Is Some Truth Just Personal Preference?

You have probably heard someone say, “Well, that may be true for you, but it’s not true for me.”

Behind this phrase lies a deep-seated confusion between the concepts of truth and belief. Clearly, we are all entitled to our beliefs. But does that mean that we have our own respective truths? No. Truth is independent of belief. Beliefs, on the other hand, are necessarily personal.

This is the same when it comes to moral truths. God and his Word become the standard of what is morally true or not because moral truths stem from his character. So while moral truths are not up for consideration as personal or subjective, beliefs can be. In Romans 14, the apostle Paul makes it clear that issues outside of the universal moral law of God—such as what to eat and when to worship—are between an individual and God. Specific to worship, he said, “You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable” (Romans 14:5).

Personal beliefs are sometimes called “personal convictions.” Some people feel, for example, that it’s wrong to buy products on Sunday. Other feel that it’s wrong to enroll their kids in public school. Many of these people don’t condemn those who do otherwise, but they feel these are convictions they must follow.

Paul made this point clear when he referred to the Jewish regulations on what foods were pure or impure. “I know and am convinced,” Paul wrote, “on the authority of the Lord Jesus that no food, in and of itself, is wrong to eat. But is someone believes it is wrong [for them], then for that person it is wrong” (Romans 14:14). Personal conviction should be arrived at, then, after great care, study of Scripture, and the wise counsel of other mature Christians.

Question: Explain the difference between moral truth and personal conviction.
Question: Do you have any personal convictions about anything that God doesn’t specifically address in the bible?

Content adapted from Josh and Sean McDowell’s book, 77 FAQs about God and the Bible.

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