Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding; (Prov. 23:23)

 

The book of Proverbs is a collection of wise sayings that are inspired of God. The word “proverb” comes from two Latin words: pro (instead of) and verba (words). A proverb is wisdom packed into a short saying instead of many words. Although it was written to Israel under the dispensation of law, there are moral principles in Proverbs that still apply to the Body of Christ under grace.

Those who are wise seek to personally possess the truth at any cost and they will not part with it for any cause. Along with the truth we also need (Col. 1:9-11):

  • Instruction – gaining knowledge of the truth
  • Understanding – comprehending the truth
  • Wisdom – right use of knowledge

There is a big difference between just mentally assenting to truth that you’ve heard from others (like your parents, Prov. 23:22-25) and personally buying it. To buy the truth means it is dwelling deep within our heart so that it forms who we are. It is to be “fully persuaded” that what God said is true (Rom. 3:4). It is to have real conviction about what you believe. Many who hear the truth won’t pay what it costs to truly say: “This is what I believe and stand for!” The truth isn’t worth that much to them because they don’t sincerely believe it.

Many in our society today, like Pilate of old, are cynical about truth (Jn. 18:37-38). Despite popular opinion, there is such a thing as THE TRUTH, and it is:

  • Divine – God is the source (Deut. 32:4; Jn. 14:6; 16:13)
  • Absolute – not relative (Ps. 119:160; Titus 1:2) – Moral truth never changes!
  • Authoritative – not up for debate (Matt. 7:28-29; Titus 2:15)
  • Objective – not subject to our feelings or thoughts (Rom. 3:3-4)
  • Eternal (Ps. 117; Matt. 24:35)

God has revealed His truth to man in His written word (Ps. 33:4; Dan. 10:21; Jn. 17:17; 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:16), and it is still available today because He has preserved His pure words (Ps. 12:6-7) in the KJB (“word of truth” 5x – “words of truth” 4x = 9x – Prov. 22:17-21). The Bible is not everything God knows, but it is everything we need to know. It reveals the truth about God, Satan, man, sin, salvation, and eternity.

The purpose of selling something is to make a profit. If you sold out the truth of God’s word for all the money in the world you would take a major loss (Prov. 23:3-4) because there is nothing more valuable than the word of God (Job 28:12-28; Ps. 19:10; 119:72, 127; Prov. 3:13-18; 8:10-11, 19; 16:16). In a world full of LIES, the truth is worth far more than anything you can give in exchange for it. Anything it may cost us to buy the truth is well worth it!

For example, knowing and believing the truth brings:

  • Assurance of salvation (Eph. 1:13; 1 Thess. 1:5 – God cannot lie or fail)
  • Real and lasting freedom (Jn. 8:32, 36; believers 2 Tim. 2:25-26)
  • The knowledge of God (1 Jn. 5:20)
  • Sanctification (Jn. 17:17; Eph. 5:26)

Salvation is a free gift, but it will cost you something to “come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). You cannot buy the truth with money. You can buy a Bible with money, but what it costs to learn the truth of the Bible has nothing to do with money (Prov. 2:1-9). Of course, we must depend upon God to enlighten our understanding to the truth of His word (see 1 Cor. 2).

The truth costs more than the time and effort to learn it. If you don’t think so, just believe it with all your heart, live by it, preach it, defend it, stand for it. Before you are through it will cost you far more than you had ever thought. For many of our Christian forefathers it cost them their very life. Severe persecution could be just around the corner in our country.

It is not enough to believe we have the word of truth (2 Tim. 3:16); we must also study it God’s way to understand it (2 Tim. 2:15, only KJB has the key). Rightly dividing the word of truth is not an issue of dividing truth from error. It is to recognize and consistently maintain in our Bible study the divisions that God put in His word. God does not change in His person, principles, or promises, but He does change in His dealings with man. The main division is between prophecy concerning God’s earthly people, Israel, and the mystery of the His heavenly people, the Body of Christ (cf. Acts 3:21; Rom. 16:25). What was truth for Israel under the law may not be truth for the Body of Christ under grace (1 Tim. 4:1-5). If Satan can’t deceive you concerning inspiration he will work on your interpretation!

The church must be all about the TRUTH of God (50x’s in Paul’s epistles), not the traditions of men (1 Tim. 3:14-16; Eph. 4:15). Christ said that “God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth” (Jn. 4:24). But many worship God in vain because they teach for doctrines the commandments of men (Matt. 15:7-9). Keeping the commandments of men will cause you to turn from the truth of God (Titus 1:14). Many in their zeal to keep their religious traditions will reject the word of God (Mk. 7:9). Satan attacks the truth through his religious system (Jn. 8:43-48; 2 Thess. 2:7; 1 Jn. 4:1, 6).

