Can You State the Approach You Use for Discovering Truth? Just because you have never asked yourself, “What is my approach for knowing?” does not mean you don’t have one. “How we know” is something philosophers have struggled with for thousands of years. They call it “epistemology” (a system for knowing). Before I knew of or reflected on my epistemology, I still had one. I was just not aware of it. It was not well thought out, nor was it biblical.
Part 2 - How Does the Bible Say Truth Is Discovered?
The hyperlinks below will jump you to progressive sections within this article:
- Earlier Epistemologies I Held Which I’ve Now Set Aside as Being Inadequate
- What Method Does Satan Recommend for Discovering Truth?
- How Can I Tell If I Have Satan’s Truth?
- What Did Albert Einstein Think of Rationalism?
- What Does the Bible Say Is God’s Method for Discovering Truth?
- It Is the Holy Spirit Who Leads Us Into ALL Truth!
- How Can I Tell if I Have God’s Truth?
- If dad said it was true, it was true.
- If my teacher said it was true, it was true.
- If my college professor said it was true, it was true.
- If science said it was true, it was true.
- If one or several double blind studies said it was true, it was true.
- If my doctor said it was true, it was true.
- If my interpretation of the Bible said it was true, it was true.
- If reason and logic said it was true, it was true.
- If my senses told me it was true, it was true.
None of the above philosophies line up with how the Bible tells me to discover truth, so I have laid them all aside.
Figure it out yourself! Satan offered Eve his approach for discovering truth: You don’t really need these walks with God on a daily basis (i.e. you don’t need revelation knowledge or direct encounter with God), for “YOU can KNOW…” (Gen. 3:5). That temptation has developed into two false philosophies for knowing:
- “You” = Humanism - “Life centers in man’s human capacity”
- “Know” = Rationalism - “Life centers in man’s reasoning capacity”
Following is an excerpt from John G. Lake's article, The Power of the Name:
"In the beginning, man's spirit was the dominant force in the world. When he sinned, his mind became dominant. Sin dethroned the spirit and crowned the intellect. But grace is restoring the spirit to its place of dominion. When man comes to realize this, he will live in the realm of the supernatural without effort."
Rationalism and humanism are two false gods which I worshipped and followed during the early years of my Christian life. However, when I learned to hear God’s voice, He broke these two false gods within me (as I describe in 49 Lies and Naturally Supernatural) by training me that I could trust the flow of the Holy Spirit within me, drawing upon His wisdom, revelation and in-working power. It was a tremendous battle to defeat these two false gods, as they were deeply entrenched in my life through my culture, my education, my natural disposition (i.e. to be a thinker), as well as my “Christian training” which taught me to work hard to keep God’s laws.
Replacing spirit encounter with thinking: Basically, up to that point in time, rather than having a Christian experience, I had a mentally reasoned Christian theology which involved a lot of grunting as I sought to walk in obedience to its demands. I distrusted all emotion, all experiences (especially spiritual experiences), and all imagination, and I trusted my reason, logic and self-effort. I now realize I was living life exactly backward.
Satan’s “truth” moves you toward satan’s character, which includes pride and accusation (Rev. 12:10; Prov. 16:18). You curse men, express bitter jealousy and selfish ambition, and seek to kill and destroy others (James 3:9-18 NASB). So we ask ourselves, “Do I honor and respect others as Jesus did and do I minister God’s grace to them (Matt. 14:14) or do I seek to destroy those with whom I disagree?”
I sought to kill! When I left Bible college, I did what Paul did when he left Bible school: I sought to destroy those who disagreed theologically with me. Being more civilized in the twentieth century, I didn’t pursue their physical death. I just wholeheartedly threw myself into destroying their beliefs and their theological arguments, and if necessary, their reputations and their ministries. And of course, I believed I was doing God a favor in doing so. Obviously I too needed a Damascus road experience with the Living God, which I received and wrote about in 4 Keys to Hearing God’s Voice.
- “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”
- “I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking.”
- “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
- “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions.”
- “I want to know God’s thoughts. The rest are details.”
