Forthright Magazine

The words of the faith

The title of this article is also the title of the teaching I’m doing this year in several places here in Brazil. It’s taken, of course, from 1 Timothy 4.6: “By pointing out these things to the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, nourished by the words of faith and sound instruction that you have followed” (BSB).

The content jibes with my own personal theme for 2024, the Year of Truth. I chose it for several reasons, including these:

  1. Because God is truthful and cannot lie, John 8.26; Titus 1.2.
  2. Because Jesus is the truth, John 14.6.
  3. Because the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth, John 14.17; 15.26; 16.13.
  4. Because the Word of God is truth, Psalm 119.160a: “The very essence of your words is truth” (NLT).
  5. Because the truth sets us free, John 8.31-32.
  6. Because people will arise who will distort the truth, Acts 20.30.
  7. Because congregations are being pressured and influenced to abandon the truth.

Back to this year’s offering, “The Words of the Faith.” It might bleed over into next year as well.

Truth has never been high on the list of great values. So-called white lies are the norm. Gray ones are deemed necessary. The “raw, naked” truth needs to be dressed up and toned down. And then came the postmodern relative truth to give power to the lie.

So let’s do an archaeological dig, to uncover the truth of the gospel in the Bible. Let’s brush away the dust of tradition and the newer clods of philosophy and theology. The original artifact is intact and whole. Biblical truth retains its power. Let’s reclaim it.


For whatever the reason, our people seldom publish prayers. (Have you a theory?) Here’s a prayer for today:

Blessed God and Father of lights, we worship your Name, the only true and living Lord of life. Worthy are you of praise from man and all creation. Humanity fails to grasp your glory. Our projects launch into space, but fail to reach Heaven.

Look down upon us in mercy. Hear our pleas that justice prevail. Shine your light upon us so that our ignorance may dissipate. Let the gentle rays of your face warm our souls.

Show us how to redeem the time. Make us effective servants. Work in us your simple word of salvation. We ask for wisdom from our Father who is all knowing and wise.

Forgive our foolish ways. We repent of sin and selfishness. Purge us of impurity. Sanctify us that we might see you in the eternal home.

We acknowledge and confess that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. Amen.


Finally, for those few who retain interest in things poetical, here’s an original work which grew from the first stanza published yesterday. The title is: “Such Glory.”

So much to say, short time to teach!
Hard choices must be made, and texts
To bring to bear the gospel truth.

So many to save ─ what narrow door!
The cross proclaim ─ What soul will dare
To bear it daily, ‘til that Day?

So rich God’s grace, in towel and cup!
His mercy offers a table to sup
And eat, and holy orders to keep.

So great his love, our single hope!
Both cleansing blood and blessings in heaps,
With answered prayers and instant helps.

Such glory as we’ve never seen!
For how can humans marred by sin
Know God in Heaven but through the Son?!


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J. Randal Matheny
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