... but sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord: being ready always to give answer to every man that asketh you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, yet with meekness and fear. - 1 Pet 3:15
In 1Timothy 3:15 Paul said to Timothy, "I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." The church is to be founded on truth and is to be proclaiming the truth. Verse 16 tells us that the key foundational truth that the church should be proclaiming is the mystery of godliness, "God was manifested in the flesh ...".
There has been a falling away from the proclamation of truth by the church. Peter prophesied this, "But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction" 2Pet.2:1.
Heresies, Gk#139 'haireseis' - from word meaning 'to choose'. The word originally denoted making a choice or having an option; progressing to having a preference because of an opinion or sentiment; it easily slipped into a mode of disunity. Means: choosing sides, having diversity of belief, creating dissension, and substituting self-willed opinions for submission to the truth. [Word Wealth SFLB page 1776]
This was the cry made even by the Old Testament prophets. Isaiah proclaims that the transgressions of the people have made them depart from God, and then says, "Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands afar off; for truth is fallen in the street" (Isa.59:14).
Jeremiah mourns for the people saying "they are not valiant for the truth on the earth" (Jer.9:3). Hosea says "Hear the word of the LORD [YHWH], you children of Israel, for YHWH brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land: 'There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land'" (Hos.4:1).
There needs to be a restoration of the truth of the word of God; returning to preaching and teaching the word as it is written: not the ideas of men, or private interpretations,
or doctrines that have developed from denominational traditions but a return to the truth - the word of God, as it is written.
Many have become confused as to what the truth is. Pilate asked this question of Jesus "What is truth?" (Jn.18:38). This was after Jesus had said to him, "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" Jn.18:37. To know the truth we need to know who Jesus is, and to listen to what He is saying.
Jesus Himself is the truth, "I AM the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" Jn.14:6. Knowing the truth is the only way we can come to the revelation of who He is, the revelation of the Father!
Jesus promised He would send "the Spirit of truth" when He said, "I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you"(Jn.14:17-18). It is the Spirit of truth in us that will enable us to discern what is truth and what is not. Jesus said, "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come" Jn.16:13.
In John 17:17 when Jesus is praying for his disciples, He says, "Sanctify them by your truth. Your word is truth." The word of God, as it is written, is the truth. This is what we are to believe; this is what we are to teach and preach. Psalm 119:160says, "The entirety of Your word is truth".
The key to knowing the truth is to abide in the word. "Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, 'If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" Jn.8:31-32. We all need to be discipled in the word.
This is how we come to know the truth so that we will not be easily swayed or confused when others come bringing a different doctrine.
This is one of the signposts of the church coming to maturity, having been properly set in order, with the all the five ascension ministry gifts functioning: "That we should no longer be children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting" Eph.4:14.
There are many today who are challenging the truth of the pure doctrine of the word of God, but as we are discipled in the word, we will be established in the truth and will then be able to speak "the truth in love" to those who are contending against the word (Eph.4:15a).
Paul exhorts Timothy, "A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth" 2Tim.2:24-25. We must patiently and lovingly teach the word so that those who are in opposition will come to repentance and be established in the truth.
Being discipled in the word is coming to know and understand Christ and the truth that is only found in Jesus, "But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus" (Eph.4:20-21). The word truth in this verse means truth in all its fullness and scope, as embodied in Him. He is the perfect expression of truth (Jn.14:6). If we want to know the truth, then we need to know Jesus and who He is.
The gospel is the word of truth that all are to hear. In Colossians 1:3-6, Paul is giving thanks to God for the brethren in Colosse who have "faith in Christ Jesus ... love for all the saints" and who know of the "hope which is laid up for [them] in heaven." This knowledge has come to them because they have heard "the word of the truth of the gospel" that was preached to them. This truth of the gospel which they have received "is bringing forth fruit". The truth is to be preached in "all the world" and it will bring forth much fruit.
Peter exhorts us to be "established in the present truth" (2Pet.1:12). To be established is to set fast; to turn resolutely in a certain direction, or to confirm [SC Gr. #4741]. This means we are not easily swayed from what we know to be the truth. The 'present truth' is the word that we are living by today.
The word of God that is "living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" Heb.4:12.
The 'present truth' is based on having a solid foundation laid in our lives, which is listed for us in 2Pet.1:5-7. "But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love." If we have these foundations laid Peter says we "will never stumble" (v.10b).
The apostle John knew the joy of seeing brethren established in and walking in the truth: "For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth" 3 John 3-4.
This truth comes out of John's prayer in verse 2: "Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers."
The word for 'health' is hugiaino SC Gk.#5198, and metaphorically, the word refers to sound doctrine, sound words and soundness in the faith [Word Wealth SFLB Page 1797]. John is praying that the brethren become sound in doctrine, sound in word and sound in faith. If we are firmly grounded in these areas than we will not stray from the truth.
There is a call going out to return to the word of truth as it is written. The writer to the Hebrews says, "But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, ... to the general assembly and church of the firstborn" (Heb.12:22-23a).
Zechariah tells us that YAHWEH "is zealous for Zion with great zeal", and then says, "Thus says the YHWH: 'I will return to Zion, and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth" (Zech.8:2-3).
Then Zechariah goes on to give a wonderful description of what that City of Truth will look like (v.4-17). Truth will be a foundation of this city, "Speak each man the truth to his neighbour; give judgement in your gates for truth, justice and peace" (v.16).
This is what the LORD of hosts says to the ones who have come to the City of Truth: "They shall be My people and I will be their God, in truth and righteousness" (v.8).