I don’t want you to just take my word for it…
We take a little break from our current series on Psalm 103 to discuss something important.
It is an immense privilege to share God’s Word with you through this blog, and I take that responsibility very seriously. But you, the reader, have a responsibility also.
If you follow this blog for any length of time, then I can probably promise you two things:
- You will not agree with everything I say all of the time, and
- There’s a good chance I will get something wrong from time to time.
I think both of these are “OK” within reason. Truth be told, any Bible teacher you follow (and I very much include myself in this) will not get everything right 100% of the time. We are all learning and growing, and not one of us has perfect understanding of the Scripture.
Likewise, there are different views of what the Scripture teaches on particular subjects, and different ways people approach worship. We have many diverse kinds of churches for this reason. There are certain fundamental doctrines – beliefs – that all Christian churches should hold but others where we may disagree – yet still have a Christian perspective and fellowship as brothers and sisters in Christ.
So, I ask two things of you:
- Be open minded, and
- Don’t take my word for it!
As we approach the Bible, we do so from our own experience. Often we read a familiar passage and assume we “know” all about it. God’s Word is so deep however, that new truths can be revealed to us by the Holy Spirit from even the most familiar of passages. Be cautiously and prayerfully open minded. Make sure your beliefs are founded on Scripture, not on tradition or society’s expectations.
Don’t just take my word for it
Perhaps more importantly, please do not just take my word for it. If I teach something through this blog or a sermon, I will do my best to evidence that point from the Bible. If I cannot demonstrate it from the text, then it is only my opinion. Test what you hear and read – not just from me, but from all sources.
The Berean Approach
You, the reader, must take “The Berean Approach.”
Now these people were more noble and open-minded than those in Thessalonica, so they received the message [of salvation through faith in the Christ] with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
Acts 17:11 (AMP)
“These people” here refers to the Berean Jews. They heard the message and were keen to understand it, but they searched the Scriptures to make sure that what they were being taught held up.
We must be like them. We must not just accept the newest fad teachings from the most fashionable Bible teacher, without testing it first. Similarly, we should not just swallow the teaching of our favourite teacher just because they are our “favourite”.
I know it may sound like work – checking and praying and testing – but it is worth it. There is great danger in just accepting what someone says. The Bible is so large and complex that one can take a selection of Scriptures out of their proper context and make them say whatever they want.
Context is critical in understanding what any portion of the Bible says
Guarding ourselves against deception is important. Biblical truth is wonderful and freeing, but if we get caught up in false teaching, it can warp our view of not just the Bible, but of God Himself. False teaching can lead us astray.
It is often not the outright lies that catch us, but the subtle falsities mixed with kernels of truth. We must be on our guard, and ever vigilant. We must be life-long students of the Word.
I encourage you to be a Berean!
4 thoughts on “The Berean Approach”
Taking the Berean approach is very important, maybe even imperative. Just the other day I read something in someone else’s blog which had me reaching for my Bible, and it was a subtle error of translation in their Bible version. We need to be on guard always, especially in what Bible we read. Thank you for highlighting this Andy, God bless you brother.
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Thanks Alan for your comments, and faithful reading! Yes it is something we must be very careful about. As you say, even different Bible translations can bend the truth in one way or another. It does not hurt to compare different translations to get a better idea of what the original text is telling us.
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