Survey in Basic Christianity
Lesson 1
Your Word is Truth

O.J. Gibson

“Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice,” said the Lord Jesus to the Roman governor. “Pilate said to Him, ‘What is truth?’” (John 18:37-38). There is little lasting value in studying anything if we believe that:

  1. There is no such thing as truth, or
  2. Truth is constantly changing, or
  3. It is impossible to know truth with any certainty.

Truth has been defined as conforming to fact or reality; being in accord with what is, has been, or must be; it is the opposite of false, wrong, error, or lie. Truth is narrow and unchanging regardless of history and culture; it is absolute and independent of anything else. To believe otherwise is destructive to both learning and morals.

The Search for Truth

The psalmist cried out, “Lead me in Your truth and teach me” (Psalm 25:5). He believed that this truth is forever (Psalm 117:2). Because it is so precious, we are advised, “Buy the truth, and do not sell it” (Proverbs 23:23). The prophet spoke of “the God of truth” (Isaiah 65:16).

God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). But, the Bible says that people generally have “exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:25). Often, those who say they are truth-seekers do not love the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:10). They instead seek their own way, and that way is a path of error. Jesus promised to those who genuinely seek Him, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). People need to know the truth about God, about life, about eternity.

The Source of Truth

Where shall we seek the truth?

Some seek it within themselves. They believe their reason, emotions, and desires are sufficient guides.
Some seek it among themselves. They look to the advice, experiences, and teaching of other people.
Some seek it beyond themselves. They believe that truth is greater than our limited ability to understand. It requires the help of God or some supernatural power.

God is the source of all truth. God communicated certain things that we could not otherwise know. This communication is known as revelation. He guided men to write down the exact words that He wanted to communicate. This process of moving men to write out the truth is called inspiration. “No prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21; cf. 2 Timothy 3:16).

The Bible is called both the “Scripture” and the “Scriptures” (Mark 12:10, 24), meaning that these are sacred writings. We call these collected writings the Bible, meaning “the Book”—signifying its place above all other books. These writings are further called “the word of God” (Mark 7:13; Romans 10:17; 2 Corinthians 2:17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 4:12).

God has spoken, and He is the “God of truth” (Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 31:5; Isaiah 65:16). At first, He spoke through messengers called prophets. “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets” (Hebrews 1:1). What they spoke or wrote was true because it came from God. But just as evil men try to counterfeit money, false prophets tried to counterfeit God’s message of truth. “But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die” (Deuteronomy 18:20). But how would people know the difference between a true prophet of God and a false prophet? God had built-in safeguards to keep the truth secure. “When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him” (Deuteronomy 18:22). False prophets who tried to lead people astray were put to death (Deuteronomy 13:1-5).

Next, God promised to send a unique Prophet. “The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear…I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him” (Deuteronomy 18:15, 18-19; cf. Acts 3:22-23).

Who is that Prophet? “God…has in these last days spoken to us by His Son” (Hebrews 1:1-2). God’s preeminent and final revelation is Jesus Christ. The only one who can fully reveal God to man is God’s unique Son because He is God Himself and knows the Father intimately. He is the only one who can fully reveal God to us (John 1:18; John 14:9). Jesus affirmed that He is “the truth” (John 14:6), that God’s word is truth (John 17:17), and that the historical accounts in the Bible are true (Mark 10:6; Matthew 12:39-40; 24:37-39).

Jesus confirmed the Old Testament’s truth by assuring His listeners “that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me” (Luke 24:44). Hundreds of prophecies had already been fulfilled. His listeners were about to be eye-witnesses to the fulfillment of some of the most significant Bible prophecies ever recorded.

The greatest error anyone can make is to ignore the truth of God’s word. Sadly, this was true of religious leaders when Jesus lived on earth. “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God’” (Matthew 22:29). The greatest blessing comes to anyone who reads God’s word and believes the truth (Psalm 19:7-11). Come with an open and willing heart to believe the One who gives eternal life (John 5:39-40).

Such expressions as “God said,” “the Lord spoke,” and “the word of the Lord came” occur perhaps 3,000 times in the Old Testament alone. God speaks directly on many occasions (Exodus 24:12, Deuteronomy 10:1-2). The writers of Scripture said that God was giving His words through them to men. Consider these statements by holy men of God:

  • Moses: “And God said”; “the Lord said” (Exodus 3:14-15; Deuteronomy 1:42)
  • Joshua: “The Lord spoke” (Joshua 1:1)
  • Jeremiah: “The Lord said”; “says the Lord” (Jeremiah 1:7-9)
  • Ezekiel: “He said to me” (Ezekiel 3:4)
  • Malachi: “Thus says the Lord” (25 times)
  • Jesus: “All [will be] fulfilled” (Matthew 5:18, speaking of the Old Testament Law)
  • Jesus: “The commandment of God” (Mark 7:8, speaking of the Old Testament Law)
  • Jesus: “It is written” (John 6:45, speaking of the Old Testament Prophets) “They have Moses and the prophets” (Luke 16:29-31) “Written in the Law … the Prophets … the Psalms” (Luke 24:44)
  • The apostles: “the Holy Spirit spoke” (Acts 1:16). “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly” (Acts 28:25)

The Bible claims to be God’s word. “All Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16 NIV). “Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). “Not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches” (1 Corinthians 2:13). It is His message of truth for all mankind.