It is interesting to note that Albert Einstein came up with the theory of relativity by using the same four keys to hearing God’s voice that Habakkuk and John used (Hab. 2:1,2; Rev. 1:9-11 – stillness, vision, spontaneity and journaling). Einstein was lying on his back on a grassy slope (stillness), gazing through half-closed eyelids, wondering what it would be like to ride on a ray of sunlight (vision), and intuitively the theory of relativity came to him (spontaneity). He went back to his office to prove it with mathematical formulas (journaling). Check out this Albert Einstein website.
Original intent - daily walks in the Garden! God would speak to mankind in the cool of the day and share His love, wisdom, life and insights with us. The Bible is full of stories of those who lived this way. We were to live in fellowship with Him, hearing His voice, receiving His dreams and visions, trusting and obeying Him and doing nothing out of our own initiative (Jn. 5:19,20,30; Acts 2:17).
(Photo © Greg Olsen, used with permission by Greg Olsen Art.)
How do we get back to the Garden? We are to die daily to “self” and to “dead works” (Gal. 2:20; 1 Cor. 15:31; Heb. 6:1,2). Dead works are things I do on my own. Live works are things birthed by the Holy Spirit, through words of wisdom and knowledge, and miracles and healings (1 Cor. 12:7-11). I am one through whom another flows. I am a vessel who contains another. I am a branch grafted into the vine. I am a temple who contains a God. Truly, it is Christ living His life out through me, rather than simply me living.
Living by the Spirit is restoration to the Garden experience (Gal. 5:25). Living by the Spirit means we walk down the road of life seeing Jesus at our side (Heb. 12:1,2; Acts 2:25; Ps. 16:8), tuned to His Spirit’s flow within us, and living out of this flow of thoughts and pictures (Jn. 7:37-39).
It is simple and childlike (Matt: 18:3). It is moving from me striving and me thinking and doing things on my own initiative, to me tuned to flow with my eyes fixed on Jesus and releasing Christ out through my life.
God’s Epistemology – Live and walk by the Spirit (Gal. 5:25 NASB)
The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth… guides you into all truth (Jn. 14:17; 16:13)
So the Bible is clear: it is the Holy Spirit Who will guide us into all truth. It’s amazing how I had diminished the work of the indwelling, illuminating Holy Spirit, and replaced His work with my mind, my theology, my brain and my understanding of Scriptures. I now set aside my false gods of humanism, rationalism, and Biblicism, and honor what Jesus has said and modeled in Scripture. It is the Holy Spirit Who is continuing to reveal ALL truth to me. Everything the Holy Spirit reveals will all be compatible with Scripture, even though it may not be detailed in Scripture.
Could a non-Christian receive truth from the Holy Spirit? Yes, the Bible is clear that God grants revelation to all (Gen. 41; Dan. 4). So I need to remain humble, and meek (Matt. 5:5), and be open to learn from anyone! Remember we are to honor and love everyone (1 Pet. 2:17).
God’s truth bears the fruit of His Spirit, producing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Gal. 5:22). James says God’s wisdom is pure, peaceable, gentle, and reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy, and causes us to bless men, rather than curse them (James 3:9-18 NASB). So the question is simple: “Is what I am learning producing the above attitudes and character traits in my life?”
It doesn't need to be in the Bible: Our demand is not that something must be specifically taught in Scripture, but that things must be compatible with Scripture! Words like “Sunday school,” “rapture” and “trinity” are not mentioned in the Bible but many Christians believe in these things because they feel they are compatible with the principles within Scripture. Not everything God knows or does is recorded in the Bible (Jn. 16:12; Jn. 21:25).
Receiving Confirming Counsel: I experience safety in seeking out and honoring the advice of my two to three counselors or spiritual advisors (Prov. 11:14; 2 Cor. 13:1). On the flip side, the Bible nowhere instructs me to test things against my theology.
Leader's Paradigm: Explore “The Leader's Paradigm” which contains six ways God can and does speak. When seeking guidance, it is wise not to move forward in a specific direction if any of these six indicators are flashing red, saying "NO."
The Continuing Series…
- Part 1 - Losing Heart Revelation
- Part 2 - How Does the Bible Say Truth Is Discovered?
- Part 3 - How Do I Live Tuned to My Heart?
- Part 4 - How Do I Restore Christian Spirituality?
Want to Learn More?
Christian Leadership University offers the course REN310 Wisdom Through Dream Interpretation through distance learning. An electronic downloadable Dream Interpretation training module is available here, and hard copy materials are available here and here.