Knowledge of the Truth

“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:3-4)

The phrase “the truth,” referring to a certain vital body of doctrine, is found often in the New Testament, and the text quoted above is one of the most important, indicating as it does that fully understanding “the truth” is equivalent to being saved.

The theme of “the truth” is especially emphasized in Paul’s two letters to Timothy, the first reference being in our text. He next points out that, in his capacity as an apostle, he must “speak the truth in Christ,” teaching “in faith and verity” (same word as “truth”—1 Timothy 2:7).

The church is called “the pillar and ground of the truth” (3:15). An attitude of thanksgiving is proper for those who “believe and know the truth” (4:3). On the other hand, those false teachers who teach with selfish motives are “destitute of the truth” (6:5).

In the second epistle, Paul urges believers to be diligent in studying the Scriptures, because they constitute “the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Then he warns of teachers “who concerning the truth have erred,” teaching false doctrine and destroying the faith of some (v. 18). Those who are faithful teachers, however, are exhorted to help the unsaved come to “repentance to the acknowledging of the truth” (v. 25).

Then, in his prophetic description of the humanist teachers of the last days, Paul says they will be “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (3:7). This is because they “resist the truth” and “turn away their ears from the truth” (3:8; 4:4). Thus, “the truth” always emphasizes its vital importance in salvation and the Christian life. Most of all, the Lord Jesus said: “I am . . . the truth” (John 14:6). HMM

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