When someone becomes a believer in Christ, it means that he or she has committed to learning to look at everything Christ’s way. But we are not to just accept what some people say that He taught. A lot of difficulty and trouble has been caused by doing just that! We have the true source to go to.
Why should we go to anyone else, when Jesus, through His Holy Spirit, is ever ready to answer any question or resolve any issue we don’t understand!
He may use another person to explain something to us at times, but that is not the same as always accepting as truth what other people claim that God has said or meant. It is easy to fall into this trap for those who have recently accepted Christ as their Savior or are new at studying the Bible.
If you are part of a denomination, this is particularly important to keep in mind. Your denomination may help to lead you to a great deal of truth in the Bible, but it is still important to examine all that you are told for yourself. You should see if it lines up with other parts of the Bible besides the one(s) they are referring to. The Bible will never contradict itself. (If you think you have found a place where it does, it is usually because of a lack of depth of understanding of the passages or issues involved. Make a note of the ‘discrepancy’ and ask the Lord about it in prayer. When the time is right, He will show you what the truth of the matter is.)
Be careful when a Bible teacher says, “Brother (or Doctor) So-and-So taught that this means…”
The esteemed brother may or may not perceive the matter correctly. Keep in mind what he said, but examine the passage for yourself. Don’t accept it until you are sure it lines up with the Bible, no matter how eminent the teacher may be. On the other hand, do not assume that you have superior knowledge to Bible teachers who have a great deal more experience and knowledge in studying and teaching the Bible than you do. You are just as liable (if not more so) to error as they are. Both of you should be searching the Bible for the answers, not each other!
You may also run into the matter of tradition by following what others say that God meant. There are many people who feel that following what their group’s Christian leaders have traditionally taught, whether currently or in the past, is the best and safest way to learn what God has said and meant. But this can also be a way for an error to multiply many-fold.
Just because something has been traditionally taught for a number of years or decades or even centuries does not automatically make it scriptural. It is lining up with what the Bible says that makes it scriptural!
As a quick example, a preacher taught that when the Israelites traveled in the desert forty years with Moses after they had crossed the Red Sea, the shoes grew to fit the growing children’s feet during those decades, because they had no way to get more shoes. That is an interesting concept, but it is not written anywhere in the Bible. Why couldn’t the parents exchange shoes when their children needed different sizes until they got the right ones? This is a simple example of tradition. One person came up with this idea and shared it with another, who apparently passed it along to more people, and it became accepted as a fact after a while—especially if people heard it repeated in more than one place. In this case, it is not a significant error. But what if it was a major issue that became accepted in this way? The inaccurate information can multiply until no one can tell what the real meaning is anymore! We need to check it out with what the Bible actually says!
Learn to tune into what we refer to as “the divine flutter.” This refers to experiencing a sense of uneasiness inside over a biblical matter someone is sharing with you, even though everything you are receiving seems to sound and look fine. There is probably a good reason you sense this uneasiness, or inner “flutter.” Don’t automatically dismiss it.
The Holy Spirit is very likely trying to warn you that all is not as it appears to be. He will not yell at you and say, “Deception! Run! This person or concept is wrong!”
He will usually tell you in a quiet way, deep inside your being, to pay careful attention and not be easily misled. Perhaps you aren’t knowledgeable about this subject enough to understand the problem yet. Tune into that ‘divine flutter’ whenever you encounter it, and let the Holy Spirit lead you back to asking God directly what it means.
For all who really want to know what God is saying, the Bible is still the source of all truth—because it is God’s word (not man’s).
The more we consult and study it, the more we will be able to detect error and embrace truth. Then we can be sure that we will not easily be misled.