The Sign of Truth

The following points give supporting evidence that the word of God is the truth:

  1. Hundreds of detailed prophecies have already been fulfilled. Over 60 specific prophecies about Jesus Christ were fulfilled when He was on earth. Hundreds of other prophecies dealing with Israel and Gentile nations have come to pass. There is simply no other prophetic record with one hundred percent accuracy in every detail, which underscores the truth of God’s word.
  2. The Spirit of God moved over 40 men in various countries, in different times and circumstances, using three unique languages over a period of 1500 years to accurately write His word. Yet, the Bible has a profoundly unified theme. It is a single consistent story that demonstrates its divine origin. It is God’s word.
  3. Archaeological discoveries are continuously proving the historical accounts in the Bible are true. Archaeologists have unearthed extensive evidence confirming biblical accounts of historical events, nations, and people. Each new discovery validates the truth of God’s word.
  4. The Bible continues to transform lives. Violent criminals, as well as gentle people, are touched and changed by its message. Millions of people have experienced the transforming power of God’s word and have turned from a life of sin and shame to a new life of virtue and integrity. The truth has made them free (John 8:32). The Bible continues to provide hope, comfort, and encouragement to individuals in their darkest hours. No other book has transformed so many lives for the better.
  5. People have extensively attacked the Bible more than any other book, yet it has survived many efforts to destroy every copy. It has not only survived but thrived in its publication, distribution, and world impact as the most important volume ever written. It is a book feared by its enemies and embraced by those who love God’s word. No other book has sustained such criticism while continuing to be a best-seller year after year. Its intact survival underscores its divine origin.
  6. From its beginning to its ending, the Bible is the story of a perfect Person. It is not only an account of history; it is His story. The story of the Bible includes you and how you can have a personal relationship with God. Your response to the truth of God’s word will impact your life and determine your eternal destiny.

Many great minds have wrestled with the profound questions of life and eternity. These questions are defined and answered in the Bible. The lessons included in this book are designed to help the reader understand precisely what the Bible teaches about God, man, sin, salvation, eternity, and Jesus Christ. It is important to learn what the Bible says before we decide whether we agree or disagree. Jesus said the errors of the religious leaders of His day were because they did not know the Scriptures (Matthew 22:29). Daniel said that the Bible is “the Scripture of Truth” (Daniel 10:21). Do you know the truth?

SBC Study Guide Lesson 1
Your Word Is Truth

Every person has a longing for knowledge and truth. Many sources available to us, however, are not reliable. The Bible claims to be God’s truth revealed to us.

  1. Which of the following statements most accurately describes the Biblical concept of truth? (select one)
    1. There is no such thing as truth
    2. Truth is constantly changing
    3. It is impossible to know truth with any certainty
    4. Truth is absolute and knowable
  2. Before the birth of Christ, how did God communicate truth to man (Hebrews 1:1)?
    1. What built-in proof did God use to confirm that the prophets spoke the truth (Deuteronomy 18:22)?
    2. God promised to send a unique Prophet. Who was He?
  3. What is God’s ultimate means of communicating truth (Matthew 17:5; Hebrews 1:2)?
  4. Why is Jesus the only one who can fully reveal God’s truth?
  5. What did Jesus say about truth (John 14:6; 17:17)?
  6. How did Jesus affirm the authority of the writers of the Old Testament Scriptures (Luke 24:44)?
  7. What attitude did Jesus take toward the following Old Testament events?
    1. Creation of Adam and Eve (Mark 10:6)
    2. Jonah and the fish (Matthew 12:39-40)
    3. Noah and the ark (Matthew 24:37-39)
  8. The New Testament writers recorded the words and teaching of Jesus. What attitude did they have about the authority of what they wrote (1 Corinthians 11:23; 2 Peter 1:16-21)?
  9. What was one of the greatest errors of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day (Matthew 22:29)?
  10. Paraphrase (rewrite in your own words) 2 Timothy 3:15-17.
  11. What are the benefits of studying the Bible (Psalm 19:7-11; John 5:39)?
  12. What do you say? Place a circle around the letter of each statement that reflects your feelings about the Bible:
    1. I believe the Bible is God’s word to man. Although many different men wrote it over many years, it is error-free in its original writing, and it is reliable and trustworthy both in historical fact and in doctrine.
    2. I believe that only the words of Jesus in the Bible are inspired.
    3. I believe that many of the Bible stories, such as Adam and Eve, Noah and the Ark, are not meant to be taken literally but still have meaning for teaching.
    4. I believe that the Bible contains many contradictions.
    5. I believe that the Bible contains all I need to know about God, life, and the hereafter.
    6. I believe that the Bible has many good moral teachings but is not absolute truth.
    7. The truth of the Bible is for every generation, every culture, and every race.
  13. We want to encourage you to memorize God’s word. The suggested memory verse for this lesson is:

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV)
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”