The words make up one of the best-known phrases in the world. “You shall know the truth…and the truth shall set you free!” It is written on walls and over doors of hundreds of universities and assembly halls. It is quoted in court cases and essays by persons defending or rationalizing a position.
Some of the people who use and walk past the words every day will know that Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said them in a speech. Fewer will know that Reverend King was quoting Jesus, as reported in the Bible (John 8:32). Hardly any of them will know the line that precedes this famous expression, much less know what the true meaning of Jesus’ words.
The truth is that John 8:31-32 reads in full, “If you abide in my Word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (NKJV).
His Word is found in the Bible. If you read it, you will know what is right and true. That knowledge can set you free from the worries of this world. You will notice we did not say it will, but rather that the Word can set you free. It is not an incantation you can read and expect magic things.
You must put forth a little effort as well. Reading the bible is a start. Understanding the Bible is the next logical step. This can be a little tricky as there are brilliant theological minds still arguing over some parts of the scrolls. The main concepts and instructions, however, are readily understandable to one with a mind and heart for them.
Many of us want to know more than is readily absorbed. We might take part in discussion groups, Bible studies, or even go to school. With online and correspondence courses like those at the International Christian College and Seminary (http://www.iccscampus.org/), you can study the Bible in depth from home or wherever you may be.
Once you understand what the Bible authors are telling us about Jesus’ message and direction, you need to take the first big step. You have to believe it. Understanding God’s Word is meaningless if you are constantly questioning it. Accepting that it contains the infallible words of Jesus Christ is how reading the Bible can set you free.
Faith will save you. Faith starts with acquiring and reading the Word of God and accepting it as the direction to life. Accepting that what it tells us is true, especially that the only way to the Eternal Kingdom is through Jesus Christ, who came down as man and died to save us from our sins.
Then comes the next big step. To be truly free, you must live as the Bible tells us to live. You must love the Lord with all your heart and soul. Then you must love everyone around you, treating them all as you would want to be treated. Accept God’s forgiveness and forgive others as well.
If you can do that, marvelous changes will occur in your life. The chains that drag your heart through despair and fret will break. The reality that only your relationship with God matters will direct your actions and reactions. You will find happiness where there is none today. You will find hope where there is only resignation now.
Then you will understand how reading the Bible can set you free once and for all.