“And you will know the truth and the truth will make you free” (John 8:23).
The verb “know” here is the Greek ginosko and means to know subjectively, not just objectively; divine truth is essentially moral and is addressed not to the intellect only, but to that stubborn fortress, the human heart, and truth will not be satisfied until it is established there as absolute ruler. The self-will must come forth from its stronghold and surrender its sword; it must stand to attention and receive orders; it must willingly obey those orders; then, and only then, does the truth avail in making one free; free from the tyrannical rule of self.
The Bible is fundamentally a book of facts, facts about God and His ways, but it is also more than that. To the one to whom it has been given, the Bible is a book of revealed truth; that is, contained in the Bible are certain facts that are past finding out by even the most brilliant human mind. These are facts that are hidden behind a veil and until the Holy Spirit lifts that veil no man can know them.
“For not by the will of man was prophecy ever brought; but men led by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Peter 1:21).
So it was granted to some of the apostles to reveal some of these truths that had been hidden since time began; but still, to each one reading those facts today, there is still required a lifting of the veil in the human heart before truth can take its rightful place. That lifting of the veil of unknowing from that which is otherwise undiscoverable we call divine revelation. Without that divine unction, the facts of the Bible are just facts, they are not truth, for only the Holy Spirit can bring truth and truth is only truth when it is lived.
Thus, there is some danger in relying on others to bring Bible truth; today, Christians around the world listen to Bible exposition without moral application, which is divorced from the reality of life. This orthodox “truth”, handed down from generation to generation, raises no opposition in the human heart; indeed, it brings a religious comfort, as it is intended to do by its exponents, and explains why Christians attend and support churches.
But real truth will always be in conflict with the heart of man, which inevitably offers fierce resistance. This is the very nature of sin, and sin not dealt with confirms itself in the sinner and gives back double; the penalty of unrepented sin is that one gradually gets used to it and loses the sense of it being sin. It is from this dreadful prospect that truth is meant to make us free.
Paul warned the Thessalonians of the dangers of ignoring truth; the man of lawlessness is coming “in all deceit of unrighteousness in those being destroyed, who did not receive the love of the truth for them to be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:10).
And the truth is not just a collection of facts; it is a person, Christ Jesus.
“I am ……………the truth” (John 14:6).