This oath is repeated in courtrooms: “Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” Oaths like this may go back as far as the Roman Empire. Truthful testimony, particularly in legal proceedings, is so vital that one form or another of this oath has been commonplace in many countries for centuries.
Christians should be just as concerned about telling the truth in all areas of life. The Apostle Paul tells us one aspect of the whole armor of God that enables us to stand against the wiles of the devil is to “Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth…” (Ephesians 6:14). While this imperative includes divine truth, believers should be truthful in all things. There are two areas in which we should particularly settle for “nothing but the truth.” The teaching of God’s Word is the first area. We learn from I Timothy 3:15 that the local “…church of the living God, [is to be] the pillar and ground of the truth.” Not some truth and some error, but “the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” so help us God. This principle is why Paul withstood false teaching that came into the Galatian churches, “that the truth of the gospel might continue with you” (Galatians 2:5). The second area where truth is so important is in music. It must consistently teach sound doctrine and not error. A believer once told our assembly: “Many people mindlessly sing error in church services. It’s as if they turn their minds off to the content of the words. But if we wouldn’t stand for someone teaching error from the pulpit, we shouldn’t stand for anyone teaching error when we sing.” He was right! Therefore, as a church, we proceeded to look discerningly at every word in every hymn. If a word needed to be changed, we changed it. If a verse needed to be left out, we left it out. Even if we liked a particular song, if it taught bad doctrine, we no longer sang it. The biblical basis for such a practice, in part, is found in I Corinthians 14:15 when Paul says, “…I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.”
From now on, when you listen to the teaching of God’s Word or sing in worship, make your standard “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.”
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