Perception over Truth

We live in a world of “cancel culture,” “fake news,” and people living “their own truth.” What does the Bible say about justice and seeking the truth? Give examples of people or groups from the Bible who held perception over truth. How can the Christian school teacher or minister be a defense against this worldly culture shift? 

We live in a world with fake news, cancel culture, and people living their own truth. In 3114 BC, the Mayans created a calendar, and for whatever reason the calendar ended in 2012. The reason for it ending in 2012 is unknown; however, many people thought the world was going to end because the Mayan calendar stopped there.  

The fact that this paper is being written in 2023 shows that the people who believed this held perception over truth. First Thessalonians says, “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night” (5:2). The Bible makes it clear that people cannot predict the end of the world. Christ will destroy the world like a thief in the night, and even the greatest scientist will not be able to predict the destruction of the world. The sad truth is that everyone is guilty of holding perception over truth. But the question one should be asking is this: “What does God say about truth and justice?” 

God makes it evident that truth is found in the Bible. Second Timothy 3:1517 teaches that Scripture is “God-breathed.” For the Scriptures to be “God-breathed” means that God moved holy men to write the truths in the Bible, which proves Scripture comes from the very mouth of God.1 Doctrine according to Godliness points out, “Because Scripture is the breath of God, it must be perfect and without error. To speak against Scripture is to speak against God himself.”2 The authority of Scripture is higher than any human authority. Since truth is found in the Bible, the believers find Scripture “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16). 

God does not give us the laws in Scripture because they are pleasant standards to live by, but instead, God requires that everyone obeys Scripture and follows his commands (John 14:15). He commands all people to follow his laws, so we must. They are necessary and show us how to live. If people do not follow the laws given in Scripture, they deserve eternal destruction. If God let man follow the paths of the world, it would be an act of injustice. Since God is just, we must obey all the laws he has set out in the Bible.  

Although the Bible is perspicuous in its truth, some will come against God’s teachings with false doctrines. Second Timothy teaches, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (4:34). False teachers will come and try to deceive God’s people, so everyone must beware. It is important that before holding fast to the words of others, we must make sure the words are in accordance with the teachings of the Bible. If someone falls away from this practice, they will probably find themselves holding perception over truth.  

The Bible gives many examples of people who held perception over truth, and 2 Chronicles 18 provides the perfect example. Jehoshaphat visited Ahab in the northern kingdom of Israel. Together they pondered whether or not to battle against the Syrians. Jehoshaphat decided to get an outside opinion, so he asked four hundred Israelite prophets if God would be with them in war. These four hundred were all false prophets, however, seeing that Jezebel had killed most of God’s prophets. King Ahab knew about the true prophet Micaiah but did not like him because he was constantly prophesying destruction upon Ahab. Jehoshaphat, however, still wanted to talk to Micaiah. Originally Micaiah told Jehoshaphat they would be victorious. But Ahab saw right through Micaiah and made him tell the truth. The truth was that if they went into battle, the downfall of Israel would come. The nation of Israel would be like sheep without their shepherd. Ahab did not listen and was displeased. He locked Micaiah up and proceeded to go to war. During the war, Ahab was shot by an unaimed arrow and died.  

This account of Ahab going against the true prophet of God and into battle is an example of holding perception over truth. Micaiah stood before Ahab, only by the grace of God, and prophesied the Lord’s truth. Because God is a just God, Ahab had to stand before God’s judgment. Rev. Wilbur Bruinsma comments, “The nation of Israel had turned away from God. Instead of heeding the warning of the prophets to turn from her sin, Israel plunged on in her sin and disobedience.”3 The nation of Israel was listening to the false prophets instead of God, and all it did was lead them to destruction.  

It is evident that people in the Bible listened to false prophets and held perception over truth, but it is also clear that people still listen to the lies of the wicked. Cell phones, for example, are consumed by wicked ads, videos, posts, and false news. It is all so easy to access, and not only this, but these false teachings are appealing. It sounds fun to join in the world’s wicked entertainment. After the fall, everyone is tempted by sin, including children of every age. According to Common Sense Media, “42 percent of kids have a phone by age 10. By age 12, it’s 71 percent. By 14, it’s 91 percent.”4 Anyone who has a phone has access to so many wicked paths with the click of a button. Children are also affected by these influences that are teaching them lies. 

Since kids are exposed to so many wicked lies and fake news, someone needs to warn them. Teachers have a major influence on their students’ lives. They are with them about eight hours a day, which is about half of the time kids are awake. Thus, teachers are called to teach their students in the ways of the Lord. The Bible calls teachers to “train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6). If children are trained in the paths of righteousness from a young age, they will never leave those ways if it is God’s will. This puts significant pressure on a teacher, but teachers must take responsibility to teach their students in the ways of the Lord. Part of that work is teaching them to stay away from the false teachings of the wicked. 

To lead students to truth, the teacher must be a good influence. Young kids are easily influenced and have not fully developed their sense of right and wrong. Usually, kids follow whatever is set in front of them. I recognize it is crucial that I set a good example. If I follow the ways of the world, why would my students do anything different? They will think it does not matter how you live your life. Therefore, teachers must not simply teach their students the simple facts found in subjects but also the truths found in the Bible.  

In addition, teaching kids Bible lessons and having them memorize parts of Scripture is crucial. Jan Miersma points out, “When we memorize something we make it a part of us, something that goes with us everywhere and at all times. Then when we cannot read the Scriptures, we can still meditate upon them, whether on the job, while driving, or on a sickbed. If the Scriptures are taken from us by persecution, we will still have them dwelling in our hearts.”5 When children memorize Scripture, it is with them at all times. When they are tempted to believe in false teachers and doctrine, they will have the truth in their hearts. It will cause them to say no to Satan and yes to God.  

One more practice that cannot be forgotten is the command of Christian discipline. If a teacher sees a student walking in sin and acting contrary to God’s law, she must discipline the child. After all, Christian discipline is one of the keys to the kingdom of heaven.6 Disciplining a child can often be hard, and I cannot say it is one of the things I look forward to doing. However, it is a key to the kingdom, which means Christian discipline is necessary to correct covenant children. It is so necessary that God warns us what will happen if we lead students on the wrong path: “My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body” (James 3:12). Teachers who lead their students on the path of destruction are sure to go onto the path of destruction as well. 

As you can see, holding perception over truth is a common sin. Thinking the world was going to end in 2012 because of the Mayan calendar is not the only example of this either. Everyone must be aware of false teachers and fake news and be able to resist them, but we can only do this through God’s grace. So, as I end this article we must remember, “By the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1 Cor. 15:10). 


Makenna is a freshman in the education program at Dordt University. She is a member of Edgerton Protestant Reformed Church.