Test With Scripture

"The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so." -Acts 17:10-11

"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" -Philippians 2:12

"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world." -1 John 4:1

In all these verses, the reader (Christian churches) is challenged to not just take someone at their word, but to examine it to verify if it is truth. This is the attitude we should have toward any teaching that we receive. In the excerpt from Acts (above), the Bereans heard the teaching of Paul and Silas. Paul was an apostle and both were well-known for their gifts of the Spirit, strong speaking, and great faith. But even though Paul and Silas' reputation went before them, the Bereans still took what Paul and Silas said and compared it to the Scriptures.

How often do we take someone with much smaller credentials for their word without delving into the Word of God ourselves? No one is infallible. It is important to make sure that the teaching you are receiving is in line with Scripture. So also, do not let your salvation be a series of things someone else has told you, but rather "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" as the excerpt from Philippians (above) says. Your salvation begins a great relationship with an intimate savior. That's extremely personal. Don't let your relationship be completely defined by what spiritual leaders tell you. Accept their wisdom (they are, after all, spiritual leaders) and then compare it to Scripture.

The Word of God should always be our foundation. This helps us to build biblical literacy (something that is incredibly scarce in the present Church), confirm truth, discern falsehood, hold us accountable to truth, and foster an authentic, growing relationship with God.

So don't just believe everything you hear; that's called being a paper tiger; you appear to know things when you really have no personal knowledge to back it up. "Test the spirits," discern truth from falsehood, and always come back to the Word of God. It is your daily bread, your foundation, and your life. What a gift that we may know God though His Word! Use it!

Matt KellyComment