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1. What is the truth? What is Bible knowledge and doctrine?

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XVII. One Must Fellowship Clearly How to Discern Between the Reality of the Truth and Bible Knowledge and Doctrine

1. What is the truth? What is Bible knowledge and doctrine?

Bible Verses for Reference:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelled among us, … full of grace and truth” (Jhn 1:1, 14).

I am the way, the truth, and the life” (Jhn 14:6).

Sanctify them through your truth: your word is truth” (Jhn 17:17).

“He answered and said to them, Well has Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. However, in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things you do. And he said to them, Full well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition. … Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which you have delivered: and many such like things do you” (Mak 7:6-9, 13).

Relevant Words of God:

God is the truth, the way, and the life.

from “The Appearance of God Has Brought a New Age” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

The truth put into human language is man’s aphorism; humanity will never experience it fully, and humanity should live in reliance on it. A piece of truth can let all of humanity survive for thousands of years, and truth is the life of God Himself, representing His own disposition, representing His own substance, representing everything within Him.

from “Do You Know What Truth Really Is?” in Records of Christ’s Talks

No matter what stage you have arrived at in your experience, you are inseparable from God’s word or the truth, and what you understand of God’s disposition and what you know of what God has and is are all expressed in God’s words; they are inextricably linked with the truth. God’s disposition and what He has and is themselves are the truth; the truth is an authentic manifestation of God’s disposition and what He has and is. It makes what God has and is concrete and expressly states it; it tells you more straightforwardly what God likes, what He doesn’t like, what He wants you to do and what He does not permit you to do, what people He despises and what people He delights in. Behind the truths that God expresses people can see His pleasure, anger, sorrow, and happiness, as well as His essence—this is the revealing of His disposition.

from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in Continuation of The Word Appears in the Flesh

My words are the truth, the way, and the life.

from “You Ought to Consider Your Deeds” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

The truth is the most real of life’s aphorisms, and the highest of such aphorisms among all mankind. Because it is the requirement that God makes of man, and is the work personally done by God, thus it is called life’s aphorism. It is not an aphorism summed up from something, nor is it a famous quote from a great figure; instead, it is the utterance to mankind from the Master of the heavens and earth and all things, and not some words summed up by man, but the inherent life of God. And so it is called the highest of all life’s aphorisms.

from “Only Those Who Know God and His Work Can Satisfy God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Everything that God does is truth and life. The truth for mankind is something that they cannot lack in their lives, that they can never do without; you could also say that it’s the greatest thing. Although you can’t look at it or touch it, its importance to you cannot be ignored; it is the only thing that can bring peace to your heart.

from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in Continuation of The Word Appears in the Flesh

This truth is the life disposition of normal humanity, which is to say, that which was required of man when God created him in the beginning, namely, all of normal humanity (including human sense, insight, wisdom, and the basic knowledge of being man).

from “Only Those Who Know God and His Work Can Satisfy God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

What is the truth? … (It’s people’s principles of conduct in their lives.) Mm, it’s their principles of practice in their lives, the foundation of their lives. What do you rely on in your life? What do you feel in your heart? What is your direction, your goal in the things you do? If you have the reality of the truth, then that reality of the truth is your goal, your direction, and your principle for living.

from “Only by Often Maintaining an Attitude of Seeking and Obedience Can One Enter Into

the Reality of the Truth” in Records of Christ’s Talks

Christ of the last days brings life, and brings the enduring and everlasting way of truth. This truth is the path through which man shall gain life, and the only path by which man shall know God and be approved by God.

from “Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Some people work and preach sermons and, although on the surface it looks as though they are fellowshiping about God’s word, all they are saying is the literal meaning of God’s word, with the essence of the word left totally unspoken. Their sermons are like teaching from a language textbook, arranged item by item, aspect by aspect, and when they are done everyone sings their praises, saying: “Oh, this preacher is so practical. They preached so well and in such detail.” After they are done preaching, they tell others to put together what has been preached and to hand it out to everybody. By doing this, they deceive others and all that they preach are fallacies. On the surface, it looks as though they are preaching only God’s word and that their words conform to the truth. But if you discern more carefully, you will see that all they say are the words of doctrine and are just false reasoning. Their words also contain some imaginings, conceptions and there are some words that delineate God. Does not preaching in this way interrupt God’s work? It is a way of serving that defies God.

from “Only by Seeking the Truth Can You Obtain Changes in Your Disposition” in Records of Christ’s Talks

