Buy truth, and do not sell it,
Get wisdom and instruction and understanding.
In the opening passage (Pro 23:23) we will carefully consider our Beloved LORD GOD’s instructions to:
1) Buy truth
2) Do not sell truth
3) Get wisdom and instruction and understanding
In examining what it means to “buy truth” we must first get an understanding of what truth is. The English word “truth” was transliterated from the Hebrew word “’emeth“ (OT:571), and as a noun it means a fact that is unchanging, faithful, reliable, established, and verifiable. It is also used of testimony, divine instruction, and true doctrine (Psa 19:7-9, Psa 119:88, Exd 24:12, Rom 15:4, Mat 28:19-20, Jhn 7:16-18). Truth:
is The WORD of GOD (Psa 119:142, Psa 119:151, Jhn 17:17)
is Eternal (Psa 119:89-91, Psa 119:152, Psa 119:160, Isa 30:8, Isa 59:21)
is Pure (Psa 12:6-7, Psa 19:8-9, Psa 119:140, Pro 30:5)
will not fail (Isa 55:11, Isa 46:10, Zec 1:5-6, Luk 16:17, 1 Pet 1:23-25)
How do you buy truth? Before we answer that question, let us stop and remind you that The WORD of GOD is spiritual, and our study of HIS WORD concerns spiritual matters. HIS Truth is spiritual, and it cannot be acquired through physical means, as demonstrated in three separate examples:
1) A fool denies the existence of GOD (Psa 14:1) or believes in GOD but does not believe HE sees and knows (Psa 10:11, Psa 94:7, Isa 29:15, Eze 8:7-12), and then tries to acquire spiritual wisdom (the knowledge of Truth – Pro 17:16), which comes from the very GOD he denies (Job 38:36, Pro 2:6, Jam 1:5).
2) A magician in Samaria who tried to use physical money to acquire a spiritual gift (Act 8:4-24)
3) False prophets, depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, think godliness is great gain for them (1 Tim 6:5), not understanding that godliness is not for physical profit but spiritual profit (1 Tim 6:6-10).
To “buy Truth” is to receive or accept Truth HIMSELF by faith (Jhn 14:6, Jhn 3:16, Rom 10:9-10), to be spiritually sealed by The SPIRIT of Truth (Jhn 14:16-17, Jhn 16:13-15, Eph 1:13), which is from The GOD of Truth (Psa 31:5, Isa 65:16). The purchasing or receiving of spiritual truth comes only to one who is willing to give up all to know Truth (Mat 13:45-46, Mrk 10:17-22, Luk 14:25-33, Php 3:7-14).
Why would one sell truth, when they gave up everything to acquire it? For at least four reasons; doubt, fear, discouragement and desire.
Doubt is to be uncertain, to stop trusting or believing. As an example, our Beloved GOD had given John the Baptist information about our Precious LORD & SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST. HE identified WHO JESUS was and the purpose HE served (Jhn 1:26-36). John stood firm in that knowledge (Jhn 3:26-30), until he was jailed (Mat 11:2-6). And then he begin to doubt, to the point of causing him to begin to distrust what he once knew, and WHOM he believed and trusted in. How do we know this, by the message JESUS sent back through John’s disciples. “And blessed is he, who does not take offense at ME” (Mat 11:6). The English word “offense” in Matthew 11:6, is transliterated from the Greek word “skandalizoo” (NT:4624) and according to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon (Abridged) it means to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert the one whom he ought to trust and obey.
Fear is to be afraid of what might happen, causing many to abandon our Beloved LORD JESUS CHRIST and HIS WORD. It can be fear of loss (Luk 17:31-33, Jhn 9:18-23, Jhn 12:42-43), fear of suffering (Job 3:25, Mat 13:20-21, Mat 24:9-10, Heb 10:32-39), or fear of death (Mat 10:28, Rev 2:8-11).
Discouragement is to lose confidence or hope; to be sad, depressed, or low in spirit; to lose heart (Psa 13:1-4, Psa 119:81-88). When one does not truly know or trust our Beloved LORD GOD, that HE is compassionate and merciful (Exd 34:6, Psa 111:4, Psa 116:5), or they do not know HE forewarned us that following HIM would not be easy (Mat 10:16-39, Act 14:21-22, 2 Tim 3:12), they become discouraged (Ecc 7:10, Exd 16:2-3, Deu 8:3).
Desire (lust) is to have a strong wish or craving for immediate temporal (physical) gratification. There are many who long for the temporal things offered in the physical world (Mat 13:22, 1 Tim 6:17-19, 1 Jhn 2:15-17). They are not willing like Moses to trade the short-term physical for the long-term eternal (Heb 11:24-26), instead like Esau they are willing to lose the greater reward to satisfy the flesh immediately (Gen 25:29-34). Short-term focus will always eventually lead to mourning loss of long-term reward (Gen 2:30-38, Heb 12:16-17, Luk 13:23-28).
Each one of us who have received the Truth in our innermost beings (Psa 51:6), must not sell it at any cost. We must choose to suffer the loss of all temporal (physical) interests, rather than abandon, deny or neglect the truth within us. We must guard truth by carefully considering our ways (Pro 14:16, Pro 19:16), and not neglecting the study of it (1 Chr 16:11, Pro 8:34, Luk 11:3), the testimony of it (Deu 32:1-4, Psa 26:7, Psa 92:2-4, Isa 63:7), nor revolt or turn from it (2 Tim 4:3-4, Heb 6:4-6). We must cling to our GOD (Deu 10:20, Deu 11:22) and hold fast HIS WORD within our hearts (Psa 119:31-32, Pro 4:4). We must not grow weary in doing good (Gal 6:9), or doing the things which are pleasing to our GOD (Rom 12:2, Eph 5:10, 1 Pet 1:14-16).
Why has GOD also instructed us to get wisdom, instruction and understanding? Because receiving Truth is the beginning of your spiritual life. But you must also grow to maturity, and maturity only comes through practice (Heb 5:14). And practice means continually living a life obedient to The WORD of GOD (1 Jhn 3:7-8). Living an obedient life in addition to getting wisdom, instruction and understanding can only happen through the presence and power of The Holy SPIRIT. It is The SPIRIT of GOD which gives:
Wisdom, the knowledge and the ability to make the right choices at the opportune time (Job 38:36, Psa 51:6)
Instruction, the discipline that teaches how to live correctly in the fear of The LORD (Psa 32:8, Isa 28:26)
Understanding, the ability to clearly grasp the meaning of what HIS WORD is telling you (Job 32:8, Pro 2:6)
Hear, O sons, the instruction of a FATHER,
And give attention that you may gain understanding,
For I give you sound teaching;
Do not abandon my instruction.
When I was a son to my father,
Tender and the only son in the sight of my mother,
Then HE taught me and said to me,
“Let your heart hold fast my words;
Keep my commandments and live;
Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding!
Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth.
“Do not forsake her, and she will guard you;
Love her, and she will watch over you.
“The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom;
And with all your acquiring, get understanding.