Shelby G. Floyd
Jesus Christ said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32). How can we know the truth through contemplation?
The Bible teaches us through contemplation in two ways. The Bible teaches us implicitly and explicitly. What does that mean? The Bible teaches truth by explicit statements that are true. That means that the Bible implies certain things. We all know and learn certain things by implication.
For instance, I could take a dollar bill out of my billfold and put that dollar bill in an envelope. You could see me do that. Then I could seal up the envelope and put the envelope in the trunk of an automobile. How do you know that the dollar is in the trunk of an automobile? You could not see the dollar bill when the envelope was put in the trunk. But by the process of contemplation, reflection, perception, precise reasoning, and drawing conclusions, you would know obviously that if you put a dollar bill in the envelope, and then you put the envelope in the truck of the car, the dollar bill is in the trunk of the automobile. And so we can know a lot of things in the realm of contemplation.
Now, if it be the case that the Bible teaches certain things and we can know certain things implicitly, then it is the case that we can know implicitly certain things that God has taught us.
THE BIBLE TEACHES EXPLICITLY AND IMPLICITLY THAT ONE CAN
KNOW THE TRUTH
Notice all of the things God teaches us explicitly concerning the truth. All of these explicit statements also imply that we can and must know the truth.
1. One Must Know the Truth in Order to Preach the Truth
Notice the explicit statement—one must preach the truth (Mark 16: 15-16; Galatians 1: 6-9; 2 Tim. 4: 1-8). This evidence requires one to preach the truth. That is an explicit statement. But that explicit statement implies that one must know the truth. How can one preach the truth if one cannot know the truth? That would be asking me to do something that is impossible—if I cannot know the truth then I could not preach the truth. If it be the case that man cannot know the truth, then how can man be commanded to preach the truth? So the explicit statement, “preach the truth,” implies that I must know the truth before I can preach it, proclaim it, and promulgate it throughout the whole world.
2. One Must Know the Truth in Order to Study the Truth
If it be the case that the Bible teaches explicitly that we can know the truth by commanding us to study the truth, then it is the case that we can know the truth: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 NKJV).
So, the explicit statement, “study the truth,” implies that I must first know the truth.
3. One Must Know the Truth in Order to Obey the Truth
The Bible teaches explicitly that we must obey the truth (Galatians 3:1; Romans 2:8). But the explicit command to obey the truth implies that I must first know the truth.
4. One Must Know the Truth in Order to Live the Truth
The Bible teaches explicitly that we must live the truth (1 John 2:4). But if I’m going to live the truth, then I must first know the truth, or I cannot live what I do not know.
5. One Must Know the Truth in Order to Believe the Truth
The Bible teaches explicitly that we must believe the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:12). If I am to believe the truth, then that implies I can know the truth.
6. One Must Know the Truth in Order to Receive the Truth
The Bible teaches explicitly that man can and must receive the truth of God (Hebrews 10:26; 1 John 2: 21). But if I can receive the truth, that implies I must first know the truth.
7. One Must Know the Truth in Order to Hear the Truth
The Bible teaches explicitly that we must hear the truth (Eph. 4:21). But if I am able to hear the truth, then that implies I must know the truth.
8. One Must Know the Truth in Order to Tell the Truth
The Bible teaches explicitly—plainly, that we must tell the truth. Paul asked the Galatians this question,
“Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?” (Galatians 4:16). Paul could not tell what he did not know, if it be the case that man cannot know the truth. Therefore, he obviously knew the truth before he could tell the truth. And that implies that we also can know the truth.
9. One Must Know the Truth in Order to Think on the Truth
The Bible teaches explicitly that we can think on the truth. “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8 NKJV).
How can I think on truth, if I do not know what is truth? This scriptural statement implies that man can know the truth and therefore can meditate on the truth (Philippians 4:8).
10. One Must Know the Truth in Order to Worship in Truth
Jesus Christ once said, “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24
NIV). If it be the case that I must worship God in truth, as well as sincerely in spirit, then it is the case that I must know the truth.
11. One Must Know the Truth in Order to Support the Truth
We are commanded explicitly to support the truth: “If I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15 NIV). But if the church (and we are the church) has the command to support the truth, how could we support the truth if we cannot know the truth? This obviously implies that we can know the truth; therefore, we ought to support it.
12. One Must Know the Truth in Order to Contend for the Truth
God’s people are explicitly commanded to contend for the truth. “Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3 NIV). How can I contend for that which I cannot know? This statement implies that we can know the truth and therefore should contend for it.
13. One Must Know the Truth in Order to Defend the Truth
The Bible explicitly teaches us that we are to defend the truth (Philippians 1:17; 1 Peter 3:15). How can one stand up and defend something if you do not know what you are defending? In order to defend the truth this implies that we can know the truth.
14. One Must Know the Truth in Order to be Sanctified by the Truth
The Bible teaches explicitly that God’s people are sanctified by the truth. That simply means that they are dedicated or set apart for service to God by the truth. What is truth? Jesus answered that question for us:
Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
If we can be set apart and dedicated by and through the truth, then, it implies we can know the truth.
15. One Must Know the Truth in Order to Acknowledge the Truth
The Bible teaches explicitly that we should acknowledge the truth (2 Timothy 2:25). If we can acknowledge the truth and give our assent to the truth, then we must know the truth. The command to acknowledge the truth implies that we are able to know the truth. Therefore, the Bible teaches that we may know the truth by implication or implicitly.
16. One Must Know the Truth in Order to Walk in the Truth, Love the Truth, and Speak the Truth
We are taught in the word of God to walk in the truth (1 John 1:5-7), love the truth (2 Thessalonians 2: 10), and speak the truth (Ephesians 4:15). All of these actions imply that we can know the truth.
17. One Must Know the Truth before One Can Leave the Truth
Finally, the Bible teaches that we can leave the truth (2 Peter 2:20-22). The writer to the Hebrews says, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God” (Hebrews 10:25-27 NIV). If one willfully absents himself from the assembly then that one is willfully leaving the truth. And that implies that one who leaves the truth already has known the truth.
These seventeen statements explicitly and implicitly teach that we can know and act upon the truth of God!
Copyright © 1993, 2010, 2023 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved
This is a portion of a sermon presented by Shelby G. Floyd, November 21, 1982, at the South Central Church of Christ, 265 East Southport Road, Indianapolis, Indiana