Your “summing up the truth” is not done to let people obtain life or attain changes in their dispositions from the truth. Instead, it is done so people can master some knowledge and doctrines from within the truth. They seem as though they understand the purpose behind God’s work, when actually they have only mastered some words of doctrine. They don’t understand the implied meaning of the truth, and it is no different from studying theology or reading the Bible. You are always sorting out these books or those materials, and so become in possession of this aspect of doctrine or that aspect of knowledge. You are a first rate speaker of doctrines—but what happens when you are done speaking? People are then incapable of experiencing, they have no understanding of God’s work and no understanding of themselves either. In the end, all the things they will have gained are formulas and rules. You can talk about those things but nothing else, so if God did something new, could all the doctrines that you know be a match for what God does? Therefore, those things of yours are just rules and you are just making people study theology: You are not allowing them to experience the word of God or experience the truth. So those books that you sort through can bring people only to theology and knowledge, into new formulas and into rules and conventions. They cannot bring people before God, or allow people to understand the truth or to understand God’s will. By asking question after question about those words, then answering, you form an outline or a summary, and you think that those below can then easily understand them. Apart from being easy to remember, they are clear about these questions at a glance, and you think it is great to do things in this way. But what they are understanding is not the real implied meaning; it is at variance with reality and is just doctrinal words. … You do these things to lead people to understand knowledge and master knowledge. You bring others into the doctrines, into religion, and make them follow God and believe in God within religious doctrines. Are you not then just the same as Paul? You think that mastering knowledge of the truth is particularly important, and so is learning by heart many passages of God’s words. But how people understand the word of God is not important at all. You think it is extremely important for people to be able to memorize many of God’s words, to be able to speak much doctrine and to discover many formulas within God’s words. Therefore, you always want to systematize these things so that everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet and saying the same things, so that everyone speaks the same doctrines, has the same knowledge and keeps the same rules—this is your objective. You do this as though to make people understand better, when on the contrary you have no idea that by doing this you are bringing people into the midst of rules that are outside of the truth of God’s words.

from “Without the Truth It Is Easy to Offend God” in Records of Christ’s Talks

Coming to a real understanding of the actual meaning of God’s word is no simple matter. Don’t just think, “I can interpret the literal meaning of all God’s words, and everyone says my interpretation is good and gives me a thumbs-up, so I understand God’s word.” That is not the same as understanding God’s word. If you have obtained some light from within God’s word and you have figured out the real meaning of God’s word, if you can say what the significance of God’s word is and what ultimate effect it brings, only when this is all clear is there some level of understanding of God’s word. So, understanding God’s word is not quite so simple. Just because you can give a beautiful explanation of the letter of God’s word does not mean you understand it. No matter how you interpret the letter of God’s word it is still the imagination and way of thinking of man and is useless. … If you interpret through the letter of the word or the imaginations of your own way of thinking, then your understanding is not true even if you can interpret it with the utmost eloquence. If you don’t do it right, you will even take meaning out of context and misunderstand God’s word, and that’s even more troublesome, isn’t it? So, truth is obtained principally through receiving enlightenment from the Holy Spirit as you come to know God’s word. A mere understanding or interpretation of the letter of His word does not mean you have obtained truth. If truth can be obtained merely through interpretation of the letter of His word, then what is the point of enlightenment from the Holy Spirit? In that case a certain level of education would work, and the uneducated would be in quite a predicament. God’s work cannot be comprehended by the human brain. A true understanding of God’s word depends mainly on enlightenment from the Holy Spirit; such is the process of obtaining truth.

from “How to Know Man’s Nature” in Records of Christ’s Talks

If you’ve read a lot of God’s word but only understand the meaning of the text and you do not have first-hand knowledge of God’s word through your practical experiences, you won’t know God’s word. As far as you are concerned, God’s word is not life, but just lifeless letters. And if you only hold fast to lifeless letters, you cannot grasp the essence of God’s word, nor will you understand His will. Only when you experience His word in your actual experiences will the spiritual meaning of God’s word open itself up to you, and it is only in experience that you can grasp the spiritual meaning of many truths, and only through experience that you can unlock the mysteries of God’s word. If you do not put it into practice, then no matter how clear His word, the only thing you’ve grasped hold of is empty letters and doctrines, which have become religious regulations to you. Isn’t this what the Pharisees did? If you practice and experience God’s word, it becomes practical to you; if you do not seek to practice it, then God’s word to you is little more than the legend of the third heaven. …

… Most people are satisfied to merely understand the text of God’s word and focus on equipping themselves with doctrines without experiencing its depth in practice; isn’t that the way of the Pharisees? How can the phrase “The word of God is life” be true for them, then? Only when man practices the word of God can his life truly blossom; it cannot grow simply by reading His word. If it is your belief that to understand God’s word is all that is needed to have life, to have stature, then your understanding is warped. Truly understanding God’s word occurs when you practice the truth, and you must understand that “only by practicing the truth can it ever be understood.”

from “Practice the Truth Once You Understand It” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

If you have not experienced the truth but you still want to preach about it then, no matter what you say, you will not preach clearly—you will just be preaching superficial things. You may think that the words you are speaking are enlightened, but they are just doctrines, they are not reality, and the people listening will not be able to get to grips with real things; they may be feeling that what you say is right when listening to it, but afterward it will be completely forgotten. If what you are preaching about is not the real condition, you will not be able to touch the hearts of people; they will forget it even if they want to remember, and you will not be able to help them.

from “Do You Know What Truth Really Is?” in Records of Christ’s Talks

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