Est. May 2008

07 September, 2014

Out Of Whack

There’s something out of whack when pollsters find that 77% of Americans polled say they’re Christian, that 81% profess to be ‘highly, moderately, or somewhat knowledgeable about the Bible’, that roughly 90% say ‘I desire to please and honor Jesus in all I do’ and almost 60% say that ‘throughout the day I find myself thinking about biblical truths’ ...

And yet ...

Only 43% of them can name all of the first five books of the Bible; around half think John the Baptist was one of the Twelve Apostles; fewer than half can name all four Gospels, 60% can’t name any five of the ten Commandments, when a nudge more than 10% think Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife, when 82% think ‘God helps those who help themselves’ is a bible verse, when more than 50% of graduating High School seniors think Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife, and when ‘A considerable number of respondents … indicated that the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham’ (points, though, for those folks who realized Billy was a preacher and not the maker of sweet, cinnamon-ish-flavored crackers).

How can you say, on one hand, that you’re ‘knowledgeable about the Bible’ and yet get so much of it wrong?  First, you have to understand that you’re not knowledgeable about the Bible; you’re knowledgeable about the information you’ve been given as to what’s in the Bible. You’re dependent upon the preacher or teacher or pastor or writer or televangelist or blogger from whom you get your Bible ‘knowledge’, so your ‘knowledge’ is only as good as theirs is.

Certainly, there are preachers and pastors and teachers and bloggers and writers out there who get it right, biblically speaking; the problem is there are a lot more who don’t.  SO you’ve got to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff.

And the only way to do that is to do what the Bereans did.

During one of Paul’s missionary journeys (quick, how many were there?   Four), he and Silas stopped in the town of Berea, a ‘city in Macedonia to which Paul with Silas and Timotheus went when persecuted at Thessalonica (Acts 17:10, 13), and from which he was also compelled to withdraw, when he fled to the sea-coast and thence sailed to Athens (14, 15)’.  While he was there, Paul preached, and what did the Bereans do?  They …
… received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so (v. 11b, emphasis mine)
And because of this, Paul calls them ‘more noble than those in Thessalonica’.  So Paul praised them for their skepticism, and praised them for doing what all hearers of the word ought to do – check the original source material.

God expects us to believe His word, the Bible; He does not, of course, expect or demand that we believe the people who preach it to us – He expects us to be discerning, to ‘test the spirits to see whether they are from God’ (1 John 4:1), to ‘test everything’, and to ‘hold fast [to] what is good’ (1 Thessalonians 5:21), and the only way we can do that is by checking what we hear and read against the original source material.

God’s written revelation.

The Bible.

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