You MUST Read the Bible For Yourself!
I believe that it is absolutely essential that all Christians MUST read the Bible for themselves. Why, you ask? Read the following shocking true story, and then I will comment on it.
“A young couple from another church came to one of our assistant pastors for counseling about marital problems they started having soon after their wedding. After just a few minutes of interviewing the two, he could see they were miles apart in tastes, ideas, and opinions. “What made the two of you get married?” he asked. “A sermon our pastor preached on Joshua conquering Jericho.” “What did that have to do with getting married?” “Well,” explained the husband, “Joshua and his army claimed Jericho, marched around it seven times, and the walls fell down. Our pastor told us that if we trusted God, claimed a certain young girl and marched around her seven times, the walls of her heart would collapse, and she would be willing to marry. So I did it, and we got married.” Our assistant pastor stared in disbelief. Was this man putting him on? No, indeed. In fact, several couples in that particular church had gotten married on the same basis after hearing the same sermon. This amazing story illustrates that first of all people can become extremely confused on what the Bible means and what to do about it; and second, the interpretation and application of Scripture is crucial to life decisions.” (John MacArthur, How to Get the Most from God’s Word)
Wow – what an unbelievable story! Who in their right mind would believe what that pastor had taught, about marching around a girl so that the walls of her heart would collapse, and she would be willing to marry you? Absolute nonsense. But this story illustrates an amazingly sad truth about the church today. Too many Christians are like sponges, that is, they soak up everything they hear, without using discernment. Whether it’s a sermon their pastor preached, or a Christian book they read, if they respect that particular man of God, they won’t question what he has to say. And yet, this is not what God wants us to do. Consider this story from the Word of God…
“And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.” (Acts 17:10-12).
The Bible says that when the Bereans heard Paul and Silas preached, they did two things. First of all, they received the word with all readiness of mind. This is a good balance because some people will go so far as to say, “Well, I’ve got the Holy Spirit inside of me to teach me truth, so I don’t need to listen to pastors and teachers.” This unbalanced belief obviously contradicts the Bible, which says that God has given us pastors and teachers to perfect us (Ephesians 4). However, notice the second thing that the Bereans did here. They searched the Scriptures daily – they read their Bibles for themselves – to see whether those things were so. The Bible says that because they did this, they were more noble than the Thessalonians. They went back to the Bible to make sure what they were being taught was truth.
I want to challenge you to read the Bible for yourself. No matter how good your pastor, your favourite Christian author, or your favourite Bible teacher might be, they aren’t infallible, and their teaching isn’t inspired by God like the Bible is. Always go back to the Bible and see if these things are true. Heed these warnings from the Scriptures, “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.” (2 Tim. 2:1). “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1). You MUST read the Bible for yourself!
Pastor Chris Jordan