Truth V. Experience

John 4:24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” (NIV)

“What is truth”, Pilate asked Jesus, as Jesus, the Living Truth, stood on trial. (John 18:38)
Isn’t that just typical human nature, putting God under careful scrutiny! I remember before I became a believer, measuring what the school preacher described of God by His word, with skeptical eyes.

We all come with preconceived ideas, based on what we’ve heard and experienced. But if we are honest, we realize that truth stands sovereign and unchanging, despite our existence. God’s Word describes our lives as a mere ‘vapor’ or ‘mist’, here today and gone tomorrow. (James 4:14) 

If we base truth on either experience or human understanding, which both constantly change, we’re not basing truth on any stable thing. Only the Word stands alone, sovereign and unchanging. For God Himself remains unchanging. (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8, James 1:17) Truth itself must also be unchanging. For if truth changed, it would no longer be truth. 
Jesus, God’s Word who took on flesh and dwelt among us, is the only stable thing. — The only thing, that was, and is and is to come. (Revelation 1:8) This is the testimony of the risen Jesus.

Before His death, burial and resurrection Jesus bore witness, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

And how amazing that we, as believers, enter into His imperishableness! (1 Peter 1:23)

And so, according to today’s verse we must worship God in the Spirit and in Truth. 

I confess reading the Bible through my own lens of experience and understanding, many times. Yet through prayer and deeper study of God’s Word, He continues to correct my understanding and attitude of surrender. We must not understand the Bible through our experience. 

Instead, we must understand our experience through the lens of God’s Word!

Prayer before entering into studying His Word ushers our protection. There are also other safeguards to keep us from misinterpreting what is written. In technical terms, it’s called hermeneutics, — the proper interpretation of any piece of literature. Considering this technique is helpful, [referenced from:

  1. What did the text mean to the original audience?
  2. What are the differences between the biblical audience and us?
  3. What is the theological principle in the text?
  4. How does our theological principle fit with the rest of the Bible?
  5. How should individual Christians today live out the theological principles?

Ref:[Grasping God’s Word: A Hands-On Approach to Reading, Interpreting, and Applying the Bible, ThirdEdition]: 

Our Triune God is One, He never changes and neither does His standard of perfection. What behavior He says is good – is good. Likewise, what is evil – is evil. His standard doesn’t change, just because He gives grace through Christ.

That’s another reason why the Gospel, truly is GOOD NEWS. We can never measure up to perfection. Yet in His grace, He commands, “Be holy, for I am holy.” (Leviticus 11:44, 1 Peter 1:16) I used to think that demand was a threat which I could never attain. However, now I understand. We will become Holy, for He wills it, and works it within us. (Philippians 2:13) I cling to His promise, eventually we will be like Him, for we shall see Him face to face. (1 Corinthians 13:12) And so let us pray, and God enables us to submit to Him.

Our Steadfast God, we worship You, for You are unchanging Truth. Thank-You for being knowable and personable. Though You are Holy, You reveal Yourself to us. Bring us into deeper fellowship with You, through our walk with You, and by Your Spirit inside us. Draw us to know You better, One True God. Enable us to receive Your word, and follow Your will, in the Spirit and in truth. ~Amen

How can there be both ‘Grace and Truth‘.
Another thought about better understanding God, see ’So Will I’.