“Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. ” Acts 17:11
This verse gives us a really good reason for studying the scriptures for ourselves: to recognize whether what we are being taught is true or false. Certainly the world teaches many lies, but the Bible warns us that even within the church there will be false teachers. Every believer needs “test the spirits” and one way to do this is to be familiar with scripture.
Here are some examples I have encountered of teachings that are questionable:
- I once picked up a book on vacation that had a Christian sounding title and was put out by a publishing house with a cross as part of their logo. However, about half way into the book, the author described the crucifixion as a “downer” that we shouldn’t really dwell upon. Guess you can’t judge a book by it’s cover.
- At a class that was interdenominational in nature, the leader mentioned that we should assume anyone looking for spiritual direction and growth were “basically good.” I approached her afterwards and asked: “what about original sin? aren’t we all basically bad? ” Turns out she understood my theological viewpoint, she just didn’t agree with it. So you can’t believe everything you hear, even in a Christian gathering.
My point is not that we should avoid every book or every person who may not agree with us. We’re not called to do that. My point is we need to know what scripture teaches. If we haven’t read the Bible for ourselves, we are in danger of accepting opinions that sound good, but contradict the word of God. There’s an old saying that goes, “if you don’t know where you stand, you’ll fall for anything.”
So, read the Bible. It’s the only way to know where you stand.