This continues our look at the discipline called epistemology, or the study of knowledge and how people acquire it. I am relying on introductions to epistemology from two authors: Richard Feldman and his book Epistemology in the Foundations of Philosophy Series and Robert Audi¢â‚¬â„¢s second edition of Epistemology: A Contemporary Introduction (Routledge Contemporary Introductions to Philosophy).
What is required for propositional knowledge, then if it holds such a special status? This is the question we will try to come to terms with in this post.
It is easy to come up with two conditions for propositional knowledge. They are truth and belief.
Propositional knowledge requires truth. You cannot know something unless it is true It is never right to say, “He knows it but it is false!”. That lacks complete logic. You cannot know that George Jetson was the first man to step foot on the moon. The reason you cannot know that is because the facts indicate that Neil Armstrong was the first person to step foot on the moon. You know a proposition only if it is true. What we must now deal with is an understanding about what it is for something to be true. The simple and widely accepted answer to this is contained within the correspondence theory of truth.
Correspondence theories claim that true beliefs and true statements correspond to the actual state of affairs. This type of theory attempts to posit a relationship between thoughts or statements on the one hand, and things or facts on the other. It is a traditional model which goes back at least to some of the classical Greek philosophers such as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. This class of theories holds that the truth or the falsity of a representation is determined solely by how it relates to a reality; that is, by whether it accurately describes that reality.  Additionally, a “proposition is true if and only if it corresponds to the facts. A proposition is false if it fails to correspond to the facts.” 
Whether a proposition is true or not does not depend in any way on what anyone believes about it. It only depends on the actual facts at hand. Also, in this theory of truth, truth is not relative. No single proposition can be true for you and not for me. Additionally, Correspondence Theory does not justify any kind of dogmatism or intolerant attitude toward people who disagree with you. It is possible that the mere fact that others disagree wit you show provide some reason to reconsider you view. Finally, Correspondence Theory does not imply that things cannot change.
A second condition for propositional knowledge is belief. If you know something, you must believe it or accept it. Belief in this case is being used in a broad sense. Any time you take something to be true, you believe it. This includes hesitant acceptance as well as fully confident acceptance. If you do not even think something is true, then you do not know it. In addition, it must be stated that you can believe something without it being true, having the facts to support it. Propositional knowledge requires belief, but belief does not require truth.
Philosophers also say that a third condition for knowledge is justification for the belief. What justification amounts to is of considerable debate. Justification is something that comes in degrees, meaning that you can have more or less justification. In addition, you can be justified in believing something without actually believing it. Say, as an example, that Bob has studied long hours for a test and did well on all the practice tests. He has a basis for believing that he did well, but he is insecure. He never believes that he has done well and does not believe that he has done well on this exam. Even though he does not believe that he has passed the exam, he is justified in believing he has passed the exam. To be justified in believing a proposition “is to have what is required to be highly reasonable in believing it, whether a person actually believes it or not.” 
There are great implications for ministry here. Can you note them? Are they right?
 Wikipedia contributors, “Correspondence theory of truth,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Correspondence_theory_of_truth&oldid=319739784 (accessed October 28, 2009).
 Feldman, 17.
 Ibid., 22.