Understanding and Teaching Truth
By: Pastor Greg Baker
A fact is directionless. It is just there. It doesn’t teach or say anything. However, if you couple that fact with a philosophy-a direction-then it does teach a ‘truth’. The problem lies in the concept that two people can look at the same fact and come up with different truths.
Take four people, set them on four different corners of an intersection, and allow them to observe a car accident. They will all see the same facts, but they will all have different stories of what happened.
I’m a Christian and a pastor both. Truth, to me, is the Bible and all it says. I think Jesus is the truth. I believe that His Word is the truth. But even amid Christian circles, pastors and Christians both have, sadly, sharp disagreements over the truth a particular passage will teach.
Expanding outward a bit, a Christian and an atheist can take the same ‘fact’-a dinosaur bone-and one points to the ‘fact’ as evidence of Creation and the other as evidence of evolution. Both are looking at the same fact and coming up with different truths.
It is incredibly difficult to just teach facts at school. The teacher or professor has a compelling need to couple the facts he or she teaches with a philosophy-a meaningful direction-that makes the facts relevant, dynamic, and useful. A liberal, for example, teaching history will use the facts of history to prove and verify why political decisions ought to be more liberal. A conservative will do just the opposite.
When it comes to learning truth, you can’t escape the philosophy of the person teaching the facts. It always comes through-even in this article. I had an English teacher in High School say that he believed the Bible was the greatest literary book ever written, but that it was not the Word of God. I believed it was the Word of God and told him so. He kicked me out of class. The point is, he couldn’t just stick to the facts of English…he had to insert his concept of the ‘truth’.
People can argue evidences all day long-as ‘evidenced’ by the political factions-but ultimately all truth is a fact coupled with a philosophy and then taught.
God understands this and wrote in the Bible: Proverbs 9:10 – The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. The Scriptures teach that to gain God’s perspective and understanding of the truth, we are going to have to buy in to His philosophy on life. We need a healthy respect and acceptance of God. Having this acceptance of God will then seek to insert all ‘facts’ into this framework of understanding life.
Since I believe in God, I believe that ultimately the only truth that will remain is that of God’s. Ultimately, every other truth will fail. I believe this. Others don’t. In choosing a direction of life-truth-I chose with several factors in mind:
- Spiritual impact
- Mental impact
- Emotional impact
- Physical impact
- Relationship impact
God provides the direction in life that, in my opinion, has the most beneficial impact in all these areas. It has built my marriage, it has enabled me to love people better, it has deepened my relationship with my children, it gives me hope, it gives me strength, it gives me purpose and meaning, it gives me understanding, it gives me joy and happiness, it satisfies my mental curiosity, it makes logical sense to me, it helps me find courage, I find protection and acceptance in it, it keeps me positive, and it allows me to have a very personal and real relationship with God and Jesus Christ!
Someone can agree or disagree with my understanding of the truth. But they cannot take away what it gives me. No other truth that the world now offers can possibly provide me with all of these.
Remember, in teaching, a person can hardly refrain from giving a ‘fact’ some direction. What is the point of a fact if it doesn’t teach us something? But that teaching will always be driven by the teacher’s philosophy of life.
It is the truth, not the fact, which becomes influential. It is this influence that a teacher seeks to exert on whoever will listen.
Author Resource:-> Greg S. Baker is a Pastor, Counselor, and Author specializing in building and strengthening relationships.
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