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Bible Books Summary

Session 10: Section 2

The balance of grace and truth

Open Bible

Read John 1 v 14 to 18

From verse 17 you see that Jesus brought "grace" and "truth". Why are these two aspects of Jesus mentioned? They are obviously important because they were mentioned in verse 14 as well. Here there is an "echo" from Session 8 Section 1. In that section we discovered that Godís glory is in His characteristics. These characteristics can be summarised as "mercy" and "truth". This passage in John repeats the same message (assuming "grace" and "mercy" are similar), and adds the information that Jesus came to show the same attributes. We then need to find out what the Bible means by "mercy", "grace" and "truth".

If we look in Strongís Concordance, we find the following information :

  • "Mercy" means: goodness, kindness, faithfulness, joined with a desire to help.
  • "Grace" indicates favour, acceptance or good will.
  • "Truth" means: firmness, faithfulness, sureness, reliability and stability.

Looking at these meanings, Godís character can be summarised as "goodness, kindness and faithfulness joined with a desire to help us to be acceptable to Him, whilst God is being faithful, reliable and stable in His principles".

If we put that rather complicated definition into simple terms, we could say that God wants to be kind and help people to be acceptable to Him without going against His own principles.

This tells us that there is a balance in Godís kindness and what He expects of people. He cannot just ignore disobedience of His rules. On the other hand, He wants to solve the problem caused by people going against His rules.

God has found a way of solving the problem caused by people going against His rules that does not compromise those same rules. God will show mercy if people acknowledge that He is right regarding His standards and what He expects of them. This is the basis of how God deals with people. Jesus came to show how it was done.

There are "echoes" of this principle all through the Bible. Here are the passages where "mercy and truth" and "grace and truth" are mentioned together. These passages were found quite easily using the computer Online Bible that we mentioned earlier.

Mercy and Truth

Grace and Truth


1 Kings



24 v 27
32 v 10
34 v 6
3 v 6 *
25 v 10
40 v 11
57 v 3
61 v 7
69 v 13 *
85 v 10
89 v 14
98 v 3
100 v 5 *
108 v 4
3 v 3
14 v 22
16 v 6 *
16 v 5
4 v 1
7 v 20
2 John
1 v 14 to 18
1 v 6
v 3

Look up the passages with an asterisk and see if you can find the relationship between Godís mercy and His truth. The 1 Kings 3 reference probably spells out the principle in the simplest terms. If you want to find out for yourself, donít scroll down yet!

The relationship can be summed up as, "God will show His love and mercy to people, if they acknowledge that His principles are just and right". This is how God can do something about the problem that has been caused by the violation of His principles.

You can see the principle in action in the case of King Davidís sin.

Open Bible

Read 2 Samuel 11 and 12

2 Samuel 11 tells us how David committed adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite. David tried to hide the facts, and in desperation had Uriah killed so that he could take Bathsheba as his wife. The end of the chapter says that "the thing that David had done displeased the Lord". David had now violated Godís principles in two ways - adultery and murder.

2 Samuel 12 tells how God dealt with the problem. Nathan the prophet made David realise that he had violated Godís principles. As soon as David acknowledged that God was right and he (David) was wrong, God forgave him. But notice that David was told he would not escape without suffering consequences to show that what David had done was wrong (v 10 to 12). You will see echoes of this balance of kindness and maintaining principles all through the Bible.

Optional Assignment 14

The balance of grace and truth

If you wish to look at this principle a little more, look up the rest of the references. If you have marginal references, see where they lead you!

As you read through the Psalms, you may notice that wherever "mercy" is mentioned, "truth" or a similar idea will often be mentioned as well. You may like to look at these references:

Psalm 30 v 9 & 10; 31 v 5 to 7; 51 v 1 & 6; 117 v 2; 145 v 9 & 18

Start a list of the times you see this principle in the Bible stories. The "David and Bathsheba" incident can be the first on your list.

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