We are living in the last days of apostasy that the apostle Paul warned us about in his last inspired epistle. Spiritual deception abounds (1 Tim. 4:1; 2 Tim. 3:13). Apostasy is a willful denial and departure from the truth. Just as it was apostasy for Israel to depart from the truth that God revealed to them through His spokesman Moses, so it is apostasy in this age for believers to depart from the truth that God revealed to us through His spokesman Paul (2 Tim. 1:13-15). There are many churches in America, but little truth being preached (2 Tim. 3:7).

There is a downward spiral away from the truth:

  • Concerning the truth have erred (2 Tim. 2:18, cf. v.15)
  • Resist the truth (3:8)
  • Turn away their ears from the truth (4:4)

In days of apostasy, the prophet Isaiah said that “truth is fallen in the street” (Isa. 59:14). Jeremiah said that there was none left in Jerusalem that was seeking the truth (5:1), that “truth is perished” (7:28), and that there was none that was “valiant for the truth” (9:3). Those things can be said of the world and professing church today. Thankfully, God always has a faithful remnant (Jer. 15:16-17), and His truth will always ultimately prevail (2 Cor. 13:8). Those who buy the truth will receive right division!

Buy the Truth

 

Not, “Buy it if you can get it at a bargain; if the price is not too great.” No, buy the truth at any cost! It is worth far more than anything you can give in exchange for it. You will come to a crossroads!

For example, it may cost:

  • Self-righteousness (Phil. 3:1-9) – The Bible tells the truth about our unrighteousness. We must have the righteousness of God to be justified.
  • Time and effort (2 Tim. 2:15) – Watching studies and sermons on YouTube is not buying the truth. Bible study is WORK, but the truth of God is well worth the effort to learn it. We must engage in PERSONAL (“thyself”) Bible study with the right motive (“approved unto God”).
  • Religious traditions (Gal. 1:14) – There are things Christians believe that are rooted in tradition instead of the scriptures. Do you read the Bible looking for proof texts to support what you have been taught, or do you study to find the truth (1 Thess. 5:21)?
  • Reputation (Acts 24:14; 26:24-25) – Religious people who loved their traditions more than the truth also called Christ “mad” and said he was “beside himself,” and had a devil!
  • Relationships (Lk. 12:51-53; Gal. 4:16) – You will quickly learn that not everybody loves the truth.
  • Ease (2 Tim. 2:9) – To know and stand for truth is to engage in spiritual battle (first piece of armor – “loins girt about with truth”). O’Hair said, “If you’re not in trouble you are not in the ministry!”
  • Life (Gal. 6:17; 2 Tim. 4:6-8) – Down through church history those who have bought the truth faced persecution and death from the religious world.

Sell it Not

 

Not, “Don’t sell it unless you can get a very good price for it.” Sell it not – PERIOD. Buy it, no matter what it costs and when it is yours do not sell it for any price or under any consideration. Judas sold the truth incarnate for 30 pieces of silver. Where did it get him? I realize that Judas was a devil, but there are believers today who sell out the truth. Although we cannot lose salvation as members of the Body of Christ, there is much we can lose if we are unfaithful (2 Tim. 2:10-13).

Many have acquired the truth only to sell it out. For a while they valued and defended some God-given light from His word, but they sold it for something that seemed more valuable to them (2 Tim. 4:10). They may still have given mental assent to it, but it formed no part of them. It was no longer a conviction.

People sell the truth in an attempt to “gain”:

  • Peace with others – The wisdom of God is FIRST pure then peaceable (Jam. 3:17; Rom. 12:18). Sometimes the pressure to compromise comes from family and friends. Put God FIRST! The fear of man brings a snare (Prov. 29:25), but the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 9:10). If you sell out the truth to avoid problems, you are only creating bigger ones!
  • Popularity (Jn. 12:42-43) – The truth is never popular. Paul was not popular (1 Cor. 4:8-17). The most popular preachers and the biggest churches today are apostate!
  • Prosperity (Gal. 1:14) – There is money to be made in religion. A man cannot be a bishop or deacon if he is “greedy of filthy lucre.” Real Bible believers are not tied to any religious system. We are not trying to climb the religious corporate ladder; we just want to be faithful to the truth. One preacher said to another who had learned the truth of right division, “A man can’t make a living in his denomination if he doesn’t hold to the traditions of his denomination.”

It is because the truth is so little valued in this indifferent age, that many of God’s people have become so spiritually powerless. They hold opinions instead of convictions, because they have given the word of God little place in their lives. God blesses and uses those who “buy the truth and sell it not.” We can only be faithful by the power of God (2 Tim. 1:13-15; 4:7).

Of course, salvation is free to all sinners! We are saved freely by God’s grace through faith because Christ paid the full price with His blood. It is free to believe the gospel, but it costs to stand for the gospel and faithfully preach it to others. Just ask the apostle Paul.