more time to go an alternate route. So, what did I do? I verified the truth of that sign. I kept going on my route and, sure enough, a short way further, it looked like a river was flowing over the road. It was very dark, so I got out the car and walked to the edge of the water, hoping, maybe it wasn’t as bad as the people who put up the sign thought. Maybe if I went slow enough I could get through. I decided it wasn’t worth the risk.

Photo by Robin Ramos on

Many in our world today have built their lives on lies, never taking the time or making the effort to verify the truth.

There is a lengthy definition of “truth” in Webster’s New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition, but it begins by saying: “truth suggests conformity with the facts or with reality…” What does that mean? It essentially means – see if what you believe is true, accurate, verifiable with the facts and/or reality.

Relativism is rampant in today’s culture. What is “true” for you, may not be or doesn’t have to be true for me. It’s ALL relative! I get that on some levels, but I believe there are still truths that are absolute. What does that mean? It means it’s true for every person, in every era of time, under every circumstance. And even as I write these words, I can “hear” someone saying, “but I DON’T believe that!”

A high school friend I’d not seen in several years, and I, were talking, catching up on people we’d both known. At one point he asked: “Did you hear about Karen?” Under the influence of drugs, she’d jumped from a building, believing she could fly. The lie she believed cost her her life. Whether or not someone chooses to believe it, because of the law of gravity, and the construction of the human body, people can’t fly without assistance (i.e. an airplane, parasailing, etc.).

In the passage I referenced at the top of the page, Paul was saying to Timothy, who was like a son to him, that he could verify the truth of what he’d been taught by viewing the life of the one who taught him. But beyond that, he could verify its truth by the impact it had on Timothy’s own life. What had Timothy been taught? “You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:5 NLT)

Much of what we “believe” as an adult, was “taught” us by significant role models in our childhood. That’s why those who understand the process, for good or ill (i.e. Hitler, “educators” in our day, etc.), want to command the process by which children learn. For example, my generation (Boomers) were taught (encouraged) to go to college, “get an education,” and that would be the pathway to success.

For younger generations, they’re discovering alternative pathways, without college. Which one is “right?” There’s “truth” in either avenue. But the real issue isn’t equating a successful life with how much money you make or how much “stuff” you accumulate (i.e. possessions, position, power, or prestige), it’s how you effectively and purposefully build a life? What’s the “truth?”

Why do so many, young, and old, choose to end their lives after they’re at the “peak” of “success?” Because they verify, through their life’s experiences that all the world offers can’t satisfy their soul. It was never designed to.

The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT): “He (God) has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” Something temporal can never satisfy what God created to be eternal.

It’s no secret that I believe the Bible is true, because I’ve lived long enough to validate the Bible’s claims and understand they are trustworthy. But what “sealed the deal” for me, was getting to know the central Character of the Bible, Jesus.

I will share with you tomorrow something that helped me, and may help you, to see more clearly just how trustworthy the Scriptures are.

Blessings, Ed 😊

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