2007-06-29 - Seeing is Believing
Acts 17:10 (NASB) The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the news. 11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.
Thomas has always been one of my favorite Bible characters, because I'm basically a "seeing is believing" person, just as he was. The most recent example was a political poll. Are you aware that for many U.S. polls that you hear about in the news, far less than one percent - actually fewer than three millionths of the population are actually polled? Around 900-1000 people are normally polled, out of an approximate U.S. population of 300,000,000. So even if they attempt to be representative, it's not very believable to think that this miniscule group speaks for the majority of Americans.
Being a "seeing is believing" person can be both a "blessing and a curse." There are times when we are to have "blind faith" - but in God, not a human teacher - not even the best pastor, not even CFDevotionals writers! Historically, the Catholic church discouraged Christians from reading the Bible themselves, and people were actually burned at the stake, for working to make the word of God accessible to the "common man." This was probably because they would have discovered that what the Church was teaching about "indulgences" (paying money to cover sins, which can only be covered by Jesus' sacrifice) etc. was not in God's word, but was rather from men.
As the saying goes, "the more things change, the more they stay the same." Today, we have popular teachers that hundreds of thousands of people watch religiously, grabbing up their books, believing everything they say, without question. Some of what the teachers say has an element of truth in it, but there is also some false teaching out there, and the Bible warns us about that.
In the above passage, the mentioned disciples are praised for checking out even what the Apostle Paul preached. They were told to read the Bible for themselves, to not take anyone's word for it. And if even the Apostle Paul's teachings were to be examined in light of God's word, how much more should we be evaluating what we hear and read nowadays? Whether we hear it from a wonderful teacher at church, from a television service, or from a CFDevotionals writer! - we need to check it out for ourselves.
Each one of us should be personally studying the Bible every day in addition to doing studies with others (preferably in a local church, if possible). If we study diligently enough, eventually we will be so familiar with God's word that a "yellow flag" will go up in our minds when we hear something that doesn't line up with what is in the Bible. If you have been reading the word of God awhile and need a "fresh" take, read a book you haven't read in awhile (or ever), try a new Bible translation, and most importantly, pray for God to show you what HE wants you to learn from HIS word.
Comments or Questions?