Introduction and Purpose


 

John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (KJV 1611)

John 14:6 “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (NIV 1984)

John 14:6 “Jesus said, “I am the Road, also the Truth, also the Life. No one gets to the Father apart from me.” (MSG 2002)

The verses in the above passage are some of the most significant words spoken by Jesus Christ recorded for us in the Gospels.  His answer, in context, is to the Apostle Thomas who had honest questions about what Jesus was saying and what He was predicting He would do.  His answer, in context, also gives believers and not-yet believers alike an anchor and polar star to rely upon.

John 14:6 is a verse which places Jesus Christ as the focus of belief, faith conversations, and practical life.  It is possible and important for those searching through the Scriptures to keep John 14:6 in mind.  What follows in these pages is an overview of the Holy Scriptures with John 14:6 as a constant point of correction.

Theological Reasons for This Study

“The WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE” is a key theological phrase and the light of the Holy Bible.  The Scriptures are for us a Voice direct from the historic Jewish prophets pointing to TRUTH that the Holy Spirit is guiding human souls to God.  2 Peter 1:19-21 tells us, “And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (NIV 1984).  What does that mean?  We believe that means that TRUTH is found and revealed in the person of Jesus of Nazareth who is literally God-in-the-flesh and the example of the course of continuous LIFE.

We should also take note of 1 John 1:1-3.  This passage says, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.  The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ” (NIV 1984).

Normal/orthodox (note the little “o”) Christian belief teaches that Jesus Christ reveals the true nature of God to us and these verses describe the only way to God the Father.  All other methods (natures) of living lead to death and keep us away from the Father (separation).

We all must conform to Him and His WAY.

We all must be renewed into that WAY of doing LIFE which is realized by faith.

We all must be empowered and directed by the Holy Spirit alone.

A key component of what we will be looking at is that WAY, TRUTH, and LIFE cannot be found in our own human nature.  Our self (our sinful self) conforms to the nature of the world rather than God.

The way we do things leads to corruption such as:

Unforgiveness

Stealing

Idolatry

Lust

Anger

Selfishness

Death in the age to come

The way God does things leads to fruit of the Spirit such as:

Forgiveness

Selflessness

Love

Peace

Patience

Joy

Holiness

LIFE in the age to come

The WAY of Jesus Christ described to us in the pages of the Old and New Testaments is a WAY that leads any person unto God the Father (YHWH).  Don’t forget, Jesus of Nazareth says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6, ASV)!  The human person that is faithful to the WAY of faith and living that Jesus Christ describes will have and know LIFE.  Jesus Christ reveals Himself to those that lovingly obey Him.

Practical Reasons for this Study

One main reason for the importance of this Biblical and theological study is that Biblical illiteracy has been on the rise and is wreaking havoc in our churches.  Gone are the days of “you remember David and Goliath” or “you remember the second missionary journey.”  Such prior knowledge is no longer held by most people.  The underlying issue is the low literacy rate of most Americans.  If they can barely read…then reading the Bible will certainly be a difficult task.  The low level of literacy is one of the greatest obstacles to evangelism, discipleship, and Bible learning.  Individuals who read and write with ease may be surprised to find out that nearly half of all Americans are functionally illiterate.  According to the U.S. Department of Education’s 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy, 44% of American adults function at or below basic literacy levels[1].  Thus, the people filling the pews of congregations on Sundays are not as functional and insightful with Scripture as one might think.

The result of this is that people do not know the Bible.  Believers are not piecing Truths together as they are presented in the landscape of Scripture.  Believers are not seeing the whole of Scripture and the entire message that informs their Christian walk and their abiding with Christ.

Assumptions

We do make several assumptions as we move through our theological study.  First, though not required, we assume that the reader of this work has a Christian worldview.  This means the person believes that YHWH is God.  This means the person believes that the Holy Bible is the Word of God (from Him).  Certainly, a person who is not a Christian can read this work and benefit, but we assume that those who initially pick up this work to read will be believers in Jesus Christ.

Speaking of Jesus Christ, we also make an assumption that the pages of the Old Testament are filled with prophecies and foreshadowing of the Christ.  He is there and He is not silent.  The pages of the Old Testament cry forward to the appearance of Jesus.  Jesus can be found in proper ways in the Old Testament which enrich our view of Him in the New Testament.  Our whole view of Scripture is that we can read it with Him in mind.

Also, we assume that people process ideas and facts differently.  To this end, we have included poems, stories, drawings, Scripture passages, questions to think about, and summaries in this work to enable as many people as possible to read and understand the theology of this work.  Properly focusing on Jesus Christ is important!

Hermeneutics

Hermeneutics (herm-an-oo-ticks) is the careful study and deliberate interpretation of texts in a permanent form (such as the Bible) which can no longer be explained by the author.  Proper use of Biblical hermeneutics is sometimes called “exegesis” (ecks-ah-jee-sis).  The interpretation of Biblical texts often is dependent on the worldview of the reader or the Christian denomination.

We follow four general rules of hermeneutics in this work:

#1 When studying Scripture, one should take note of the context of the passage and the historical specific items related to it.  No verse or passage is an island and is part of a large chain of background, which is important in deciding what a verse means.

#2 When studying Scripture, one should take note of the original language (Greek or Hebrew usually), grammar, and normal word usage whenever possible.  Words do mean certain things, but word usage often changes over time.  The original meaning and intent of the inspired writer is most important when deciding what a verse means.

#3 When studying Scripture, one should interpret “Scripture in light of Scripture.”  The best commentary on the Bible is itself.  The Bible often fleshes out teaching on one area with similar teaching or historical narratives in another book.  Scripture always agrees with itself and it is important to look at all Scripture (Genesis through Revelation) when deciding what a verse means.

#4 When studying Scripture, one should take the Bible literally whit it speaks literally and read metaphors as metaphors.  The Bible is full of actual history, poetry, hyperbole, fictional stories, and prophecies (among other types) and each type of literature in the Bible needs to be studied with that in mind.  Taking the Bible at face value is important when deciding what a verse means.

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[1] Lynn, Susan. “Summary of the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL)

Report. January 2006.” National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Home Page, a part

of the U.S. Department of Education. Institute of Education Sciences, 1 Jan. 2006. Web.

28 Sep. 2009. <http://nces.ed.gov/naal/&gt;.

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