â€œFor this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.â€ (1 Timothy 2:3-4)
The phrase â€œthe truth,â€ referring to a certain vital body of doctrine, is found often in the New Testament, and the text quoted above is one of the most important, indicating as it does that fully understanding â€œthe truthâ€ is equivalent to being saved.
The theme of â€œthe truthâ€ is especially emphasized in Paulâ€™s two letters to Timothy, the first reference being in our text. He next points out that, in his capacity as an apostle, he must â€œspeak the truth in Christ,â€ teaching â€œin faith and verityâ€ (same word as â€œtruthâ€â€”1 Timothy 2:7).
The church is called â€œthe pillar and ground of the truthâ€ (3:15). An attitude of thanksgiving is proper for those who â€œbelieve and know the truthâ€ (4:3). On the other hand, those false teachers who teach with selfish motives are â€œdestitute of the truthâ€ (6:5).
In the second epistle, Paul urges believers to be diligent in studying the Scriptures, because they constitute â€œthe word of truthâ€ (2 Timothy 2:15). Then he warns of teachers â€œwho concerning the truth have erred,â€ teaching false doctrine and destroying the faith of some (v. 18). Those who are faithful teachers, however, are exhorted to help the unsaved come to â€œrepentance to the acknowledging of the truthâ€ (v. 25).
Then, in his prophetic description of the humanist teachers of the last days, Paul says they will be â€œever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truthâ€ (3:7). This is because they â€œresist the truthâ€ and â€œturn away their ears from the truthâ€ (3:8; 4:4). Thus, â€œthe truthâ€ always emphasizes its vital importance in salvation and the Christian life. Most of all, the Lord Jesus said: â€œI am . . . the truthâ€ (John 14:6). HMM