In the last post I talked about receiving the love of the Truth as the very first condition in being able to discern between truth and error. The plan for this post was to talk about three more character traits, plus a simple, biblical way to test for the truthfulness of doctrines, books, denominations, etc. But it wound up being too much for one post, so the plan has changed a little bit. This post will be broken up into two, turning what was supposed to be a trilogy into a tetralogy. This post will be about the Bible’s test of truth, and the next will be about a few more traits of character that are essential to “rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15.
THE TEST — Isaiah 8:20
“To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isaiah 8:20.
If the words of any preacher, speaker, writer, leader, etc. are not in harmony with “the law and the testimony,” then there is no light in them, and their teachings are false. A passage found in the book of Revelation shines light on what is meant by “the law” and “the testimony”:
“And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 12:17.
“To the law” points us to God’s Ten Commandments found in Exodus 20, while “to the testimony” points us to the Spirit of prophecy, for “the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy.” Revelation 9:10. Both of these point us to Jesus. The life of Christ was a living example of His Father’s Ten Commandments kept to perfection through faith. He came to “magnify the law and make it honorable.” Isaiah 42:21. And He did this through His beautiful, sinless life. His life was a strong and faithful testimony that it is possible for man to keep God’s holy, moral law to perfection by the living “faith which worketh by love,” of which He was “the author and finisher of. Galatians 5:6; Hebrews 12:2.
The Bible’s record is that it was the Spirit of Christ that testified through the prophets. 1Peter 1:11. The messages and teachings of the prophets were the testimony of Jesus Christ. This is why Jesus said, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” Matthew 5:17. Jesus didn’t come to destroy His Father’s law, but to show us what it looks like when fulfilled in the life of a human being. Nor did He come to destroy the prophecies that He Himself gave through the prophets, especially those that foretold a suffering Saviour, particularly the prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27. Rather He fulfilled them.
The same Spirit of Prophecy that spoke to man throught the Old Testament prophets is one of the gifts of the Spirit given to guide and edify the church in the Christian dispensation: “and God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets…” 1 Corinthians 12:28.
So the ultimate test for the truthfulness of any doctrine, teaching, writing, or preaching is from the Bible itself. Are God’s Ten Commandments lifted up as holy and honorable, and binding upon mankind today? Is it taught that the law of God can be kept by fallen man in likeness to the perfection of Christ by the faith that He authored for us? And is the gift of prophecy present as reverence for and faith in the Old Testament as the voice of Christ? Has the Christian church that the preachers, writers, and teachers represent been blessed with the testimony of Jesus Christ, and is the Spirit’s gift of prophecy in that church in harmony with the Old Testament prophets? If not, then there is no light in them.