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There’s a theme I’ve come up against many times the past year or so—maybe longer.
Upon talking with others, I’ve discovered I’m not the only one who’s noticed it. It surfaces in conversations between believers or in social media posts where an idea or argument is presented by one person that raises some questions in the hearer—a caution flag, you might say. This sparks a more lengthy discussion in which the concerned party brings up Scripture (sometimes a lot of it) that seems to challenge (or even refute) the concept being laid out. After some back-and-forth, it finally ends with the presenter stating, “You just have to hear the expert [fill in the blank] explain it. It will make more sense.”
Just read this book.
Just listen to this podcast.
Just go through this course.
Then you’ll understand. You might change your mind like I did about what the Bible actually teaches (or doesn’t really teach).
The measurement shifts from two Christians weighing truth against the Bible to the truth being weighed against the words and opinions of another person. Rather than evaluating ideas through the lens of God’s Word, God’s Word is interpreted through the lens of the “experts”.
Sometimes the difference is subtle. We all have those who have influenced us and our thinking about hard passages of Scripture. But these voices should be pointing us backto the Bible for ourselves, not drawing us into dependence on their viewpoint to understand the Bible correctly. Every idea must be able to be weighed against the truth of God’s Word and, if found wanting, needs to be changed (or rejected completely sometimes). We are to be conformed to Scripture, not Scripture to our own finite understanding.
We’re all prone to this. When we hear or read an idea that sounds really good or that caters to our natural bents, it’s so easy to swallow it whole without taking the time to measure it on the scales of God’s Word. But it’s vital that we keep soft hearts toward the truth found in the Bible, ready to change our minds if the Spirit convicts us of even the smallest differences in our thinking from the whole counsel of God. It takes humility, though. I’ve felt the smarting of my pride when I realize I’ve been off—when a fellow believer gently challenges me with Scripture, and it dawns on me I wasn’t quite right. But I’ve come to realize that God does “lift up the humble”, just like He promises (Ps. 147:6). The willingness to admit I had a blind spot—no matter how embarrassing it feels at the time—opens the floodgates of God’s grace to let go of what I want to be true in exchange for the far better alternative of what is actually true. This, in turn, enables us to stand firmly (and humbly) upon the truth of Scripture when we’re challenged, knowing it’s not our opinion we’re shaping our lives around, but to God’s Word by His grace.
His Spirit is so faithful to “guide [us] into all truth” (Jhn. 16:13) as we immerse ourselves in Scripture and seek to be faithful to obey it. This will (and should) be an ongoing journey until the day we see Jesus face-to-face as the residue of our old selves is continually cleansed, refined, smoothed, and sharpened to reflect our Savior.
In the words of the old hymn,
“In Thy truth Thou dost direct me
By Thy Spirit through Thy Word;
And Thy grace my need is meeting
As I trust in Thee, my Lord.
Of Thy fullness Thou art pouring
Thy great love and power on me,
Without measure, full and boundless,
Drawing out my heart to Thee”