Introduction: Toby Keith sings a song containing this line, “I wish
I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then.” Is that your view of
life? Something unpleasant has happened and you wish you had never
heard about it? Or, is knowing the truth always better? The Bible
presents an amazingly truthful account of its Old Testament heroes.
This suggests that it is always better to know. On the other hand,
Paul seems to suggest that being completely open is not always the
best approach. In my life, truth comes in two packages. One is truth
about God, salvation and the operation of the universe. The other
is truth about my life and the truth about the lives of others. I’m
sure I want to know the truth about God. As to the truth about me
…. Let’s jump right in and explore what the Bible has to teach us
about truth!

  1. Truth About God

    1. Read John 14:1-4. How important to you is the truth of
      Jesus’ statement? (Nothing is more important. The Bible
      says in 1 Corinthians 15:19: “If only for this life we
      have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all

      1. What relationship does truth have to trust? Jesus
        calls on us to trust Him before He makes this
        important statement. (We don’t know whether to
        believe people if we cannot trust them.)

    2. Read John 14:5-7. How does Jesus answer Thomas’s
      question? (Jesus says that He is the way.)

      1. Let’s explore Jesus’ statement a bit more. What does
        Jesus mean when He says He is “the way, the truth
        and the life?”

        1. What “way” is under discussion? (The way to
          heaven. The route to eternal life.)

        2. What “truth” is Jesus speaking about? (The
          whole thread of the conversation is truth about
          eternal life.)

        3. How is Jesus the “life?” (Eternal life comes
          from knowing and accepting God. We come to the
          Father through Jesus.)

      2. I’ve read the teachings of the Dali Lama, I’ve read
        large sections of the Koran. It seems to me that
        Buddhist teachings about how to live your life are
        very close to what Jesus taught us in the Sermon on
        the Mount. Islam, amazingly, accepts large sections
        of the Old Testament as truth. Judaism accepts the
        truth of the entire Old Testament and Jesus was
        Jewish! Because of these similarities, I’ve
        contemplated before whether all of these major world
        religions are just another approach to the truth of
        God. What does Jesus say about this? (No. “No one
        comes to the Father except through Me.”)

        1. Do you understand the logic behind Jesus’
          claim? Or, is this something that is beyond
          reason, and must be accepted by faith, if
          accepted at all?(I’m not a expert in world
          religions, but what I know about them is that
          they are all based on human works. Obedience
          gets you to heaven or the next level. Romans 3
          tells us what I observe to be the truth – we
          are all evil. Only Christianity teaches that
          God obeyed on our behalf, God died on our
          behalf for sin, and God overcame sin and death
          on our behalf. We cannot work our way to
          heaven. It is only God. Surely, “no one comes
          to the Father except through [Jesus]!”)

    3. In John 16, Jesus again gets into a discussion with His
      disciples about the fact that He is going to heaven. Read
      John 16:12. What does this suggest about God telling us
      the truth? (He does not always tell us the entire story.)

      1. Are you hearing strains of Tobey Keith? Is it honest
        not to tell the entire story?

        1. Does it make a difference that God is making
          this judgment instead of you?

        2. We now have two thousand years of hindsight. Do
          you agree with Jesus that the entire story
          would have been too much for the disciples to

  2. The Holy Spirit and Truth

    1. Read John 16:13-15. What is the role of the Holy Spirit
      in helping us to understand truth? (He guides us.)

      1. What does the illustration of a guide suggest about
        our role? (Read Jeremiah 29:13. Explorers seek out
        guides. The reference to a guide suggests that we
        need to seek out the truth. God tells us to seek Him
        “with all [our] heart.”)

    2. Read John 16:7-11. Part of the Holy Spirit’s work with
      the truth is to “convict the world of guilt …
      righteousness and judgment.” When you think about
      learning the truth, is it just about hearing the correct
      information? (Part of truth is knowing the facts. A more
      important part of truth is understanding the facts and
      taking them seriously. People know that smoking is not
      good for you. People know that being overweight is not
      good for you. The real issue is whether you take the
      information seriously.)

      1. What role does the Holy Spirit have in helping us to
        take truth seriously?(Only the Holy Spirit can bring

      2. What role does the Holy Spirit play in our efforts
        to bring the gospel truth to others? (Again, it is
        the Spirit’s role to bring conviction of truth.)

    3. We just got through discussing the “partial truth” issue.
      What does John 16:13 tell us about God and the entire
      truth? (The Holy Spirit will lead us into “all truth.”)

      1. If you knew that the entire truth would be revealed
        to you, but that for your benefit God timed the
        entire revelation, would that be satisfactory?

      2. Should we take that approach with others? Tell them
        the entire truth – but not at once?

  3. Our Truth

    1. Read 1 Corinthians 9:19. What is Paul’s attitude about
      converting others? (That he gives up his own rights to
      bring others to Jesus.)

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 9:20-22. What do you think about
      Paul’s methods and the truth?

      1. Is this a “give them part of the truth at a time”

        1. Does this text give us enough information to
          make an informed judgment on Paul’s methods?

    3. Read Romans 14:13-18. Is there absolute truth when it
      comes to diet? (Apparently not. Paul says that he has one
      view, but if someone else has a different view, they are
      bound by that view.)

      1. When Paul instructs us in Romans 14:15 “Do not by
        your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ
        died,” what is he suggesting?

        1. Is he suggesting that it is okay to eat
          whatever is in dispute, but just not in front
          of the “brother?”

          1. Does that mean you are misleading your
            brother about what you think is all right
            to eat?

    4. Read Romans 14:22-23. What does this suggest about
      truth? (We are accountable to God. We do not need to be
      completely transparent with fellow believers if we think
      it would harm them.)

      1. Is this an authorization to be a hypocrite?

      2. Is this an authorization to hide sin from fellow
        believers? (Read Romans 14:1. The topic is
        “disputable matters.” Lying to hide true sin is
        simply adding sin to sin. But there is a category of
        disputable matters, in which an action can be sin
        for one person and not sin for the other. In that
        narrow area, truth turns on consideration for the
        welfare of others.)

        1. When you lie, who are you looking out for?
          (Lies are generally to protect ourselves. Paul
          is not suggesting lies, he is just suggesting
          keeping our mouth shut on certain disputable

    5. Friend, how are you and truth? Will you commit today to
      seek the truth of God with all of your heart? Will you
      commit to partner with the Holy Spirit to both learn more
      truth and share it with others? Will you commit to being
      sensitive about how your view of the truth impacts fellow

  4. Next week: The Fruit of the Spirit: The Essence of Christian