FOUNDATIONS of the FAITH
The aim of these notes is to provide a brief summary of some basic truths of the gospel. They are intended for study and consideration in small sections at a time, and are not suitable for reading like a book, at one sitting.
In order to place the emphasis on WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS, the notes have been kept brief, with minimum input from the writer. Therefore, in order for this material to be effective, it is essential to look up, and consider the references given.
It is hoped that this material will be helpful to seekers, new Christians, young people, and generally as a ready reference on salvation topics.
Peter Townsend (Author)
Seeking the Truth
Avoid the attitude and teaching of any who claim to be the sole custodians of truth. No person or group has the whole truth.
Truth is what God reveals to us through :
- His word
- The Lord Jesus Christ
- The Holy Spirit "…..when he, the Spirit of truth, has come, he will guide you into all truth." John 16:13
- We should always rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us into the truth from the Bible which is God's word to mankind. Remember the Lord’s promise: "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." Matt 7:7
Serious effort is necessary to gain a knowledge of the truth. 1 Peter 1:13; Eph 6:14
Knowledge is our perception or understanding of truth. It is always incomplete, needs improving, correcting and increasing.
Doctrine is a brief statement of something which we affirm to be true. It may be true, untrue, or partly both. We use summaries of important topics to form the basis of our knowledge. When we are convinced that such a summary is correct, we make a brief statement of it which we call a doctrine. In practice, whether we realize it or not, we all have doctrines and they form the basis of our knowledge of the Christian faith.
The following well known guidelines for interpretation are recommended. Those who apply them will find that they result in a remarkable degree of unity in understanding of the truth, independent of denominational background.
- The Holy Spirit inspired the Bible and He reveals the truth to us. We should therefore always pray for and trust Him for illumination and guidance.
- Each passage should be considered in its context.The meaning of each passage is in harmony with that of all others. We should therefore compare scripture with scripture, and reject any interpretation which does not meet this criteria. Cross-referencing is very important.
- Do not form a doctrine on the basis of one verse only.
- Do not form a doctrine on an emotional basis only. First establish it carefully from the scripture.
- It is most important to have truth in the heart as well as in the head.